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December 22, 2011

DIY Pringles Can Speaker


The opening paragraphs of Brent Butterworth's November 2, 2011 Sound and Vision article follow.

Can you get better sound from a speaker with an infinite performance/price ratio?

I predict that 2011 will be for audio what 1962 was for the art world. In 1962, Andy Warhol's first solo shows in Los Angeles and New York swept away the prevailing aesthetic ethos of the era, demonstrating to the world that a Brillo pad box could be a work of art. In 2011, Pringles — yeah, the snack brand — swept away the assumptions of audio engineers and enthusiasts, proving to everyone that a mere potato chip can could be a speaker.

The Pringles can speaker [above and below*]


is a simple speaker/amplifier assembly designed to snap onto the top of a Pringles can. It's powered by three AA batteries, packs a single 2-inch driver, and has a hard-wired cable tipped with a 3.5mm stereo plug. Plug it into a smartphone, an MP3 player or a computer, flip the power switch, and you've got — well, sound.

Pringles' magnanimous deal was simple: Send in your receipt from the purchase of four Super Stack cans, and Pringles mails you a speaker. For free. You didn’t even have to pay shipping. Sadly, the deal ended on October 31. (I'd love to have published this before the offer ended, but the speaker didn’t arrive until October 29 — nearly 12 weeks after I sent in my receipt.)

Those thousands of snack and/or sound enthusiasts who are now listening through the world's cheapest audio system ever in the history of the universe have to be wondering: How do I get maximum performance from a speaker that snaps onto the top of a potato chip can? Lucky for them, I'm here to help — and so is my Clio FW audio analyzer.

Cranking Up the Super Stack

You're probably thinking there’s no way a free speaker snapped onto the top of a Pringles can could sound good. Well, that depends on the context. Compared to a great little Bluetooth speaker like the  Soundmatters FoxLv2, the Pringles can speaker is pretty bad. Compared to the tiny Veho 360BT, it sounds awesome.

To me, the most important question was: Does the Pringles can speaker sound better than the speakers built into my laptop? Yes, it does. Vastly better. It plays much louder, for one thing. It delivers just a hint of bass, but my laptop speakers deliver no bass at all. Voices don’t sound great, but they’re a lot clearer and more present than with my laptop speakers. Sure, the can speaker sounds bright, tinny and unnatural. But playing at 60 to 65 dBC SPL at a distance of 0.5 meters, it's good enough for background music while I’m working, and adequate to fill a room with Internet radio sourced from my cell phone.

But could I do better?

Read the rest of Butterworth's article here and here

*Caption for the photo above of the back of the Pringles can speaker: "The rear panel of the Pringles Can Speaker; the design includes a vent (visible below the battery compartment) that blows sound out the back, using the can as a resonator to boost bass — tinkering with the absorptiveness of the can's interior proved to be the key to getting better performance." 

[via my Los Angeles correspondent]

December 22, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Highlighter Fountain Pen


From the website:



In the shops there's very little alternative to the usual 'markers' or 'highlighters' that originated in 1962 in Japan and were marketed in extra-broad, felt-tip form as 'Hi-Liters' in the USA.


No doubt these will continue to dominate the market, which doesn't prevent us from offering you this very special, exclusive implement for 'finding your way' through your files: it's made by the well-known firm of Pelikan in their Hanover factory.


• Extra-broad stainless steel nib

• Transparent methacrylate plunger refill pen

• Uses fluorescent yellow ink (30 ml bottle included)



December 22, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

bookofjoeTV — slowly but surely, the inchoate beast approaches

Screen Shot 2011-12-20 at 9.44.53 AM

Above, a snapshot of bookofjoeTV as it currently exists: a YouTube channel with eight videos made by me over the past five years.

An auteur knows that "A work of art is never finished, only abandoned," as Paul Valéry wrote.

But I digress.

My output doesn't look so paltry next to that of, say, Terrence Malick, who took 20 years between pictures ("Days of Heaven" in 1978 and "The Thin Red Line" in 1998).

In any event, the pace at boj Studios is picking up: consider that four of my eight videos appeared this year, the first signs of life on my channel in three years.

And the year's not even over yet.

As constant readers will know, my intention is to bring live TV to this venue, preferably not "real soon now" but while I'm still compos mentis enough to know a Ponzi from a ponzu (I just made that up but you can pretend you did to impress friends and colleagues).

But I digress yet again.

With my iPhone 4S in hand and many devices and accessories appearing on an almost daily basis to enable its easy use, live streaming video appears finally within reach.

Stay tuned.

On another note entirely, have you noticed that in the past week or so posts have taken a distinctly more personal tone?

I have — and I have no good explanation for why.

There's always the possibility of a silent TIA, but in general those create a deficit rather than gain.

You say that appears to be the case?

Go away.

If you have thoughts on any of this, you know what to do — the comments section isn't up top with pride of place on the bookofjoe home page, unlike almost every other website/blog where they're buried if they're allowed at all, for nothing....

December 22, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sword Handle Umbrellas


All manner of handles, from broad swords to samurai.

From $19.99.

[via This Is Why I'm Broke]

December 22, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Germs on a Plane


What to Do When Stuck at 30,000 Feet Next to Sneezers and Coughers

1. Hydrate

2. Clean your hands

3. Avoid seat-back pockets

4. Avoid airline pillows and blankets

5. Use a disinfecting wipe on tray tables

6. Open your air vent and aim it so it passes just in front of your face 

7. Try to change seats if near a cougher, sneezer or someone who looks feverish 

[via Scott McCartney and the Wall Street Journal]

December 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

SPAM Mints


Mmmm, Spam.


It was just four months ago tomorrow that SPAM Lip Glaze appeared in this space.


Alas, though the mints are SPAM-shaped, they're cinnamon-flavored.


[via The Green Head]

December 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Make everything OK

Screen Shot 2011-12-20 at 9.21.29 AM


Screen Shot 2011-12-20 at 9.21.40 AM

was easy.

Screen Shot 2011-12-20 at 9.21.53 AM

[via Richard Kashdan, who knows a thing or three about the transformative power of an idea]

December 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cotton Napkins on a Roll


What took so long?


 Placemats also available.


"Can be washed up to six times."


I wonder what happens if you wash them a seventh time.


That's so typical of my way of thinking, always wanting to find out what happens if you try this or that, never leaving well enough alone.


Probably my worst — and best — personality trait.


But I've digressed.


From the website:


These limited-use napkins and placemats by Spain-based MYdrap are made from 100% cotton and come on rolls of 12.

The perforated cotton allows the user to simply tear a placemat or napkin off the roll as necessary and enhance any table in a snap.

They can be washed up to six times and are recyclable and biodegradable.

Keep them in your home or office drawer for emergencies.

Take them on a picnic as an elegant alternative to paper.

They also make a fantastic host gift.


Still not convinced?

Why not waste a little more time by watching the video?

I mean, we both know you're getting any work done this week, just watching the clock till you can make an early escape.

Been there all too many times — and done that.

Per roll, $25-$36 depending on size.

December 22, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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