Monthly Archives: March 2012

Announcing an “aStore,” (A Store?) on!

Amazon package smashed

Hopefully your stuff won’t be smashed, but Amazon supposedly has great customer service for returns!

Since this site is paid for by various advertisements, including items purchased through, I thought it would be nice to have a place where you could purchase things used on this site.  To this end, I’ve set up a “store” page where you can get some of the stuff used here, or maybe even get some new ideas on things that would be interesting to buy for your own project.

I certainly love when people buy any Amazon items off of, but I’ve only included things on my aStore that I’ve personally used, have been pleased with, and are related to stuff I write about here.  As of now there are categories for electronics, tools and mechanical components, and books.  The books aren’t necessarily directly related to projects here, but I’ve tried to only list the ones that have to do with hacking or making stuff.  This could be something “inspirational,” like “My Tank is Fight” or “Neuromancer,” to something more practical like “The Machinery’s Handbook.”

So be sure to check the store outIf you’re shopping for anything else on Amazon, just click on any of the links to Amazon (like this one) listed on Jcopro to shop through this site and support me in my quest to build random awesome stuff for my and your entertainment!

A Motorized Geneva Drive

Recently I built a Geneva drive model that could be hand cranked.  Obviously this would be better with a motor, so one was added.  I had a gear reduced motor that was originally slated for what became a “radial engine model”, which worked well to drive the assembly.  I also remade the Maltese cross and the plate that everything sat on with my CNC router.  Things worked a bit better this time, but the drive is by no means a refined product.

The following is a video of the drive’s development so far.  You may recognize the ending segment from my EL lights review.  Not sure where I got the idea for the flashing EL lights, but it seemed as good a way as any to try them out.

One thing that is a challenge with motorizing something like this that is made out of MDF (medium density fiberboard – think a more ground-up and uniform particle board), is that using a set screw isn’t as easy as with more robust materials.

The solution came during a rare visit to Walmart, where I Read more »

Use Multiple Workspaces in Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu logoAs of the publishing of this article, I’ve been using Ubuntu Linux for over 3 months.  Although I certainly don’t know everything, the OS now seems natural to use, and I really don’t miss Windows anymore.  I find myself looking for things in the wrong place on my Windows XP machine at work, but not too much.  Probably an unavoidable side effect of using multiple OS’s.

One function that seemed strange and possibly a bit useless was the fact that you can use multiple workspaces with Ubuntu.  This is similar to having a dual-screen setup in Windows XP, except the taskbar and everything else is totally separate.  In a way it’s more like having two computers.

After ignoring it for a while, and asking the question “what is this good for?” on Reddit, it finally clicked that I could use multiple windows instead of maximizing and minimizing windows all of the time.  This is especially useful when trying to work on something that’s dependent on another window, like a website review, or using a template to type something up.  It’s also great if you’re downloading something in one window, and want to, say, play Hedgewars in the other.  After getting used to it recently, I’m really starting to like this feature, and I see it as an advantage over Windows XP.  I didn’t make it, but here’s a video Read more »