Friday, May 31, 2013

The Basics of Music Production, Lesson 2: Recording Audio

You can have a lot of fun making music, but getting a good recording and arrangement of your song requires some work and knowledge. Last week we set up a home recording studio. This week we're going to start recording.

Note: This is primarily a video lesson and you'll get a lot more information from watching the video above. That said, the instructions below will suffice and you should hang on to them for reference.

If you participated in last week's lesson, you should have all the equipment you need to get started. If not, read last week's lesson first before preceding. We're not going to make equipment recommendations here, but you should know what equipment you're going to need to participate in this lesson:

Your computer with the DAW software of your choice installed (we'll be using Cubase)A digital audio interface (with 48v phantom power) hooked up to your computerA microphone connected to your digital audio interface, most likely via XLR cableAn instrument (e.g. a guitar, your voice, etc.)About 20-30 minutes of your timeOnce you've got everything ready, boot up your DAW software and let's get started!

Interface elements vary between different DAWs, but they embody the same ideas. We'll use Cubase to demonstrate here, but if you're using something else you should find things are pretty similar. Let's take a look at the common parts you'll need to know about.


The main project window is where you'll do a lot of your work. This window lets you interact with your instruments and sounds as well as bring up individual channel settings as needed. You can do a lot more, too, but those are the basics.


The mixer (in Cubase, this is the first of three mixers) looks like a hardware mixing board in a lot of ways. You can adjust the levels of individual tracks, open their channel settings, monitor the master output, and keep a general eye on what's going on with your mix as it plays.


The transporter does what you probably expect: it transports you around your project. This is where you press record, stop, and play, but also where you can toggle the metronome, set time signatures, loop your project, and get information about where you currently are in your project.

The VST instruments panel isn't something you really need to know about until the next lesson, but it's simply where you add virtual instruments to your project.


When you click the little "e" button next to an audio track you get its channel settings. You can add input (track-specific) and send (multi-track) effects here, use the built-in EQ, and adjust gain.

Those are the main elements of the interface you need to know about. Read on to learn how to set up your first project!


You already know how to record audio if you know how to push a button, but digital audio workstation (DAW) software requires some setup before that big red circle will actually capture an audio signal. Although we'll be using Cubase to set up our project, most DAW software works in similar ways. If you're not using Cubase, you should be able to follow along just fine but will need to look in slightly different locations for menu items and certain buttons. Here's what to do:

To get started, create a new project by selecting New Project in the File menu. Select "Empty" as a project type. Cubase will ask you where to save it, so pick one and wait for everything to load.Before you can start recording, you need to make sure Cubase (or whatever DAW you're using) can find your interface and the mics (or whatever else) you have hooked up to it. Go to the Device menu and choose VST Connections.From there, click the Inputs tab and set the first mono input to your first microphone. Repeat this process for any additional microphones or inputs (e.g. electric guitars).Click the Outputs tab and you should see a pair of stereo outputs. Set the first one to your left speaker and the second one to your right speaker.Now that your inputs and outputs are properly routed, close VST Connections and go to the Project menu. Choose Add Track -> Audio.When the new track window appears, create one track and set its configuration to mono. Because we're just recording from a single microphone in this lesson, you don't need a stereo track. In fact, you'll rarely choose stereo even when recording from two microphones because you'll likely prefer to have the channels separated. This provides you with greater control over where they're placed in the recording (i.e. where it sounds like the recorded voice or instrument is) and the character of the sound. When you're done, click Add Track.By default, the new track should have its record enabling toggle button lit up red. You'll see this beneath the track name. If it isn't lit, click on it to enable recording on this track.Also by default, your track should be set to your first microphone. If not, take a look at the panel on the left side of the main project window and you'll see input and output settings. The output should be set to Stereo (which is the default name for Cubase's stereo output) and then input should be set to whatever you named your first microphone (usually Mono In by default, but this can vary). If you see No Bus that means nothing is connected to this audio track, so click on No Bus and change it to the name of your first microphone.Using the transporter—which is the thin horizontal window strip with lots of tools and buttons on it—press the record button. You'll see the recording start. Talk, sing, or play an instrument into the microphone and the waveform of your audio will appear in real time.When finished recording, press the stop button on the transporter.That's all there is to it! You've just recorded your first bit of audio. It probably sounds bad, but that's likely due to a need for EQ, higher gain (increase in the amplitude of the frequency so it sounds louder), or some other problem. We're not going to worry about that just yet because you're still getting used to how your DAW works. We'll tackle mixing individual audio tracks and the entire mix in a later lesson, though you can get a preview if you watch the video above.

Want to learn more? Join us next Tuesday at 5:00 PM PT for our next lesson: playing and recording virtual instruments. Don't forget to bring your MIDI keyboard!

Gizmodo On Using Your iPhone Abroad Without Getting Totally Screwed | io9 Could Spider-Man and Wolve

Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.

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Buffalo AirStation N600 Dual-Band Wireless Router Review

Legit Mods and Ends Reviews

Buffalo_AirStation_2Today, we take a look at the Buffalo AirStation WZR-600DHP which is a dual-band N600 Gigabit wireless router that is designed to be a complete solution for the home or small office.  You can find it priced for just under $80 at most retailers.  Like most “dual-band” routers, the Buffalo WZR-600DHP operates over the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands which makes it ideal for connecting multiple wireless clients and devices at speeds of up to 300 Mbps on a single band and 600 Mbps over both bands.

We’ve looked at N600 routers before with some mixed feelings.  While they are relatively inexpensive, their performances have been very good. We were especially impressed with the recently reviewed Netgear WNDR3700v4 N600 which is feature rich and had speeds faster than some N750 routers. Other routers on the market seem to have less-than-stellar performances with user interfaces confusing and lacking.


One very interesting thing about the Buffalo AirStation WZR-600DHP is that its firmware is based on the open source DD-WRT. This customizable interface features advanced options for network gurus as well as first-timers who are looking to connect their PC’s to their game console. The DD-WRT firmware is designed to give greater stability and increased performance for better overall functionality to the user. 

The router also features two external antennas, gigabit Ethernet, and network sharing via USB.  As of this publication, you can grab a Buffalo WZR 600HP from Amazon for $77.74.  For those who are looking to upgrade or expand, the price point really isn’t too bad.  Let’s take a closure look at the AirStation’s specifications.

