Around December 2003, I discovered the Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, and got it in my head that I should learn to make music boxes. What little information I was able to turn up on this archaic process proved to be too involved for the purposes of that year’s gift-giving, so I defaulted to an electrical solution, based in part on a project I had been working on in school the previous semester.
The project was a talking clock, designed to speak the time at the push of a button. I used the knowledge of IC-based audio playback that I gained in completing this project to build a simple circuit that would play a song of my choice when a switch was triggered.
From there it was simply a matter of tracking down a box big enough to house my cobbled together mechanism while managing to appear ‘Christmas-y.’ There’s a clickable quicktime video of the ‘Music Box’ in action below. When closed, the lid of the box opens a switch that leads to the 9V battery, so the same battery is still chugging along without having to involve a user-invoked power switch.
Music Box – “O Holy Night”
From: My Diningroom Table
One of the great features of Flickr is that you can subscribe to be notified via RSS whenever someone posts a photo tagged with a search term of your choosing. One of the tags I subscribe to is ‘Mosaic,’ which comes up with lots of photos of relic-variety mosaics, as well as the occasional mind blowingly awesome modern mosaic.
Today’s feed contained this image. What is it? That requires a bit more explanation.
There is a group on Flickr called ‘Longline‘ that is described as follows:
“The idea of this group is to create a large mosaic of collective pictures, that has a web of lines running through all its constituent images, separating the full image into patches and creating emergent shapes. The concept should be visible in the group icon I created from the first four images in the pool. Join in the fun!”
Really nerdy people will wonder if the production of this mosaic is automated, and I’m going to venture a guess that it is, based on the tagging methodology for the longline group:
“The picture should be tagged with the “long line” tag. In addition there needs to be a “LL” tag coding the sides the line connects to in the picture. The sides are numbered, starting from the top in clockwise direction. A picture connecting the left to the bottom and right would thus be tagged with “LL234”
…So it looks like the latter tag could easily be used to write an application to logically arrange the images into a connected mosaic, based on which sides are specified (Further research shows that I was right).
The first thing I thought of when I saw the mosaic was the NES game Pipe Dream:
In summary: Obscure puzzle game sub-genre + Flickr group + mosaic + this iPhoto poster tutorial [via Waxy] = some awesome wall-art.
I’ve been obsessed with those 3″ mini CDR’s ever since I realized you could buy them in bulk. Unfortunately, the sleeves that are available for CD’s of this size all have some sort of aesthetic imperfection that drives me completely nuts. This is because I’m insane. As part of my Christmas 2004 “ridiculous mix CD” campaign, I decided to solve this problem. I began the project with three goals in mind:
- I would “borrow” this idea from craftster: a year of mix CD’s.
- I would use mini CDR’s
- I would devise a mini CD sleeve that met my ridiculous standards
I’m pleased to report that I accomplished all three.
The first thing I did was tackle the sleeve design. I never realized how much work went into designing a simple envelope, but I went through a whole range of prototypes before finally hitting on a design that worked for me. Some of the rejects are pictured below.
Since I’m such a nice guy, I’ve included a .pdf of the sloppy sketch I used for a template, so you can make your own Kempa-approved aesthetically perfect mini CD sleeves. Just click the image below. I transferred the template to thick cardstock for extra durability. As you can see from the photo below, the finished product is delicious looking.
Next, I constructed a special box to hold a year’s worth of sleeved mini CD’s using the duct-tape / cardboard method I outlined here. I covered the result in brown Kraft paper, and added an inter-office envelope-ish closure mechanism. Finally, I spent a kabillion years making 12 mix CD’s. The final product is below.
I got an email a few days ago with the subject line “This is not spam.” Naturally, I assumed that it was spam. I let it sit in my inbox over the weekend, and in the midst of my weekly Sunday-morning ritual of trying to catch up on a bazillion things before the week begins, I discovered that it was not, in fact, spam. Magritte would be proud.
You’ll note that the reason I never seem to catch up is because I waste time awkwardly photoshopping dead artists into bad jokes about email.