Tag Archives: cool

This “cloud” shredder will make you want to shred paper!

Seriously, how cute is this??

The paper looks like rain! It’s awesome! Thank you, Muji!

For more on it, see: Muji cloud is a fun tool to condense paper into small pile of shreds – Yanko Design

(Sunday) Night Music (one of the best music shows you never saw)

In the late 80s, Lorne Michaels (of SNL fame) produced this show called “Night Music” that was seen in Canada as well as elsewhere. For a show that only ran from 1988-1990, it featured a wealth of musicians. (You can see the list here.)

One of my favorite episodes was #208 which featured Sting and Mary Margaret O’Hara as well as many other fine musicians. If you have 40 minutes, you can see it here:

What I like about that episode, like most episodes, is that you get a wide range of musicians, old and new, all doing challenging or interesting music. You didn’t just see the latest artists performing their hits. You didn’t just see one style of music. You never knew what to expect, other than it would be good.

So check out that video while you can. I’ve posted Night Music videos before and they get pulled sooner or later. See it while you can, and see why it was so good.

Now you too can own your very own Vampire Slaying Kit

500

I thought these things only existed in movies: I was wrong. Over at Uncrate, they have great photos of this actual Vampire Slaying Kit that you could own (or could have owned if you had been there to snap it up).

For those who fear the undead — or those that just like cool stuff — go take a look. It’s amazing.

The Drone-Jellyfish wars and more (today in robot news)

Man, what I would have given to have these Jellyfish drones monitoring my beach when I was a kid. I hated jellyfish! Still do. Kudos for the folks who came up with this. (I don’t think the drones actually fight the jellyfish, in case you were concerned about this due to my misleading title. :))

Here on land, if you are keen to have a Boston Dynamics dog robot of your own, now you can. Click on that link for more details.

On the Smiths and those album covers

The Smith’s were (are?) great for many reasons. One reason in particular was their album covers. Looks like the folks at NME agree, because they put together

an exhaustive guide to each and everyone of their 27 single and album releases’ sleeves, and what they mean

You can find here. Fans of the band will enjoy that. I did.

Speaking of the Smiths, this piece by Doug Coupland, Morrissey will never be cancelled is worth a read.

It’s Friday. Don’t you wish you were out on the road on a cool bike?

I know I feel that way after looking at some of these babies. For example, this could be uncomfortable, but just look at how great this modular ebike looks! 

For something a bit more practical, there’s this  cool café racer bike:

Very nice!

If you want something bigger, there’s this 2022 Harley:

Too big? How about this little number via Justin Bieber no less:

But wait, maybe you agree with this piece on bike road safety that laments how dangerous riding a bike is in the city? In that case, maybe you just want something like this exercise bike:

The weather is getting nicer. Get yourself a bike and get out there.

(Images courtesy of Uncrate and Yanko Design)

For the musician/gamer in your life: NES-SY37 Synthesizer

How cool is that? A synthesizer that steals design elements from Nintendo. Brilliant! More on it, here: Love Hulten NES-SY37 Synthesizer | Uncrate.

White noise generators: virtocean

If you like the sound of the water and you like white noise generators, then this one’s for you: VirtOcean: Ocean noise generator. Good for sleeping, working, or just for relaxing sounds in your everyday life.

Tiny DOOM! And other things I find interesting in tech, February 2022


I’ve been doing work in a number of areas recently: IT architecture, Azure, Kubernetes and more. As I do that, I collect a number of links, which I have below. As well, I put together some Raspberrry Pi links, because I love my Pi. Also DOOM because I will always click on a DOOM link. Lots of good material. Let’s review!

IT architecture: I’ve been thinking much about IT architecture these days, and I’ve been writing about it here: BLM on IT. One thing that helped me think about it was this: 5 diagrams you need to document your solution architecture. This is also helpful: Editable architecture diagram resources: IBM IT Architect Assistant. In addition, something on DDD:  Apply Domain-Driven Design to microservices architecture.

Devices: These two pieces are on new trends in devices:  Dell envisions a sustainable laptop allowing you to replace parts creating a design you could grow old with and Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 Laptop.

On the other hand, we have this: BlackBerry phone with keyboard is not dead. Remember netbooks? They were great little devices. Here’s a piece on them: Netbooks: The Form Factor Time Forgot.

Cool: Here’s something fun: The Best of 404PageFound and Other Primitive ’90s Websites That Still Exist. I love DOOM, so: Is this one of the smallest playable DOOM devices? and Pocket-Sized Doom Is Actually Playable. Speaking of small things, we have this, A VM in your browser,  this Writing a simple 16 bit VM in less than 125 lines of C and this System/360 simulator. Also this: CHUNGUS 2 – A very powerful 1Hz Minecraft CPU.

