Sorry I haven’t blogged in a few days. I was away at Foo Camp, O’Reilly’s annual live geek wiki, unconference, and camp out. I had an amazing time, met a lot of fascinating new people, reconnected with lots of still-fascinating old people, had a few awkward interactions with people who think they’re more fascinating than they actually are, etc.
I’ll offer up my recipe for a delicious Foo Camp Cream o’ Geek Reduction after my body catches up with my brain (or is it the other way around?). Anyway, I’m crispy-fried and can barely walk. I’m going to sleep. Wake me up if anything interesting happens.
In the meantime, check out this pic of David Pescovitz doing a little re-branding of Larry Page’s Google helicopter. See Scott Beale’s other Foo Camp photos here.
You know we’re fans of geek sartorial, the nerd “colors,” if you will, here at Street Tech Labs, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t link to this Instructable for stringing a bracelet with chunks o’ motherboard. Not “exactly” my style, but close. I might try something like this. I keep meaning to try my hand at some electronics parts jewelry.
The Leonardian Library in Vinci, Tuscany has released to the Web Leonardo’s Madrid Codices and the Codex Atlanticus, two of his meatiest collections of scientific and technical drawings. The collections are called e-Leo and contain hi-res scans of some 3,000 pages. The goal is to eventually scan 12,000 pages worth of Da Vinci goodness, all searchable, all free. This’ll clearly be a boon to both amateur inventor-types and scholars alike.
We’ve talked on Street Tech before about how you can turn a decent-sized Flash drive (USB drive, thumb drive, jumpdrive, whatever we’re supposed to be calling it these days) into a pocketable alternative to a laptop for carrying apps and data between computers, on the road, etc. This-here d00d has a nice master list of Windows-friendly, mostly free, apps and utilities.
Atmel’s AVR microcontrollers, both the tinyAVR and megaAVR classes, are growing in popularity among hobbyists, roboticists, gamers, and others using embedded computer control. Our pals at Solarbotics use the ATmega8L AVR in their BrainBoard Sumbot add-on kits. Lady Ada has also just released a cheap (US$18) kit for building a USB-powered programmer for AVR MCUs. With the Adafruit kit, all that’s missing is a board to house the chip so that you can plug the programmer in and send your code to it (one of the cool features of Ada’s kit is that it powers the chip over USB). That’s where a target board comes in, and that’s what this Evil Mad Scientist Labs how-to is all about: showing you how to build a quick n’ dirty target board for a couple of bucks. Nifty.
EMS Labs also has a review of the Adafruit USBtinyISP AVR Programmer kit here.
[Shown above is the Adafruit AVR Programmer and an EMS Labs target board.]
Alex CF, who did the amazing “Lovecraftian Specimen Jars” in my Wired Steampunk piece, has a new piece up for auction on eBay UK. It’s a seriously cool Werewolf Research Kit, complete with an albino lycanthrope foetus in a jar, handwritten notes and drawings, other forensic samples, and some silver bullets to have on hand, just in case.
Here’s a link to the eBay listing. And one to Alex CF’s website.
Lifehacker has a link to a passle of Getting Things Done tools. They say:
“This enormous list of GTD Tools will surely keep you from getting anything done.”
I have an article, called “Steam-Driven Dreams: The Wondrously Whimsical World of Steampunk,” up on Wired News. It’s a brief tour of the art, tech, and media of the growing steampunk movement, as told through pictures (and my pulchritudinous prattlings).
Here’s a snip:
Every movement needs its house organ, its broadsheet for posting manifestos. In just two issues, Steampunk Magazine: A Journal of Misapplied Technology has established itself as a worthy mouthpiece. True to form, it’s available both in a treemeat version, for $3 plus postage, and a free PDF.
So, how does the magazine define steampunk? It’s inaugural issue says: “Steampunk lives in the reincarnated collective past of shadows and ignored alleys. It is a historical wunderkabinet, which promises, like Dr. Caligari’s, to wake the somnambulist of the present to the dream-reality of the future. We are archaeologists of the present, reanimating a hallucinatory history.”
I have no idea what that means but I’m just going to shut-up and drink the Kool-Aid.
[Shown here are a pair of one-of-a-kind brass goggles, created by UK artist Atomefabrik, and Datamancer’s Steampunk Laptop.]
Street Tech pal and steam robot guru I-Wei Huang has thoughtfully documented the steps to his latest build, a steam-powered, radio-controlled turbine tank, and created an Instructable.
If you weren’t tempted to hack some steam-tech before, you likely will be after checking this out. That little Jensen turbine is sweet!
If you looked at the amazing line of collectible retro rayguns from Weta Originals and couldn’t help but start thinking about the security vulnerabilities of banks in your neighborhood, or what day of the month the old lady next door gets her social security checks: Save these risky money-making opportunities for something more important, like next week’s iPhone launch. Weta has taken pity on us pixel slaves and released the Mini ManMelter, a much smaller (1/4-size), all metal, edition of their full-size ManMelter Raygun.The Mini will be limited to 500 pieces and cost US$30.
The only drawback is that the Mini ManMelter is an exclusive for next month’s San Diego ComicCon. Crap, so I have to fly to California to pick up my little collector raygun? Hmmm. When DOES that neighbor lady get her checks?…
More info here.