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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
The Segway took the idea of the two wheeled vehicle and made it require thousands of dollars of electronics to remain as stable as an ordinary two wheeled bicycle. The Apple Newton was a personal organizer that required a personal assistant to carry it around for you.The common thread in the choices here is people mistaking sophisticated engineering for sophisticated design. Many were and still are technical triumphs.The Space Shuttle, for example, still bathes in the reflected glory of the Apollo missions, yet its design was largely a mistake based upon the PR potential of a plane-like craft, rather than practicality. Its replacement will look much more like a Saturn 5 rocket and it forms part of the hardware for what Nasa refer to internally as the ‘crude missions'.Below is our chart of the biggest all time tech. failures. Vote for the biggest loser or suggest some alternatives in the comments.

10 biggest tech product failures

The New York Times put together a fascinating list of Olympic flame relay torches. However, the cauldrons that they light are often more interesting being part of the original Athenian games, both figuratively and in spirit. The torch relay is neither, having been created by the Nazis.Dramatic sculptural cauldrons were built for more recent Winter or Summer Games, such as Salt Lake City, Barcelona or most recently, Turin, with its tall fire breathing chimneys, like an oil refinery burn off.Both Barcelona and Sydney introduced spectacle in the way the cauldrons were lit: a single shot, flaming arrow from a remote archer, in Barcelona, and a spectacular self assembling tower emerging, on fire, from a pool of water, in Sydney.The simple, iconic cauldron also stand out, and nowhere more so that the pared down minimalist version at the 1976 Montreal Games, which could not have been more different from the gargantuan vulgarity of the stadium itself.

10 notable olympic flame cauldron designs

The Olympics has become surreal, an athletic event which manages to roll up some of the world's least popular sports and make some of the world's most popular, such as soccer, capture less interest. It's all about the opening ceremony and the 100M, so the entire multi-billion dollar affair centers on 3 hours of introduction and 10 seconds of meaningful competition. It's an event where the organizers earn tens of times that of the athletes, evade taxes and create new criminal laws to prosecute those who challenge sponsors who peddle things that are bad for your health. Added to this is the absurd level paramilitary security.It used to be worse however. The security used to be an event, with Military Patrol being a sport in three games. Shown here is the rather disturbing image of the German medal winning Military patrol team, between WWI and WWII. Other dubious shooting contests included killing pigeons (as well as racing them) and dueling, where two competitors would try and shoot each other in the face with wax bullets.Several of the demonstration sports are straight from Monty Python territory: Fire Fighting, Cannon Shooting and Kite Flying. But my absolute favorite are the little known arts medals. Walter Winans was one of 2 people to win both sports and and arts medals, for sculpture and deer shooting and Brooklyn's Marine Park was the subject of Charles Downing Lay's Olympic silver medal in Town Planning in 1936.I seen several sites doing a similar list to this, however I spent a long time trying to pick up the best selection including a few that were missed elsewhere. Enjoy.

12 absurd olympic events

The earliest wrist watches were made for soldiers, where fumbling around for a pocket watch was dangerous. The very earliest examples were from the Boer War, however the idea caught on in the first World War.Some of these watches were actually designed to be worn around the leg (for airmen), and many have the distinctive protective grille that gives them a medieval look.

9 earliest wrist watches

Some of these are very high end audiophile speakers and others are those that we think are well designed from a product point of view. Extremely well designed or extremely well engineered.The Kef Muon's are an unbelievable $140,000 while others are as low as $100. Our favorites are the 1960s Quad Electrostatics which are unlike anything ever made since and go nicely with a classic Quad 33 and 303 Pre and Power Amp.Its somewhat unfair to vote on something that is to be listened to and not looked at, so vote with your gut.

17 most extreme speakers

Our favorites here are the food based instruments of The First Viennese Vegetable Orchestra and the spectacular Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ which is practically the 8th wonder of the world.

15 strange musical instruments

A nostalgic look at the prime or earliest examples of truly revolutionary gadgets. Keep sending us tips, and vote for the ones that impacted you most.

