We're working on a cool piece about LED art for the magazine, and we wanted to mention Make's awesome little MiniPOV kit. (POV stands for persistence of vision, where your eye sees trailing light in a dark room.) Phil Torrone had given me one of these months ago, and I just built it yesterday so we could shoot it for the story. Having not soldered anything significant since I was a kid, it was a blast to put something together from the circuit level and then see it actually work!
The instructions over at ladyada.net are crystal clear, even for novices. Programming messages gets a little trickier—it involves typing arcane commands into a Run window—but I found a great program in the forums that really helped crank out custom text. For anyone keen to dive into circuit-level building and soldering or who just wants a cool party toy for those summer gatherings, I highly recommend picking up the kit.
And for a really crazy POV project, check out John's post from Maker Faire. —Mike Haney