Last-minute gift ideas for the comfort-minded and tech-conscious [Deals]

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It's time to wrap up that shopping.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The days are ticking away until you’re expected to present that special someone in your life with a thoughtful gift. If you’re stressing out about what to get, or what you might end up paying, take a look at this list of awesome gifts available at a fraction of the usual price. From DIY electronics to bluetooth speakers and even world class socks, whoever you’re shopping for, we’ve got you covered.

This cool gadget puts the weather outside into a box on your desk

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Tempescope
Yes, it even does clouds and lightning.
Gif: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac (via Ken Kawamoto)

The best way to check the weather is usually pulling up an app or website, turning on a TV, or simply going to a window and looking outside. But what if you had a gorgeous device on your desk that could actually show you what’s going on out there?

Tempescope is that pretty little thing; it simulates present and future weather conditions inside of a clear acrylic case.

This machine uses an iPhone to sort M&M’s by color

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This M&M sorting machine is powered with an iPhone. Photo: Cult of Mac
This M&M's-sorting machine is powered with an iPhone. Photo: Cult of Mac

Let’s face it. Deep in our hearts, we all know some colored M&M’s taste better than others. For me, it’s the red and green ones; for my wife, it’s the brown and orange ones. And Van Halen famously stipulated in all its contracts that the band should never be served any brown M&M’s, requiring some lowly stagehand to pick them all out by hand from a bowl before every show.

These days, things would be easier. Case in point: This simple machine, which was custom-rigged out of just an iPhone and an Arduino to individually sort M&M’s by color, no human intervention required.

DrumPants Turn Your Jeans Into Music Machines

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drumpants

Let’s admit it. You’re the best goddamn drummer your bus stop has ever seen. When “Hot For Teacher” rounds the corner on your iPhone, you transform into a radiant drumming beast. Sadly, all of your gut-busting drum sessions take place right there in your lap. Nobody can hear the majesty of your air drum solo, but thanks to the latest advances in drumming technology, now they can!

That’s pretty much the pitch for DrumPants, a set of Bluetooth LE-enabled sensors that capture triumphant thigh thumping to play more than 100 different sounds controlled by your iPhone or iPad. They’re kind of like those ridiculous Keyboard Jeans, except the sensors aren’t a part of your clothing, allowing you to attach DrumPants to anything you’re wearing. They come as both drum pads and foot pedals, so you can take your customized instrument wherever you go.

Check out the promo video below:

This Cat Tweets His Dreams From A Bed Made Of An Old eMac [Video]

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We think it’s adorable that this fat, fuzzy cat sleeps in an empty eMac fitted out with warm lights and cozy blankets, but it’s not particularly unique by itself: those old vintage all-in-one Macs have been turned into pet carriers and aquariums since time immemorial.

What sets the so-called eSleeper apart is that every time puss pushes his way in for a nap, it sends out a random tweet thanks to a controlled Arduino. And the tweets aren’t bad, although that cat certainly sleeps a lot. Less a Nyan Cat than a Nyarcoleptic one.

[via TUAW]

Maker creates iPhone controlled, solar-powered Arduino death tank

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httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmLU4GS7zAI

As a smartphone, the iPhone is hard to beat, but as a tool capable of inflicting extraordinary acts of physical violence, the handset is less impressive… even when compared to Apple’s other products.

A MacBook Air, of course, can be stealthily drawn across a carotid artery, but the iPhone’s rounded, lozenge-like design makes it a poor weapon for either stabbing or slashing. Neither can it be dropped like an anvil upon an unsuspecting brain pan, like the iMac, or used as a blunt, aluminum club, like the MacBook Pro. In battle, an iPhone — at best — can be hurled at an opponent as a distraction while you sprint, comically hooting, in the other direction. It’s a bizarre misstep in Jonathan Ives’ oeuvre of gladiatorial product designs.

Still, where Apple may have failed to deliver, enter the makers to transform the iPhone into the weapon of mass destruction it should be. Christopher Rojas took the TouchOSC application and used his iPhone to remote control a fantastic, solar-powered Arduino Tank, built out of parts from Sparkfun.