Blog Archives

The Ultimate Start to Finish Guide to Your XBMC Media Center [How To]

XBMC is a fantastic and free cross-platform media center application we’re nuts for. If you’ve wanted to start using it or just wanted to customize the XBMC installation you’re already running, this guide will walk you through everything, from installation to total customization. More »

Media centerXBMCXBMC Media CenterMicrosoft WindowsOperating Systems

WolframTones Generates Unique MIDI Ringtones for Your Cellphone [Ringtones]

If your phone’s ringtones just aren’t doing it for you anymore, or if everyone at work is sick of that one MP3 snippet, WolframTones can generate original, 8-bit-sounding ringtones based on genres you select and send them to your phone. More »

Build a Vortex Cannon [Science]

If you’ve been sitting around all week wondering how you could combine smoke, speakers, and a love of novel physics experiments into an excuse to tinker in your workshop this weekend, building a smoke-shooting vortex cannon should cover everything nicely. More »

Learn How to Fold Thousands of Origami Figures at Origami Club [Paper Craft]

If you’ve wanted to learn origami but never got around to checking out any library books on the topic, the massive collection of origami tutorials at Origami Club can help get you started. More »

Classic Cinema Online Streams Free Classic Films [Movies]

Whether you’re in the mood for some classic animation or some old-school spooky films to get you in that Halloween spirit, Classic Cinema Online has hundreds of films in dozens of categories.

Classic films have a certain charm to them—the small budgets, simple special effects, and archaic dialogue all lend themselves to creating a sort of celluloid-quaintness that tends to get lost in modern "Is that real or CGI?" blockbusters.

Classic Cinema Online has gathered together hundreds of films in categories ranging from Action to Westerns and even old cinema shorts and news reels. They routinely feature selections of movies based on the time of year, holidays, and other notable events. This week, of course, it's classic spooky, scary, and supernatural movies in honor of Halloween's approach. Even if you're somewhere you can't sit down and watch a film from yesteryear, browsing the awesome movie posters is worth the price—free!—of admission.

Have a favorite spot to catch some vintage media? Whether it’s film, television, or radio, we want to hear about it in the comments.

Learn to Throw a Knife [Fun]

You won’t ever actually need this skill, hopefully, but learning how to throw a knife and hit your mark definitely leaves you with a feeling of action hero accomplishment. Here’s how to do it the right way.

Wired’s How-To Wiki states that the key to a good throw, aside from selecting a well-balanced knife, is the grip:

From 12 feet, you’ll throw a full-spin rotation. Grab the knife by the handle, as you would a hammer, but keep your thumb along the top edge for stability and to prevent over-rotation.

Unlike say, learning to fold a paper star, this isn’t the kind of thing you should just leap into, of course. In addition to their tips, Wired has several in-depth resources to share, like

Even if you're not planning on taking up the art of knife throwing any time soon, you can still enjoy the following video. This clip is pulled from the show Time Warp—think Mythbusters meets high-speed videography—and shows off some pretty slick weapons throwing in slow motion. Jump to 1:50 to see them in action.

Have a cool skill or trick you’re dying to share? Throw a link in the comments below to show it off.

Search Speedcine to Watch Movies for Free [Movies]

Want to watch movies for free? Speedcine indexes movies and where they can be watched for free—and legally—across the web.

Speedcine indexes feature length movies—by their definition at least 60 minutes long and not television shows—they currently have 13,000 movies in their database. When you search for a movie, you're provided with multiple ways to watch the movie.

The primary link is to the free streaming source—movies come from providers like Hulu, Jaman, and Crackle, all of which are authorized to stream the movies. Other links, when available, point to services like iTunes, Amazon VOD, Netflix (Watch Instantly), and so on. Part of Speedcine's revenue stream is generated by referrals to these services, although if you already have a Netflix account, for example, you can just sign in and add the movie to your queue.

Speedcine is a free service and requires no login.

Build an Air Hockey Table [Weekend Project]

Love air hockey but don’t have a small fortune to spend on an air hockey table? Build a rock-solid monster of an air hockey table and be the envy of your old school arcade-loving friends.

This isn’t a simple build that you can cobble together with some plywood you scrounged from the dump and some duct tape. You’ll definitely be investing a solid weekend or two in the construction process. The payoff, however, is an awesome air hockey table for a fraction of the price of a retail model.

How much of a fraction? A crappy Wal-Mart air hockey table will run you around $400, a commercial-grade arcade model will run you anywhere from $1,000-$5,000. Depending on the supplies you have on hand before you start this project your cost will be closer to $100.

Check out the link below for a detailed build guide and if you have tales of your own DIY arcade and gaming adventures we’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Build Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater [Weekend Project]

There’s a certain allure to seeing a movie outside on a nice summer night, whether it’s the nostalgia of drive-in movies or seasonal ambience. Recreate the experience with your own outdoor theater.

Dave Banks, writing for Wired’s Geek Dad column, saw an outdoor theater system advertised in a catalog and immediately started dreaming of recreating the magic of those outdoor movie experiences. The price for the small projector, screen, and two speakers was a whopping $3,500. He shopped around online, priced out components individually, but ended up still priced over $2,000 to buy speakers, a comparable projector, and a collapsible screen. He wouldn’t be worth his Geek Dad moniker if he didn’t follow up his sticker shock with some creative DIY magic. The first order of business was to scrounge as many parts as he could:

My company had a projector that – with a little work – could be repurposed for an outdoor event (and it had nearly 1,000 more lumens than the piddly projector in the catalog). The speakers could be borrowed from an audiophile friend and I dusted off an old receiver to drive the sound. Finally, the dvd player was disconnected from the kitchen tv to contribute to the cause.

It wouldn’t be an outdoor theater without an enormous screen however. The cheapest commercial screen at the size he wanted was over a grand. With some creative use of pvc piping, buckets, rope and cement, he built his own, shown in the picture above. The most important part, the screen material, only cost him $25. The total cost for the materials was $123 with an additional $125 spent on getting grommets and reinforcing stitches put in by a local awning company. Dave notes in hindsight that if he hadn’t been racing towards a memorial day unveiling, he would have done the grommet and stitch work himself and cut the cost of the screen in half. For more pictures of the build and some tips and tricks he learned along the way, check out full article below.

MovieStinger Reveals Which Movies Have Scenes After the Credits [Movies]

“Oh man! Did you see that extra scene after the credits? It was great!” Ever heard those words in the lobby after you’d walked out before the credits finished rolling? MovieStinger helps avoid that sort of disappointment by maintaining a list of which movies contain additional footage after the credits.

When we featured Runpee, a website that suggests the best time to make a dash to the bathroom during a movie without worrying about missing a good scene, commenter razordu30 had this complaint:

I always thought it would be good to have a site that tells you whether you should stay after the credits. I’ve waited unnecessarily for many movies, and didn’t wait for others. =/

Visit MovieStinger for a solution to this guessing game to find out which movies have a "stinger"—an extra scene or additional footage—after the credits. You can decide whether it's worth to stick around based on information about what happens in those post-credits moments as well as ratings and comments by other users. Thanks, Andy.

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