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

Rolls of Lego tape!

Nimuno Loops are rolls of Lego-compatible adhesive tape. Genius idea and no surprise that they've blown wayyyyyy past their Indiegogo goal to manufacture the stuff.

Imagine being able to build around corners, on curved surfaces, or even onto the sides of that sailing ship you've just spent hours building. You forgot to engineer a point of attachment for that sweet dinosaur-smashing cannon? No problem. Snip a length of Nimuno Loops, stick it on the hull, mount your cannon and be on yarr way.

"LEGO Compatible Adhesive Tape - Nimuno Loops" (Indiegogo)

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Minimalist web publishing platforms

Check out txt.fyi, a toy "publishing platform" I made. I put that phrase in quotes because it's designed to be as lightweight as possible: you type in text and hit publish, and your work is live on the internet. From the "about" page:

This is the dumbest publishing platform on the web. ... There's no tracking, ad-tech, webfonts, analytics, javascript, cookies, databases, user accounts, comments, friending, likes, follower counts or other quantifiers of social capital. The only practical way for anyone to find out about a posting is if the author links to it elsewhere.

But it is legible, no-nonsense static hypertext, good for short stories, not-short-enough tweets and adventures and all your numbers station or internet dead drop needs. Here you can scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever.

Search engines are instructed not to index posts and I'll do my best to make sure this isn't used as a tool by spammers or other abusers. Nonetheless, posting will be turned off if anything bad grows out of it.

Use Dumbdown to format posts: #header, **bold**, *italic*, `code`, quote, and hyperlinks in the format [link](http://example.com). Try !hacker and !professor and !timestamp too. ...

Long live the independent web!

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Internet-connected teddy bear leaked kids' data online

Update: Dupe!

Internet-connected Cloud Pets stored recordings online and put associated data in an unprotected database for hackers to find.

Since Christmas day of last year and at least until the first week of January, Spiral Toys left customer data of its CloudPets brand on a database that wasn't behind a firewall or password-protected. The MongoDB was easy to find using Shodan, a search engine makes it easy to find unprotected websites and servers, according to several security researchers who found and inspected the data. ... During the time the data was exposed, at least two security researchers, and likely malicious hackers, got their hands on it. In fact, at the beginning of January, during the time several cybercriminals were actively scanning the internet for exposed MongoDB's databases to delete their data and hold it for ransom, CloudPets' data was overwritten twice, according to researchers.

Security researcher Troy Hunt reports that the snuggly spies, from Spiral Toys, "represents the nexus" of the problem with internet-connected appliances and toys: children being recorded, data being leaked, and the technical possibility of surreptitious access to children through networked toys. "The best way to understand what these guys do is to simply watch the video [advertisement for the toy]."

Clearly, CloudPets weren't just ignoring my contact, they simply weren't even reading their emails. 4 attempts (that we know of) were made to contact CloudPets and warn them of this risk.
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Collapsing "connected toy" company did nothing while hackers stole millions of voice recordings of kids and parents

Spiral Toys -- a division of Mready, a Romanian electronics company that lost more than 99% of its market-cap in 2015 -- makes a line of toys called "Cloudpets," that use an app to allow parents and children to exchange voice-messages with one another. They exposed a database of millions of these messages, along with sensitive private information about children and parents, for years, without even the most basic password protections -- and as the company imploded, they ignored both security researchers and blackmailers who repeatedly contacted them to let them know that all this data was being stolen. Read the rest

For sale: the toy blocks Einstein played with as a kid

Richard Davies writes, "Einstein's childhood building blocks have been listed for sale on the AbeBooks.com marketplace for books and collectibles." Read the rest

Another 1960s game I would not give my kid

"Mystery Date." This is creepy as all hell. Read the rest

Mechanical spinning globe that shows the night/day terminator

Elenco's Night 'n Day Mechanical Globe uses a system of translucent, exposed gears to rotate an internally illuminated globe that displays the seasonally adjusted, real-time night/day terminator as it spins. Read the rest

Fidget Cube available directly from its inventor

Since the astounding success of Antsy Labs' Fidget Cube, clones have sprung up everywhere, such as the $3.78 Chirisen cube. I can report that one will last the weekend without springing an anxiety leak. A pack of six is $13.39, just two bucks and change for each one.

