MAKE’s editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder will be on a special NPR Talk of the Nation. This will be a live, call-in talk program on the “Do It Yourself” culture this Wednesday, December 28th the 3pm ET (noon PT) hour. Tune in, turn on, call in, make stuff… Link. To figure out what station it will be on in your area, use the station finder. We’ll also post a link to the podcast when it’s up too.
Trevor writes “Here’s a simple mod I did to an old telephone reciever to make it compatible with my laptop- for use with Skype. I tried using the original coiled telephone cord, but for some reason I couldn’t get adequate microphone volume through it. Funny, because telephones are made for talking…” Link.
PDF downloads on how to make those cool (but expensive) enclosed glass ecosystem – “Here you have the choice of two different ecosystems, a “dry land” ecosystem like the one in our Virtual Ecosphere and a marine aquatic one.” [via] Link. If anyone has made one of these, post up in the comments and let me know how it worked out.
Wow, now you can upload a PNG image and have a part cut and sent to you, made from metal or plastic, no need to use CAD software. Simon writes – “I’ve just added support for PNG images. I’m really proud of this new feature, as it will allow even people who don’t know how to use CAD software to start creating with Big Blue Saw. There are still a couple of quirks to work out over the next few weeks, and the help files will need to be updated, but this feature was much needed.” Link.
Here’s our MAKE Widget (download it here) and a how to on how to make your own! – “Widgets are great–there is no denying it. Arranging these small, lightweight utilities on your Mac OS X Dashboard desktop puts lots of useful and fun possibilities at your fingertips and eyeballs. But when a widget you want doesn’t exist, there is only one thing to do: make it.” Link.
Chris writes “Adding internal Bluetooth to a laptop has been done before, but Tom shows us how to do this without using a internal USB hub. An easy project to hide yourself away with during those upcoming stressed family reunions.” Link.
Timo Arnall’s excellent experiment with RFID and physical spaces, like his desk…“For the last couple of weeks I have been experimenting with tagging personal space with the NFC. This started by embedding RFID tags in my desk, to use it as an information surface for contacts, SMSes and links. Underneath the desk I have stuck a grid of RFID tags, and on the top surface, the same grid of post-it notes. With the standard Nokia Service Discovery application it is possible to call people, send pre-defined SMSes or load URLs by touching the phone to each post-it on the desk.” Link.
Nice project to go along with a new Xbox 360…Chuck and Sean write “How to inexpensively build your own arcade-style racing game chair. The site describes building a low-budget chair for your living room with parts from the junkyard as well as building a full-size version utilizing a 32″ TV. Lots of pictures and advice.” Link.
Ok Makers, get your aggregators ready! We’re finishing out 2005 with a ton of posts, articles, contests and more – if you haven’t yet, add MAKE to: Kinja, My AOL, MyYahoo, Google, Bloglines, Rojo, Newsgator or Pluck (or any other feed reader with our RSS feed). Look for lots and lots of fun! If you’re new to RSS, take a look at these articles for just about everything you might need or want to know.
This is the best application in the entire world for converting DVDs to iPod video, it’s one click – “HandBrake Lite is a horribly-mangled abomination of HandBrake, jettisoning its non-crucial features with the one-track goal of creating iPod-sized movies from DVDs. You only really need to click two buttons to rip a DVD for iPod. It’s as easy as that. Less stuff to read, and fewer confusing words. All videos are automatically resized to 320px wide. Widescreen movies are properly cropped before conversion. Smaller interface, easier to stash away on your screen somewhere.” Link.
Ok, I’m going to try out a bit of experiment on Christmas day inspired by the “Call for Help-a-thons” – post up any and all questions about setting up your new computer, protecting a PC from viruses/spyware before letting the kids online, iPods, converting videos, PSPs – anything you happen to need help with. I’ll check the messages and answer them and/or do a Skype/Gizmo/Instant message session. Most folks won’t be at their computers and online, but if you’re reading Makezine.com and need a hand with your tech, post up and let us know. Lastly, if you didn’t get MAKE for the holidays and want a free copy of MAKE (digital edition) read the comments…
Excellent video on how fiber optics are made – “…”At the Speed of Light” is inspirational on any number of levels. It describes what Corning calls “the union of glass and light”. Developed in the 70′s by a trio of scientists — Drs. Keck, Maurer and Schultz — who went on to win the National Medal of Technology for their efforts, it is truly remarkable. They are making fibers thinner than a human hair. The single mode fiber is a mere 8 microns thick. One micron is one-millionth of a meter.” Link.