Mike Haney

Great Gifts For Electronics Geeks For Less Than $20

Fill your favorite nerd's stocking with Make's holiday gift guide

Make magazine has just put up its $20 and under holiday gift guide, chock full of starter electronics kits like a barebones Arduino and tools for your favorite tinkerer. Or if you're the only one who solders in your circle, pick up a few kits now and give away the finished product.

I've built a number of kits from Make and they're a great way to learn and hone your DIY electronics skills, with super-clear instructions. After the jump, I add my five additions to their list, with an eye toward encouraging the young hijinks-prone Makers-in-training on your list.

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Tech In Training: You Know You're Crazy When the Toenails Go

The ultrarunner's solution to a nagging problem

The first time I read that running can turn your toenails black or even make them fall off, I knew I'd found the limit to my dedication to the sport. I'll run through achey joints, sore muscles and most blisters, but toenails are sacrosanct, a permanent part of my body. Fortunately, mine have survived my handful of marathons entirely intact and properly colored.

Some, however, are being preempting the problem.

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The Fastest (and Most Dangerous) Way to Light a Grill

Go from cold to cooking in 30 seconds with a big can of liquid oxygen

About a year ago, when resident mad scientist Theo Gray pitched me a Gray Matter column on liquid oxygen, an extremely flammable energetic form of the element, he first proposed showing how to use it to light a grill nearly instantaneously. The lawyers, however, suggested we go a more tame route, so instead we showed how you could make a few drops of the hooch yourself.

But of course, when left to his own devices (and free of legal oversight), Theo couldn't help himself.

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The Best Way To Keep Vinyl Records Alive? Make Them Yourself

ProTools? Bah! Let's make some vinyl! As part of Jerszy Seymoour's Coalition of Amateurs exhibition at Luxembourg's modern-art museum, Mudam, artist Yuri Suzuki created records from scratch in an afternoon.

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Tech in Training: My Custom Running Shoes

A new brand of running shoes lets you mix and match parts for a more-precise ride, and seems to actually work

In an earlier column, I suggested that shoe reviews are often not worth much, since everyone is so different. Well, that’s exactly the logic behind the Somnio shoe I’m about to give a positive review. Somnio is the brainchild of Sean Sullivan, a long-time gear designer who created a shoe with modular parts, so you (or rather, the trained guy at the shoe store) can dial in just the right arch support and cushioning for your stride.

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The Five-Minute Review: Nike+ Sportband

Want your pace but don’t want to be a ‘Podhole? Nike’s got something for you.

While I love my fancy Garmin watch, most runners don’t need $400 worth of tech on their wrist. That’s why the Nike+ iPod system is so brilliant: cheap, stupid-simple and gives you the basic info—time, pace, distance—automatically uploaded to Nike’s training site. Which is why the utter lack of innovation since the system debuted more than two years ago has been disappointing.

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Kit of the Month: Twitter Your Home's Power Consumption

Build an energy monitor that broadcasts your energy usage to the world

Nothing motivates like peer pressure, whether it’s friends goading you into one shot too many or friends tracking your power consumption on Twitter. That’s the thinking that led Limor Fried and PopSci contributing editor Phil Torrone, circuit wizards who run the electronics-kit seller adafruit.com, to cross a small power monitor with an XBee wireless home-automation module and a few lines of code.

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Nike LunarGlide+: the Five-Minute Review

Does the space-age running shoe make a difference?

Last month, we wrote about Nike's "revolutionary" new shoe, the LunarGlide+, which promised to be all things to all people: a stability shoe when you needed the extra support, and a cushion shoe when you don't. The difference is a sandwich of new kinds of high- and low-density lightweight LunarLite foam in place of the typical hard "post" that keeps your foot from rolling excessively inward.

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Tested: The Sports Drink from Space

Can a non-astronaut benefit from--or stomach--NASA's sports drink? I downed a few bottles to find out

Editor Mike Haney is training for the New York City Marathon with all the help from high-end running tech he can get. Read his previous posts here.

