Boing Boing 

Expensive watches from Baselworld

Wired has a gallery of 20 of the most interesting watches from this year's Baselworld -- and most of just aren't that interesting. Modern watch design basically sucks. Of course, there are exceptions.

Times Are a-Changing: Watches From Baselworld 2009

To Market, To Market: The Re-Branding of Billy Bailey - my sf story read aloud

Roy Trumbull has just posted his latest installment in his podcast readings of science fiction stories, and for this one he's chosen my story "To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey," which was published in my first short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More. Roy really nailed the reading -- this is one of my more comic stories, about elementary school kids who worry endlessly about their personal brands and sponsorship opportunities.
Billy and Principal Andrew Alty went all the way back to kindergarten, when Billy had convinced Mitchell McCoy that the green fingerpaint was Shamrock Shake, and watched with glee as the little babyface had scarfed it all down. Billy knew that Andrew Alty knew his style: refined, controlled, and above all, personal. Billy never would've dropped a dozen M-80s down the girls' toilet. His stuff was always one-on-one, and possessed of a degree of charm and subtlety.

But nevertheless, here was Billy, along with the sixth-grade bumper-crop of nasty-come-latelies, called on the carpet in front of Andrew Alty's massive desk. Andrew Alty was an athletic forty, a babyface true-and-through, and a charismatic thought-leader in his demographic.

To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey by Cory Doctorow

Tween boy-band rocks out about Oscar Mayer wieners

Here's tween band Gary and the Hornets performing the Oscar Mayer jingle. Man, those kids sure loved hot dogs.

GARY & THE HORNETS - Classic Commercial Jingle (Thanks, Sean!)

Pogo stick BOING t-shirt

Boinggggtpogot I dig the design of this Boing t-shirt from Vurtego, makers of high-performance pogo sticks!

Off-Kilter Japanese Cult TV show "Oh! Mikey"

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger. Once a part of the wonderfully named "Vermilion Pleasure Night," a sort of Japanese version of "Adult Swim," "Oh! Mikey" is a bizarre comedy show cast entirely with widely grinning, frozen-faced mannequins. Each approximately two-minute episode of "Oh! Mikey" is about an American family living in Japan. It often doesn't make a lot of sense (in that good Japanese way of not making any sense) and most episodes end with the characters laughing hysterically whether something funny is happening or not. Lately "Oh! Mikey" has been airing on the G4 network as part of their "G4 Late Night Peep Show" line-up. Oh! Mikey USA site Original Japanese clip "Oh! Mikey Fever" Thanks Lenora Claire!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exercises that really work

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger.

A demonstration of effective stretches and exercises you can do that will greatly relieve carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Both my wife and I watched this video and started doing the stretches. It really works. Within a few days you can really tell the difference. Try it and see what I mean. Pass this one on to people you know who might benefit from it.

Thanks Ann Magnuson!

Robot gardeners

 Newsoffice 2009 Robogarden-2-Enlarged
MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab researchers have installed an indoor tomato garden tended by hacked Roombas. The idea made me nostalgic for Ken Goldberg's pioneering Tele-garden that was online from 1995 to 2004. MIT News posted a slideshow of their robot garden:
The idea for tending to a garden without human hands came from work done by Nikolaus Correll, a postdoctoral assistant working in MIT Professor Daniela Rus’ Distributed Robotics Lab. Correll saw the possible applications of swarm robotics to an agricultural environment and thus the idea grew into a course in which students created robots capable of tending a small garden of tomatoes. Each robot is outfitted with a robotic arm and a watering pump, while the plants themselves are equipped with local soil sensing, networking and computation. This affords them the ability to communicate: plants can request water or nutrients and keep track of their conditions, including fruit produced; robots are able to minister to their charges, locate and pick a specific tomato, and even pollinate the plants.
MIT's robot garden

More on the new Mark Ryden toy

Yesterday, I posted about Mark Ryden's first toy as photographed by Brian McCarty. Hi-Fructose has Linda Abbott's behind-the-scenes shots of the photo session and an interview with Long Gone John, founder of Sympathy for the Record Industry and also Necessaries Toy Foundation, makers of the forthcoming Ryden collectible. From Hi-Fructose:
 Images Blog 2009 03 Yhwhpaint It is a gorgeous product produced in a rich pink, with high quality blue doll eyes rimmed in a deeper rose. There is an additional “special edition” that will be of 80 run in black and 80 in white, that will be signed by Ryden. The box itself is a piece of graphic confectionary itself, like a magical curio from a time gone by. Looking similar to a Chinese firework box, the box is embossed with gold leaf, and features hand wrapped paper. “ We really wanted to make this look like it was an artifact from a long time ago, like something that had just been sitting on a shelf for ages” John says. “We really made an effort to make it look not contemporary as much as we could.”
"Mark Ryden's YHWH & behind the scenes photoshoot"

UPDATE: See more photos of the shoot at Linda Abbott's photo blog!

Little Red Riding Hood animation inspired by Röyksopp video

Tomas Nilsson created this animation as a school assignment. It is an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood with music by Slagsmålsklubben. He was inspired by the music video for Röyksopp's "Remind Me." (Thanks, Dale Dougherty!)

Musicians drawn with instruments as body parts

 Img Projects Musanat Astorpollux
Former police sketch artist Shawn Feeney has a new exhibition opening in San Francisco of portraits depicting musicians with their instruments as extensions of their bodies. Seen above is "Astor & Pullux," described as "Siamese twins connected at the bandoneon (a free-reed instrument similar to the accordion and concertina). The faces are modeled after Astor Piazzolla, the Argentine tango composer and bandoneon player." The exhibit, titled Musical Anatomy, opens at CounterPULSE gallery on April 6 and will run until April 30. Also included are homages to Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Howlin' Wolf, and others. Feeney's site also features a time-lapse video of him creating the Dylan drawing. Musical Anatomy

Zombie high heel shoes

Zombiestomperheel Iron Fist makes these "Zombie Stomper" high heels. They're £44.99 from Dress Code. (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

Lamps made from plumbing fixtures

The Demo/Design Clinic store on Etsy features these new Kozo lamps made from plumbing fixtures. Handsome, functional, and heavy -- just how I like my furnishings.

