In my last blog post – a roundup of my various wheelings and dealings in June – I mentioned that I was just beginning to revisit my remotely operated kettle idea. While the idea was initially a humorous proposal following my discharge from hospital earlier this year – and a nice gentle project to undertake following surgery – I was nonetheless happy with the results, and made a note at the back of my mind that it might be worth exploring further.
I’ve decided that alongside my creative projects - which seem to be in a constant state of unbloggable flux lately - I’ll post a few of my more practical, technical tinkering projects on here; trying to keep them as interesting as possible. First up, using classic controllers on modern consoles with the help of Arduino:
Alongside my recent foray into the world of unusual game controllers (more of which to come in the next few weeks) I’ve also ended up attempting to bridge the sizeable collection of classic gaming hardware in my house with some of the newer gear currently holding fort underneath the TV.
A laser-cut, wooden enclosure for Subversive Little Box #1: ‘Spotify Economy’. Thanks to Jerry & Jason @ Pure Fine (the men with the cutter). More details.
Like many other people this week, I updated to iTunes 11. Apple’s latest revision of its central media application has seen some quite significant alterations to its overall aesthetic and functionality, and drops features like Coverflow* and a useable mini player…wait, what?
A quick little tool I knocked together (mostly amalgamating other tools) to preserve anonymity when using a webcam…yet another by-product of a different project idea.
Hide My Face has a simple, single slider interface, designed to control how much your face is concealed – or revealed – when looking at a webcam. Move the slider to the left and you’re out in the open, move it to the right and you’re heavily pixelated. The pixelation is incremental, so you can gradually reveal your face or, alternatively, snap one way or the other instantly.
It feels like quite a while since I first 'announced’ my intention to create a suite of ‘Subversive Little Boxes’, a group of practical tools for use with my day-to-day computing, each with a subversive twist. Since then, the prototype of box #1 has become such a practical object, it’s now ‘just another useful peripheral’ on my desk.
It had been my intention to create quite a polished piece of work before going into any detail on this project – fancy video included – however, numerous other commitments have prevented me from doing so. It’s still scrappy to look at, but here’s what it does:
Subversive Little Box #1 – Spotify Economy
A desktop Spotify remote designed to give me comfortable, tactile control, and to protect my ears and brain from abrasive advertising.
Well, I think you have to be more well known for an ambiguous project announcement to be classified as a ‘teaser’, but here goes:
Following the stagnation of a handful of miniature ideas I’ve had for quite some time, I thought it was about time I put them to use in a project. They’re not all linked per se, although they all have a common trait of sorts, so I’ve decided to create a series of vignettes.
Introducing (sort of): Subversive Little Boxes.
All of the pieces will share the same form factor (no prizes for guessing) and will each perform a practical task – practical, that is, from my point of view – with a subversive twist. That’s just about all I’ll be saying for now, I’ll be working on these independently alongside my MA work, which will all be over by the middle of next month.
I rushed a working prototype, this afternoon, for Subversive Little Box #1, tentatively subtitled, ‘Spotify Economy’ (newer version now pictured at the end of this post).
This was made using the only suitably-sized cardboard box I could find in my house, although I envision the final versions of these boxes using acrylic or wood*. Inside this functioning prototype is my new Arduino Leonardo – although I should be using these, soon – which should inform you that these boxes will be used to communicate with software (some directly, some using a companion/bridge application).
Before I give the game away, I’ll stop there. Additionally, if you like those buttons, I bought them from here.
*Knowing me, that’ll end up changing back to cardboard.
UPDATE: Still using cardboard, I’ve used a slightly less battered box for testing: