Monday, December 17, 2007

Not as geeky as Peter...

I am officially not as geeky as Peter (at least according to the test)
Probably because I don't know my sci-fi and don't have time for gaming (too busy tweaking)

60% Geek 60% Looking for payday loan?

Cool camera stuff

My first post to the blog, Yes I would like one of these for Christmas...

The ZCam is the first low-cost, consumer videocamera that can capture video with depth information and probably the first real challenger to Nintendo's Wiimote: with its 3D capture abilities it will allow you to play Wii-style without using any controls whatsoever. In fact, it is so precise that it will even recognize your finger gestures to fire a weapon or manipulate your computer like in Minority Report, but without gloves or any other external device:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Personalized manufacturing

Ponoko is a Wellington based company Ponoko: I make my designs real... and sell themthat helps designers to manufacture and sell their creations. They have a wide range of materials available which they laser cut and pack flat for sending as a finished kitset for you to assemble or send to your customers to assemble.

They have tools on the website for selling your products and designs. Plus other cool design tips and a user community.

Gadgets for promoting blogs

Blog directories
I just listed the MuzGadgets blog in Blogarama - The Blog Directory and and Free Blog Directory

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Electric books

Lots of people are blogging about

Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

I won't say much about it other than it would be interesting to know what operating system it has and how long before it is hacked?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Gadgets

The Christmas season is approaching. Rapidly. It usually sneaks up on us, but this year we'll be ready for it. Soon it will be time to put up decorations and lights. Using the most gadgets possible.

We have had a very small tree for the last few years. We bought it when we were moving around a lot and needed something easy to move. It stands about 30 cm tall and has fibre optics in the branches lit by alternating red and white lights in the base.

We're thinking of getting something a bit bigger this year (so we can fit more gadget presents under it). Any suggestions for customizing, upgrading or generally improving on the standard garden variety tree would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My FireFox Gadgets

A while ago I changed to FireFox as my primary browser.

I have Safari, Opera, IE7 and others installed for checking web design. I use SlimBrowser for online banking because some of the banks I use insist on reformatting the browser window to their design or using those annoying click-on-this-jumping-around-numeric-keypad-to-enter-your-pin and SlimBrowser somehow bypasses these annoyances.

The great thing about FireFox is the customization ability that it gives. As a web developer, I find the ColorZilla, Firebug and Web Developer extensions are very useful. I have information in the status bar so I can always keep up to date with the current weather from Forecastfox, the song that is currently playing in my media players with FoxyTunes, the time in places I know people with FoxClocks and the balance of my earnings with Adsense Notifier. I also use the sidebar for language translation tools (I have shortcuts opening in the sidebar for a couple of dictionary websites using their mobile interfaces), Calculator and Bookmarks.

I've customized the menu with gadgets for posting to the various Web 2.0 sites I use such as blogs, Squidoo lenses and my bookmarks.

Here's a list of the FireFox gadgets that I currently use:

Plugins (15):

  • ActiveTouch General Plugin Container
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Google Updater
  • iTunes Application Detector
  • Java(TM) Platform SE 6 U3
  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • Microsoft® DRM
  • Mozilla Default Plug-in
  • QuickTime Plug-in 7.2
  • RealJukebox NS Plugin
  • RealPlayer Version Plugin
  • RealPlayer(tm) G2 LiveConnect-Enabled Plug-In (32-bit)
  • Shockwave Flash
  • Shockwave for Director
  • Windows Media Player Plug-in Dynamic Link Library
This list was generated with the InfoLister extension and this blog entry was published with ScribeFire.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hello I'm PC and I'm Mac

Apparently I am Windows XP. My wife is OS X. We're usually compatible!

You are Windows XP.  Under your bright and cheerful exterior is a strong and stable personality.  You have a tendency to do more than what is asked or even desired.
Which OS are You?

Friday, November 2, 2007


Here are some cool gadgety toys to stick on the fridge and build interesting contraptions with.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rube Goldberg

a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Old computer insides

Guy Kawasaki posted these cool pictures of the insides of vintage computers on his blog:

Core Memory--Computers Are Sensual

These are photos from Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers by John Alderman with photographs by Mark Richards. There’s a sensual beauty to computers that I never appreciated until I saw these pictures, and I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for a hardware geek.


See the rest at

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

TechShop: Geek Heaven

I want a TechShop in my neighbourhood!

Sent to you by Vista via Google Reader:

via How to Change the World by GuyKawasaki on 9/10/07

One of the challenges that geeks, inventors, hobbyists, hackers, burners, and artists who are trying to change the world face is finding a place to do their work. Ideally, it would have lots of equipment, supplies, and other geeks. Until the last year, they would have to set up their own workshop or beg for space at a machine shop. Now they can go and hang out at TechShop in Menlo Park, California.