Raspberry Pi: for Pi fans, here’s some good links:

Cloud and DevOps: here’s some things I found worthwhile in that space

IBM: Here are two good initiatives my employer is providing: Good probono program from IBM to help environmental groups  and A good initiative from IBM to help on the matter of Racial Justice.

Azure: I have been doing tons of research of Microsoft’s Azure and so I have many links on it here. Enjoy!

Kubernetes:  I have been doing some Kubernetes work too which lead to these links in

Finally, here’s some other useful links I didn’t want to lose:

Cloudnola: for lovers of clocks

If you love clocks, you will want to see those on offer at Cloudnola. They have a wide range of very interesting clocks, from traditional to ones like this one:

 

Cheap they aren’t, but cool they most definitely are. Sure you can use your phone or your computer to tell you the time, but if you want more of a statement timepiece, consider going to Cloudnola.

Hey! It’s time to take a break and wander the most brilliant bookshops in the world

This is a most amazing collection of the most brilliant bookshops in the world. Thanks to the  Financial Times for it.

Not a bookshop, but I love the image above. What a perfect space to simply sit and read.

 

How to garden in the winter

What’s cooler than summer gardening? Winter gardening! 🙂 No seriously, winter gardening is very cool. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the Times and specifically Niki Jabbour of Halifax have convinced me otherwise. As the Times explains:

Is it really possible to garden year-round? Yes, even in Nova Scotia. Through years of experimentation, Niki Jabbour has developed an all-seasons approach to edible gardening, despite the rigors of her Halifax location, where frost can linger until late May and return in early October. What Ms. Jabbour — an intrepid vegetable gardener and the host of the radio show “The Weekend Gardener” — calls her “vegetable garden tool kit” doesn’t include a trowel and pruning shears (although they are always within reach). Her essentials are an assortment of fabrics and the supports she drapes them over.

It’s really impressive. The article below gets into great depth as to how such an activity is possible. I don’t know if I will ever do it, but I really enjoyed reading about it, here: The Year-Round Garden – The New York Times

Forget cremation. When I die, turn my into a diamond.

Seriously, that is one of the options mentioned on the site Interesting Engineering. You can also be dissolved in a liquid (apparently Desmond Tutu chose this option). Or you can be turned into soil.

For more on this, see:

(Image via algordanza, makers of the diamonds)

 

 

How would you like a cube of titanium, or copper, or even uranium? With the Luciteria web site, you can!

How cool is this Luciteria web site? Well if you are a geek like me, very cool indeed. Among other things they sell are cubes of each of the elements in the periodic table. As they say:

Cubes of each of the elements are our most popular sellers. And it’s not hard to see why. Precision machined and labeled each one is a self-contained ambassador of the periodic table. From the small cubic centimeter up to the hefty 5cm these cubes practically define the ideal desktop gadget for anyone who loves to nerd out on science. So get one as a conversation starter, a few as a clever means to spell out a name or phrase or go for broke and get as many as possible to make your own “real life” periodic table!

Some of them, like copper above, are pretty harmless and common. Others, like the uranium cube below, not so much.
I think these would be a great gift for anyone into science, or for teachers teaching the elements.

My first thought when I went there was that they would only have a few of the elements, but no, they have pretty much all of them. (With some reasonable exceptions.) Very much worth checking out.

What did you learn in 2021? What will you learn in 2022?


Well if you are Tom Whitwell, quite a lot, as he shows here: 52 things I learned in 2021 by Tom Whitwell from Fluxx | Fluxx Studio Notes

His piece is fascinating. Even better, it makes me think I might like to keep a similar log for 2022. Maybe you want to as well! Meanwhile read Tom.

(Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash )

Why beach robots are good

While I am not a fan of most popular robots these days, I will make an exception for this one: This Microsoft-powered AI-enabled robot cleans up cigarette butts littered on the beach! – Yanko Design

It’s sad we need such a robot, but if this problem is going to exist, I am all for such technology. It’s a great project and not unlike a Roomba for the beach. Nice.

Happy 2022!

Happy New Year! Maybe this year will be year we finally see the end of the pandemic!

One of my resolutions this year is to do more with less. In that vein, I am going to share some of my old posts on the new year, rather than recreate another. You can find them here. I think they are still good and still worth revisiting, both by me and you.

All the best to you in 2022.