18 world changing gadgets

The point of this list was to find interesting fountain designs that are truly modern, something that is rare, since fountains are luxurious, flowing and decorative by nature.For example Rome's Trevi fountain may be a masterpiece, but trying to recreate classical splendor today always looks awful and kitsch. The horrid water display at the Vegas Bellagio is a case in point, opulence without craft. In fairness, its designers, WET design have produced many other much more interesting designs which balance fun with restraint. Here are some of our favorite designs, from computer controlled fountains such as the wonderful animated version at Detroit Airport to Chicago's celebrated screen based Crown fountain

12 great modern fountains

There has probably been nothing like the sight of dazzle ships, before or since. So impressive were they that their patterns were used into WWII, after their efficacy was questionable, because they were thought to boost morale. Dazzle patterns were designed by modernist painters, in the modernist style, bringing about a very strange meeting of bohemian painters and military types.With no all weather camouflage for ships in WWI, these extraordinary designs were painted on ships to confuse rather than obscure. The sliced geometry meant that it was difficult to align split screen range finders, and fake bows made it difficult to gauge speed and heading.We are breaking our usual rule of showing actual objects rather than paintings or models, for two reasons: dazzle ships were very brightly colored, yet there are no color images of their WWI versions; many of the dazzle designs were by modern artists, and the famous painting of a dazzle ship was by one of the people who designed the camouflage itself, Edward Wadsworth.

dazzle ships

Unlike the obvious candidates, such as the Flatiron or various svelte skyscrapers, these buildings aren't famous pieces of architecture, but accidental vernacular gems which seemingly defy gravity.

8 super skinny buildings

When the shuttle takes off tomorrow it will be a symbolic example of technological regress, a small step down for man, a giant plunge for mankind. After the Shuttle, there will longer be re-usable space vehicles, no rocket capable of taking us to the moon, no submersible capable of taking us to the bottom of the deepest ocean. Airline travelers will only be able to fly half as fast as they used to and most seriously, children will get diseases that were previously wiped out all because progress doesn’t always happen and because some people don’t believe in it.I’ve picked 9 examples of technological regression, they will be ordered according to your votes – pick the the ones you think are the biggest loss.

top 9 examples of technological regress

Although we previously did a list on diving helmets, the variety of strange diving outfits warranted another list. Having spent hours pouring through these to pick my favorites, it occurred to me that the inspiration for early science fiction robots and space suits, before the age of actual space travel, clearly comes from this pre-space age technology.Deep sea diving equipment needs to be solid and heavy it has a very different aesthetic from aviation and space equipment which needs to be light, so there is a market difference between the look of space things in science fiction, between the 50s and 60s.

12 diving suits

iPods, Nikons, vibrators, Hummers someone has released a really crass gold plated gadget for the arms dealer market. Gizmodo suggested the gold plated shuffle 'signaled the downfall of civilization', vote according to which item you think is the most revolting.

12 revolting gold gadgets

Some of the most original or most innovative lighting ideas.

13 innovative lights

The interesting thing about luxury trains is that they share a common and unintentionally ironic style - that of a stationary, fragile, cut glass and velvet, Victorian brothel interior moving at more than 60 miles and hour.

10 luxury trains

With the notable exception of Apple, America has largely ceased to be a design culture, yet from Art Deco to Mid-Century modern, the US once ruled the world. There is no better example of a quintessentially American product designer than Raymond Loewy, who combined the exuberance of consumer culture with the asceticism of modernism and applied this to elements from pencil sharpeners to locomotives.Like Apples lead designer, Loewy was not from America. He was born in France and travelled to New York after WWI, wearing only his officers uniform and carrying $40. Here are a dozen of our favorite examples of Loewy designs.

12 Classic Raymond Loewy Designs

Manikins (the alternate spelling, mannequin, is usually used for the store window variety) which are used for medical training are extremely interesting devices with accurate and working anatomical elements. This list is larger than usual since the number of interesting items meant that we kept on looking.

medical manikins

Really complicated, and really expensive swiss watches are called grand complications based upon strict criteria.These are often based upon the gravity compensating tourbillon mechanism that isn't strictly needed for a wristwatch but is insanely complicated so people build them to show off their skills as watchmakers.This is the kind of gadget that gazillionaires with enough taste to avoid diamond encrusted ones buy when they fly into Geneva. They look very James Bond - except that they cost ten times as much as his humble Rolex or Omega, often costing more than $100,000 each.

