REVIEW: TerraCycle/Fashionation M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers

Written by | November 18, 2009

Topics: 6 Rating, Candy, Tech

The company TerraCycle is much like a music producer who has to deal with Britney Spears’ recording sessions, they both take trash and turn it into something that can be marketed and sold. TerraCycle calls what they’re doing “upcycling,” while Britney’s music producers probably like to describe what they do as “panning in a river of diarrhea for gold.”

Some examples of what TerraCycle has done include: Taking discarded Capri Sun drink pouches and turning them into backpacks, using old circuit boards to make picture frames, making pencils out of newspapers and creating pencil cases out of Chips Ahoy packages. One of the company’s latest products is their M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers, which they created with a company called Fashionation and can also be found made with potato chip bags.

According to the packaging, these speakers are made with up to 80 percent of recycled materials, which is a lot, but significantly less than what can be found on an album by the cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. The speaker’s box is made out of a big M&M’s Fun Size package and cardboard that looks like it’s been made out of recycled paper. However, I’m not sure how much of the cables and speaker components are made out of reused metals and plastics.

The speakers fold into 3.25-inch cubes and can be unfolded flat again for easy storage and transportation, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it often because I found it difficult to reinsert the tabs into the slots needed to turn them into cubes. The uncooperative tabs and slots caused me to do a little digging, which caused me to accidental peel some of the M&M’s wrapper. When in cube form, they’re front-heavy, like Morganna The Kissing Bandit, so if you put them on an uneven surface, they might topple forward.

The speakers are attached to a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug, so you can connect it into your iPod, laptop, desktop computer or auto-reverse Walkman cassette player. Because the speakers don’t run on batteries, the plug also powers them.

If you’re an audiophile, or an audiophile poser, these candy wrapper speakers won’t come close to satisfying your hoity-toity tastes. They don’t come with a subwoofer made out of recycled candy wrappers and they aren’t very hi-fi, so they sound as good and treble-y as a cheap AM/FM radio alarm clock.

I connected them to my iPod and they have the ability to fill a small room, but in order to do so I had to turn up the volume on my iPod to at least 75 percent to get a decent amount of decibels, which can be a problem if you don’t remember to turn it down before you plug in your earbuds for some personal listening.

I thought the TerraCycle M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers would be a useless novelty, like glow-in-the-dark condoms. But they weren’t bad, considering they’re mostly made out of recycled candy wrappers and cost less than $20. At that price, I don’t feel bad if I have to destroy the speakers when a Britney Spears song comes out of them.

(NOTE: Below is a video demonstrating the speaker’s audio quality.)

(NOTE: Grub Grade has a couple of posts about turning potato chip bags and Capri Sun containers into purses and handbags.)

Item: TerraCycle/Fashionation M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers
Price: $16.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Radio Shack (or The Shack, if you want to be lame)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent sound for something made partly out of candy wrappers. Sound from them can fill a small room. Made from mostly recycled materials. Foldable and portable. No batteries required. Has a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug.
Cons: Not for audiophiles or audiophile posers. Can be difficult to repeatedly put together. May topple forward on uneven surfaces. Have to turn up the volume on your device in order to get a loud enough sound from the speakers. Using references that are older than some of your readers. Britney Spears.

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Guitar Hero: On Tour

Written by | June 29, 2008

Topics: 8 Rating, Tech, Video Game

Armed with a $50 gift card and a twisted obsession with anything gimmicky, I drifted into Best Buy with my eyes peeled and my mind open. At every corner, I was ambushed by tall and gawky nerds in bright blue shirts who asked me if I was finding everything okay. I eventually replied, “No, for you see, I’m just an caveman. Your wares frighten and confuse me!” which bemused them and eventually got them off my back.

As I made my way towards the center of the store, I literally stumbled upon the giant display of the new Nintendo DS game Guitar Hero: On Tour. After knocking down roughly half of the boxes, I managed to pick them up in time before any employees could come around to shoot me an angry leer. The game certainly looked intriguing enough, and in the end, the box art’s promise of turning me into a meth-addicted white trash rocker was too much to pass up.

Fifty dollars is a lot for a DS game, but it does have plenty of extras included. The contents of the package are as follows: a four-button fret with an adjustable strap that fits into the DS’s Gameboy slot, a plastic “skin” for the device, a pick-shaped stylus that fits in the contraption, an adapter for players with an old DS, and the video game itself. I must warn you that the device is a bit small. Since I have tiny little girl hands, however, I had no problem with the size.

