Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets we looked at Sprint's Instinct, and, of course, the new 3G iPhone, which has an engineering marvel within, and for which higher rates and a new 2-year contract will apply.

Yesterday, we published a song about when the Apple Store is Down that Joel's been working hard on for weeks–listen closely! Today's magnum opus, however, was our liveblogged coverage of Steve Jobs' keynote speech in the style of a classical play. Read the rest

WWDC 2008: Join Boing Boing's IRC chorus of coverage at 1PM EST

The stage is set, the lights are dimmed, the audience murmurs impatiently. But the tragedy and ecstasy of this year's WWDC can be staged for neither the hoi polloi or the gentry without strapping a scented toga around our play's missing actor: you.

We need your help. If you care at all about Apple, why not join the Boing Boing Gadgets crew in the #boingboing IRC channel to discuss Steve Jobs announcements in real-time? It starts at 1pm EST. We'll take the best IRC comments and make them the chorus in our Neo-Ovidian masterwork, The Keynote, starring Steve Jobs (A God), Marvin Batelle (A Time Traveler) and Julian Sands (An Inexpensive Actor).

For more details on how to join #boingboing on IRC, check out this post for detailed instructions or simply click this link to be whisked away via handy Java applet. A list of live blog coverage to comment upon can be found here.


Update: The curtain rises on The Keynote. Behold! Our tangle of thorns! Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets we started things off by comparing Heineken to a hobo's micturitions and then helped PR reps identify the optimal manner in which to booze and schmooze us. That accomplished, we felt pretty good about diving into the meatier posts of the day... but since we didn't have any of those, we instead posted about a cute transistor radio in the shape of an owl and some adorable Space Invaders lamps.

Joel's Lego-spelt-LEGO fixation continued as he openly pined for some LunaBlocks, giant LEGO-like furniture bricks. He also marveled at the incredible story of a Silicon Valley exec who maintained a warehouse full of ecstasy, cocaine and meth before being taken down by Robocop in a swirl of talc. Six cheap camcorders were also compared, despite the fact that none of the cheap tat cams work any better than a digicam.

Meanwhile, Brownlee — through an incredible series of events that quite frankly defies transcription — somehow discovered a Soviet synthesizer capable of playing the fabled 'brown note'. He also posted about a swank IBM Model M style pocket calculator, only to have ten thousand voices unite in the comments to point out that it's "actually more like an Apple keyboard, doof." They had a point.

Finally, the bread-and-butter stuff: it's looking good that the 3G iPhone will wirelessly sync and Dell's new mini-notebook gets some specs and probably Ubuntu. And there was much exasperation from Beschizza as he fired off a polite British philippic at a gadget industry that can't seem to tell the difference between a UMPC and a subnotebook. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we instructed the futuristic eco-warrior how to build his or her own Silent Running style robot ducklings, and the tar-lunged smoke belcher how to roll his own cheap and delicious cancer sticks, as well as gadgets to help him along in the habit .

History was on the menu: we considered the invention of the corkscrew. We also philosophized on the eternal Mac vs. PC sissy slap fight with the helps of our good friends, Tom Servo and Crow.

Also in the news: Mac keyboards discovered 50,000 years in the future. The Louvre opens an Apple store. Amputee anime bikini babes make the best PC case mods. Your grampaw's iPod dock. The senseless, summary execution of thousands of Canon cameras via ball peen hammer. The roaming knife sharpeners of Brooklyn. And, of course, the worst interstitial ever, courtesy of TBS.

Oh, and for some reason, Beschizza posted this really horrifying image of Obama DNA spliced with his erstwhile nemesis, Hilary Clinton.

Link Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we spied this cute LEGO chibi bot, created by a father from his son's drawing; two analog disk dial watches; free iPod Touch 8GB with back-to-school Macs; Lucasarts' nonsensical claim that old adventure games can't be ported to the Nintendo DS (who wouldn't play Day of the Tentacle DS?); Andy Baio's digitizition of a documentary about computers from 1992, The Machine That Changed the World; a travel scale for luggage that's also good for fishing; a microwave case mod; and Starwood's new shi-shi (chi-chi? shee-shee?) "Aloft" hotels bestrewn with gadget plugs and media routing.

