Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Apocalypse Gaming Case

I've been wanting to build this portable gaming case for a while now.

No more messing around with hotel LCD rear panels or carrying the consoles in backpacks. Now we can take our gaming wherever we go.

Here's the the build details.

1) Military grade, air tight SKB hard case on wheels. Perfect size to fit in the overhead bin.

2) The screen proved to be difficult to find. I finally found a 19" LED TV that can fit nicely inside the lid. It's not a PC monitor, it's a proper 1080p HDTV that I found in Akihabara, Japan with 5mil:1 contrast ratio.

Built in speakers and an options 3.5mm audio output

3) Find the slimmest wall mount for the LCD & bolt it inside the lid.

4) Attach memory foam pieces on the back as seen on the image. Pay attention and don't block the vent or speaker holes. These foams are crucial as they'll provide the suspension the screen needs to not to break in case of impact

5) Find a soft zipper bag for the cables (I used a travel size toiletry bag) Keep all the cables you will need inside this.

6) Case fits the original size and new size PS3s. Cables bag cushion the console. I also put two strip of memory foam on the lower section.

7) Case packs a good amount of controllers and accessories in there as well. I don't use the move controllers necessarily but wanted to see what will fit in there.

8) There is a thin layer of foam between the screen surface and the lower section so they don't contact.

9) You got to plug it to the wall wherever you go. There is no room for battery nor the desire to carry the size of battery to be able to run this gear for few hours.

10) Off we go...

Realized that I want an HDMI system selector in there so I attached a 3x HDMI hub on the side of the lid as well.

Put an Apple TV 2 inside the cable bag and an Apple HDMI to Display port adapter.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nike Mag Fail

Nike built & donated 1500 pairs of Nike Mags (Marty's 2015 model shoes from Back to the Future II) to Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease foundation. Shoes went on auction today and with 15 hours to go, the bids are at an average of $4000 right now. Also seems Sergei Brin (co-founder of Google) will be matching whatever the auction profits. Nice.

So I realized that fans are upset because the shoes don't have power laces as they did in the movie. So basically it's a prop shoe with lights on it. As a product developer, I understand why Nike couldn't put auto lacing function on the shoe. That would need a lot of power, a big battery and motor to achieve so if they pushed for auto lacing they couldn't have came up with the same form factor.

Yet the shoe must have some circuitry and a battery to power up those LEDs and the EL lit logo. Therefore you must charge these batteries somehow. I was wondering what charging method Nike picked and was hoping for a wireless, induction charging. But seems that's not the case. From the below low res image I found on the auction site, I can tell that's an AC adapter that plugs in somewhere on the shoe.

I admire the cause and hope the shoes will fetch tens of millions of dollars but wish Nike paid some more attention to detail to make these collectibles a bit more high-tech or just current tech.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Online Everywhere

Iridium makes satellite phones that can make a call regardless of network status. Now with this data modem you can also connect online even if you're in Antarctica. It's quite pricey but it's for those who need to go online when they need to go online.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

True Love in Hong Kong

Don't read it wrong. They're probably playing a co-op mission on those PSPs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

XL-1: How This Camcorder Changed My Life

I was fresh out of college with a BA degree in International Relations from Bilkent University back in 1999 and I was gunning for the Turkish Foreign Ministry exam. I was told that a good internship could make my application more attractive and so via some proper networking that summer I found myself working as an unpaid intern at the diplomacy desk of the newly opened offices of CNN Turk Ankara.

At first my regular tasks ranged from getting news director's coffee to write down lazy field reporter's confused thoughts down on a piece of paper over the phone just to be yelled at later on for not doing it in an organized manner. It simply sucked for the first few weeks. You are an unpaid worker and everyone tries to take advantage of you with only few people care about teaching you something remotely useful.

One of these people was a young cameraman named Korhan & he absolutely loved being behind the camera. CNN Turk was the first and only digitally broadcasting TV channel back in 1999 and the equipment was top of the line, even for today's standards. That's about when I got my hands on the gorgeous Canon XL-1. Me & Korhan became good friends, we were about similar age & we both smoked like a chimney. Although we were from entirely different backgrounds, something clicked and we started talking about everything. I was especially curious about the digital broadcast cameras around us. The main camcorders CNN Turk cameramen used were Panasonic DVC-Pro camcorders which costs around $70.000 if I recall correctly. The Canon XL-1 was merely a detail unit, a secondary camera which was around $10.000. CNN Turk purchased them for the reporters in an attempt to help them multi-task when they're out in the field. CNN XL-1 was not in an out of box state though. It was heavily modified to become news camera worthy. The small battery pack was rigged and replaced with a bracket that could hold a giant 4lb, 20000mAh battery which was supported by a custom shoulder mount. Built in audio receivers for wireless microphones, a variety of alternative lenses, the XL-1 was truly an excellent pro camcorder with lots of features that you start to see in modern day consumer camcorders just recently.

