News

Tux Droid: a Nabaztag for Linux Geeks

Kysoh.com has released the new Tux Droid 2.0.  Tux Droid is essentially a Open Source Nabaztag that looks like Tux the Penguin (Tux was originally designed as the Linux mascot by Larry Ewing).  The Tux Droid is wirelessly connected to your computer via its cute fish shaped dongle, which  has a striking resemblance to Tux himself.  What does Tux do?  He’ll do a little dance whenever you get an E-mail, Twitter message or a Facebook messag; he also has a text-to-speech engine, and by interacting with Tux Droid, you can also complete certain tasks on your computer.  If you aren’t…


Universal Accessibility Becomes Mainstream (and Profitable!)

Loving that new shuffle with VoiceOver? Dictating all your emails instead of typing them? You may not think about it, but many of those improvements and technological bounds come from a specific area of research; accessibility for people with disabilities. Businessweek has a great article about how voiceover, Apple’s love it or hate it system in the new Shuffles, comes from accessibility designs in Mac OS X. Further, there is an argument that many businesses can learn from the innovations needed to create “universal access” for specific disabilities, and turn it into features that can make the experience better for…


Firefighter’s Self Contained Breathing Appratus (SCBA): How it’s changed over the years

Welcome to another edition of “How it’s changed over the years.” The firefighter’s SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) is as important a piece of equipment as his/her helmet.  The device, which consists today of a high pressure tank, face mask and pressure regulator allows firefighters to breath air in the hostile environments they face. So how has the SCBA changed over the years?


Crime scene toilet paper is a perfect gift for that Uncle you see once a year during holidays

This roll of crime scene labeled toilet paper is perfect for that hard to shop for person or even a grab bag for the office holiday party. Imagine their glee when they open this in front of their peers only to be greeted with a suggestion that their use of the bathroom could be considered a crime scene. Given the current economic climate it’s best not to gift this to the boss but it’s probably ok as a gift to relatives you see infrequently. Crime Scene Toilet Paper


White collar grime – disposable shirt protectors for those who hate washing their neck

Are you someone who wears collared shirts? Do you hate to wash your neck (or your shirts). Here’s the product for you. The White Collar Grime protector is applied inside your shirt to stave off those stubborn rings around the collar. You try scrubbing and scrubbing yet those dirty rings still stay on your collar. Why bother with pesky personal hygiene chores like washing your neck when instead you can buy these collar grime protectors. At the end of the day, peel off the tape, dispose, and your white, blue, pink or any color collar won’t look criminal. It’s perfect…


Jedi bathrobe keeps you warm while you use the force to make breakfast

The creators of this Jedi bathrobe may have latched onto a hot new clothing market. Did you know that according to Wikipedia over half a million people throughout the world declared themselves as Jedi on their census forms? While I think that might be considered to be a practical joke and probably doesn’t reflect the real number of Jedi in the countries concerned – there’s still got to be a fair number that would buy this bathrobe. The Jedi Dressing Gown has a Jedi logo embroidered on the front, is made of 100% cotton velour and is machine washable. It…


Pseudoscience at its best: the Uxsight 1.3M Pixels Portable Digital USB Iriscope

You’ve got to hand it to pseudoscience. Why? Because how else could someone like me – a person without an MD – have a chance to speak with absolute authority about things of which I know absolutely nothing. And there are even cool gadgets that you can use while practicing pseudoscience, things that can help make you seem professional and knowledgeable, things like the Uxsight 1.3M Pixels Portable Digital USB Iriscope. Allow me to digress for a moment… Back in the fall of ’86,  I went home from college with one of my sorority sisters for the weekend. Before we…


Goldfish trash bags pretty up the neighborhood and drive cats nuts

Here’s a quirky way to take out the trash. Instead of boring black or white bags how about these decorative goldfish trash bags. Fill the trash up and put the bags curbside for your neighborhood stray cats to admire . This kit includes 12 bags of 13 gallons each for $15.99. At this price these are definitely novelty items. Goldfish Trash Bags – $15.99


Tent stake with built-in LED light makes late night tent setups a snap

This orange stake looks like any other tent peg. Look closer and you’ll find that there’s a white LED lamp built into the side. Powered by 4 LR41 batteries (included) this peg will help you survive those hurried late night tent setups by illuminating the ground. The manufacturer claims the light will run for up to 5 hours on one set of batteries. Lighted Tent Peg – $3.72


Transit cover provides a barrier between seat and you – does nothing to stop germs from that hacking fat guy seated next to you

Travel slipcovers seem like a great idea. They slip over most transit seats and provide a barrier between you and the presumably germ laden seat. The cover includes a headrest pillow pocket to hold your own travel sized pillow. Unfortunately it won’t stop the coughing guy next to you from spreading the flu. If the germs don’t get you the 100 people waiting in the aisle while you unfold and spread this seat cover just might do you in. Transit Cover – $14.99