8 most complex watches

In the movies, spook equipment equals high tech and futuristic, but the reality of the external product design design is often anything but. Product design will eventually no longer be an issue. This is one of those lists where as technology improves the items become less interesting, to the point where they disappear, as encryption technology becomes software only, as with the NSAs secure version of Google's Android OS. Nonetheless standard secure phones are still provided to government officials, by the NSA, the latest model being introduced in 2008 and with hardware that looks distinctly antiquated compared with consumer technology such as an iPhone. The odd one out in this list is the US/Soviet hotline, which is arguably as much a reaction against the time it took to decode secure messages, being introduced after the delays in doing so during the Cuban missile crisis.

9 secure phones

Included here are the RC helicopters that filmed New Orleans streets after Katrina, a seven foot Yodeling man and a remote controlled zombie for halloween. Vote for your fave.

18 best remote controlled gadgets

Climbing walls are both functionally and aesthetically fascinating. They often have beautiful abstract shapes reminiscent of Kurt Schwitters Merzbau or are just plain intricate and impressive.Included in our collection here are interactive musical climbing walls, enormous artificial ice towers, surreal climbing forms and a huge climbing wall inside a disused Texan grain silo. Vote for your faves.

Great Climbing Walls

Carbon Fiber matches wood in terms of flexibility of form and surpasses steel in terms of strength. Because of this it is beginning to be used as a decorative item, replacing walnut in car dashboards, for example. This consciously decorative use can work well, but where carbon fiber is used for pseudo functional design, like the carbon fiber letter opener shown here, the choice is inappropriate and ridiculous.

8 pointless uses of carbon fiber

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Category: 'new'

Apple defends in-app subs, claims One Pass is web-only

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Apple during its shareholder meeting on Wednesday was put on the defensive and asked to justify its toughened in-app subscription rules. The company insisted it had to maintain the 30 percent cut since the App Store was run at "break even."

Samsung’s Galaxy S II Will Have MHL Port for USB and HDMI-out

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Good news, Samsung fans. The Galaxy S II will not lack for HDMI. While the new flagship Android smartphone has no HDMI-out, it will be the first smartphone with an MHL port. This port is capable of acting as both a USB port, and HDMI-out.

Apple: NC datacenter for iTunes and MobileMe, due in spring

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Apple during a Q&A session at its shareholder meeting confirmed some of the role and timing of its North Carolina datacenter. The facility is targeted at supporting both iTunes and MobileMe, the copmany said, and is due to go live during the spring.

CBS Content Coming Soon To Netflix For No Extra Charge

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Don't you just love competition? It's usually for the best when it comes to the consumer, and with the media streaming landscape becoming more heated than ever before, that's definitely the case here.

Sony drops NEX-3 in Japan

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Sony's entry mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the NEX-3, has now been discontinued by Sony Japan and is no longer in the company's webstore. Reasons for the 14.2-megapixel camera's demise aren't being divulged, but the exit is comprehensive.

DIY workshop mash-up at Machine Project this weekend

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The folks at Machine Project are hosting what sounds like a delightful and confusing workshop this weekend, called Confuse-a-tron: This Friday, February 25, as part of our L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA series, we’re hosting an event called Machine Project Presents Confuse-a-tron.

Adult Swim App (With Full Episodes!) Hits App Store

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
iPad and iPhone users, rejoice! A universal app for Adult Swim has just landed in the App Store. It allows for streaming clips and full episodes of certain shows. Meaning you’ll never be more than a click away from the latest episode of Venture Brothers.

Olympus May Announce New Micro Four Thirds Cameras March 2nd

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Fans of the compact lens system may be getting some new cameras next week if rumors are true. 43 Rumors is reporting that three new models from Olympus may be landing on March 2nd.

Automower 305 Is Latest Mower From Husqvarna, Will Help Win Neighborhood Contest For Best Lawn

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
It’s still winter, but once spring comes, it’ll be time to cut the grass again. If you’re too lazy, then let a robot do it — oh yeah the future is here. Husqvarna has been around for a while, but today are better known garden items instead of dirt bikes.

App Review: Reiner Knizia’s Labyrinth leads us to a solid puzzle game

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Reiner Knizia's Labyrinth [US$1.99, universal, trial version available] is one of a number of iOS-only games the prolific game designer has created (the others being Monumental -- here's our review -- Roto, Yoku-Gami and Teocalli).

