Note to Cell Yellers: SHHH!

The Society for HandHeld Hushing (or SHHH!) has a fun PDF file of little cards to print, cut up, and hand out to those cell phone users who seem to want ALL of us in on their scintillating conversations with their mother-in-law, cheating boyfriend, drinking buddy, bookie, etc. I like the cards that have check boxes:

We are aware that your ongoing conversation with:



[ ] “HIM”
[ ] “HER”

is very important to you, but we thought you’d like to know that it doesn’t interest us in the least. In fact, your babbling disregard for others is more than a little annoying.

This message brought to you by a concerned member of: SHHH! Society for HandHeld Hushing.

You know you’re a nerd when…

…you’re thinking seriously about staying up til 5am (or getting up then, for you “morning people”) to see the descent of the Huygens spacecraft enter Titan’s atmosphere tomorrow morning (Friday, Jan. 14, EST).

We’re apparently NOT that kind of nerd, but we’re tempted. Really, really tempted. Maybe if NASA TV had anything approaching a budget and we didn’t have to stare at the NASA logo in-between the same half a dozen segments on the int. space station and 3D simulations of descent profiles, run over and over and over.

Thank Gopod for digital video recorders and fast-forward buttons. Set those TiVos, kids, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

More on the mission at NASA and on Wikipedia.

What’s in YOUR wallet?

A few weeks back, our pal Pesco posted an item on Boing Boing about emergency essentials (ice scrappers, bottle openers, buttons) that can be carried in your wallet in the form of punch-out credit cards. As David pointed out, the idea is kind of gimmicky, but there’s still something very cool about it.

My son and I recently bought a 2005 Toyota Matrix (which we’re loving, BTW). It came with a punch-out credit card key. You keep this in your wallet and if you manage to lock your keys in the car (and who hasn’t done that?), you simply punch out this plastic key and you’re on your way. Nifty. The only problem (for me, anyway) is that I hate a fat wallet. My Street Tech business card is printed on unusually-thick card stock. I can’t keep more than two or three of them in my wallet at a time. They make a good impression, but unfortunately, much of it is on my ass!

These credit card keys, tools, and mini-CD-ROMs are a fun and funky idea, I just wish I wasn’t so on top of it, if you know what I mean.

Micro-Mini iPod

Man, this really is the year of the “headless Mac.” First the much-rumored new under $600 box (see below) and now a new screenless iPod.

From Engadget:

10:48am – Something happened in the iPod market. They discovered a new way to listen to music: shuffle. Basing new flash-based player around shuffle. iPod Shuffle. No display on player. Looks like a little stick. Smaller than most packs of gum. Like an elegant thumb drive. Weighs less than one ounce. Button to play and pause. Volume up and down button. Previous and next song. That’s it. Nothing else.
10:50am – Cap on bottom hides USB 2.0 connector (you can use it as a flash drive!). PC or Mac. Shipping with lanyard. 12 hour rechargeable battery. Integration between device and iTunes. 10:52am – Something called “AutoFill”. Will automatically build a playlist for iPod Shuffle.
10:54am – 512MB = $99. 1GB for $149. No 2GB version. Shipping TODAY from the factory. Accessories, armband, dock, waterproof sports case. Battery extender. Accessories are $29 each.

The $500 Mac Mini!

Engadget is running a real-time blog of the Jobs’ keynote at Macworld. Latest entry:

10:33am – Things are getting good. “Why doesn’t apple offer a stripped-down Mac that is more affordable?” The Mac mini. About the width of a CD. Slot load combo drive (DVD/CD-R). DVI & VGA out. Ethernet. USB 2.0. Firewire. Runs quietly.
10:35am – Holding it in palm of hand
Ross Rubin: Looks about a third of the size of the cube. Like you took a slice of the Cube. BYODKM: Bring Your Own Display, Keyboard, and Mouse. It’s about 6” x 6” x 2.5”. Comes with Panther, iLife ‘05. $499 with 1.25GHz G4 processor. 40GB hard drive.

Hydrogen or More Hot Air from GM?

GM is at it again, showing off their latest hydrogen concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. Environmentalists always get their drawstrings in a bunch whenever General Motors parades around another such car ’cause GM likes to lash some of the biggest millstones around any proposed government regulations dealing with current auto standards, while showing off these allegedly “greener” pie-in-the-sky concept vehicles.

That said, there are some nifty innovations on this car, called the Seguey…er…I mean the Sequel. It is “steer and break by wire” (meaning that the steering and braking functions are non-mechanical, instant-response electronics) and all major components are housed under the car, freeing up tons of legroom, cabinroom and additional cargo space.

The hydrogen stack uses 372 cells and can allegedly go 300 miles before needing a refuel. Those big-ass openings under the headlights and tailights are air in- and outtakes for the serious heat generated during power production. The business end of the hydrogen plant is under the car’s frame. All the gear under the hood is basically for air conditioning. No, not for cooling you down, Mr. Clammy Hands, for chillin’ out the fuel stack (tho you do get to share the coolth in the cabin as a fringe benefit).

[Above link to NY Times piece. Annoying registration required.]

[Thanks, Kate!]

Robosapien (and family) at CES

PC Magazine has an article, with some photos, of the next generation of Mark Tilden’s Robosapien line of ‘bots. Besides a new, improved ‘Sapien, Wow Wee is adding a robopet, a la AIBO, and a Roboraptor.

Pretty freaky. I can’t wait!