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Austin Case Modders Take Their Exotic PCs and a Giant LAN Party to SXSW (Video)

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the loving-the-blinkenlights dept.

Hardware Hacking 40

As a nexus of both computer programmers and other creative builder and maker types, SXSW (and Austin generally) is a great place to witness the overlap. John Zitterkopf and his pal Red, while helping to run the giant (and charitable!) LANFest at this year's event, had on hand for display a few of their own modded computer cases. John and Red are both part of Austin Modders, which helps Austinites swap tools and ideas (in-person, and via forums) for creating the kind of enclosures that computer makers simply can't — they're too time-intensive and too personalized for that. It's especially fun to see the effects that the newly widespread availability of laser cutters makes possible. (C'mon, O'Reilly, isn't it time for another Austin Maker Faire?)

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F1rst P0st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427389)

Oops, I did it again. Frosty piss, y'all!

Losers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427439)

Don't they know they're all dinosaurs? I'm going to mod my iPad, with glitter and rhinestones!!!

Re:Losers. (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#39427607)

Don't they know they're all dinosaurs? I'm going to mod my iPad, with glitter and rhinestones!!!

I think that's technically a vagazzle, as you sound like a right c...

Austin (mini) Maker Fair 2012 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427453)

"(C'mon, O'Reilly, isn't it time for another Austin Maker Faire?)"

There is, well, there's a mini one this year.

That keyboard (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427457)

does not seem like a lot of fun, esp. for gaming

Fucking Slashdot ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427469)

Why is it that when I have images turned off, any post from Slashdot staff still shows them?

Fuck Timothy, another editor to add to my ignore list. Slashdot has really gone down hill.

Re:Fucking Slashdot ... (0)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#39427699)

Slashvertisement, too.

I laughed when I saw the Humble Bundle post just now. Seriously? The first one was "news" if you stretched the definition but now? And then it was Raspberry Pi. Hell, I'm a pre-orderer of that device but it was too much even for me.

I have officially tried for the third time to filter this type of crud out by removing editors and categories. I think that's my limit, really. I now can't remember the last time I saw something on Slashdot first, either.

Yeah. Time to remove this site from my browser's initial saved session of windows, I think. I'll probably pop back now and then but only when I remember to type in the full URL rather than it being one of my "daily-check" sites.

Re:Fucking Slashdot ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39430687)

I made an initial foray into the world of Reddit, for less than two days..

At least people here have enough presence of mind to understand an advertisement when they see it.

Those idiots actually reward, and I mean often, blatant advertisements

OH, YOU MEAN THAT MY FAVORITE CELEBRITY WILL ANSWER MY QUESTIONS???? Oh, he'll only answer them about his upcoming movie or cd or fucking whatever? BUT HE'S STILL ANSWERING!!

Be thankful that a majority of /. users can at least assess the problem before going batty.

Great way to make the PC crowd look hip... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427475)

Throw a neckbeard in front of the camera......seriously is that the ONLY guy they had to do this?

That's It? (4, Insightful)

turkeyfish (950384) | about 2 years ago | (#39427583)

A 100 pound water cooled PC and a PC enclosed in a custom wooden box?

Sound more of interest to PC groupies rather than any serious computer users.

Come on. Isn't there anything interesting to show?

Re:That's It? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#39428051)

Double shot to the side of the case for ventilation. Cased modded. Done! That's Texan style. But there's more. If you perform the shooting inside Austin city limits, it's now "art". Don't ask. That's just the way it is.

Re:That's It? (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 2 years ago | (#39428361)

I was under the (informed) impression that case modding died years ago, once everyone and their mother got plexi windows on their prefab cases.

People just don't care anymore. They want something that works and blends in with their home decor. The more discreet, the better. That's why I've been selling lots of very sedate-looking systems - lots of black anodized finishes and brushed aluminum "home theater style" fascia.

Re:That's It? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#39430423)

I was under the (informed) impression that case modding died years ago, once everyone and their mother got plexi windows on their prefab cases.

