Monday, March 31, 2008
Geeks like to build custom devices, of course, but one that has pretty much been left alone is the keyboard. I bet you can see where this is going. You know it's serious business when he talks about "activation force" in centiNewtons.
Behold, it's the microswitch keyboard.
Posted by NuclearToast at 12:05 AM
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
- Have you seen the video for the 3D alphabet book? It's currently available for pre-order on Amazon.
- Do it yourself takes on a whole new meaning with the Home DNA Paternity Testing kit.
- Blast from the past: An article from a 1968 Mechanix Illustrated imagining What Will Life Be Like in the Year 2008.
- The world's worst intersections and traffic jams: Part 1 and Part 2.
- It's never too early to start planning ahead: Eighty-Five Ways to Decorate Your House with Christmas Lights.
- USB device roundup: the questionable USB photo keychain; since many devices are charged by USB these days, it makes sense to have a 4-port USB car charger; for all you weather buffs, the USB hygrometer/thermometer; and when a regular mouse just won't do, you need the 11-button multimedia USB mouse.
- Do you like to party, but don't like the hassle of getting a DJ every time? Then you need the International Dance Party.
- How can you camouflage cans of beer so you can drink them without fear of reprisal? With Canouflage, that's how!
- Get a visual reprimand when you're using too much power with the glowing socket.
- You've probably never heard most of the 98 Nicknames for New York City.
- I've linked to stuff like this before, but I always find it interesting. Take 100 food products and compare the glamorous pictures to the sad reality.
- Kathleen Dustin's art purses.
- "Listen to your mother" is advice that, apparently, has a long-standing tradition. See for yourself the consequences of not heeding your mother's advice in this 1819 book Accidents of Youth (PDF file).
- In the days before political correctness, you could see ads like this.
- American Idol is not just American, with versions all across the globe. The less-talented can be amusing (to us), as in this Bulgarian Music Idol clip of a girl singing Mariah Carey's "Ken Lee".
- Wow, who even has time to care about The Most Horrible English Words?
- Conversely, writerly types might be interested in Common Errors in English (go Cougs!).
- In a hard lesson on not doing what everyone else does, it's the ice fishing mishap.
Posted by NuclearToast at 11:29 AM
This one is strange. It's a pattern-matching, Tetris-like game. You clear balls off the grid when the ball's number matches the number of balls in the row or column. But I haven't figured out the other ways balls can be cleared. The FAQ talks about unlocking secret public powers, whatever the hell that means. If you figure out some of clearing powers, post a comment.
It's called Chain Factor.
Posted by NuclearToast at 12:04 AM
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Something that really bugs me is when so-called "information" doesn't really do its job and inform people. One such example is the following commercial, airing in the Seattle area, about the changeover from analog to digital television broadcasts.
While the beginning couple of seconds are cut off ("There's a change coming to broadcast television, even bigger than the change to color."), the unclear message is the same: On February 17, 2009, YOUR TV WILL STOP WORKING!
Many of us geeks know the details about the HDTV switchover and get what they're trying to say. But I often give messages like this the "my mom" test: Will my mom be able to understand it? This time, I have to answer, "No!"
So to you people trying to inform the masses about the change to HDTV, do us all a favor. Yes, digital TV is better. But you need to let people who aren't technical, and who have older equipment, know in clear, specific language how they can watch this newfangled stuff. Because, technically, their TV won't "stop working."
This has been a public service announcement for the morons that make public service announcements.
Posted by NuclearToast at 11:10 AM
Monday, March 24, 2008
You know, when I go into my bathroom, the first thing I think of is, "Wow, my toilet lid sure is plain. I wish there was something I could do to snazz it up a little!"
Well now all my pleas have been answered. Yes, you can customize your toilet with toilet tattoos.
Posted by NuclearToast at 12:07 AM
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
- Easter warning: crucifixion is bad for you. Use only clean nails and drink lots of water!
- This just in: Atheist Sees Image of Big Bang in Piece of Toast!
