Showing posts from February, 2011

Kewl Design Alert: HTC Thunderbolt's Built-in Stand

The HTC Thunderbolt was launched in late December and I have to say that it's got a feature that is such a no-brainer, it should be a standard component on all smart phones, in my opinion: a built-in stand.

So simple. So brilliant. I w00t.

Are you listening smart phone & tablet makers? Is this so hard to add?

(Source: TechRepublic)

Space Shuttle Launch: As seen from an Airplane

Footage of Space Shuttle Discovery's final take-off from Kennedy Space Centre, as seen from a passenger plane.

That's history right there, my friends.


Kewl Site Alert: Search Engine Alternatives

Are your search results accurate? So if you're a Google power user, you might have realised that the search results you get when you're logged in are very different from those you get when you're not logged in. Case in point: hubby searched for something recently and my blog came in the top 3 results. I told him to log out and do it again, and my blog showed up many pages later. Your Google profile, preferences, settings and search history influence the results Google presents to you, when you are logged in. The same goes for other sites since as Bing (if you are logged into MSN), etc.

After a while, it can feel like your world is limited to what you already know, or what merchants want to sell you based on what Google knows about you. And that can get frustrating when you're looking for something new and different. So where do you go? What are your options?

Thankfully, the web is a wonderfully open place where democracy prevails (well, ok that might be a bit optimist…

Kewl Site Alert: Twitter Status Blog (UPDATED)

So we've all been there: like crack addicts waiting for Twitter to load or refresh only to get an error or some molasses-in-January action. And then what does everyone do? Take to Twitter to message friends to find out what's wrong with Twitter. Which then slows Twitter to a crawl and eventual #fail Whale.

But not you. No, you're in the know. You know that there's a place where you can go to check on Twitter's current status and view or report on a problem. You just head on over to and check for yourself.

And then you proactively tweet out Twitter's status with the calm, cool, collectedness that your friends are totally lacking. And watch that sucker get RT'd till the cows come home and your follower count skyrockets into @aplusk land.

(Ok, maybe that last part is a bit of a stretch, but at least now you know how to check your addiction to see if you'll be getting your fix any time soon.)

And in the event that Twitter claims nothing …

Kewl Design Alert: Almost Steampunk Acoustic iPhone 4 Speaker

I love when entrepreneurs take it upon themselves to fund their ideas, using a crowdsource approach. I've blogged before about Quirky, another crowdsource-funding site for inventors and entrepreneurs.

Kickstarter is another such site, where ARKWHAT Design has a really kewl acoustic speaker for iPhones. Now as you all know, I don't do the iThings, but I am a fan of really. kewl. design. (and crowdsourcing, obviously)

I think this is a really neat product, especially considering it will only retail for $13! ARKWHAT is looking for pledges to reach the $13,000 minimum in order to be able to produce the product. Pledges are really pre-payments toward the product, or the entire collection, depending on how much a "donor" contributes.

Here's a short interview with the designer, and a product demo. What a kewl idea!

What do you think? Would you use it?


You'd Think With All This Tech We'd be Happy (cartoon)

I think this XKCD cartoon pretty much says it all. We're complete ingrates about our technology. It's becoming too ubiquitous, and we're forgetting how far we've come. I would encourage you to take a moment and think about... nah, just kidding.

Seriously, though: "Where's my flying car?!"

(Source: XKCD)

Sweet Geeky Dreams: Pixelated Sleeping Mask

How cute is this? You can even geek out in your sleep with this adorable pixel sleeping mask. And before you ask, "people wear sleeping masks?" let me remind you that those office lights are pretty bright when you're trying to nap under your desk during marathon coding sessions...

Get it from DesignBoom for $24.