Featured Specifications:

Gigabit EthernetHighPower TechnologyDD-WRTLong RangeAOSS/WPS SupportEasy Setup WizardVPN Access

Wireless LAN Interface

Standard Compliance     IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11bFrequency Range             Concurrent dual-band 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz supportAccess Mode     Infrastructure modeAntenna (Tx x Rx)            2 x 2Wireless Security             WPA2 (AES, TKIP), WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP), 128/64-bit WEP

Wired LAN Interface

Speed and Flow Control                10/100/1000 Mbps, Auto Sensing, Auto MDIXNumber of LAN Ports     4 x RJ-45Number of WAN Ports 1 x RJ-45WAN Port Security          VPN Pass Through, SPI, Dynamic Packet Filtering

USB Interface

Standard Compliance     USB 2.0Connector Type                A typeNumber of Ports              1


Dimensions (W x H x D in.)           6.2 x 6.5 x 1.4Weight (lbs)       0.73Power Supply    External, AC 100-240V input, 12V DC outputPower Consumption (Watts)      Max 13.2 WClient OS Support            Windows® 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows Vista® (32-bit/64-bit),Windows® XP, Windows® 2000, Mac OS® X 10.4 - 10.7

When you look at the specifications, the Buffalo AirStation N600 seems pretty packed with features.  We are hoping that this sub-$100 Dual-Band N600 router gives us some competitive wireless speeds and a full-featured GUI. 

Let’s go ahead and set up the WZR-600DHP and test the performance.

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Would you sacrifice salary for happiness?

Great discussions are par for the course here on Lifehacker. Each day, we highlight a discussion that is particularly helpful or insightful, along with other great discussions and reader questions you may have missed. Check out these discussions and add your own thoughts to make them even more wonderful!

For great discussions any time, be sure check out our user-run blog, Hackerspace.

If you've got a cool project, inspiration, or just something fun to share, send us a message at Better yet, start posting to your very own Kinja blog so the whole world can participate in your awesomeness. Just be sure to send us a link to your post and if we like it, you might even see it on the front page of Lifehacker!

Happy life hacking, everybody!

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Ventriloquist's Dummy


Pudding basin (small) for moulding head
Plasticine to make face over pudding basin
Waterproof container large enough to hold face for moulding (I used a cardboard box lined with plastic bags)
Fibreglass and resin, or papier mache, (or anything you can make strong enough to take mechanisms which go inside)
Epoxy resin, glue, or anything else you can find which will stick what you're using to make it together
Drainpipe/guttering/roll of cardboard or tube of suitable diameter to make neck
Paint (ideally approximately flesh coloured)


I initially considered making the head from papier mache as per the blueprints, but decided that if he was to survive in a house with three kids crashing about  I would need to make it out of fibreglass and resin.

To make the mould for the face, I took a small pudding basin, slightly smaller than a young child's head, and got our eldest son to built a face over the outside using plasticine.  I wanted the features to be strongly pronounced, but obviously it can look like whatever you want it to.

To make it easier for ourselves we made the lip-line straight line horizontally, and the jowls straight down and parallel to make it easier to cut away the chin section when it was cast.

When we were happy with the face, I mixed up some plaster and poured it into a box lined with plastic bags (if you have a container large enough to hold a pudding basin covered with plasticine you can use that, or anything else you have to hand).  I gently pushed the face, nose first, into the plaster, let it set and then poured more in, about a litre at a time, until the face was submerged in set plaster up to the level of the top of the bowl.

When it was fully set (I left it for about a week), I poured some boiling water into the pudding basin and left it for a couple of minutes to warm up the plasticine to make the demoulding easier.  The water was poured away, and I waited for the bowl to cool down to the point where I could get my hands in to prise it out. 


The bowl came out quite easily, I pulled the plasticine out as carefully as possible so that I could put it back over the bowl, cut away the features and repeated the above process to make the back of the head (although I waited until I'd made the fibreglass face so that I could mould the edge of the plasticine around the edge of the face to make sure they join together as closely as possible).

The face was made by fibreglassing into the plaster mould.  I raised the eye sockets inside the mould to make it easier to glass around them, saving having to cut the eye holes out later.  (If I were doing it again I would also think about ways of casting the chin seperately).

I'm not going to describe the process of fibreglassing here, there are already some excellent Instructables which go into that elsewhere on the site, have a look at

I rubbed a good thick coat of wax into the mould before splodging the resin and mat into it.  Try to get it as even inside as possible, with no sharp pointy bits - you'll be doing some fairly fiddly work in what will be quite a confined space before long, and you don't want to be jabbing or cutting yourself when operating on your creation.When the glass was dry I demoulded it as carefully as I could to keep the mould intact for making the back of the head, and then rubbed and sanded off the bits of plaster which had stuck to it.  There were a few air bubbles which I filled with little bits of epoxy.

For the back of the head, I filled out the features in the mould with dollops of plaster, rubbed around with a rag to get it fairly smooth, and this time I placed the lid of a jam jar - wide enough in diameter for one of my hands to pass through - into the plaster, leaving most of its height standing out enough to give me something to fibreglass around leaving a hole in the back of the head large enough to enable any future maintenance on the moving parts.

I would recommend leaving the head in two parts until you've got the mouth and eyes fixed in and working (see next steps).

The neck was made by fibreglassing over two short lengths of guttering pipe, which were later stuck together and to the head with epoxy putty (when all of the mechanisms in the head were in place and working).

Finally (for the main features), the ears were made out of plasticine, cast in plaster, then positives made in P40 fibreglass car body filler, and stuck onto the head with epoxy putty.

I made a cover for the hole in the back of the head from P40, using the plastic cap of a yoghurt carton of similar size to the hole, which would later be fixed into place with a couple of small bolts into nuts held in place on the head, again with epoxy putty.

Finally. I filled the roughest areas of the face with epoxy, and sprayed the head with pink paint.

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Estimate pi using conductive paint

2013-05-15 20.54.16.jpgGiven an "infinite" 2D square grid of resistors with resistance R, the equivalent resistance across the diagonal of one square is 2R/pi [1,2]. Working out this solution theoretically has sniped many a nerd. Furthermore, it is prohibitively laborious for an amateur to attempt to verify this experimentally -- until now. Using Bare Paint, I drew a square grid of resistors on a page of normal copy paper, and measured resistances with a multimeter. My wishful thinking was that, with a large enough array of resistors (14 x 14), I could approximate "infinity" sufficiently from the perspective of squares in the middle of the page. Drawing the resistors with the Bare Paint seemed easier than gathering and connecting 196 resistors.

