Category Archives: Music
You might recall that a few years ago I posted a mockup of a stereo that looked like Blaster, the popular cassette-playing Autobot (or Audiobot as I like to call him). It’s something that I always kind of wanted in real life, so I’ve kept an eye out for existing stereos that I could enlist for such a project.
Then a few months back I found an RCA stereo that could do the job. It had a midsection that extruded out just like Blaster’s yellow tape deck. The speakers were also ideal too (I’d flip them upside down if needed). So I placed an order for the stereo, and even ordered some Autobot stickers from Reprolabels. The plan was to meticulously disassemble and paint the stereo.
Alas my order was pushed back to June (even if I choose express shipping!), and all other reputable stores don’t have this in stock. I’ve decided to throw in the towel and cancel my order, clearly this 5 year old stereo model is no longer being made (attempts to contact RCA fell short too).
I thought it would be a fun surprise for the blog, instead I will just share the mockup and my aborted plans. I will continue to keep an eye out for a stereo system that will fit the bill, and I will also attempt to do more IRL projects going forward.
UPDATE: A couple of helpful folks on Twitter pointed me to a reputable retailer and I ordered one, will get it in a week…so things are a go now! (Here is the link – Canadian customers only)
UPDATE 2: Derailed again. The product is out of stock.
I was perusing some earbuds recently when I made the observation that the Skull Candy logo seemed reminiscent of the skull seen on the Bullet Bill cannon. And eureka, a geeky design was born. This earbud design features a Bullet Bill character on each earpiece, and a Bullet Bill cannon as a fastener/clip.
I’m 99.99% certain that there are earbuds shaped like Bullet Bill currently on the market; it’s just a matter of adding his face and arms to complete the look.
UPDATE (Feb 11/2014): Looks like Chrome now has this feature. Not sure about other browsers though. Original post as follows:
It happens to everyone. You’re surfing the web and you have several pages open when SUDDENLY a loud autoplay ad starts up; it’s invasive and you’re scrambling to find it and shut it down. Another scenario is when you accidentally hover over an ad and you are bombarded with sound, and you cannot mute or lower the volume. Drives me crazy.
I propose that all browsers incorporate a feature that will detect audio in each page and allow Users the ability to shut it off. How it would work:
When you have a page open and audio is detected this icon appears in the page’s tab:
You then click on it to mute, simple as that (see 1. in the image above). This would mute all audio coming from the offending page.
Perfect for autoplay ads, audio ads you accidentally trigger, pages with ambient audio, or times you need a quick mute for YouTube or Soundcloud.
To take it a step further you could include play/pause and volume controls in the tab as well, should you need to pause playback or adjust the volume on the fly (see 2. in image above). For sites with playlists the skip forward and back buttons could also be added.
Here’s hoping the overlords at Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, etc. decide to incorporate something like this in their browsers going forward.
NOTE: When the audio is no longer detected the audio icon would disappear, so you could wait out an autoplay ad prior to playing a video or audio clip in the same page. Starting a video or audio clip would override an active mute setting. However it would be nice if the browser was able to smartly isolate different audio sources, killing unwanted audio ads and permitting what the User wants (like a Youtube video).
The crystals in the Superman films had several functions: home construction, beacon, glow stick, ability to restore superpowers, and last but not least: data storage. Two of these things — data storage and the glow functionality — could easily translate to a USB flash drive. The end result is something that looks and behaves (to an extent) just like one of Superman’s crystals.
For this design a vanilla cap would cover the USB plug. Like the previous Ghostbusters design, there would be some LED lights built-in to indicate the device is in use. But one thing I’d like to see is an on-demand light, triggered by a button, allowing you to replicate the ‘glow stick’ feature of the crystal. The drive would need an on-board battery, preferably something that can be recharged (via USB, of course). There are so many keychain light and USB drive combos, so I feel this is an attainable design.
And as a lark it should come preloaded with a few documents about trees.
This is an idea that crossed my mind a long time ago when I was lugging around a faceplate for my car stereo: I often wanted a stereo in my home that I can attach my faceplate to for everyday use. The main reason was that I really liked a lot of functionality my car deck had*. Also I felt the faceplate could be put to better use when not in the car.
Besides making the faceplate more versatile, I felt such a device had a strong ‘cool’ factor. Car stereo decks are very ‘showy’ in appearance, with their colorful displays (that often employed a music visualizer), and illuminated knobs/buttons. So the thought of enlisting the faceplate for a stereo on my desk or bookshelf was very appealing.
The design above is pretty modest (the faceplate is from a Spy Hunter design from way back), and takes a few familiar cues from cars, like a push-button ignition acting as a power button. Note: this design forgoes a CD player.
There is a lot of potential for devices in the home that can be home to a car faceplate. How about an attachment to the front of a PC tower (like a DVD drive)? Or an alarm clock? Obviously this is nothing new for those who use iOS device docks, or for SiriusXM customers who regularly move their satellite radio module from the car to a stereo in the house and back. As far as car stereo faceplates go, this is uncharted territory**.
Note: Currently this couldn’t be done in a universal fashion, because of all the different makes and models out there. One possibility are these docks being packaged with their respective faceplates in a bundle.
*I’m probably the only person on the planet who is annoyed by this, but why can’t home stereos have some of the neat functionality car stereos do? I’m talking about being able to auto-seek for radio stations with the push of a button, or adjusting audio distribution between all the speakers — stuff like that. Car stereos seem to do a lot more in a smaller, more intuitive package.
**Not counting the in-store displays for car stereos!
Every once in awhile I’ll post a design that strikes me as a no-brainer, like this or this. I’m very surprised there hasn’t been any K.I.T.T. car stereo decks made commercially or as fanmade/homebrew projects even.
This design would be encapsulating the K.I.T.T. dashboard into a stereo deck which would feature its namesake as a music visualizer – pretty straightforward. Originally I had a normal volume dial, but for fun I used the steering wheel instead, something that wouldn’t be too practical for an actual stereo deck.
Just like the last stereo deck I designed, this design discards the CD slot on the front, so if you want to load a disc the face will have to flip down (if CD capability were included to begin with).
One touch I’d like to include are voice greetings from K.I.T.T. when powering on and off the stereo (“Hello, Michael.”), and the Knight Rider theme on command.
I thought I’d address the complete lack of geeky car stereo decks with this Spy Hunter design. For the most part it would be your standard stereo, save for a neat cosmetic touch: the back-lit weapons dash that adorned the original arcade cabinet.
These five icons would randomly illuminate (at a slow non-distracting rate) for a bit of a light show. Other touches include 3 buttons found on the steering wheel of the arcade cabinet: the ‘Source’ button disguised as the Weapons Van button, and the play/stop buttons use the same red push-buttons used to fire weapons.
Not only would this deck help recreate the feel of playing the arcade game while behind the wheel of your car, but also grant you delusions of being a badass spy (even if you’re driving a station wagon).
You can check out the arcade cabinet in-depth here. This design was based on this Alpine model. The icons would not allow for a CD slot on the face, so if you want CD functionality you would need to pop the face down to load discs. I suppose you could program this sucker to play the Peter Gun Theme upon start-up. Sound effects from the game could be enlisted for button presses.