The Gadgets Page

July 27, 2015

Saved by Selfie Stick

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

This video just made me cry. I have a huge fear of being pulled in by the undertow because it happened to me when I was a little kid in a lake up in Wisconsin. This girl, was filming herself and her family when the riptide hit. Fast forward to the 2:13 mark to watch it.

At the 2:25 mark, when her panicked voice said, “I can’t,” I felt that terror of being pulled under the water again. Her father grabbed her by the selfie stick and got her away from the riptide. Fortunately, the life guards swooped in and saved all three of them. You can see the point when the life guard got to her because she let go of the stick and it just swung by the lanyard.

The next time I feel that self-righteous rage at someone filming themselves with a selfie stick, I will remember this and relive the horror of being pulled under the water, knowing that one time, a selfie stick saved someone’s life.

Via: Girl Caught in Riptide Saved by Selfie Stick – POPSUGAR Tech

July 24, 2015

The Spacelander Bike

Filed under: Cars & Transportation — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

A post from Juliet Peck Moore on Facebook introduced me to the coolest bike I’ve seen in a long time. It’s called the Spacelander and it was designed in the Sixties by Benjamin Bowden.

Spacelander Bicycle from The Gadgets Page

In the early or mid 1950s, Bowden moved to Michigan, in the United States. While in Muskegon, Michigan in 1959, he met with Joe Kaskie, of the George Morrell Corporation, a custom molding company. Kaskie suggested molding the bicycle in fibreglass instead of aluminium. Although he retained the futuristic appearance of the Classic, Bowden abandoned the hub dynamo, and replaced the drive-train with a more common sprocket-chain assembly. The new name, Spacelander, was chosen to capitalize on interest in the Space Race.

Spacelander Bicycle and Benjamin Bowden from The Gadgets Page

Financial troubles from the distributor forced Bowden to rush development of the Spacelander, which was released in 1960 in five colours: Charcoal Black, Cliffs of Dover White, Meadow Green, Outer Space Blue, and Stop Sign Red. The bicycle was priced at $89.50, which made it one of the more expensive bicycles on the market. In addition, the fibreglass frame was relatively fragile, and its unusual nature made it difficult to market to established bicycle distributors. Only 544 Spacelander bicycles were shipped before production was halted, although more complete sets of parts were manufactured.

Spacelander Bicycle from The Gadgets Page

There is some hope for being able to own one yourself, though.

Beginning in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in the Spacelander as a collectors item. Two bicycle enthusiasts, John Howland and Michael Kaplan, purchased the rights to the Spacelander name from Bowden, and have manufactured a small number of reproductions and replacement parts. The first reproduction was sold in 1988 for $4,000. The reproduction’s design has been modified to improve durability.

Spacelander Bicycle from The Gadgets Page

I found a couple on eBay, but they are priced way too high for something I’d be willing to ride around town. They are so gorgeous, though.

Spacelander Bicycle from The Gadgets Page

I feel so sad that awesome designs like this disappear and are unavailable. I am happy with my Schwinn cruiser that I bought at Kmart for $125, but I can’t believe that we don’t have awesome bikes like this on the road and in stores today.

Images via:

July 21, 2015

The Henn-na Hotel: A Robot Staffed Hotel in Japan

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 9:10 am

I love robots, so the idea of a hotel staffed by robots sounds like ten kinds of awesome.

Robot Staffed Hotel in Japan from The Gadgets Page

And then I remember what kind of robots we’re talking about. These are like Disneyland Robots who give automated speeches. They don’t look at me, recognize the RFID tag on my hotel key and say, “Hello, Laura! How are you today?” They tell me where to go if I want to find the swimming pool.

The Luxor hotel had this back in 1993.

These camels bragged about the hotel and all the fun things to do there. I’m sure the dinosaur and woman in the pill box hat do the same thing. At least Henn-na has robots deliver food to you.

Of course, they keep getting stopped for photo ops, so I think I’d just prefer to get my food myself.

In the end, I think robots are cool and every step toward their development is a step in the right direction. I just wish I was to that House of the Future time when the robots were actually helpful and interactive.

Via: Meet the faces of Japan’s first robot-staffed hotel

July 20, 2015

PlasticRoad from VolkerWessels:

Filed under: Cars & Transportation — Laura Moncur @ 10:47 am

VolkerWessels, a construction company, has created a plastic road.

VolkerWessels PlasticRoad from The Gadgets Page

Their description:

PlasticRoad features numerous advantages compared to conventional roads, both in terms of construction and maintenance. Plastic is much more sustainable and opens the door for a number of new innovations such as power generation, quiet road surfaces, heated roads and modular construction. Additionally, the PlasticRoad design features a ‘hollow’ space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater.

