Friday, September 29, 2006

Binder Clips and Soiled Pants
Posted by Sam at 10:15 AM | tags: ,

I'd like to preface this post by mentioning that I actually constructed and photographed the following project about six months ago... before the addition of the MacBook, and the removal of the 12" Power/iBooks, from Apple's line of laptops. At the time of creation, the 12" 'Book was still available and it was the littlest laptop that Apple had to offer. Anyway, I am just now getting around to writing this tutorial. Yep, I'm just that efficient. Enjoy.

I'm not exactly sure how I discovered this. I mean, we all know that I love my PowerBook to a frighteningly abnormal extent. But even considering my unhealthy obsession, this discovery is a bit weird: My 12" PowerBook... my 2-year-old, aluminum wrapped bundle of joy... fits perfectly down my pant leg. I'll just let that sink in for a while.

Right... somehow I discovered that my 12" PowerBook, when inserted lengthwise, fits snugly in the cuff of a regular pair of corduroys. And with this newfound slice of knowledge, the obvious thing to do is to make a stylish, one-of-a-kind, laptop sleeve out of a pair of pants! Yes!

Fortunately, I'm accident prone. No, that's an understatement. I'm an accident magnet. An electromagnet. One of those huge crane operated ones that picks up junky cars and dumps them into that massive car smoosher. Yeah, that's me. I'm that magnet. And those junky cars are accidents. Accidents flock to me like bees to honey... like goth kids to the mall...

And so, considering my accident pronedness, it should be no surprise to anyone that I stained some corduroys. These cords (nothing impressive, I should add. Old Navy, sporting a standard 20 inch cuff) fell victim to an unfortunate episode of ink stainage. Conveniently, I hadn't thrown them away (I don't throw anything away. Nope. Instead, I make piles. Lots and lots of piles. I told you that I was efficient). So, when I discovered that my PowerBook fits neatly in the cuff of my replacement pants, I pulled the soiled garment from the appropriate pile and began on an irrecuperable quest of DIY self-discovery.

Feel free to follow along at home as I take you from soiled pants to stylish laptop sleeve in just 12 easy steps.

NOTE: My PowerBook clocks in at a height of 1.18 inches, and a depth of 8.6 inches. The new MacBook has a height of 1.08 inches and a depth of 8.92 inches. Let's math that out: The internal perimeter of the sleeve opening for the PowerBook needs to be 19.56 inches. The MacBook would require 19.856 inches. The difference is 0.296 inches... hardly worth mentioning... but I did anyway. My presumption is that this design will work with both the 12" 'Books and the MacBooks too. Simply increase the length of the sleeve and you should be okay. But I can't know for sure. Hmm... maybe I should write a disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: If this project doesn't work for your MacBook, and you waste valuable time and pants, I can't be held responsible. Sew at your own risk. Additionally, if anything else goes wrong... you sew your fingers together, your 'Book explodes, etc... it ain't my problem. And now, having said that, let's get this party started.

sam bot dot com's DIY Project Tutorial Number Two (there was a tutorial number one?)

Step 1 - Materials
Buy pants.

Step 2 - Preparing the Materials
Stain the pants.

Step 3 - Mental Preparation
Curse the heavens.

Step 4 - Cut the Liner Material
Okay. Let's really get this tutorial started. First, we're going to make the liner. I used an old sweatshirt (also stained) for the liner. It's soft, stretchy, and protective (just like my women), but feel free to use any other similarly featured material that you'd like. Cut out a large rectangular area... something like 22 x 24 inches (use more material for the MacBook)... large enough so you can wrap the entire 'Book in the liner material with a couple of inches to spare.

Step 5 - Hem the Liner Edge
Fold over about an inch of the liner material on the 22 inch side (fold so the smooth side will be touching your 'Book). You can safety pin / binder clip / iron the fold to keep it in place. I used safety pins here (this was before I recognized the majesty of sewing with binder clips). Sew the edge and trim off the excess.

Step 6 - Sew the Internal Side Edge
Place your 'Book on the material with the short end against the hem. Fold the material around the 'Book so that it's hugging it as it would when it's in the sleeve. Pinch the top closed with a binder clip and clip on a ruler (or any other straight edge) to use as a guide. Remove the 'Book without moving the guide. Sew along the guide and trim the excess.

Step 7 - Sew the Internal Bottom Edge
Slide the 'Book in again. Position it so that it sits right where it would when the laptop sleeve is finished (or maybe just slightly beneath that). Pinch the material at the bottom and clip on that guide again. Remove the 'Book and sew baby, sew! Then, trim baby, trim!

Step 8 - Intermission and Refueling
Test out the liner by sliding the 'Book in. Does it fit? If so, go pour yourself a beer... you've done very well so far and you deserve it! If it doesn't fit... see Step 3.