Then we talked about mini-notebooks: Brownlee rounded up all the new subnotebooks announced today, including new Asus Eee models, the MSI Wind, a new Acer contender, and whispers of a Sony model. Canonical showed off Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a version of the version of Linux specifically tuned for the little laptops. And Raon showed off a new subnotebook that might as well in tossed into the whole murky sub-class.

But what of seething, you ask? Well, Time Warner Cable said they're going to start metering bandwidth over 5GB a month. (Yup.) I reviewed a cheap solar charger that doesn't even hold a charge. And a study showed that 95% of returned gadgets work fine, which you can interpret in a number of ways: dumb customers, poor interfaces, buyer's regret.

Fortunately, it was mostly a playful day in Gadgeton: someone designed a moon RV for lunar retirees; a woman built a wall of radios; someone built a space donut thing that...does Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets Rob built this GPS Map art generator which allows you to create your own questionable route like the recent hoax. (Pictured here: my version of Boing Boing's Jackhammer Jill on the surface of Mars. I did this all in one breath. I blacked out a little towards the beginning.)

We also looked at platform shoes with Game Boys inside; a trio of pedal-powered vehicles, including an ATV; wrenches shaped like hands; iLounge's new iPod and iPhone guide; my delicious oversized bottom and how you can have one, too; retro AM radio headgear with dual antennas; a fold-up solar panel that recharges AA batteries; and a digital picture frame that can also be used as a secondary display. (Finally!)

We questioned if the new mini-notebook computers were getting too expensive; wondered where we'll get desktop golf toys and die-cast Ferrari now that Sharper Image is closing its doors; saw the cutest camera flash for the too-hip-for-CMOS Diana+; discovered an antique stoplight even more functional than our modern ones; saw the birth of the Egyptpunk casemod (someone better get on Punkpunk right now); noticed that T-Mobile spied on journalists in Germany; saw a company slopping fake fuel additive pills run out of gas in Australia; and took a deep, warm look at gadgets that can go inside of you.

And then skimmed the cream off the deals sites, since we're all depressingly skinflint. We also swapped links with our favorite PC gaming blog Rock, Paper, Shotgun, because they are fantastic. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we looked at this perfectly silly motorcycle helmet covers; the most ancient phone book, 130-years-old and up for auction; a new fleet of buses with free Wi-Fi and power on the East Coast ($20 from New York to Boston); the Aga Four Oven, made of cast-iron and lauded by commentors; virtual worlds to visit before you die, which prompted me to mention what a bang-up job was done in Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City; Cricket, a folding laptop stand for travelers; Bushnell's Sasquatch bounty, but more importantly, a raccoon riding a wild boar (that's cryptozootainment!); a lovely outdoor shower; more video on DEKA's bionic "Luke" prosthetic arm; handmade keyboards; tiny, knife-missile-sized ornithopter UAVs; the claim that Intelius people search is a scam; multiplayer Pong and Turbografx emulation for the iPhone; the Sony Rolly review (it didn't fare so well; personally I think they're neat, but about $350 too much); a portable digital scale for people, not drugs; the tragic increase in deaths for telephone tower technicians last month; a gallery of vintage transistor radios; a hands-on of the MSI Wind, the heir not-quite-apparent of the Asus Eee mini-laptop; a place to store your porno DVDs...if you owned any; the mysterious captivation of the paper towel dispenser; and a look at the upcoming Google Android smartphone operating system, which really does look like it's going to be a great platform. Read the rest

"Now the Hell Will Start" by Brendan I. Koerner

Brendan I. Koerner's "Now the Hell Will Start" follows the true-life story of Herman Perry, a young black playboy from Washington, D.C., drafted into the Army and shipped to the Indo-Burmese jungles to build the Ledo Road, a Sisyphean attempt to connect Allied supply depots with China during World War II. Years of nigh-on-forced labor in the sweltering, tiger- and headhunter-infested slog caused many of the soldiers to clutch consolation in cheap drugs, getting high in dark, wet tents while their uniforms literally rotted off.

