Open Tab Roundup – 2nd Attempt

Open Tabs. They build up etc.

1) For $5 you can have a note hand-written by a CNC machine with a biro

2) iMirror

Someone on Kickstarter has come up with the utterly psychopathic notion that “any time not spent on the internet, is time wasted”, so to save you from having to look in the mirror without prematurely starting your working day, they’ve made an internet-enabled mirror. Another example of my theory that “anything imagined in sci fi, will be made, whether it’s a good idea or not”.

This is not. Give us a rest, please. We don’t need to be spending more time online. We don’t need to be extending our working day so we start as soon as we’re brushing our teeth in the morning.

Time spent doing nothing is not wasted time. Time spent doing nothing is blessed, blessed relief.

Mind you, it might be good for people who want to see their own reflection while looking at porn. There is that.

Oh yea – and I hate that patronising “What if a (blah blah blah blah)…” thing they start each sentence with – sounds like Hollywood trailers or Discovery Channel documentaries, which try to conjure a world of magical make-believe, talking to people like they’re 8.

3) There are currently 4 different 3D Printers on Kickstarter, all at the same time:

QU-BD, 5 Color/Material 3D Printer, Asterid, Helix

I’m not sure I have any particular opinion about this. It just is.

Other than the minor, nagging suspish that The Reprap Model didn’t get it quite right. The thing is evolving, and is (although it appears not to do anything particularly useful) a resounding success… but 3D Printers aren’t printing very many of their own parts. It’s kindof like the metaphor of an evolving organism isn’t quite right. It’s not an organism so much as a physical instantiation precipitating out of some sort of emergent techno-gaia. The edges of the reprap organism aren’t as clearly defined as DNA-based life-forms… and even they aren’t that clearly defined. There are more non-human cells in your body than human. Apparently.

Maybe the thing that’s evolving isn’t the reprap-organism, but the memeplex of DIY Printerhood, and the machines themselves are just objects that can (when they can be bothered) emerge into 3D space.

4) Great and Terrible Toy Art in a building with the worst wallpaper ever invented.

(You’ll need to click the link above to see the wallpaper. It gives me these weird acid-flashbacks… something to do with Gormenghast)


If in doubt, do it big.

5) Shapeoko 2

Behold, the radical pace of improvement of open-hardware. I’m quite interested in this because I suspect I could use it for a laser-cutter, which is what I’m really interested in.

I’m going to get one of these at some point… but will probably go for a Chinese variant with a 1kw router to start with. Maybe. It kindof hinges on software, because the software that drives the Chinese machines FUCKING SUCKS. A Shapeoko driven by a Smoothieboard looks like a pretty good combo to me – especially if there’s an HTML (or JS) layer that can sit over the interface.

6) This Robot

Not sure what it’s for exactly (and for $35k, you’d probably want to find out), but it’s part of a new wave of fairly cool looking “not useful for any particular purpose” robots that have turned up lately. There’s been a quantum quality leap.

7) Really Good Micro Lens


f1.7? – to camera enthusiasts, that’s a magic number.

That said, in the comparison photos, I think the standard DSLR lens (on the left) does colour a lot better. Still… pretty impressive in terms of detail capture


8) Adaptive Spaceframe

It’s an art project where a whole bunch of these things are joined together to make mecha-organisms that hang out in the park.

9) Smart Wheel

Pretty cool – it’ll never take off in New Zealand though, because you can’t ride a bike here without wearing a helmet that makes you look like a fucking mummy’s boy, and which is a hassle to carry around.

Some stupid fucking woman devoted her life to lobbying for a law-change years ago, and now we have an obesity epidemic. It’s one of those trivial laws that no politician cares enough about to change back, even though it’s been calculated that 50 more people die a year than did before due to the resulting lack of exercise.

10) Nespresso Dispensers


Someone’s started a company/thing that uses micro-coffee pots (built by someone else) as a raw material. Cool.

Usually people try to use “waste products” as a raw material (which never seems to work terribly well for some reason). It’s kindof cool to start with something that isn’t yet waste.

11) Movable Architecture

Although if architecture was really to adapt to humans rather than vice-versa, it’d find a way for the majority of us not to have to work as slaves to the property market. I guess that’s the market rather than the architecture… but the architecture contributes. It would cost over $400,000 to rebuild our house. If this was web-development/programming rather than architecture, I’d consider that to be a chronic failure. A chronic failure of architecture. Of design philosophy.

12) Remote Control for your Phone

Which is also a sensor-pod by the looks… pretty cool, but the video has the same tone as the magic mirror one that sounds like it’s talking to 8 year olds.

“What would you say if (blah blah blah blah)”

I’d say “fuck off”, before you even got to the end of the sentence, you patronising fuck. Piss off. Who taught you to talk? A fucking advertorial?

Still… quite a neat little device (or would be if it was open-source). There have been a bit of a flotilla of “helping you find lost things” devices recently. These have all been too big (they need to be small enough to stick to a pair of glasses without being visible), but this kindof goes further in that it is also has interpretable motion-detection, which can be used as a generic thing-controller.

It’s kindof like a re-invention of the TV remote… (which currently has far too many buttons), which can control not just the TV, but can be extended to control other things as well.

I’m not sure about the wisdom of using something that’s easier to lose than your phone, to help find your phone, but I guess there’s safety in numbers. If I lose my phone I simply ring it up. My phone is pretty much the only thing I have that already has an “I’m Here!” function built in… so…

Ok… rambling now. Enough, enough.