Roger and I finally got around to making the simple motor illustrated in O'Reilly's MAKE. It works like a charm.
There is one error in the original article. It says to scrape the insulation off of 1/2 of the wire on both ends. You only need to scrape 1/2 of the insulation off one end. The other end should be fully scraped.
This makes it considerably easier to make the motor run in that you don't have to worry about lining up the two half-scraped wired such that they both touch the safety pins at the same time.
The motor also runs at different speeds depending on which you tilt the whole assembly (rotating around the battery). This makes sense. It changes the angle at which the moving magnetic field of the coil interacts with the fixed magnetic fields from the magnets. More importantly, it also changes the position of the coil relative to the magnets when the current is switched on/off because of the half-stripped wire at one end of the rotor. If you click on the photo to the right, it will take you to an annotated photo at flickr that describes the various bits of the motor.