Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekend Tech Roundup

(entirely unrelated to anything - because I like it, that's why)

So time to clear the palette of tech related stuff I found amusing this week. First up is this:
Now a casual observer might think that in some weird twist they are selling plungers to obsessive Japanese who just hate to see a stopped up toilet. But those that can read kanji already know the answer - they are selling 'pee directors'. It turns out the men are being fined for missing the toilet. These 'directors' make sure that doesn't happen. So if you think these ladies have a rotten job, think about the guy inside writing the tickets.

In other news:
(Squirrel Season Opens in Today in Virginia! Happy Hunting!)

$1600 partially rubberized overalls! Is this a great country or what? I will admit the very idea of throwing yourself off a cliff face and relying on these things to glide down scares the crap out of me. It's a moot point for me right now anyway as I am guessing there is a weight limit to these things, and I am not there yet. Not exactly the goal I am shooting for.

I just don't believe this:

No - not 3D printers. I think they are pretty cool. I don't believe this article's assertion that they could pay for themselves in a year.  I will admit to buying parts for my old and busted fridge that I think are insanely overpriced given the are just little plastic bits. Assuming I could even get the templates for the parts to make them on the printer, it would still take a very long time to recoup the $1000+ Somalians, not to include the cost of 'printing supplies'. Of course, that doesn't mean I still don't want one.

The puppy blender is disappointed by smart watches. He is of course wrong, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. As I have stated before, my vision for smart watches is as an appliance for the phone you have tucked away on your person. From an engineering standpoint it is the natural progression of the technologies that are in place. The visual real estate for what can aesthetically and unobtrusively fit on your wrist is just too small for much more than that. I dream of a world where wrist worn phone appliances are as common and cheap as the ubiquitous Bluetooth headset. Sadly, there just aren't enough youngsters wearing watches anymore, so that may never happen.

Also via Instapundit:
The promise of the thorium reactor. If they could get the size and safety in line, this would be a tremendous leap forward. On the other hand, given the regulatory hoops any nuclear power plant has to go through, I don't see them becoming a household appliance any time soon. I hope I am wrong on this.

So now our puny little plant has one of the biggest volcanos in the solar system? Yea! Finally we are (almost) #1 at something. See how happy our citizens are?

Congrats to Virgin Galactic for Space Ship 2's supersonic flight. It is worth noting that they built this thing from the ground up without the burden of the NASA legacy development weighing them down. I've noted before that I worked on GD's CRS module. From that work it became exceedingly clear that way too much time and otherwise excellent engineering effort was being expended on pursuits that were done 'because that's the way we have always done things <for NASA>'. Cultural bias can kill (or maim) the space industry as easily as it did the auto industry. I for one am glad to see Branson's 'outside the box' culture seeing success. To the young engineers reading this take note - this is the type of company where you should be trying to get a job. Even with my going grey hair and almost 30 years experience, if I was given the chance to work for them I would jump at it in a second. To the stars!

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