While one set of measurements yielded a value of pi as impressive (to me) as 3.38, overall I observed poor consistency of measurements among adjacent squares near the center of the page, and poor repeatability of measurements for the squares tested. Nevertheless, I hope that you, dear reader, will consider trying this experiment for yourself. I will tell you how I did it, and perhaps you will take more care than I to apply the paint accurately and precisely; otherwise, you will too observe a high variance of resistance among your resistors. Note also that the resistance of the Bare Paint decreases as it dries, so be sure to allow ample time for drying (tens of minutes) before measurements.

2013-05-15 19.33.00.jpgI used one tube of Bare Paint, a multimeter with leads (pictured in the intro section), and an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Electric Wurlitzharmonica

This week I attended Music Hack Day at the Drexel Excite Center.  There were many incredible projects there to investigate, as well as some seriously funky live music and some cool folks, all coming together for a 24-hour musical hackathon. The creative atmosphere was pretty inspiring, and out of this was born a weird new hybrid musical instrument -- the Electric Wurlitzharmonica, or the Wur-monica, for short.

With the Wur-monica, I have found a novel way to amplify a harmonica.  The Wur-monica does not have a microphone or pickup of any kind inside. Instead, the Wur-monica relies on the electromagnetic properties of the instrument itself as a signal source. In fact, the Wur-monica is based on the same elegant principle as my beloved Wurlitzer 200A electric piano (hence the name). 

How it works:
The original Wurlitzer Electric Pianos of the 1960s were gorgeous machines with a really interesting way of generating sound: instead of strings, the piano had large reeds struck by hammers (see picture). The reeds produced a signal using an ingenious electrostatic principle: the reeds were charged up to hundreds of volts, so that they formed a capacitor with the adjacent ground plate.  When the reeds vibrated, this capacitance changed, pushing electrons back and forth to magically produce ethereal honks, buzzes, crunches, and chimes. If you think about it, a condenser microphone also works in much the same way (except with parallel plates instead of vibrating reeds).  In a sense, each Wurlitzer piano reed is its own condenser microphone.

The Wur-monica works using the same principle as the Wurlitzer piano. Each brass reed inside the Wur-monica is mounted on a brass plate, but does not touch it.  This creates a very small capacitance between the reeds and the plate.  When a reed vibrates, this capacitance changes, creating a signal that can be amplified.  Again, no mics, pickups, or piezos are needed -- wires are connected directly to the reeds, so that the reeds themselves produce their own electrical signal.

The main advantage of this technique is that it should be immune to acoustic feedback, like a microphone would get.  But I'm also hoping to maybe capture a little of that crunchy, magical, soulful Wurlitzer sound in a pocket-sized instrument.

This project is only a proof of concept, so I didn't spend much time refining the circuitry, the method for mounting the reeds, or the intonation, for that matter. In fact, I only bothered to mount seven of the reeds, and one of them is still kind of wonky and shorts out the circuit if I blow too hard (you can hear it shorting in the video). Still, after only a few hours of hacking, I was pretty pleased with how the prototype looks and sounds. 

Please check it out and leave me some feedback!  And if you like classic devices updated with new electronics, check out my USB Typewriter instructable, too. And please vote for this project in the Pocket Sized Contest!  Thanks!

First Test:

Final Test (just before getting dizzy and passing out):

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Book Light

Here is all you will need.

Book (make sure it is quite thick to handle depth of the socket)
6' extension cord
light switch
light socket
electrical tape
light bulb
glue (I actually never used it)

The Forstner bit set was $20 at Lowes.  It is very important to use this type of drill bit as traditional bits, paddle bits, and routers will make a very rough edge and will not look good.  The two bits I used were the 1 3/8" and 1/2".

I have seen some people use a watered down Elmer's Glue solution on the page edges to keep them in place but I didnt want to take the chance it would ruin the gold look that is on my specific book.  
Also, some people have used dry wall screws to hold the pages together.  I have personally not tried this but I would consider it as long as you dont place them close to the page edges.

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WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Storage Drive Review

Legit Storage Reviews

When it comes to external portable hard drives one of the most recognized product lines is most certainly the My Passport series that was first introduced by WD in 2004. These little portable hard drive enclosures and the included WD SmartWare software that automatically and continuously backs up your critical data has saved God only knows how much digital data over the years. For example in 2008 the flagship My Passport featured a 320GB hard drive, used the USB 2.0 interface, measured 126.2 x 79.5 x 15 mm (LxWxH) and cost a cool $199.99. WD has kept the My Passport brand alive over the years by continually refreshing it and offering new models like Essential, Elite, Edge, Enterprise, Studio and so on. Today, WD announced the My Passport Ultra, which is the latest refresh for this popular brand line and it includes 500GB ($99.99) and 1TB ($129.99) models now and a 2TB model that comes out in Q3 2013. So, the flagship My Passport Ultra is a 1TB hard drive costs $129.99, uses the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface and measures just 110.5 x 82 x 15.4 mm (LxWxH). Not bad considering where the My Passport line started from!

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB

Besides the rather impressive hardware specifications, most of the magic happens with the software. When it comes to software you get WD Drive Utilities and WDSmartWare Pro backup software. These programs allow you to choose when and where you backup your files, but it also allows you to password protect and hardware encrypt the files on the drive, run diagnostics and more. You can also now use your Dropbox account, if you have one, to back up your files to the cloud.  The WD My Passport allows you to back everything up locally on traditional media and then to the cloud if you want it, which is a nice touch. The WD My Passport Ultra comes backed by a 3-year warranty that covers both parts and labor. It is nice to see WD increase the warranty period on the My Passport series as it was previously just 2-years.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Bundle

Inside the retail box you'll find the portable hard drive, 1.5-foot USB 3.0 cable, soft pouch, warranty card and the Quick Install Guide. WD lists that the WD SmartWare software, WD Security and WD Drive Utilities are included in the box, but you won't be getting a disc or flash drive with the bundle as the software is already on the portable hard drive. This is the first My Passport drive to come with a carrying pouch to protect the drive from scratches on the go.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Hard Drive

Western Digital went with a grey plastic casing on the My Passport Ultra series that is adorned with a circular pattern and the WD logo and product name. This is the same exact pattern that was used on the My Passport Edge (soon to be phased out), so if it looks familiar that is why. The finish on the My Passport appears to be semi-gloss and it does not show finger prints and smudges. The size of the WD My Passport depends on which capacity that you get. 