For those uninitiated with Guitar Hero, you simply match your fingers to the notes displayed on the screen and strum at the moment that they reach the bottom. You would typically do this with a guitar controller that looks like a Fisher Price toy, but in this version you move your fingers on the attached frets and “strum” with your pick stylus on the touch screen. It works surprisingly well with near-perfect accuracy, meaning that you have no one to blame but yourself when you are booed off the stage.

The downside, of course, is that you are actually playing a simulation of a simulation. The creators of Futurama have already parodied this paradox, but little did they know that it would come true 992 years earlier than they predicted. You won’t get the enjoyment of pretending that you’re Slash or any of your other favorite drugged up guitarists, but you will get a great portable music game with enough tracks (26 in all) to keep you entertained until your parents kick your slacker ass out of the house.

If you want more info, check out my poorly narrated video for a content and game play demonstration.



Item: Guitar Hero: On Tour
Price: $49.99
Purchased at: Best Buy
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Comes with fun and gimmicky fret controller that is sure to impress the ladies in public. Game works surprisingly well for a portable version. Other than Elite Beat Agents, this is the only good music game currently released for the DS.
Cons: Much pricier than regular DS games, which typically retail for $30. Can’t pretend that you’re actually playing a guitar. Controller might be a bit small for people with adult-sized hands. Overbearing employees.

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Firefox 2.0

Written by | October 25, 2006

Topics: Tech

Firefox 2

Recently, a new version of Firefox, one of the most popular web browsers, was released into the wild. TIB was fortunate enough to sit down with Firefox and discuss the new version. Unfortunately, I don’t speak fox, so a translator was brought in.

Marvo: Aww. Awwoooo.

Firefox: Grrrr!!!

Firefox’s Translator: I’m a fox, not a fuckin’ wolf!

Marvo: Sorry about that. Anyway, Firefox 2.0 was recently “released into the wild,” how excited are you to be finally out there for the public?

Firefox: Grrrr!!! Grrrr!!! Yap. Yap. Bark. Yap. Bark. Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: – Oh. “Released into the wild,” like I’ve never heard that one before, you unoriginal bastard. Anyway, I’ve been downloaded over 200 million times and I’m totally excited about all the new features available.

Marvo: So what are some of the new features?

Firefox: Grrrr!!!! Grrrr!!! Bark. Bark. Yap. Yap. Bark. Yap. Yap. Bark. Bark.

Firefox’s Translator: I was just about to get into the new features until I was rudely interrupted. Who are you? Bill O’Reilly? Now where was I? Oh yes. First off, there’s improved tabbed browsing. By default, I will open links in new tabs instead of cluttering your monitor with new windows. Each tab will also have a close tab button.

Marvo: I like having a close tab button on each tab, just like in Apple’s browser, Safari.

Firefox: Grrrr!!! Grrrr!!! Ptwooie!!!

Firefox’s Translator: Safari…whatever! I can chew up Safari and spit it out. Ptwooie!!!!

Firefox: Yap. Yap. Bark. Yap. Yap. Yap. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. Yap. Bark. Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: You can also scroll through all your tabs, which is perfect for all the porn sites you visit, Marvo.

Marvo: What? Porn? Me? No.

Firefox: Grrrr!!! Bark. Grrrr!!! Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: I’m Firefox and I know what you’ve been downloading.

Marvo:: Whatever. Anyway, one of my favorite new features is Session Restore, which restores all the tabs and downloads in-progress after a crash or if you need to be restarted for any reason.

Firefox: Grrrr!!! Bark. Bark. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap. Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: Crash? If you didn’t visit so many porn sites, like Asian Persuasion, Asian Babes, Asian Angels, Asian Happy Fun Time, Asian College Girls, Asian Ecstasy, Asian Girls, Asian Funhouse, Asian Pleasure, Asian Beauty, Big Asian Girls, Asian Grandmas, Asian Hos, Busty Asians, Asian Dreams, Asian Booty, Asian MILFs, Asian Holes, Asian Gratification, Asian Massage Parlor, Asian Office Workers, Asian Love, Asian Bondage, and Big Asian Dudes, I probably wouldn’t crash at all.

Marvo: You must be mistaken about all those sites, especially Big Asian Dudes.

Firefox: Grrrr!!!

Firefox’s Translator: Really?

Marvo: Anyway, another feature that I like is the built-in spell check, which comes in really handy when I’m leaving comments at other blogs.

Firefox: Yap. Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: Porn blogs?