Proliferation Of PGP Complicates Job Of Federal Investigators

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Given that enabling PGP encryption is as easy as ticking a few boxes in both Mac OS X and Windows, it’s no surprise that the authorities are now increasing their efforts to combat the scourge of people wanting to keep their private data private.

PS3 Gets NTFS Support

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
This isn’t big news to anyone but PS3 hackers, but I wanted to include it just as a “ahhh yeah” shout-out to all the people fighting to use their hardware however they like.

Newest Farmville Crop Is…Watermelon Babies?

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Popular game Farmville has a new crop you can try, but its appearance can be a bit off-putting. Farmville China now has Watermelon Babies. You read that correctly. The crop looks like a regular watermelon, save for the fact that it has a pink baby-looking creature poking out the top.

Get A Little Less Dumb Every Morning With The IQ Calendar

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Word-a-day calendars are neat and all, but who the hell uses paper calendars? Oliver Shal has designed a brilliant, brain teasing calendar that’ll start your day with the confusion you need to excel.

Atrix 4G’s laptop dock may have had multi-touch dropped

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
A user on the XDA Developers forum, theproskater, reports having purchased the dock for the Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone and being disappointed that multi-touch input doesn't work.

AT&T may have limited HSUPA 3G only to iPhone 4 users

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
AT&T's apparent disabling of HSUPA 3G on some of its phones may have been a temporary measure that didn't affect the iPhone 4, insiders suggested on Wednesday.

The MacBook Air: A professional photographer’s best friend

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
It's good to see that it's not only the geeks here at TUAW who are in love with the MacBook Air. Photographer and blogger Derrick Story at Macworld also has a great fondness for the lightweight Mac, although he's using it for more than just blogging.

OmniVision 8MP cam not ready for iPhone 5, Sony jumping in?

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
OmniVision shares were shaken on Wednesday after unofficial supplier checks by Baird analyst Tristan Gerra suggested it might lose out on supplying cameras for the iPhone 5.

Apple’s North Carolina data center to go live this spring

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The cloud is the future and the future appears to be arriving this Spring, as Apple's North Carolina data center is finally due to go live, according to reports from today's Apple annual shareholder meeting.

Feeling Naughty? Motorola Atrix Gets Naked

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Who out there is in the mood for some gadget fetishism? That’s basically what the folks at iFixIt offer, with their regular and ruthlessly thorough teardowns of hot new gadgets. They recently cut into a Motorola Atrix, and what they found inside was glorious.

BookArc for MacBook Air: Make Your MBA Stand Up And Take Notice

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Twelve South makes cool, if simple, laptop gear. We’ve covered their BookArc before and this is an improved permutation of the version for the latest MacBook Air.

TUAW TV Live: The Android flu cancels today’s show

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Well, whatever it was that knocked TUAW Talkcast Host Kelly Guimont for a loop on Sunday night has apparently crawled through the Interwebs and infected me. After a rough night with a fever, I can barely speak, never mind get through a one-hour show without coughing every few seconds.

Dell Streak 5 on AT&T, Rogers gets bump to Android 2.2

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Dell on Wednesday began sending out the over-the-air Android 2.2 update for the Streak 5 tablet sold through AT&T and Canadian provider Rogers. The update brings with it Flash support, Dell's Stage UI and support for apps that require Android 2.0 or later software.

Eurocom Adds Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Processor Option To Panther 2.0

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Eurocom is adding a new processor option to its EUROCOM Panther 2.0 performance notebook. Now, customers will also be able to choose Intel's new high performance i7-990X Extreme Edition Processor. The processor comes unlocked and runs at 3.46GHz with a 3.73GHz Turbo Boost.

Engraved Plastic + Black Crayon = High Contrast Panels

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Effective, easy, inexpensive process from Briton James Williamson. James starts with laser-engraved panels, rubs them with black crayon, and removes the excess by buffing with paper soaked in mineral spirits. A few minutes in a low-temperature oven seals the deal. Nice work, James!

iRun Does Portable Livestreams, Makes You Look Like a Jerk

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Joseph Tame will be competing in the Tokyo marathon this month, and yes, he will be dressed like that. It's all part of the British runner's plan to live stream the event.

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