Celebrate the new decade with a $22 Lil Dumpster Fire figurine so that you can gaze upon your immortal petrochemical chum and recall fondly the days when the dumpster fire was merely figurative. (via Super Punch) Read the rest
The Upland Film Co. took a walk around Dublin with an old-timey cine camera loaded with Kodak film: "Shot a few rolls of 16mm in Dublin on the trusty ol' Bolex." The results are comforting yet uncanny, the new and the old in harmony and tension. Read the rest
The Kindle Oasis is lovely, but $200 is too pricey for an e-reader. The Kindle Paperwhite is the one I recommend and 35% off today at Amazon, bringing the price down to $85. This is a great deal and maybe signals imminent new products, but it's not as if "basic decent e-reader" is a category vulnerable to disruptive innovation in 2020. The Paperwhite has high-dpi text, subtle backlighting and weeks of battery life, and that's probably all you need.
Special Services Group makes surveillance crapgadgets for cops and spies: cameras and mics hidden in tombstones, vacuum cleaners, children's car-seats, and other everyday items. Muckrock's Beryl Lipton used a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy of "Black Book," SSG's massive sales brochure out of the Irvine police department, with minimal redactions. Read the rest
US Air Force research scientist Michael Hansen created Rhasspy as a privacy-oriented alternative to surveilling "voice assistant" products like Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri; the free/open project supports dozens of languages from German, French and English to Mandarin, Vietnamese and Russian, and is designed to run on Raspberry Pi-based devices. Read the rest
Nick Verzilli is surely furious: he muted the audio on the video he recorded of a USPS driver abusing his 40lb package of fancy computer bits. Read the rest
Though I keep buying the damned things, I've never liked any of the portable bluetooth (or airplay) speakers I've gotten: they're all too large, too daft, too boofy or too tinny, too fancy, too hinky. So when I was handed the JBL Go 2, my mind immediately turned to regifting it. I'm glad I didn't, though, because it's perfect. It's the right size, it's cheap, it works, it's waterproof, it can survive a drop, it doesn't look stupid, and it sounds good.
That something with such basic and useful function hits all these notes makes it a perfect last-minute stocking stuffer. It's straightforward enough for technophobes, but even hard-to-shop-for gadget lovers will dig it as a no-nonsense EDC sidearm. If you order it today, it'll arrive before Christmas, at least on Amazon Prime. They're at Best Buy too, but only in black.
The power switch, volume and pairing controls are embossed on the metallic rubbery finish, while the the non-waterproof AUX and USB ports are hidden under a flap. I got about 5 hours of playback on a charge. The box is about three inches square and an inch deep. It fits in my jean pockets but packed a good, bassy punch.
The only thing I don't like is the big white JBL logo painted all over it. Annoyingly, while it comes in white, the logo is then dark gray.
JBL Go 2 [Amazon]
Abbott Labs makes a continuous glucose monitor -- used by people with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels -- called (ironically, as you'll see below) the Freestyle Libre. Read the rest
A family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, bought a Ring security camera so they could keep an eye on their three young girls in their bedroom. Four days later, they learned that a hacker had broken into the camera and subjected their children to continuous bedroom surveillance, taunting the children through the camera's built-in speaker. Read the rest
The Lixada LED Handheld Flashlight is a $9 stocking-stuffer ($29 for 4): a six-LED/36 lumen flashlight that clips directly over the terminals of a 9V battery, forming an easy flashlight rated for up to 10,000 hours (battery life depends on whether you're switched to 6, 4 or 2 LEDs). One reviewer uses 9V batteries swapped out of smoke detectors as power-sources for these. (via Kottke) Read the rest
Wired takes a long look at the rapid progress in oral health in the 20th century from this:
In 1899, the British Army was recruiting troops to fight in the Boer War and recruiters were appalled at the health of the men who were turning up. They were stunted, malnourished and had appalling teeth. “It became a national scandal,” Bairsto says. “No one was cleaning their teeth. Many couldn’t chew their food.”
to Philips selling a $270 electronic toothbrush (pictured above). Are electronic toothbrushes any better than a mundane brush? Put away your skepticism, Wired says:
All that said, the Cochrane reviews are pretty clear. They looked at plaque buildup and gingivitis (gum disease), finding that electric toothbrushes were, on average, more effective than manual ones. The effects were real. An average 11 per cent reduction in the degree of plaque buildup, in the short term, and a 21 per cent over three months term; a six per cent or 11 per cent reduction in gingivitis, depending on how you measure it.
Refreshing news! But there's still cause to be skeptical:
Read the rest
The question is where to go next. Apps that track behaviour and sensors that check you’ve brushed every tooth are already in place; how much more high-tech can toothbrushes get? How much more advantage can be squeezed from them?
One possibility is raising the stakes. There have been hints that periodontal disease is linked to wider health problems – sufferers are more susceptible to stroke, to heart attacks, to blocked arteries, to high blood pressure, and to cancer.
The business end of KOKUYO Beetle Tips highlighter looks a bit like a rhinoceros beetle's horns, hence the name. Three-way refers to the fun you'll have with the highlighter when you make three different kinds of marks with it.
Amazon sells a colorful 5-pack for [amazon_link asins='B001J5PBUO' template='PriceLink' store='boingboing' marketplace='US' link_id='c08ba8e9-91c2-4cbc-ba4c-119e5639d307'].
Apple's response to the Congressional committee investigating monopolistic behavior by tech giants contains a chapter on Right to Repair, whose greatest enemy is Apple -- the company led successful campaigns to kill 20 state level Right to Repair bills last year. Read the rest
As with last year, the Mozilla Foundation's privacy researchers have produced a guide to electronic gifts called "Privacy Not Included," which rates gadgets on a "creepiness" scale, with devices like the Sonos One SL dumb "smart speaker" (Sonos ripped out all the junk that isn't about playing music) getting top marks, and Ring Security Cams, Nest Cams, Amazon Echos, and other cam/mic-equipped gadgets coming in as "Super Creepy!" (the exclamation point is part of the rating). Read the rest