Live Action Mario Kart (video)

This impressive video is fun, action-packed live-action tribute to Mario Kart. I was truly surprised by the graphics and the realism of a couple of the scenes (k, not all but some :)

As for The Dude, we totally ruined his DSi for him by showing him this video. Hasn't touched it since. But he did ask us to go karting... :)

(Source: Geekologie)

Yummy & Angry: Playable Angry Birds Birthday Cake

Ben's dad is a pretty creative guy — and all around awesome dad. For his son's 6th birthday, he built him a playable Angry Birds Birthday cake. This thing looks like so much fun! Lucky kid, that Ben.

However beit resolved that from that day on, Ben's mom could never get him to stop playing with his food. :)

(Source: Various on The Twitter)

Paper Tweet Notepad: No Fail Whales For You!

Next time Twitter Failwhales, are you going to panic? Jump onto Facebook to get your messages out into the Interether? No! You're going to calmly reach across your desk and grab your Paper Tweet notepad.

Pick your message type, enter the username and then notice those happy little notches? Yup, 140 of 'em to write your tweet. I love everything about it! Ok, ok, so it's not a "technical solution" to the #failwhale, but you're got to admit: it's way. more. fun.

Get them over at Knock Knock before Twitter goes down again!


First Step to World Domination: Robot Learns to Clean A Whiteboard

No this isn't just another robot video. This is a robot video in which the HOAP robot by Fujitsu Automation learns instead of just doing what it was programmed to do.

I found the video quite compelling: first we get to watch the cute little death machine guy learn a few key moves, then he is positioned to erase the various letters on the board using what he knows. He's not perfect, and he's a little slow, but considering he was programmed to learn, the possibilities are endless.

First of all, let's just get it out of the way: this little guy is incredibly adorable. And, really, only a few learned behaviours away from becoming self-aware and cutting down that programmer at the knees. {removes tinfoil hat}


(Source: Geekologie)

Nerdy Girls Need Love Too (video)

I've long referred to myself as a geek. It's the truth, so why not embrace it?

From my interactions on Twitter and in the blogosphere, I am learning that there are plenty of other geek girls out there, including Amy Lee Radigan. She's a singer/ songwriter from Victoria, BC who penned this wonderful little ditty about how "Nerdy Girls Need Love Too".

My favourite lines: "like a dalek you exterminate all my defenses" and "all i'm asking for is a little nerdy love" - it's like another Geek/ Nerd anthem. Albeit a fantastic one.

Watch the video below and then check out these other anthems I've featured:
Geek Girl Anthem by Marian CallNerd Anthem also by Marian CallNew Dorks by Pantsless KnightsEnjoy!

(Source: @macjudith)

Amazing Shadow Sword Fight Dance (video)

Shh, no talking. You just watch now, ok?

(Source: Gizmodo)

Lego Stop Motion tells Star Wars in 2 minutes (video)

Well, Star Wars episodes 4-6. Or 1-3 for us who grew up without prequels. :) (Sidebar: anyone else think that prequels and 3-D must just. stop. now? Ahem.)

This stop motion video is quick, covers all the bases, and is really well done. Probably one of the best I've seen in a while. Which is probably why it has 3 Million views. Wow. (Granted, it's been out since May of last year, so if you've already seen it, please move along.)


(Source: BitRebels)

Carleton U Flash Mob (video)

I've said it before: I love me some flash mobs. Here's another local one that happened earlier this week on the Rideau Canal, near Carleton U. Enjoy!

More like this:

Byward Market Jamiroquai Flash Mob Awesomeness
(Source: @ottawastart)

Geek Fashion: Duct Tape is like the Force T Shirt

So as a good little geek, you should know that T-Shirts are what it's all about in geek fashion. I have my faves, including this one (forgive the old pic) and I'm sure you have yours.

Last week I asked my fellow geeks to share their fave geek fashion with me. @pdauphin provided me with this gem.

You can never go wrong with a Star Wars reference.

Buy it online at

Got a favourite geek item? Leave a link or even better, drop me a line and I might feature it (and you!) in an upcoming Geek Fashion post.