- It's never too soon to plan ahead for Christmas, especially if you're a collector. You might want to snap up this weird Darth Vader Christmas figure.
- Speaking of Star Wars, geeks everywhere are excited about the new DIY Lightsaber Kit.
- A recent internet meme is the ceiling cat. Now you can make your own papercraft ceiling cat.
- Someone spends an awful lot of time tracking a few journalists and publications at Kill the Cliche.
- Rick Rolling has been an online staple, but life imitates art. Rick Roll'd in Real Life.
- If you've ever worked in retail, you know that people suck. Now customer service people can post about their experiences on Not Always Right. I think this is the best one.
- So you're on the intarwebs, but you can't get your favorite site to come up? See where the problem is with Down for Everyone or Just Me.
- Nixie tubes are old, pre-LED digital vacuum tubes. Taking retro geekdom to the extreme, check out the Nixie tube wristwatch.
- The greenest business card you'll ever see. Just don't call it a green card.
- Environmentalists and car buffs both were excited this week when Tesla Motors announced they've begun production on their awesome electric sports car.
- Create your own Latte Art Printing Machine.
- If you're a word nerd like me, then you'll also appreciate the great scenes from TV and Film told using typography.
- On one page, I learned all about rechargeable batteries and possibly the coolest recharger in the world: Adventures in Rechargeable Batteries.
- Very cool robot sculptures (and descriptions) at Guy Robot.
- Put a camera on a bench with a note to take pictures, come back later and develop the film, and you have Stranger Photos.
- The best business card ever.
- Designers are looking for the New Black, but the Old Black still seems to be "in" as evidenced by these Japanese black facial tissues.
- Why is Freecell so popular?
- I love the special effects in this French(?) music video Coupe le Cake.
- It's a PDF file, but it contains the 100 best last lines from novels.
- For those of you that have already seen it, I apologize, but it's just too cute to watch Jerry the dachshund and the computerized ball launcher.
- An awesome meme: vintage ads with modern products.
Posted by NuclearToast at 10:43 AM
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I get a fair amount of exercise. I know what you're thinking. "Gee, NT, you must have that Wii Fit game, huh?" But no, this is actual, real-life exercise involving muscles. And I know what you're thinking now. "Did the electricity go out?" No. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that I exercise regularly. Some might even call it a routine.
The building where I live has an exercise room. In keeping with my arms-wide-open tradition of loving other people, I get up at the ass-crack of dawn to have the room to myself. Usually, this works. Occasionally, other people show up as well. Which brings me to The Asian Couple.
The Asian Couple first showed up last summer, and were there pretty much every day for several months. Then one day they weren't, and I never saw them again. Until this morning.
The exercise room has one TV in the front, and you have to set everything manually (channel, volume, tilt and swivel). I found it very funny during last year's run-in that the young woman started bringing a universal remote with her, to channel-surf whilst on the treadmill.
The Asian Couple have a few interesting quirks. One, they do everything VERY FAST. They don't jog, they RUN, as in 50-yard-dash sprinting. They don't lift weights, they LIFTWEIGHTS. They don't ride the exercise bike, they use it to whip eggs into meringue. Two, they listen to the TV at what seems to be its maximum volume. And three, they like to talk to each other, in their native tongue, and due to the previous quirk, they must SCREAM to be heard. More than once, since the other's first reply is always, "Huh?"
Last, and not least, after exerting themselves, say as they walk very fast on the treadmill between sprints, they make noises that can only be described as the non-dialog parts of a porn movie.
I can only look forward to more shared workout sessions with the deaf porn-grunting Asian couple. And by "look forward to," I mean, of course, "dread."
Posted by NuclearToast at 2:18 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Officially known as the vernal equinox, or the point where the sun passes directly over the equator, it's also the point at which people who have been under the icy boot of winter celebrate the promise of better weather and wearing sandals without socks.
The exact time that spring begins is 10:48pm PDST tonight (05:48am UCT/GMT tomorrow morning their time). Tomorrow is the first full day of spring.
I don't know about you, but I'm gonna wear a Hawaiian shirt.