People just don't care anymore. They want something that works and blends in with their home decor. The more discreet, the better. That's why I've been selling lots of very sedate-looking systems - lots of black anodized finishes and brushed aluminum "home theater style" fascia.

True. It died because of the shift to laptops, as well as people demanding more stylish looks that go with the furniture (probably driven by the likes of Apple who proved computers *can* look good).

But there will always be someone out there who has the skill to do this stuff and perhaps a man cave or such where the garishness of it can be hidden by closing a door.

Premodded cases are probably dying, but there's a strong modding community out there still who mod their own cases and do it for others as part of themes and such. But it's niche and one needs to have a spot where the WAF won't be an issue.

Re:That's It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39430593)

I LOL every time I see a "PC" with a separate tower thing to hold the parts that won't fit in the monitor. Reminds me of the 90s when the net and stuff were still new.

Re:That's It? (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 2 years ago | (#39432063)

I built my last machine into luggage so I could move it around. I wanted a real (and cheap, and upgradable) video card and processor. Very easy, took an afternoon at most. A wireless keyboard, mouse and just an HDMI cable to an external monitor kept it all pretty clean.

Re:That's It? (3, Interesting)

Mickey21 (2600493) | about 2 years ago | (#39432721)

Austinmodders mod a whole lot more than just computer cases. Of which a majority of the case creations started from a pile of materials, not a manufacturers case. They have modded anything from a pinball machine, to a completely wooden ipod (1st gen), to a muscle car (among other cars), to a laser/light show, to a hand radio, to the tools they use, to a 1940's tv. And just about anything in between. I see a lot of people on here with the naive thinking and hate piling on uninformed opinions about anything anyone out there might be interested in. Really it is just pretty sad, but I guess I can't expect too much from most of the comments I ever read here. A lot of what those guys and many others like them have modded were modded before even modding was something you even heard about. Most of them are lifers who have always been interested in technology, but want to put another spin on it. I cant understand all the negative comments and hatred for a social club of techies who used their skills and corporate networking to "beg" others around them to help create an event out of nothing to generate money to donate to very worthy cause, and while they were at it, bring awareness to possibly like minded people to have some fun on their spare time and meet some great people. Something I thought people at slashdot might understand, along the lines of the makerfaire attitude. Not to mention they donate a prize so maybe others can contribute money to that cause, AND give away door prizes to those that donated ANYTHING to the cause. Expensive gaming keyboards, headsets, flash drives, the lot. I cant believe some of you people that would hate the world so much, that you gotta hate others that would seek to even make it maybe a little bit better for someone else. I can only really say, shame on some of you. This isnt necessarily to my reply, but the thread of conversation in general.

Re:That's It? (1)

Ksisanth (915235) | about 2 years ago | (#39433659)

Why have it go with the furniture when it can be [] the furniture [] ?

Re:That's It? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#39432037)

I wouldn't say they don't care, but it's what's in style right now. Call it the Ikea effect.

Myself, I toyed with the idea of doing a wood finish case, inlay and all a few years ago but that was before I started my family. Now I'm lucky if I get an hour a day to check E-mail and facebook, much less design and build a custom computer case. Furthermore, most people have laptops, tablets & mobile phones which they do most of their computing from. It's analogous to finding hot rod parts for a flathead ford versus finding parts for a small block chevy - The chevy is what more people use and therefore there is more supply. Flathead parts are out there but they are few and far between.

Re:That's It? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39429645)

Hold on, linking this over to HardOCP so we can all get a good laugh.

Austin Mini Maker Faire (2)

Circle of Owls (872157) | about 2 years ago | (#39427585)

There will be a Mini Maker Faire on May 12th: []

Texan engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39427679)

I was utterly amazed to see that man's cube. It blew me away. I mean, I don't know ANYBODY who had customized laser cut square panels on their cubes. That man has a promising career with Aperture Science, so long as he works on his resilience to deadly neurotoxins.

