Poor Man’s SONOS: How To Make a Badass Bluetooth Audio System from Amo Box and Old Radio Shack Speakers

My badass, poor-man's semi-portable bluetooth amplified speaker system
My badass, poor-man’s semi-portable bluetooth amplified speaker system has sound that compares to the Sonos system.

Who needs the fancy Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth wireless rechargeable speakers? Or your fancy SONOS systems?

Here’s my morning project… a do-it-yourself semi-portable amplified Bluetooth speaker system made out of my grandfather’s amo box. If you already have a pair of decent speakers, this system will set you back exactly $44.84 and give you sound that competes with a $300 SONOS (although the Sonos software is really cool and Wifi range is much better than 20-25 feet of Bluetooth).

If you don’t have the fortitude for this, here’s the link to buy the Sonos for the best price I could find online ($199 on Amazon).

Parts include:

  1. A pair of speakers. I used a pair of Radio Shack Minimus 7 speakers. They don’t make them like this anymore, kids. Before there were websites, the audio mags used to rate these as the best. Again- you can bring whatever nice speakers you already have.
  2. A Bluetooth receiverBelkin F8Z492TTP Bluetooth Music Receiver (1K plus four star rating on Amazon, and can’t beat the $24.99 price). *** Update- the Homespot NFC Bluetooth is $27.99 and worth the extra $3 because the range is better and it beeps when it’s paired. According to Amazon reviewers, it sounds better too.
  3. An amplifier. You probably already have one, but I LOVE the sound of this puppy and it’s dirt cheap: “Lepai” LP-2020A Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply (awesome sound for $16.85, and we’re talking 1,500 almost 5-star ratings). I think this is the best tech bargain I’ve seen in my life.
  4. Accessories: The bluetooth receiver and amplifier come with power cords and audio connectors. So all you need is some speaker wire, glue, and an extension cord.

Wish you could hear it. It’s pretty bold. Nice whoop-ass Redneck acoustical system for the pool or home. Another update Jan. 11, 2014: I just cranked it and asked a buddy and his kids to close their eyes. They picked this rig over the Sonos playing the exact same song!

The instructions are simple and, of course, you don’t need the amo box. But it’s nice if you want to move it around.

  1. Plug the speakers into the Lepai amp speaker inputs. Plug the Lepai amp in the wall. You can handle that, right?
  2. Plug the Homespot (or Belkin) Bluetooth receiver into the amplifier photo/audio input. Plug the power in the wall.
  3. Get your iPhone, iPod or laptop and “find” the Homespot or Belkin, then pair them.
  4. Turn on the sound of your device (no special app required) and it comes booming out the speakers like audible love!

Let me know if it works for ya? I can’t believe more people don’t do this!

Do You Need a Google Chrome Cast? Yes if You’re a YouTube Binger.

google chromecast wiresIt looks like a thumb drive and it has the Google Chrome logo on it. What is that thing called the Google Chromecast, and do you need one? If you already have a Roku or AppleTV, does the Chromecast get you anything new?

Well if you’re a YouTube binger, the answer is a certain yes.

This device launched in July, but is probably the least understood product Google has ever made. It’s basically a $35 easy-to-install dongle that plugs into a television’s HDMI input and allows you to stream video and audio via Wifi. The catch is that it only works with select apps like YouTube, Netflix and Google play. By contrast, Roku, TiVo and AppleTV are more full-serviced tools/services for grazing video via select services.

Unlike  other streaming-video gadgets (Roku, TiVo, AppleTV), Google Chromecast has a fairly defined use. If you’re watching a YouTube or Netflix video on a computer, phone or pad, you can easily “fling” it to an HDTV to share with others. This is a handy feature if you’d prefer to use a device to control an experience, rather than a remote.

To set it up, you:

  1. Plug in the Chromecast into the back of your television via HDMI input (the packaging is a bit deceptive, because you also need to power it with an additional cord that goes into a wall).
  2. “Find” the Chromecast via your device’s blue tooth, then you connect the Chromecast  with your device’s app.
  3. The next time you’re snacking on a video on your device, you can choose to play it on your TV via the Chromecast.

I still like Roku because it gives me easy access to Netflix and Amazon Prime, and the remote makes life fairly simple. But I can see Google Chrome as more than a  poor-man’s Roku. If you watch a lot of YouTube, it’s a no-brainer. You get all the benefits of your “lean forward” binging (searching, subscribing, related videos) but via a large-screen “lean back” experience.

