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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Rolex Makes Official Time Sand?

Rolex Timesand (Image courtesy 1/6 (artmarcovici)
By Andrew Liszewski

I guess it makes sense that if an hourglass were to have any chance of accurately providing some measure of time, the sand would have to be of a uniform size, consistency and texture. And if any company on Earth were qualified to produce a sand used for timekeeping, it would be Rolex. A single bag of Time Sand flowing through a standard hourglass is the equivalent of 30 days, and the pallets and pallets of sand you see below represent a generous estimation of an average human lifespan. (81 years)

Rolex Timesand (Image courtesy 1/6 (artmarcovici)

The pallets of Rolex Time Sand were part of an art installation created by Michael Marcovici who’s also known for an installation where he stacked 10 million $100 US bills on 12 pallets to visually represent what $1,000,000,000 looks like.

[ 1/6 (artmarcovici) – Rolex Time Sand ] VIA [ bookofjoe ]

Another Five Days In Laptop Experts Land

By Luke Anderson

[ The following concerns a paid campaign currently running on the site. ]

Is it Friday already? It seems like I was just writing up my post from last week. I suppose that time flies when you’re snowed in for most of a week. I’ve had plenty to keep me busy though, what with my 6 questions a day over at Laptop Experts (not to mention trying to shovel all of that snow).

It’s always interesting to see the new batch of questions each day. There are some questions that have been asked and answered several times before, but it’s always the new ones that I enjoy answering the most. This week I had someone with a strange licensing issue with Vista, and someone else that was having trouble downgrading their new laptop from Vista to XP. Changing your password in Vista is easy, as one person found out. Someone else asked the all-important question of how to keep their laptop battery from dying on them.

If you didn’t get around to asking your burning questions this week, don’t fret. You can stop by the site any time, and the rest of the resident experts and myself will be happy to get your question answered as best we can. Since there are always plenty of inquiries to go around, you’re more than welcome to try your hand at answering a few.

[ Laptop Experts ]

Skeleflex T-Rex Powerflex Lab – With That Much ‘Ex’ It’s Gotta Be Cool

Skeleflex T-Rex Powerflex Lab (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

The Skeleflex system looks like another building toy along the lines of LEGO, Construx, Ramagon, K’nex, etc., except that the ‘building blocks’ are actually various skeletal pieces that connect with snap-together ball joints, making them flexible and movable. Hence the name, Skeleflex. Most of the creations appear to be kid-powered, except for this T-Rex that can be strapped into a powered base making it appear to menacingly stomp around and thrash its head about. Now it seems like kind of a morbid toy to me, but I guess kids have to learn about skeletons from somewhere, and it’s better than learning about them on the street.

The T-Rex Powerflex Lab is available from for about $32, but smaller sets are also available.

[ Skeleflex T-Rex Powerflex Lab ]

The Swiss Army Knife Continues To Add To Its Skillset

Swiss Army Digital Altimeter (Image courtesy Swiss Outpost)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you thought Swiss Army knives were only good for opening boxes, filing your nails or uncorking a wine bottle, you’d only be partly right. There’s a host of other tools and accessories you can get that I’ve quite frankly never found a use for, like say… a digital altimeter. A small LCD integrated into the side of the knife shows your current altitude from -300 feet to +15,000 feet. And if you’re curious as to how cold it gets at those altitudes, the knife’s also got a digital thermometer with a less impressive temperature range of 0 to 100 fahrenheit.

The Swiss Army Altimeter is available from the Swiss Outpost, with all of the features you see sticking out, for $115.

[ Swiss Army Altimeter ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

Fish Tank Friday: Fish Get Chumby


By Evan Ackerman

This confused looking goldfish has a Chumby in its tank. You remember Chumby, right? It’s a little open source widget platform, with WiFi, a touch screen, some USB ports, and a squeeze sensor… It’s designed to become whatever you want it to become. And in this case, it’s become an interactive fish monitor.

The Chumby is attached to some hardware that sits in the fish bowl and measures water conditions to make sure your fish stays healthy. If you’re not going to be around, you can monitor your fish wirelessly with a webcam and have the Chumby dispense food and medication. But it gets better: the Chumby also senses vibrations and noises made by bubbles, and can send the information to other Chumbys in other fish tanks which will reproduce everything, in effect allowing fish to communicate with each other over the internet. And it’s about time, geez… My fish have been complaining about not having internet phone service for years now.

VIA [ Yanko ]

Senate Passes Bill To Delay DTV Transition (Again)

By Luke Anderson

When you were a kid, did you ever ask your parents for something, only to be turned down? Sure, it happened plenty. I learned quickly that simply asking again was not a course of action that I wanted to take, as it only served to frustrate my parents (and usually meant trouble for me). It’s amazing how much I can relate simple lessons from my childhood to our government. In case you haven’t caught on by now, I’m once again talking about the Digital TV Transition.

The bill was passed by the Senate earlier in the week, only to be shot down at the House. Well it seems that despite being told “No”, the Senate has once again passed a bill delaying the transition. In all fairness, they made a minor tweak or two, which was apparently just enough to justify a competently new bill. The fundamentals are still the same, with the transition being delayed until June 12. The House is out until Monday, so we’ll see how round 2 turns out.

VIA [ Gearlog ]

DIY Das Mac Keyboard


By Luke Anderson

Nothing gives you geek cred quite like having a keyboard with blank keys. It lets everyone know that not only can you hit every single key without looking, but that you’re willing to spend  over a hundred bucks to prove it. While I will admit that the Das Keyboard does have it’s appeal, as a Mac user I can understand how some people wouldn’t really want to part with their aluminum keyboards. Thankfully there is a quick and simple way to convert your regular Mac keyboard into a Das Mac Keyboard.

You’ll need some sophisticated equipment to pull this project off. You’ll need a pair of goggles, one of those masks that you wear to protect yourself from fumes and a can of white spraypaint. I could go through the entire process step-by-step, but I think you can figure it out from here. Of course if you want to keep the aluminum look and just paint the keys, you’re going to have a bit more work on your hands. The end result should look just like the picture above, taken by Steve Essell who came up with this simple DIY project.

[ Flickr ] VIA [ GearFuse ]

Approximate Measurements Have Never Been So Precise


By Luke Anderson

I’m sure that everyone has used their hand or fingers to try and make a rough measurement of something. If you do it enough, you might actually get pretty good at it, but I’ve found that I’m usually way off. Well if you’re trying to measure something in the cold, these Measurement Work Gloves are the perfect tool.

The pair of gloves is covered with all sorts of measurements for those times when you just don’t feel like getting out the tape measure. Heck, they even threw in a protractor. Granted, everyone’s hand is different, so I wouldn’t rely on these figures to be exact. These handy (get it? handy!) gloves can be yours for right around $20 a pair. (Unfortunately they are out of stock at the time of writing)

[ UpToYouToronto ] VIA [ FashionablyGeek ]

Alarm Clock Concept Begs To Be Smashed


By Evan Ackerman

This conceptual alarm clock from designer Matthias Lange is, unlike most other alarm clocks, designed to accept your ritualistic unbridled rage at its existence. To shut the alarm off, you smash the clock as hard as you can with your fist. Sounds rather satisfying, doesn’t it? After all, you know what they say… There’s nothing that wakes you up in the morning like a fresh cup of hot steaming violence against inanimate objects. That and the smell of napalm, of course.

Mmm, napalm.

[ Smash Clock ] VIA [ Trend Hunter ]