The $7 vertical ergonomic mouse is not awful

I suffer from mild RSI: a warning to stop, but one that goes away when I do stop. The trigger is using a mouse for extended periods. The alternatives for general everyday computer use aren't great for my work habits, which center on precise pointing and clicking, so I'm in the bad habit of mousing until the ache begins, stopping, then picking it right back up later. I'd never tried a vertical mouse in the past because my malfunction is mild, the ergonomic improvements aren't clear, and they tend to be expensive. But the OJA Wireless Vertical Ergonomic mouse is only $6.99 on Amazon, so I decided to give it an impulse-buy shot.

I imagined it would be an absolutely terrible mouse, but expected that I could at least use it long enough to see if the enormous vertical wedge shape of it would be good for my hand. As it happened, this thing is probably good enough to keep, with only a couple of slightly annoying issues holding me back.

From the design, it appears to be a knockoff of something by Logitech, with dark gray satin plastic, chrome trim on the mousewheel, and large dimensions all around. It's wireless (a provided USB dongle fits inside the mouse for storage) and charges via USB cable. There two thumb buttons in addition to the usual left, right and wheel buttons. There's a DPI switch and an a power toggle underneath. The photos on the Amazon page depict it with FCC and CE symbols that are not in fact present on the device. Read the rest

Review: bug-zapping lightbulbs are worthless

I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside an electrified bug-zapping cage, and a standard 60W-equivalent LED element to light the room. You can have one or both lit simply by turning the light off and on repeatedly within a second: it sounds clunky, but in practice is an ingenious way to cycle the options without adding interface elements.

But it doesn't matter, because they're useless.

I installed my bulb in three locations, moving it every couple of days until a week had passed. As a control, I moved one of those traditional gooey fly strips likewise.

Subjectively, neither did much to stop the flies, a job clearly best accomplished by closing the damn windows.

Objectively, the death tolls were as follows:

Traditional fly strip: 9 bugs, 3 large.

Bug-zapping lightbulb: 4 bugs, all tiny. (The bulb is pictured here, without cleaning)

VERDICT: Don't be tempted: they're not half as good as fly strips and are many times the price. The only advantage they have is not being quite so gross when you throw them in the trash. Read the rest

A DRM-locked, $400 tea-brewing machine from the Internet of Shit timeline

Did you buy a useless $400 "smart" juicer and now feel the need to accessorize it with more extrusions from the Internet of Shit timeline? Then The Leaf from Teaforia is just the thing: it's a tea-maker that uses DRM-locked tea-pods to brew tea in your kitchen so you don't have to endure the hassle of having the freedom to decide whose tea you brew in your tea-brewing apparatus, and so that you can contribute to the impending environmental apocalypse by generating e-waste every time you make a cup of tea. Read the rest

Blogger killed by exploding gadget

A popular French blogger was killed after a pressurized whipped cream dispenser exploded and struck her in the chest.

French media reported she had died of cardiac arrest after the incident, despite medical attention.

The popular fitness and travel figure was well-known in France, with some 55,000 Facebook fans and 154,000 followers on Instagram.

One of Ms Burger's family members took to Instagram, warning readers not to use the dispenser, saying that tens of thousands of "defective devices" remain in circulation.

Read the rest

Spirited Away's No-Face as a mechanical piggy bank

The Kaonashi No-Face Piggy Bank makes the most out of one of the coolest characters in Studio Ghibli's storied history -- but getting one exported to you from Japan costs an astounding $164. (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Releasing a Cthulhoid podcast on wax cylinders

Paul from Yog Soggoth Dot Com writes, "To celebrate 19 years of the YSDC web site we've released a Limited Edition Wax Cylinder recording of one of our podcast shows on 19 cylinders. Yes, there really is a podcast on it. Fewer than 19 cylinders are available from the set as some people already have them." Read the rest

Make: a gorgeous, dramatic Internet Kill Switch

Want to be really sure that your Internet of Things gadgets and laptops aren't being remotely controlled by malware? Read the rest