In Utah, we need a road design like this because the snow plows tear up asphalt like it is paper. I love how the design accommodates channels for electric pipes and drainage.

VolkerWessels PlasticRoad from The Gadgets Page

This is the future of roads that I would like to see NOW. I don’t know how slippery the roads would get with snow, water and ice. Also, those large channels underneath might cause a greater likeliness of freezing.

VolkerWessels PlasticRoad from The Gadgets Page

If we were able to create roads that could be fixed just by removing a panel and replacing it in one day, construction wouldn’t be a problem anymore. If we were able to fix power and water lines without digging up roads, the repair would take half the time.

I love the design of these roads. They would be even better if the top panel were solar panels. There was an entry on solar roads here:

A modular road system with solar panels exposed to light all day long would truly be a sign that we are living in the Jetson’s world.

May 17, 2015

One Month with my Apple Watch

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 11:05 am

One Month with my Apple Watch from the Gadgets PageIt has been almost one month since I received my Apple Watch and I would like to give an update. I’ve made no qualms about how disappointed I have been with the watch designers of the world. Nearly ten years ago, I wrote an entry listing the things I wanted.

Here is what I wanted:

  • A beautiful watch
  • Women’s watch
  • Digital
  • Metal case and band
  • Time and Date on the display at the same time
  • Stopwatch
  • Countdown Timer
  • Light
  • I would also like Dual Time, but I’m willing to give that up

The Apple Watch has given me all that I asked for (except I opted for the silicone band and am still waiting for third party aluminum bands to make it onto the market). In addition to that, I have had added functionality that I never knew that I would like.

Text Messaging

I adore the messaging features on the Apple Watch. I love that I can easily see my texts and easily answer them. The dictation on the watch is amazing and I hardly ever have to cancel and start over. The silly messaging that only works between Apple Watches hasn’t been useful, but the text messaging has.

Answer the phone

I can LITERALLY answer my phone on my watch. Two days ago, I was sitting outside, reading, and my watch went off saying I had a call. My phone was in the house and I would have never made it in time, but I just answered with my watch and had an entire conversation. It was a phone call that I would have definitely missed had I not had my Apple Watch. I don’t want to talk into my watch all the time like Dick Tracy, but I do enjoy the option when I’m separated from my phone.

Time to stand

One Month with my Apple Watch from the Gadgets PageI LOVE the reminders telling me to stand. I know some people have complained about them, but my job is VERY sedentary. I NEED something to remind me to walk around for a bit so all the blood in my body doesn’t pool in my butt. In the past, I used to have a reminder on my computer, but I would just dismiss it and keep working. On the Apple Watch, there is a circle dedicated to standing every hour. I get a tiny reward every time I do it. Somehow, the goal of closing in that circle is enough to get me to get out of my chair every hour. It’s amazing that it works, but I have been faithfully walking around a little bit every hour.

I LOVE my Apple Watch

All I wanted when I bought the Apple Watch was that customizable watch face that would have whatever I wanted on it. I got that and so much more that other things don’t seem important. That blue watch band? I don’t care what color it is as long as I have this watch. That lack of a metal band? I don’t care as long as I have this watch. I love the fact that I don’t need to wear TWO watches (i.e. a Swatch and a FitBit) anymore. I love the extra features that I didn’t even know I needed. I love my Apple Watch just as much as I love my iPhone.

March 5, 2015

NO, NO! Bad Swatch!! Try Again!

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 12:33 pm

Swatch Touch Zero from The Gadgets PageSwatch made an announcement a few weeks ago saying that they were going to enter the wearable tech market. THIS is what they are releasing.

New Swatch Touch Zero One combines design & cool new Beach Volley functions for players and fans – Step Counter, Power Hits and Power Claps.

So basically, they are giving us an ugly Fitbit Charge.

I am a HUGE fan of Swatch, as I have said in the past, but they have been WASTING their time. Almost TEN years ago, I lamented about the pathetic choice in digital watches and they are STILL blowing it.

Let’s stack it up to my “I Hate The Watch Designers of the World” List: (Continue Reading…)

February 10, 2015

12 Tips for Successful 3D-Printing

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Matthew Strebe @ 7:14 am

MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer at Amazon.comSo you bought a fused form filament (FFF) 3D printer such as a FlashForge or a MakerBot, and your first print turned out great!

But it’s just gone down hill from there, right? Here’s what went wrong and how to get back on track with great prints.

  • A dirty nozzle attracts filament clinging, which ruins prints. Clean your nozzle with acetone if it has accumulated gunk. Learn how to remove your nozzle and clean it by soaking it in acetone (nail polish remover) to remove old printing filament. Use an appropriately sized drill bit (usually 0.4mm) with your fingers to clear the nozzle if necessary.

