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] Read the rest

Real history of the Fisher Space Pen

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) Read the rest

Ambient jam from Buddhist chant boxes and electronic tanpura

An ambient "jam session" between three of those chant boxes and a Raagini Electronic Digital Tanpura laying down the drone.

Universal remote control pillow

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!) Read the rest

Buddha Machine 4 now available

FM3 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 is the lovely "hao" loop from Buddha Machine 4.

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.) Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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) Read the rest

McIntosh compact AirPlay stereo system

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! Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

Gendered toy-ad remixer

Zarkonnen sez, "The Gender Remixer lets you set the video of one toy ad to the audio of another aimed at the opposite gender, with hilarious/disturbing results." It's true. The heavily gendered world of toy ads are as formalized as a legal proceeding. Hearing the audio for one and seeing the video for another is incredibly and wonderfully discordant.

The HTML5 Gendered Advertising Remixer (Thanks, Zarkonnen!) Read the rest

DODOcase's new iPad covers: pretty sweet

I'm a big fan of DODOcase's handmade-in-SF iPad cases, and the classic, restrained minimalism of their basic black line and "Essentials" collection. They've just announced a Spring/Summer series for the new iPad with vibrant two-tone colors, and the option of adding foil or black personalized lettering. And, if you like, a little hole for the iPad camera to peek through. Read the rest

Report: iPad 4G to be offered by Verizon, AT&T

The Wall Street Journal was first to report that Verizon Wireless and AT&T will offer the next edition of Apple's iPad to run on their newest 4G wireless networks. Read the rest

The Marimba ringtone heard 'round the world: symphonygate update

The 60-or-70-something businessman and symphony-goer whose iPhone halted Mahler? Don't hate on him, hate on bad UI. The ringer mute switch on iPhone doesn't silence alarms. (via @jswatz) Read the rest

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