Boing Boing 

Review: Pimping my Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grill with a rotisserie robot, and all the fixins

Boing Boing's barbecue gadget reviewer found a good, cheap grill on Amazon. But which add-ons, like an automated rotisserie, are worth buying? He investigates and tells all, right after this bite of chicken.Read the rest

Little Robot: nearly wordless kids' comic from Zita the Spacegirl creator

Kid or adult, parent or not, you should already be reading Ben "Zita the Spacegirl" Hatke for some of the most rollicking, science-fictional kid-friendly comics between two covers, but now you've got no excuse: Little Robot, a nearly wordless graphic novel about a little girl and a fugitive robot, will fill you with terror, laughter, wonder and joy. Read the rest

Review: NutriBullet 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System

I love this $80 device and use it daily. The problem it solved for me: get produce in my mouth.Read the rest

Austin Grossman's CROOKED: the awful, cthulhoid truth about Richard Nixon

Austin Grossman's first-person secret memoir of Richard Nixon sounds like a Lovecraftian gag, but Crooked is a brooding, bitter Cold War novel that gets deep into the psyche of "the funniest president that ever lived." Read the rest

Exclusive preview: Jeff Lemire's Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars

Jeff Lemire -- creator of the epic apocalyptic graphic novel Sweet Tooth and the dreamy, Twilight-Zonish Underwater Welder -- returns with a new graphic novel, Descender, with Dustin Nguyen -- we're proud to present the entire first issue below!Read the rest

Chuck Wendig's Zeroes: a hacker technothriller in the War Games lineage

Chuck Wendig's new technothriller Zeroes is a hacker misfit tale in the lineage of War Games and Sneakers, true to the spirit (and often, the minutae) of security work, and exciting as hell to boot.Read the rest

Felicia Day's "You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)"

Felicia Day's memoir You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) starts off as a cute, snarky story about how a quirky upbringing turned Day into a nerd superhero; by the end, it's become an illuminating, frank look at the commercial realities, injustices and insecurities that everyone trying to earn a living online must confront.Read the rest

The best 'budget' barbecue grill I've found: Char-Broil Performance TRU Infrared 480

I don't expect a $200 grill to last a lifetime. But it has to cook meats and veggies evenly, with good temperature control. And I found a pretty affordable grill that does that reliably.Read the rest

The Princess and the Pony, from Kate "Hark a Vagrant" Beaton

It was a safe bet that Kate "Hark! A Vagrant! Beaton's first kids' picture book would be amazing, but The Princess and the Pony is incredible.

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Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities: when science changes everything

Amara's Law states, "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run" -- Robert Charles Wilson's gripping conspiracy novel The Affinities brings the experience of that process to life.Read the rest

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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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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Book review: Neal Stephenson's “Seveneves” has too little humanity in the characters

Stephenson’s new novel doesn’t generate the kind of excitement for the future that we’ve come to expect from the author of Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Anathem.Read the rest

Sandman Slim: Killing Pretty

James Stark's returned to LA from hell's gladiator pits and has been tearing things up ever since -- but what do you get for the monster who has everything?

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Fantasy Sports: dungeon crawl ends in epic, eldritch basketball game

In Fantasy Sports No. 1, a berzerker adventurer and his spellslinging, underappreciated apprentice go on a dungeon crawl that takes them into an eldritch game of basketball -- for the highest stakes imaginable.Read the rest

Shadowshaper: outstanding supernatural YA contemporary fantasy

Daniel José Older's debut novel Shadowshaper is a thrilling supernatural YA novel with a diverse, likable cast of characters whose peril can only be averted through acceptance, true friendship and an embrace of their identity.Read the rest

Last Man 2: epic French manga gets even better

In March 2015, Firstsecond books published its English translation of the first volume of Lastman, the spectacularly successful French martial arts comic; they're bringing out the rest of the books on an aggressive schedule, with Book 2: The Royal Cup coming out today.Read the rest