The WD My Passport Ultra 1TB drive that we are looking at today measures in at 110.5mm x 82mm x 15.4mm with a weight of 5.44 ounces. Western Digital is using a 5400 RPM hard drive with two platters and a 7mm Z-height on this particular drive.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Hard Drive Back

Flipping the My Passport Ultra over we see that WD placed four rubber pads on the bottom to keep the portable hard drive from sliding around the surface that you place it on. The designers of this enclosure obviously know that, and made indentations in the housing for the feet to sit down into. The back also lists the part number, serial number, where it was produced (Malaysia) and a whole bunch of logos that don't mean much to the general public.

WD My Passport Ultra USB 3.0 Port

Looking down the end of the WD My Passport Ultra we can see the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and off to the right of that there is a very small white LED activity indicator light. Even if you don't have USB 3.0 today you can use this drive and then down the road when you invest in a PC that has USB 3.0 it will work and actually be faster. Pretty much every new Desktop PC or laptop feature at least two USB 3.0 ports. Since the WD My Passport Ultra uses a derivative of a notebook hard drive it gets it power from the USB 3.0 port, so no power adapter needs to be plugged into the wall. This means the only cable that you need to bring with you when traveling is the USB 3.0 data cable that comes with the drive.

Let's fire this drive up and take a look at the backup software as that is the main reason you are likely looking into buying this drive.

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How to build a 3D-printed robot reindeer toy

3D Printing! Mold-making! Digital Rendering! Apoxie Sculpt!!! Woodshoppery! For this project Tina and I decided to try to learn about 3D printing and I'll show you what we learned and how we ended up making the toy. We were asked to make two robot reindeer toys as props for a Christmas film; one is a retro, 1970s robot and the other is the updated sleek modern version. The legs and head have slight articulation and the nose has a red blinking LED.

Also; I'm entering this build in the 3D Printing Contest. If you like it please vote (up there in the top right corner) I would LOVE to win a 3D printer - holy smokes, how awesome would that be????!

Here are the materials that I remember using:

SLS 3D printing
Foam block
Wood (3/4 ply, 2x4)
5/8 threaded rod
Epoxy glue
Spray paints and primers
Smooth-on Mold Star 30
Red tint
Solid Works

The first step in the build was figuring out what it would look like. I scratched out some possible shapes and designs in my sketchbook and ran them by the production designer. As it turned out he was taken with one of the doodles and we went ahead with that design without changing it too much (mostly the antlers and the addition of a rocket jet pack on it's back). I hired a 3D renderer (Brad Rothwell, who has submitted some great stuff here on Instructables) to make a Solid Works rendering that I could submit to the printers.

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Folding Book Art - Wedding Table Numbers

I am getting married soon and my fiance was looking at how to mark the table numbers.

The wedding is a village fete / vintage sort of theme. My wife to be is an english teacher, and we both like books...

As she was looking for inspiration she came across one of the folded books with words in. I'm sure you have seen them before, but if not check out this link:

At this point I thought "I can do that!". So I set about folding numbers in to the books instead of words...

After I had done my first number, I tried to search the Internet for instructions to see if there is a better way of doing it. I couldn't find instructions (without paying $15), just a couple of free templates (for a crown), but no instructions on how to use them.

So I stuck with my method, and this is what I will go through here.

In theory you should be able to use the same method for words or picture.

Date Made: May 2013
Approx Cost: £0.50 per book
Approx Time: 1.5 hours per book
Difficulty: Medium

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VHS Tape Bracelet

I recently have started to crochet again, but I am just a beginner so I am trying to make easy patterns.
The great thing about crochet is that easy doesn't necessarily mean can make very nice things using basic crochet stitches!

I first made this bracelet using simple cotton but after I read about the Vintage Contest, I decided to "destroy" an old VHS cassette and see what I could do with it! :D

So, here is my crocheted bracelet made with VHS tape! :)

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cloud Storage Speed Compared, Dropbox Comes Out On Top

Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.

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Swiss Army Key Ring

Two pieces of wood (about 1" x 3.75" x 1/8" each)
Thin sheet metal (about 2" x 3.75")
Two #8 machine screw lock nuts
Two #8 machine screws, 3/4" long
Ten #8 machine screw washers
Glue that is able to bond wood to metal (not pictured)
Wood stain (optional)
Polyurethane (optional)

Drill and bit set
Tin snips
Sand paper/sanding block
Small binder clamps

Source Tips:
Paint stir sticks are a good size to be used for the wood pieces. These are generally free at the paint section of most hardware stores. For the sheet metal, I used a baking sheet that I found at dollar tree for $1. This yields about 13" x 9" of metal.

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Deep Fried Pizza "Donuts"

Bacon (I used Turkey Bacon)
Pepperoni (I used Turkey Pepperoni)
Pizza of spaghetti sauce
Cheese ( I used Mozzarella)

1 1/2 cups flower
1/2 (7g package) of dry active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup warm water
1 TBSP oil (I use coconut oil)

Note: This is just a basic pizza dough recipe. you can either get creative with your own dough ideas or you can try the one I use here: Honey Chipotle Pizza Dough (If you use this recipe,only use half the ingredients, unless you plan on making a lot)

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Restoring a vintage hand plane

  On a recent trip to North Carolina my wife and I had stopped at an antique store where i found a few decent Stanley Bailey hand planes. For those of you that don't know, a hand plane is a woodworking tool that's been around for a few centuries and is used to flatten and smooth wood.

  I absolutely love these tools. Their design has been virtually unchanged for over a hundred years now. They're aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic, long lasting, and exceptionally good at what they do. All around, it's an amazing tool. So, how could i pass up the opportunity to restore one of these to their original glory?!

It's a pretty simple procedure that anyone can get into with very few tools/equip. Keep in mind that with any tool restoration, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. If you like the look of semi-oxidized metal then you don't have to buff it to a mirror shine; you can make the tool look as "antique" or as new as you want.



scotch brite pads wd-40 steel wool various grits of sandpaper (i went as low as 100 and as high as 2000 wet/dry) evapo rust or krud kutter (you can find this stuff at any lowes/home depot for about $10 a bottle) plenty of rags/paper towels machine oil boiled linseed oil buffing compound (i think i used mother's brand compound i bought at auto zone) tools
screwdrivers drill press would be ideal, but if not a hand held drill works fine (that's all i had) all the elbow grease you can muster

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3D Printed Earbud Cord Button Clip

Is it not annoying to have your earbud cord just flopping around when you are listening to music as you walk?  Here is a way to be as stylish and unique as you want.  The possibilities are endless with how you can customize the shape, color and even size of this button.  Please vote for my instuctable in the 3D printing contest.

