Boing Boing 

Super bright LED lantern for $10

lantern

This small lantern has 30 LEDs, making it very bright for its size. It runs on 3 AA cells (not included). It's got a 4.7 star rating on Amazon with over 2,600 reviews. A good deal at $10!

Excellent LED headlamp for $7

led-headlamp

If you're an Amazon Prime member, this adjustable-angle $7 LED headlamp is a great deal. It's regularly $19.

Hand-crank lantern, flashlight, USB charger ($15)

lantern

This combination flashlight/lantern/USB charger will reward you with 15 minutes of light for for each minute you pleasure it by turning its crank. Amazon has it on sale for $15.

crank

Build curvy, complicated, organic structures with ZOOB

Most of the really great construction sets are rectangular in shape, or they obey rigid angles. Lego, Kapla Blocks, Kinnex, or Zomeworks are fabulous kits that foster open-ended creativity. But they all tend toward very rectilinear structures. ZOOB is the first construction set I’ve seen that encourages organic, free-flowing builds. There are five basic ZOOB shapes centered on a ball-and-socket connection. When you click them together you have full 180-degree freedom in how the connection is oriented, leading to creations that are curvy, complicated, or ones that repeat like vertebrate in a spine, or carbons on a chain, or even amino acids on DNA. I was surprised by how sophisticated you could make the forms; you may need a bit of patience to get complex ones to fit perfectly (note to 8-year olds). In fact the force and precision needed to assemble pieces may be beyond toddlers, but school kids should have no problem. The plastic pieces are largish, unlike lego, so the finished forms can be quite hefty.

ZOOB
Ages 6 and up, 125 pieces
$20 Buy a copy on Amazon

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Darth Vibrader: a Vader mannequin made from sex toys

Adult film star Kayla-Jane Danger, SFX guy Todd Devlin and porn producer Seth Beard skinned a mannequin with sex toys, hooker boots and other stuff from a sex shop to create the 7' tall Darth Vibrader, which will adorn the offices of Wood Rocket, an LA-based porn studio.

You're inflating your tires wrong. Here's how to do it right, and save up to $500 a year.

It's a good idea to do your best to avoid this.


It's a good idea to do your best to avoid this.

I am a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Manhattan. Like many New Yorkers, I didn't drive a car when I lived in NYC. Now, like many Angelenos, I must.

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R2D2 Rollaboard


This would be way better as a 4-wheel spinner, but it's still a sweet piece of kids' luggage with handle sized for small people and flashing lights and beeps -- a worthy successor to the hardcase version.

$3 clip-on camera lens kit for smart phones

I bought this camera lens kit for the heck of it, because it cost only $3.14 including shipping, via Amazon. The package arrived from China. The kit consists of three lenses (made of red anodized aluminum) and a spring-loaded clip. To use a lens, you screw it on the clip and then pinch the clip over phone’s camera lens. The clip is padded so it won’t scratch your phone. I had to take my phone case off for best results.

The macro lens is excellent for getting very close detail shots of small objects. The fish-eye and wide-angle lenses are similar to each other, but the fish-eye gives a more exaggerated bubble view. The kit also comes with lens caps and a little cloth drawstring pouch to keep all the pieces together.

Fisheye, Wide Angle, and Macro Camera Lenses
By KingMas
$3 Buy one on Amazon

See more photos at Wink Fun.

Huge, futuristic 3D printed mech-tank

Singaporean toymaker Michael Sng made Boudicca, a T1 Training Colossus -- a 3D-printed robot tank with 400 custom parts and servos controlled by an Arduino.

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Amazon Prime Day is not that great. But here are a few good deals

I was looking forward to today's Amazon Prime Day, because Amazon was promising “more deals than Black Friday.” But the stuff they've been offering isn't that exciting. Here are a few decent deals. You need to be a Prime member to take advantage (Prime is $99 a year, but you can get a free 30-day trial and bail before they charge you).

Coleman MicroPacker LED Mini Lantern ($7)

Razor A Kick Scooter ($22)

Men's 4-Pack Fashion Boxer Briefs Underwear by LUK ($24)

Universal Wireless Range Extender with Power Outlet Pass-Through ($28)

Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player ($80)

MultiPurpose Balaclava, 2-pack ($12)

Reading glasses by the 4-pack ($8)

Currently selling for $7.85 for a 4-pack on Amazon, these normcore reading spectacles are a great deal. Available in a wide range of strengths.

The best affordable fan for cooling your home this hot summer: Vornado 660

poodfan

Choosing a fan for my home was more complicated than I expected. Do I go with a traditional oscillating fan, or go bladeless? Box fans also have their place in the world, but probably not in my living room or bedroom. I wanted a sturdy blower with a low profile, for a compact urban space.

