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Something as utilitarian as a tractor is not usually designed any differently from any another tractor, unless there is a reason. But because tractors have a such wide a varied use, often very specific, such as towing aircraft or harvesting grapes, there are a huge variety of designs that are neither willful nor spurious. Here is a non-comprehensive selection of some of our favorite designs, from a Porsche designed coffee plantation tractor to the futuristic looking KLM tow tractor.

20 unusual tractor designs

After having been traveling for more than 7 months in the last year, the combination of neck strain and carpal tunnel from using a laptop requires a really good stand.I needed one that is compact and portable for travel and one that is highly adjustable at home. Being super anal about these things, I looked through hundreds of web sites and so put together an oobject list. The list covers everything from wheeled out units to a truckers cab laptop stand and a wearable harness that actually manages to look undorky but several items are based on the simple premise of a compact or flat folding cheap and simple stand.In the end I chose both products from the same company, the Evo floating laptop arm, which is most like a task light adjustment system and the mini, tripod-based Cricket laptop stand.

the perfect laptop stand

Jean Nouvel created a spectacular facade, based upon electronically controlled camera iris shaped devices in the style of decorative Arab screens, for the IMA in Paris, 20 years ago. For some reason, mechanical facades have recently started cropping up here and there in architecture. Here are some of our favorites.

12 moving building facades (videos)

If Apple is all about the product which then sells itself, then Ron Popeil’s Ronco was the exact reverse. Popeil took the kinds of things that work well with a hard sell: knives, peelers, dubious hair loss products that looked like spray paint, created a new twist rather than an invention per se and made them from cheap materials. These were then the subject of the archetypal infomercial, progenitor of the term O-matic and popularizer of the phrase ‘as seen on TV’.Popeil represents the quintessential salesman and as a result is seen with affection rather than derision, an iconic part of American popular culture and capitalism. Her are 9 videos of Popeil products.

9 ronco gadgets

When you see something familiar that looks unfamiliar it creates an impression. Armor is so iconic that everyone has an image of what it looks like, from Roman to Samurai. Here are some examples that are a little bit different. Vote for your faves.

extraordinary armor

From London to Moscow to New York, Chicago, Dubai and Shanghai, almost every single high rise city in the world is seeing skyscraper projects canceled even as they have their foundations laid and start to rise from the ground.Here is a list of the biggest projects that have been put on hold so far. The disappointing reality is that almost none of them have any particular architectural merit, apart from Calatrava's Chicago Spire, perhaps, and reflect a period when architecture firms were too overloaded with work to think very hard about the designs. Vote for which ones you would have liked to have seen finished.

15 skyscrapers on hold

There were justifiable fears of being buried alive, before modern medicine could safely identify the difference between certain types of paralysis or coma and being dead. Fears which were exacerbated by fiction such as The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe. As a result a bizarre range of contraptions were invented to signal having been buried alive, from bells, whistles and even a spring loaded ejector coffin which might actually kill other people from the shock of seeing an interred body spring out of the ground in a cemetery.Added to this were ranges of hermetically sealed iron coffins and a device to prevent grave robbing consisting of a booby-trap subterranean torpedo.For more of these, check out: http://deathreferencedesk.org/2010/02/02/premature-burial-device-patents/

12 Safety Coffins

These are possibly the most impressive gadgets on earth, beautifully complicated, polished stainless steel instruments that employ electron, x-ray, and ion probes, often in combination with depth profiling techniques, for surface analysis. They are the instruments featured on the covers of science lab and university brochures and are exactly what I want for my birthday. Vote for your faves.

12 ultra complex surface analysis systems

Dueling pistols are strange, beautiful and ironic. Gadgets to shoot each other in the face with, crafted with the delicacy and decorative extravagance of expensive jewelry.They appeared in the 18th C, as faster firing versions of flintlock guns replaced swords. Their use dwindled in the 19th C, while duels were still fought in the Western US states where the less rich would engage in gouging, similarly prearranged combat, with the aim of plucking out the opponent’s eyes.Dueling pistols were designed for the upper classes, for the preservation of honor, used illegally by generals and poets (Pushkin was killed in a duel), several US presidents (even Lincoln accepted a challenge to a duel)and even presented, with no sense of irony, as diplomatic gifts.