Perry succumbed. Worse, his drug use provoked insubordinance against the white officers who commanded the predominantly black recruits, awarding him multiple visits to the brig. Horribly, after a year of hard work, incessant rain, flippant officers and cheap opium, Perry — provoked — killed a superior officer. He escaped into the jungle, certain he'd be captured within hours. Instead, he became the focus of one of the most notorious manhunts of the war, living with the mountain tribes of headhunters and becoming a folk hero some called "The Jungle King."

Koerner's an amazing reporter — my first mentor, along with Choire Sicha, to drum into my head how effective informed, dense writing could be — and has a knack for transmuting reams of research into taut narrative. (He was one of's excellent "Explainer" columnists for years.) It doesn't hurt that Perry's story cuts a path through subjects with which I am endlessly entranced: racism, drugs, survival, war, sorrow, and death — all wrapped in one man's outrageous, tragic adventure. Read the rest

Recently on Boing Boing Gadgets

Recently on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw suits made from recycled bottles; heard that Apple is toying with solar power; and felt the MacBook Air cut to the bone. Rob wondered who would like a text-based portable gaming console; Joel tinkled on Yamaha's Disklavier IV WiFi Piano; and John, when he wasn't microwaving cellphones, pondered the creation of a floating libertarian utopia. As for reviews, there wasn't much to hear from Koss' new Sparkplug headphones.

Last week, we invited Mrs. Buttermer to take her teacher's red pen to the worst "top 10 worst things" Diggbait list of all time. Today, however, all we want to know is this: what the hell is this strange knob that we found in Rob's back yard? Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets, we helped Carnegie Mellon University make AI smarter by playing casual games; saw Intel announce and unannounce an Atom-based iphone; confused Shoryuken for Schubert; and found that MSI's Wind subnotebook is as good as the Eee PC.

Joel soared on wings of jet-powered song (wearing a Jawbone II); John televised the wireless jump rope revolution; Rob wrote font haiku and checked out a Midi controller based on lasers and surface tension; and CBS bought CNET for nearly $1.8bn.

Mostly, however, we explored the history of video games that help you get your exercise. Get your dance on! Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we saw mugshots of the dumbest thieves in New York State, foresaw the return of crappy Tiger-style LCD games, and played with a frightening WowWee Chatterbot. John converted a houseplant's meaningless biometric readings into–appropriately enough–twitter posts; Joel lost a few extra pounds on a novelty velocipede, and Rob donned a useless anti-cellphone radiation suit. JVC and Kenwood gazed lovingly into one another's eyes. We also looked at a GUI-based music video; a transparent Eee hardcase; a phone of little use to onanists; an iPod file squirter; a gallery of shipping containter data centers; a scammy fuel-injection gizmo that outsmarts at least one Florida NBC affiliate; and AT&T screwing its own customers. We learned about Japanese cigarette vending machines, the fears of Thai children, everything there is to know about bicycles, and how to turn corpses into a syrupy fecal sludge. Don't forget the adjustable hot sauce.

There were reviews, too, of Bruton's Solaris 52 solar and Solo 15 battery and Lenovo's x300 ultra-thin notebook. There's one thing we won't be reviewing any time soon, however: a portable gaming console from Apple. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets we learned that Steve Ballmer kicks Steve Jobs's ass, that furry crocodiles prefer Amstrad, and that John is consorting with space prostitutes, sort of.

