Boing Boing 

A tiny phone that fits in an iPhone case

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The Talkase is a mini GSM standalone phone that snaps into an iPhone case. The $70 phone is described as a "must-have accessory for a mobile lifestyle."

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Click your Bluetooth heels three times to call an Uber

iStrategy Labs' Dorothy is a mobile app and Bluetooth-based switch (called the Ruby) that slips into your shoe. Click your heels together three times and it triggers an action on your smartphone like calling an Uber.

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USB charger in a knife form factor

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Brunton saw me coming when they came up with their Power Knife Multi Charger integrating a standard USB to Apple Lightning, 30-Pin, and Micro-USB. Sharp, but spendy at $25.

Levitating (!) bluetooth speaker

I have no idea how the OM/ONE bluetooth speaker sounds, but it kinda doesn't matter because it levitates. Ah, magical magnetism.

Lens Pen, handy lens cleaner

AmazonBasics Lens Pen Cleaning System

I watch for cheap prices on Lens Pens, as I keep them on hand for cleaning eye glasses and cameras on the run. Anything in the sub $5 range catches my eye.

The lens pen sports a retractable brush at one end and a cap-covered, lint-free soft wiping element at the other. It is compact and protected enough to live in a pocket or glove box without collecting ruinous amounts of dust. Number of useful cleanings per pen varies on the size of and what I'm cleaning, but I tend to get quite a lot of careful use out of them. Grease and oil that gets picked up by the wiper don't get cleaned off, so over time you'll need to replace the pen.

I clean big lenses at home with a blower, lens paper and cleaning solution if needed. It'd be a waste to use one of these. In the field, however, this little guy shines.

Lens Pen Cleaning System

SureFire E2D 'Defender,' best flash light I've ever owned

I live in a place so dark that grues are a legitimate concern. I've found no super bright flashlight better sized or more dependable than the SureFire E2D Defender. I also have not found many more expensive. Shockingly, it is worth the $185!

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Neurodreamer: open source sleeping mask/mind machine

NeuroDreamer LR name

After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:

The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.

* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.

It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one!

Pumpkin Tap turns pumpkin or watermelon into keg

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The Pumpkin Tap turns hollowed-out pumpkins and watermelons into drink dispensers! I think most any beer faucet and shank would work, but this is a fun idea.

Dewalt DW920K-2 Two-Postion Screw Driver Kit

I have used this for 2 years. It is very effective in narrow spaces such as IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame) closets, where I have to add switches or UPS units to rack units. The wand shape makes using this screw driver very effective since it gives me the additional length from the chuck to the screw that a normal electric drill configuration fails to achieve.

I wish it also had a LED illumination adjacent to the chuck, which Dewalt is adding to its newer electric product line. -- Stephen S. Wizowski

Dewalt DW920K-2 1/4-Inch 7.2-Volt Cordless Two-Position Screwdriver Kit $70

Reusable lid turns canning jar into travel mug

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Cuppow is a a reusable lid that turns a glass canning jar into a travel mug. They have versions for regular and wide mouth glass jars. It's made in the USA from BPA-free, Phthalate-free plastic. What a great idea! Amazon has the regular mouth size for $8; you supply the jar. Cuppow Regular and Cuppow Wide Mouth

Combination sink/urinal reuses faucet water

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Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons designed the Stand, a combination sink/urinal, to address water shortages. The water flowing from the tap as you wash your hands also flushes the toilet. ""It is more suitable for hygiene than just a urinal and then guys who don't wash [their] hands," Jursons told NPR. The look reminds me of the Penal-Ware Comby, a stainless steel, suicide resistant toilet/sink combination designed for prisons. Unfortunately, that device doesn't use the sink faucet's water to flush.

Debut of the Picturephone

In this press conference, Microsoft finally reveals its plans for Skype.

Hubble Space Telescope control console on eBay

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Hubbbbb Want to build a DIY version of the Hubble Space Telescope? I posted last year that the Vehicle Power Interface Console used at the Goddard Flight Center during pre-launch testing of the HST was for sale on eBay for $75,000. Well, now the seller has significantly sweetened the deal by throwing in this stately and elegant two-person HST control console presumably also used during pre-launch testing. "NASA ARTIFACT VPI Vehicle Power Interface Rack & Console Hubble Space Telescope"

Hand-shaped iPhone "case"

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The Hand iPhone Case is totally impractical and not really a case. But it's absolutely fantastic! You can choose between an adult or child-sized hand. (via Gadget Lab)

Portable organ, radio, phonograph from 1976

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From the @boingboing Instagram feed, my snap of a Silver Star ORP-1803 organ, radio, phonograph (c.1976) at Groove Merchant, SF.

Funny French toilet paper TV commercial

Clever TV commercial for Le Trèfle toilet paper by the Leo Burnett ad agency. (Thanks, David Steinberg!)

BoomCase suitcase speakers/amp

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BoomCase transforms classic old luggage (and lunch boxes) into one-of-a-kind, er, artisanal amps/speakers that run on batteries and accept any audio input. The BoomCase (Thanks, Patrick!)

Vintage boombox with vertical turntable

Many of you were intrigued by the $50 Ion IT34 portable USB turntable/cassette deck that I posted about a couple weeks ago. If you don't care about USB and have $700 or so to spend on your mobile vinyl needs, might I suggest you seek out the legendary Sharp VZ-2000 boombox from 1982. It features a linear tracking vertical turntable that plays both sides of a record without having to flip it.

