Rumors Have Google Planning to Open Nationwide Retail Stores

In their constant bid to do what they do every night and try to take over the world, Google is reportedly planning to open their own chain of brand specific retail stores.

Usually reliable Google centric blog 9to5 Google broke the news, saying their sources claim the web giant will be expanding past their occasional Best Buy and special event pop up Chrome stores, and will be looking at a nationwide retail store model similar to that of competitor Apple. The stores would also be used in much of the same fashion as Apple stores, as Google would use them to show off their latest and greatest gadgets, and also offer technical support.

While a reasonable, even sane, argument can be made that Google looking to get into a dying industry late is a costly business failure waiting to happen, the truth is that Apple still does very well at their retail locations, and Google is consistently cited as being at least as popular, if not more so, than Apple is. The real reason this could work though is Project Glass, as Google is set to launch what could potentially be the next great invention, and a physical retail store that lets people practically try it, could be a big draw.

We’ll know more as the rumored holiday 2013 US openings of these stores draws closer, but the one thing we know for sure is that if Google has as much fun designing the stores as they did their offices, we’re all in for a treat.

Behold the Finest Achievement in the History of Man

In “2001: A Space Odyssey” director Stanley Kubrick opens his film with a group of apes discovering the monolith, which was a towering structure of great significance, that would serve as a beacon to change of global proportions, and shape the events of everything that was to come.

In 2013, we now know this was not a creative plot device and instead a herald of the real future, as the monolith was recently discovered, and it has taken the form of an arcade machine called The Last Barfighter.

The Last Barfighter is a Big Boss Brewery sponsored arcade machine that allows two players to play a few rounds of a simple 2D fighting game featuring a host of wacky characters. The game is mostly irrelevant though, as the real story here is that the victor gets his or her cup filled with a free beer straight from the machine, immediately putting to shame every Chuck E Cheese gaming prize you’ve ever garnered.

The machine runs off of motion sensors that recognize cups and not quarters, and it only appears at special events, most around the brewery’s home state of North Carolina. With any conceivable amount of luck though, they will start getting these to venues everywhere as it is not only one of the more significant milestones in all of human endeavors, but the best combination of beer and games ever.

Everything You Need for One Last Epic Snowball Fight

With the biggest blizzard of the winter set to pound sections of northeast with potential snowfalls of 3 feet, most are preparing by buying canned goods, bottled waters, and similar items to ready themselves for the worst.

Let’s not forget though that if everything works out okay, you’ll be left with a large winter battleground for perhaps the last snowball fight of the winter. Take no chances then of living with humiliating defeat  all through the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and arm yourself with gadgets designed to make you a snowball fight king.

Snowball Maker

Before the first wave of attacks, you’re going to need to arm yourself up with a primary arsenal of snowballs, and there is no quicker way to do that then with the Sno-Baller.

It’s a simple clamp that makes a perfectly formed snowball every time without muss, fuss, or freezing wet hands. It may not make as large of snowballs as you could the old fashioned way, but with an estimated output capacity of 60 snowballs a minute, it’s an essential tool for preparing your assault and defense on the snow fields of battles.

Icebox Igloo Maker

Whether it is your primary attack position or an area of retreat, every snowball fight soldier needs a good fort.

Waste no time then in building your base and employ the Igloo Maker from Icebox. It’s basically a scoop that allows you to perfectly pack in a hunk of snow and build a snow brick from. With 8 adjustment sizes, you have the option to create the perfect layering for your fort, meaning even under the heaviest of onslaughts, you need not worry about the integrity of your base, or break your back constructing it.

Snowball Crossbow

The best medieval forts and castles knew the advantages of having a good series of archers in place when fortifying your position and generally crippling your enemies’ chances of victory.

And what better substitute for a company of archers then the snowball crossbow? Composed of high quality plastic and elastic, the crossbow uses a band and pulley type system that lets the user load a snowball in the muzzle and, through a varying degree of force, absolutely launch a snowball up to nearly 60 feet. It’s built to last, and is one of the best first wave weapons you could ask for in a snowball fight.

The Snowball Blaster

As great as the snowball crossbow is, when you need a more primary attack device, you can accept no substitutes and must turn to the 50 foot snowball blaster.

