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Toys is an impressive site for people who want to build their own R2-D2 droid, complete with lights, sounds, and maybe motion. Check out the tutorials.

Homebrew air conditioning for under $25


It's hot out here, and this since two weeks. Temperatures rise daily above 30 degrees Celsius, and that's exceptionally hot. Geoff Milburn decided to put his thermodynamics classes to work however, and produced this ~24$ homebrew air conditioner. It'll cool a room to a comfortable level in 15-20 mins, and will run for a few hours on a garbage pail full of water. It's cheap, environmentally friendly (just fire the waste water off to your garden), and makes a good one hour project for a quiet evening.

New, new, new


The last days have been expensive... First, Friday I noticed an ad for a new bike. I have been looking a long time for another bike : the current one dates from my student years, and frankly, besides the metallic frame, there's not much that is worth restoring. I first thought about upgrading the bike with new parts, but that turned out to be too costly. I then thought about buying myself a second-hand bike, but they are really hard to find and some are as much worn out like my current one. So buying the one I did yesterday seemed to be a good choice, certainly if I considered the price. Unfortunately, the current weather does not allow me to do a testdrive, unless I want to return soaking wet.

We have been looking for some new garden furniture too, and a bargain in the local toy and garden shop seemed the right thing; it even had the color we were looking for.

And last, I'm about to buy myself a new car. I've searched long and hard for a second-hand car, but young diesel cars are hard to find, and *very* expensive. So I bit the bullet and decided to spend 3000 euro more, and get myself a new car. I haven't signed any documents yet, but within a week, there will be more news. Watch this space.



My new toy is the Medion MD95000 PDA. It's nothing more than a rebuilt Mitac Mio 168, and the fun thing about it is that it has a GPS receiver built-in. The bundled GPS software also contains maps for biking and hiking, what's another surplus. Only a shame that Freeware software for Windows CE isn't as available as for the PalmOS.

The Mio 168 runs on Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, utilizes an Intel XScale processor, and weighs in at a mere 147grams (5.2 ounces). The unit also offers 64MB of RAM and contains a 256 MB SD Card. A 16-bit TFT LCD display with LED backlighting offers up to 65,536 colors to make for clear viewing indoors and out.

No Shuffle


I thought long and hard about getting me the new iPod Shuffle : the Apple MP3 player had its style, iPod joggle and attractive price, but the fact that the thing didn't have any LCD screen nor a builtin radio, did me grab one of the competitor's products. The Shuffle is the poor mans iPod, says Nico Dijkshoorn in one of his columns.

I chose for the Creative Nomad/Muvo, a neat little gizmo, now permanently attached to my wrist, and boy, am I happy that I chose for the 512 MB model, and not for the 256 MB model : the flash device is already jam packed with some MP3 songs. And if I get bored of these MP3 songs, I just switch to the radio. Or play with the built-in dictaphone. Or just use it as a flash storage device.


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