Boing Boing 

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.

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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

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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.

Watch this '80s vision of future tech from Apple, and be glad for what didn't come true

This 1987 video from Apple imagines a future world in 1997 made richer and more wonderful by all the sweet Apple products Apple was going to build.

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Bluetooth Star Trek Communicator

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Made of opaque aluminum, this $150 gadget hooks up to a proper cellphone and makes all the right moves and noises. It was "made in response to countless requests from Star Trek fans all over the world," so you can stop asking now.

For nearly 50 years, 700 hours of content from six television series and eleven movies, has made Star Trek into an entertainment and pop culture icon across the world. With its visionary philosophy and thrill for adventure, Star Trek continues to boldly go into new territories, as the rebooted film franchise goes on to wow new audiences. The Wand Company’s Star Trek Original Series Communicator is the most accurate replica ever made, designed using the first ever structured-light 3D scans taken of the Alpha Hero Prop, crammed full of advanced technology, bringing new levels of action and immersion for Star Trek fans of all ages.

• First fully working wireless Communicator
• Bluetooth® Handset for pairing with Bluetooth® enabled mobile cellular phones
• Constructed from pressed metal, die cast metal, machined aluminum and textured ABS to replicate the original hero prop
• Magnetic stand, with metal base and multi-colour LED charge status illumination
• Built-in lithium polymer battery with wireless charging, just place on stand to automatically charge the power cell • High quality molded polyurethane foam-lined transit case
• High quality speaker, great for hands-free calls and even playing music streaming from any bluetooth enabled audio player
• high quality MEMS microphone for crystal clear call quality
• Will delight collectors
• Wide range of authentic sound effects and conversation fragments from the Star Trek Universe

You can pre-order now. It ships January 2016.

Star Trek The Original Series Communicator Bluetooth Handset [Startrek.com via The Verge]

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The IBM 1620, an affordable “scientific computer” from 1959.

ibm1620

The IBM 1620 was released by IBM on October 21, 1959, touted as an inexpensive "scientific computer."

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Hey, kids, let's play militarized police force!


The Pentagon's 1033 program makes sure that every Barney Fife has his own rocket launcher, and Playmobil is right there with him.

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Star Trek paperclips


$20 gets you 40 clips, half in the shape of the Starfeelt insignia, the other half shaped like the Enterprise.