1,000-MPH Rocket Car is Insane

Car? Really? By what definition?

When a car is designed by the Royal Air Force and Lockheed Martin and looks like a wingless jet plane, does it still qualify as a car? Especially considering it has to be driven by a pilot? Bloodhound is HUGE, gorgeous and simply amazing to look at.

As Wing Commander Andy Green says, this is an
"engineering adventure that will inspire a whole lot of young people with excitement of engineering and science." No doubt he's right.

Cmdr Green calls that his office. A 1,000 Mile Per Hour office. No one else's office will ever be kewl again.

Enjoy the video, and check out the article over at Wired Autopia for more on this story.

(Source: Autopia |

Kewl Design Alert: Sustainable Fridge (TED Talks)

What an incredible idea: a refrigeration unit that is actually sustainable (vs our current energy hogs). We need more people thinking like this. It's not going to replace our giant fridges; it's targeted to third-world usage.

I was shocked when I saw the prototype at the end. Completely blown away.

I say it all the time: it's amazing what people can do.

Inventor and presenter: Adam Grosser

Good Things Come in Slow Packages: Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room (video)

This was the slowest, kewlest and most visually stunning part of my day.

The video below was produced by Tom Guilmette, a tv videographer (with a great site - seriously, check it out. We'll wait.)

Tom's forte is usually sports events, but dude has an eye for making the mundane look like total eye candy. Here's what he says about this video:
I was working a gig in Vegas with a brand new Phantom Flex high speed digital cinema camera. I had to try it out. In fact, I never did go to bed that night. I opened up a wormhole shooting at 2,564 frames per second. My absolute favourite shot is though is the one of the Blackberry being dropped on the table, not because the effect is kewl but because he was obviously running out of things to film. I think it's pretty obvious that it's tongue-in-cheek if you look at the image on the display.

Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.


A Tethered Geek is a Happy Geek: PDANet for Android

This winter we decided to enroll the entire family in ski and snowboard lessons. If you follow me on Twitter (@spydergrrl) you probably know by now that during my second snowboarding lesson, I broke my right elbow. Since then, I've been accompanying the family to the hill as support staff (or as hubby likes to tell it, as a snow bunny).

The hill we frequent thinks it's 1997 doesn't have Wifi. Well, it does but it won't make it available to guests. Generally, I am at the hill from 9-3, so I try to keep busy. Without Wifi, that means I've been bringing my Wired mags, working locally on my laptop and relying on my 3G Android phone to connect with the world.

But today, today my friends, I got wired. I figured that since I am stuck here in the chalet all day, I might as well finally figure out how to tether my phone. I quickly got connected to my work Blackberry 8520 but the data plan on it is so low, that I didn't want to risk going over.

I had no luck connectin…

Every Woman Loves a Sharp Dressed Geek: Star Wars Lego Cufflinks

You know what gets us girls weak in the knees? A sharply dressed geek. That's something to keep in mind with Valentine's Day approaching. Hubby is a sharp dresser and wears French cuffed shirts to work. So, kewl cufflinks always catch my attention. Here's a little gallery of the kewlest Star Wars ones I came across online:

C3-PO and R2D2:Imperial Logo:Darth Vader in full uniform:Formal Darth Vader:Chrome Trooper helmets:Old School Silver Lego Bricks:
Find more Star Wars Lego cufflinks on Etsy shops.

Found any more kewl Star Wars cufflinks or other accessories? Leave a comment!

The High School that is Social Media (cartoon)

So what if the social mediasphere was a high school? Which platform would be the kewl kid? which would be the nerd? the jock? @Flowtown took a crack at the Social Media yearbook, complete with club memberships and fave quotes.

Visit Flowtown to view the entire graphic or even buy a copy of the poster.

(Source: @feliciaday)

Blind Photographer's Works are Completely Haunting

This short film — found on Neatorama — is completely captivating because the photographer, Pete Eckert, is blind.

