TokyoFlash Gets a Face-Lift

Our favorite geek watch emporium, TokyoFlash, has redesigned their website and added some new watches, including this wrist-band-based one, which seems particularly challenging to decipher, but maybe not as much as the JLr7, which you have to see to believe.

BTW: Did folks here see the reference to Tokyo Flash on 30 Rock? A geek in the building had something called (I think): The Japanese Pie Slice Watch (or something to that effect). Tiny Fey asks him what time it is and he has to mull it over for a while and then says, hesitantly, “I… think it’s…” [whatever time he said]. Made me laugh ’cause everybody with a TokyoFlash has a lot of figurin’ to do, when asked for the time.

BTW 2.0: I have a short piece on TokyoFlash in the latest MAKE, Vol. 9, called “Tokyo Time Hackers.”


Robot Fest 2007

This Saturday, April 28th, Robot Fest 2007 will take place at the Historical Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Maryland (near BWI airport). Looks like all sorts of good, dirty, robot fun, with a number of local FIRST robotics teams, members of the Girls Robot Club, LEGO Mindstorms clubs, a bomb bot, engineers working on medical robotics, art robotics, and a lot more. Check out the Robot Fest site for full details and photos of last year’s event. The event is free, BTW.

Dorkbot DC at Artomatic

This month’s Dorkbot DC will be held tomorrow night, Tuesday, at Artomatic, the massive DC art orgy holed up on several floors of an office building in Crystal City (hit the Dorkbot DC link for details and directions.

This month’s speakers include Tim Tate. No, not Street Tech’s Tim Tate, DC’s Tim Tate, an amazing glass artist who incorporates tiny vid screens, LEDs, found objects, and other cool stuff into his blown glass creations. Really gorgeous work, and one of the best things at this year’s event (so don’t worry OUR Tim Tate, he’s cool enough to dopplegang the name). Peter Blasser will also be presenting. We’ve covered Peter’s work before. He’s the crazy bugger responsible for the Fyrall Computer and other mad circuit-bends. Jack Whitsitt will also be talking about art in Second Life. AfterDork will meet up in the Artomatic Bar afterwards. Should be a wonderful program.


How-To: Save Wet Electronics (or Try to, Anyway)

I’ve written here, and in several of my books, about trying to save gadgets that have gotten wet. My gist: DON’T TURN IT ON! and let it dry, THOROUGHLY. In today’s MAKE Tools N Tips Newsletter, Joel Young offers an additional bit of advice:

“I’ve revived a couple of soaked laptops and iPods, and if the machine isn’t turning on, you pretty much have to “disassemble it as fully as possible. You can find guides all over the internet. Cole’s Hardware has little screwdriver kits that work well.

“Once it’s apart, you’ll most likely see that the circuits have white sediment on them. I’m not sure what actually causes that to happen, but it causes (temporary) short circuits. If you get some denatured solvent alcohol from a hardware store and wipe the sediment away with cotton swabs and a toothbrush (don’t breathe too deeply–it’s not poisonous, but it is irritating), you should be able to get most, if not all, of the components working again.

“Be careful not to let the display get soaked by anything, including the alcohol, because it won’t function again after that. That’s the part that’s most likely to need replacement, and unfortunately, displays are not cheap. My fiancée’s iPod nano got soaked recently, and I was able to get everything but the display to work–and it costs $50 to get a replacement from a third party. Meh.”


Hacked Roomba Makes Love AND War

We covered Chris Myers’s work here before, his wonderful Plexi-clad Palm robot. Now he’s got some Roombas he’s been hacking up to similarly impressive effect. He made one, a US$30 Craigslist special, into a sort of development platform, using an Arduino microcontroller and the Bluesmurf Bluetooth module. Thus outfitted, Roomba became a wine sommelier. Ah, Roomba, so sophisticated… But soon, Roomba answered the call to serve and traded in his towel and corkscrew for a gun and a bandelerro. Chris outtfitted his Red Roomba with an Airsoft gun and a homebuilt ammo hopper. Hell hath no fury like a Roomba scorned! (Be sure to check out the video of the militant vacuum in action).


Bill Gates Taking Heat Over Va Tech Shooting

It’s not often that I feel sympathy for Bill Gates. This would be one of those times. Anti-gaming nutlog Jack Thompson is suggesting Gates may be partly to blame for the VT massacre and that MS could be potentially liable. I heard the kid read books, too. I think Amazon should watch its back. Here’s a snip:

“Mr. Gates, your company is potentially legally liable the harm done at Virginia Tech. Your game, a killing simulator, according to the news that used to be in the Post, trained him to enjoy killing and how to kill. You knew five years ago that your on-line game, Counterstrike, so clearly figured in the massacre by a student in Erfurt that the event and the game impacted the race for Chancellor in Germany at the time!”

This guy seems to have ripped a page from the Ann Coulter playbook. Say any crazy-ass thing to garner yourself plenty of airtime.

Read the rest on Gizmodo.

“Beginner’s Mind” and The Stovetop Website

As Bruce Sterling put it in Beyond Cyberpunk!: “Inspiration knows no baud rate.” I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of creativity recently. Last weekend, I went to this year’s Art-o-Matic, an amazing everyone-can-play art orgy held in DC most every year. It’s a great event that I always look forward to. But I’m always struck at how derivative, and well, BORING much of the art is. Now, I’m a firm believer in creativity being our God-given right and responsibility, and that we don’t serve that impulse nearly enough. So I don’t want to harsh anybody’s creative mellow. If it feels good, DO IT!. But in being creative, so many seem intent on painting inside the lines, parroting what others have done. If it were up to me, art school’s major job would be beating all of the rout and mimicry out of students.

The brilliance of beginner’s mind (in the Zen sense) can be seen in the website Miranda July did for her new short story collection, No One Belongs Here More Than You. The entire site is written on the white tops of her kitchen appliances in dry-erase marker. It’s one of the coolest, most refreshing sites I’ve seen in a while. And it just goes to show you how right Chairman Brucie was.

[Via Boing Boing]


Insane Archive of Retro-Tech Creations

Attention circuit-benders, hardware hackers, techno-antique collectors, control panel enthusiasts, analog synth and Theramin fans, and marvelers of magnificent and mad machinery in general. This link will rock your world.

Tim Kaiser is a performance artist and experimental musician. He’s built dozens (and dozens) of crazy instruments and other sound-generating gadgets, many of them housed in antique Geiger counters, old telephones, Oscillator boxes, and other retro equipment cases. His site features page after page of amazing DIY tech art. I was swooning by the time I was done, and I don’t think I even exhausted the site. It seems to go on forever. Some of the machines have MP3 files attached to them so you can hear what the devices sound like.

One of the most linked-to pieces on Street Tech is the Gallery of Homebrewed Headphone Amps. This is an equally amazing collection of homemade audio gadgets. We can only hope that Tim Kaiser’s work generates a similar buzz.

[Via Brass Goggles]


Review: Bose SoundDock

Street Tech co-founder, and resident cranky ol’ d00d, Peter Sugarman, gets all uncharacteristically warm ‘n fuzzy over the Bose SoundDock Digital Music System for iPod. Okay, so this isn’t the newest, sexiest piece of gear on the shelves of your local Circuit City, but we’re not about what’s new, we’re about what works. And if Peter’s heartwarming testimony is any indicator, this speaker system rocks hard. Alright, we might be exaggerating a bit about Peter’s effusiveness, but we just don’t get to see Mr. Cranky with this big of a smile on his face every day, especially about tech!