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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
Microphones are a classic gadget because, even today, their design is often based upon Art Deco or Machine Age styling. Here is a chart of vintage and vintage style microphones designed to show how that style evolved and how it is still copied today. Vote for your faves.

24 classic microphones

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

Balloons formed the origins of what became the USAF, have been used for stratospheric parachute jumps, bungee jumps and even to test nuclear bombs. Vote for your faves.

12 interesting balloons

The design of ski jumps is interesting because it is the most extreme form of a playground slide. It has recently produced excellent pieces of modern architecture from Zaha Hadid and MR2 but equally impressive are the bizarre temporary ski jumps at baseball grounds and football stadia.

10 ski jumps

The image of former Rodeo performer Slim Pickens riding a nuclear bomb as he would a wild horse in the 1964 movie, Dr Strangelove, is a cinema classic, but it has a long history.For decades, people have posed, sitting astride dangerous bombs. It’s a strange thing to do, but extends, sense-of-irony free to kids toys, like the image shown here of a hobby horse bomb.Most people think that the image of Pickens riding the bomb comes from WWII pinup straddled bombs on airplane nose cone art, however, the Comiccoverage blog has put together a great list of comic book covers, showing that they were using this iconic image before the US entered WWII, most notably with Captain Marvel in 1940.

people riding bombs

The first in a two part list. Here are a series of strange and unusual bus stops, including those with domestic or air conditioned interiors, odd structures and a variety of innovative integral advertising.

bus stops as art

Aside from a couple of custom versions that we couldn't resist, the emphasis here is not on novelty but on design, since, as we believe these picks show, sidecars are a genuinely viable and interesting mode of transport.

15 splendid sidecars

If there is one kind of hammer that you don't want to get your thumb stuck under, its a steam hammer, a giant hellish machine that defined the industrial age.There are several claims to its invention in the mid 19th century, to hammer steel into shape and smash out impurities. One of these is Creusot, who exhibited a version at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878.Looking at the Creusot Hammer, I would argue that it was the inspiration for the Eiffel tower, ten years later.Here are a variety of hammers including the mechanical or hydraulic versions that replaced steam, but still have the same titanic look.

10 massive steam hammers

Before electricity, lighthouses relied on lamps that would almost be considered mood lighting by today's standards. Mechanisms were clockwork and had to be wound as often as every two hours. In the 19th century, Fresnel designed a lens that could focus this light into parallel rays and project it horizontally, dramatically improving lighthouses. By the end of the century, all lighthouses had Fresnel lenses classified into orders, with first order being the largest and most impressive.These days lighthouses use less elaborate lamps such as the beacons found at airfields, or even powerful, but unremarkable to look at, LEDs. Here is a list of some of the most beautiful and important lights ever made, including some 1st order beauties that stand 20 feet tall, and were floated on a mercury bed. There are no descriptions of each item, for this chart, as the images speak for themselves, however, the sites linked to have information about the lighthouses where they came from.

15 beautiful lighthouse lights

Although folding bicycles have seen somewhat of a renaissance, there has not been as much innovation compared to mountain bikes, because the market is smaller. This is a shame since although there are some great products such as Bromptons or the Birdy, there is, in our opinion, no ideal foldup. An ideal foldup would be one that folds so small and is so light, that you could take it in a backpack, just in case, like carrying an umbrella in case it rains. A couple of the concept designs here come close - vote for your fave.

10 concept folding bikes

These days most cutaways are computer rendered. Here are some physical cutaways that fascinate us as much as when travel stores had elaborate cutaway models of passenger jets.The most amazing is a model of Chernobyl reactor core 4, accurately depicting its ruined state after the disaster.

13 physical cutaway models

Heavy lift ships can carry loads of tens of thousands of tons, including oil platforms, other ships and even dry docks. The are often semi-submersible so that they can sink below the water line to let their cargo slide off. The sheer size of their cargo often looks impossible, as these items suggest.