The Commute Deck: a homebrew Unix terminal for tight places

Kerry Scharfglass designed his "Commute Deck" as a laptop alternative for his morning commute: it combines a mechanical keyboard (running the TMK open keyboard firmware), a 7", 720p display from Adafruit, a long-life USB battery, and a Raspberry Pi 2 with USB, wifi and Bluetooth dongles, and a little USB hub, all mounted on a laser-cut 1/4" plywood chassis. Read the rest

Arduino's "arm's-length" foundation is being run by CEO who lied about his degrees from MIT and NYU

When Federico Musto engineered a takeover of Arduino, open source hardware fans were nonplussed, and not least because Musto was caught lying about having received advanced degrees from MIT and NYU. Read the rest

Star Wars-themed Billy Bass with Admiral Ackbar's head shouts "It's a trap"

Thinkgeek's $40 Star Wars Admiral Ackbar Singing Bass plays the Cantina theme and wiggles its tail, then turns to face you and shouts, "It's a trap!" Comes with wall-mount or desk-stand, runs on C batteries or AC adapter, and operates on button-push or motion sensor (prediction: you will not leave it in motion-sensing mode for very long). Order today for Father's Day shipping. Read the rest

Will a raindrop cake protect a smartphone from a 100-foot drop?

The YouTube channel GizmoSlip puts a Galaxy S8 to a rather unusual “drop test.” Read the rest

Clever snap-on USB charger faceplate for normal US/Canadian power receptacles

I'm intrigued by this cleverly designed USB charger faceplate for US/Canadian power receptacles: you unscrew your existing faceplate, insert this one into the receptable so that its USB charger leads make contact with the screws on the sides of the receptacle, and screw it back in, and in theory, you now have two power outlets and two USB charger outlets. Read the rest

iMac Pro starts at $5000

After a year or two of Windows 10, I'm ready to go back to a computer that doesn't hate me. I'd been hoping the iMac Pro, announced today, would come in a relatively affordable form—competitive with the $2700 Microsoft Surface Studio, for example. But no! It doesn't! At $5000 to start, this total monster of an all-in-one is most certainly for professionals: you can have 18 cores, 128GB of DDR4 RAM, 4TB SSD, a 16GB Radeon Vega video card, a 30-bit 5k display and even a headphone jack.

To make sure you know it means business, it comes in black and ships December. I'll be sticking with the standard iMac Amateur, I think, which received significant spec bumps: 4.2 GHz Kaby Lake processors, "50% faster" SSD drives, Thunderbolt 3, and Radeon Pro 500 graphics (can't find benchmarks, but isn't this the same as Polaris?) Read the rest

Apple caught up in Australian sting operation

Australian regulators are taking legal action against Apple after investigators posing as customers claim that the company wrongly refused to repair devices that had been serviced by third-party providers.

Australian authorities lodged a high-profile case against Apple this year, after iPhone and iPad customers experienced a malfunction that rendered phones useless if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician. The fault occurred between late 2014 until early last year.

The case, set to go to trial in mid-December, accuses Apple of wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer... That advice was allegedly given even where the repair – a screen replacement, for example – was not related to the fault.

This is fallout from the legendary Error 53 kiln. Read the rest

Twisty Vase, meet Useless Machine

What's better than a Useless Machine? One that is built on a clever, threaded "twisty vase" whose lid twirls open and shut! Read the rest

Ejector seat button for your car, just $14

Here's a very clever eject button that fits into most automobile cigarette lighter sockets. Unfortunately, the product listing clearly states that it's "designed for show only." It is a functional cigarette lighter though so I guess they mean it won't actually trigger your ejector seat.

"Kei Project Red Eject Ejection Seat Push Button Car Power Plug Cigerette Lighter 12-volt Accessory Fits Most Vehicles" (Amazon via Dangerous Minds)

Read the rest

A multitool that's also a belt-buckle

SOG's $60 Sync II "wearable belt buckle" multitool isn't the only multitool/buckle on the market, but it does add a couple very sensible innovations, like a clip-on/clip-off base that lets you use your tool without taking off your belt, and a squared-off form factor (like a pair of folding travel sewing scissors) that adapts the folded tool for the buckle form-factor. Read the rest

More posts