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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
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

Its October 2010 and Chinese property booms while most of the Western world's houses have shrunk to more realistic levels. In the US, homes have ceased to be ATMs to buy oriental barbecues, but in Britain, a crowded island with a cultural attachment to carving out a personal defensible space are Englishmen's homes still castles, with prices to match.As US housing prices adjusted, UK ones, faltered then regained their losses smack in the middle of the recession. This time things look different, with last month seeing the largest dip in housing prices in history. Perhaps prices in Britain will go up forever, or perhaps Britain will be like Japan, another crowded island which had the same phenomenon and where eventual capitulation resulted in a crash where property is worth less than a decade ago?One way to judge judge this is to look at what a million dollars gets you in London and its hinterland - a place where an apartment recently sold for a quarter of a billion dollars during the biggest downturn since the Great Depression.

depressing million dollar london property

The watches in this list range in price from the half a million dollar Guy Ellia invisible watch to a $40 Swatch by architect, Renzo Piano. While the Ellia watch is a technical tour de force Piano's is a much more satisfying design.Bespoke swiss watch makers use translucent sapphire to hold delicate moving parts, but cheap plastic and electronics can actually be a more practical, elegant, and less willful alternative.And given that the whole concept of a translucent watch is being non-visible, the inherent ostentation of a $500,000 wristwatch seems like a test case in ridiculous bad design. Vote for your faves.

10 transparent watches

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

Despite the title of this list, several of these housing projects were designed by some of the world’s most famous architects and lauded at the time. The undeniable squalor of 19th Century slums combined with modernism to produce and attempt to clean things up and create a crystalline utopia. The end result was often an anti-septic vision of hell, a place devoid of organic spaces and evolves social interaction.The architectural crime that started with Corbusier’s insane proposal to demolish the historic center of Paris and replace it with something like the worst of the South Bronx and culminated in the White and Black racially segregated human silos of St Louis's Pruitt-Igoe, continues to this day and even as middle class, owner-occupied dwelling such as those in Hong Kong. Its principal feature is de-humanizing alienation. Vote for your worst…

15 housing projects from hell

Guiness' law states that there is almost always more than one person who claims to have created the biggest, smallest fastest etc.Some of these items are disputable, but they are all cool. Our fave is the tiny combustion engine made at Berkeley.

10 tiniest gadgets

Being tall and thin means that one of the common but nevertheless unusual uses of old silos is to house climbing walls. Old silo structures, from underground missile silos to towering grain stores are often interesting pieces of industrial archaeology and make unconventional architectural conversions.

buildings in converted silos

The hovercraft will be 50 years old next year. Like supersonic, interplanetary and deep sea travel, the demise of the world's largest hovercraft the SR-N4, joined Concorde, the Saturn V and the Trieste as examples of technological retreat.The SR-N4, which was operated by two companies, for many years, to transport people across the English Channel, could carry over 30 vehicles and 250 people. What made these hovercraft particularly unusual is that they represented an example of a design where the civilian versions were more extraordinary than those used by the military, which are still smaller, even today.

18 hovercraft designs

Unlike today's universal cigar shaped commercial airliners, early aircraft took lots of design forms as people experimented with different principals. This is a normal trend in design, however the image of multiplanes (those with many wings) collapsing as an icon of naive understanding of flight masks an ironic truth.The most ridiculous looking items in this list are the three flying ‘venetian blinds', constructed by Horatio Phillips between 1883 and 1907, the last of which, with more than 50 wings, looks more like a wooden building frame than an aircraft. Phillips, however, was the first person to truly understand the science of flight and aerfoil shapes, so these mark one of the more rational developments in aviation history.