12 ships with impossibly large cargo

I like these buildings, their high contrast sculptural forms give me a kick. But then again, I have a damaged view because I'm an architect, taught by the types of people who built these inner city sea-defenses. They were designed to last a 1000 years under the ravages of nature, but often haven't lasted 50 under the impact of public opinion.Architects will tell you that the term Brutalism comes from the French term for raw concrete, ‘beton-brut', but then again brut and brute share the same root and nobody but the completely stupid or naive would believe that the association will always be with the latter. This association is re-enforced by the use of brutalist buildings as the setting for a Clockwork Orange or the fact that Ian Flemming hated his Brutalist architect neighbor, Erno Goldfingerso much that he named a James Bond villain after him.Brutalism, for all its International credentials is really a British thing, and damp, concrete fortresses like the Park Hill Estate in Sheffield will never look like the Salk Institute, because Britain's weather is not like California's. But then again, if you like this thing then there are no better examples than Lasdun's National Theatre or Neave Brown's Alexandra Road.

18 brutalist buildings

Today, prosthetics are a world apart from these pre-digital age examples, using advanced robotic and cybernetic technologies and tools such as 3-d printers for mass customization. As such vintage prosthetics often have the particularly strange look which is both creepy and fascinating and accompanies technological obsolescence.Early prosthetic limbs date from ancient Egypt and Rome, however examples from the middle ages appear more regularly, being made of armor. The were later replaced by non articulated wooden prosthetics, of the caricature style normally worn by pirates. The tragically large number of amputees in the Napoleonic Wars led to the development of the 'Clapper', named after the sound made by its articulated toes which were controlled by artificial tendons. This prosthetic became the model for the 'American Leg' which was developed during the American Civil war. Wooden prosthetics were heavy and were not improved on till the development of lightweight alloys, during the first World War.

15 vintage prosthetic limbs

A bottle opener is a very simple thing, to change it is re-inventing the wheel. but because its so simple there are endless versions of products (flip flops, rings, bicycles, keys, hammers) that incorporate a bottle opener.It is the archetypal form of gimmick, something that has an extra feature irrespective of the true purpose. Vote for which you think is the biggest gimmick.

15 biggest gimmick bottle openers

Like fossils for creationists, these medical dinosaurs are concrete evidence of the tragic fallacy of anti-vaccinationism. During the 1940s and 50s entire hospital wards were filled with these terrifying looking submarine-like devices, to help polio victims whose paralysis rendered them unable to breath.Although modern day respirators tend to work with positive rather than negative pressure, polio itself has been almost entirely eradicated due to the successful widespread use of vaccines, saving countless lives.

12 iron lungs

Although the West Coast of the US and Japan have plenty of above-ground, tangled, utility cables, for some unknown reason telephone and electricity cabling in Vietnam is particularly horrendous. This list, may seem like an obscure joke until you look at the examples of some of the worlds most unbelievable rats nests of above ground cabling - all in Vietnamese cities.

extreme vietnamese street cabling

We tend to think of submarines as being a particularly 20th century object when we imagine the nuclear powered, nuclear missile carrying versions. Obviously however, they feature in the Jules Verne classic, ‘20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and are, as such a definitive Victorian piece of technology, or to use the term currently in vogue, 'steampunk'.Although the idea of a submarine began as early as the 16th century, it was in the Victorian era that the modern cigar with periscope form was developed with France's Gymnote in 1889.Included here is a picture of the model of the Plongeur which was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in 1867. This was the actual item that Jules Verne saw and inspired the Nautilus in his seminal science fiction work, making it an historic item in the cultural history of technology.

victorian submarines

A bicycle makes for an excellent machine even when stationary, something that is shown nowhere better than in the home-brew design phenomenon of bicycles and knife sharpeners. This is a design typology that spans continents and traces back to 19th century pedal powered machines. Here are our favorite examples from around the world.

12 Knife Bikes

What makes clay models so special, is that they are the one-off original designs. In theory they are the priceless, original works of art and the production cars are the prints.The traditional process of manually refining the design of a car using clay over foam formwork, is still used even today, when CAD has replaced most drafting. Clay designs are often produced directly from computer milling and usually tweaks are fed back into the CAD design

12 clay car mockups

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

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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.

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.

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.

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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