Prep for the holidays using tech you already haveIn this week's episode, we get you geared up for the holidays using your smartphone to send festive greetings. Plus, we show you two DIYs that are great for gift-giving.
[MUSIC] Hello. And welcome to CNET's The Fix. The show about do it yourself tech and how-tos. I'm Sharon Profis. And I'm Eric Franklin. And up ahead we have some great tips to help you get prepped for the holidays. Including a couple of DIYs for those of you who want to make a unique gift for someone or, you know, if you want to keep it yourself you can do that too. But first we show you how to use your smartphone to send a personalized holiday greeting. There are regular holiday cards and then there are NFC-enabled holiday cards. With this DIY I'll show you how to create a holiday card that launches a video when you tap it with an Android smartphone. The first thing we need to do is record that video greeting. So to do that, I'll launch a webcam recording program on my computer and record a short holiday greeting. Hey guys, I just want to wish you happy holidays and a happy New Year. So now that I have my video recorded, I going to upload it to my YouTube account and make. Sure that it's unlisted. That way, only the people who receive this card can view the video. It won't be searchable under regular YouTube search. And within a few minutes it should be uploaded to my channel and I should have a link to that video. At this point what I need to do is program this NFC tag so that when it's tapped with an Android phone that holiday greeting video launches immediately. Right now this only works for Android phones since Apple has locked the iPhone six and six pluses nfc capability to only work with Apple Pay. So, for this, I'll use Trigger, [MUSIC] which is a free app for Android. I'll hit the plus sign to create a new task, and select NFC. Hit next, and then, done. Now, we'll create the task. So, we'll hit, next, again. Hit the plus sign to create a task. And then choose, open a URL. Hit, next. And in this window, we'll type in the URL for the video that I just uploaded. Then, I'll hit. Add the task, hit next, and now I'll grab my NFC tag and hold it to the back of my phone so that it writes that action to the tag. And it's done. The last thing we need to do is adhere the NFC tag to my greeting card, and these are great because they're actually adhesive, I got a pack of twelve for about $14. I'll just peel the back off. And put it right on the greeting card, just like that. Now when my recipient receives this card, they'll see this little android logo, and when they tag it they'll get a little video surprise. [MUSIC] Hey guys, I just want to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. A year. If this is something you want to do with a lot of family and friends this year consider getting a pack of NFC tags. Happy holidays. I really like that. Very unique. And it's really geeky too. Alright it's time for a quick break. And when we come back we got a bright idea. That'll only cost you 20 bucks to make. [MUSIC] Welcome back! In our next segment we'll show you how to make the most out of the items already laying around your house, and if you don't have them, you can easily find them at your local hardware store. Donatello has a DIY that'll show you how to add accent lighting to just about any place that needs it. Sometimes the most thoughtful gift is the one that you make yourself. For a gift that anyone will enjoy, but takes a bit of nerdy electronic skill to make, I'm going to show you how to make your own candle-flicker LED tilt lamp. This is based off from David Backer's design for the dry lampia. For my version, we're gonna use a glass jar, some copper wire, some stranded wire, a candle flicker LED, CR232 watch battery, watch battery holder [MUSIC] And a tilt switch. This is the real secret ingredient here. These things are a lot of fun to use. So for around 20 bucks, you can get enough of these supplies to make about 3 or 4 of these lamps. To start things off, we're going to take a length of copper wire. [MUSIC] And we're going to mold it around into a u shape around the back of the battery holder. Are here. [MUSIC] The next step is we're going to solder the battery holder onto the wire. [MUSIC] Finally, we're going to flip it over, and that negative terminal, that's on the other side, we're going to solder some stranded wire to that, and then just leave it alone. [MUSIC] All right give it a little tug make sure it's nice and secure. All right that looks good. So that's going to get our power everywhere it needs to go. Next up we got the tilt switch. My favorite little switch! We're gonna take one leg we're gonna bend it down. We're gonna wire this end so that the circuit will turn on. When the jar is turned upside down. Find the place midway up on one of the copper wires and give it a snip. Now, sodder one of the two feet to the bottom of the clipped section. Then take the other foot and sodder it to the length of copper that you just clipped off. All right. It's working. Now we can solder on the LED. Take the longer of the two leads from the LED and wrap it around the copper wire coming from the tilt switch. That's gonna be our positive side. Then wrap the other lead around the opposite side, solder both of them in place. And clip off any extra wire. Now that