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) 

View the original article here

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.

View the original article here

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!

View the original article here

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

View the original article here

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.

View the original article here

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.

View the original article here