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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Art Can Be Pretty Strange: Anatomical Kitchen Accessories (Possibly NSFW)

Milk comes from breasts, right? So let’s make a milk jug with nipples! Or hey, we taste salt with the tip of our tongues, so let’s make that salt shaker shaped like a tongue! We can’t be sure, but we imagine that this could have been the thinking behind Christine Chin’s collection, titled “Sentient Kitchen.” Of course, she’s an artist so she might take issue with our unsophisticated assessment of her creative process, and she might be right. What do we know? We’ll tell you this though, her “Breast Bottles” with nipples, or her “Perceptive Sugar Jar” with an eye on it, or even her “Good Listener Teacups” with ears on them are all conversation pieces. That’s for sure. And in that sense fall on the more successful side of the art palette. So to do Christine justice, here is her statement, in her own (better) words:

Sentient Kitchen examines the convergence between technology and biology. As the machines that assist our lives become smarter and more architecturally complex, they borrow increasingly from the biological realm. Sentient Kitchen takes inspiration from some of nature’s most ingenious engineering.

Of course, this being art, it’s not specifically for sale. Nor do we know if it’s on display anywhere. But you can get a bunch more pictures after the jump. Just know that a couple may be NSFW (nipples).

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Party Buzzer Works Only While Drunk

Who said that tech hardware has to be useful all the time? What’s wrong with having a bit of pointless fun with it? The Buzzed Buzzer contains an alcohol sensor and will only work if it detects booze on your breath. Use enough of these at a party to ensure that anyone that looks like they’re having fun, is actually having fun. Well… not that you can’t have fun without alcohol, but you get our drift. Using a $16 Teensy 2.0 Microcontroller, a $5 MQ-3 Alcohol Gas Sensor, and a handful of other easily obtainable supplies, the Buzzed Buzzer is a surefire way to have drunk peeps making noise, eager as drunk people often are to prove their drunkenness. Unfortunately, this is not a product you can purchase at a store; the link at the bottom will lead you to very detailed instructions on how to make your own.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Tic Button Fasteners Help Out In A Pinch

Hey so uh, those darn buttons, eh? Ever had to throw a shirt because a button fell off and you’re useless with a thread and needle? I have. Loved that shirt, too. But I was young, and stupid and didn’t want to ask anyone for help, so off to to goodwill it went. But I think I might have been ok with using a Tic button instead. It’s this little kit that helps you mend a fallen button with no needle or thread. Just “1) Take one tic and pinch the spiky end through the shirt fabric, 2) Place the button on the spikes and close, and 3) Hold the button, and rotate the clip until it falls off.” Sounds simple enough. We’re not sure how durable the button is, but at $8 for a 4-pack, even if it’s a temporary fix, it’s a decent deal.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearHungry ]

This Is A One-Dimensional Hanger

The Whoarang Hanger is a beautiful home accessory made from bent plywood. It’s one dimensional, because, well, it’s also a Möbius strip. Kind of. Or at the very least it looks like one, but we’re not splitting hairs here and hope you aren’t either. It used to cost $13, but doesn’t appear to be for sale anymore. But we think that if you harass Dan Hoolahan, the owner of the Etsy shop where this once sold, he might tell you whether he can get you any more. Or not, we really don’t know. In any case, neat-o.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearCulture ]

Mind Blown: New Species Of Spider Builds A Decoy Of Itself

If you were a spider, with a tiny brain, would you know what you look like? In “damn this is scary” news, a scientist has discovered a potential new species of spider in Peru that creates a decoy of itself, places it on its web, and even wiggles its legs around to make it look alive. Best of all: it’s got eight legs, as spiders should. It’s an anatomically reproduction of itself, one which is made from dead insects, debris and leaves. Discovered by biologist and science educator Phil Torres in the Peruvian amazon, it is thought that the spider could belong to the genus of spiders called Cyclosa. These have been observed in the past building similar decoys, but none that are anatomically correct and certainly none that shake the web to mimic movement. It’s believed they make them to confuse and perhaps scare away their prey. Certainly in this new case, the decoy was much larger than the spider that built it, perhaps with the goal of making prey think that the spider that lives there is larger than it really is.

