Return of the Mix Tape… er Sorta

I miss the mix tape. Maybe it’s that time in my life that I actually miss, but it was an exciting time, of new music, and new possibilities of where that music might take me. And there were parties. Lots and lots of parties. And dancing on the waves generated by these tapes till our feet blistered or the sun came up (whichever came first). I even put out a copy of my late ’80s/early ’90s zine, Going Gaga, on a cassette tape. And then, of course, there were all of the painstakingly-coded Basic programs loaded onto my Radio Shack portable cassette player/storage drive. Ah, good times. Good times.

So, you’ll excuse me if I got all verklempt when I saw this cassette tape-packaged USB drive. The next time I wanna woo a woman, I am SO putting my hearfelt woo-age on one of these babies. Modern English, I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You, here we come! C30 C60 C90 Go!


Jake von Slatt in the News (Again)

Our pal Jake von Slatt continues with his plans for world media domination, this week getting ye ol’ shout out in Weekly Dig, a Boston entertainment rag. He appears in a piece entitled “Good Bostonians.” I like the way the piece opens: “People suck. Most of them, anyway. Especially around here. Or maybe not…”

And the piece contains some not-so-subtle hints of several of Jake’s next projects, including:

For now, the burner — a hair-dryer-shaped thing made out of pieces of an electric belt motor, an old metal bed-frame, the fuel injector from a BMW and a bunch of scavenged computer parts — is lying in several pieces in the garage. When it’s done, its creator says, it should be able to melt cast iron at 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I think it will make spectacular flames. And the internet loves spectacular flames,” he says, grinning.

Yes we do. Indeed we do.


Giant Robot Tick Fights Forest Fires

Okay, so it’s a robot pill bug, not a tick, and it’s only a concept, not an actuality. But researchers at University of Madgeburg-Stendal in Germany think that this type of an armored design, based on a “pill bug” millipede, could work in patrolling a forest, with the bot using its heat sensors to sniff out and put out fires as they start. And if the robo-bug gets in trouble, it can curl up in a protective ball like its bio-brethren to protect itself from intense heat. Interesting… And as Engadget points out, in between fires, teams of these armored ticks could entertain themselves by scaring the living daylights out of woodland creatures (and campers).


Hardwood IPhone Cases: Swanky, Expensive

I’ve always had a strange attraction to wooden cases for high-tech gear. Something about the contrast, I suppose. I’m currently about to buy an iPhone, so I’m looking at cases. I would never spend US$100 for one of these wooden cases from the UK, but they *are* lovely. Not sure if adding an expensive wooden handmade case (which you’d be equally paranoid about banging up) is a very smart way to go. But if money and marring are not issues, knock yourself out… [Via Boing Boing]


Avant Pop Lunchbox

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never grown out of lunchboxes. It’s one of the few reasons I wished I didn’t telecommute to work. I’d love to lug my lunch onto the Metro with one of these jobbies, just a few of the cool pails available for fellow never-grow-up nerds on the go, at They have a great selection of cheap lunchboxes from all sorts of pop and fringe-pop genres, from comic books and movies to music, TV, and cartoons. I may not be able to resist that Too Much Coffee Man box. Doesn’t appear to have a thermos, tho. What a snooze. A TMCM lunchbox that can’t contain caffeine? That’s an existential dilemma worthy of the mughead himself.


Green DIY Project Contest

Instructables has teamed up with TreeHugger and Popular Science to create a Go Green! project contest. Grand Prize is a gorgeous Breezer Liberty commuter bike, first prize is a Solio Universal Solar Charger, and there are other prizes too. Any project that focuses on reducing, reusing, repurposing, recycling, and rebuilding is eligible. Further details at the link.


The Tesla Gun

Oh man, check out this awesome hand-held Tesla coil, a.k.a. plasma gun. Details:

A Power Pulse Modulator circuit is used to drive two small high voltage ignition coils wired together in an ‘anti-parallel’ configuration. The output is rectified and used to charge the tank capacitor of a small spark gap Tesla Coil.

Cool how they used a cordless drill as the power source, trigger switch, and housing.


Download and print books via Google Books

Via SiliconBeat:

Google is offering free PDF downloads at Google Books, of those books in the public domain. You can then print them out.

You can download titles like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays (see example here), Dante’s Inferno and Carlyle’s Samuel Johnson.

Downloaded books carry a watermark identifying Google as the PDF’s origin. Perhaps a bone to publishers Google is trying to negotiate with, who will only get more nervous with this sort of printing capability.