  • Any dirt, moisture, or oil (such as fingerprints) on the build bed surface will prevent first layer adhesion, which will ruin your prints. Cover the build bed in an even layer of blue painter tape for an absolutely clean surface every time—but don’t touch the tape! In fact, tear off the first foot or so and discard it, because the outside of the roll has collected dirt, moisture, and oils just sitting around. When you apply the tape, touch only the left and right edges, and overlap the build board so you only have clean tape for the build.

  • Print in ABS. ABS has by far the best viscosity and flow characteristics for 3D printing, and low to no smell. PLA is the next best bet. All other plastics, including HIPS, Polystyrene, PVA, and blends are experimental and for those who know how to disassemble and reassemble their extruders only.

  • Use a heated build-bed. If you don’t have one, get one; most 3D printers have them or have an option.

  • Use an enclosed printer. Not only is it safer and quieter, but also keeps the entire chamber warm and prevents drafts from cooling your model unevenly, which can cause curling and warping. Don’t have an enclosure? Print under a clear plastic box.

  • Level your build bed every time. For ABS, the correct nozzle-to-bed thickness is .2mm, the thickness of a piece of regular printer paper. Adjust your printer’s nozzle to bed thickness by putting the paper on the bed moving the nozzle to at least three different points, and adjusting the bed height until they paper can move with resistance between the bed and the paper.

  • Print only one object at a time, in the center of your bed. While your printing software will allow you to build multiple objects at once, it doesn’t save you any time and it dramatically increases the probability that when something goes wrong, it will go very wrong. Printing one object at a time keeps you involved and watching the printer. Heated beds are also cooler towards the edges, making adhesion in those areas trickier.

  • Save large, complex, overnight builds for when you are an expert. These builds have a lot of opportunity for problems, and if they happen while you aren’t around, you could wind up with a clogged nozzle and a difficult extruder repair. Wait until you’ve got 3D printing down pat before you do your 3D print of Rome.

  • Be ready to pluck off any extrusion from the nozzle just before your print. A “snot nosed” extruder at the beginning of a build can drag around plastic and ruin what would have been a great build. As the extruder heats up, it may extrude a little plastic. Be ready to pluck that away with some tweezers before the print starts.

  • Take your printed part off the bed right after its done printing, or reheat the build bed to remove them. It’s much easier to remove a warm item. If you damage the painter’s tape at all while removing an object, take it off, wipe the bed surface with a paper-towel and acetone to clean it, and then re-apply painter’s tape.

  • Configure your printing software to print a “fence” around the first few layers of the print. The fence provides early warning of any adhesion problems and insulates the warm air around the nozzle to keep the first few layers viscous and more likely to adhere. You may also want to look into printing rafts or “mouse-ears” on corners to help them adhere, but I’ve never found that necessary—fences work well and aren’t connected to the object so they don’t require finishing.

  • Watch the first ten layers of your build directly and stop the build if there are any adhesion, curl, movement, or nozzle extrusion problems. These problems will not correct themselves; they’ll accumulate until you clog a nozzle-requiring repair. Once the first ten layers are down correctly and look good, the rest of the print is highly likely to succeed.

The difference between a good printout and something you have to throw away are these few details. When you pay attention to these few details, you can guarantee a good printout every time.

February 6, 2015

Show Me Love Internet Rage

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 12:39 pm

I adore this Coca-Cola commercial about Internet Rage:

I wish that all we had to do was to spill half a bottle of Coke in an ISP provider’s servers to change the hate to love.

February 5, 2015

Sorry, Swatch. Too Little. Too Late.

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 3:45 pm

Sir Swatch from The Gadgets PageThis article about The Swatch Group’s announcement to release a smart watch to compete with the Apple Watch just makes my blood BOIL.

I am a HUGE Swatch fan. I have a ton of Swatch watches and a huge site dedicated to them:

Yet, when that Apple Watch is available for pre-order, I am going to be RIGHT there, refreshing my computer over and over until I can get mine. I have been screaming into the wind for nearly a DECADE about the incredible suckitude of high-end watches.

They did not listen to me TEN years ago when I complained about their watches. They didn’t try to design something prettier than a Casio or more functional than a watch with ONE complication.

Sorry, Swatch. Too little. Too Late.

January 28, 2015

Interstellar Orchard’s Intro to Travel Photography

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am

Travel Photography Tips from Interstellar OrchardIf you want to take great pictures when you’re traveling, Interstellar Orchard has some very good tips for you:

I really love how basic she keeps this tutorial. So many tutorials are so complicated that a beginner can’t really understand them. I have been using Photoshop for decades now and some of them are too hard for me to understand. I really like how simple she keeps it!

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