Profiles on four cool dudes


Here’s links to four cool dudes worth reading about. First up is  Lingdong Huang and his very cool projects. This is a good piece on  how Duro Olowu gets dressed in the morning. This is on  Hanif Abdurraqib and how he cuts through the noise. Finally, this piece is on a man who earned a Ph.D. and fulfilled his dream of being a physicist — at 89.

Each one is a good profile. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Christmas gift ideas: a colourful wireless keyboard with removable emoji keys!


Sure, technically this is aimed at Gen-Z, but I want one too! What you say? Only this:  Logitech designed the perfect wireless keyboard for Gen-Z complete with removable emoji keys! Nice! Comes in lots of bold colours too! Perfect for the emoji lover in your life.

Well done, Logitech.

A virtual tour of Hagia Sophia


A few years ago I was fortunate to visit Hagia Sophia and get a tour of it. If you ever can get a chance, I highly recommend it. For those who cannot visit it, this might be the next best thing: 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the Hagia Sophia .

I think Hagia Sophia is one of the wonders of the world. See it if you can.

(Image via Wikipedia)

Amazing Christmas gift ideas: Lego Titanic

Truly for those who are epic Lego model builders, this Lego Titanic Building Set…

… is made up of 9,090 pieces, including interactive details like turning piston engines, a working anchor, and adjustable tension lines. To fully appreciate the level of care taken, the ship divides into three pieces to allow views of the grand staircase, boiler room, and smoking lounge.

For more on this, check out the link at Uncrate. Not for me, but impressive!

On how to make a cover illustration for the New Yorker

What goes into making a cover illustration for the New Yorker magazine? Well if you are Adrian Tomine, quite a lot. In this piece he breaks down the process he followed to make the above cover, now famous: Making a Cover – by Adrian Tomine – ADRIAN TOMINE. He really puts a lot of thought into making such an image, and a description of the tools and materials that he uses as he works on different versions is interesting, especially to fellow artists, I’m sure.

 

On stopping the next Chelyabinsk Meteor

If you think of meteors hitting the Earth, you might be thinking of ones like the Chicxulub impactor that killed off the dinosaurs. Good news: scientists have been tracking meteors of that size and we are safe for at least the next few centuries.

But what about smaller ones, like the one that hit Chelyabinsk and caused significant damage? Those we may not be so safe from. Indeed, if they hit a major city, the destruction could be catastrophic.

That’s why NASA has launched the DART mission. It’s goal is to see if it could stop an asteroid and prevent an asteroid apocalypse. That piece in Scientific American on what is involved is fascinating. It’s not merely a matter of putting a major explosive on an asteroid and blowing it to bits. Go read the article and you’ll see what I mean.

For more on the. Chelyabinsk Meteor, click here.

Something calming for a Sunday: the Zen Gardens of Yuki Kawae

Over at Colossal they have a good piece on the Zen Gardens by Yuki Kawae. Check it out: it could be just the thing to calm your mind.

For example, practice slow breathing and watch this:

 

The future of delivery might be this e-scooter

One thing that proliferated with the pandemic was food delivery and delivery in general. I’ve seen people delivering via cars, bikes, scooters  and on foot. No doubt Honda noticed it too. Perhaps it was driven by other things, but their  e-scooter with a roof so people can deliver parcels even in the rain seems to be made with the assumption that people will continue to do lots of deliveries and they need a proper vehicle to do it. We’ll see. Right now what you see above is exclusive to Japan. I expect Honda to break out and have these everywhere food and other things are being shuttled from one building to another.

The very cool AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) section of the New York Times

If you read the Times as much as I do, you know it has a wealth of sections on its web site. So many I can’t read them all. What I didn’t know is that one of those sections is devoted to AR and VR. To see what I mean, check this out:  The Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Augmented Reality – The New York Times.

It’s a great story in itself, but using AR gives you a sense of scale for the photos taken on the first moon landing. It’s great! Great for anyone, but could be especially great for educators covering the moon landing in their courses.

There’s more stories there as well using AR and VR. See what they have by looking for the Immersive (AR/VR) section. Note: you have to access it via a mobile device; I couldn’t find it on the main web site unless I searched for “Immersive”. (Makes sense: you need a mobile device to appreciate it.)

The prison of the Vatican

This is a fascinating story: The Vatican has three jail cells, one prisoner — and suddenly, a surge of people on trial – The Washington Post.

Fans of Dan Brown especially should enjoy it. But it really gives another glimpse in one of the oddest parts of the world. A good Sunday read.

(Photo by David Edkins on Unsplash)

Webcams! Still going! Still a great idea!

If you were around during the early days of the World Wide Web, you remember webcams. People would point a camera at something like the sky or a coffee pot and others would use their browser to check it out.

