TNT Newsletter for October 20, 2006
Fun with non-electronics, fun with TV, fun with bleach, fun with very sharp edges, fun with real estate, and fun with grammar!
Firstgiving lets you raise money online for any nonprofit cause. We do the hard part so you can do good while you do just about anything. We give you the tools. You make the difference.
For some reason I have the chorus to "Jump Around" stuck in my head, and it seems fitting for this week's newsletter. ("I came to get down: So get out your seats and jump around.
Jump around. Jump up, jump up and get down. Jump jump jump jump jump..." Anyway, you get the idea.) The reviews do jump from topic to topic a little, but that's the fun of it, isn't it?
Why not jump from a celebration of the non-electric to a handy little tool that will make watching TV a lot more fun?
And Halloween is closer than ever, so don't forget to submit your projects, hacks, tips, costume ideas, favorite materials, or tools related to Halloween. Email me or senior editor Phillip Torrone (email@example.com), and we might just feature it on makezine.com.
Staff Editor, Make Magazine
Reviewed by StefanLasiewski
Yes, I realize it's strange to promote a "non-electric" catalog here.
This catalog is a throwback to the makers of yesteryear. Some people never stopped doing things themselves.
Their catalog is hard to put down--their inventory includes cast iron cookware, kerosene lanterns, CARBIDE lamps (how cool is that?), wood-fired kitchen stoves, handmade wall-clocks, apple-peelers, and old-fashioned candy and toys. More then 100 tools. They sell booklets detailing their inventory of hundreds of parts for all sorts of projects.
Great source for camping, off-the-grid living, or old-fashioned goods.
Lehman's is located in the heart of the Ohio Amish country. Many items are handmade by local Amish craftspeople. There are only a handful of electric items in the entire catalog.
Reviewed by Matthew Russell
The TVMicro is a terrific value if you're a Mac user who is looking for a cheap and space-efficient way to replace your existing TV or digitize those dusty old VHS cassettes up in the attic.
Checking in at about the size of an iPod Shuffle, the TVMicro connects directly to your USB port, is reasonably priced, and comes bundled with a remote control and EyeTV -- a slick software package that gives you a TiVo-like interface that's similar to iTunes. Even without a cable subscription, a rabbit-ear antenna can usually pick up most of the network channels, so why not schedule recordings for your favorite shows and save the money you'd normally spend in the iTunes Music Store?
Being an analog tuner, the TVMicro connects directly to a standard RF cable, and this connection makes digitizing those VHS cassettes as simple as connecting a VCR and letting EyeTV's recording capabilities produce a digital file that burns to DVD. Another creative possibility (that's sure to be a crowd pleaser) is to purchase a power inverter so you can bring along a laptop and old school Nintendo on your next road trip. Your backseat passengers will love your for it -- guaranteed.
Reviewed by Ed Lewis
Yes, the name is terrible and the stuff is white and gooey, which makes it even more wrong. But it's pretty damn cool, so you just accept it and move on towards greatness.
Where bleach is incredibly thin and can destroy natural fibers if you're not careful, discharge paste is the opposite. It's gooey so it doesn't spill easily and can be used with silkscreens. It's also nice to natural fibers, which is good as well. It removes most fiber reactives, direct dyes and acid dyes and typically leaves a light golden color when it's done.
Everything you need to know about this is printed right on the label. To use it, you just apply it to a fabric, let it dry, and then iron it on the lowest steam setting for a few minutes to activate it. To make sure it works on a new fabric, test it by putting a small spot in a hidden area of the target material (assuming you're using a shirt) and see how well it works before spreading it everywhere.
Reviewed by Brady Forrest
This is the type of site that shows why maps mashups are so popular; when the right data is displayed on a map it just comes to life. Rentometer will let you know if you are paying too much, too little, or just the right amount of rent for your unit type and area. Its incredibly clear and straightforward interface makes it a breeze to use. It utilizes Yahoo! Maps and "data from publicly available sources on the internet and in print." The site comes from iiProperty, a national property management firm -- this will definitely raise their profile. I would like it if they made their data sources clearer, but the data doesn't seem to be outrageous for the areas that I checked.
Reviewed by starkst
I bought my first Microplane for the kitchen when I got tired of barking my knuckles on the old punch-through grater. Not only does it slice off the most delicate wisps of cheese, it also takes considerably less--for example--Parmigiano to make a recipe.
When I got tired of my old rasps, I tried one of their shop tools. Man, did that thing cut. Then I got a couple more. There's one about the diameter of a pencil that is great for shaping. Then I tried the drill press mounted cylinders. Wow. You just have to be really careful you don't take off too much material, because each of the tools is like a graph of miniature cutters, and they don't grind off wood (or cheese) but slice it, like a plane would.
These are first-rate tools, though for the kitchen models, I would stick with the ones with the metal handles. The first one we had, with the clear plastic frame, didn't last long.
Reviewed by Arwen O'Reilly Griffith
Here's an easy but goody grammar tip this week (my head was spinning trying to explain compound words last time).
Most of us could probably explain the difference between 'there,' 'their,' and 'they're' when pressed, but I frequently see the spellings switched in emails and even manuscript submissions here at MAKE. A refresher:
'There' refers to a place ("over there is a great old-fashioned hardware store," for example). 'Their' is a possessive, indicating belonging ("their shop was packed to the ceiling beams with old car parts"). 'They're' is a contraction of "they are." Simple as that.
Paul Brians, Extraordinary Grammarian, has a few great tips to keep them straight. 1) 'There' has the word 'here' embedded in it, another name for place. 2) 'Their' starts with the same three letters as 'they' (so don't go switching the 'i' and 'e' around). 3) Whenever you see an apostrophe, remember that it's a contraction of two words (in this case, 'they' and 'are').