Re:Texan engineering (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39428131)

Yes quite a nice Weighted Computing Cube he's built.

Whats with the music? (1)

Victor_0x53h (1164907) | about 2 years ago | (#39427997)

I like these Slashdot stories, but I have to say that music really makes this whole thing feel like it's from the 90's.

Re:Whats with the music? (1)

Mickey21 (2600493) | about 2 years ago | (#39432449)

It's a music festival. Kind of hard to avoid music in the background.

Giant LAN? (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about 2 years ago | (#39428081)

Calling LANfest a giant LAN party? Riiiiight....

I think TG, Assembly etc must, at the very least, class as galaxy-scale events then, with Dreamhack possibly being classed as Galaxy Cluster-scale..

Transcript (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#39428117)

I have to say I had expected to see more case mods - but I suppose that's what the interwebs are for.
Title: Austin Modders Take Their Exotic PCs to SXSW
Description: Custom PCs AND a huge LAN party. W00T!

[00:00] <TITLE>
"Austin Modders / Take Their Radical PC Mods to SXSW" appears over a background showing a computer case and monitor while the Slashdot logo with "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." zooms out from view to the bottom right.

[00:03] John>
This is my custom case mod that I'd done many years ago.

[00:06] <TITLE>
As the camera pans up, the name of the person interviewed fades in and out: John Zitterkopf.

[00:06] John>
I started this project probably back in 2000.
It was popular on a lot of the modding forums of the day: ars technica[?], WizD, those kind of websites.

[00:18] John>
This box is a custom mount-mod UFO case.
Again, purchased several years ago.

[00:26] <TITLE>
The view changes to a closer look at the back of the case mod being discussed.

[00:26] John>
It's been heavily modified.
One of the things that I did is that I polished - [...]

[00:30] <TITLE>
The view changes back to the view of John.

[00:30] John>
[...] - it was a brushed aluminum surface - I polished it completely and sent it off to nickel-platers, so the entire case is nickel-plated aluminum.

[00:45] <TITLE>
The view changes to a closer look at the back of the case mod again and pans around to the side.

[00:45] John>
All of the plexiglass you see on here is customized as well.
I modified it with CAD programs and sent it off to laser-cutters to get cut.

[00:52] <TITLE>
The view changes back to John.

[0:52] John>
There's custom etching on the front; reset button here, power button here.
The case itself has an Extreme Edition i7 in it, with 8GiB of memory.
It's a little long in the tooth but it's still good.
Very heavy.

[01:15] <TITLE>
The view changes to a close-up look of the handle discussed.

[01:15] John>
That's why there's a nice spring-loaded handle [...]

[01:16] <TITLE>
Back to John.

[01:16] John>
[...] here; this thing probably weighs close to 100 pounds.

[1:19] <TITLE>
"The Austin Modders Run a / Huge, Noise LAN Party at SXSW" appears over a typical LAN party view - lots of computers on rows of desks.

[1:17] <TITLE>
The title '"Call me Mister Red," he says' appears over a view of a man in a cowboy hat behind two case mods.

[1:27] Mr. Red>
This is one of my first mods.
This is DÃjà 2.0.
It's a LAN PC that I built for coming to places like this where you needed to grab all your components and move them to a different location.

[01:42] <TITLE>
The view pans down to a closer look of the case mod being discussed, which is largely made of woodworked materials and resembles a suitcase-style case.

[01:42] Mr. Red>
The monitor is on a hinge.
My keyboard, monitor - everything is integrated.
I've even got some speakers up in here.
The guts are standard tower components.
It's not like I've got a laptop built into this thing, I put a desktop harddrive, desktop powersupply and a desktop motherboard [in it]

[02:07] Mr. Red>
This evolved over about 3 years.
It was quite a bit of work.
It was a lot of learning experience, too, because I've never done anything like this.
I'm not a woodworker, so there was a lot of learning.

