The Bliss Bringer

The most beautiful sound in the world is the quiet after a storm. If you don’t believe this, turn on a leaf blower or vacuum cleaner for a couple of minutes and then turn it off again. You’ll find that, much like ignorance, ignoise is bliss. Philips recognized the marketing potential for this phenomenon. Like other companies, such as Braun …

An Exercise in Unknowing

Way back in some year AD, a person or persons unknown decided the world was lacking a certain something. Though not very strongly, they felt there might be a need for a greenish and plasticky thing to make the world complete. Users partial to greenish things have traditionally been found in relatively great numbers in both gardening and military circles, …

You Know, for Kids!

Back in 2004, the Quick-Switch Microscope was manufactured in great numbers by the Edu Science Company, in anticipation of great demand for children’s microscopes. Their great expectations were based on research by professor Brendigan and her team at Oxford University. Brendigan postulated a correlation between the level of detail perceived in general, and through microscopes in particular, and the size …

Ze Germans Are Back

In the early 1980s pocket calculators were a technological novelty, but the golden age of Technological Novelty Mania hadn’t started yet. That would soon change, however, when German electronic band Kraftwerk released their album Computer World, featuring the song Pocket Calculator, in 1981. (The original version can be heard here, their own remix from 1991 here and –the best!- a …

Fat Boys Unite

Just like me, the Agfa Clack is lovely and chubby. Also a bit like me, it’s a camera, a device recording the world around it without taking part in most of its activities. There’s also a few obvious differences. Its focus is better than mine, it’s from Germany and it was born in 1954, fifteen years before me. The Clack …

VTech V.Frown Upside Down

At the closing ceremony of the 2015 International Gaming Month, chairman Deng Tsao Peng of the International Gaming Federation has announced that from 2017 on the gamer class of people will officially include girls. Sure, girls have been gaming for years, as proven by this pink V.Smile controller from 2005. But now it’s offical! VTech’s V.Smile system (picture courtesy of …

Guitar Hero 
Genericaster Controller

Gaming is my second favourite time waster. The past couple of months I’ve probably spent more time on Guitar Hero and Rock Band games than on all my other activities combined –excluding my job (a necessary evil to finance my time wasting) and sleeping (my favourite time waster). Which made the deconstruction of a Guitar Hero Genericaster Controller all the …

Beware Orange Calendar Man!

There was a time when no one was safe from Orange Calendar Man. Always counting the days until… Sure, he looked harmless enough, with his round plastic body en short stubby legs, but once he got on a roll, there was no getting away from him. Fortunately, the world can now sleep soundly once more, thanks to Orange Calendar Man …