2013 at 3:10 pm | posted by Scott
Well, here we are again approaching another Black Friday and (lamely named) Cyber Monday. That means it’s time again for my list of holiday geek gift guides. This list was conceived many years ago to help with my own gift shopping for friends and family. Because of my interested in technology and gadgets (and general geekery), most of these lists fall into those categories, but there are a few that are useful for general gift giving as well. As usual, I’ll keep this list up to date as I encounter additional lists. If you know of any I may have misted, leave a comment and I’ll get it added.
(Guides from previous years: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)
We’re a few weeks into football season this year and the first two game were scorchers. Usually games in the beginning of September can be a bit warm, but seemed even more-so this year with temps around 90 degrees. A dinner conversation the week before the first game prompted me to look into creating a tailgate mister to cool us off a bit before and after the game. The mister was pretty easy to put together with about $30-40 worth of parts from the local hardware store.
- The base of the system is a weed sprayer. Since we don’t have electricity at our tailgating spot, we couldn’t use an electric pump, so a 3 gallon weed sprayer provides the water and pressure for the system. You can probably get a smaller version, but you’ll likely be filling it more regularly. I’d recommend something 3 gallons or larger for the project.
Stanley Weed Sprayer
- I removed the sprayer head/nozzle from the sprayer and used an irrigation connector to hook up the hose. This may vary with each sprayer, so you may need to get some plumbers tape to connect the hose to the end of the sprayer handle.
- The rest of the mister is built from lawn irrigation parts. I found a Rain Bird kit that had just about everything I needed. My mister only has two sprayer heads on it, but you could easily spread it out with more heads and use a few more parts. I ended up using 1/4″ irrigation tubing. That provided enough pressure for two sprayer heads.
- I started by connecting one length of tubing to the weed sprayer with a 1/4″ connector piece. From the end of that, I used a T splitter to get two more lines of tubing to come off the main tube. I placed a single Fogger-Mister end (this was the only piece I had to order that didn’t come in the kit) on each of the tubes coming off the T splitter. The lengths of tube can be adjusted to fit whatever you will hang the mister on. Ours hangs from a tailgating tent pole.
T splitter, 1/4″ connector, Mister Head
Rain Bird irrigation kit and mister heads
T splitter and mister head
- It was pretty simple to hook everything together. I filled the sprayer container with distilled water, thinking they wouldn’t clog as fast that way. We even put a little ice into the reservoir as well. We zip-tied the tubing to our tailgating tent, pumped it up and let the cool mist spray. Everything seemed to work pretty well, and we would get about 30 minutes of mist from a single pump-up.
Connections and zip ties
Everything worked pretty well, and I think we’re beyond the warm games now this year, but we’ll definitely be pulling this out for the early season games in years to come.
I just got the new Google “app launcher” on my Google home page. Gone is the standard black navigation bar at the top of the page. It has been replaced by an “apps” button the pops down to reveal an icon for 10 of the popular Google apps. The pop down window isn’t even full. I wonder if they’ll add the ability to add more, or customize what shows up in that window if this catches on.
I ran across a really interesting analysis of Lego prices over the years.
Spoiler: Apparently prices aren’t going up, they just seem high because when most people first got into Legos they were kids and didn’t have a sense of money/cost.
Christmas has passed, but I guess it is still technically the holiday season. I ran across this great video of the Chipmunks “Christmas Time is Here” song slowed down. You can hear what the chipmunk voice actors in the song actually sounded like (even though Dave sounds like the devil).
Another year has come and gone. We are quickly approaching Black Friday and then the more recently coined Cyber Monday, so that means it is time again for my list of holiday geek gift guides. I started putting this list together quite a few years back to help me find gifts for my friends and family. Since I like general geekery, most of these lists have a technology or gadget slant to them, but there are a handful that work for more general gift giving. As usual, I will keep this list up to date as I run across more. If you know of any that I have missed, leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to get it added.
(Guides from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)
Need a site to waste 5 minutes on? Check out Silk, a website that lets you write in smokey patterns.
This is pretty awesome…
Hotwheels sets a world record by racing two cards through a 6-story vertical loop.
I don’t know if this would be categorized as tech or not, but it’s really really cool. Designers Yonggu Do and Eunha Seo have created a concept for a chalkboard erasure that turns the dust that is erases into new pieces of chalk.
Chalkeeper is a very innovative way to contain chalk dust (which causes allergic reaction in many children) and reuse it. It is basically a duster that erases chalk from the blackboard and absorbs it into the system. When enough dust is collected, it molds it back to a piece of chalk….kinda like a never ending chalk! Clever!
With whiteboards everywhere now, maybe this doesn’t matter, but it’s still a pretty innovative concept.
Source: From Dust to No-Dust
So as of right now, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a white Christmas. If you really had your heart set on some snow, fear not. You can now make a run to the hardware store for some parts to build your very own snowmaker. Appropriately named Instructables member, MakeSnow has a very nice step-by-step on how to build it.
Snowmaker photo by MakeSnow
Well folks, it’s Cyber Monday again. You know what that means… it’s time for another iteration of my holiday geek gift guides. I started this quite a few years ago as a list of gift guides to help me find gifts for the people I shop for. Most of these are geared more towards geeks and gadgets, but there are several for more general gift giving. If I run across more, I’ll keep this post up to date. Or if you know any that I missed, leave me a comment, and I’ll add ‘em to the list.
(Guides from previous years: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004)
This is a slick little gadget. It’s a little green ball with cameras mounted all over it. You toss it into the air, and it created a spherical panorama at the apex of your toss.
I wonder how careful you have to be when throwing this. I bet a little bit of spin would mess up your panorama. Either way, it’s a pretty cool idea.
(I just need some more french cuffed shirts)
Have you ever wanted to display your mood with a pair of giant cat ears? Well, the wait is now over. A Japanese project called Neurowear has created a set of robotic ears that react to your brain waves. The concept is a little odd, and I’m not sure if this is something I’d wear in public, but it’s a very interesting idea to communicate what you’re thinking using a peripheral that you wear on your body.
They need to create a dog tail to communicate happiness when it wags.
Playing with Hot Wheels just got a lot more fun (not that it wasn’t fun to begin with). The Hot Wheels Video Racer appeared at this year’s CES event. It’s a regular-sized Hot Wheels car, but it has a small point-of-view camera built into it, as well as a little monitor on the underside of the vehicle. So you can feel like you’re driving the car through the ups and downs and loopty-loops of your Hot Wheels track. The car is supposed to hold 12 minutes of video, and it comes with a USB cable to hook it to your computer. It is also packaged with editing software so you can refine your racing videos. It is supposed to be out in Fall of 2011 and will sell for about $60. This almost makes me want to dig out my old Hot Wheels tracks again and “go play cars.”