Did you know that several of the NASA research centers scattered around the country keep lists on their Web sites of the technologies they have available to license and sell to the public? Neither did I, but that's why I'm not launching businesses like David Belaga is. He's the CEO of Wellness Brands, which plucked a beverage NASA developed to keep astronauts hydrated and just started selling it as The Right Stuff, a concentrate for elite athletes that want to separate their electrolyte intake from their carb intake (carbs in sports drinks typically being some form of sugar).

I consider myself more of an elite non-athlete, but on a few recent runs, I poured some Right Stuff vials into bottles of water to see if it helped keep my whistle wet.

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So We Put a Jet Turbine On Our ATV...

Meet the Whirl: the world’s first side-by-side ATV powered by a screaming 114 dB turbine

Don your Nomex firesuit and industrial-grade ear protection: It’s time to soak in some nature at 60mph. PopSci staff photographer/madman John Carnett has realized an unholy dream long in the making: an ATV powered entirely by a jet turbine.

And then he took it to the woods and pushed it to the limit; to the edge of logic, control and sanity.

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Tech in Training: Getting Deep into the Data

Editor and nerd runner Mike Haney finds motivation in Garmin's colorful moving graphs

Editor Mike Haney is training for the New York City Marathon with all the help from high-end running tech he can get. Read his previous posts here.

Despite my geeky leanings, I've typically run with tech no more complex than an Ironman watch. But in the spirit of the title of this column, I've recently been testing a number of sports watches, from Suunto, Polar, and Garmin, to see if I could gain anything from monitoring my effort (or lack thereof). So far, the one device I find myself frantically searching the house for before I head out is the new Garmin Forerunner 405CX. And not for what it puts on my wrist, sleek as it is, but for what it puts on my monitor later.

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Exclusive: Colored Bubbles Have Landed (and Popped and Vanished)

Zubbles, our long-ago prophesied soap bubbles with magically vanishing color have finally hit the market—and they’re awesome

Zubbles:  John Mahoney
The problem with working for a magazine about the future is that things don’t always—in fact, rarely—happen as you say they’re going to, and readers let you know. The call I’ve been getting harassed about for almost four years now: colored bubbles that don't leave stains.

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Tech in Training: I Am a Machine

A chosen training scheme, built for engineers

Editor Mike Haney is training for the New York City Marathon with all the help from high-end running tech he can get. Read his previous posts here

I've prepared for my past four marathons with roughly the same plan: Run as little as possible. Now I'm old and out of shape, so to stand a chance at beating my last NYC Marathon time (3:27:45), I need a training scheme that seriously puts me to work. But I don't want to just mindlessly pound out miles -- if I'm donning the Dri-Fit, I better know why.

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Tech in Training: The Search for an Online Coach

On finding an online marathon-training plan in the unlikliest of places: The Old Gray Lady.

Editor Mike Haney is training for the New York City Marathon with all the help from high-end running tech he can get. Read his previous posts here.

I don’t run for the pure spiritual joy of it, or for the sense of community or with hopes that I’ll ever win anything. I run so that I can cook with as much butter and eat as much BBQ as I want, without worrying about my gut or my arteries. So when there’s a marathon on the horizon, I need a plan that tells me when to run and for how long. Lucky for me, the New York Times just got into the coaching business.

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Tech in Training Test: Finding the Right Running Sneaks

Editor Mike Haney is aiming to run this year's New York City marathon with the assistance of all the minute-shaving running technology he can get his hands on

In 2004, I kicked a 10-year Camel Light habit and the following year ran the New York City Marathon in 3:27:45. I ran a few more after that, but never beat that time and, in the past year, have gotten wickedly out of shape.

In this new series, Tech in Training, I’ll strap on the latest gadgets, ingest the newest supplements and try out experimental techniques to see if a little science can help my nearing-middle-age body top my previous PR this November. First, we start with the basics: finding the right sneaks with the help of a state-of-the-art fitting.

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