My Cool Tools podcast guest this week is Scotty Allen. Scotty is a nomadic engineer, entrepreneur, adventurer and storyteller who orbits around San Francisco and Shenzhen, China. He runs a YouTube channel Strange Parts, a travel adventure show for geeks where he goes on adventures ranging from building his own iPhone in China to trying to make a manhole cover in India.
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1080P HDMI digital camera video microscope ($299)
“So one of the things that I have gotten an outsized amount of value from over the past year has been this microscope that I bought here in the electronics markets in China. It's a no-brand-name microscope that I got from a little tiny microscope booth in the market, and it's really been this incredibly high-leverage tool for me, and I didn't realize how much I was missing out until I bought it. It's been really great for doing detail work. And I use it for really small soldering work on iPhones and related circuit boards … It's a binocular microscope. It's not super high magnification, but because it's binocular you get depth of field, and so you can really see well. So you can look through the microscope and work underneath it with tweezers or a soldering iron or other tools and in great depth see what you're doing."
"Frame.io is an online tool that I use for collaborating on the videos I'm making. Read the rest
I’ve always been intrigued by cults. The idea that someone would be willing to give up everything: their wealth, family connections, personality or livelihood, to be a part of something presumably greater, something more all-consuming than religion, fascinated me. I knew, at some point, I’d want to write about it. I didn’t get the chance until I started my fourth crime novel, Blackout
, which hits in May from Polis Books—the latest in a Miami crime series featuring recovering alcoholic private investigator Pete Fernandez.
Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: dozens of great ideas for stocking stuffers, brain-hammers, mind-expanders, terrible toys, badass books and more. Where available, we use Amazon Affiliate links to help keep the world's greatest neurozine online.
This Friday through Sunday in San Francisco, my extreme maker pals Kal Spelletich (Survival Research Labs, Seemen) and Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, TV-B-Gone) invite you to what's sure to be a mind-bending experience of neuro-robotic weirdness and art at The Lab. From the description of the installation:
Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment
An interactive audience participatory performance with two custom built 16’ tall robots, each identical, each controlled by the left and right side brainwaves of audience participants.
A hacked and customized brainwave monitor reads audience participants' right side and left side brainwaves to make the two robots move, collaborate, interact, fight, and even "kiss". Their live streaming brain data runs the two robots! Volunteers’ (your!) thoughts are brought to life through robotic actions.
When they do “correctly” interact, symbolic and metaphoric events will happen, activating, lasers, lights, fog, robotic eye views projections, sounds, chaos.
Split-Brain Robotics: Harvesting Brain Data for Robotic Mayhem and Enlightenment Read the rest
Since I last presented a year-end videogame wrap-up for Boing Boing readers, it's become an exponentially harder task. The number of games released per day has - even just since 2014! - risen a few times over, so narrowing a list down means leaving amazing and creative work behind. That's not even to mention the herculean task of staying on top of the pile of games still unplayed.
2016 gave us a generous amount of powerhouse titles hoisted by massive budgets and massive marketing efforts: hello Overwatch, Dark Souls III, Doom, No Man's Sky, Pokémon Sun & Moon, and especially Uncharted 4. But I did my best to wander the far corners of the internet, searching and sometimes blindly stumbling upon weird, beautiful, thoughtful videogames.
Below you'll find 20ish games (actually quite a good number more) that sang to me the most, and I think exemplify the best that 2016 had to offer. You'll find interesting places to explore, unique achievements and re-inventions of old standards, and brilliant ideas executed simply. I hope you find them as surprising and delightful as I did.
by A.P. Thomson & Jenny Jiao Hsia • Get it: Windows/Mac/Linux
Beglitched is, on its face, a fairly simple match-3 type game, on the same family-tree branch as Bejeweled or Candy Crush or any other number of similar clones you may have spent all your idle moments thumbing around with on your phone over the past few years. Read the rest
BB pal Mitch Altman informs us that he's ceased manufacturing on his marvelous invention the TV-B-Gone, a keychain remote control that turns off any television with a push of the button. It's great fun in sports bars, airports, restaurants, and wherever else there's an idiot box that annoys you! Grab one now because when they're gone, you'll have to make your own (also great fun). Mitch writes:
Read the rest
In 2003 I quit my job to explore ways of making a living doing what I love doing. It was kind of scary, since I had no idea how I would make enough money after quitting my work. But I knew that I had to quit doing what was only OK, to make time to explore what I truly love. One thing I knew was that I wanted to design and make one TV-B-Gone remote control -- just for me. I wanted to be able to turn TVs off in public places!
It took me a year and a half to make the first TV-B-Gone remote control. And when I did, I went all over San Francisco turning TVs off everywhere I went -- and enjoying the hell out of it! And, of course my friends all wanted one. So, I made them for all of my friends. But, oddly, most of their friends wanted one. And when it turned out that many of the friends of my friends' friends also wanted one, I thought it would be interesting to make a bunch.
Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Ignore the Metrics
An expert film-maker reviews the latest episode of the elaborately-staged historical fantasy series.
Over the past year I played hundreds of amazing games across a wide spectrum of team sizes, budgets and ambitions. These exemplify the best that 2014 had to offer: interesting places to explore, important achievements, or just nice ideas executed simply. I hope you'll find them as surprising and delightful as I did.
It's a long-overdue and much-deserved tribute to the hardest-working chroniclers of hacker culture. Emmanuel Goldstein and co have inspired generations of electronic spelunkers and freedom fighters, and they're still going strong -- and have never been more relevant, thanks to the debate sparked by the Snowden leaks. Read the rest
The poster is to Heavy Metal movies what the album cover is to heavy metal music. One glance, and you know where it stands: proudly part of the genre, but boldly rippling with the promise of a one-of-a-kind experience, while also embodying metal aesthetics and expanding hard rock’s most visceral visual vocabulary. Mike "McBeardo" McPadden presents the 13 eyebangingest posters ever.
reviews episode 7 in season 1 of HBO's crime drama "True Detective
," starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. If you're new to the show, start with our introduction here
. This post contains spoilers.
After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:
The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.
* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.
It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one! Read the rest
Mitch Altman, inventor of TV-B-GONE and co-founder of San Francisco's Noisebridge hacker space, is a master maker and educator who finds great joy in teaching people of all ages how to get creative with electronics. At last year's Science Hack Day SF, Mitch taught my 7-year-old son how to solder and he's been at it ever since, making increasingly-complicated kits from Mitch's Cornfield Electronics, Maker Shed, and Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Mitch even taught a weeklong Creative Electronics camp for elementary school kids at my son's school over the summer and it was a huge hit. If you (or your kids) want to learn to solder too, I highly recommend the "Soldering Is Easy" comic book (PDF) that Mitch created with Andie Nordgren and Jeff "mightyohm" Keyzer. You can download the free PDF in multiple languages from Mitch's site. And there's also a single-page "Soldering Is Easy" reference sheet too. Thanks for all that you do to inspire young makers, Mitch!
"'Soldering Is Easy' and other DIY projects!" Read the rest