12 pairs of dueling pistols

Lookout towers are often more dramatic pieces of architecture than tall buildings because they only have a single floor – the top one. This means that they can be very skeletal and the design is all about a dramatic staircase. Here are some of our favorite examples,accidental architectural gems, like mini Eiffel Towers used for watching everything from forest fires to smugglers.

lookout towers

Some people take paintball very seriously, and the boundary between harmless fun, unintentional irony and plain creepy is blurred. Here are paintball teams that look like outright militia, and some are. They include a church team in full combat gear a German group that re-enacts LAPD swat team offensives, and three very disturbing teams: a Japanese paintball re-enactment of the Yugoslav civil war complete with Serbian militia uniforms; an US vs Iraq shoot em up in Jordan and a sinister third Reich Team with Eagle T-shirts. Vote them down.

12 very disturbing paintball teams

From Tampa to Dublin to Alicante and Dubai empty condos and villas that were never home to anyone, litter the landscape as a sterile reminder of a party that never was. But perhaps the biggest housing bubble of them all has just been popped – deliberately by the Chinese government who saw that Shanghai and Beijing real estate increases were unsustainable. Over the last month, Beijing housing prices have fallen at a unbelievable 377% annualized rate, possibly heralding part III of the Great recession following the US banking collapse and European sovereign debt crisis.The most dramatic pictures in this collection are of the empty Chinese city of Ordos, which is a piece of government led, speculative development on a scale unimaginable elsewhere. An entire city waiting to be occupied. Ordos is not a failure yet, but if it is, it will be emblematic.

9 ghost towns of the recession

Flight simulation is quintessentially high tech, the inspiration for Virtual Reality, so I went looking for early examples and found some delightfully quixotic alternatives to modern day immersive environments. These include the wooden mockups of the Apollo capsules, the stunted Link simulator, used during WWII, which looks like a kids ride outside a supermarket and the very early pre-WWI training rig for the Antoinette aircraft, which principally consists of two half barrels on top of each other. But the best of all are the incredible Convair trainer which has an extra cockpit attached to its front and the celestial navigation trainers which are masterpieces of pre-electronic navigational complexity.

12 Retro Flight Simulators

There are some design classics here, from the John Russell Barlow, French Opinel and Laguiole, Japanese Higo no Kami and of course the Swiss Army knife, where we show the original 19th C version and the one actually issued to Swiss soldiers today. We have included a couple of multi-tool curiosities such as a surgeons knife with gruesome implements such as an abscess lance and a Veterinary blood letting pocket knife which we found in our attic. To demonstrate the history of pocket knives which go back to 500BC we have selected a modern looking Viking pocket knife and an amazing Roman Soldiers multi-tool which predates the Swiss Army by nearly 2000 years.

12 classic pocket knives

Early brick sized cellphones spanned the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s when Nokia was still remembered as the manufacturer of jackboots for the Soviet army. The distinction between carphones and portable cellular phones was blurred and even today the largest cellphone outlet in the UK is called the Carphone Warehouse.Here is a nostalgic lineup of videos of some of these with 2 notable inclusions, the Nokia 9000, which you could use to access a server from more effectively than an iPhone or Blackberry, in the early days of the web and the Iridium, whose demise is one of the few examples of technology regress: there is no longer a truly global cellphone network, but there used to be.

brick sized cellphone ads (videos)

Neutrinos are extremely small and fast, so much so that to detect them you have to build really amazing experiments, such as the ones shown here. Japans Super-K is a 50,000 ton tank of water, half a mile underground, so clear that divers get vertigo. The latest South Pole neutrino telescopes, which point into the earths core rather than at the sky, have arrays of detectors which are much larger than the Empire State building and are frozen deep in the Antarctic ice core.

Ghost Particle Detectors

Ray guns originated in the US in the 30s, from shows like Buck Rogers. What makes them a particularly interesting object is that despite, for all practical purposes, having never existed, there is an almost endless variety of designs for toy ray guns, from around the world.Here are some of the best we could find. Most are for sale, and are posted without description, since the images speak for themselves.

23 stunning ray guns

For some reason cities around the world are scrambling to build massive Ferris Wheels in the name of modernity. Which is odd because this is old fashioned technology and not much improved. The biggest wheel in the world is less than twice the size of the very first one in Chicago. Ultimately however, what is disappointing about the biggest Ferris wheels in the world, from Beijing to Berlin is that they are boring. Here are our favorite less ordinary Ferris Wheels.