I can think of another use that would alone justify its $35 price… if you travel a lot, it’s a nice way to watch Netflix from a hotel room without crowding a laptop. Of course you’ll need wifi.



Black Poisonous Snake on Windshield in Australia

G'day, mate. It's hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?
G’day, mate. It’s hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?

So these Australian mates found a red belly black snake on their windshield.

Bloke named Ben Lehmann turned on his windshield wipers on the viper, but that didn’t work. The snake manages to slither along the driver’s side window, and holds tight even as the car begins to pick up speed.

The video is titled “Red Belly Black vs. Leemon in the UTE part one…” and part two. And here’s the coverage in the Telegraph. The UK’s DailyMail has the best coverage here.Just love this crap. Just love it. Watch the language… it bites.

So that reminds me… a guy was at a movie theater last week to see the Catching Fire debut. He notices what looks like a snake sitting next to him. “Are you a snake?” asked the man, surprised. “Yes.” “What are you doing at the movies?” The snake replied, “Well, mate, I liked the book.”


Blip.tv Deleted Me

Blip.tv closed me accountI didn’t care much when some of the online video sites retired “consumer generated” accounts, and killed my Nalts channels. Metacafe, Revver, Yahoo video, Google video. But I’ve been rooting for the Blip.tv underdog since its infancy. So when I learned today they deleted my account, I felt totally betrayed.

Blip.tv is now owned by Internet studio, Maker. They’ve never much liked me, unfortunately.

Here’s one of my early articles of Blip sharing ad revenue. An article about how it paid better than other ad-sharing properties. And one of my favorite blog posts ever… my experience with Blip.tv’s awesome customer service in 2006 when founder Mike Hudack actually answered my call during dinner.

Unfortunately many of my Blip.tv videos are gone for good… not uploaded to other video-sharing sites and not backed up. Whey they began killing some accounts I wasn’t surprised. I expected some of my secondary “staging” accounts at Blip.tv to go away, so I backed them up. But didn’t expect they’d kill my Nalts one. :(

Part of my Internet youth died today. Not since Revver closed shop has the internet made me so sad.

Et, tu, Blip? Et tu?

Blip.tv killed me after 7 loyal years
Blip.tv killed me after 7 loyal years


Best Guerilla Campaign of 2013: Walhub Sneaks Into Ikea

The creators of the Walkhub snuck batches of the devices into Ikea and captured hidden camera responses of intrigued customers... who of course couldn't purchase them but got them free.
The creators of the Walkhub snuck batches of the devices into Ikea and captured hidden camera responses of intrigued customers… who of course couldn’t purchase them but got them free.

The creators of Walhub, an electrical switch cover that has storage features, snuck a batch of products into Ikea to demonstrate demand. It’s a clever way to put a new product on a radar, and connect it with an existing brand (Ikea) without, of course, permission. I proclaim “Hacking Ikea,” featured in Adage, the best guerilla campaign of 2013. If you know of something more clever, let me know!

I can only suggest 3 things to improve it:

  • I wanted to know the people behind the stunt. Text overlay in introductions are cold, people. How about hearing briefly from the creators? Make us care about their plight. Make us believe they’re creative artists who built something cool but don’t have the retail muscle of the big boys. And be sure that the average video grazer knows that many of the “victims” got free products (which is only obvious when watching most of the video).
  • Team should focus viral-video seeding on the YouTube version not the Vimeo one. The latter may be for groovy artists, but YouTube views beget views. In general, if you can get people viewing a YouTube video, it will produce more downstream views for two reasons: first, it will SEO optimize. Second, it will show up as a “related” video when YouTube’s algorithm senses it’s being shared. I’m still perplexed as why anyone would ever seed a video that’s not on YouTube.
  • Laughter behind the camera. This is something I discovered accidentally when creating Farting in Public because I didn’t have hidden mics and fancy equipment. We want to hear the crew laughing. It’s an authentic laugh track.




How Did AOL Beat Google/YouTube in Online-Video Advertising?

Surprising news from NPR about the implication of AOL buying Adap.tv.

AOL is now above Google/YouTube in online-video advertising views. In ComScore’s Web video rankings for September, AOL topped Google as the property with the most video ads watched last month, with 3.7 billion views compared to the YouTube parent’s 3.2 billion.