Step 9 - Everything Else
Now it's time to begin assembling the external portion (the part that's made out of pants). Turn the pants inside out and cut off the leg (make sure you leave a couple of inches more than you need... just in case). Slide the 'Book in through the pant cuff. Line up the edge of the 'Book with the edge of the cuff (you might want to recess it about .25 to .5 inches or so... just to give yourself a little buffer when the sleeve is completed). At this point, I think you know the drill: binder clip the guide ruler on, sew, and trim the excess.

Step 10 - Final Assembly
You're so close to completion. Can you taste it? Can you taste the... umm... completion? Anyway, turn the outer portion right side right, drop in the liner, and binder clip it into place. Now, sew the liner to the outer piece at about .25 inches below the rim of the sleeve. A word of caution at this point: there is A LOT of fabric for the needle to get through. Make sure your machine can handle it. I've got a no frills sewing machine and it did fine. I just had to wrestle with it a bit to get all of the material under the presser foot. So, go slowly. Or maybe go quickly. Build up momentum? I don't really know what I'm talking about. I just don't want the machine to blow up in your face, throwing needle and soiled pant shrapnel everywhere. I guess you need to do what you need to do. And besides, I wrote a disclaimer, so I'm in the clear.

Step 11 - Pray
This is it. The moment of truth. Slide your 'Book in the sleeve and observe the results.

Step 12 - Victory Dance!
Does it fit? Is it snazzy? Yea! It's victory dance time! You might want to take the 'Book out of its cozy new home and put the sleeve on your head whilst you dance... you know, just to complete the effect.

And there you have it: A DIY protective 'Book sleeve in just 12 easy steps. Geez... is there anything that can't be broken down into just 12 easy steps. I say, "if it can't be compressed into 12 easy steps, it's not worth doing."

UPDATE: I'll eventually start a flickr photo pool to showcase the finished products of those adventurous souls who attempt this tutorial. Keep me posted of the results (in the comments). And of course, feel free to make modifications/improvements as necessary. Good luck and godspeed.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Cleanse With Fire
Posted by Sam at 11:02 AM | tags:

I'm trying. I really am. I'm trying to do this blog thing the right way this time around. I'm going to post regularly, I'm going to post often, and I'm going to post about important things... like social injustice, corporate greed, and the latest Apple products. And of course, I'm going to do it all while highly caffeinated. Hooray! But I'm also going to do the RSS thing right. And that that means shifting the feed over to FeedBurner.

What is FeedBurner? Well (from their site), "FeedBurner is the world's largest feed management provider. Our Web-based services help bloggers, podcasters and commercial publishers promote, deliver and profit from their content on the Web."

Why do you care? Well honestly, you probably don't. But I do. And what this means for me is simply the ability to acquire an accurate sense of who's reading this blog anyway. And that's important because... umm... well, I like to keep tabs on the three of you.

So, if you would be so kind as to switch your subscription* over to the new feed, I'd be eternally grateful. The new feed can be found here:

Thanks guys! I love you!

*What!? You aren't a subscriber to the sam bot dot com RSS feed? Well, consider this your personal invitation. What!? You don't know how to subscribe? Here's a review of some of the best web-based news aggregators out there to help you on your way. I'd recommend checking out Bloglines.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hungry for the Taste of Human Brains
Posted by Sam at 11:02 AM | tags: ,

And speaking of Apple's icons...

Apple's Preview application creeps me the heck out. It has nothing to do with the app... in fact, it's a pretty good li'l image viewer and whatnot. It's just that... well geez, check out the creepy zombie child on the icon!? Emerging from the ocean like a prehistoric sea monster. His hands cradling something... something evil, no doubt. And what's with those eyes!? White. Vacant. Hungry for the taste of human brains.

Or is it just me?

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Me Lucky Charms Arrr Magically Delicious
Posted by Sam at 2:43 PM | tags:

Arrr... Hands off me pot o' gold, ye landlubbing barnacle!

Okay, so a bit of leprechaun got in my pirate speak. Arrr... what can ye do? Anyway, I hope you Arrr having a splendid National Talk Like a Pirate Day... and make sure you eat a lot of fruit. Scurvy season is is right around the corner.


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Installing Energon
Posted by Sam at 10:34 AM | tags:

Is it just me, or is the Mac OS X package install icon very reminiscent of an Energon Cube from the Transformers cartoon series?

Isn't that weird?

And no, I don't have anything better to do... why do you ask?

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Brazilian Metal Makes Me Drive Fast
Posted by Sam at 1:13 PM | tags: ,

Reports are flooding in concerning the new, feature-packed, yet clunky iTunes 7. I installed the beast moments after it was released... cuz I'm like that... and I must say that I'm pleased and disappointed. Simultaneously. The Gapless Audio Playback thingy worked splendidly and sounded great. The Album Cover Finder thingy worked less than splendidly. I set it to fetch my covers overnight. When I awoke this morning, I found that it had hit the halfway point and stopped... not froze... just stopped. I could still use iTunes, but I couldn't get any covers past that point.