Mouthstick: mouth-held touchscreen stylus

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Griffin Technology, makers of a slew of iPhone accessories and other gear, just announced the Mouthstick, a capacitive touchscreen stylus for people who can't use their hands. It's $29.99.

Google Glass demo video

This promotional video apparently demonstrates the Google Glass experience. The video itself reminds me of one of Hollywood's cliche friends-having-fun-day-out montage, only this one doesn't end with a pillow fight. Probably because it might damage the Google Glass.

Portable USB record player/cassette deck combo

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I can't vouch for the sound quality of the Ion IT34 Duo Deck USB turntable/cassette deck but I sure dig the design. It runs on four AA batteries, fits in a backpack, and plays 78s -- perfect for a real old timey picnic. Would also be fun to build it into your auto's dash, like this fine car audio system of yesteryear! $50 from Amazon. "Ion IT34 Duo Deck Ultra-Portable USB Turntable with Cassette Deck"

Space Age bachelor pad hi-fi

NewImage If my home was the Discovery One, I would listen to my space age bachelor pad music on this Rosita Stereo Commander Luxus stereo paired beautifully with Grundig Audiorama 8000 HiFi speakers, both c.1975. This particular set is from the Aediorama blog, but I learned about the Rosita Stereo Commander Luxus from Spencer Hickman of Death Waltz Recording Company who recently acquired one with which to better enjoy his label's freaked-out horror soundtrack reissues.

The phone booth as "last vestige of privacy"

Ariana Kelly: "Between 1997 and 2000, when Pacific Bell retired the number at the request of the Mojave Forest Service, the phone received thousands of calls, dozens each day. When asked why they called, most of the callers’ answers could be distilled to this: Because there was a chance someone would pick up." [LA Review of Books]

Real history of the Fisher Space Pen

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I've carried a Fisher Space Pen Bullet on and off since I was a kid. ("Write underwater and upside down!") I usually lose them in a matter of weeks, but while I can manage to hold on to one I do appreciate its minimalist design, small size, and great "fiddleability." Of course, the Space Pen is surrounded by some epic marketing and myth. Did NASA really invest millions to develop a perfect pen for astronauts? No, apparently, Fisher had developed the pen technology and later brought it to NASA. Following two years of testing, the space agency bought 400 of the pens at a 40 percent discount. And on October 11, 1968, Apollo 7 astronauts carried Fisher Space Pens, model AG7, into orbit.

"The Fisher Space Pen Boldly Writes Where No Man Has Written Before" (Smithsonian)

Fisher Space Pen AG7 (Amazon)

Ambient jam from Buddhist chant boxes and electronic tanpura

On Monday, I posted about FM3's latest Buddha Machine, their wonderful music loop player. The FM3 Buddha Machine was inspired by the cheap electronic Buddhist chant boxes sold in China and India that play infinite prayer loops. The video above is an ambient "jam session" between three of those chant boxes and a Raagini Electronic Digital Tanpura laying down the drone. The result is a kind of "generative art," unique work created by computers from fixed parameters defined by a human artist -- a concept I wrote about in Wired back in 1998.

Universal remote control pillow

NewImage If your remote control vanished as often as mine, you wouldn't dismiss this admittedly ridiculous Universal Pillow Remote out of hand. (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

Buddha Machine 4 now available

Buddha Machine FM3 Buddha 4 YellowFM3 has released the fourth (ahem) incarnation of its wonderful Buddha Machine, the classic ambient music generator loaded with loops by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian. Above, listen to the lovely "hao" loop from Buddha Machine 4. I've gifted many previous models of Buddha Machines and they are always happily received. You can get the device in green, red (pink?), yellow, or orange from Forced Exposure.

In other Buddha Machine news, Virant's "Fistful of Buddha" album is now available too! Here's a taste:

iPhone case allows you to take photos with phone held horizontally


The MirrorCase for the iPhone lets you take photos while holding the phone flat, like an old-timey camera. It seems like a good way to shoot video of yourself, too - just set it on a table and do your thing. At $50, it's a bit pricey. I wonder if there's a DIY version? (I think this is the gizmo used to secretly tape Mitt Romney declaring that 47% of Americans suck.)

Attractive, simple table top radio: Sangean WR-11


After futzing around with various streaming radio apps and bluetooth speakers, my wife told me she wanted a real tabletop radio for the kitchen. Here were her requirements:

1. No buttons - knobs only.

2. Two knobs preferred. A maximum of three.

3. Pretty.

4. Easy to use.

I immediately thought of the Tivoli Audio Model One, but the $150 price tag kept me from getting it. Then I saw the wood-cased Sangean WR-11 for $85. Not quite as good looking as the Tivoli, but almost. Certainly attractive enough to be called pretty. No buttons: check. Three knobs: check (the third knob turns it on and selects AM or FM). Easy to use: It sure seemed like it would be. I bought it.

It arrived yesterday. The sound is rich and deep, even when the volume is turned up, and the tuning and volume knobs are pleasantly viscous when you turn them. Not much more to say about it -- my wife likes it, and so do I.

Sangean WR-11

Companion Cube ice-trays


Wow 'em at your next Portal-themed cocktail party with ThinkGeek's Companion Cube ice-cube molds, at $12.99 per.

Portal 2 Companion Cube Ice Tray (via Geekologie)