the LED is there to hold the shape, we'll go back up to battery holder and take the stranded wire from the negative terminal and use the exposed bit to wrap around the copper that's opposite from the tilt switch, and then solder that down. With that done clip away that copper that connects the negative side to the positive terminal. And now you have a complete circuit. Now for the very last step, we are going to mount it inside the jar. To do that, we are going to super glue it down to the jar lid. Now we are going to use a big heaping blob of super glue, not just because it is going to hold it in place better, because it is going to act as an insulator and keep the circuit from interacting with the metal of the lid. Alright, now that we've got everything glued in place, you notice that we've got this extra length of copper here on the bottom, we can either just clip this off so it will fit in the jar, or you can have some fun with it, you can bend him around, make some interesting designs, just make sure that the ends of those copper pieces don't touch each other. Alright, now lets give it a test. Lets pop in a watch battery, pay close attention to which side's positive and which side's negative. All right. Let's **** this into the jar, and give it a test. Boom. So there you go, now you've made your very own LED tilt lamp. A very simple design, easy project for beginners. I really like that it's got that candle flicker LED in there to give it a cool vibe. Nice gift for kids, too, makes a great night light, or make a bunch of them to have around the house. They're inexpensive to make. Have fun with it. Now, depending on how often you use those LED lamps, you might get about five days of continuous use. However, if you use them off and on, they might last for about a month. Nice. Yeah. Now, if you plan on spending some time in the kitchen this holiday season, cooking for friends and family, we have a DIY accessory for your tablet that might make things a little bit easier. Hey you guys, with the holiday season right upon us, you're probably gonna be doing a lot more cooking than you normally would. You know, when I cook I like to have a tablet near by so I can see my recipes, but not every tablet stand is really conducive to kitchen cooking. You know, there's flour flying everywhere, there is spices going every which way. Who knows. So what you can do is you can build your own DIY tablet stand for a low price and it's going to look a little bit more appropriate in the kitchen. So here's what you're gonna need. First, you want a cutting board like so, a kids triangle-shaped wooden block, a wooden Scrabble tile holder, and some wood glue. So here's what you're gonna do. First you're gonna take your cutting board. Now you can stain it, you can paint your cutting board if you want. I'm gonna go for the raw, natural look. I really like the natural look and feel of this one. Also, I'm a little lazy so. You're gonna take the board, you're gonna make sure first that your tablet will actually fit on the board. You want it to be as wide and as. Tall as your tablet. So my tablet is about nine and a half inches tall and about seven and a half inches wide. So my cutting board, thankfully, is eight and a half inches wide and it's about a foot tall. You're gonna take your scrabble tile holder. You wanna make sure first that, you know, the sides of the canals aren't blocked. If they're blocked, your tablet won't actually be able to fit in there, so wanna make sure those aren't blocked. The wooden, older ones are better for that. You're gonna take that, you're gonna apply one stream to the back of the tile holder. So we're gonna apply that to the bottom of the cutting board. We're gonna center it as best as possible and leave about a centimeter of space. Okay now that that's dry we're going to move on to the next step which is to use the basic kid's building block, but if you don't have either of those you can go to the hardware store and get a piece of wood cut for really cheap. One thing you want to make sure is that at least at a 40 degree angle. You know, if you want this tablet to sit high, you might wanna go higher to 50 or 60. Also, you wanna make that sure the block is at least three inches tall. Okay. Now, we're gonna apply one stream of wood glue to the longest side here. Sit it right in the middle like this. Okay. Let's check to see if everything's dried. Feels pretty secure to me. Let's try it out. There's a tablet stand right there. That's less than $20. You can pay more or less. That's a pretty good deal for a tablet stand. Let's try it out. [MUSIC] All right. There's a recipe right there. You can put it horizontally, of course. Of course, you can put it vertically. Boom. It's very simple way to build a tablet stand. Now you're gonna be cooking a lot this holiday season. What better to do that than with a tablet right at your fingertips and a nice, appropriate looking stand. Awesome. Since you gave me my tablet stand I've been using it in the kitchen and it is super helpful. It really is isn't it? Yes, so thank you. I'm glad you like it. That's it for this weeks show. Thank you guys so much for watching. If you wanna reach out to us you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach me on Twitter, I'm @nidopal. And I'm @sharonprofis. See you next time, guys. Right here on The Fix.