Hi, all. Chris here. I spent a bunch of time trying to research something last night, and I'm still not sure I'm any more informed than I was before I started. So, I thought I might solicit the very smart and helpful ManMade audience, and let the experts weigh in.
My household needs a new remote control. We've been using the stock one that came with our receiver, plus all the individual remotes for our streaming devices. Currently, it requires at least two of them to select a source, start a show or movie, and ride the volume. The main remote, which used to work with most features, has been slowly dying, and now it can't even select a source or change the volume. I tried opening it up and cleaning the contacts, but it didn't really make a difference. So, new remote time.
Happy Monday, ManMakers! Today, I'm super excited to share an exclusive project with you. It's an excerpt from the new book Build Stuff with Wood, which is all about making cool woodworking projects with the most basic of tools.
The book is written by Asa Christiana, the former editor of Fine Woodworking magazine, and, I'm proud to say, a close friend of mine and all-around good guy. It features a variety of everyday objects you can make armed only with a cordless drill, a circular saw, and a jigsaw, plus a small palm router on one or two. There's a section on setting up a workspace, building a basic tool kit, and how to get great furniture-quality results from construction-grade tools. (Plus, a nice section on shop safety featuring a few photos of yours truly.) Plus, the intro is written by Nick Offerman, so...enough said!
Sponsored by the DIYZ® app
I love the idea of combining modern technology with natural textures. I keep my tablet in a case made from an old linen-covered notebook, and my sleek and shiny DSLR in a worn brown leather bag. So, I wanted to make a simple place to house my smartphone, while warming it up a bit. I went with the most natural thing I could think of: a big slab of forest tree.
I like this design for a DIY wooden smartphone charging station because it fits the charging cable nicely, but it isn't stuck in place, so you can remove and use it elsewhere without the stand.
Enough talk! Let's make one!
Yesterday, I offered the thesis that if you're only going to learn to tie one knot, it should be the bowline: it's simple, can be easily untied, and is incredibly versatile for all sorts of situations.
And all that is true. But, it's not the "knot" I employ most often. Because the reality is, most of us don't handle rope on a daily basis. We do, however, in the age of smartphones and podcasts and the entire history of recorded music available at your fingertips, engage with another long, stringy thing that needs to be dealt with on the regular: your headphones.
Or ear buds. Or ear phones. Or whatever you call those wired transducers that deliver all that sweet, sweet audio to your brain. And because you take them with your everywhere, they regularly get knotted and tangled up in your pocket or bag.
This is completely unnecessary. Because there's a five-second "knot" that can completely eliminate this problem, and it doesn't take any longer than other storage methods. So, now, I present to you, the actual most useful knot in the world.
It might not happen with every smartphone and car stereo combo, but if you know what we're talking about, this tip is for you. You get in, you fasten your seat belt, you turn the car on, you plug in your phone, and....
THE. SAME. &*$%. SONG. COMES. ON. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Of course, you've figured out why this devilish contrivance occurs. It's the song who's title comes first alphabetically in your library. On my phone, it's A.M. 180 by Grandaddy; on my wife's, it's Vampire Weekend's A-Punk. And I actually And it just... starts playing, at whatever volume your stereo is set to.
Here's how to stop that first song from playing when your plug your phone into your car:
Remember when you were a kid, and you never went inside during the summer, except to ask permission from your parents to run around the neighborhood with that new kid you just met, or to get another PB&J, which you promptly marched right back outside?
Let's all do that again. Let's embrace bare feet, and staying up too late, and smell like chlorine and sunscreen. Let's have a summer.
These are thoughts, the artwork, the news stories, the tools, the food, the conversations, and whatever else we just can't get out of our heads this month.
Most of the time, the whole point of going on a hike or camping trip is to get away from technology. We couldn't agree more. But the truth is, most of us still carry our smart phones for emergency calls, wayfinding, and camera possibilities, all in a single package. Our vote? Turn off the email and the Twitter alerts, and take advantage of the way your phone can enhance your trip. Just make sure your protect it from the weather.