Fine. It's software. It happens. I'm sure I'll give it another go... but what's interesting here is the album that it got hung up on: Beneath the Remains, by Sepultura.

The two times that I've been pulled over and ticketed for speeding, I was listening to that album (what can I say? Brazilian thrash metal makes me drive fast...). So geez, what's the deal with that album!? It's like cursed or some junk.

Anyway, I'll run the iTunes Album Finder thingy again tonight. If it stops at Beneath the Remains, that Album is going straight to the thrash... I mean trash.

Interestingly, and as somewhat of an aside, the first time I was pulled over listening to Beneath the Remains, it was on an audio cassette. The second time, iPod. Talk about technological extremes...

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Crunk That's Getting Me All Hot
Posted by Sam at 3:12 PM | tags:

Holy shmoly. That was a massive, jam-packed hour of new and updated Apple crunk. I'm not going to go over all of it here... there are others who can do a much more thorough job than I can. What I will mention, however, is the particular new crunk that's getting me all hot.

First up: New, big-ass capacity, 6th (5.5?) generation iPod. 80 gigs. $350. Spotlight-esque search feature. Games. And... GAPLESS AUDIO PLAYBACK! Dude. Really. Did it honestly take six generations of iPod technology to get the tracks to play without a gap between them? Well regardless, the iPod is gapless now... just like my teeth.

Next up: iTunes 7. It's got a movie store. Come on now. We all saw that coming. But interestingly, this newest iteration of iTunes comes equipped with an album cover finder. That's nice. I've been waiting for something like this for a while. It'll be interesting to see how it works and how long it'll take to get cover art for my 59.55 gig iTunes library, where not a single album has cover art attached. Once that's all set, I'll be stoked to try out the Cover Flow feature.

Finally: No iPhone. And once again, I told you so.

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It is so on...
Posted by Sam at 1:03 PM | tags:

Apple's Media Event has just begun. What's it gonna be? Only Steve knows for sure.

Some links for your perusal:
Engadget Live Event Coverage
Engadget Rumor Roundup
Gizmodo Leaked Show Itinerary
Church of Satan

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Giant Mechanized Battle Arms (Part II)
Posted by Sam at 3:55 PM | tags: ,

Time to change things up a bit. Let's stray from the usual coffee-fueled, Mac speculatory snob fest, and embark down a path seldom traveled on this blog: Design. There's a whole sambot tagegory (Oh! New term! It's mine. I call rights to the term "tagegory." I coined it! I'm number one! I'm number one!) devoted to it, yet only two posts have been tagged with it. Well hot damn! It's time for post number three.

Sprite's new SubLYMONal Obey ad campaign sucks big time. The whole point of advertising is to make the consumer want to consume without blatantly requesting that they consume... to subliminally suggest that they consume. Spite is using this tactic in an outright defiance of a tried and true standard: Subliminal Advertising. And is it working? Hell no! I don't want Sprite any more than I want giant mechanized battle arms grafted on in place of my scrawny, flesh-covered, upper appendages... battle arms equipped with lasers and grappling hooks... battle arms capable of crushing bone with ViseGrip-like strength...

Fine. Regardless of how much I really really really want giant mechanized battle arms, I don't want Sprite, I hate their logo redesign, and I will absolutely not "Obey."

Thank you for letting me get that out. Phew! I'm thirsty. To Starbucks! Starbucks... now there's a company I'll blindly obey...

(What sparked this anti-Sprite tirade, anyway? Well, I'm glad you asked. This morning, I happened to be driving behind a Sprite truck on the way home from the laundromat... umm... I guess that's it. It seemed more of a profoundly life-changing event at the time.)

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Darth Vader... He's So Dreamy
Posted by Sam at 3:31 PM | tags:

The other night, I had a dream that's been haunting me ever since. For the sake of personal therapy, and simply to get it off my chest, I'm going to share it here, on the internet. Here, where free thought, perverse and immoral by nature, runs rampant. Amidst all that is deranged and unholy, this dream will find a home. I'll spare you of the details as I offer up the gist, because... well, it's just a dream. And it doesn't mean anything. Right?

The dream, briefly: It's midday. I find myself at work (I think), which is at Media Services found in the university library (I should note, there are times at work when I do a whole lot of nothing: sitting around, shootin' the poo... as they say). This particular afternoon, I happen to be shootin' the poo with some coworkers. Specifically, I'm arguing in favor of all that is evil, by way of the following statement: "Darth Vader, he's really a cool guy once you get to know him." Yep. I'm trying to convince my coworkers that Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, is just a dude like you and me. Give him some time. Get to know him. You'll like him. Really. And no, this isn't some kind of Jedi mind trick.