We toyed with a feeble-looking convergence gadget, a pair of spy sunglasses; a robot vacuum swarm; and a new batch of tiny motherboards. Seeing a rotating DIY screw-clock with electro-ocular implants, we found Peter Jensen's retrofuturistic Nixie Tube clocks; announced the winner of this weekend's Team Fortress 2 smackdown; praised Microsoft for donating 360s; and gawked over a vacuum-tube violin mod.

That's a lot of stuff to take back to the store. Let's hope we don't end up on a shady database of shoppers who issue chargebacks. Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on BoingBoing Gadgets, we reviewed a 3G USB modem that works great on Macs and high-end canine gear; listened to The Harmonium; drank a strictly-conforming European pint; watched Belkin try to bring novelty to the world of mouse pads; built an ornithopter and a difference engine; guzzled yoghurt with a specially-shaped spoon; and listened to a beautiful boombox in a double-bass fiddle.

Most of the afternoon, however, was spent setting up a server so y'all can play Team Fortress 2 over the weekend. Read the rest

Weekend Mayhem: Come Play Team Fortress 2 With Boing Boing!

You are cordially invited to an orgy of cartoon mayhem: Valve's superb Team Fortress 2 is free to play this weekend to celebrate a new update, and we've got a 26-player server set up and ready to roll. And we're playing now!

All you need is the Steam client, a half-decent PC and and a good internet connection: download what you need at the TF2: Gold Rush Update site. Don't worry if you can't make it just this second: the server should be up all night.

Here's how to find us. Open up Team Fortress 2, click Find Servers and then check the "Custom" tab. Our server name is Boing Boing Team Fortress 2. Our direct ip, if you need it, is The password is "jackhammerjill" without the quotes. That should bring you in!

The server's up and running now! We're looking forward to being stabbed in the back, immolated, uber-charged and exploded by all of you!

Weekend Schedule: (The server's up 24/7, but it's good to set gathering times)

Friday 4 p.m.-late

Saturday, 4-7 p.m. EST

Sunday, 4-7 p.m. EST Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets, we boarded a binary kite and did turn-based battle with the world's first clamshell Blackberry. Japan got a steam-powered newspaper, nostril filters and pastel Eee PCs; China got a $12,000 CD player; and Kenya a domestic renewable energy business; Rob recorded it all on a DIY tape delay machine, while John ducked boomerangs in space.

In Sri Lanka, a mongoose unset us up the bomb; Pittsburgh plays with flesh-healing pixie dust; and here at home, hard drive crushers crushed drives hard.

International adventures done with, we announced the winners of the 1 kilobyte competition. Amazing stuff! Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets we started off the morning by looking at some zombie robots who like to eat brains. From there, it was straight to serious gadgetry: AT&Ts plans to subsidize the 3G iPhones, a look at a WiFi detecting watch, a tiny wireless camera perfect for covert perversion, a video game controller that claims to work on psychic reverberations and the workstations of the rich and tasteless.

We also rounded-up our 1k Competition Entrants... those works of genius from our readers in 1024 bytes or less. A bottle of Marilyn Manson's new absinthe was broken open, with much reminiscing about similar beverages quaffed in bars of yore. And then Rob broke out Photoshop and created this incredible image of cyborg Steve Jobs with his face ripped off, to celebrate a vintage Japanese automaton's refurbishment.

Also: the cutest Alien vinyl figurine ever.

Link Read the rest

Today on Boing Boing Gadgets

Today on BoingBoing Gadgets, we tickled the dragon's tail, destroyed the evidence, then wrote it up on the world's smallest Mac. We learned that wherever Cory goes, the iPhone follows; that you can't kick a robot when it's down; and that magnetic shelves are the perfect place to store crap gadgets. Baffled by a 60-drive USB duplicator, we pondered how to measure its power consumption.

From the Malabar front came news of a robot spider droid army, just in time to take care of re-awaked elder god, AirJelly. John played with a pinhole panorama and min-maxed his weight loss, while Rob fawned over a neodymium magnet puzzle and a pet porthole.

Finally, it dawned on us: Apple Store Geniuses are douches. Read the rest

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