Posted by NuclearToast at 1:13 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It's weird being a techgeek in an increasingly technological society. Mostly because there are parts of it I reject in one form or another. For example:
- iPod/iTunes. I rip my CDs the old-fashioned way and copy files to my MP3 player. I don't need your stinkin' device and application to do it! That goes for you too, Zune.
- TiVo. It's a combination of being too cheap to pay for a monthly service to record two shows a week, and being too lazy to hook yet another device up to my TV and the internet. I still use a VCR because it's easy and cheap.
- Texting. Oh sure, Raggs and I enjoyed a spurt of texting recently, but that's because she had no access to email or IM during the day. Now that she has email, texting is back in the "last resort" category.
- Facebook/MySpace. Social networking sites are for people who are social. Since I'm a misanthrope, I really don't care what other people are doing, and am fine with them not knowing what I'm doing. Current mood: apathetic.
Posted by NuclearToast at 11:21 AM
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
So our first annual (attempt?) Pi Day went off pretty well. There were a couple of quiches, some apple, coconut cream, key lime, chocolate pudding, and pumpkin pies. Even some ice cream and Cool Whip®!
Check out Urn's Apple Pi:
Here's the awesome pi/e spread:
Sorry for the glare, the pie minions were hungry and I had to hurry. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm all hopped up on sugar and have to go <gargleblarg> TIMMEH!
Posted by NuclearToast at 1:30 PM
- Get your partying in this weekend. For the first time since 1940, the Catholic Church has moved St. Patrick's Day.
- Adding to the unending parade of USB devices, you can now purchase these whimsical USB neon lights.
- A very cool mechanical digital clock. Here's a video.
- The electronic yodeling pickle. I wish I were kidding.
- Also, stock up for summer. Kids love Pickle Sicles!
- Anyone can be a critic on the internet. Especially when it comes to an internet speciality like Photoshop. Get clued in at Photoshop Disasters.
- In the Another Useless Internet Project department, the White Glove Tracking project asked geeks to isolate and magnify Micheal Jackson's white glove from his landmark TV performance of Billie Jean. The video proves two things: Jackson really used to be good, and a huge white glove is hilarious.
- Meet Hugo, the cat of 1,000 faces.
- Good food plus a view. It's Dinner in the Sky. Be sure to check out the pictures.
- The fascinating facts about Lost Springs, Wyoming.
- What do you get when the news anchor and reporter have an on-air spat? Great TV.
- SHAQ rode in my lude!!!!!! (Apparently we should only refer to our cars with one syllable.)
- Physics limericks. Yes, from Harvard.
- How many North Poles does the Earth have? Depending on the definition, at least seven.
- Dust-mop your floors by simply walking on them!
- There's an intersection in Brooklyn that tends to form a large puddle. A puddle so important, it has its own blog.
- Everybody's getting in on the cooking shows, even former rapper Coolio. You can see the first episode where he makes Coolio Caprese Salad. Shaka-zulu!
- In the US, the standard generic name is "John Doe". Check this list to see the local everyman name in countries around the world.
- Maple-bacon lollipops. Warning: not kosher.
- The 26 best zombies of all time.
- The seven smelliest creatures in the world.
- Take the Finnish band The Leningrad Cowboys, add the Russian Red Army Choir, and then have them perform Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic Sweet Home Alabama.
- As decided by the BBC, here are TV's top 25 put-downs.
- British cuisine becoming extinct. Some may wonder if that's such a bad thing.
- Scented candles for men: Manterns.
Posted by NuclearToast at 10:03 AM
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Do you feel anxious if you don't have your cell phone with you? Do you get antsy if you're away from a computer and can't check your email? Do you have a "crackberry"? If so, then you're not alone. From a new report:
The American consumer is more connected and has more instant access to people and information than at any time in history. Losing that access creates disconnect anxiety.
There are some interesting tidbits in the report, like what percentage of people text in the bathroom or use their laptop in bed. Check out the full report (10 pages, PDF), Age of Disconnect Anxiety.
Now excuse me while I go check my email...
