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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] Rob

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)

McIntosh compact AirPlay stereo system

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The McIntosh McAire is a standalone stereo system designed for Apple AirPlay. It also is a fine hardware complement for the McIntosh AP1 Music Player app, digitizing those iconic blue meters (although these sadly don't actually respond to the music). The app is free but the McAire is $3,000 -- real blue meters are expensive!

LovePalz teledildonic sex toy


An early 1990s magazine called Future Sex was all about teledidonics - devices that allow people to have sex with each other even when they weren't close enough to have sex. But in the early 1990s, there weren't any real teledildonic devices. Future Sex closed down after a few issue

In 2012, a couple of designers are hoping to make teledildonics a reality with LovePalz, an iPhone sex toy that allows you to "remotely control your partner's device through your body movement." They were rejected from Kickstarter (Kickstarter won't say why), so the designers have launched their own Kickstarter-esque website. They've received 2223 pre-orders so far.

LovePalz

(Via HuffPost)

Gadget to shoot 360° panoramic video on iPhone


The Kogeto DOT is a $49 gadget that lets iPhone users shoot 360° panoramic videos.

(Via Blame it on the Voices)

Toddler kicked off plane after iPad deprivation tantrum

A family from Washington state had to cancel an island vacation when their flight was grounded after their 3-year-old son pitched a tantrum.

The toddler had been quietly playing with an iPad while waiting for the plane to take off, the father said. When the iPad was taken away—you know how all electronics must be stowed during takeoff and landing—all hell broke loose.

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iPod Body Mod: magnetic wrist piercings become mount for Apple iPod Nano

REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Tattoo artist Dave Hurban displays an iPod Nano which he has attached to his wrists through magnetic piercings in his wrist in New York, May 14, 2012. Reuters has an interview with him here.

"I just invented the strapless watch," he said on Monday of his Apple Inc device, set to display a clock.

Hurban cheerfully recounted how he mapped out the four corners of the iPod on his arm and then inserted four titanium studs into his skin. Once the incisions healed, he popped on his iPod, which is held in place magnetically.

"It's way simpler than you think it is," said Hurban.

Below, Durban's HOWTO video for the project he calls "iDermal," explaining how he pulled it off. Not that he can just, you know, pull them off now.

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