[02:18] <TITLE>
The view changes to the previously discussed case mod and somebody interacting with it.

[02:22] <TITLE>
The view changes to a black "Austin modders" card on top of a red chamfered box, and pans to the side to reveal the other case mod, a largely red box with window and red interior illumination.

[02:27] <TITLE>
The view changes to another look at the woodworked case mod, with the "Austin modders" logo on screen.

[02:33] <TITLE>
The view changes to a two buttons using pink circles for illumination and surrounded by large symbols. These appear to be the two buttons from John Zitterkopf's case mod - reset and power.

[02:38] <TITLE>
The view changes to a view through a window into the interior of a case mod that appears to show plumbing, most likely the water cooling in John Zitterkopf's case mode.

[02:40] <TITLE>
The view changes to the back of John Zitterkopf's case mod again.

[02:45] Mr. Red>
Austin modders is a local hobby group.
We started about 2004.
We found that we had a lot of great guys in the area.
Probably about once a quarter we'll all meet up, ping ideas off of eachother and help each other out when we can.
We also have online forums where we all get together.
There's about 20 active members and then others, kind of, spread out.

[03:11] <TITLE>
" Austin Modders / " fades in over the same view the video started with the Slashdot logo with "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." in the bottom right corner.

CASE-modding (2)

theurge14 (820596) | about 2 years ago | (#39428237)

Interesting for a little bit I suppose, but actual modding would be something more intriguing. I suppose I can put a different color Otter Box on my phone to mod it, or a nifty sticker on a Honda Civic.

C-Kin case artwork (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 2 years ago | (#39428339)

I wasn't really keen on case mods but I liked the artwork panels you could get called C-Kin's on the relaunched Commodore Gaming PC's a few years ago (they've shut down now). You could have a nice wrap around artwork and easy enough to change the panels for new art designs.... I preferred this over the craze of "oooh.. shiny LED's are cool... lets put them on everywhere" and not realise that you end up struggling to sleep as your room is bathed in variety of colours.

Get a better camera guy. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39428703)

WE want to see the cases not the dweeb that made it.

Re:Get a better camera guy. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39429657)

what you don't realize is the ten gallon hat on his 2 gallon head is actually housing a sun spark workstation cooled by guacamole

That's not a case mod... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39428755)

This is a case mod:

WTF slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39428849)

Why are you still using the old YouTube code that requires Flash to view a video in 2012?

YouTube sucks anyway, use Vimeo instead!

Party? (2)

Reasonable Facsimile (2478544) | about 2 years ago | (#39428909)

I guess "party" sounds better than "sausage fest."

Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39429063)

Do they NOT have gaming console's in Texas???? I'm just saying...

C'mon, O'Reilly, isn't it time for another ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39429187)

Austin Maker Faire? OH HELL YEAH!!

Wept when they went to Detroit. From Artful Austin to the Rust Belt, sure it was cheaper, but please come back!

the end of a era (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39429227)

With macs/pcs getting smaller and smaller, I expect this to go the way of:

- the supercharger in a hood of a TransAm
- neon lights under a honda civic
- 80's neon puffy shoe laces

We'll be watching on VH1's "I love the 2000's" in a few years.

I Read That (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39430057)

as "Autism Case Modders . . ."

Austin is trying to build one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39430257) Coming up in May. Hope they put it together. My project came together late, oh well. I'll probably be wearing it.

SXSW Create (1)

aaronhaley (145305) | about 2 years ago | (#39434547)

We had a hacker, maker, creator event at SXSW this year during interactive. Better to create our own community rather than import one. It was a lot of fun!! []

Maker (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39439065)

Why do people keep using that word? It just sounds pretentious to me. A craftsman making individual pieces of wooden furniture, fair enouggh. Someone mildly customising a computer box? You're having a laugh. It's like calling the chavs who paint a go-faster stripe and take the baffles out of the exhaust on theirr hot hatchbacks "makers" too.
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