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Our sister site, Cribcandy, has a roundup of prefabs, currently on the market.

Post war prefabs from Nissan huts to Trailer parks, were the epitome of substandard dwelling, however today they represent the high end with a build quality that is far superior to in-situ construction.This change is more than mere fashion, it represents the commoditization of buildings as products as computerized manufacture allows for mass customization, which is a pre-requisite for large scale prefab delivery.Here are our favorite pre fab brands currently available.

Over on Cribcandy: 15 Fab Prefabs

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

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

While we trawl though the web, we invariably find extremely interesting things that don’t fit into any particular list we are working on. Every so often we’ll release a list of out favorites, starting from today. Vote for your favorite for this month.

miscellany october 08

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

This is a video roundup of currently available or prototyped 3D printers, a gadget which has been sitting on the sidelines for a while, but hasn’t become mainstream yet. 3D printing machines are fairly simple in their operation, building any 3D shape, no matter how complex, as a series of contour slices which are hardened as a printer head slides back and forth across. But the results look like magic, real objects, in color, with moving parts, direct from a CAD model. The main reason that 3D printers, still remain a professional niche product, used by design firms rather than end consumers, is that their output is small and slow. In addition, more people know how to create text files for 2D printers than a CAD design, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. As a result of this small market, some of the marketing videos of 3D printers shown here look distinctly old fashioned for such a futuristic product. We long for the day when we will be able to print a full sized chair in ten minutes.

video list of 3D printers in action

A perfect environmental nightmare, these hellish looking open faced mining machines have been largely decommissioned. Luckily some are being preserved as they are staggeringly impressive. The Ferropolis in Germany has many of these machines on display and forms an industrial park which host the famous MELT music festival. There have been several images of these floating around blogs, including the infamous pictures of the bucket wheel excavator that swallowed a full sized bulldozer, however we have tried to find as large a variety as possible.

16 giant bucket excavators

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Why We Don’t Rate the Optimus Keyboard

February 25th, 2009 #link

The Optimus keyboard shares something in common with the Segway. It is an idea which requires an overly complicated design solution to a problem that may be marginal but requires sophisticated engineering to solve. The proper term for this is a gimmick and gadgets which are innovative gimmicks have a curious property, they generate lots of discussion on blogs etc. but few people actually buy them.

Despite the hype the Optimus keyboard looks like an expensive failure, and nothing quite shows it in the worst light than this tacky and predictable World of Warcraft theme.



3 Responses to “Why We Don’t Rate the Optimus Keyboard”

  1. JDoors Says:

    Ooo! I know! What if they treated all the displays as one? Like having kaleidoscopic images dancing across the keyboard? Totally useless, but people use screensavers for no other reason than, “It’s pretty.” A video showing this capability should be worth a few sales.

  2. maximilien Says:

    Not a bad mod, its a bit cute. But quite honestly if you really play the game and you play a warlock well you would know that this kb will just pointless. First of all the concept of pretty icons for keys are not very practical since if you are raiding you do not have time to look at the keyboard since you are focused on targets/dps meters/omen/health and mana bars in addition to any instructions provided by the raid leader. Also with all the game patches icons and spells are always being changed or removed and some are added as well. Finally you are always having to change tool bars depending on what you are doing and your play style which is not possible with this keyboard.

  3. Htos1 Says:

    I couldn’t use it either.The only “advanced” feature I ever want on a kb is the backlit keys,similar to the buttons on my Bang & Olusen BeoSound 2000.