However, that's not everything. Nope. I've omitted the most disturbing part. In fact, I was going to keep it to myself, but in order to truly get a sense of the haunting nature of this dream (and to get a frightening glimpse into the haunting nature of my psyche) I feel that it too needs to be shared. Full disclosure. Here we go: Darth Vader was, of course, sporting his typical gloss black helmet and face plate. Though, instead of his usual black cape and ominous attire, he was wearing jeans and a button down shirt... tucked in! From the neck down, he looked like... a dad!? And as I tried to convince my coworkers of his coolness, Vader was just standing there behind me... casually looking around, hands in his pockets, timidly kicking the carpeting with his white, tragically unstylish, sneakers. *Shiver!* It gives me the heebie-geebies just thinking about it!

For the record, I do not think Darth Vader is a cool guy. Well, I guess that's not really true. He is a cool guy... black cape, deep voice, strangling people with his mind... all cool things. I just can't condone some of things he's done (you know, like strangling people with his mind). But anyway, there you have it. Psychology students, start your dream analysis engines! And please, try to refrain from the obvious interpretation of, "Sam, you're just a tremendous dork." Because... well, I've gotten to that one on my own, thank-you-very-much.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Posted by Sam at 5:41 PM | tags:

Let the Macintosh bloggery flow! It's been too long...

The twelfth of... wait a minute. Twelfth? Is that right? It looks wrong. In fact, I don't think that I've ever actually spelt out the word "twelfth" before. Wait a minute... spelt? Is that a word? Spelled? Umm... let's start this post over:

The 12th of September is likely to be a very special day for Apple's legion of devoted, white-plastic-lovin', obeying-Steve-Jobs'-every-hint-of-a-command, fans. According to trustworthy sources (i.e. The internet), next Tuesday will bring an announcement of epic proportions... or epic disappointments. Either way, it's bound to be epic.

And with the announcement of a scheduled announcement comes, of course, the onslaught of rumor, speculation, and general Mac-fueled excitement. On the rumor table we can find the all of the usual suspects: iPhone, iTunes Movie Store, Widescreen Video iPod... it's all the same stuff. No surprises, right? I'm not so sure.

Let's take this one step at a time. A couple of days ago, Apple quietly released a 24" iMac... Apple's prosumer Mac. It's a pretty impressive machine, yet it slipped by with nary a whisper. So, if something like that gets no coverage, then this Tuesday's announcement is gonna be hot! Conversely, I've just read that the Steve is not going to be giving the announcement. The Steve likes to promote the big stuff personally. A small announcement then? Not quite. MacNN is reporting that Apple filled a patent for a multifunction handheld. iPhone? I'm growing tired of saying it, and it's becoming more and more likely that I'm going to be proven wrong, but Apple is not making a cell phone. A PDA-like device? Oh god... that would be a dream come true. So, clearly that's not going to happen. Then what the hell is it gonna be!? Movie Store. My money is on an iTunes Movie Store.

And only time will tell.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Caffeinated Threat Level: SEVERE
Posted by Sam at 3:07 PM | tags: ,

After two of these Starbucks caffeine bombs, separated by one hour and one sugar-coated blueberry muffin, I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty darn good.

Caffeine status: comfortably above normal.
Sugar level: not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I'm beginning to worry, however. The cafeteria, the source of caffeinated bliss, closes at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays, and here I sit in the library, studying dutifully (what? Blogging counts as studying. Duh!) as the hands of destiny (or Timex... whatever) gently tick away. With each passing stroke, their calming tick becomes less of a steady count of time and more of a deafening reminder... a countdown to certain peril.

Now, a slippery 2:51 p.m. and the caffeine supply is slowly dwindling down to the bottom-of-the-cup dregs. My productivity dwindles with it. What to do, what to do...

Thankfully, the good people at Starbucks had the foresight to create... and the committee in charge of purchasing at Quinnipiac University had the foresight to purchase... Iced Coffee in a Can. Yes, it's true. Starbucks coffee. Iced. In a can. Yours for the inflated campus store price of only $2.29 a hit. Truly a godsend in times of need... troubled times like these, where one is forced to wonder whether there really is a God and if so, why is he so cruel (why would God close the cafeteria when I am in desperate need of coffee? Why, God? Why?). But now, with the availability of Iced Coffee in a Can, my faith has been renewed. God lives and is producing miracles daily! Now if you'll kindly excuse me, I'm off to the campus store to drop a couple of bucks in exchange for an 11 ounce can of heaven.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: As was previously assumed, God is in fact, dead. The campus store is currently closed, thus disabling one's capacity for Iced Coffee in a Can procurement. Spread the word my dear readers: God is dead and is no longer performing miracles daily. My sincerest apologies for the confusion.

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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When I Turn 30...
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