15 aircraft with lots of wings

The fact that vinyl is somewhat obsolete is exactly what drives the quixotic ambitions of high end turntable manufacturers to produce ever more extreme engineering solutions to sliding a diamond through a wavy notch and amplifying the wobble.The common ground here is to make a very heavy and rock solid platter and to move the motor as far away from it as possible, to avoid interference. The prices of these things range from under $1000 to a staggering $150,000

16 most extreme turntables

Innovations in lighting design are often gimmicky or merely a case of LED everywhere. This list illustrates where lighting is sculptural and integral to architecture, from a night club made of glowing bricks, Daniel Libeskinds wireframe architectural chandelier, the amazing Lighthive exhibition at the Architectural Association and futuristic light sculptures by Kalle. Our LED example creates a grid of LED points that appear to float in mid air.

17 architectural light sculptures

For no other reason than these things look slightly disturbing here a re a variety of devices to measure bits and pieces of your head, for quack or legitimate purposes or just to hold it still.

12 fetishy head frames

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

The distinction between early anatomy lecture theaters which dissected the dead and later operating theaters, which attempted to cure the living, is blurred. Both were used for teaching, in broad daylight where lecturers clothes became stiff with blood and the air thick with germs.With highly unusual steep raked galleries these were literally theaters, and the name has stuck. The earliest rooms were often heavily decorated such as the beautifully restored 16th Century wood paneled anatomy theater at the University of Bologna to the crudely utilitarian 19th century dedicated operating theater at St. Thomas', London.

10 unoperational operating theaters

American monuments hit the sweet spot between being young enough to have been photographed while being built, but old enough that few people can remember them not being there. Because of this an entire legacy can be viewed as it was while it was being created. From the D.C Capitol building, which ironically, slaves helped to build during the Civil War, to the Statue of Liberty, which was built in France, the forgotten train Grand Central train shed, the Empire State building when it was two storeys high or the Hollywood sign before it read Hollywood, here are our picks of America’s most famous monuments while they were being built.

american monuments under construction

Why absurd? Well, there is something particularly vulnerable about a piece of military hardware that can be rendered inactive by a group of boy scouts laying an iron bar sufficient to derail it. At the same time, the ordinary look of many steam trains seemed more robust than some of these tin can efforts. I chose this list because they are a design backwater with unusual looking phenotypes.

absurd armored trains

A three year challenge to recreate the equipment used by Mallory and Irvine in their ill fated attempt to climb Everest in the 1920s revealed that they were adequately clothed, wearing an unbelievable number of layers, as shown in this list. Today, the number of layers has changed as have nearly all the materials used for Everest kit, with high tech, breathable yet waterproof fabrics and lightweight alloys. The extreme requirements of Everest are a good way to demonstrate technology and design innovation through history.

equipment to conquer everest through history

As people blow each other to pieces, daily, on the planet below, the silently floating Hubble telescope seems to represent everything great about humankind. Here are our other favorite telescopes.Update: Have been in continuous operation since 1963, the Arecibo project is in danger of closing due to cuts in funding. Jonathan, who is a researcher working at the Arecibo dish has posted a link in the comments to its website where you can donate or voice your support. http://www.arecibo-observatory.org

16 most wonderful telescopes

f the industrial revolution was typified by Northern England's dark satanic mills, the Chinese manufacturing revolution consists of of more subtle kind of hell: antiseptic, shadowless, pastel colored assembly lines.The most striking thing we noticed when putting together this list was the uniformity of color, typically green floors with hospital blue appearing here and there, and highlights of yellow or pink, drowned in uniform fluorescent lighting that would make a drug store feel like a candle lit bistro.Some of these images are from the Toronto photographer, Ed Burtynsky's great photo essay about Chinese manufacturing, however others are from publicity shots for the factories themselves. The publicity photos unknowingly reproduce the same clinical blandness.

chinese factories

Although Apple has recently released a beautifully designed keyboard which hints at what an Apple mini laptop may look like, it is the combination of tactile feedback and screen based keyboards which promises to make significant developments in keyboards in the near future. Here is our list of our favorite keyboards, vote for your faves.

22 best keyboards

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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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