Kozo3 lamps (via Dvice)

Chinese architecture stamps

These Chinese architecture stamps look like they'd be a lot of fun for decorative and design projects. Unfortunately, they're sold out at the distributor. Got another source for them? Post it to the comments, below. "This stamp set recapitulates the elements of chinese traditional architecture, such as ridge of a roof, lintel of door and ridge animal."

chinese architecture stamps (via Cribcandy)

Electronic Arts releases DRM-removal tool

Electronic Arts has released a de-activation tool for removing the SecuRom digital rights management that the company earlier deployed on several of its games. SecuROM is known as the most Draconian DRM tool for games, apt to screw u your computer and harm your ability to play the games you bought. It's also entirely ineffective against piracy: Spore, the SecuROM-crippled game released to much fanfare in 2008, was also the most pirated game of 2008. It seems like the decision was driven by the massive, global negative publicity that SecuROM attracted, and by the rumblings from the FTC about regulating DRM.
Electronic Arts has posted a SecuROM de-authorization management tool. Once downloaded, the tool will search your drives for EA games infested with the draconian online DRM system, and help you download their respective individual de-activation tools. This isn't a perfect solution, since it's still possible to run out of activations in the event of hardware failure or other source of data loss, but since the announcement that this particular DRM system will be dropped for The Sims 3 , it would seem that EA has had a minor epiphany about DRM.
EA Releases DRM License Deactivation Tool

Fantastic fan-site for Disney World's Polynesian Resort needs hosting

Henry sez, "Steve Seifert has been religiously documenting Disney's Polynesian Resort since 1999, first on geocities, and now on homestead. While it's certainly not the most modern, it really shows off true passion of the early web: a single subject site that's zealously updated. Steve also runs the popular Disney fandom Tikifest event, happening this summer.

With his homestead bandwidth bills going, Steve is going to shut down the site as early as today. Please help Steve keep the site alive! Email: if you can provide hosting / help him import to a more reasonable site."

This really is an impressive fan-site. The Poly is one of my favorite hotels in the world. I wrote the middle chapters of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on a lanai in the Roratonga long-house, listening to the distant howl of the wolves at the Haunted Mansion, the chug of the railroad, the crack of the Jungle Cruise drivers shooting the hippos, and the calls of the tropical birds all around (I made close friends with an ibis on that trip).

Tikiman's Polynesian Resort Pages (Thanks, Henry!)

Short story in spreadsheet form

David Nygren sez, "A few weeks ago I Tweeted an idea about writing a novel in an Excel spreadsheet. The Tweet got a reaction. At the link, I've posted the first draft of a 'short storyspreadsheet' called 'Under the Table.' I've turned on Track Changes and am asking readers to help me out with edits/suggestions and send their own version of the Excel file back to me."

Short Storyspreadsheet: Excel as a Trojan Horse for Literature

Coral Cache mirror of the Excel sheet

(Thanks, David!)

Boing Boing Video: Jane McGonigal on Emotion, Gaming, and Dance.

Download the MP4 here. Flash video above, click "fullscren" icon inside player to view large. YouTube channel here, subscribe on iTunes here. Get Twitter updates every time there's a new ep by following @boingboingvideo, and here are blog post archives for Boing Boing Video.

Today's episode of Boing Boing Video is the first in a series of featured interviews conducted during the recent Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. All last week, we ran a marathon streaming video webcast from a friend's loft near the conference site, and tons of interesting people stopped by. Today, we present a conversation and Katamari Damacy Cosplay Dance-off with Jane McGonigal of Institute for the Future.

Jane talks with us about her research into emotion and gaming, and her project "Top Secret Dance-Off," which explores how we respond to online interpersonal reactions -- and, what kind of "play" activities make us feel good about ourselves and each other.

For instance, she says that the experience of humiliation -- say, the embarassment you might feel dancing in front of a streaming video camera -- involves a brief blip of happiness. Jane explains why, in this 10-minute clip that melds neuroscience, sociology, and funky Katamari choreography.

Don't miss the very end. Jane and Xeni test out the theories in a not-so-top-secret Bollywood dance-off.

* Jane McGonigal's Game Developers' Conference talk on Making Your Own Reality
* BBV @ GDC live stream archives, at
* Boing Boing Video and Live at GDC09: archive
* Boing Boing Video and Live at GDC09: archive

[ Credits and props for BBV Live @GDC09: Production Team -- Jolon Bankey, Derek Bledsoe, Daniela Calderon, Eddie Codel, Xeni Jardin, Allison Kingsley, Matty Kirsch, Alice Taylor, Wesly Varghese. Special thanks to Wayneco Heavy Industries (accommodation and studio facilities), Virgin America Airlines (air travel), Celsius (thermogenic energy beverage), (streaming video host). Moral support, production assistance, additional talent, and good vibes provided by: Domini Anne, Scott Beale, T.Bias, Jeremy Bornstein, Brandon Boyer, Chris The Van Guy, Peter S. Conrad, Marque Cornblatt, Wayne, Bre, and the entire de Geere family, Marcy DeLuce, Cory Doctorow, Joel Johnson, Kourosh Karimkhany, Jim Louderback and the Revision 3 team, Karen Marcelo, Rocky Mullin, Alicia Pollak, Jackie Mogol, Taylor Peck, David Pescovitz, Micah Schaffer, and Teal. ]