Respect my AskMah!
January 13, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

All day long I entertain grievances and herd cats. I would like a freestanding, attractive but affordable gadget, not requiring use of the PC, on which I could place as a sound recording "Respect my authoritah!" Ideally activated by pressing a large button. Could not find suitable device online. Ideas?
posted by Clyde Mnestra to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can hack to Staples Easy button.
posted by griphus at 4:42 PM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Those record-your-own-message greeting cards are pretty cheap. So's a cassette player from the thrift store. I don't know if either of those are attractive enough for you.
posted by box at 4:42 PM on January 13, 2011

I know a mallet isn't a button, but insisting everyone who piles crap on you ring your gong before doing so is always classically stylish.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:43 PM on January 13, 2011

How about this?

Or do you want your own sounds like this thing?
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:43 PM on January 13, 2011

What you want exists! However it's about $100. Speech/language pathologists use them as augmentative communication devices. You can search variously for "cheap talk device", "big talk device", or "big mack device" to try to find them cheaper.

A link from my search for "big talk."
posted by tatiana wishbone at 4:51 PM on January 13, 2011

Why not make it your radio ring on your nextel phone.
posted by parmanparman at 5:14 PM on January 13, 2011

I came in here to say "hack a Staples Easy Button" not even knowing if it was humanly possible, and griphus said that first off so he/she is pretty much a god. I'll go right now to see if griphus is a he or a she. But yeah. That. I will even swipe the Easy Button from evil Mary Grace at work and send it to you if you need one. MeMail me.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:24 PM on January 13, 2011

and griphus is a dude okthxbye
posted by ersatzkat at 5:25 PM on January 13, 2011

Visit McDonalds and/or BurgerWhopper and check out the happy meals. I have a Simpson's figurine of Mr. Burns which, when pressed, says "Eggsellent" I'm sure a toy such as this could easily be re-engineered by one so authoritative as yourself. Send me a self-addressed, posteged-up packing envelope and I'll send you several Simpson's toys that talk. Surely it's time for me to get different cube toys.
posted by theora55 at 5:27 PM on January 13, 2011

Those record-your-own-message greeting cards are pretty cheap. So's a cassette player from the thrift store. I don't know if either of those are attractive enough for you.

A lot of the pre-recorded cards are easily re-programmable too. You'll find on many of the circuit boards an audio input and record switch point. Cut the wire off of an old/cheap pair of headphones...hook the phono jack to a computer...stripped end temporarily to the board. Bridge the record switch with a paperclip while playing an audio soundbite...remove the paper clip and bridge the play switch to hear it...adjust volume until the quality is good.

I'm not sure this can be done to an easy button too, from what I'm seeing online the audio chip is hardcoded and not reprogrammable. Griphus has a good link above on how to hack one by adding a separate recording module. Here's another one using an $8 Radio Shack recording kit (open video tutorial...written instructions off to the right). Those "big talk" buttons don't appear to be more complicated than the $15 modded easy button...amazing what they're charging for those things!

I've seen Easy Button sized buttons with smiley faces on them that seem to allow custom recordings...but my google-fu fails me on finding a place where you can just purchase ONE and not have to put in a minimum order of 100 (spencers maybe?). Some of the ones on Amazon should do the trick, albeit not as pretty. A little bit of tinkering could probably fix that.
posted by samsara at 7:04 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

How about a talking Cartman keychain like this one?

It looks like each of the six buttons is mapped to a phrase, so that (unlike the other talking Cartman toys) you can press the button which gives you "Respect mah authoritah!" rather than having to settle for a random phrase.
posted by ErikaB at 7:05 PM on January 13, 2011

How about something like this? Sold as an assistive communication device, but certainly open to your creative repurposing. For less visual impact but similar sound quality, this one isn't bad either. Perhaps you could attach a plastic/felt component overtop/surrounding it to make it look more impressive?
posted by shortskirtlongjacket at 8:28 PM on January 13, 2011

I bought this alarm clock for my son. It's pretty awesome and might do the trick!
posted by Cuke at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everyone, for the great answers. One of those assistive devices is exactly what I want, but a little expensive, and I fear I may not be equal to the task of repurposing a Staples button (and would not want to encourage swiping from evil Mary Grace, who is evil and capable of vengeance). Any other ideas welcome, but right now favoring the Amazon ugly thingy on price grounds.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:08 AM on January 16, 2011

« Older Finding A House Assessor?   |   Senses working overtime. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.