Posted by NuclearToast at 10:10 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
This Friday is Pi Day. Since I work with a bunch of geeks, to celebrate we're having Pi Day Pie Day. Which means savory pies for lunch and sweet pies for afternoon snack. I'll be hard at work in the Nuclear Kitchen this week concocting the perfect quiche for the occasion.
Do you have any plans for Pi Day?
Posted by NuclearToast at 11:08 AM
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
- Data are cool. Like using them to plot maps of Starbucks and Wal-Marts per capita by state.
- The top 10 ways to get cables under control.
- A "captcha" is the box displaying some weird text that you have to type in. Captchas are used to trip up programs which often do things we don't like (such as spam). Unfortunately, us humans have to deal with captchas too. Here are the top 10 worst captchas.
- I'm not the only one that does cooksperiments: eggnog pancakes.
- 41 hilarious science fair "experiments".
- Bluetooth is awesome technology for your cell phone. Now you don't even have to get out of bed to answer your phone with the Bluetooth purCushion.
- Need to squeeze more space out of your small apartment? Then get yourself a collapsible kitchen and a Trunk Station desk.
- This has been all over the intertron, but it's too cool if you haven't seen it. Someone imagined the original Star Wars movie credits in the style of renowned designer Saul Bass, Saul Bass vs. Star Wars.
- The FantaSuite Hotels in Burnsville, Minnesota don't go the regular hotel room route. No sir, they focus on fantasy theme rooms.
- The movie Be Kind Rewind has invented a new term for making low-budget home movies of blockbusters: sweding. Since the movie's release, life has imitated art... imitating art. Check out the top 10 fan-made "sweded" films.
- The pet food taste tester.
- The baffling Dyatlov Pass incident.
- How NOT to re-release a bear into the wild.
- For those that make fun of my McPizza, here's the Big MacChicken. Hey, it's Atkins-friendly!
- You might be hard pressed to figure out that Amy Walker is from Seattle when you listen to her 21 accents.
- Thought bubble barrettes. Some of them are pretty geeky!
- Leetspeak + hex color codes = leet colors.
- WARNING: The following is not an animal-friendly link. But it just goes to show you the breadth of weirdness on the intarwebs. And you'll find out what an "Assquatch" is. Make your own redneck art.
Posted by NuclearToast at 10:50 AM
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Organizing a ping pong tournament at work is not necessarily an indicator of high geek activity.
Having someone in the tournament write an application that keeps score, and having the score prominently displayed on a laptop for all to see, is.
Seeing the faces of the passersby who aren't involved, and watching them smile and nod knowingly because they're all geeks too... priceless.
Posted by NuclearToast at 2:11 PM
Gamer geeks know that Gary Gygax passed away this week. He was the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, and is considered one of the fathers of tabletop gaming.
I never played D&D. Yeah, really. So when I heard he had died, my first thought was of all the D&D videos I've seen over the years, making fun of the D&D geek stereotype. Such as:
Tom and his Chums (It gets a bit raw near the end, but still funny.)
Boots of Escaping (From Reno 911.)
Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! (The classic D&D LARPing video.)
Also, I stole the title of this post from Penny Arcade's memorial to Gygax, because it's just so damn clever.
Posted by NuclearToast at 8:38 AM
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
This coming Sunday, March 9th, we here in the States begin Daylight Saving Time by setting our clocks ahead one hour. While it can be a bummer (an hour's sleep, lost!), it also heralds the longer days of summer just around the corner.
- Technically, it's Daylight Saving Time (not Saving=s=, plural).
- Studies have shown that DST doesn't save energy. It does reduce evening lighting requirements, but that is offset by higher energy-load costs for cooling.
- Studies have shown that DST reduces traffic, and particularly pedestrian, fatalities.
- DST is not observed in Arizona or Hawaii, or in the US Territories of Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Marianna Islands.
- For all the grief I give when I say, "It's only an hour, people!", apparently circadian rhythms can be disrupted for up to several weeks. Geez, adapt already!
Posted by NuclearToast at 2:22 PM