Jim Newton founded TechShop in the summer of 2006 because he needed a world-class workshop so he could work on his projects and inventions. After having access to full machine shops at both the College of San Mateo when he taught a BattleBots class and at the studio set of the Discovery Channel's MythBusters show when he was the science advisor, he found himself without a place to work on his projects after these positions. He was surprised to find that there were not any places like TechShop already, so he decided that he would open one himself.

TechShop provides its members with a huge variety of tools, machines, and equipment in a 15,000 square-foot workshop environment. The equipment at TechShop is not likely to appear in the hobbyist's home workshop. The range of tools and equipment covers machining, sheet metal, welding, casting, laser cutters, rapid prototyping, CAD, CNC equipment, electronics, sewing, automotive, plastics, composites, and lots more.

Membership is modeled after a fitness center, and several levels of membership are available. There are currently approximately 350 monthly, yearly, corporate, and lifetime members. The facility can handle around fifty members at a time, so TechShop have set the membership cap at 500 members so the shop and workspace does not get over-crowded. There are only about 150 membership slots available until membership is full. The hours of operation for TechShop are currently 9 AM to midnight, 7 days a week. Jim tells me that they plan to open 24x7 when they reach the membership cap of 500 in the next month or two.

One of the guiding principles of TechShop is to make it affordable and accessible to everyone. Memberships are priced at $30 for a day pass, $100 for a month pass, or $1100 for an annual pass. Family and corporate memberships are also available. Lifetime memberships are not for sale, but are given only to TechShop's angel lenders.

The community of people at TechShop is probably the best part of working on a project there. All sorts of interesting, smart people hang out at TechShop and work on projects ranging from electric vehicles from bikes to motorcycles to cars to commercial vans, self-balancing human transport devices, robots, inventions, prototypes, Burning Man projects, and everyday hobby projects. The hallway discussions at TechShop are unlike any you'd hear anywhere else, and usually involve pretty geeky topics. When you get stuck on part of your project, there are always lots of people around who can give you advice on how to get through it.


This is one of the banners in the front lobby at TechShop. This one was hand-made by Jim's mom, Heather, and presented as a grand- opening gift to him when he started TechShop in October, 2006.


This is TechShop's main workshop area. There are twelve 4' x 8' work tables, with enough room to seat seventy-two people working on their projects at once. This room is also used for occasional public events, such as the two Tesla Motors presentations in May and Dorkbot-SF meeting in August.


This is TechShop's "Bin Wall" which is essentially the world's largest shared junk drawer. Members bring in their surplus items and materials and sort it into the bin wall. One member's trash is another member's treasure! All members can use the items for their own projects at TechShop for free. The TechShop Bin Wall is modeled after MythBusters host Jamie Hyneman's wall of bins that can be seen on the show...Jim worked on MythBusters as the Science Advisor for season 3, and was so inspired by the value of the bin wall that he built his own for TechShop members.


This is part of the Tool Room at TechShop. The Tool Room is self-serve, and members take the tools they need and return them when they are done. Lots of members donate tools to the Tool Room, so the collection of tools actually grows, and there has been no "shrinkage."


TechShop has a state-of-the-art 3D printer, the Dimension BST. It can make a part out of sturdy ABS plastic from any 3D CAD file, layer by layer, and can make a part up to 8" x 8" x 12" tall. The resulting model is nearly as strong as the final injection-molded plastic part would be. TechShop members can use this 3D printer whenever they want and only pay for the plastic they use.


Here is an ABS plastic robot arm and a cowling for a mechanism that were made on the Dimension BST 3D printer at TechShop by TechShop members. The parts can be made in many colors, but most members make their parts in either white or black ABS plastic.


This is the powder coating system at TechShop's Finishing Room. Members can powder coat their projects whenever they want to. Also in the finishing Room is an anodizing system for anodizing aluminum parts in lots of different colors, a spray table, and a filtered drying hood.


This is one of TechShop's two Epilog laser cutter and engraver systems. This one is an older unit that has a 25-watt CO2 laser, and the other one is a very new Helix 45-watt CO2 laser unit. These machines take just about any computer artwork, and cut out or engrave the design in acrylic, wood, cardboard, paper, cloth, leather, and lots of other materials with incredible precision. Jim tells me that these laser cutters are by far the most popular machines at TechShop.


Here are a couple of sheet metal brakes that are used to bend and fold sheet metal. TechShop has an entire manual and power sheet metal fabrication area for members to use.


