Make an iPod Cozy out of Cassette Tape

A few weeks ago, we brought you an item about clothing and other fabric constructions made out of cassette tape. Here’s another way of recycling those “ironic” trucker tapes you bought in the 99-cent bin at Midway Truckstop in a fit of giggles (“The Braillettes” and “Music for Big Dame Hunters” seemed like such a good idea at the time).

Anyhoo… this project, from Girl on the Rocks, shows you how to weave a “cozy” for an iPod (or other mobile device) out of ye ol’ magnetic medium of yesteryear.



Word on the Street. November 9, 2006

The Cloud – Synonym for the Internet. Coined because of all those network illustrations in books that frequently show the Internet in a network topology as one of those grade-school-simple clouds.

AMVs – Short for “Anime Music Videos,” amateur videos that take excerpts from Japanese anime and mash them together with a popular piece of music. The term has been around for a while but YouTube has made them all the rage.

Ratpacking – Gangbanger term for swarming the target of a gang assault using mobile phones and two-way pagers to coordinate the attack.

Floats – The latest in painfully annoying advertising; those little ad boxes that hover above the content and won’t go away until you dismiss them. Especially insidious because they’re not separate windows but part of the Javascript code within the underlying page (thereby bypassing pop-up blocking tech).


Vista’s EULA Restricts Benchmarking

Street Tech’s Jay Towsend sent this to me a couple of days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it. And it’s a goodie:

According to an article on the Australian PC World site, the EULA for Microsoft’s Windows Vista OS puts restrictions on how benchmarks of certain components of the OS can be published including measurements used to compare rival products by saying that to do so, they must comply with conditions found at a Microsoft Web site. The piece further says (and this is the best part):

“Several attempts to reach that Web site to see what those conditions are for benchmarking were unsuccessful on Tuesday, as the page for unknown reasons could not be displayed in Internet Explorer 7.”


Here’s a link to the full story (via ComputerWorld).


Amazing PowerMac G5 er…G4 Cube Mod

Check out this incredible mod of a PowerMac G4 Cube turned into a miniature version of a PowerMac G5 with the its distinctive aluminum enclosure. It appears, if you look at the details of how he did it (the hyperlink at the bottom), that he made the entire enclosure out of ABS plastic sheet stock. Incredible. Just to be clear, the processor inside is a G4. The only G5 thing about it is the case design. Cute little bugger, don’t ya think?


Dubious “Best Inventions” List

Well, it’s that time of the year — no, not that dirty rhyme about frost on the pumpkin — time for the endless parade of end-of-year lists. Yesterday, we blogged about a list that actually didn’t suck, Fortune’s Scariest Tech list.


Today, we present you with TIME’s Best Inventions 2006. Here, the list itself is scary, or at least lame, one of those completely vapid gee-whiz tech round-ups of concept crap and overpriced Hammacher Schlemmer fodder. It’s the kind of hype-infested, “playing to your base” tech reportage that helped inspire Street Tech. And look, it’s our fave perpetually “coming soon” robot, the NEC PaPeRo.


Steampunk-Inspired Software Clocks

I-Wei, the Fabricator General at the amazing Crabfu Steamworks, sent us links to three steampunk- inspired PC clocks he did “a while back.” The one shown here, SteamClock, belches steam while the two gauges show hours/minutes and seconds.

He made two other clocks, SunClock and DragonClock. They have nifty little features such as animated watchworks, day/date display and a RAM/CPU usage indicator (which doesn’t appear to be accurate of either, but still looks cool). The clocks work on Windows PCs and float over other apps. Here are links to the three EXE files:


Screencaps of SunClock and DragonClock after the jump…

Thanks, I-Wei!


Mark Frauenfelder: Fine Artist

Hey, it’s nepotism week here at Street Tech! (What’s the blogosphere for if not FOR promoting yourself and your friends and glad-handing people you want to suck up to?)