10 unboring ferris wheels

From commercial kits such as the Chaos Toy or Spacewarp, to the world's largest ball run, the 70 foot high Energy Machine in the Hong Kong Science Museum, these complicated contraptions are a classic form of Rube Goldberg Machine.Here are a collection of videos of some of the worlds most impressive ball runs in action, including the Mark Bischoff machine that was recreated for Anthony Hopkins' obsessive character in the movie Fracture, to one built for a one-off ending to Sesame Street.

15 videos of amazing rolling ball machines

The design history of snowmobiles starts with propeller driven sleds, including the amazing Russian combat version and migrates to half track vehicles with rear engines. Today's front engine vehicles were pioneered by Polaris, and are represented here by the Arctic Cat F6 600, which is driven by Sarah Palin's husband. This list of personal snowmobiles also contains two state of the art concept single track motorcycle style vehicles by Keller and Schlootz.

snowmobiles through history

What digital cameras have the largest zoom? Three new non-SLR cameras were announced in September, with 18x Optical Zooms, here they are along with their nearest rivals.The optical zoom on a camera of a type that you can easily carry around most of the time, seems like the single most important feature, since all other principal features, like megapixels, seem to have maxed out.Our task is specific. Photographing ‘architectural details on buildings in New York'. (We can't be bothered to schlep around 15 lenses, but want to capture details, without a ladder). However, a good zoom is what you really need for most photographic tasks.Three new non-SLR cameras with 18x Optical zoom, have been announced recently. They look like the ones to beat: The Panasonic DMC FZ18, Olympus SP-560 UZ and Fujifilm Finepix S8000fd.

8 ultra zoom cameras

If you have a hi-fi a TV, cellphone, computer and digital camera you already own several sets of speakers, amplifiers, microphones, screens and cameras. The idea of modular gadgets appeals on multiple levels, from Zen minimalism to the joy of playing with Legos.Here are some of our favorites.

lego like modular gadgets

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Category: 'new'

Homefront’s Short Campaign Prompts Question: Is The Single-Player FPS A Lost Art?

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
PSM3, the PlayStation magazine, has reviewed THQ’s fancy new shooter Homefront. It got a respectable 83/100. What’s perhaps worrying, however, is that the single-player campaign clocks in at a mere five hours in length.

Twist360 holds your iPad in Lots of Ways

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The iPad 2 is on the way with it hitting stores this week, but there are still loads of original iPads on the market that people want cool accessories for. For this crowd Bracketron has a new offering for you.

Australian Blokes Build Impressive Off Road Skateboard

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
It’s called the FiiK. If you think it’s an odd handle, so did we until we learned it stood for “Future Is In Knowledge.” You see, the Queensland natives (brothers actually) have been improving their motorized skateboard technology for the better part of 10 years.(...

Disposable Eco Can Puts Biodegradable Spin On Canned Drinks

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The funny thing about the Eco Can is the manufacturers fashioned it after a well, can. Like a can, it’s disposable. Unlike a can, it’s biodegradable and can (that again) store hot liquid. If it does more than your average can, then why is it shaped like a can?

Google Instant Previews Now Mobile

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Google’s Instant Previews, which allows you to see webpage snapshots alongside text search results, is now available on mobile for Android (2.2+) and iOS (4.0+) devices. Google rolled out this functionality today across 38 languages.

No Comment: Viewsonic ViewPad 10 press image shows a familiar OS

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Good work, Viewsonic; you're now shipping the dual-boot 10" ViewPad tablet that features both Windows 7 and Android as OS choices. We at TUAW wish you every success with the product.

Nokia lands new MeeGo chief, vows ‘style-conscious’ device

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Nokia's MeeGo marketing lead said on Tuesday that the company had already picked a new head for the MeeGo team. Sebastian Nyström will jump from the top spot on the Qt team to head up the mobile OS. He replaces Alberto Torres, who left immediately after the Windows Phone 7 shakeup....

Core77 Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club Tonite with Katy Meegan, Em-Space Book Arts Center

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Tonight, Core77 welcomes Katy Meegan of Em-Space Book Arts Center to our bi-weekly creative speaker series: The Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club hosted at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!

DIY Pulse Laser Gun Actually Burns Holes in Things

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
When I was an undergrad, lasers this powerful were generally kept bolted down to equipment and you had to wear goggles when you were using them. Admittedly, you were only in trouble if you sat down right in front of one or held your hand in front while it was firing.

