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MAKE Newsletter

August 10, 2010

It's "Make and Mend" month on Make: Online. We're focusing on repairs, maintenance, and generally keeping the tech in your life alive and useful for as long as possible. We'd love to hear your tips, repair stories, and candidates for companies that you think embody the Maker's Bill of Rights in their products. Email us. We hope you're having a fun and fruitful summer!  — Gareth

Redneck "Make and Mend"

Beautiful Circuit Board Table

125-piece Puzzle with Hidden "Golden Gun"

R/C Cars Meet Racing Arcade Action

Gary Numan vs. a DieHard Battery


Our friends at Syyn Labs, the folks who brought you the Rube Goldberg machine for OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" video, recently did some commercials for DieHard, one featuring Gary Numan performing his classic song "Cars" on actual cars (their horns), playing them like a piano, all powered by a single DieHard battery. We were intrigued and asked them to tell us how they did it. They sent us this article and behind the scenes video.

Super Awesome Mini Maker Show


When it came time for us to do Kid's month on Make: Online, we immediately knew of one kid maker we wanted to get involved, the amazing and talented Super Awesome Sylvia. We'd seen episodes of her Super Awesome Maker Show and wanted her to share some of the awesome with us. She, and her equally rad parents, Tech Ninja and Craft Ninja, did not disappoint. They did three special Mini Maker Shows for us, one on rockets, one on crazy putty, and one on making your own sidewalk chalk. See much more kid coverage in our Kids archive.

Build a Gyrocar on Make: Projects


We're thrilled with how things are going over at Make: Projects, our new living library of how-tos, techniques, and DIY information, being built by the maker community. We hope you've registered by now and are rolling up your sleeves and getting involved.

Here's an example of what you'll find on the site. It's the full instructions on how to build the Gyrocar project featured in the latest issue of MAKE Volume 23.



If you're not familiar with the new Make: Projects platform, read MAKE editor and publisher Dale Dougherty's announcement.

Do-It-Yourself Lexicon


Explore the world of DIY through its tech terms, jargon, and slang. If you have any words you want to share, send them to me. This month, in honor of our Make and Mend theme, we're featuring a few repair and epic machine-fail terms. —Gareth

Bricked — To make a device inoperable through an action or an attempted fix that goes awry. Other slang for dead tech includes high-tech boat anchor, casters-up mode, and FUBAR (fouled up beyond all repair),

Blue Smoke — The magical substance that escapes from a machine when you monkey with it and mess it up. Once the blue smoke escapes, the machine won't work. (Refers to the bluish smoke produced when the black epoxy material of many electronic components fries.)

Ejectrode — A straight pin, paper clip, or other suitable pokey thing used to engage the mechanical eject button on disc drives, SIM card bays, etc. Also used to hit reset buttons.

PEBCAK (problem exists between chair and keyboard) — Old derrogatory  IT acronym which points to the sad fact that it's frequently the operator, not the tech itself, that's the cause of the problem. Also spelled PEBKAC.

Nerdy Gritty — Getting down to the dirty business of solving a particularly tough tech problem. Also, going into too much technical detail about something and losing half of the people in a conversation.

Waving a Dead Chicken — Resorting to basic voodoo, trying any silly thing, to try and fix an intractable problem.

[Special thanks to Matt Billings, Brian Makin, and all my big-domed homies at HacDC and Dorkbot DC for brainstorming this month's terms.]