Bug Labs, the company that makes modular electronics that allow you to build your own tech doohickeys quickly and easily, has announced five new modules: BUGprojector, a mini DLP projector developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments, which sounds very much like the tiny DLP projector we posted about last week; BUGsound, an audio processing module with four stereo input/output jacks, a microphone, a speaker, and builtin hardware codecs; BUGbee (802.15.4) and BUGwifi (802.11 and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR), which will let you connect wirelessly with your PAN and WLAN, respectively; and BUG3g GSM, for connecting to (you guessed it) 3G GSM networks. In conjunction with Bug Labs’ existing series of modules, especially the highly versatile BUGvonHippel universal module, you’ll be able to create some pretty kickass gadgets. No word yet on pricing, although Bug Labs expects to ship by the end of Q1 2009.
Considering an iPhone but not sure if you can live without SSH in your pocket? Have no fear! Hot off the press is this review of four SSH clients for the iPhone: iSSH, pTerm, TouchTerm, and SSH. All four clients have their strengths and weaknesses, and iSSH seems to be the best option so far. Although each of these is an early release, and therefore has its own idiosyncrasies, they’ve got improved features being planned for the next major release. Furthermore, they’re surprisingly inexpensive (none of them are more than five dollars), and so you should give them a shot if you see the need to SSH without being bound to your terminal.
iSSH is the best of the reviewed clients, giving you a good balance of usability and features. It has is share of problems, though, primarily related to the way it handles scrolling, pTerm comes in second, and is almost perfect. Its two rather glaring weaknesses are a too-large font that requires plenty of scrolling, and a lack of Ctrl, ESC, and Tab keys. TouchTerm, which comes in third, is the most configurable of the reviewed SSH clients,but is otherwise irrationally quirky. SSH is even quirkier than TouchTerm, and is a waste of your time and money.
Between the idiosyncrasies of iSSH, pTerm, and TouchTerm, you’re bound to find one that you like. Furthermore, these are initial releases; all three have exciting features on the roadmap (like implementing the ESC key) which should improve their usability.
Should you give one of them a try? For five bucks, it wouldn’t hurt.
And now, for your amusement, we present to you a navigation system from the 1920s. It’s not so much a satellite navigation system as it is a tiny map mounted in a wristwatch, but for the available technology of the era, this was a pretty ingenious invention, Other (and somewhat more bizarre) entries on this list of over a dozen other inventions from the early part of the 20th century include a finger stretcher, an eyeball massager, and mustache guards. Although most of these inventions seem laughable today, they are an interesting study in finding creative solutions to real problems. After all, what these inventors did a hundred years ago with gears and paper is pretty much what we do today with transistors and LEDs.
[via The Presurfer]
Discouraged at the mounds of packaging you’re throwing away every time you buy new stuff? Artist [David Gardener] may have just the solution for you: design products where the packaging is an integral part of the product itself. We can envision a whole line of IKEA furniture, for example, that turns inside-out and uses the cardboard box as part of its internal support structure. On the whole, this may be just a touch less tacky than making furniture out of packaging not intended to be used as furniture at all (i.e. FedEx boxes).
Picture this scenario: it’s 2 AM, you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be, and you’ve lost your car keys. If you can’t call the Auto Club, what do you do? Hotwire your own car, of course. Wired.com has a wiki article detailing all the things you need to do to get that car running: how to identify which wires to connect, potential pitfalls of newer cars that require an RFID chip in the key, and so on. Of course, hotwiring a car that doesn’t belong to you is illegal, but this is one of those skills-like lockpicking-which just might come in handy in an emergency.
[Photo: D.B. Blas]
Hacks come in all forms, and psychological hacks are no different. [Noah Goldstein], a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, has written a book in which he details scientifically proven methods of persuading others. One of these methods stands out as being particularly useful at alleviating one of the most aggravating aspects of modern life: dealing with customer service representatives over the telephone.
The trick? Be nice, compliment the rep on doing a good job, and offer to write a letter of recommendation. Since it stands to reason that the customer service rep is probably having a crappier day than you (imagine having to talk to a hundred annoyed people five days a week and you’ll get the idea), making the rep feel appreciated is likely to make them want to do more for you in return.
A federal grand jury in Boston has charged eleven people with the theft of more than 41 million credit and debit card numbers from retail stores. What makes this case interesting is that, although the defendants stole the data from retail establishments, they did so without ever having to leave their cars; they stole the numbers while wardriving. While the report doesn’t make it clear whether the targeted networks used weak encryption or were simply unsecured, it’s obvious that the security of your data is still not a top priority for many companies.