A Great New HTPC Mini Keyboard


As you might have noticed from my last post, I’m constantly fiddling with my HTPC setup. As I generally enjoy that kind of thing, it’s a reasonable price to pay for having access to everything on the internet. My latest upgrade is a tiny keyboard called the Rii mini i8+ (Amazon).

If you don’t have time to read the rest of my review, if it were a stock I was reviewing, I’d list it as a “strong buy.” It seems to have been designed with the HTPC market in mind, and it reminds me of typing on a generously-sized physical phone keyboard. The keys are kind of a soft-plastic feel, but not too soft to be mushy like a remote control. F1 through F10 are present, which is really convenient if you’ve setup custom macros to launch a certain program or website with them (see this post on how to do this).

The touchpad is similarly setup well for media-PC use. Directions for operation are clearly printed on the pad, which could be useful if you have friends over that want to “drive,” and there are Read more »

Building a PVC Pipe Instrument


As with several other projects, my cousin Jackson – a musician – came over with the goal of producing an instrument – this time out of PVC pipe.  As with our other experiments, we had a vague plan as to how to make what we wanted, but changes were made on the fly.  More explanation to follow, but here’s the results of this “percussive pipe organ.”

That’s Jackson trying it out on the first day with sandals. With some practice, I’m sure he’ll be able to make some really cool tunes. Be sure to check out the time-lapse video of the build after the “read more,” as quite a bit more detail on the build. Read more »

MountainBeest – Complete with a Remote Control and Video Capability!


A creation like this MountainBeest “kinetic sculpture” is never really done, but at this point it’s at least ready to display.  Here’s a video of it showing off the latest improvements, an onboard GoPro camera, and remote control of the legs.

This walking ‘Beest should be close to ready for it’s appearance at the Columbia Maker Faire on June 14th.  They’ve told me there will be some sort of winch there to hoist it up and down, so it should be pretty cool.  I’m glad I hooked it up at home so I would have all the rigging ready.

Hopefully it won’t fall apart and/or they make some sort of safety zone under the contraption when it’s under display.  If you happen to be in the area that weekend, be sure to come say “hi” and gawk at this contraption.  For the next best thing, follow the “read more” link for more videos of my progress, as well as some more descriptions and pictures.

Leg Remote Control Read more »