Torres, fascinated by the find, contacted “arachnologist Linda Rayor of Cornell University who confirmed the find was unusual.” Final confirmation of whether this is a completely new species, or just new previously-unreported behavior from Cyclosa, will require close anatomical observation. Since Torres didn’t have the required permits to take a sample, this will have to wait until January, when he plans to return.

[ Wired ] VIA [ Geekosystem ]

CDW Cloud Collaboration Takes The Grunt Work Out Of Enterprise Unified Communications

Enterprise level IT can be a demanding field, one usually reserved for larger companies with many employees.  At that level, any attempt to develop a homogenous and unified computing infrastructure is always a daunting and expensive task.  But there are companies out there, like CDW, who aim to relieve the burden somewhat by offering first class solutions that can either complement or replace those you might create yourself.  

Take, for instance, their new CDW Cloud Collaboration offering.  In a day where more and more applications  are going to the cloud, this does just that to a variety of communication tools, like voicemail, mobility, videoconferencing, contact center services, instant messaging and presence.  The product uses Unified Communication tools from Cisco systems, and mates them to CDW's managed services to deliver a seamless experience that doesn't suffer from many of the regular drawbacks to a traditional UC rollout. For instance, the fact that CDW hosts this service at their 485,000-square-foot Tier IV facility means that if should you experience any unexpected usage spike in your services, they'll be more than able to handle to surge.  Matter of fact, CDW boats of "four nines of uptime", which means they're up 99.99% of the time.

And while the Cloud Collaboration offering itself is a new bundle of CDW's services, they are not new to Unified Communications at all, having completed over 4,000 Cisco Unified Communications rollouts over the past decade.  You'd be dealing with an experienced team, and essentially outsourcing a chunk of the more undesirable UC workload to them so that you can free up your IT team to do stuff that is more valuable to your company.

You can read more about this at CDW’s Solutions blog, or watch the video, embedded above.

 

CDW is a current advertiser on my blog.  All opinions are mine.

Atomic Lighting Tubes Add Flair To The Underbelly Of Your Home

Almost every home has that section in the basement where ugly black plumbing pipes are visible. You can leave them there, and try to get used to their gritty look, or spend the money and hide them behind drywall. Or, you can wait until the Atomic Lighting Tubes are released. We don’t know much about them, other than they seem to be LED-filled pipes that go over your existing black pipes. We don’t know how they’re powered, we don’t even know how much they’ll cost. They’re being made by Malgorzata Ratajczak and Sebastian Szlabs from studio Emandes, and word is that they’ll hit the marketplace by next January.

Hit the jump for a couple more pics and links.

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SmarTea Teapot For Tea Lovers

We’re not big drinkers of tea; it wouldn’t seem right when we’re already on an IV drip of coffee. But there is a legion out there who is, and feels pretty strongly about it. We’ve featured tea infusers on occasion, but it’s time to talk about a teapot. The SmarTea Set is a pretty average teapot with the exception of the stainless steel base that contains a space to put a little candle, which keeps your tea warm. It’s stylish and functional at the same time, and we suspect the tea crowd will love it. The tea crowd will have to prepare to pay a good chunk of change for the privilege however: the SmarTea Set is $122.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Gatefeeder Uses RFID To Feed The Right Pet

You got a chubby little cat that bullies the other ones away from their food bowl and eats their portions? I do, and I’ve resorted to locking them up in separate rooms at feeding time, which, well, is annoying. The Gatefeeder features an automatic locking mechanism that is opened when an RFID chip is detected, which allows the bullied cat access to his food at all times while keeping the big bully out. So what you do in a case like this is that you feed the fat cat normally, while you put the little cat’s food in the Gatefeeder; he always has access, the other cat never. Of course this works with more than two cats, and you can order additional tags for them.

A system like this isn’t cheap, at $249. But we’ve heard of pet owners spending ungodly amounts before, so we don’t expect this to be much of a deterrent to the really determined.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ DVice ]