How to Make: Floating Ping Pong Ball LED Light Orbs 
Saturday, August 22, 2015, 07:16
Posted by Administrator
These little lights are great for floating in the bath, a pool, or just setting in your guests drinks for a little extra style at a party.

Base materials:

- Ping pong balls
- LED lights ( Look for ones driven well at ~3 volts )
- CR2032 3V/20mAh buttoncell batteries ( Or any small battery that will drive your LED well )

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And for constructing them:

- A box cutter
- Opaque office tape ( for diffusing the light )

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- A hot glue gun with hot glue sticks

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To begin you will want to bend the legs of your LED light such that they loop back on themselves snugly and place battery in-between the legs such that the light turns on. You will want a battery that drives your LED well without burning it out at full power and with enough amperage to last for a while. My favorite choice for the LED's I found were CR2032 buttoncells ( both found on Ebay ).

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After you get the LED shining brightly on the battery take your office tape and wrap it snugly around the battery to hold the wire legs in place so that they won't slip off.

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Now take a lot more tape and wrap it around the whole battery and LED. Pay special attention to go around the light a number of times and make it as puffy as possible. The idea here is to use the tape to start diffusing the light so that you won't end up with glaring light spots inside the finished orb. The tape should spread out the light giving you a small lumpy mass looking something like this.

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Next you will want to carefully take your box cutter to make an incision in the ping pong ball just wide enough to fit the LED and battery to fit inside. Stuff it all in there and work on getting the ball back to its original shape in-case you have dented it any during the operation.

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Work on getting the incision in the ping pong ball to be flush with itself again and hold it in place with one hand while using your other hand to hot glue the seam together. To get this seal less globular place some more office tape over the patch to make it push more closely to the ball. Be careful not to damage your fingers on the hot glue if you decide to press it down with tape. The idea here is to completely cover the incision and hold the ball together in a watertight package.

Once the hot glue has finished cooling clean up the area a bit with the box cutter if necessary and take off any tape if you decided to push the glue down close to the ball that way.

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You've done it! You now have a glowing watertight ping pong ball orb to use in any way you see fit. My favorite thing to do with them is to bring them into the bath for some relaxing mood lighting. They also work quite well as drink markers at a party ( each person can have their own color ). I also found them quite fun to just toss around or set in a bowl.

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Depending on what LED light and battery you used they should last for quite a while. Mine went for a few days before getting so dim that I took them apart and salvaged the LED.

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Rotary Phone Dials 10,000 Digits of Pi 
Saturday, August 23, 2014, 06:33
Posted by Administrator
I've been spending most of my spare time lately working on my Youtube channel and creating 12 hour videos of looped sounds. Usually I'll go with space ship noise, or ambient sounds from SciFi movies, but this time I wanted to do something a little different.

I first had the idea for this when I started noticing that old rotary phones are becoming very nostalgic for people. Most everyone has now switched to using cellphones and it is only a distant memory to use a landline telephone. Rotary phones have officially entered the good-old-memory phase for a lot of people and that is clearly evident in the price a nice working rotary phone will pull on a site like Ebay (40+ bucks).

I recently found an old brown rotary phone at Goodwill and decided it would be perfect for playing all the digits of pi. I took the phone apart so that I could get a microphone closer to its internal dialing mechanism and then I made a series of recordings of playing each digit in a row. After quite a bit of trial and error I got a recording of each digit that I liked.

Next up I split each digit into .wav files so that I could feed them into this short and simple python script that I wrote:

# This script creates all the file ordering for ffmpeg
# First set up our variables

# The numbers file to read in character by character
file = 'pi1k.txt'

# The path that we want to create the files list
path = 'file \'/home/nrg/pi/\''

# The video extension that we decide upon
ext = '.mp3'

# Read in all the characters in the text file in a loop
with open(file) as f:
while True:

# Get the next character and set it to c
c =

# If there is no character to read break
if not c:

# There is no switch/cast statement in python
# So lets just be extra lazy and use if statements
if c == '1':
print path + '1' + ext
elif c == '2':
print path + '2' + ext
elif c == '3':
print path + '3' + ext
elif c == '4':
print path + '4' + ext
elif c == '5':
print path + '5' + ext
elif c == '6':
print path + '6' + ext
elif c == '7':
print path + '7' + ext
elif c == '8':
print path + '8' + ext
elif c == '9':
print path + '9' + ext
elif c == '0':
print path + '0' + ext

I fed the script a long list of digits of pi ( with the period removed ) and generated a long text file where each line specifies a wav file location corresponding to that lines digit in pi.

The only thing left to do at this point was to concatenate all the files together. Luckily ffmpeg does this quite easily with a command such as the one below:

ffmpeg -f concat -i pilines.txt -c copy 10000.wav

I then took the wav file which was produced and generated the following Youtube video with a combination of Openshot and Avidemux:

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Pretty satisfied with how this all came out especially since it was so easy to complete this project. The hardest part by far was getting some good audio samples of the rotary mechanism on the phone.

I was beyond pleasantly shocked to see that I was featured on for this video in the following article: What the First 10,000 Digits of Pi Sound Like Dialed on a Rotary Phone

If you have any ideas for the next project I should work on please leave them in a comment below. Thanks for reading!
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The original Super Mario Bros sound effects 
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 16:26
Posted by Administrator
I have created a playist of all the original Super Mario Bros sound effects looped for one hour on youtube. It amazes me to this day how iconic these sounds have remained. People who haven't even played this game recognize many of the sounds easily.

Super Mario Bros Sound Loops

Also check out the related link for an awesome post by Jake VanderPlas who made the image above by doing some neat python hacking on the smb sprite sheets.
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