You might be thinking no one does that any more, but if you did, you’d be wrong!

To see what I mean, go here. That is specifically for the Northern Lights, but if you scroll down you can see many others as well.

Still a nice way to see the world without leaving your room.

 

 

The fascinating history of the word “lox”


I thought this piece was great: The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years. It turns out the world “lox” has not changed meaning in all that time. As the linguist in the piece explains:

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University.  “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

That’s a great piece. Not just for the story of the word “lox”, but on the study of language and its origin. Recommended. It makes me want to run out and get a plate!

(Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash)

Where to buy neon signs from Blade Runner

This is pretty amazing. This Etsy account YesteryearPropStore seems to be selling many of the neon signs found in Blade Runner.

If I ran an establishment, I would love to have this one out front:

On the big anniversary of the Lunar Rover

Lunar rover

While there has been a lot of talk lately about space travel due to the billionaire space race, I want to highlight something people rarely mention but should. It’s that it is the anniversary of  Apollo’s First Lunar Rover, Driven 50 Years Ago. The Atlantic has a great story on it, including amazing photos.

It’s crazy to think that not only did we land on the moon, but we brought a car with us to drive on the moon! That’s amazing, to me.

In the film Ad Astra with Brad Pitt, there’s a great chase scene with Lunar Rovers. Nothing quite so exciting like that happened during the Apollo missions, but the fact that we brought a car to the moon is exciting as it is. Plus it is still parked up there! I hope the parking rates aren’t too expensive 🙂

 

On the planet about to visit our solar system!

It’s true! A planet is going to make a fly by.  According to Kottke, the minor planet 2014 UN271  is about to visit our solar system. By 2031 it should be about as close to the sun as Saturn is!

I hope we can get some good views of it while it is in the area.

For more on it, see the Kottke article. He also has links to more pieces on it.

(Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash )

How our relationships change over time, represented in minimal graph form

This is lovely:

I especially like “Parent” and “Dog”.

More on that, as well as the source of the image, here.

Yes, you can run broadband over wet string (which is how my home internet feels lately)


Remember tying two tin cans together with string to communicate? Well according to this article at BBC News

Engineers at a small British internet service provider have successfully made a broadband connection work over 2m (6ft 7in) of wet string.

The connection reached speeds of 3.5 Mbps (megabits per second), according to the Andrews and Arnold engineer who conducted the experiment.

The point of the experiment appears to have been purely to see if it was achievable.

Cool! See the article for details.

For the meantime, I think I’ll stick with copper and fiber.

(For more on tin can phones, check out: Tin can telephone – Wikipedia)

Web site of the day! or what’s old is new again


In the early days of the Web, there were several sites that would feature the Web Site of the Day. It would be something someone put together that was smart or wacky of useful. Those days were good.

Good news! Here is a list of web sites that Buzzfeed put together that made me think of those days: 38 Super Useful And Fun Websites You Never Knew You Needed In Your Life.

Every day check out a different one!

In a similar vein, here is a list of places in New York that have been around forever that are still going. Likewise, check out a different one every day: The 212 – The New York Times

The Internet can feel stale. Let’s make it fresh again.

(Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash )

 

A very cool way to listen to ambient sounds

If you need some ambient sounds, you should check out: A Soft Murmur

It’s great for a number of reasons:

  1. It has lots of different sounds, from rain to coffee shops to white noise.
  2. You can mix sounds together (e.g., rain and thunder and birds)
  3. You can create your own mixes and share them with people!

Anyway, it’s good. You should check it out.

(Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash )

Incredible modular storage I wished IKEA offered

I love these playful modular cabinets that put a quirky spin on storage by using geometric shelves found at Yanko Design. You can mix and match the pieces to design the best storage for your room. And if you get tired of it, you just have to reposition things and you have a whole new look. Fantastic.

Not your typical staplers

It may be hard to believe that anything to do with getting a stapler could be interesting. But these two are.

First here is one you can get to staple your own skin if you are injured. This one isn’t dramatic but if you want to staple a booklet, it’s perfect.

(Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash )

If the pandemic has you down, watch: How To Be At Home

This lovely short film, How To Be At Home, by Andrea Dorfman, and provided by the National Film Board of Canada, reunites filmmaker Andrea Dorfman with poet Tanya Davis to provide timely guidance on how to get through the pandemic, and other such isolation. Highly recommended.

 

 

A digital watch that is also a classic

Apple Watches are cool. I love them. So do many others.

But if want to have have a cool digital watch that is also a classic, you want this, I think:

It comes in silver and gold. You can order it, here.