Update: readers point out not only that the Kickstarter original is still directly available from the inventor, but that the generic ones are likely to be Antsy Labs' own manufacturers ripping them off. So I've replaced the link to theirs with one to the real thing.

Richard Stack writes: "I have an actual FidgetCube and someone bought me a knock off for Christmas. The original is much much nicer." Read the rest

What Target's graphic designers know about America that you don't

I was in Target yesterday and spotted this remarkable work of art disguised as a marketing hoarding (it is in fact a tryptich with Darth Vader off to the left.) I'm hoping someone well-educated might explain to me what it means. Read the rest

Watch a modded Hexbug perform autonomous tasks

Hexbugs are cute insect-like toys with a remote control. Brad Knox has created a mod that harnesses smartphone technology to make them autonomous, able to distinguish colors and navigate obstaccles. Read the rest

Weird Sixfinger toy from the 1960s

I've written about this 1960s commercial for Sixfinger before, but it's been at least a few years since I last watched it, and it still never fails to amuse me, especially because I had one when I was a kid. From the snappy proto-rap soundtrack, to the hyper-excited boys, to the not-at-all-phallic appearance of the toy, this commercial is a winner on several fronts.

“Sixfinger, Sixfinger, Man Alive! How Did I Ever Get along with Five?” Read the rest

Own your own "Archemedian Turd"

The Archemedian Turd is a "Decorational Defecation" offered either in gold plate or as matte or glazed poopy porcelain. The gold one is $350, the others an easily-passed $20. Read the rest

Creepy vintage toys

Re-Tales, a blog specializing in the wonders and horrors of retailing, has an excellent selection of creepy vintage toys to enjoy. [via Metafilter]

The implicit appeal of these, I think, is that they were originally intended to be creepy, but have become unintentionally creepy. The primary amused-children creepiness of an one era becomes the unsettled-adults creepiness of another, but it's not really the same thing performing the work in each case. And, maybe, the real creepiness is in our appreciation of how the object slowly acquires its secondary creepiness. Read the rest

The latest generation of chatbot toys listen to your kids 24/7 and send their speech to a military contractor

Last year's Hello Barbie chatbot toy sent all your kid's speech to cloud servers operated by Mattel and its tech partner, but only when your kid held down Barbie's listen button -- new chatbot toys like My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Intelligent Robot are in constant listening mode -- as is your "OK Google" enabled phone, your Alexa-enabled home mic, and your Siri-enabled Ios device -- and everything that is uttered in mic range is transmitted to Nuance, a company that makes text-to-speech tech (you probably know them through their Dragon-branded tools), and contracts to the US military. Read the rest

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2016

Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: more than a hundred great ideas for prezzies: technology, toys, books and more. Scroll down and buy things, mutants! Many of the items use Amazon Affiliate links that help us make ends meet at Boing Boing, the world's greatest neurozine.

Gadgets / Books / Toys and Trivia Read the rest

The Swagger is my favorite new toy

The company that invented the Swagway hover-board came out with an electric scooter called The Swagger and I love it.  This zippy, carbon fiber toy weighs only 15 lbs, is easily carried and has a small form factor when collapsed.

I work in a large, carpeted office and we use the Swagger to blow off steam after long meetings.   I've been riding around on it for a few weeks now and there is so much cool about this thing.

THE PROS

The Swagger is UL 2272 compliant, which means it’ll never burst into flames!The Swagger has a backlit digital display with an odometer, speedometer, 3 speeds and cruise control.  Why I’d need cruise control on this is beyond me but I’m glad it’s there!The factory set top speed of the Swagger is 15MPH and though is may not sound fast enough…it is. There’s even a way to lower the top speed if you'd like.The Swagger has a blindingly bright headlamp for night riding and the package as a whole looks and feels solid.The manufacturer, claims that a 1.5 hour charge will take you between 10-15 miles. I’m actually experiencing 5-7 but I think it's because I'm normally riding in the top gear at full throttle.

 

THE CONS

The $399.00 price tag is pretty steep for an office toy.   But if you live in a flat area and your commute to work is short, you should check it out.The Swagger doesn't go up hills very well.

But to me the pros far outweigh the cons and I’ll probably buy a second so that I can ride around with my wife.  Read the rest

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