And his pictures are visually stunning. He says that they are a product of him learning to see with his sense of sound. It's incredible what people are capable of.

| Artists Wanted | In Focus : Pete Eckert from Artists Wanted on Vimeo.

UPDATE: Outtakes and Bloopers from that Adorable VW Young Darth Vader Ad

So by now, unless you live in your mom's basement a cave, you've probably seen the VW Young Darth Vader Superbowl ad I featured earlier last week. The Superbowl version was much shorter, so I suggest you go take a look at the original. Don't worry, we'll wait.....

Ok, ready?

VW has released some of the deleted scenes and bloopers from the ad. That kid is super adorable. I especially love the scene where the parents bow down in a Wayne's World-esque "we're not worthy" shout-out. :)

If you're interested in some analysis of the ad, check out the post on Penelope's Trunk about how this ad reflects Gen X family values. The post is interesting as well as major points of discussion: one that the viewers tend to argue whether the child is a boy or a girl (although the ad description on YouTube says "he" -- and per The Dude, that's his sister's bedroom) and (my personal fave) someone disputing the entire post saying: "Xe…

Shameless Plug For Votes: I'm up for a Shorty Award in #Innovation

WTF are the Shorty Awards?
It's a popularity contest community-driven voting process by Tweeps for Tweeps. The intent is to "(recognize) each content creator's entire body of work, not just an individual tweet."

Later this month, 6 finalists from each category will be chosen. Winners will be selected based on votes and a panel from the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences.

Here's the kewl part: the awards ceremony is March 28, 2011 at the Times Center in New York City. Ok, no wait, here's the kewl part: Speeches have to be 140 characters - LOL.

I've been nominated for a Shorty Award in a few different categories, but so far the Innovation Category seems to be taking the lead.

At last check, I was ranked 45th out of 90 nominees. It's a total long shot: I need about 200 more votes to break the top 6 but wouldn't it be fun?
Would you help a sister out?It's quick, painless and easy. But please note: you need a Twitter account.
Go t…

Rumble on the Web: Google Calls Out Bing on the Google Blog

Earlier this week, an interesting post came up on the Google Blog. (Yes, I read the Google Blog. Insert "drink the Kool-Ade" joke here.) It seems that Google had suspicions that Bing's results were a little too similar to their own a little too often. So they armed a bunch of Googlers with laptops bearing fresh Windows installs (and sparkling new Internet Explorers with Bing Toolbars) and had some fun.

First they associated some random gibberish searches (e.g. "hiybbprqag") with some real, and very unrelated websites in their own search engine (e.g. searching hiybbprqag returned a result for The Wiltern Theatre). The search query was something that no user would ever type into Google, and the result made absolutely no sense.

Let the fun begin.

Armed with the Bing toolbar, the Googlers used Google to search for the fake searches, logging some traffic on these fake queries. Low and behold, after some time, the same term could be searched on Bing... yielding the …

A Must See: Preview of Adorable "Young Darth Vader" Volkswagen Superbowl Ad (UPDATED)

So Volkswagen really wants you to watch their Superbowl Ad. So much so, that they "leaked" it to YouTube. Thankfully too, since us Canadians can't see the good ads without all sorts of rangling.

Volkswagen describes the ad:
The spot features a pint-sized Darth Vader who uses the Force when he discovers the all-new 2012 Passat in the driveway. It leverages humor and the unforgettable Star Wars™ score to create an emotional commercial. I'm surprised they put the 2nd sentence in, it's like telling you how and why you were manipulated into loving it so much. And you will. Each time I watch it, I picture that the kid under the helmet is the Dude. You totally know what's coming but it's still awesome -- the reaction is so genuine. I laugh so hard, I cry each time I watch it.


Found any other promising 2011 Superbowl Ads? Leave a link in comments!

UPDATE: Also found this great gem over at Boing Boing about a Dad that threw his kid a Star Wars party where t…