Korhan knew the camera very well and was obsessed with technique. In news stations when cameraman is not in the field, he gets some tea or coffee & go online while there are TV monitors all around them. Even in the ordinary daily news footage they can catch glimpses of great camera work. A smooth zoom out, a steady shoulder pan are noticed by these guys and could be ridiculed, praised or just ignored. These guys, some college communication department grads and/or old timers who learned the art from a former camera master, are true geeks. Korhan was a new grad too and he was an idealist still. Thought me, in a mere couple months too, many things from white balance to a proper mezo pan, fundamentals of properly using the camcorder and learning its eccentric features.

It was all fun and games until one morning when the news director came and said:
- Hey intern, I've been seeing you playing with that Canon day in day out, I'm one cameraman short this morning, one of my guys just called in sick, are you up for it?

Up for it? I felt like I was born for this moment. Something like this was unimaginable to me at that time. At the end of the day, it was the least important agenda item that morning which didn't even make the news, a boring press conference at the police headquarters, but it was my first real camera work indeed and I nailed it. In the coming weeks, I get to go to few more stories as secondary, support camera and things started to get interesting.

My birthplace, Ankara, Turkey, is an eventful place. Only a small glimpse of the events are caught on tape. Sometimes even if it's caught on tape, it's never shown on TV either because it's just another murder suicide or something the network owners decided not to make a story of off due to its sensitive, political nature. I guess it must be similar around the world. But I get to witness the raw footage behind the XL-1 camera for a year and it taught me about life much.

I never saw a dead person in my life until 1999, I was 22, but that year I get to see lots of interesting things and unfortunately many many dead people. I witnessed the aftermath of a 7.4 earthquake, saw cities in complete ruins. Followed Clinton, the US president of the time, during his Ankara trip. Shot a police operation during an armed robbery by sheer coincidence. Saw 150 car crash, vans, cars, trucks stuffed like sardines on an icy bridge. Saw people who made it against impossible odds, and some who perish for simply no solid reason. All in all, if being an intern/cameraman left me with something, it was the feeling that the life was not as certain as death sure was and that I had to live my life, each day as if it's the last one.

Another useful item was a great reference letter from Mete Belovacikli, head of CNN Turk Ankara branch at the time, which then I sent to San Diego State University Communications dept. along with my application for their masters program in broadcasting and my reel. I was admitted for fall 2000 semester with much enthusiasm. After all that effort It took me less than one semester to realize I didn't really want to master broadcasting, but I just liked running around with the XL1 on my shoulder from story to story. Yet, there I was, summer of 2000, San Diego, CA., simply the most livable city in the US and perhaps on earth & with my whole life ahead of me.

Right now, 11 years later, I end up making a career developing electronic products for consumer electronics industry but I can tell that this camcorder had a lot to do with why I chose what I do today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Alien Tech?

I used to ride bicycles. My need to move faster and reach farther in my adulthood changed that. Yet if this University of New Mexico project by Steven Mora becomes real I might get on the bike again. It just looks out of this world.

Mix and Match

Draw this recently as tribute to my old Technics set up back in San Diego. I am planning to put it on canvas as a three piece set.

UPDATE: Here it is on canvas.

Electronics as Product Design Elements

PCB, a printed circuit board, is where the electronic components inside your daily gadgets reside. You have seen one before and it was most likely in green color. Lately I broke some ground in China by making custom color boards. No one has done this before because the PCB is not necessarily a design element. Well, I made it one. Here are some of my new PCBs with matching LEDs inside a clear housing game controller.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Old iPad Gets Stationed

Since started rocking the iPad2 3G outdoors, the original iPad WiFi found an almost permanent home somewhere.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

iPad2 Camera Kit

Although the iPad2 camera is pretty crappy, the best camera is the one you have with you. Combined with the iMovie app it's very compelling to shoot and edit movies on the move.
Yet, there must be a way to carry the iPad easily and be able to attach it to tripods.

Check this iPad 2 case mod I put together.
  1. Clear iPad2 PC case / thin 0.8mm eggshell version
  2. DSLR hand strap accessory with tripod mount
  3. DSLR strap
I fixed the hand strap piece with superglue and placed weight on it overnight; been several days testing, it’s quite sturdy.
The shoulder strap is most convenient. It’s an OEM Canon piece with this non-slip interior lining.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wireless DJ

Last month in Thailand, during a pool party, I experimented with wireless music. We did have a traditional DJ set up too but I wanted to give a shot to this new iPad app I have called; the Djay. This is the first proper DJ app that lets the user to work with his/her own music. Streaming to an AppleTV-2 via AirPlay and then into the mixer.

Additionally, I had two sets of Audio-engine AW1 wifi receiver and transmitters. These little guys can transmit audio signal over 150 meters without any noticeable lag. How we used them?

While the main channel is playing a song which everybody is listening, I gave these transmitters to friends who had audio effect or percussion apps on their iPads or iPhones. They plugged the AW1s to the 3.5mm audio port and joined to the music from other channels becoming wireless instruments. I want to see it in clubs where talented people can contribute to the sound.

Monday, January 3, 2011

White iPhone 4

Spotted this white iPhone4 in a Hong Kong shop few hours ago. Since I heard Apple has not yet released the white iPhone 4 due to some quality issues, I knew it was sketchy to see it in shop windows.

I was told it was 10000HKD ($1290.00)