Marvo: Geez, forget about the porn already! Don’t make me get Bob Barker to get you spayed or neutered.

Firefox: Grrrr!!!

Firefox’s Translator: Bring it, Sperm Sprayer!!!

Marvo: Let’s just finish this interview. One feature that I probably won’t use much, but could see being useful for my parents is the built-in phishing protection. Identity theft is a big problem and hopefully it will help the less educated from becoming victims. Can you tell us a little about it?

Firefox: Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: By default, phishing protection is on, and what it does is warn users if they have visited a possible phishing site, like a fake eBay, Paypal, or online banking site that someone could visit through a fake bank email, Nigerian scam email, or hot girl-on-girl email.

Marvo: One of my favorite things about you is the ability to add extensions and themes to enhance the Firefox experience. My favorite extensions are EditCSS, which allows me to preview cosmetic changes I make to TIB, and Download Statusbar, which is great for seeing the progress of large downloads.

Firefox: Yap.

Firefox’s Translator: Like porn?

Marvo: Enough with the porn. Anyway, there have been many additions to you, but none of them seem really revolutionary, more evolutionary. Tabbed browsing which was revolutionary in Firefox 1.0, is now better, and the same can be said of how you handle RSS feeds. Overall, you’re still a very solid web browser and I hope you continue to get better.

(Editor’s Note: If you’d like to download Firefox 2.0, go to Spreadfirefox.com. Also, TIB reviewed Firefox 1.0 a few years ago. You can read that review here. Warning: If you’re easily offended by corn, please do not click the link.)

Item: Firefox 2.0
Price: FREE
Purchased at: Downloaded at Spreadfirefox.com
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Still a fast browser. Better management of tabs. Session restore. Built-in spell check. Phishing protection. Extensions and themes.
Cons: New features seem more evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Foxes and wolves don’t really sound alike. Downloading on dial-up will take awhile. Some extensions and themes might need to upgraded to use with Firefox 2.0.

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30GB Apple iPod (5th Generation)

Written by | April 20, 2006

Topics: Tech

Oh yeah! I’d like to rub some EVOO all over you, baby!

Oh! Hi there! I’m just watching the Rachael Ray cooking show 30 Minute Meals on my iPod.

I love my new iPod, not only because it can play videos, hold 7,500 songs, and carry my calendars and contacts, but also because it totally replaced my old Rachael Ray shrine.

If you saw my old Rachael Ray shrine, the first thing you would probably think to yourself is, “Damn! That Rachael Ray shrine must take a lot of time to set up before the ceremonial rubbing of EVOO all over the body can be started.”

You’re totally right about that! Also, my old Rachael Ray shrine took up so much space. First, there was the 11″ x 17″ Rachael Ray collage I made using screenshots from her various television shows. Then there was the OTHER 11″ x 17″ Rachael Ray collage I made by superimposing her head on random body pictures of hot women in bikinis and lingerie.

Then there was the rosemary-scented candles and sage-scented incense. Then there was the bowl where I put the fresh herbs and spices into as an offering to the Rachael Ray shrine. Then I had to get a bottle of EVOO, which as I said before, was used to do the ceremonial rubbing of it all over my body. Finally, there was the DVD player and TV which played one of her DVDs in a continuous loop.

With my new iPod, I can get rid of some of these things. I can break up the collages into individual images and play them in a nice slideshow on my iPod, or with a special cable, I can watch the slideshow on my TV.

As for the DVD player and TV, I can load my 30GB iPod up with every episode of $40 A Day, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels, and Inside Dish, but it doesn’t have room for all the episodes of 30 Minute Meals, and it also definitely doesn’t have room for her upcoming syndicated talk show.

Maybe I should’ve gotten the 60GB iPod instead.

However, without all the episodes of 30 Minute Meals, I do have room for more Rachael Ray photos, like that sexy photoshoot she did for FHM. I got one word for that photoshoot…Yum-O. Also, I’ve added some scanned images of her from her cookbooks and her magazine called Everyday with Rachael Ray. How good is that?

The iPod’s screen is bright and sharp, and all the TV shows play smoothly. The 2.5-inch screen was small at first, but I got used to it. There are other features, like games, a stopwatch, and a screen lock, all of which I don’t really use. However, I do use the notes feature to carry Rachael recipes around.

Since my iPod has helped me condense my Rachael Ray shrine, I have some closet space again, which means I now don’t have to keep inflating and deflating the blow up doll I have with a picture of Rachael’s face taped to it. So now I won’t be out of breath when I do my ceremonial extra virgin olive oil body rubbing Rachael Ray chant, which goes like this:

“30 minute meals I will make. I preheat the oven so I don’t have to wait. Got my garbage bowl and EVOO. I’m ready to eat something that’s Yum-O!”