$472 emergency pet evacuation vest is perfect for the crazy cat lady in your life

I’ve had a few cats and none of them seemed terribly fond of playing dress up. I can only imagine the fun you’d have trying to fit kitty into an emergency evacuation vest in the midst of fire, flood or other natural hazard. Seems like a portable pet carrier might do just as well. This emergency pet vest offers: * Japan Firefighting Association-certified flame-retardant jacket * Materials: polyester (base cloth), polyurethane (outer shell), fireproof acrylic (lining) * Heavy-duty carry handle, and double-duty strap/leash * Pet supplies: food bowl, muzzle, hermetically sealed odor control bag (for any items distressing the pet),…


The Dead Arise: Nashville Zombie Walk

After a solid week of rain in Middle Tennessee, the graves must have opened, as the undead arose to walk the streets of downtown Nashville. Tourists and natives called it the Nashville Zombie Walk of 2009. The flesh-eating mutants zombies staggered in from all directions, via train, plane and automobile.


Flatworld Knowledge offers open source textbooks you can listen to or print

Flat World Knowledge is combating the insane price of college textbooks by making open source textbooks an easier solution for colleges. The catalog for now is limited to a few titles per school but eventually they’d like to have more colleges adopt open source online distribution of textbooks. The company sells affordable alternative formats such as print-on-demand full color and black and white print versions, PDF versions, podcast and .mp3 versions, as well as Flat World Knowledge and user-generated study aides such as mobile flash cards and web quizzes to support the books. Naturally social media is in the cards…



Quirky PowerCurl Keeps Mac Laptop Power Cables Organized

Anyone with a MacBook knows that the MagSafe Power Adapter’s block has an elegant winding device built right in – there are little wings that flip up from the block itself to hold the cable. This works very well as long as you are only winding the thin power cable that comes from the block itself. The remaining removable portion that goes from the block to the wall outlet is a much bulkier cable, and it generally has to be looped over itself and tied off somehow. That’s where the quirky PowerCurl comes in. PowerCurl wraps both cords (plug end & MagSafe…


HTC’s Tattoo: Cute? Yes. Unexpected? Not Entirely.

It’s great to see the new Android handsets trickling in, and as usual – HTC is leading the pack with a new cutie called the Tattoo. Of course, the minute a case is put on it, the cuteness factor will all but evaporate. So is there anything else that sets the Tattoo apart from every other matte black handset? According to HTC, “people [will be] able to design and purchase their own unique covers or search and select from popular cover designs, altering the look of the phone to reflect their mood or individual tastes.” It will be the second…


Amazon crediting 1984 book buyers $30

Amazon is sending an email to Kindle owners who were impacted by their mid-July erasure of the book 1984 from Kindle devices. Apparently the book, which had been uploaded by a third party publisher through a self-service area of the Kindle site, had copyright issues and even though Amazon briefly allowed the book to be downloaded they quickly cut off sales of the book. Then, in a move that angered Kindle owners and eBook fans everywhere, they electronically erased it from all Kindles. Now Amazon is notifying those affected that they’re sorry – and you can have your book back…


When “Backup” Is a Relative Term…

I recently posted about my love/hate relationship with the Nokia E71x. It’s gotten a bit more contentious lately, due to various and mysterious software issues. Calendar entries that refuse to accept date changes, programs that freeze repeatedly, games that malfunction…it has been frustrating to say the least. Cue Nokia PC Suite and their backup suite. My first thought was that perhaps a backup and then full restore might smooth out the quirks, plus it would provide an excellent test of the backup system. If that did not fix my issues, I could reset the phone, rebuild it, and then back…


Rollip Makes Your Photos Look Like Polaroids

OK, I am definitely a product of the 80’s & 90’s…nothing beats GI Joe (uh..the original!), Saved By the Bell, Alf (yeah that just happened), and Polaroid pictures! Unless you are able to track down one of these relics at a yard sale or flea market, what can you do?.


$800 Fisher AG7 Space Pen commemorates 40th anniversary of moon landing

Hard to believe that tomorrow will be the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. In celebration Fisher Space Pen has released this commemorative pen, a replica of their famed anti-gravity pen, that includes an actual piece of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. There are only 1000 available and the pen sits on a handy ashtray commemorative case fashioned as a space footprint. The presentation case tells the historic story of the Apollo 11 mission as well as other monumental moments in human spaceflight. The iconic photo of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon is replicated in a resin…


Origami Instruction Toilet Paper: Too Much Time On Your Hands?

Check it out: you can buy toilet paper with easy to follow instructions so that you can create clever little origami paper creatures while you are otherwise occupied. What else are you going to do…catch up on your reading material? Baron Bob’s Origami Instruction Toilet Paper – At $4.95 for a 100′ roll, you’d better keep it hidden from the kids. 😉