Posts filed under ‘Gadgets’

The best iPhone apps. Srsly.

Breastfeeding gets boring fast. iPhone to the rescue! Bet I’ve played with more apps than you have. Here are my picks so far:

Blogging: Tumblrette, iBlogger
Twittering: Twitterfon
eReader: Stanza
Language dictionary: Japanese(codefromtokyo)
Music: Beatmaker, Loopy, Bebot
Painting: Brushes
Vector drawing: Zeptopad
Photo editing: Photogene
Photo uploading: Pixelpipe
Remote desktop: Jaadu VNC
Remote mouse/keyboard: AirMouse, iTap
“wow” app: iTracer(3D modeling)

I’ve also loaded plenty of games, but they’re such a matter of taste. Personally keep returning to Touchgrind, but also really liked(in no particular order):

Warfare, Inc
Blackbeard
Fieldrunners
Flick Fishing
Red Sky
TouchPhysics
Rolando
Plank
Theseus
Spore

January 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm 1 comment

WiFi Surfing Jewellery

iphonewifiEver since I got the iPod Touch I find myself mapping the city in terms of WiFi-happy areas. I don’t mean which cafes have unlocked wifi, but which street corners, which tram stops, which apartment doorways. It’s also been fun to follow what the various hotspots are called in different areas, where I find large concentrations, and which areas are dominated by a handful of pay-per hour corporate hotspots. (The hotspots causing the most rage are the ones that show up as unlocked, but then open a webpage requiring you to log in.)

But the interesting part is that I feel like I’ve been literally surfing in this extra ocean-like dimension of the city, looking for good, strong waves. I mean literal surfing, not “browsing”. Kind of a neat feeling, though not particularly practical, and I assume it will wear off once my signal-map gets more familiar.

It gets me thinking about wifi-enabled jewelry again. What would it be like to feel the signals around you, instead of reading them off a list? How could one translate a locked signal vs. an unlocked one (into, say, vibration), or a favorite, trusted signal vs. an uncertain one? And what about those names? Could corporate/Wippies/FON/private signals also have a different “flavor”? I’d love to just be able to “feel” that I just walked into a happy grade-A wifi zone.

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February 9, 2008 at 11:58 am 2 comments

A little iPod Touch app hack

Stocks widget on the iPod Touch? Oh la la how 90’s! What will those of us not addicted to the stock ticker to do with this app, then?

Enter magic Yahoo Finance codes to turn Stocks into Currency Exchange watch.

Type “EURUSD=X” as a stock code to get the neatly updated EUR to USD exchange rate. You can guess the rest from there. Travelers rejoice!

January 16, 2008 at 8:02 am 1 comment

Women’s gadgets(not pink things)

After noting several posts on Gizmodo wondering about what gadgets will appeal to women, it occurred to me that there are, in fact, gadgets for women–but they might not be quite what you’d expect. Over the years, I’ve come across a group of products that women talk about among themselves and use, but aren’t advertised anywhere. So as a public service, I’m listing them here:

The menstrual cup: A bunch of companies sell this alternative to tampons. Among them: Keeper (natural rubber), Diva cup, Mooncup, and Lunette (silicone). (Plug: Lunette is made in Finland!) You only have to buy one at a time, and one will last you years. Aside from the financial benefit, this also means you don’t have to lug around a box of tampons everywhere you go, which can be annoying on camping trips in particular. I’ve even used one of these camping out in the African savannah among a bunch of men who definitely did not want to find pad and tampon residue around the campsite–it was weird enough for them to have a woman present to begin with. It works like this: You fold it up and stick it in like a tampon. It lasts about as long, sometimes longer. Every now and then you empty it–some bathrooms have sinks, and if they don’t, just wipe it clean with paper and off you go. If you can’t stand the idea of coming into contact with your own bodily fluids, however, this is not for you.

The P-Mate: By a Canadian company called Female Freedom, this lightly waxed recycled paper funnel allows women to pee standing up. Why would they want to? You’ve obviously never agonized with a full bladder in the woods, facing the prospect of either undoing fifteen layers of clothing and baring your ass to -25ÂșC , or presenting it as a all-you-can-eat buffet to clouds of eager bloodsuckers. Not to mention standing in the endless lines to the Port-a-Potty while men dash past to have a quick pee in the urinal around the back. So. If this is penis envy, so be it. The plastic version of this is sold by TravelMate.
UPDATE: I was reading a book called The Pirate Queen by Barbara Sjoholm(too personal-narrative for my taste, was hoping for more historical info) and randomly stumbled across a story about a Sami woman called Buks-Beret, who would go out fishing with the men, and had with her a “tissehornet” or hollowed out reindeer horn for peeing over the side of the boat on longer trips. So this is nothing new…

A TENS machine: Speaking of Technology Marching On, I can personally vouch for the use of a TENS machine during childbirth. It sends electrical pulses (which feel a lot like intense pins and needles) to your skin via electrodes stuck to your lower back during labor, which confuse the pain messages sent to your brain, which makes it easier to handle the pain overall.

Plus, if you get a model like the one I had, the Elle Tens, you get lots of buttons to fiddle with to regulate the kind of pulses it sends out, their rhythms and intensity, which for me at least gave an added sense of control, which helped immensely.