AOL's purchase of Adap.tv puts it above Google in online-video ads.
AOL’s purchase of Adap.tv puts it above Google in online-video ads.

This is a bit misleading, however. Google/YouTube’s income and profit from video ads is likely far higher than Adap.tv and some AOL ads. Adap.tv is an intermediary, and much of the revenue from its advertising income is shared with both the creator of the video or the site where the video appears.

Here’s an example. AOL sealed a partnership with ESPN to syndicate ESPND clips on AOL Web sites, including owned sites like Huffington Post, and onto connected devices through its AOL On app. That means when advertisers pay AOL, much of that revenue is shared with ESPN and some would be shared with non-AOL sites where the videos are further syndicated.

Of course Google/YouTube also pays its content creator a portion of the revenue. But when you buy an ad with Google/YouTube, there’s no ad network involved to take a split. And because Google/YouTube hosts its own videos, they don’t need to share with another site or syndicator.

This explains why AOL is partnering with A-list celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jonathan Adler to either host or star in original Web series for its AOL On Network, the company’s video platform. Ads around these types of program deals don’t have to be shared with anyone except the creators and AOL. Advertisers will pay far more to be a part of custom programing if it gets decent views. AOL can snatch even more if it can get a sponsor or exclusive advertiser.

How Much Money Does Jenna Marbles, Smosh and Toby Turner Make on YouTube?

Jenna Mourey (Jannamarbles) makes $4.3 million. Smosh makes $5.7 million. And Toby Turner (TobyGames) makes $4.2 million.

That’s according to this infographic, so it’s got to be true.

One of the top reasons people visit WillVideoForFood is to read about how much money YouTubers make. Read more…

how, much, money, youtube, stars, jennamarbles, toby, turner, smosh, jenna, marbles, make, 2013
How much money do youtube stars make?


What Percent of Us Have Uploaded a Video? Why?

"Oh, this is going viral, Claire."
“Oh, this is going viral, Claire.”


One in four people (25%) of Americans have uploaded a video, according to a recent Pew Research report.

That’s driven by two factors:

  • Mobile — more than 40% of us record video on our cell phones and 40% watch videos on our tiny screens.
  • Social media uptick going from 8% in 2005 to 72% in 2013.

The percent of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69 in 2009 to 78 in 2013. Here’s a little video of results, although I’ve pretty much stolen its thunder.



Online-Video Ad Spending Up 24% Amid “Historic High” in Online Advertising Revenue

Happy sales reps at digital media properties.
Happy sales reps at digital media properties.

Digital video brought $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24 percent over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion. This according to recent report by the The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Some additional highlights

  • Internet ad revenues grew to a unprecedented $20.1 billion in the first half of 2013. That’s an 18 percent increase over 2012’s first-half ad revenues of $17 billion.
  • Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145 percent, from $1.2 billion in the same period in 2012.
  • Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7 percent from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012.
  • Display-related advertising revenues (the category that includes online-video ad spending) in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30 percent of revenues in the time period. That’s up 9 percent from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012 — but as mentioned the video portion of this is up 24 percent.
  • The top three advertising verticals accounted for 46 percent of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20 percent, Financial Services at 14 percent and Automotive at 12 percent
  • Online advertising spending predictions through 2016
    eMarketer predicted more  growth than this new IAB report shows.

In an eMarketer report earlier this year, the forecast growth for all of 2013 was expected to be 14%, reaching $118.4 billion.


Here’s a chart I made based on IAB’s reported first-half of the year data just to give you a general sense of growth over time. Sorry it’s backwards. My excel skills are rusty.

Note: Spending is for first half of each year only. Source: IAB, Oct. 2013.
Note: Spending is for first half of each year only. Source: IAB, Oct. 2013.

Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank: Carrie Movie Promotion

Carrie Coffee shop prankA man spills his coffee. A woman gets angry. Using telekinetic power, she sends him flying upward against a wall. Then she sends coffee tables sliding away with the wave of her hand. Finally she screams, and pictures fly off the wall and books fly to the ground.

I present to you the “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise.”

This is one of the best pranks I’ve seen, and it’s also a masterful promotion for Carrie, the new movie adaptation of Stephen King’s classic. So it wins the official 2013 WillVideoForFood Best Viral Video Promotion award.