Tag Archives: technology

10 Exciting New Gadget Projects on Kickstarter This Week

KS Gadgets 050616

GeoOrbital Wheel | Make your bike electric in 60 seconds

It’s not very often that someone actually reinvents the wheel.


FormBox: A Desktop Vacuum Former That Makes Beautiful Things

Another technology makes the leap from the factory floor to your desk.


PolySmooth & Polysher: 3D Prints Without Layers

Produces prints that are all shiny and smooth, no jaggedys.


The Modern HiFi Stereo Console

Handsome furniture holds your vinyl, plays your Bluetooth audio.


Bright-Eye Telescopes

Astronomy prof/evangelist at UC Berkeley upgrades a classic design.


The Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship Fund for LGBTQ women

Edie, who took marriage equality to the Supreme Court, was an early IBM programmer.


Chornobyl360 — Interactive Virtual Reality Documentary

Experience the Exclusion Zone while avoiding all that pesky radiation.

Hybrid Tube Amp for the Raspberry Pi

Two eras of tech mashed up in a tiny package.


DuoGraph Drawing Machine

Hypnotic math-doodler with 16 wooden gears.


HoloGrid: Monster Battle (Augmented Reality Board Game)

Making the Millennium Falcon’s holographic monster-chess board a reality.

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Wii Are Just Good Enough

Image by Flickr user CokeeOrg.

Image by Flickr user CokeeOrg.

It’s taken me a month or two but I’ve finally got around to writing something in response to Robert Capps’ article in Wired. His was a brilliant piece reflecting on the success of technology that is just good enough for its purpose - bringing savings in accessibility, simplicity and price. But I won’t rehearse that here as you can read it in full on the site.

What it was missing though was a reference to any ‘Just Good Enough’ gaming technology. To that end I’ve taken the opportunity to use my new Game People column on The Escapist to flesh out what I see as a ”Just Good Enough’ gaming device - the Wii…

“Being a gamer, I immediately thought of Nintendo. Its restrained approach to gaming mirrors those magical devices that succeed with a “just good enough” user experience. It’s an approach I like because it means game design becomes about the player rather than the technology. In fact, they seem to have been reading from the same playbook. Capps’ comments about disrupting existing industry values could just as easily have come from Reggie Fils-Aime.”

I’m still taken by Nintendo’s rhetoric of focusing on the playability rather than the visuals…

“A lot of this is gaming history now, but go back a few years and the idea of low-fi gaming was unheard of. Before the Wii and the DS broke onto the scene, everybody clamored for fidelity, resolution, and hardware features in new gaming consoles. Each new generation had to outgun the last and deliver previously unimagined graphical realism. Go back to the GameCube, though, and you can hear Nintendo quietly building its vision of games not dependent on horsepower. Its big idea: fun from ideas and implementations rather than processor speed, polygon count and frame rate.”

I know there are plenty of problems with Nintendo’s approach, not least the high price and lack of third party support for their ‘Just Good Enough’ device, but for me their wider contribution outweighs this.

The Drawer of Redundant Technology

The Drawer of Redundant Technology by Nathan Barry

The Drawer of Redundant Technology by Nathan Barry

At last the festivities are over, the decorations have been put away, the cards and tree have been recycled, and I can finally play with one of my presents to myself - a home cinema kit. That’s not what this post is about, but it does need a little bit of a backstory…

A few years back, before my days of being a dad, I spent all of my free time rebuilding our house. I planned out the wiring and buried all the speaker cables for a surround sound setup in the walls, with nice banana plug sockets on the ends. About halfway through the build, we somehow managed to get pregnant - no idea where we found the time or energy for that. The impending arrival of ‘Oops,’ as she was then known, changed many of the plans for the house and a home cinema kit was no longer a priority.

Fast forward back to now and Dulcie is old enough to appreciate a good movie (even if they do all feature Princesses and Faeries) and needs to hear them in glorious 5.1 Surround Sound right? So I find the right system on eBay - it has to be silver and slimline to match the decor, with small speakers as the room isn’t very big - and it all arrives just before Christmas. So first chance I get when the living room is de-christmased, I start to set it all up. Now where did I put those gold-plated banana plugs…?

Oh yes, I remember, they are tucked away in that special storage area that all GeekDad’s surely have for such things - I call mine The Drawer of Redundant Technology. Yours may be a cupboard, or a box tucked away in a wardrobe, or perhaps a shelf out in the garage - maybe even the whole garage!

Wherever and whatever yours is, it is the place where that outdated camera lives. It is the last resting place of superseded iPods. It is a nest of tangled (or possibly neatly coiled) cables and wires of all types. Power adaptors for long lost mobile phones, a vast array of digital media storage devices, knotted and broken Headphones or Earbuds, spare parts for things that you don’t even own anymore - they can all be found within.

The Contents of The Drawer of Redundant Technology by Nathan Barry

The Contents of The Drawer of Redundant Technology by Nathan Barry

Here’s just a few of the choice items that my drawer contains:

  • A mouse for a Mac Plus - the Mac Plus itself in now a Macquarium. I always thought how cool it would be to convert the mouse to hold the air pump for the tank, but I know I’ll never get round to it.
  • A six-CD changer magazine for my car - hasn’t been used for about 8 years, since I got my first iPod
  • That very same iPod - a 2nd gen 20GB model, complete with a 12v power adapter and an iTrip
  • A 5″ floppy disk
  • A Canon Powershot camera with a busted LCD screen and lens cover
  • Pieces of that lens cover
  • 3 Apple power adapters - 2 x Firewire and 1 USB
  • 2 kettle power leads and 3 figure 8s
  • A 32Mb compact flash card - in my 6MP Nikon D70s, that only about 10-15 photos. It can’t have been enough for the camera it came with either, because there’s also a whopping 128Mb one there too
  • An old HP RPN scientific calculator from my school days - I remember spending ages first learning Reverse Polish Notation, then programming the formula to solve quadratic equations into it
  • A Darth Vader rubber stamp
  • And, of course, those gold-plated banana plugs

I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice to say that it’s time for me to stop hoarding useless crap, and that goes for more than the Drawer of Redundant Technology too. My shed is full of leftover DIY materials, electric drills that packed up, rolls of carpet underlay that are slowly rotting away, offcuts of timber that are far too small to do anything useful with even if I did have the time. My wardrobe is full of T-shirts and trainers that I just don’t wear anymore and my bookshelves filled with tomes that have been read and need not be read again.

Enough is enough I say, and this is my New Year’s Resolution - to the recycling center with you all!

Have you got a fabulous stash of redundant technology? If so, we’d love to see it. Upload a photo to the GeekDad Flickr Pool and tag it ‘redundanttech’ and we’ll post them up later for all to see.