Adding blinking lights to anything is a surefire way to make it totally obnoxious. For some of you, that's a good thing.
Here are two techniques you can use to add sound-reactive lights to your stereo, boom box, computer, or pretty much anything that makes music.
The first option is to use something like an EL Wire Sound Kit. These are sold online from various places and include some combination of electroluminescent wire, a power adapter, and a special power inverter that drives the wire's power in response to sound picked up by an integrated microphone.
The machine comes in three different flavors. The base model is the X-Men Pro ($5,699) and includes a backglass graphic with all the X-Men mutants crammed together in an explosion of awesome.
Then you have the two X-Men Limited Edition machines ($7,999) which include a few extra playfield options, such as a motorized "Ice Slide" ramp, pop-up Night Crawlers, color-changing LEDs, and a magnetic spinning disc that basically rules. The two versions of this machine include an edition with … Read more
Unfortunately, there's still a misconception that smartphones are an expensive luxury item. Not true. I mean, data and messaging plans may bankrupt you, but the phones themselves can be found for next-to-nothing so long as you're on contract.
In this episode of Top 5, I'll count down CNET Senior Editor Jessica Dolcourt's favorite smartphones under $50, for June 2012. Not only that, but … Read more
Console game controllers get no respect. These days especially, with all the attention paid to mobile games, touch-screen control, and Microsoft Kinect, everyone has lost sight of the irreducible awesomeness of a sweaty gamepad.
With this thought in mind and the hype of E3 2012 fading in the distance, I offer you my best attempt to round up the Top 5 game controllers of all time. … Read more
I spent the better part of my twenties pursuing electronic-music rock stardom. Obviously, I failed.
I had some fun along the way, though, which is a rare achievement in a music genre that traditionally splits the duties of creating the music (studio-dwelling producers) and performing the music (fun-loving DJs).
Through trial and error, and many horrible shows, I had a profound realization. The secret to a great show as a DJ or electronic musician is to stop worrying about the audience having fun and focus on entertaining yourself. If an audience can see that you're happy and engaged in something you love, they're more inclined to have fun too.
This same philosophy can be found in the products made by San Francisco-based DJ TechTools. The company made its name by customizing existing DJ products with oversize arcade buttons, letting DJs wail on their gear in a far more expressive way than traditional controls allowed. Since then, the company has evolved its own line of DJ products, which continue to put fun at the forefront of the design. … Read more
I should state for the record that I love my iPod Touch. My Android phone is great for work and communication, but I can't shake my preference for the way my iPod Touch handles music, podcasts, and games. That it can go a few days without charging is also a plus. When it comes to portable media players, there's no product I could recommend more highly than an iPod Touch. The trouble is, no one asks me for recommendations anymore.
When people catch me using an iPod Touch, I'm met with mixture of awe and confusion. The awe comes from the assumption that it's some kind of svelte concept smartphone from the future. At less than a half an inch thick, the iPod Touch makes the iPhone 4 look like a hamburger.
But it's the inescapable confusion that should have Apple feeling uncertain. When I explain that it's an iPod, I can hear the synapses misfiring.
"People still actually buy those?"
Sometimes, reactions can even steer toward concern.
"Is it possible that no one told Donald about the iPhone?"
Rest assured, my credit is fine. I'm perfectly capable of buying one of those newfangled phones that have iPods in them. Personally, the combination of Android work phone and dedicated iPod media player has served me well. Unfortunately, it seems that I'm a rare specimen. … Read more
Robotspeak does not sell actual robots -- though I never tired of getting that question from people who wandered through the door. There are many delightful things you buy on San Francisco's historic Haight Street, but to the best of my knowledge, robots are not one of them.
In spite of the occasional befuddlement of robot shoppers, Robotspeak is a fitting name for a shop that specializes in the type of unique audio gear and music recording software perfect for composing symphonies of synthetic bleeps and squelches.
Robotspeak's walls are lined with synthesizers, drum machines, mixers, effect pedals, and MIDI controllers. But more importantly, the shop is filled with the kind of geektastic sound toys that bigger stores wouldn't risk carrying.
So why am I writing about Robotspeak here on Crave? Well, I might be biased, but I think a shop like this is even more precious and worthy of geek attention than the sum of the gear contained inside it. Like Crave itself, Robotspeak is a place for a curious cross section of obsessives and coveters of technology. … Read more
Let's face it, Xoom owners could use some good news right now. Since the introduction of the then-groundbreaking original Xoom tablet in February 2011, the furious pace of Android competition knocked it from CNET's Best 5 tablets list before the year was out.
And before you Xoom owners get too excited, please note that the rumored Android 4.0.4 update is targeting Xoom Wi-Fi models only. Those of you who bought this tablet on-contract with Verizon will have to continue suffering the indignity of paying a monthly fee for another year, with no promised update in sight. … Read more
For their final episode, the Crave team does... well, exactly what they always do. Donald goes nuts for a free toy adapter that can create an unholy union between Legos and Tinker Toys. Bonnie recounts her dramatic day of technology detox. And in Geek News, Eric gives his 2 cents on "The Hunger Games" movie.
This week, the Crave team reveals its favorite Super Mario Bros.-themed lighting fixture, along with a $50 solution for adding sound effects to your doorbell. Japan offers up an off-the-grid vending machine and a rice cooker that communicates with your smartphone.
Plus, Crave's most dedicated "Star Wars" fan shows off his tattoos. And in Geek News, Eric discusses (no spoilers) the controversy surrounding the Mass Effect 3 ending, and shows off the trailer for a new space horror film, "Prometheus."