Podcasts. You know 'em. You listen to 'em. You're moved by them. You laugh and are entertained by them. But are you inspired by them? Do they light a fire under your butt and make you want to get into your work space as fast as possible? Do they make you want to complete your workout faster so you can get home and make stuff? Do they make you thankful for your creative bent, and the creative work of others?
Here's our thinking: podcasts, as a medium, are great accompaniment for a lot of things. There are certain podcasts you listen to on your commute, specific shows that work best for cleaning the house or cooking dinner, those to
In the era of advanced smart phone filters, it's not difficult to make your images look like something more than a snapshot. But, more often than not, these images don't look textural or vintage or interesting, they just look... filtered. It's not a je ne se quoi, it's an I know exactly se quoi — it's also my favorite Instagram filter.
This post is sponsored by DIYZ
The story goes like this: I'll wake up early...usually on a Saturday, or perhaps the Monday of a three day weekend. I'll pull on my work jeans — not the trashed, paint-splattered ones; just the wornout pair with the ever growing hole in the right knee I need to patch. I'll tie my workboots, and grab a few quick measurements before I head out the door. I always remember to put the tape measure in my pocket to take it with me. Today is project day.
And I'll get to the home improvement store, and I'll wander the aisles, and I'll realize: I have no idea what I'm doing. I need more information, more measurements, more details. So, I'll desperately look up something on my phone, but the reception in the back of this huge concrete box isn't good enough. Plus, all those content farms have tricked the search engines so that the quality of information that comes up is poor, and so generic that I struggle to trust it.
Plus, maybe I have the basic materials figured out, but what tools do I need? Do I have the right screws, or are all mine too short or have the wrong head type? And - for goodness sakes - do I need another pack of #2 Phillips driver bits? (Thankfully, that one is easy. Yes. The answer is always yes. )
Like many of our readers, I’m a huge audiobook and podcast guy. I actually have to set aside intentional space to just sit alone with my own thoughts and think, because if I’ve got any mundane tasks to do around the house and nobody else is home, I’m rocking some auditory learning…
When Google Glass was first demo'd and prototyped among the public a few years ago, most of the cultural conversation was the same: it's super interesting and functional, and looks absolutely ridiculous.
But...what if they didn't? What if the same tech could be embedded into something way less....Google Glass-y?
There's no better way to say: I freaking love projects like this. Reddit user mxmln23 used the case from a stylish vintage radio, and did some clever hacking that allows it to become a wireless speaker that can stream from Spotify, Google Music, SoundCloud music player, Apple Airtunes, web radio stations, and Last.FM.
It's a whole lot easier to remember to charge that phone when it's secured in a spiffy looking block. We made a simple cube charging station out of reclaimed pallet wood.
This is real MacGyver territory. I've been stuck in a handful of urban survival situations and the inevitably dying phone battery is by far one of the more pressing issues. Most important will of course be immediate safety, shelter, water and food, etc., but it's likely that the use of a phone will help you secure those things. And when the power is knocked out it can be a real challenge.
Fun fact of the day: a whole heap of National Parks (and National Monuments, Recreation Areas, and the like) each have their own regularly updated Instagram accounts. If you think about it, it makes sense; what these spaces have to offer - nonstop visual inspiration, scenic landscapes, education, and a cure for your wanderlust - work excellently for the format. It's exactly the kind of stuff you want to see for a little midday motivation.
This year, the US National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary, so we're sharing our favorite National Parks and related accounts to help you find the perfect spot for your next adventure.
Spotify has completely revolutionized my music-listening experience. Their browsing feature and Discover Weekly playlist has made into a much hipper dude and generally increased my quality of life, no joke. However it was only recently that I discovered a whole host of new Spotify streamable options, turning the widening gyre all over again.
Right now, the three TV shows that my wife and I are in the midst of - Love, Togetherness S2, and Girls S4 share one (though probably more) thing in common: they all make great use of music. Good scores, yes, but also amazing pop songs that give each show a cohesive vibe, emotional weight, and has me reaching for that Shazam button non-stop.
Of course, with the way movies and TV shows work, they play four bars of a song to set the tone, then drop the music so the actors can be heard and the story moved forward. So, by the time the phone is grabbed and the app opened, the opportunity is usually lost. Sure, you can pause and rewind, but that