Tag Archives: technology

USB Booties

After “USB genitals”:http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/teledildonics-virtual-hole-and-stick-a-small-step-not-giant-leap-228948.php, this seems like the next strangest computer peripheral. These red “Santa-like booties”:http://geeksugar.com/867852 plug into a spare USB port on your PC and keep your feet warm while you surf. Is it overkill? Yes. Will people buy them? Probably. Should anyone ever think about these again? No.

Here’s a link to someone else’s “Top 10 strange USB devices”:http://gadgets.fosfor.se/the-top-10-weirdest-usb-devices-ever/.

Flying Men!

http://nytimes.com ran an article about one of the forerunners in what is formally called wingsuit diving, Jeb Corliss. Mr. Corliss came to wingsuit diving (which is basically people trying to be flying squirrels) after trying base-jumping and shark-baiting so you can imagine how dangerous this is. Still, despite it's danger, there are teams in at least half a dozen countries trying to be the first to perfect the art of falling without a parachute. The original article can be found "here":http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/10/sports/othersports/10flying.html?ex=1198040400&en=2246abb0d4805064&ei=5070&emc=eta1 at the New York Times website.

High-Pitched Ringtones

This is an old story but there’s a chance you missed it so here I go again: To stop teenage loiterers, Welsh inventor Howard Stapleton invented a device that emits a very high frequency sound that older people simply cannot hear. The tone sounds like a mosquito buzzing in your ear and so was called The Mosquito. For more about the science and the story behind the invention, check out the very good “Wikipedia page”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mosquito on the subject.

Of course no good deed goes unpunished and the teens have struck back by using the same frequencies as alert tones on their mobile phones, thereby avoiding turning their phones off in class. A minor victory, but still an annoyance for teachers I’m sure.

If you feel like trying out the tones for yourself, the best place to download them seems to be “here”:http://www.freemosquitoringtones.org/. You can download a whole range of frequencies and use the highest one you can hear. Be warned though, one day that frequency will fall away and you won’t hear your phone anymore.

NASA: How cool is that!

Is anyone else bothered by NASA having its own channel on basic cable? I could understand it if there were educational programs being shown most of the time or maybe displaying a live web cam of the Space Station or looking through the eyes of the Hubble telescope, but that’s not what it shows. Undoubtedly you probably just flick past it on your way to TBS or some other channel, not even seeing it.

Well, a friend of mine sent me a link to “this article”:http://mashable.com/2007/12/02/nasa-social-network/ about NASA’s new collection of social networking tools called “MyNASA”:http://mynasa.nasa.gov/portal/site/mynasa and it begs the question, what is NASA selling? Government web sites are supposed to be badly programmed, ugly and uninformative and “NASA.gov”:http://www.nasa.gov/ is so totally not. It’s slick, informative and dare I say fun. All the information you could want is right there in an easy-to-use format with interactive features, news feeds and a pretty decent “kids’ club”:http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/kidsclub/flash/index.html . Seriously, this site will make you fall in love with space all over again. “NASA”:http://www.nasa.gov/

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Interactive advertisements

I was walking through a not so busy area in Paris yesterday when I noticed the above plaque next to a billboard advertisement for coffee. Here’s a translation:

??You are in front of an interactive advertisement.??
??To get a free multimedia offer from the brand shown on the poster??
??1. Activate your Bluetooth connection??
??2. Accept the mobile request??
??3. Get your media??

I’ve included below the “gift” below and it was depressingly lame. Just a small digital version of the billboard ad itself. The whole experience does make me wonder about all the fun ways this technology could be used to better advertise other things. Just one idea: What if the advertisement had been for a concert or an album being released? The “multimedia offer” could have been a free mp3 track or something equivalent. Of course, that wouldn’t help for coffee, but there’s always “smell-o-vision”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smell-o-vision.

Green web hosting

http://alexherder.com, is hosted by "Dreamhost":http://www.dreamhost.com/aboutus-green.html, which, I was pleased to learn is completely carbon neutral. It turns out there there a number of "green hosting options":http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/plethora_of_opt.php out there, and Dreamhost is just part of a growing number of tech companies (see "recent post":http://duenos.net/article/266/AGreenerApple about Apple) with ecological aspirations. Check out Dreamhost's "green credentials":http://www.dreamhost.com/aboutus-green.html or look at all the "other options":http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/05/plethora_of_opt.php at "Treehugger.com":http://www.treehugger.com/.

Fun with electricity

“Peter Terren”:http://tesladownunder.com/aboutme.htm from Australia clearly has no fear of electricity. Like Ben Franklin with his kite, Terren plays with homemade “Tesla coils”:http://tesladownunder.com/Tesla_coils_intro.htm and “rail guns”:http://tesladownunder.com/Rail_gun.htm like they’re, well, play-things. Also worth checking out are his experiments with far-too-powerful “can crushers”:http://tesladownunder.com/CanCrushing.htm and lots of cool “lasers”:http://tesladownunder.com/Lasers_%20HeNe_YAG.htm.

The above photo was taken by Terren of he and his son sitting in his Hyundai under a homemade 5-kilowatt Tesla Coil. The car and its jolting accessory are profiled “here”:http://spectrum.ieee.org/may07/5053

Homemade 3-D printer

“TreeHugger.com”:http://www.treehugger.com/ posted an “article”:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/04/downloading_des_5.php the other day about a cool DIY project at the “Evil Mad Scientist blog”:http://www.evilmadscientist.com/. It’s all about a home-made “3-D or CNC printer”:http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/3printerpreview that uses sugar as the primary building material. TreeHugger already did a cool review of the machine with their post, but they neglected to mention the really cool “toaster mod”:http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/cnctoast pictured below.

http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome and "Fab @ Home":http://www.fabathome.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page, both really good places to find out about the grassroots of this revolutionary technology. For a really great treatment about just how revolutionary 3-D printing could be, read Charles Stross' "Singularity Sky":http://www.librarything.com/work.php?book=14432707.

London gets more coverage

Almost all of central London will soon be under the heavy, “potentially harmful”:http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/columns/article.php/3095831, and comforting blanket of wireless internet. The Cloud Network has just “flipped the switch”:http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=39113 on their wireless network covering the Financial District. Combined with the WiFi on the Thames “previously reported”:http://duenos.net/article/101/wifi-on-the-river-thames on duenos, it’ll be hard to find a place where you can’t access the internet.

(via the “Inquirer”:http://www.theinquirer.net/)