Up for a do-it-yourself project this weekend? Rarely does Web site swag get as intricate as the Digg button from Adafruit Industries. The $20 kit gives you everything you need (sans soldering tools) to put together a slick, working Digg button that has a three-digit counter on it to keep track of Diggs. Every time you click the tiny, red button, you get a nice "dug" message on the LED display, and the count goes up by one. The real-world possibilities for this are endless.
Me.com has launched a new tool called SNAPP that lets people put together their own social networking hubs. Like Ning.com, which launched a similar service in March, SNAPP gives users ready-made tools such as a blog, live chat, forums, and shared photo albums to create a fairly full-featured site without knowing any HTML. SNAPP also integrates Me.com's social networking system, so existing Me.com users will be able to join your network without any special signup.
Want to celebrate the predictable tragedy that your life has become by eating waffles shaped like the very instrument that invisibly shackles you to your desk? Artist Chris Dimino has modified an old typewriter to produce keyboard-shaped waffles, perfect for honing those typing skills before you get to work. The waffle maker is just a one-off, but hopefully some geek-minded, breakfast-loving entrepreneur will get cracking on a retail version soon (make a pirate toaster while you're at it).
iPod battery replacement kits are nothing new. Manufacturers like Sonnet Technologies have offered reasonably priced do-it-yourself battery replacement kits for the past few years. What distinguishes the latest line of Blue Raven iPod batteries from previous efforts is a boast of 30 to 50 percent better battery life over the factory original (depending on your iPod model). The Blue Raven batteries are also much more attractively packaged than other replacements I've seen, which seems silly to mention, but I think packaging can have a huge effect on how intimidating a DIY project appears. Kits are available for around $30 … Read more
Make magazine--purveyor of awesome and amusing DIY projects and kits--has added a new product to its online store -- the Cellular Automata video synthesizer kit. It may look like a hippie guitar pedal, but actually it creates endearingly retro (but mostly annoying) audio and video akin to an Atari 2600 meltdown. The kit offers RCA audio and video outputs, costs $50, and is mostly preassembled. You will have to find your own enclosure (the rainbow-colored wooden box is only a suggestion) and solder on the knobs and a reset button.
Want an iPod Nano, but stuck with a fourth-generation player? One DIYer has figured out a way to remove his iPod's hard drive and replace it with with an adapter that can accommodate plug-in flash memory cards.
Make Magazine spotted the most recent efforts of Mark Hoekestra, who posted his tips on Geektechnique.org. He took two iPods, a 40GB photo model and a 20GB regular model, and replaced the hard drives with a homemade adapter. After getting well-acquainted with his soldering iron, he produced a working iPod capable of storing songs on flash memory.
If you're inspired to create your own MP3 player but are either too cheap or too clumsy (in my case, both) to use Make Magazine's Daisy MP3 player kit, South Korea has the solution. The MOTZ DIY Music Box is a coin-sized, flash-based MP3 player kit that sells for $40 (U.S.). Once you've got it, you can join the corporate bandwagon of cramming an MP3 player into just about anything. The tough part will be finding something ridiculous that someone hasn't already tried putting an MP3 player in. The MOTZ is USB 2.0 by … Read more
It takes a certain kind of person to pay $115 for the pleasure of soldering together your own flash-based MP3 player. Still, Make magazine's open source MP3 player kit Daisy has been taunting me for a while now and I think I'm finally up for the challenge. I've had more than my fair share of misspent weekends behind a soldering iron, getting woozy from fumes and cursing myself when projects fall to pieces. Why invite another weekend project disappointment? Well, maybe you're just the kind of crafty nerd who can't resist the idea of making … Read more
Because it costs less, that's why. If you're the type of rugged individualist who builds computers from scratch (well, almost), then you know that shipping can be the difference between a bargain and a waste of time. So Aopen Asia is making tower cases that fold up and save space, resulting in lower packing and shipping costs, according to OhGizmo. This way, the company says it can fit twice as many cases in a standard shipping container. There are no guarantees, of course, that the savings will be passed along to the consumer. (We can be so cynical … Read more
What can robots do? Fetch beer, pick up socks and empower rodents.
At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, iRobot will publicly release its latest product, the Create, a programmable robot for entertainment and education. The base of the Create is similar to the Scooba, the company's mopping robot, and the vacuuming Roomba. It comes with wheels, motors for movement, and sensors that prevent it from tumbling downstairs or getting mired in corners.
The brushes and fluid tanks, however, have been removed and, instead, the Create comes with a series of connectors that let users attach reticulating arms, cameras … Read more