What you will need:

• Button down shirt
• CAD knowledge
• Caliper
• 3D Printer
• Needle and thread

View the original article here

slow-cooked crispy chinese pork belly

DSC_7154a.jpgI love pork belly. It's a great cut of meat with lots of flavour and is also one of the cheapest you can get.  I love it so much we're even serving it at my upcoming wedding. This recipe uses Chinese flavours to complement the richness of the meat and is great served with simple stir-fried greens and some steamed rice. There are no complicated techniques here or hard to find ingredients but you do need the time to allow the marinade to work and for the pork to slow cook.

Don't worry if you end up with some left over meat. Why not make your own egg-fried rice and add in the left over meat shredded.

If you like this recipe don't forget to stop by my blog for more food ideas.

DSC_7105.JPG1kg (approx) bone-in pork belly with the skin scored (you can use boned instead if you prefer)
1 onion cut into large slices
2 carrots peeled and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
2 sticks of celery cut into 2 or 3 large pieces
100/200ml cold water depending on method

1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced/grated
thumb sized piece fresh, peeled ginger minced/grated
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 stick lemongrass
2 dried red chillies, finely chopped

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vertical Garden

387239_10200410986469428_1024526913_n.jpgI moved from a house with a huge back yard to a place with a pretty nice sized balcony.  As much as I love to garden, space was going to be a challenge as well as dealing with potted plants.  I needed my herb garden (because, who doesn't NEED fresh herbs?) but I had no desire for little pots to be taking up ground space. UP!  So here is my lovely vertical garden made from an upcycled wooden pallet, some recycled pots, and metal wire.  The entire thing ended up costing me about $30.


At least 1 wooden pallet
As many pots as you have plants/seeds
Potting soil
Metal wire (i used 100lb wire)
Wire cutters
4 wood screws
Outdoor paint in your favorite color
Paint brush or small roller

21296_10200406401074796_2075789184_n.jpgIf you purchase small flowers or herbs from your local nursery or garden center, you know they always come in terrible, cheap, black plastic containers.  So, first thing first...make it cute!  Get different pots of different sizes and colors, throw some potting soil in there and transplant your baby plants to them.  If you are starting from seed, this will bring color to your garden from day one!  The different colors bring life to any garden.

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Makedo Pizza Box Gramophone

Planning a pizza night in? Boy have we got a fun project for you. Here, we show you how to turn your pizza box into a Makedo Gramophone that really works.

All you need to make this amazing musical creation is a pizza box, some paper, a pencil and pin, plastic lids, an old vinyl record and Makedo parts available from

This DIY record player could damage fragile records. Although it will successfully play music, we recommend only using it on old albums that you (or your parents) won't miss if they get ruined. 
Why does this happen? It's because the pin we are using to read the record is not as delicate or sensitive as a commercial record player needle. 
We suggest buying some old records from a yard sale or thrift shop to use with your Makedo Gramophone.

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Using Your 3D Printer to Injection Mold Tiny Objects

1. 3D printer:  Any fused deposition printer will work.  You will NOT be modifying this printer, so don't be afraid of ruining it.  Also, you'll need a reel of PLA. -  ABS might work, but it's higher melt temperature makes it more difficult to keep fluid.

2. RTV Rubber: Room Temperature Vulcanizing Rubber is one of the most popular mold making materials available.  It's a stretchable rubber that can be fast curing, forgiving about undercuts and readily available.  You'll also need the catalyst to cure it, a rubber to rubber mold release, mixing sticks, mixing container and a brush.

3. Knives:  Assorted knives to cut, clean and sometimes separate the mold halves will come in handy.

4. Dowel:  I use plastic blocks to build small RTV molds and make my sprews from those, but a short piece of 1/4" dia. wooden dowel will do just as well.

5. Modeling Clay:  You can use clay made specifically for mold making, or the clay your kids use at school.  Both will work, but The better the quality clay you use, the better your results will be and the easier time you'll have.

6. Something to make a mold with:  For this application, you'll need a ceramic container to make your molds in.  A few years ago, I picked up several boxes of Ikea candle holders for $4.04.  At the time, I hadn't a clue as to what they were, but knew I'd be able to use them someday.  I was right.  If you can find these, it's like they were custom made for the job... More on that later.  

If you can't find them, a ceramic demitasse cup should work.  Be creative.

7. Something to make a mold of:  Any small object you'd like to duplicate.  Keep it small... Money is a no-no.

8. Heat Gun:  A hair drier may work, but to be on the safe side, a true heat gun will be best to get your mold up to temperature.

9.  Patience:  RTV takes hours to cure.. And you'll need to cure things twice.  There's also a high chance of an "iffy" result.  Depending on the quality of your mold, the item you choose, the length of time for the extrusion, the temperature and the equipment doing the work.

Excellent results are possible, but patience is an absolute requirement.

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Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB vs WD Black 4TB Hard Drive Review

Legit Storage Reviews

Desktop PC sales might be down, but our storage needs are increasing at a rather fast pace. When building a PC many experts often tell people to find out how much storage space they need now, then double that number for growth and then double that number again as you don't know what the future holds. Hard drive manufactures likely love that advice, but in all honesty it's not a bad way to ensure that you don't run out of space. So, if you have 1TB of data on your PC now, you might as well look at 3TB or 4TB hard drives for your next system build or secondary storage drive. The largest capacity 3.5" desktop hard drive that money can buy is 4TB. A 4TB hard drive offers a ton of storage space and is rather affordable ($180-$300) despite the fact that only HGST, Seagate and Western Digital (WD) make 4TB drives. We managed to get our hands on 4TB drives from WD and Seagate and will be comparing them against each other to see which has the best bang for the buck. The WD Black and Seagate Desktop HDD.15 are both 4TB drives with 64MB of cache, but we are going to put them to the test to see which one is right for you. 

