December 20, 2006

the get it
Happy Holidays to everyone! This week I have a bargain that you cannot pass up. How about a Kingston 1GB SD card for that new camera for $50? No? You want a better deal? What would you say if there was a $30 rebate? Still not good enough? How about if you use Google Checkout for an additional $20 off? That makes the price $0. What about the shipping you ask? How about free. I can’t do any better than that.…
the gizmo
Signaling the end of the world as we know it, a company called Boston Dynamics has developed the BigDog, "the most advanced quadruped robot on Earth." What is the BigDog you ask? Just check out the video and be prepared to begin having a whole new level of nightmares. The BigDog walks runs and can climb a 35 degree slope. In addition, it has the ability to carry a 120 lb load up to 3.3 mph. It is powered by a gasoline engine and its legs are articulated like an animal with the ability to absorb shock and maintain its balance. The strange and disturbing thing is that while watching the video, I began to forget that I was actually looking at a robot. It began to resemble a horse or a large dog running around with its head cut off. I’m serious, it is that creepy. However, as the video continued I found myself wanting to throw a saddle on this baby and ride it around town. Seriously, watch the video.
the gorgeous

The watch. There is not much you can do with it that hasn’t already been done. Of course there was that whole digital thing that threw us on our ear, but we paid for it aesthically. For one thing, who can keep track of all of those hands? Come on, you’ve got the hour, minute, second, who can keep up. To use a bad pun, I don’t have the time. I’ve got to get the kids into the minivan and off to soccer practice! I’ve got an idea, let’s keep the hand stationary and spin the dial instead! Sounds like a bad idea, doesn’t it. Well I am here to tell you that it isn’t. A company called Modern Jump Hour has come up with the Spinning Disks watch. It uses three spinning disks to create a triple layer display of time. The top layer spins displaying the seconds, the middle spins at a minute’s pace and the bottom disk indicates the hour. The time can be quickly ascertained by checking the intersection of each disk with the stationary red line. A very cool idea, beautifully designed and a steal at $95.
the green

There are certain villages situated in mountainous areas where the mountains are so sheer that they are actually deprived of direct sunlight for a portion of the year. One such town is Viganella, nestled in the Italian Alps, where the sun dips so low, it is not actually visible from November until January. When asked to describe what it is like, one of the village’s 200 residents declared, "It’s like Siberia." So what did they do? They built a frickin’ solar-powered beam weapon. Just kidding, I couldn’t resist, unlike Dr. Evil or Scaramanga, the residents of Viganella used their efforts for good and not evil. They built a giant 26×16 ft mirror that tracks the sun’s movement and reflects the sunlight onto Viganella’s main square. The project was spearheaded by the current mayor Pierfranco Midali whose campaign promise was to bring the sun to Viganella. The whole project took about 7 years with the cost around 100,000 euros. The mirror went live on the 17th and the villagers think it is worth every penny.
the gossip

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had information that would help us choose a cellular phone provider? We have this type of compiled information for many other products and services, so why not cell phone reliability? Well, this data does exist. In fact, it is incredibly detailed, and to add insult to injury, you can’t have it. Your friends at the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) have been compiling detailed outages by geographic area since 2004. Why can’t you have it? The Department of Homeland Security has declared that the information would "jeopardize our security efforts" and furthermore has declared that "The same outage data that can be so useful … to identify and remedy critical vulnerabilities and make the network infrastructure stronger can, in hostile hands, be used to exploit those vulnerabilities to undermine or attack networks." Come on, "security efforts", "attack networks", you’ve got to be kidding. Apparently they aren’t, the FCC has even made it exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. This is just the kind of stuff that feeds the conspiracy kooks.