"Mystery Date." This is creepy as all hell. Read the rest
"Mystery Date." This is creepy as all hell. Read the rest
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
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
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
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
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.
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 PROSThe 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 CONSThe $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
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
I had a chance to play with a Cubetto recently. It's a little, wooden, happy face robot on two wheels. You can control which way it goes by inserting colorful plastic chips on programming board (which also has a wood top). There are four kinds of chips: turn clockwise, turn counterclockwise, move forward, and call subroutine. You unfold a mat with a grid of colorful squares and illustrations and set the robot on top of it. An included booklet presents challenges to move the robot from one square on the grid to another.
My wife, 13-year-daughter, and I are not the intended users of Cubetto, but we spent a very fun hour going through the challenges in the booklet and then coming up with our own challenges. My guess is that a kindergartner or pre=schooler would love this and learn a lot from it.
The overall product design is gorgeous, too. I wish the manufacturer, Primo, made consumer technology for grown-ups.
There are lots of books about baby boomer toys, but this fun collection is presented from the viewpoint of the kids who played with the toys and includes lots of personal memories and photographs. Sure, there are many interesting facts and histories about well-known toys and their creators. Classic toys and games that are still made today like Tonka trucks, Easy-Bake Oven, G.I. Joe, Matchbox and Hot Wheels, Twister and Mousetrap are featured in loving color photographs and vintage ads. Their stories are well-known, too. For example, writer and artist Johnny Gruelle patented his rag doll design in 1915, the same year his daughter Marcella died after a controversial smallpox vaccination. The Rageddy Ann and Andy dolls and books helped Gruelle keep his memories of his daughter alive.
Famous fads include the '50s Davy Crocket Coonskin Hats, the '60s Troll dolls, and the '70s Pet Rock. Toys always reflect the times they’re from and this book provides plenty of cultural and historical background. Only after the heady 1960s and '70s with women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, and Black Power movement would there be an anatomically correct African American baby boy doll, Mattel’s Baby Tender Love, molded in life-like vinyl skin called Dublon.
Other less well-known toys are long gone from the toy store shelves but live on in the very personal memories (and actual childhood photographs!) featured throughout the book. Home health training specialist Lisa Crawford (b 1963) appropriately recalls the insanely dangerous metal-tipped lawn Jarts. I was delighted to find Make editor and fellow WINK contributor Gareth Branwyn’s (b 1958) recollection of using his own Johnny Horizon Environmental Test Kit to get an A+ on a school project (and to keep tabs on any hometown polluters!). Read the rest