Make: a two-button Binary Keyboard

Chris Johnstone's "Binary Keyboard" is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don't worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use). Read the rest

The Building Shaker: a thumping gadget for annoying your noisy neighbors

The Chinese media report on a man called Zhao from Xi'an who took revenge on his noisy upstairs neighbors whose boy wouldn't stop jumping on his ceiling by buying a "building shaker" -- a gadget that thumps your shared walls until your neighbors capitulate -- and leaving it on while he went away for the weekend. Read the rest

Why Sony PS4s get roach-infested so easily

It's not your imagination: Sony's Playstation 4 really is unusually vulnerable to cockroach infestation. The reasons why remind me of airline disasters: a combination of several individually-trivial mistakes that combine to form something awful. But the results are so gross Sony won't repair PS4s with roaches in them, writes Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio, sending mystified owners into the arms of disgusted local repair shops.

Matt Zieminski, who works for console repair suite IFixit, told me that most of the time, the consoles aren’t sent in for roach cleaning—the users don’t know they’re infested. The PS4s just stop working and the owners don’t know why. Turns out, the PS4’s internal power supply fries roaches onto its components, which can stop the PS4 from turning on. When the bugs have made little homes in there, and have little roach kids, those roach kids and their feces can melt onto the hardware.

Zieminski knows a PS4 is infested because “Roaches leave traces,” he says. “Their poop color is distinct and has a certain smell to it. We kind of know right off the bat if there are poop stains on the vent of the fan—we assume it’s bug-loaded.”

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Beautiful articulated anatomical, natural history and microscopic pendants

Etsy seller Tcustom is a carver who casts their small creations to make beautiful, detailed articulated keychains and pendants, the best of which use contrasting materials. Some of my favorites: Anatomical Human Head; Salamander Life Cycle; Mitochondria and Trilobite. Read the rest

Inert Products: simulated suicide bombs and body parts for training exercises

If four years of life with your circumcision simulator has taken some of the bloom off the rose, you can refresh your collection of odd simulators with Inert's line of training gadgets for people combating suicide bombers, which include suicide vests, IEDs (including "person borne" IEDs), and complete training kits for gaming out guerrilla battles and/or multiple shooter responses, with fake guns, rocket launchers, balaclavas, grenades, etc. Read the rest

The amazing world of Casio watchmodding

The last time we wrote about the Casio F-91W digital watch, it was to note the odd connection between the timepiece and suicide bombing, but that's not the only extraordinary activity pursued by aficionados of the watch: they also love to mod 'em. Read the rest

Prison inmates built working PCs out of ewaste, networked them, and hid them in a closet ceiling

Inmates in Ohio's Marion Correctional Institution smuggled computer parts out of an ewaste recycling workshop and built two working computers out of them, hiding them in the ceiling of a training room closet ceiling and covertly patching them into the prison's network. Read the rest

Transparent refurbished Super Nintendo consoles

Rose-Colored gaming's producing a limited run of transparent Super Nintendo consoles, refurbished from cosmetically-damaged originals. The guts are painted and polished to be pretty behind the new acrylic enclosures. [via]

These SNES consoles have been treated to a 100% brand new, hand-built exterior, all while retaining complete original function. Each is assembled by hand with the care and attention to detail that you have come to expect from RCG. The housing consists of laser cut and etched acrylic components which have been drilled, bent, bonded, threaded, & assembled using all new anodized aluminum hardware. Many internal components have been slathered in various finishes then etched in order to accentuate items which were never meant to be seen. All hand-built, these units will only be available in VERY limited quantities upon release, with each being treated to a unique serial number.
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Coffee table looks like a giant floppy disk

Why have 3.5 inches of delicate magnetic medium and clattery mechanisms, when you can have a beautiful 3.5 feet replica? The first can coast one drink; the latter a great many. Floppytable is made of hot-rolled steel and the creator, Neulant van Exel, will apparently make one for you if you get in touch.

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Scratch-built hotrod lawnmower

Last year, Jeep2003 decided to frankenstein a new lawnmower using parts from an old snowblower, a smoker grille, and retro motorcycle-style fenders, detailing the build process on the Old Mini Bikes forums. The results are gorgeous: tail-lights, hood ornament, and all! Read the rest

IoT vendor objects to "rude" review, renders complainer's device inoperable

R Martin bought a Garadget -- a device that lets you verify whether your garage door is closed using a mobile app -- and couldn't get it to work and left an intemperate 1-star Amazon review for the product. Read the rest

Bipartisan bill would end warrantless border searches of US persons' data

Under the Protecting Data at the Border Act, devices "belonging to or in the possession of a United States person" (a citizen or Green Card holder) could no longer be searched at the border without a warrant. Agents would no longer be able to deny US persons entry or exit on the basis of a refusal to allow such a search (but they could seize the equipment). Read the rest

Camera-equipped sex toy manufacturer ignores multiple warnings about horrible, gaping security vulnerability

The uniquely horribly named Svakom Siime Eye is an Internet of Things sex-toy with a wireless camera that allows you to stream video of the insides of your orifices as they are penetrated by it; researchers at the UK's Pen Test Partners discovered that once you login to it via the wifi network (default password "88888888"), you can root it and control it from anywhere in the world. Read the rest

Chimeric china: plates, cups, dishes and vases that mashup Chinese and European bone china

Seletti's Hybrid Collection "reflects on the historical production of Chinese and European Bone China and its influences between Western and Eastern aesthetics" -- they're made in Italy and they ain't cheap, but they really tickle my aesthetic sense. Read the rest

The giant ships that ship other ships through the shipping lanes

Behold, the Blue Marlin, a "semi-submersible heavy lift ship" that is capable of hoisting and transplanting other, full-sized ships (that is ships as big or bigger than a US Destroyer-class vessel) all around the oceans. Read the rest

A doll designed to bend into the whole alphabet

Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, "Is this an object of commerce?" and "If so, where does one buy it?" (via Kottke) Read the rest

Man dies after bathtub phone charger shock

Phone chargers usually only deliver a few volts of juice at a feeble amperage, but they'll deliver a lot more if you give them the chance. The BBC writes that a UK man died in the bathtub after being shocked by a charger connected to an extension cord.

Richard Bull, 32, died when his iPhone charger made contact with the water at his home in Ealing, west London. A coroner ruled his death was accidental and plans to send a report to Apple about taking action to prevent future deaths. Safety campaigners have warned about the dangers of charging mobiles near water following the inquest. Mr Bull is believed to have plugged his charger into an extension cord from the hallway and rested it on his chest while using the phone, the Sun reports.

Those little switching power supplies won't save you when wet. The bottom line, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents: "any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit is dangerous near water." Read the rest

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