You all obviously know Mark from Boing Boing the blog and maybe bOING bOING the old print zine and Wired/Wired Online. But what you may not be aware of is his considerable talent as an artist and illustrator. It was actually his art in the first few issues of bOING bOING that first captured my attention. I was thrilled when he and I started to exchange letters and zines and he submitted some comics to my early ’90s zine Going Gaga. Over the years, I’ve been equally honored to have him work as an illustrator for some of my books, most recently, the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots and Leo Laporte’s Guide to TiVo (a.k.a. Gareth Branwyn’s Guide to TiVo).

So I am totally thrilled that he’s finally getting his due as an artist. This Friday begins his first gallery show, at Roq La Rue in Seattle. It’s a group show (Mark has nine acrylic paintings in it) with four other artists, including Lynne Nailor and Chris Reccardi who both worked on Ren and Stimpy. The show runs through December 2. If I were the rich mogul I am in my mind, I’d fly out there in my Moller Skycar for the opening and snatch up a couple of these sweet canvases.

Congrats to Mark from all of your pals and admirers at Street Tech!


November DC Dorkbot Follow-Up

The November DC Dorkbot was held on November 1 at our new home, the amazing Provisions Library. If you live in DC, or are passing through, you’ve got to check out Provisions. It’s a gorgeous space for gatherings and an unparalleled resource for those involved in social change and art-related issues and activities.

This was our fourth gathering and it feels like the org is starting to come into its own, finding a rhythm, an identity. Thomas Edwards, who initiated DC Dorkbot, does an amazing job of geek wrangling and doing the lion’s share of putting these events together.

For the November gathering, Thomas continued his excellent presentations, with an introduction to and demo of PureData, the real-time, graphical audio/video/image processing programming environment. You can see his PowerPoint presentation here. Next, Tim Slagle gave a presentation on LEDs and their rather fussy voltage/current requirements. Then Mike Larsson showed off his Voodoo doll interface, “Voodoo Word,” an electrified plushy that spits out nastygrams onto a computer screen whenever you stab it with a straight pin. I smell marketable wacky USB device! After Mike’s presentation, Tim did a show n’ tell on his scrolling LED Belt Buckle (a babe magnet to be sure) and the RGB LEDs he talked about at the first meeting. Then we all made LED Throwies. Geekish hilarity ensued.

The next meeting is slated for December 13th, at Provisions. One of the presenters will be Paras Kaul, a.k.a. “The Brainwave Chick.” She’ll be discussing her neural artwork. If you’re in DC, we hope you can make it.


Are We Too Late for the Big Geek Contest?

Last December, Gizmodo ran a “Biggest Dork” contest that we blogged about. In that posting, I talked about a picture that I wished I’d had to send in, of my son Blake, sitting at his grandmother’s Unix terminal. Well, we finally found it. Are we too late for the contest? I guessed that the picture was of him at 3 or 4. It’s actually from the Spring of 1989, so he’s just shy of 2. His grandmother was a researcher at Bell Labs and she had a dumb term in her house. Blake is working in a Unix drawing program (ever the artist, that kid). Look at him work that mouse. Look at that mouse!

So, what does this have to do with the price of volatile memory in China? Not a thing. Pardon a papa blogger’s indulgence. And apologies to the boy.

Thanks, Sande!


Scariest Tech of 2006

Peter Lewis of Fortune did a right-on list of the scariest, gnarliest, most user-surly tech (and tech-related media and developments) for 2006. We couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the list. Hit the link to read his wonderful descriptions (e.g. On Vonage: “I’m a Vonage customer and I never know when the service is going to be clear, or scratchy, or when it’s going to cough up a hairball of old voicemail. And customer service? Remember Riff Raff, the servant in The Rocky Horror Picture Show? It’s like that.”)

The List (Be Ashamed. Be Very Ashamed.):

1. Sony Li-On Batteries
2. Amazon Unbox
3. Vonage/VoIP
4, HP Ethics
5. MS Vista
6. RIAA’s “Campus Download” (think: “Reefer Madness” for file sharing)
7. Blu-ray/HD-DVD
8. Paperless Voting Machines
9. “Ultra-Mobile” PCs (not!)
10. The Wii (the name, the name!)
11. X-Men: The Official Game
12. Stay Alive (a movie about games that can kill)