I came across Vornado, a company that describes its fans as Air Circulators. Vornado is a 60 year old company with design roots in aerospace. They have a history of focusing on doing exactly one thing: moving air. I ended up purchasing the Vornado 660 ($99 on Amazon) for a test spin. I was so pleased, I bought my second one three days later. What I really liked about it were three things: its profile, power, and smart design.

The fan (okay, “Air Circulator,” whatever, Vornado!) is small and circular. It looks like a miniaturized jet engine. When you unpack the shipped item, you attach the circular base stand, which enables the fan to rotate on its X axis only, to provide a wide up-down movement. This is important, because it lets you focus the main airflow in any direction you wish like a laser, with three deep-pitch blades.

This model is offered in black and white, and I chose black. It has five buttons on the back panel representing power and up to four different speed settings. The power cord is a generous length, and excess can be coiled up beneath the base for neater appearance. While it may resemble a jet engine, the noise output of the Vornado does not. On it's highest setting you get a pleasant, steady white noise in the background. On the lowest setting, you can't even hear it.

Power-wise, this thing really is like a jet engine when it's on high. But the key to the Vornado 660 is the ramp-up. It is not used like a traditional oscillating fan, because this fan doesn't oscillate itself—it circulates the air. Whether the weather is hot or cold, this fan can keep a room comfy by circulating the available cool or warm air, preventing buildup at the ceiling or floor. This can help you lower your heating and air conditioning bills because you do more with less, circulating out the air accumulation pockets in your room.

v101-vornado-660-premium-air-circulator-44

To do this, you have to set the fan on the floor in the correct position of the room, which is generally in a corner. Direct its output flow toward the opposite upper corner of the room, diagonally. Once set in place, turn it on to the medium setting a little while. This primer stage kickstarts full room air circulation, and creates a vortex airflow pattern that sends currents of air circulating around the room. Instead of a push-out of random air, the Vornado accelerates a beam of air, which then forms smaller currents and eddies throughout. Once you have the fan on medium for a few minutes, you increase to one of the higher settings.

You feel an immediate difference and can fine-tune the air flow with the higher speed settings in the fan. The result is a nice light breeze anywhere in the room, at all times. Exactly what I was looking for.

Cleaning is easy—just vacuum from the back. If you need greater access, you can open the grille and remove the blades in, at most, three screws (some models have two push-in clips instead of screws).

vortex-optimize

Bottom line: Yes. I am very satisfied with my choice. The end result for me since I bought the Vornado 660 Air Circulator has been a cooler summer, a warmer winter, and savings on my energy bills all year long. Amazon has a number of Vornado models, suited for rooms of all sizes. The cheapest one in the line at the time of this blog post is $29. The Air Circulator is also offered in a heavy duty model, or a very cool looking vintage model, if that's more your style.

[Editor's note: The author of this blog post paid for the device he is reviewing with his own damn money, because we're too cheap, and this review isn't paid or bartered content of any kind.]

A vintage version is available, in red and green. Photos:  Vornado


A "vintage" model called Vfan is available, in red and green. Vornado

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Save 72% On The Power Vault 18000mAh Dual USB Battery Pack

Get the max bang for your buck with this robust, super-slim power bank packed with 18,000mAh of battery juice ($29.99). Charge your smartphone, tablet, or both at the same time, so you can stay charged on the road.

  • Lightweight & compact
  • Two USB charging stations
  • Rechargeable 18,000mAh battery
  • Sleek aluminum case

battery-pack-2

Wi-Fi Range Extender with touch screen

wi-fi-rangeYou don't need to use a computer to set up this Wi-Fi range extender. Just follow the instructions on the touchscreen. It also comes with a USB file sharing port. It's $99 on Amazon.

Little Library: miniature book-charms for necklaces, bracelets and earrings


From Abigail in Sterling, Scotland: tiny, adorable, books you wear: The Hobbit, The Little Prince, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, Sherlock Holmes, The Fault in Our Stars, Alice in Wonderland, and any other book you desire.

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Kickstarting Keyboard.io, the scratch-built keyboard

Jesse Vincent has productized the scratch-built split keyboard he built and is kickstarting a production run.

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Amazon Fire Phone for $159, includes one year of Prime

On June 23, I posted that an Amazon Fire Phone (32GB, Unlocked GSM) was selling for $179. I almost bought one, because it includes a year of Amazon Prime, which I pay $100 per year for. That meant the real cost of the phone was $79.

Today, Amazon is offering the same phone for $159, including the same one year of Prime deal. That did it for me. I bought one. I'm going to use it as my international travel phone (my iPhone is locked by AT&T so I can't use another carrier's SIM card) and a replacement phone for when my daughter drops her iPhone in the toilet.