Despite how great my iPod is with condensing my Rachael Ray shrine so that it is good to go, I’ve had some problems with it. First, the iPod scratches too easily. It’s as fragile as Michael Jackson’s face and his will power around little boys. Although the scratches aren’t noticeable when I’m watching videos.

Another concern I have is the battery life when playing only videos. My iPod can play only videos for about two hours, which is enough for only five commercial-free episodes of $40 A Day. So unless I’m near an outlet, I can only get through half of the ceremonial EVOO body rubbing.

The rubbing of my nipples alone takes thirty minutes.


Item: 30GB Apple iPod (5th Generation)
Price: $299
Purchased At: Apple Store
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Pros: It plays music and video. Bright and sharp screen. Thinner than my old iPod. A great Rachael Ray shrine replacement. Holds my calendars and contacts. Notes feature is great for carrying around Rachael Ray recipes. Ceremonial rubbing of EVOO all over my body.
Cons: Scratches damn easy. Not enough space for all the episodes of 30 Minute Meals. Battery life when playing video is short. Need to buy separate power adapter to plug into power outlet.

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iPod Shuffle

Written by | March 24, 2005

Topics: Tech

iPod Shuffle

FEMALE FRIEND: It’s soooo small.

MARVO: It’s not THAT small. Besides, it’s pretty powerful and it can go for a long time.

FEMALE FRIEND: How long can it go?

MARVO: I got it to last for over twelve hours.

FEMALE FRIEND: Twelve hours straight?

MARVO: Yeah.

FEMALE FRIEND: That’s a lot of Doggystyle, Piledriver, Missionary, Lotus, and Cowgirl.

MARVO: Oh, don’t forget the Pretzel, Helicopter, and T-Spoon.

FEMALE FRIEND: Do you mind if I touch it?

MARVO: Go ahead.

FEMALE FRIEND: Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize how smooth it was. So do you take it running with you?

MARVO: Yeah, I HAVE TO take it with me. Although when I put them in my shorts, it kind of protrudes.

FEMALE FRIEND: So do people notice it protruding when you’re running?

MARVO: I don’t know, but I feel it bouncing around. I’ll probably buy something so that it doesn’t flop around so much.

FEMALE FRIEND: Do you think you’re hurting it when it flops around like that?

MARVO: I don’t think so, because it’s pretty durable and it hasn’t skipped a beat. Although, when I first got it, I had some problems with it.

FEMALE FRIEND: Like what?

MARVO: Well basically, it didn’t always work right. I’ll be in the middle of using it and then everything goes soft.

FEMALE FRIEND: It gets turned off or something?

MARVO: Yeah, but everything is fine now. I just looked at some stuff on the internet and it stays turned on now.

FEMALE FRIEND: So how does it work?

MARVO: Just grab it, use your thumb, and stroke it right here.

FEMALE FRIEND: Right here?

MARVO: Yeah. Some people have had trouble turning it on, so you might have to stroke it a little harder.

FEMALE FRIEND: Oh my goodness, I turned it on. So how do I make stuff come out of it?

MARVO: You just have to push the right button.

FEMALE FRIEND: This button?

MARVO: Oh yeah, that’s the button.

FEMALE FRIEND: So when you wanna put stuff on it, where do you stick it?

MARVO: I stick it into a USB port, where it also gets charged up. It takes about three to four hours to fully be ready to go again.

FEMALE FRIEND: So what else does it come with?

MARVO: It came with a couple of things, a pair of earbuds and a lanyard, which you can use to hang it from your neck. But I don’t like to wear it like that. I prefer to keep it in my pants.

FEMALE FRIEND: It doesn’t have a screen, so how do you know what’s playing?

MARVO: Well when I’m using it, it’s usually in my shorts and I don’t really need to look at a screen. I pretty much know what’s on it, because it only holds 125 songs. But if I need to switch to something else, I’ll just play with it through my shorts. I know where the right buttons are.

FEMALE FRIEND: So does it vibrate?

MARVO: No, it doesn’t vibrate.


Item: iPod Shuffle
Purchase Price: $99.00
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Light and small, but not THAT small. Great for exercising. Durable. Doesn’t skip. Cheapest iPod.
Cons: Had occasional problems with keeping it turned on. No screen, which maybe a problem for some. Some might have trouble turning it on.

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