Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Project: Mint Tin MoJo

What do you get when you mix hobby electronics, being cheep, and a caffeine high? Cool sh*t in mint tins!! Well, maybe cool isn’t the right word. Neat? Useful? Geek? Yeah, geek works. (Esp. for the second project).

So what’s on the table? How about a pocket amp that can be used to pump up your iPod or other MP3 Player’s output. (It can also be used to amp out an electric guitar to a set of earphones for play practice that even the neighbors can enjoy). And the second is a very portable battery fueled USB charger.

Notes: First and foremost, these projects are far from original ideas from me. And secondly, this post isn’t meant as instructional. I dig pushing electrons and thought that both of these projects were both simple and useful. That led me to want to put some more spotlighting on them and this is how I’m doing it :).

Home Brew LoveThe Pocket Amp: or otherwise known as the Mint Tin Amp or the Cmoy Pocket Amplifier, is a simple OP-Amp based circuit that can either, as mentioned, rock your ears off or (with a small change to the input socket) be used to amp out your electric guitar to a set of headphones. [This site here] has a detailed explanation of everything from construction to principals involved. But it was on the Instructables website that I first learned about this fresh smelling bit of auditory love. 

The Pocket USB Charger: is even more simple and quite possibly more useful. Testing and an update to this post will ensue, but for now … this is effin’ cool. iPod low on juice, but you’re feining for tunes and can only get your hands on a couple of 9v batteries? This lil luff muffin will come to the rescue. The image kinda says it all in terms of construction. As you can see it’s easy peasy and thus there’s no excuse not to try it out. :). altoid_usb_charger

Enjoy and email some pics of your results to robert.easter@gmail.com. I’d love to see what you come up with. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From [Here] to <There>

So no [deleted expletive] there I was; still high on caffeine and waiting for the hour hand to go around a couple of more times before our morning meeting. (Yeah, you know what those are like). Always looking for more convenient ways to get things done I went-a-searching for a windows based blogging application to facilitate to obvious endeavor. 

Enter Windows Live Write Beta. [Here] It’s part of a suite of tool “Big Brother’s Brother” put together to make getting your life out there on the net. {/me rolls eyes} Honestly, I’m not interested in the rest of that nonsense. The Writer service is what I’m checking out.

And that’s the purpose of this post. To test it :). I’ll give it a week or so and then actually post a review.

Stay tuned.

Caffeine: Necter of the God(s)

I’ll start things off simply. I love coffee (read: caffeine). Fuel for experimentation, fuel for fun, fuel for … well … all of the “good” ( ;-) ) things in life. What has caffeine fueled you to do?

Fuel … why the word fuel. This Shock Coffee's Triple Latte coursing through my nervous system at the moment is more like crack. The manufacturer states that there’s “up to 50% more caffeine than other gourmet coffee’s”. Caffeine isn’t listed on the “Nutrition Facts” label of the can, but the site’s FAQ went on to say that there is “the equivalent of about 2 cups of coffee”. .::Nods sagely::. I can dig it. But the question still remains: How much caffeine is in this stuff? I found this site that seems to be pretty much against every libation that I hold dear. Well, really it’s a page from some broadcasting company in Australia so its existence is probably due to the need for shock and awe (for $$$). The researchers, I’m assuming (dangerous territory that), are competent. And with that in mind I look at their findings: “It's usually presumed that a regular cup of coffee contains 100mg of caffeine but it may range between 40 and 176 mg and the mean is closer to 85mg.” So 85 x 2 = anyone …. anyone? Yeah, you smarty, in your head and all. 170mg of caffeine love per 8oz can of slimmy. Even at a conservative rough est. of this can’s content, that’s a [technical term follows:] crap-ton of caffeine.

The real beauty of this type of drink (compact energy drinks containing either massive quantities of caffeine or other exotic compounds –taurine– [/me beams. I luff that stuff too]) is the ease of consumption. Grab it. Pound it. Feel it.

Reiteration: What has caffeine fueled you to do?