After 40 years, Sony retires Betamax


You'd be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end.

The last recorders were sold in 2002.

ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge] Read the rest

Keep cables tidy with 100 adjustable and reusable Velcro ties


Amazon has a great deal on adjustable and reusable Velcro ties. The straps can be permanently looped around a cord or cable so it won't get lost. A pack of 100 costs $5 if you're a Prime member (try Amazon Prime 30-day free trial). Read the rest

Dumb Cuneiform: your tweets, translated into ancient Persian and stamped into clay tablets


It's real and it does exactly what it says it will: send Dumb Cuneiform a tweet or an SMS message and they'll transliterate it into ancient Persian cuneiform, stamp it into a clay tablet and mail it to you. $20. It's Snow-Crash-a-riffic. Read the rest

Protopiper: tape-gun-based 3D printer extrudes full-size furniture prototypes

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The Protopiper (white paper [PDF]) is a modified tape-gun that extrudes regular, precise lengths of hollow tubing made from packing tape, with which you can prototype room-sized objects at full size to get a sense of the masses and scales involved. Read the rest

Every Bond gadget ever

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A nice reminder of just how utterly daft they are!

P.S. All reviews of new Bond movies are really reviews of old Bond movies. Read the rest

RFID-shielded, ultra-strong duffels for carrying cash through dangerous territory


SDR Traveller caters to people who, for one reason or another, need to haul huge amounts of cash money through dangerous territory. The bags are made from a super strong, super light synthetic material designed for yacht sails, are RFID-shielded, and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry, from the $1M Hauly Heist to the Money Pouch in denominations from $10K to $400K. Read the rest

LED sneakers whose soles glow in seven ultra-bright colors


The Fancy's $95 unisex, USB-chargeable light-up LED sneakers glow in seven colors and last 8-10 hours per charge. Read the rest

Analog timekeeping: a clock built into a voltmeter


Awkward Engineer's Model AWK-105 Analog Voltmeter Clock costs $139; it began life as a successful Kickstarter and is now an object of commerce, in off-white or khaki. I love that the "twitchy" analog needles that display the time are connected to an Attiny44 CPU. (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Chemistry flask lamps


Available in Conical and Round, these designs won my heart with their clever use of retort stands and sandblasted lab glass; love the fabric-sleeved power-cable too (available in four colors!). The £165; price-tag is admittedly steep, though. Read the rest

FHTAGN: Silver tentacle rings and earrings


The jewelry looks just as good as these pieces but their production doesn't harm any octopuses; they're made from high-quality Sterling and the rings come with three different finishes. The earrings are $20 and are through-the-ear/wrap around; the $40 rings can be easily adjusted for different-sized fingers. Both get top marks from reviewers.

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Fully poseable, articulated Michaelangelo's David action-figure


It's been nearly a decade since a single thumbnail image of Michaelangelo's David's willie caused a censorware company founded by a registered sex-offender to block Boing Boing for all its clients as a "nudity" site. This post will probably blow their minds. Read the rest

Is the new Apple TV any good?


Reviews of the app-capable, Siri-equipped new Apple TV box are filtering in, and the consensus is that it's … OK.

Walt Mossberg writes that it's a much "smarter" box, but one that lacks vision—and has UI flaws.

I don’t know when, if ever, Apple will reinvent TV. But this isn’t the moment. I can say that, if I were buying a streaming box right now, this is the one I’d buy, if only for the promise of lots of apps.

By making the set-top box a part of its giant app and services ecosystem, the company is moving Apple TV into a future that’s much broader and bigger than Roku’s or Amazon’s. And that makes the case. In effect, while it may not have reinvented all of TV, Apple has reinvented the streaming set-top box.

The Wall Street Journal calls it "a giant iphone for your living room," though, and likes it a lot.

Ultimately, the Apple TV’s advantage is that it isn’t tied to the idea of channels, live TV or even streaming. It’s the place where developers are able to do the most cool interactive stuff for the widest audience. There’s already a workout show on the Apple TV that’s smart enough to know if you’re really working out.

The TV of the future needs to be as powerful and easy to use as an iPhone, and this Apple TV is the first box—and the first Apple TV—to achieve that.

Siri is now present, but she's not the Siri you're used to. Read the rest

Gel wrist pad for keyboards


I'm sold on wrist pads. I've been using them for many years. When I don't use one, the bony parts of my wrist that come in contact with the desk get sore. This wrist pad from 3M ($14 on Amazon) is filled with a gel that cushions your wrists, and positions them for typing. It has good reviews in Amazon, but one reviewer said his cat poked a hole in it and gel oozed out. He patched it with duct tape. Read the rest

This USB charger is powered by an electric wheelchair


Josh Winkler is the engineer & inventor behind Cripple Concepts - an innovative startup that provides assistive tech for people with disabilities, made and designed by people with disabilities.

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The complicated psychology and behavioral economics of a beautiful, $700 coffee-dripper


At $700, the beautiful Iikone single-cup coffee brewer is quite an extravagance, albeit one made of precision-milled, polished surgical steel. The coffee it produces will doubtless be delicious, because, assuming you start with good beans and carefully measure your water temperature and ingredients quantities, this is a very good coffee-production method. Read the rest

Modular spiral staircase system for trees

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If you love tree-climbing and lack upper-body strength, look no further: here's Canopystair, an ingenious system from Robert McIntyre and Thor ter Kulve, two RCA design postgrads. It uses ratchet straps and aluminum tripods to anchor the steps, and combines them with a flexible handrail. Read the rest

Review: generic USB-C power-through adapter


They're terrible, don't buy them.

If you own the new 12" Macbook, you have one USB-C port. It's also the power port, which means if you have anything plugged into that port, you're losing battery charge. To both stay plugged-in and operate a USB peripheral—a backup drive, say—you have two choices: an $80 AV adapter from Apple that does things you don't need, or an enticingly cheap $20 third-party dongle that supposedly does.

These devices pass power though to the laptop while adding extra USB ports. They even come in a passably-accurate shades of the new gold and space gray colors. Any good? Read the rest

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