What do you do when you need to punch a few dozen half-inch holes in some sheet metal? You use TechShop's Rotex sheet metal turret punch, of course. It allows any size die to be selected and used to punch clean holes very quickly in sheet metal, plastic, and other materials.


Jim shows me how the English Wheel can be used to form a piece of aluminum into a fender. TechShop also has an air-powered planishing hammer and a shrinker and stretcher for forming sheet metal into all sorts of shapes.


This is a power brake that is used for folding and forming sheet metal and thicker pieces of metal. Lots of machines, including this one, can be very dangerous, so they can only be used by members after they have received proper training from TechShop staff.


This is TechShop's power sheet metal shear. It can instantly and accurately chop steel sheet metal up to 1/8", and aluminum sheet up to 1/4" thick.


This power horizontal band saw makes it very easy to cut large pieces of thick steel or aluminum stock. The material is clamped into the vise, and the saw lowers itself down into the material as it cuts. It can even cut a large I-beam!


This is one of TechShop's desktop CNC milling machines. It is automatically controlled from a computer, and can cut very detailed and complex 3D parts out of plastic and aluminum.


These are sand blasting cabinets used to clean paint and rust off of surfaces in preparation for finishing. TechShop's Grinding Room also offers grinders and sanders for metal, an abrasive tumbler, and chop saws.


This is a small part of TechShop's Wood Shop. The equipment in this room includes a table saw, band saws, scroll saws, and a radial arm saw, all of which can be used for wood and plastic.


TechShop has five Bridgeport vertical milling machines for members to use, and Jim tells me these are the second most popular machines at TechShop. They are all equipped with digital readouts that are accurate to 0.0005", and power feeds on the tables

. Slide22.jpg

TechShop also has five manual metal lathes for members to use. These lathes are used to spin pieces of metal so they can be cut down into the desired diameter and shape. This is the largest of the five lathes.


Lots of geek projects involve canvas, cloth, or heavy leather, and the industrial sewing machines in TechShop's Sewing Room can handle just about any task. There is even a computer-controlled embroidery sewing machine that can sew your company logo onto a polo shirt to help you push your brand a little further.


TechShop's electronics Lab is stuffed full of all sorts of test equipment, power supplies, tool sand equipment for building and fixing electronic circuits.


This is the filtered clean room drying hood. Members at TechShop can paint their projects, and then place it in this chamber to allow it to dry without any hairs, dust or dirt falling on the wet surface.


I thought it might be fun to cut the Truemors logo out of solid metal plate. Here is the Truemors logo imported into the control software for the CNC plasma cutter in preparation for the cut.


My daughter gets ready for the big plasma cutting demo.


Tom Atkins, TechShop's facilities director and instructor of the plasma cutter classes, supervises the plasma cutter as it cuts the Truemors logo out of stainless steel. The cutting head is automatically moved on the X and Y axes by the computer as it cuts the metal to reproduce the artwork. TechShop's plasma cutter can effortlessly cut shapes out of up to a 4' x 8' sheet of 1/2" steel plate! Tom Conroy, TechShop archivist and member, can be seen in the background taking a picture of me taking a picture of the plasma cutter.


Success! The Truemors logo cut out of solid stainless steel with TechShop's CNC plasma cutter by Dustin Still (left), TechShop's director of advanced technologies, and Tom Atkins (right), TechShop's facilities director. Dustin and Ton teach a variety of classes at TechShop, including carbon fiber fabrication, CNC and manual milling machines, lathe, powder coating, and anodizing.


Here are five of the fourteen members of the TechShop team that were on site in the morning when I stopped by TechShop (left to right): Liz DeSpain (TechShop's office manager), Tim DeSpain (TechShop's director of membership services), Robert Thomas (TechShop's director of education services), Jim Newton (TechShop's founder), and Pat Dear (TechShop's videographer and assistant office manager).

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Phones that merge screens!

Imagine if the MuzGadget bros had one or more of these gadgets each.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sanitarium Gizmos and Gadgets promotion

Somehow I have been invited to get 10 bonus points! But I suspect I need to buy cereal from shops in NZ to fully participate. Perhaps some of the other MuzGadget brothers would like gizmos and gadgets with their cornflakes.

Coming soon and better than ever!

The Sanitarium Gizmos and Gadgets promotion is on its way with great new bargains and free stuff for grabs!

To kick start the 2007 promotion and get you one step closer to redeeming cool bargains or free stuff, your Gizmos and Gadgets account will automatically receive 10 bonus points if you opt in before 16 September 2007!

Opt in now to receive your bonus points as well as further information and special Gizmos and Gadgets offers by clicking HERE - it will only take a minute.

The Gizmos & Gadgets Team