Smell Your Video Games with Sensory Acumen and Scent Science’s New Gaming Gear

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Smell-o-vision has been a long-standing joke about television technology: something that in the early days of television every futurist thought would come true, but simply never made it into reality, partially because it's a ridiculous idea.

M-Edge Launches e-Luminator Touch Light for eReaders

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
M-Edge has been pushing all sorts of cases and accessories for eReaders since the market really took off. The company has a full line of gear for the Kindle, Nook and other offerings that are on the market.

Nokia Aims for “Next Billion” With X1-00

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Looking to grab its next billion users, Nokia has launched a new, entry level mobile phone aimed at “growth markets”, or the developing world. The X1-00 will retail for less than €35 (or $48 bucks), and has special features that will make it appealing for those markets.

iPad 2: Where and when you can buy one

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Photo courtesy of Engadget If you're in the market for an iPad 2, you'll have a wide range of locations in the United States where you can pick one up on Friday. You'll just need to wait until 5 PM local time to do so.

Philips puts out 21:9 TV with passive 3D, 400Hz 16:9 sets

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Philips has just announced the upcoming release of a new ultra wide screen TV with the Cinema 21:9 Gold. Sporting a wider aspect ratio than traditional 16:9 HDTVs, the 50-inch set also gets passive 3D technology.

SK Telecom to get CDMA iPhone 4 on March 16

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
SK Telecom on Tuesday confirmed earlier tips and said it would carry the iPhone 4 on March 16. The Korean carrier will be the first outside of the US to get the CDMA iPhone 4. Its deal ends KT's technical exclusive for the iPhone in the country, which was dictated mostly by its use of GSM....

The Meglio iPad Stand Is Great For The Can

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Another day, another iPad handle from Kickstarter. However, I think this one, the Meglio, is special for one reason and one reason only – it’s creator Salman Paracha has allowed us to finally admit where we all use our iPads the most: in the bathroom.

The New Apple iPad

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
A much lighter and thinner iPad, this device is now qualitatively different and is arriving in stores on March 11. The new iPad has two built-in cameras; one for high-definition videos and photos on the back and one for video conference at the front.

Microsoft Will Release Hardcore Games For Kinect

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The Kinect for Xbox 360 has turned into a rather lucrative property for Microsoft. Naturally, the company is pushing to have more games developed for the peripheral. . A handful of Kinect games for hardcore gamers will be released this year.

Samsung To Release Galaxy Pro For Professionals

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Samsung will release a new smartphone called Galaxy Pro for professionals who want more than just a smartphone. The Galaxy Pro features a 2.8 in touchscreen, 3MP camera, 800MHz CPU, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 512 MB storage along with a SD slot.

HTC Tube Tablet And Smartphone Concept Design

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
As mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones become ever more an integral part of our daily lives, the ecosystem in which all devices work in harmony is very important.

Netbook with Sliding Keyboard Coming from China

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
At first glance, it looks like another tablet, but if you try to touch the screen…no response. No, it didn’t get bricked by a bad operating system download, it’s a netbook! The Shanzhai group in China has created a netbook with a sliding keyboard that folds underneath the screen.

Disk Drill protects your Mac disks, recovers files

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Many of the disk utilities available for Mac OS X have been around for quite a few years, so it's surprising when a new entry shows up in this very important class of Mac app.

Panasonic prices, dates new Lumix compact cameras

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
As promised, Panasonic has now revealed prices for its Lumix ZS10, ZS8 and FX78 point-and-shoot cameras introduced late in January, along with the rugged Lumix TS3. The four arrive late this month, and share Leica lenses, HD video recording capabilities and Panasonic's iA full-auto scene mode.

Google Instant Previews reach Android, iOS

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Google today brought its Instant Previews to mobile devices for the first time. Both Android and iOS now see a magnifying glass next to search results that will shift them to a thumbnail view of pages in the search results.

Review: The Lorex LIVE Snap Baby Video Monitor

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The Lorex LIVE Snap is amazing. It’s the gadget equivalent of spotting a narwhal dancing under a double rainbow. It’s without a doubt the most satisfying electronic device I’ve used in ages. It just works.

LimeWire settles music publisher lawsuit

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
LimeWire on Tuesday said it had reached a settlement deal with major music publishers that had sued it for alleged piracy in June of last year. The two sides reached a secret deal that would see the lawsuit dismissed without the possibility of its return.

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