Category Archives: Gadgets

All those toys we love.

iPhone Headset Won’t Work? It’s Stuck in Headphone Mode – Here’s the Fix

Discovering that the person on the other end of the phone can’t hear you talk, especially while driving on the freeway, is frustrating, scary and dangerous. Is your headset broken? Is it the iPhone itself? Do you need to repair or replace? Very frustrating.

However, as I recently learned, it’s likely a simple issue called “headphone mode” – the setting the iPhone automatically switches into when you listen to music with standard headphones (not the headset with the microphone and button). If the headphones are removed the wrong way (what that is, I do not know), the iPhone might think you still have them inserted and won’t respond correctly when you try to use the earpiece.

A call to the Apple technician recommended rapidly plugging and unplugging the headphones. However, that didn’t work for me. The other option was to restore the iPhone, erasing all my contacts, photos, etc.

Before doing that, I tried one last thing that worked immediately. Here’s what to do:

  1. Put your iPhone into iPod mode with the headphones plugged in
  2. Unplug the headphones. iPhone goes back to regular mode.

Voila, the problem is solved. Enjoy.

Totally Cool: Propane Torch with Push Button Igniter

Turbo blast trigger. I’ll take a couple of these, thanks.

  • Ideal for melting ice or burning weeds on sidewalks and driveways
  • Attaches readily to propane tanks
  • Push button igniter ignites torch without matches
  • Wand comes with a flow valve and turbo blast trigger

from Harbor Freight for just $29.

Propane Torch with Push Button Igniter

UPDATE: I finally bought one of these to disassemble for a project and was somewhat disappointed. The threading on it is reversed, most likely for safety, but not useful for repurposing. I had to spend a few extra dollars but had good results with this torch instead.

Video: Brush Clearing Monster Machine Shreds a Minivan

What guy hasn’t fantasized about a machine that can tear apart practically anything in its path? This Slashbuster brush cutter is just the thing to have on hand anytime you find yourself trapped deep in the Darien, or deep in an automotive graveyard. 

Now, I’m more of an environmentalist than most people tend to be, but I have to respect the destructive power of these tools. Check out how this thing flattens a 14″ diameter tree by simply lowering the 52″ blade down on it.

The DIY Microwave Welder

First, and foremost: do NOT attempt this project if you do not have a thorough and in-depth understanding of the nature of the components that are involved. The current involved can easily kill you.

That said, here is a three-part video series on how to repurpose the large transformers from two microwave ovens into your own stick/arc welding unit, using the steps provided in this instructable. It involves rewinding the transformers with a heavier gauge wire, and connecting them in series to produce enough power to blast the welding rods and material.

Good luck!

Continue reading The DIY Microwave Welder

DIY Project: Cut-and-Fold Paper iPhone

When the iPhone was announced I was really eager to see how it would look in person, size up against my RAZR, how it might fit in my hand, etc. They weren’t going to release it for a few months still, so using the photos and dimensions posted online, I designed a PDF file that lets you print, cut and fold your very own paper iPhone. It got a lot of attention online (someone even tried to sell one on eBay) and is one of Sneakmove’s most popular posts.

Here’s the original post from Sneakmove – go ahead and make one yourself.

Continue reading DIY Project: Cut-and-Fold Paper iPhone

DIY Project: Make Your Own Paper iPod Nano Case

I was working at Wired magazine when the iPod Nano was announced, early September 2005. MacWorld was happening a few blocks away, but I couldn’t leave to check it out that day. Late in the morning, I saw the first photo of the Nano on a coworker’s monitor. Initial reaction: “Wow, that fake ‘tiny iPod’ ad is pretty funny.” An hour later I realized it wasn’t fake – and immediately became infatuated.

By the end of the week I owned two Nanos and created a successful “DIY iPod Nano Case” project post on Sneakmove. Here’s the post and original template for you to use, update, enjoy, etc.

Continue reading DIY Project: Make Your Own Paper iPod Nano Case