The WD Black 4TB desktop hard drive that we are looking at today has part number WD4001FAEX, comes backed by a 5-year warranty and can be found for $290.63 shipped on Amazon. The Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB has part number ST4000DM000, a 2-year warranty and is $183.57 shipped on Amazon. Obviously, there is a pretty major price difference and warranty difference, but what about performance? Both 4TB internal 3.5" desktop hard drives use the SATA III 6Gb/s interface and have 64MB of cache, but the WD Black spins at 7200RPM and the Seagate Desktop HDD.15 spins at just 5900RPM. Our goal today is to show you the performance differences of these two drives, so let's start off by looking closer at the two drives we'll be comparing and then we will dive right into performance.


Both Seagate and WD sent over the OEM 'bare' versions of their 4TB offerings for the internal 3.5" desktop storage devices. Currently just Hitachi, Seagate and Western Digital make 4TB 3.5" drives, so you really don't have too many devices to pick from at this capacity. Since the drives are OEM versions they came in static bags with nothing else. Actually that isn't exactly correct... You can jump online and download Seagate DiscWizard to guide you through the processes of creating and formatting partitions on your disc drive, transferring data, and backing up your data. Not to be out done, WD allows you to download a similar software applications that can do that and more; Acronis True Image WD Edition, Data Lifeguard Diagnostic and WD Align Windows. You'll likely not need these programs, but if you do they are available to you for free after you register your drive online with each respective company. 


Both drives are 4TB, but they differ internally on how they reach this large capacity. WD uses five 800GB platters and Seagate uses four 1TB platters to reach 4TB. Seagate informed us that the new 1TB per platter design significantly increases the hard drive’s performance over the competition. It also consumes 35 percent less power than comparable drives on the market with 4TB capacities, so this will be an interesting matchup. On paper the WD Black looks really good with the 7200RPM spindle speed, but it has more platters and that usually slows things down! Since both of these drives have different platter counts, you might be wondering about thickness. Both the WD Black 4TB and Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB are 26.11mm or 1.028" thick.

ManufacturerWestern DigitalSeagatePower Consumption at Idle (Spec)Power Consumption in Use (Spec)Maximum Allowable Shock Level (2 ms, read)

As you can see from the specification table that we put together above there is also a power consumption difference.  This is due to the slower spindle speed and fewer numbers of platters on the Seagate drive. This usually translates over to lower temperatures and reduces sound, so we'll be looking at that when we get into benchmarking and testing the drives.


Both of these 3.5" 4TB desktop hard drives use the SATA III 6Gbps data and power interface standards. Both drives have jumpers on them, but they don't come with any as they aren't needed on modern systems. The green circuit board designs are very different as you can see, but on the side that you can't see is 64MB of DDR memory for cache and a controller that makes sure everything works harmoniously.


So, right off the bat you know the Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB costs less, has fewer platters and uses less power, which should make it quieter and cooler. The WD Black 4TB has a faster spindle speed that should translate to higher performance and a longer warranty. Hopefully you've learned quite a bit and are on the way to picking the right 4TB hard drive for your system. Now we can show you the good stuff, which is the performance number we found on our Intel Z77 powered test platform.

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ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band 802.11 AC PCIe Wireless Card Review

Legit Mobile Reviews

The ASUS PCE-AC66 is a 802.11ac Wi-Fi PCI Express adapter for desktop that allows you to to ditch the Ethernet cords and experience 802.11ac wireless speeds of up to 1.3Gbps through the 5GHz band. This is made possible because the ASUS PCE-AC66 uses Broadcom’s new 5th generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac chipset. This is three times faster than what is possible with 802.11n Wi-Fi, which is one heck of an upgrade. At the same time, the ASUS PCE-AC66 is fully backward compatibility with all previous Wi-Fi protocols, so it will easily work with the wireless router you currently own. If you are looking to get the full potential of your 802.11ac router, this is the card to get for your desktop!


The ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Adapter runs $93.99 shipped and is the only 3x3 (1300Mbps) draft 802.11ac network adapter card available on the market today. If you want to place a desktop computer in a remote part of a house or can't run a hardwired network connection due to how difficult it would be, this is the solution for you. Most USB wifi adapters are held back when it comes to performance due to the slow USB 2.0 interface and poor signal strength. Having an unreliable internet connection is very frustrating, so that is where the ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band PCI-E Adapter comes in. You just plug this card into an open PCIe slot, use the provided ASUS software to connect it to the router and you are done. The ASUS PCE-AC66 allows for Tx Power adjustment, which means you can set the transmission power of the device! You can adjust the power from 1mW all the way up to 200mW. No wonder ASUS claims that this PCI-E adapter will give you 150% more coverage than generic wireless adapters.


The back side of the ASUS PCE-AC66 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 PCI-E Adapter retail packaging highlights some of the key features of the device and shows that it is the best adapter available from ASUS.  ASUS shows this card as having the 'ultimate' level of performance and is capable of multiple HD streams on the interference-resistant 5GHz signal.


Inside the retail packaging you'll find three dipole antennas, the external magnetic antenna base, an option low profile PCIe bracket, driver CD, warranty card and the PCIe x1 wireless LAN adapter. Everything you need to get this wireless network adapter is included!


Here is a closer look at the card, antennas and the external antenna base that allows for better adjustments for improved signal reception quality. The detachable antenna base is magnetized, so you can attach it on your PC case if it is steel or on a variety of other items.


The ASUS PCE-AC66 PCIe card uses a red PCB with an anodized red aluminum heatsink to remove heat from the Broadcom 802.11ac chipset. ASUS says that this was done to ensure the best reliability possible in all regions of the world. Lower temperatures translate into a more stable device in all climate conditions, even during hot summers, and greater stability means more consistent connectivity and longer product lifespan. ASUS is using the Broadcom BCM4360KMLG controller that is a 3-stream 802.11ac WiFi System-on-Chip (SoC) in case you are curious.


On the back side of the ASUS PCE-AC66 you'll see some more components, but nothing major or worth talking about. The most interesting thing back here is the serial number sticker, which would come in handy during the 1-year warranty period. The warranty is limited, but ASUS should cover any hardware defects you may be experience during this time.


The ASUS PCE-AC66 needs to be installed into an open PCIe expansion slot in your desktop PCs motherboard. Once you have the card mounted inside your case you just need to attach the cards three antennas. These antennas can be mounted directly to the back of the card or on a magnetic antenna base that comes with a 1 meter long cable.


Here is a look at the ASUS PCE-AC66 with the magnetic base attached to the card and the antennas attached. We tested the card in this configuration with the base sitting on top of our desktop PC case.

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How Often Do You Update Your Resume?