A friend of mine who knows a bit about neurology claims there is solid science to back up the claim that it works–I’d say that it could have been a placebo effect, something to have faith in and hang on to, but in the end that worked pretty damn well. And considering that if it doesn’t work, you can switch it off and immediately try something else with no ill effects, I’d say it’s a win-win deal. Other than the cost, of course. Available for rent and purchase from the UK here.

The Feeldoe: Designed for women, by a female engineer, although enterprising men may find uses for it as well. No harness needed if your PC muscles are strong enough. Happy sensation potential for both partners. This swiss army knife of dildoes comes in three sizes, with vibe and without, and has gotten rave reviews.

The Epi-No: Apparently this device helps you train for childbirth. In their words:

German medical innovation is reducing the risk of tearing and episiotomy (‘stitches’) in…women wanting a natural vaginal birth.

That sounds like a good idea to me, don’t know if it works or not, but it seems at the very least unlikely to do harm. I’ve had some friends sneer, Women have been birthing babies for millennia without anything like this.

Maybe so, although the epi-no is apparently based on an African custom of using gourds to gently stretch the perineum just before birth, and also I find the argument of “We’ve always managed without” to be rather silly: “Humans have lived for millennia without the internet/central heating/toilet paper, so there’s no need to use those things now.” There may not be a need, but these things certainly make life a bit more comfortable. Why should birth be any different? In fact, episiotomy itself is a rather new invention, and a rather unpleasant one at that, yet many women don’t give that a second thought.

Have been looking for horror stories related to this device, accusations of fraud, danger, etc, and have found none. I’ve found various references to it on midwives’ blogs and the like, though. At worst, people have said it doesn’t help/is a waste of money. At best, women have reported greater confidence going into childbirth and maybe an easier delivery. What can I say? Technology marches on. Available in the UK here.

If you know of products you think should be added to this list, let me know, I’ll add them to the post.

January 5, 2007 at 9:39 am 2 comments

How I will kill myself next summer

KickboardNote: This post has, bizarrely, gotten a lot of search engine hits from terms like “gay and want to kill myself”. To those of you who found this post that way: Hang on for a second! Email me through the Contact form above if you want to tell me what’s going on–I’ll respond.

I used to have no balance whatsoever as a kid. Suddenly, as an adult, I’ve learned some, probably from using my K2 “kick two” kickboard for a while (can’t give you a link, K2 has sold them to Micro or something, and the Micro site seems to only have the old version; if you’re lucky you can find one on eBay). The kickboard is great and I adore it, but I’m fascinated by the idea that I could do without that pole, that I’ve somehow mastered something sports-like. So now I’m looking at boards. Freaky boards. Because I won’t be doing tricks, but I want a compact way to move around on sidewalks. Bikes are out because my reaction time is so slow I’ll be flat under a truck in a week. Here are some likely candidates:

Stowboard: Looks like fun because you can fold it up, or use it as a mini hand-truck for heavy luggage. Unfortunately, it apparently weighs a decent amount all by itself. Still, tempting for its compactness, and surprisingly, “a smooth ride” according to one review.

fish.jpgLoadedBoards: Squishy, bouncy ride, interesting shapes and wheel formations. Very pretty and well-engineered. You can choose from different stiffnesses to find the right one for your bodyweight. One of them is half Flowboard, half “fish”. However, they are long, and I hate to lug something big around that’s supposed to make transportation easier. I should be able to carry it in one hand, or even better, attached to a backpack? Apparently the Fish model would suit city transportation best. Wheels are not covered by the deck, though, which means nasty catching on foot while kicking could result.

Waveboard: I think this is pretty wishful thinking for me. This thing’s only got two wheels, and they move independently of each other. You sort of wiggle/ski/surf around to move, and apparently it’s quite a workout. Death awaits. In style.

ArborpocketArbor Bamboo Pocket Rocket: Longboard features, pocket-sized. Might be fantastic, might be like trying to skate with a bar of soap attached to one foot. Physics does limit my quest for compactness–if the thing is TOO small, it might be too little to balance on. Very pretty though…can’t really pull off the whole skull-and-monster graphics until I can move on these things without looking like I’m constipated.

I’ve also started experimenting with building my own, using longboard wheels and trucks on a short board. At the moment, it’s got 80mm wheels, Randall trucks, and 1/2″ risers, which makes for a very high deck, but wheel bite is a problem. The deck is as wide as the trucks + the wheels, but quite short (28.5″ x 10.0″). I’m tempted to get rid of the risers, maybe get lower trucks, and make cut-outs in the deck for the wheels. Maybe “wheel covers” hammered out of copper to prevent my foot from hitting the wheels through the cut-outs. I’m sure that sounds insane, but this is my jeweler’s backround coming in. I’ve got the workshop and the tools, so why not? More after the link.
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September 23, 2006 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Magnet implants in finger

A close-up shows the discolored, raised area caused by the sheath failure of Quinn Norton's implant. People have been implanting magnets into their ring fingers, to get a kind of sixth sense. I’ve had something like this thanks to my steel engagement ring–I can tell where the security magnets are in shops, etc. I was thinking of making a magnet ring, problem might be keeping it clean and unspiky, considering all the metal filings that would leap up and stick to it? Might work as an emergency compass, though.

Here’s the link to the story: Wired News: A Sixth Sense for a Wired World

June 21, 2006 at 5:14 pm 3 comments


Today is a good day to play

A collection of potential future projects, to dig deeper into when I find the time.

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