With great pool comes great towel mess! This is a simple DIY project that uses inexpensive PVC pipe, a few screws and a shade umbrella stand to make a very practical towel tree for summertime poolside organization. I think it took me all of an hour, maybe two, to assemble and paint. Total cost, a hair over $50. If you don't paint it, less than $50.
For a luau-themed software launch party at meltmedia, we wanted to be able to play Cornhole. I don't know that Cornhole is a regular game played at traditional luaus, but at meltmedia luaus it is. As I am the Chief Tinkerer (see proof on Instagram) at meltmedia, I volunteered to build the game parts for the festivities. If you're not familiar with Cornhole, it's a very simple game: Toss little corn-feed-filled cloth bags at a 6" hole in 24" x 48" board that's about 30' away from you. For all the official rules, go to (I'm not kidding, here) the Official Cornhole Rules page at the American Cornhole Association website. It's hard not to giggle.
If you have even the most basic of woodworking skills and tools, you can do this.
At the meltmedia office we're making a video podcast once a week. Our design team made a cool backdrop for the little studio area we use. It's a big-ass inkjet direct-print on a full 8' by 4' sheet of foam core. As you can guess, it was a bit floppy and needed some kind of support behind it. It also needed to be lightweight because we wanted to be able to hang it on the whiteboard behind us so we could easily remove it and replace it when we needed the whiteboard. I looked around the garage and all I had that was long enough was an 8' 2x4. So, the entire frame is made from that single pine 2x4. I ripped three 1" strips from it. to get the top, bottom and sides. The sides are just a long piece cut in half.
It's been a little while since I posted an update on the latest version of the Office Chairiot motorized office chair (the, "Mark II"). I usually add little pieces of updates to the project site for it on Local Motors' personal project website, since I plan on utilizing their facilities to push it to 11.
If you are writing code for your Arduino on a Mac and you've previously written code using Apple's FREE Xcode IDE, you know that the standard Arduino development environment is lacking in functionality, especially those which professional software developers have had in their IDEs for years. My personal favorite is Apple's Xcode IDE, which is the primary IDE used in developing applications for the OS X on the Mac and for iOS applications on Apple's mobile platforms (which are technically ALSO running Apple's OS X operating system). Find out how easy it is to use a professional-grade IDE to do your Arduino code using embedXcode from Rei Vilo Hobbies.
What is electric, goes somewhere between 15 and 20 miles per hour and has an Ikea chair on it?
The Office Chairiot Mark II is the second generation of motorized office chair brought to you by yours truly. Why motorize an office chair? That's a silly question and I will not dignify it with an answer. Office chairs are boring. Plus, on a hot summer day, I walk too slowly between our office buildings in ARIZONA. The Office Chairiot Mark II can do it in a fraction of the time and I sweat far less driving it.
It's been a while since I posted the article on building my backyard fire pit. A good portion of the traffic to this site is because of the fire pit, so I thought I'd post an update with some new photos and tips on how the fire pit has been improved since it was built. Here is the completed fire pit sanctuary in the back yard, complete with 400-lb. steel pergola and new fire rocks.
iPotti #2 is the latest incarnation of iPotti, the custom bathroom availability monitoring system I built for my employer, meltmedia. I started designing and building the original iPotti in 2010 and it went into operation in early 2011. At the time, there wasn't anything like it that we were aware of. Lately, some other similar systems have popped up and their inventors have done some pretty cool stuff with them. I've found inspiration to reinvent iPotti. Plus, at meltmedia we'd like to use the device for marketing purposes in the near future.
Since 2011, meltmedia has outgrown its original office where iPotti ("number one") is installed. At that time there were about 20-some-odd meltmedians. Today, there are over 60 of us and we now occupy TWO different office spaces on the same campus. On the plus side, with the growth in the number of meltmedians came a growth in the number of pottis at meltmedia to service those meltmedians. On the not-plus side, there is only ONE iPotti #1 and it only watches TWO of the 9 or 10 pottis across two buildings. This situation needed to be rectumfied. [snicker]
Over the past year plus, I've gotten a handful of emails about donations to StuffAndyMakes.com. I've also been offered payments for customizing PCB designs or even just making the files available. Some have requested kits of the Iron Man Arc Reactor for payment. I hadn't taken the time to get it set up. Well, no more! I set up a Donate page, thanks to the amazing people at Stripe! Stripe is a fantastic and ridiculously easy-to-use card processing system built specifically for developers. It's easy to sign up, they take a little in fees per successful charge (2.9% + 30¢) and it even works in your mobile apps. Best of all: It ain't PayPal! Woot!
From their website:
You don’t need a merchant account or gateway. Stripe handles everything, including storing cards, subscriptions, and direct payouts to your bank account. Stripe.js lets you build your own payment forms while still avoiding PCI requirements.
How many times has this happened to you? You have a little LED project with an AVR ATmega328 microcontroller (or Arduino) at its core and you need to light up a boatload.... A dingyload of LEDs. Maybe it doesn't happen a lot to you. It's happened on three recent projects for me. My latest two LED projects are a timekeeping piece that illuminates 21 characters from behind and a simple LED chaser thing.
As usual I wanted to keep the component count down on these projects. I also tend to prefer not to use a ton of ICs with busses between them and whatnot, if I can help it. So much darn soldering and stuff. Meh. Luckily, back in 1995, so the Wikipedia story goes, a super-smart dood named Charlie Allen at Maxim Integrated devised a super-ingenius way to control a large number of LEDs using a not-so-large number of microcontroller pins. The method is called, "Charlieplexing" and it seems a but daunting, at first, but it's not that bad once you figger it out.