Whether you're actively looking for a job or not, keeping an up-to-date resume not only saves you the stress and hassle of updating it when you really need it, but also serves as a good tool for keeping an eye on your career progress. How often do you update yours?

We've talked before about not waiting for a job search to update your resume. We've also shared tips with you about how to generate more interest in your resume, whether you should go paper or online, and how to get your resume past the 6-second scan. And if that's not enough, be sure to check out our top 10 ways to rock your resume.

In the meantime, we'd like to know:

Low resolution display done right

The parts needed are:
- An LED matrix driver, I used a Rainbowduino from Seeed studio
- An RGB LED matrix compatible with the Rainbowduino
- A mini USB extension cable, used to bring out the connection from the board
- A wooden box
- Foam core board or a piece of card board
- A sheet of tracing paper
- Nylon standoffs for mounting the PCB.
- Optional: volume sensor / other amplified microphone

More details are in the attached BOM

The tools needed
- A drill
- A ruler
- A pair of scissors
- A box cutter
- A Pencil
- Paint brushes and paint
- Hot glue gun
- A screw driver

You will also need some adhesive tape.

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Monday, May 27, 2013


29.JPGHomemade cryptex from PVC pipes. 

The cryptex works much like a bicycle's combination lock, and if one arranges the disks to spell out the correct password, the tumblers inside align, and the entire cylinder slides apart. In the inner compartment of the cryptex, secret information can be hidden. 

1.JPG1) 1(1/4)" coupling (x1)
2) 1(1/2)" coupling (x4) 
3) 2" coupling (x4)
4) 2" threaded ends caps (x2)
5) 1(1/4)" PVC pipe (x1) 
6) 1(1/2)" PVC pipe (x1) 
7) PVC glue
8) Bolts and nuts (x4) 
9) Sand paper and dremel tool
10) Tape 

The number of 1(1/2)" and 2" couplings, bolts and nuts, depends on how many dials you are making. (I used 4, because I made 4 dials) 

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Dim Sum sesame balls

After I ate dim sum sesame balls in a local restaurant for the first time, I had to go back to the restaurant again and again just to eat sesame balls until the idea of making it myself hit me. It's just fried balls made of some kind of flour, with red bean paste filling, sesame seeds sticking on the surface, can't be that difficult to make, right?


After some work, I got a recipe from somebody in food industry. I was excited. When I put the balls in hot oil, after a couple of minutes, they all popped open, released filling to oil. It was a hot mess. After that, I thoroughly searched internet for different versions of the recipe. Unfortunately there aren't many. All recipes on internet use similar ingredients with similar proportions. Something was odd. I had to keep going to the restaurant to eat it and even became friends with the owner. But she was no help because she buys them pre-made, all she does is frying them. Even if she makes them, I doubt she would give me her recipe as it may be her trade secret.

Meanwhile I happened to see Rachel Ray making them (no filling as I remember), which made me even more determined to nail this recipe to have sesame balls to eat for the rest of my life at any time and to boost my ego :-). 

Because I didn't have a fryer at that time, I used a regular stir fry wok. I suspected the reason for explosion was due to no temperature control  of the frying oil. So I bought a fryer, tried frying temperatures at relatively high, low and in between, still balls exploded. Boy, I must have wasted tons of oil and still didn't give up.

So I put on my food scientist cap and gave the ingredients and proportions a close look , considering the interaction and function of fat, starch, and protein during cooking. I decided to replace one ingredient on the recipe.  It worked like magic! I did it!

I have been making my own red bean paste ever since, tried minced meat filling and fortune (for fun, not edible). I'm sharing all three in this Instructables.

Warning: If you are not entertaining troops or feeding crowds, scale down, baby, following all steps of this Instructables will give you about 160 balls, 24 or more muffins and some creamy bean paste for bread spread.

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Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB Flash Drive Review

Legit Memory Reviews

Kingston Technology started shipping the DataTravler Ultimate series of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Flash drives in 2010 and has been continuously updating the series to make sure they look modern and have the highest performance possible at the time they are released. Pretty much all PC users know that USB 3.0 technology that offers up to ten times the data transfer rates of USB 2.0 and is the way to go when it comes to moving around large amounts of data. The original DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Flash drive series came out in 2010 and was rated by Kingston as having read speeds of up to 80MB/s and a write speeds of up to 60MB/s. These Flash drive were quick, but in 2011 Kingston released the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Gen 2 series with speed ratings of up to 100MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds! Here we are in 2013 and Kingston has released the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Gen 3 series with speeds of up to 150MB/s read and 70MB/s write. As you can see there is a significant improvement in read speeds over the past several years, but the write speed has little changed.

The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 is available in 32GB and 64GB capacities under the part number DTU30G3. If you are shopping for a drive be sure to remember part numbers that begin with DTU30 are the original drives and are slightly slower. Just like most storage drives, the cost per GB goes down as the capacity goes up. For this review we were sent the Kingston DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB DTU30G3/32GB model, so that is the drive we will be using for testing. Both the 32GB and 64GB are rated at 150MB/s read and 70MB/s write, so there shouldn't be a performance difference between these two products in case you are curious.


The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 comes in clam shell packaging that clearly shows the capacity, speeds, interface and the warranty length. Most low-end USB Flash drives don't come with speed ratings, so if you are shopping for a drive and are having a hard time figuring out speeds, that is why. Pretty much all low-end drives use the lowest cost parts available at the time, so you'll find all sorts of NAND Flash brands and controllers in them. With high-end drives like the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 not all Flash controllers and NAND will run at these rated speeds, so there are strict component guidelines that need to be met. On the lower right hand corner of the packaging you can see that this drive features a five year warranty and free tech support from Kingston should you need help with anything.

Capacities – 32GB, 64GBRequirements – system with USB 3.0 portUSB 3.0 Data Transfer Speeds – up to 170MB/sec. read and 70MB/sec. writeUSB 2.0 Data Transfer Speeds – up to 30MB/sec. read and 20MB/sec. writeBackwards compatible – with USB 2.0.Dimensions – 2.6929" x 0.8961" x 0.4567" (68.40mm x 22.76mm x 11.60mm)Operating Temperature – 32° to 140°F (0° to 60°C)Storage Temperature – -4° to 185°F (-20° to 85°C)Simple – just plug into a USB portDurable Design – solid metal sliding casing with no cap to loseBackwards Compatibility - Usable with USB 2.0 SystemsGuaranteed – five-year warranty with free technical support.

