Guns ‘n Gardens – How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse is the number one web show for DIY tips and tricks for living through the tough times. Each episode we’ll explore the in’s and out’s of the wasteland, including the best weapons, first aid and food production techniques that will help you and yours see another day. Survive.  Stay alive.   With Guns ‘n Gardens.

Let me begin with a simple admission.  I don’t know much about gardening.  Until a few weeks ago, I had never planted a seed, or maintained houseplants.  My thumbs weren’t green, they were red and swollen from playing Xbox.  I had never given much thought to the source of the fresh food I consume or its impact, but recently I’ve started to experiment with growing my own.

office_CU

I live in the city and although I have a small yard, I have to occasionally share it with a family of local raccoons and other creatures.  After several attempts at raising outdoor crops which accomplished little more than providing raccoon snacks, I decided to move my efforts indoors.

offce_bins

Two south-facing window spots offered enough sun and so I started experimenting.  Within days the various plants were all responding well and so the experiments grew.

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lv_garden

Traditional flower pots and planters were soon replaced by big black plastic storage bins from Office Depot which were less expensive and more efficient.  I MacGuvered some one-gallon water bottles into hanging topsy turvy-style planters and tried a variety of vines, including tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers and peppers.

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Hanging crops above other plants is a great way to maximize the amount of growing space and conserve water, and it wasn’t long before the notion of “hanging water bottles” was upgraded and replaced by a complete garden row of inverted plants, all in black bins with holes drilled in them, effectively doubling the garden size.  (12 ft by 1.5 ft)

lv_hanging

cuke

Initial harvests have been small as I figure out what crops work, but so far have I’ve enjoyed basil, tomatoes, romaine, yellow and burgundy beans and one tiny potato.

tomoto

royalBurg

potato

Current crops include more tomatoes, peppers, beans and cukes, plus butter lettuce, onions, sugar snap peas, bok choy, blueberries, strawberries, and a meyer lemon tree.

garden row

snappeas

PART 2) More images and details here.

We at Gomi Style are pleased to announce the launch of our new sister site: SparkyJr.com.

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Sparky Jr. is a one-stop shop for everything you need to make your own DIY videochat robot. We give you free software, instructions, templates and more – Plus a whole community of people making their own telepresence robots and rovers.  Post your projects, ask questions, and see what others are making.

The Sparky project has been featured in Make Magazine, on PRI’s Studio 360 radio show, and been presented at AFI’s DigiFest, The San Jose Museum of Art, the SFMoMA and museums and galleries throughout the country.

Click Now and join the growing community of DIY Telepresence robot builders

Sparky and Marque

Sparky and Marque

Make: Magazine has assembled a terrific profile of the Sparky project in anticipation of Maker Faire Bay Area 2009.  Read it Here.

The folks at Make are a great bunch.  They publish an essential how-to magazine and host the ultimate DIY science and art fairs all over the world.   They have always been supportive of Sparky.  Thanks Make!

hackandmac

Little Hacky, sitting on little Macky

After reading some recent Giz posts regarding the Hackintosh Netbook made with a Dell 9 Mini I was intrigued.  I needed exactly that.  A small, affordable Netbook running OS X to be used as a “control booth” for Sparky, able to run our modified Skype video chat software as well as the joystick control plug-in.

When the Dell came up for sale recently for $199 I jumped at it.  I upgraded the RAM and built-in webcam, but I mistakenly selected an 8 GB SSD hard drive.  This project would have gone sooo much easier if I had the 16 GB upgrade.  It came to about $275 with tax and shipping direct from Dell.  I also purchased a fresh 10.5.6 OS X install for about $130 and an 8 GB USB Thumbdrive for about $30.  I already owned a no-name external DVD drive (actually a CD-RW I later found out) so I thought I had everything I would need.  And patience.  Did I mention patience?  Because that’s the one thing that was really needed once I realized how many work-arounds this project would require.

hacintoshmess

Connect Mini 9, OS X, Ext HD, Ext CD-RW, 8 GB USB Flash, Dell Mini Forums and Brain

There are many posts out there with more details than I could ever provide, so I’ll skip my usual step-by-step and leave it to the pros, but I will describe our solution in a broad stroke:

Ultimately we used another Macbook to install an OS X boot disc on an external hard drive and booted up the Dell with that.  We already had an 8 GB thumbdrive prepared with a slimmed down version of the 10.5.6  installer disc and we used that to get OS X onto the Dell.  To squeeze the bulk of 10.5.6 onto an 8GB SSD, we had to sacrifice the text-to-speech voices, as well as Apple’s mail app and all the other options available during the “custom install.”  After numerous attempts we finally squeezed it down enough to fit.

As usual John C. Killed this project, ultimately delivering a perfect little Mac Netbook.  But it took patience and creativity.  It was an all-weekend, one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of  experience – mostly due to my poor choice of SSD size and thinking my external CD-RW was a DVD.  Without those two mistakes, it is entirely possible to hack a dell 9 mini into a Mac in a few hours, I’m sure.

The final cost is about $450, less than half of the cost of the cheapest Apple laptop, and about a grand less than Apple’s netbook-ish Air.  It may not have a big hard drive or internal DVD, but it’s not missing them either.  It’s meant to be a Apple netbook.  And that’s exactly what it is.

Some resources:
Original Gizmodo post
My Dell Mini Forums –  All things Dell Mini
Monolingual – for slimming down OS X
Sparky Telepresence Project 

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Watch as the GOMI crew transforms a plain, drab bedroom into a sexy playroom worthy of a rockstar – A great zero-budget makeover that you can do at home.

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Learn how to make cool functional furniture with cardboard! Gomi Style is a DIY lifestyle and design show created by San Francisco Bay Area makers, artists and engineers using found objects, recycled materials, and technology.

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