Fiddle and see what happens

An editor’s note warns “Technology, the laws, and limitations imposed by manufacturers and content owners are constantly changing, Thus, some of the projects described may not work, may be inconsistent with current laws or user agreements or may damage or adversely affect some equipment. Your safety is your own responsibility, including proper use of equipment and safety gear, and determining whether you have adequate skill and experience.”
How scary. And how refreshing. Make, a new quarterly put out by O’Reilly Media, a publisher of computer and technology books in Sebastopol, California, is a throwback to an earlier time, before personal computers, to the prehistory of geekiness – the age of how-to manuals for clever boys, from the 1920s to the ’50s.

The technology has changed, but not the creative impulse. Make’s first issue, out in February, explained how to take aerial photographs with a kite, a disposable camera and a rig of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and Silly Putty. It also showed how to build a video-camera stabiliser – a Steadicam, basically – with $14 worth of steel pipes, bolts and washers; how to boost a laptop computer’s Wi-Fi signal with foil from an Indian take-out restaurant; and how to read credit card magnetic stripes with a device made with mail-order parts and a glue gun.

True, the fiddles in Make are harder than your basic stencilled pillowcase. The third issue, due out in August, will include projects for tricking out your house for Halloween. That leaves three months to study the instructions and to assemble who knows what will be required: presumably wires, switches, cables, adaptors, speakers, goggles, hard drives, Legos, plywood, dry ice, acrylics, glue and spent nuclear fuel rods.
You’ll proceed strictly at your own risk, but if the first two issues of Make are any guide, the trip will be a blast.

(cross posted from IHT, read the editorial here).

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Amit Bahree

This blog is my personal blog and while it does reflect my experiences in my professional life, this is just my thoughts. Most of the entries are technical though sometimes they can vary from the wacky to even political – however that is quite rare. Quite often, I have been asked what’s up with the “gibberish” and the funny title of the blog? Some people even going the extra step to say that, this is a virus that infected their system (ahem) well. [:D] It actually is quite simple, and if you have still not figured out then check out this link – whats in a name?

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