The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 measures in at 68.40mm x 22.76mm x 11.60mm and weighs in at 1.125 ounces (31.9 grams). The external silver casing is metal, while the inner components are housed inside a white plastic housing. The metal finish does show finger print smudges, but goes really well with most silver colored laptops. The white plastic inner housing is an interesting color choice it might yellow after years of UV abuse by sunlight or show dirt. An auto mechanic or anyone in a dirty greasy field would quickly dirty the white plastic.


The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 doesn't have a cap to get lost over the years as it has a slider design. The slider design is nice, but does have some negatives. The complaint we hear the most is that pocket lint or dirt and debris get into the always open USB connector. This shouldn't be an issue for 99% of people, but it is worth noting for full disclosure. As you can see from the image above the product name, capacity and Kingston logo have all be laser etched into the metal housing. The drive also has a blue activity LED light in the end of it that glows blue when not in use and flashes while transferring data. The light remains the same color whether it is on a USB 2.0 port or USB 3.0 port.


The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 features a metal loop for you to attach it to a key chain or lanyard. It feels fairly sturdy so unless you apply enough force to bend the metal it should be secure.


Here is at the blue Superspeed USB 3.0 header on the Flash drive with the slider in the open position.

Now that we know the basics of this Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Gen 3 Flash drive we can move on to benchmarking!

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Automatic Multi-Photo Taker (Photobooth Style)

Many of these items aren't required. Mostly the Arduino parts are necessary, but you'll get to see when we use what as you continue reading. 

Electronics, Hardware, and Other Equipment:
-- Arduino Uno Microcontroller
-- Motion Sensor with PIR (Sparkfun)
-- LCD Keypad Shield
-- Custom Shield
-- Camera (I used a Canon T3i)
-- Remote Switch (I used a Canon Remote Switch RS60 E3. Note that this isn't wireless)
-- Resistors: 10K, 220, 220, 100
-- Arduino Wall Adapter Power Supply
-- Arduino USB Cable (2.0)
-- RGB Controllable LED (Common Anode) 
-- 1N4148 Diode
-- Ultra-miniature, Highly Sensitive SPDT Relay for Signal Circuits (G5V-1 Low Signal Relay)
-- Wires
-- HDMI Monitor
-- Mini HDMI to HDMI Cable
-- Small Circuit Board
-- Box (to contain your setup)
-- Screws and standoffs
-- Plastic Tie Locks
-- Circuit Board Tape

-- Soldering Iron
-- Drill Press
-- Screw drivers (plus and minus)
-- Wire cutters
-- Wire strippers

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Recyle old magazines into colorful stomp rockets

20130519-114337-001.JPGSafety notes: Either launch a sufficient distance from people or have everyone close by wear safety goggles or both.  Never launch at people.  If launching by direct blowing, you are responsible for checking whether (a) the project meets your local legal definition of a blowgun and (b) whether blowguns are legal at your location.  Children need to be supervised.

Stomp rockets are launched by stomping on a plastic bottle, but they can also be launched by just blowing into a tube.

Ingredients and tools: Old glossy magazine, including some mail-in cards or other cardstock Paper glue (we used Aleene's Tacky Glue) 1/2" CPVC pipe, 12" to 60" as per preference Scissors and/or utility knife Safety goggles for launch You can just use the above and launch by blowing, blowgun-style, or you can add:
2L soda bottle (we used a Gatorade bottle as that's all we had at home, and this was a quick weekend morning project) segment of old bicycle inner tube rubber bands / shoelaces / etc. or you can build one of these fancy launchers.20130519-091533.JPG1. Cut a colorful page from a magazine.  Make sure the edges don't have rips.  You can use a utility knife and a rule to cut a lot of them at once.

2. Roll page around CPVC pipe.  Make sure it's loose but not too loose.  It needs to slide very smoothly, but if you leave too much of a gap, air will escape.  You can experiment and see what works best.  

3. Glue the outside edge in place.  Make sure none of the outside edge is loose, and don't get glue on the pipe as it'll impede movement.

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ASUS Xonar DGX and Xonar DSX Audio Cards Reviews

Legit Mods and Ends Reviews

It’s unfortunate that desktop sound cards are becoming less popular. Many years ago, sound cards with their dedicated audio processors could genuinely benefit gamers and their computers when CPUs were much slower. Nowadays, sound cards are being displaced by such factors as fast CPUs, increasing usage of software audio processing, and improved motherboard audio. Additionally, quality listening hardware is necessary to really hear the difference and the cost of good headphones or speakers is another cost burden many people don’t want to deal with. Cheap audio solutions are acceptable to most people and that's fine, but a more recent to insult to high-end audio is the development of trendy headphone fashion currently led by Beats by Dr. Dre, though I digress.

Nevertheless, there will always users who demand the benefits sound cards can bring to the table. Audiophiles demand sound quality, home theater PC users can utilize the outputs and connectivity, and gamers can step up their game with accurate positional audio. ASUS has tackled these challenges with its Xonar sound card line-up. Today we’re looking at the two budget Xonar cards, the DGX and the DSX, though ASUS has made an entire range of Xonar solutions. Among them are the Essence ST and STX which are targeted at home audio enthusiasts, the ROG Phoebus which complements the gamer’s arsenal, and the Essence One DACs made for the most hardcore of audiophiles.


It’s been a very long time Legit Reviews has looked at a desktop sound card. It’s also quite special that ASUS sent two which allows us to make for a comparison. However, there was much to catch up on and it took me a considerable amount of research on community findings and hours of careful listening to make this review as informative as I can.


The Xonar DGX and DSX are PCI-E versions of the older Xonar DG and DS respectively, both which used the vanilla PCI interface. There are two clear advantages of using the newer PCI-E versions: these cards are compatible on motherboards that only have PCI-E slots and the PCI-E bus can provide all needed power thus eliminating the need for an additional power supply plug.

When it comes to online pricing you can find the ASUS Xonar DGX runs $39.57 shipped and the ASUS Xonar DSX costs $59.24 shipped. All ASUS Xonar cards carry a 3 year warranty.


Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted) (Front-out)

Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted)

Output THD+N at 1kHz (Front-out)

Frequency Response (-3dB, 24bit/96KHz input)

Digital-to-analog converter (DAC)

Texas Instruments NE55329 (swappable)

The technical specifications table above highly indicates a myriad of hardware differences between the DGX and the DSX. Predictably, there are differences in their audio characteristics which I will explain further on.

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