Reflectacles get a new feature: CCTV-blinding infrared reflectors

Reflectacles, the hyper-reflective Ray Ban-style $75 glasses frames that Scott Urban is Kickstarting have a new feature: now you can get ones doped with materials that reflect the infrared light that CCTVs kick out to let them capture images in low light, which blind cameras' sensors. Cool! Read the rest

Behold, the short-lived, wonderful 19th century Waverley Type-Writer

Typewriter historian Martin Howard (previously) writes, "I was able to pick up a rare and exquisite Waverley typewriter (1896) this summer in Scotland and have just the other day posted it to my website all cleaned and ready to show." Read the rest

Boing Boing's 2016 Gift Guide: Gadgets

A staggering array of gadgetry gets posted to Boing Boing every year, which makes picking just some of the stuff seem like a big job. But it's easy when you just ask yourself: what made our lives better? What looks fun? Here's a few dozen tech toys that generated laughs, light and lovely smoothies.

Most of the links here include Amazon Affiliate codes; this helps us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine. Don't miss our favorite books and toys from 2016, too Read the rest

Crowdfunding powerful open hardware that is truly open and respectful of your rights

Crowd Supply (previously) is an extremely effective platform for funding open source hardware development, boasting twice the success-rate of Kickstarter and Indiegogo; it is also the birthplace of the proclamation of user rights, an outstanding document that lays out the rights of users to explore their hardware, use it independent of any subscription, use it with any other service or hardware, use it indefinitely without fear of remote kill-switching, to transfer it to others, to freely discuss it, to use it privately, and to be informed of security issues. Read the rest

New MacBook Pro "great for hackers"

Adam Geitgey offers an alternative take on Apple's new MacBook Pros, which were poorly-received when announced two weeks ago. Geitgey argues that, thanks to the finally-maturing USB-C ecosystem (and there being multiple USB-C ports), it's a miniature interoperative power-toy that hackers will love. For example, you can charge it with a drugstore power adapter: no more $80 bricks to lug around.

Universal sharing of accessories between devices is a hacker’s dream. It’s the exact opposite opposite of vendor lock-in. You can just plug anything into anything and it (mostly) works. ...

If you get any of the new USB-C compatible monitors (pretty much every vendor has at least one now), you only need to plug one single cable into your MBP: You can then plug all your other devices into your monitor and everything flows over one USB-C to your laptop — power, video, data and even sound. Your monitor is now your docking station and breakout box!...

I/O-wise, the new MacBook Pro is possibly the most open device Apple has ever built. There is literally not a single proprietary port on it. You get four universal high-speed ports that can each draw or supply power, send and receive data and transfer video and audio. It’s really pretty neat.

(Odd to think, though, that none of the clever mobile tricks he lists will work with iPhones, beacause iPhones don't use USB-C.)

I finally checked out the new MacBook Pros in person over the weekend. The 13" model with a function row is an almost-perfect laptop; if you don't need a cutting-edge mobile workstation, it has a lot of juice for such a tiny machine. Read the rest

Washi masking tape in 20 colors

The MT Washi Masking Tapes come in 20 colors for $16.35, 10 meters of each color, with hundreds of positive reviews from crafters and customizers (caveat: this is "decorating" tape, and has limited use for e.g. sticking things up on walls). (via Fun Finds) Read the rest

Ceramic figurines in leather BDSM masks

Richard Ankrom's "Figurines" series mix "found ceramic objects, synthetic rubber, zipper (studs, buckles, etc.)" (via JWZ) Read the rest

A gauge to accurately measure the force profile of a keypress

Annoyed by reviews of keyboards that describe mechanical switches the way men in bow ties describe wine, HaaTa spent fabulous amounts of money constructing a custom gauge that generates meticulously accurate graphs of the pressure profile of keypresses.

I take keyboards way too seriously. However, unlike most of you, I’m an engineer. This means I need facts, data, and real evidence before I can form an opinion. And this lack of actual information has always bothered me when it comes to how the keyboard community at large tends to review switches.

Similar in function to charts of speakers' frequency response, the gauge anchors subjective experience in empirical data that can be verified independently of manufacturers' claims. There are good and bad sides to this sort of thing. On one hand, it burns off technophile mysticism and helps prevents it from being sold on to low-information consumers. On the other hand, the desire to free phenomena from human experience is futile.

Read the rest

The Gridlock: learn to pick car-locks

Michael from Sparrows Lockpicks (previously) writes, "I am releasing the Gridlock today, a automotive lock teaching tool." Read the rest

Prosthetic elf-ears with built-in earbuds

If you're heading into the Council of Elrond disguised as an elf, but you're reliant on a kind of Elvish Cyrano to whisper advice in your (lily-white) ear so you don't blow your cover, look no further than the Twisted Melon Spirit E666 Elvish Ear earbuds, which cost about $10. Now I know what to get the Beschizzas for Xmas! (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Amazing photos from Kinshasa's scrap car-parts megamarket

The N’Djili district of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo is home to an enormous market of scrap auto-parts, carefully salvaged from Japan's waste-stream and meticulously arrayed on blankets by merchants eking out a marginal existence. Read the rest

Barnes & Noble's releasing a $50 Android tablet that does all the things Amazon won't let Kindles do

Chris Meadows writes, "Barnes & Noble is coming out with a $50 Nook Android tablet, with hardware specs similar to Amazon's $50 Fire. The kicker is, this new Nook tablet will run plain-vanilla Android 6.0 Marshmallow and include the full suite of Google Play apps--unlike the Fire, which only permits installation of those apps Amazon deems suitable. Will this be enough to rescue the ailing Nook brand?" Read the rest

HP's Z2 Mini is a tiny workstation

I thought it was crazy that Dell dethroned Apple as the maker of America's most spectacular laptops, but look at this from HP, putting the Mac Mini on notice: the HP Z2 Mini Workstation.

HP's little desktop isn't quite as small, at 8.5" wide, and prices start at $690. With Xeon and Nvidia Quadra video card options on offer, it'll soar much higher if you load it. No detailed specs were announced, though Engadget reports you can get up to a 1.5TB SSD and Intel Core CPUs will also be on offer. It lacks Thunderbolt and more game-friendly video card options.

Is it weird that the natural point of comparison, the Mac Pro, doesn't even come to mind? The Z2 Mini may well overpower it in pricier configurations. What happened to that, anyway? Read the rest

Your user data is secretly sent to China through a backdoor on some U.S. Android phones

Included for free with some Android phones: “a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.”

Read the rest

Ingenuity, defined

Never let it be said that the crapgadget factories of the Pearl River Delta don't know how to recycle surplus/rejected material. Read the rest

A beautifully machined spinning top

Machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate (previously) teamed up with Richard Stadler, who machines beautiful spinning tops, to create "sculpture TP53335144462," a gorgeous piece of work. Read the rest

A visit to the crapgadget impulse aisle with Meh.

I have a soft spot for crapgadgets. During my first stretch living in Silicon Valley, one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday was to get a friend to drive me to Fry's and just buy a whole whack of stuff from the impulse aisle: stuff that some optimistic entrepreneur had made an unsuccessful bet on, sold off to a jobber, who then split it into lots that were sold on to import/export places that eventually dumped it into Fry's: black-and-white digital cameras without a viewfinder (I called it the "point-and-pray"); stuffed bootleg Windows 2000 logo plushies; digital walkie-talkies that looked like the Incredible Hulk.

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