Tag Archives: make

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi aims to be an ultra low cost single board computer for education. While it’s still in preproduction, it cost about $25 and come with 700 Mhz ARM 11 chip with 256 MB of ram, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI with 1080p30 H.264 decompression, an SD slot, ethernet, and general I/O lines, running Linux, and packaged on a board the size of a credit card.

It’s a very interesting platform. I could see replacing my dad’s MiniITX based weather station with one, or perhaps using it for a some other homebrew system.

Of course, this isn’t the only tiny Linux system out there. Gumstix was the first I heard of, and was the platform of choice for bluetooth sniper rifle. Then there was the wall warts, like the SheevaPlug and the GuruPlug, it’s kind of hard to figure out where to actually order those, whether they’re worth the $99. The closest thing to the RaspberryPi, is Texas Instrument and DigiKey’s BeagleBoard. The BeagleBoard is here today, and is a bit beefier with a 1+ GHz ARM chip, but also much more expensive ($89 for the BeagleBone, $135 for the latest board.) Personally, I wouldn’t pay $100 for an embedded system for just hacking around on. If I was more into hardware development and had an application I knew needed the extra speed, them sure maybe, but I just can’t think of any that I would want to make right now.

Thanks Mike!

LED Lanterns

The solar power and auto-on features of the Kimono Lantern reminded me pummpers and and SolarRobotic’s PumLantern, but much less spastic. (See video after the jump.)

The PumLantern’s case is clearly inspired by Japanese tatami lamps, but with stencils to break up the light. I recently saw another lamp that did something similar. I can’t say I approve of the choice of stencils, but I do like the idea of shapes covering the individual panels of the lamp.

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Kimono Lantern

The folks at TokyoHackerSpace, have taken a break from building geiger counters, and built this rather cute table lamp. According to the write up, this solar powered automatic light was originally intended for tables at a local restaurant.

TokyoHakerSpace’s Kimono Lamp looks a lot like a DIY version of the €35 Marmaled / Jelly Lamp from Semiki, but more technically advanced. (The Marmaled uses a tilt switch and two AAA batteries.) Really, when it comes down to it, the Marmaled’s jar and black label is what sets it apart. Of course, you can always buy jars wholesale

Video of the Kimono Lamp in action after the jump.

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Mechanical Desks

While reading about secretary desks, I came across a related type I had never heard of before, the mechanical desk. A fad of the 1700s, these desks featured mechanisms that hid shelves and surfaces when not in use. It’s a real shame that these didn’t make a comeback when computers became widespread. Computer desks were dreadful. While hiding a 21 inch CRT that weight 150 pounds wouldn’t have been easy, the idea hiding materials when they are not needed appeals to me.

A modern interpretation of the mechanical desk is the Crescendo C2 from Stilvoll. I like how it looks like a drafting table, but expands to reveal bins. Of course, the role these bins play could have been solved with a traditional divided drawer. Still, this got me thinking.

I’ve considered getting a desktop computer, yet I don’t know what I would do with it. At work I love my MacPro and its three 24 inch LCDs, and part of me would love to have that setup at home, even if I don’t do much coding at home. If I ever took to telecommuting regularly, I’d need such a setup, including the Steelcase Leap chair, as even a 17 inch laptop just doesn’t quite cut it. Assuming I had desktop computer with multiple displays, I wouldn’t like having the monitors dominating the desk space. Yes, LCDs have a much smaller footprint than CRTs, but they still are visually imposing. Sometimes that’s what you want, but sometimes it’s not. A mechanical desk that could retract the screens would be great. Even better, if the desktop could expand. Perhaps a second pullout spring loaded leaf, kind of the like the Crescendo C2, but with a pushdown panel that has the screens mounted on swivel arms. Fold up the monitors and push them down into a little protected area behind the desk. Hide the tower and assorted wires in pedestal, and put file drawers in the other pedestal. (Personally, I prefer desks with legs rather than pedestals, but such a desk would look weird with big solid front on it.)

This is something I’m going to need to draw out.

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Blind Date Swingers Club

Blind Date Swingers Club is a rotating club event in Berlin, that sounds very cool, and very reproducible. Everyone brings a mix tape (well, CD) of music, along with a note and contact information inside the jewel case. The music is left with the DJ. At the end of the night, everyone takes a CD that someone else made.

I love how this is a really simple idea that encourages the discovery of new people and new music. I’d love for a Bay Area version of this.

Makerfaire

Just a reminder, Maker Faire is this weekend at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday. 10 am to 6 pm Sunday. $20 adult, $10 student (with valid id), $5 kids.

Schedule is packed. I’d recommend Trisian Shone, and the Raygun Gothic Spaceship, which just looks amazing.

I doubt I’m going to make it this year. Instead, I’ll be attending the SF Fine Art Fair.