As you may have gathered, it gets its name from its ability to launch a snowball up to 50 feet, and can hold up to four snowballs at once (three in reserve, and one in the chamber). Function wise, it works in a similar capacity to the crossbow, and while it may have a slightly shorter range, it does have a greater ammo capacity and handier design, making it a must have go-to in any snowball fight, and prevents you from resorting to your hands as a primary attack like some sort of animal.

The Slegoon

Of course if things turn sour in the battle, and you find yourself needing to escape, or at least temporary retreat to a better position, then there is no better alternative than the Slegoon,

It resembles those chute pods used to enter contestants into “The Running Man” game, and it’s aerodynamic design allows for maximum speed capabilities for a non-motored power unit, plus the roll cage bars not only add some much needed safety, but double as a shield from incoming snowball attacks. Not that you will have to worry about that, as unless you’re facing opposition armed with some of the other tools on this list, you shouldn’t have be concerned about anyone reaching you in this.

The only disadvantage? They’re not exactly easy to find through retail, if available through that avenue at all.

From the “About Time” File Comes a Sink…That Also Dries Your Hands

With necessity being the mother of invention and all that, how the hell has a sink that also dries your hands not been introduced before?

Thankfully the good folks at Dyson are a step ahead of the game and have introduced an all in one bathroom sink  called the Dyson Airblade tap that allows for you to wash and dry your hands via one convenient fixture. It’s not exactly rocket science either, as the setup simply includes the traditional motion sensing faucet, only equipped with wing jettisons that also respond to movement, and dry your hands when you’re ready with little more than a simple flick of the wrist in either direction.

More than just a handy case of common sense inspired design though, the hand dryers themselves are much improved over the classic models as they blow cool air which actually disposes of the water naturally instead of evaporating it. Not only that but the air is more purified for less chance of potential germs, and the Dyson powered motor shoots out air at 430 mph, ensuring a drying time of around 12 seconds.

There’s not much more to the new Dyson design, and that is, of course, a big part of its brilliance. Not only does its simple ingenuity help to eliminate the mostly hated paper towel use, but also does away with the incredibly inefficient traditional blow dryer and cuts down on the amount of awkward bathroom lines you’ll have to face in your lifetime.

Truly, for us public bathroom aficionados, this is a case of heroic design.

And the Dumbest Gadget at CES 2013 Is…

Trying to nitpick, analyze, highlight, and discuss the Consumer Electronics Show with any kind of totality is a maddening proposition, unless you’re willing to devote a significant amount of research time and several posts to doing so. I considered doing just that briefly, before I decided to step back and remember that the CES is really supposed to be fun. And while part of that fun is seeing what we’ll be able to buy in the coming year (and what we’ll never, ever afford), another, more entertaining, part is mocking the most absurd inventions that had no business on the show floor in the first place.

It’s those that I wanted to focus on, and specifically I wanted to find the most ridiculous of them all. For a moment, I thought it would be the iPad training toilet (not only because it teaches kids they don’t need to stop using their gadgets, even while on the toilet, but makes me realize there are kids who can’t even stop pooping their pants that somehow have iPad access and knowledge), or the Motorhead sponsored headphones designed to more or less be dangerously, annoyingly loud.

In the end though, there was only one clear winner.

A fork? Yeah, but of course it’s a smart fork. How can a fork be smart? When it’s designed for stupid people of course.

In this case, the Hapifork (as its known) measures your eating habits (particularly how fast you are eating) and through an app (of course it has an app) allows you to monitor statistics like how long your meal was, how many fork servings you had per minute, and the time between bites. The data is then analyzed to help you find ways to become a healthier eater. It can also provide visual cues while eating to let you know when things are getting out of hand.

Now, I am aware that obesity and over eating are huge problems, particularly in America. However so is stupidity, and it’s frightening to believe there are people speaking of this fork like it is somehow a good idea, or noble weapon on the war against not eating so damn much. It’s neither. It’s a device that attempts to eliminate common sense and reduce personal responsibility in a field (dieting) that requires a great deal of both to be successful.

So instead of considering spending the $99 on the Hapifork when it is released (or put on Kickstarter), allow me to present an alternative. Hire me. Seriously, if you must have an eating tattler, rent me for $5 during your meal, and when I see you attacking a plate of pasta like it violated a peace treaty I’ll say “Dude”. You’ll say “Oh, right” ,slow down, and hopefully, neither you, me, or any of us will have to hear about this smart fork again.

Are Interactive Restaurant Tables the Wave of the Future?

I’m constantly torn between my love of technology, and of the more classic ideas. I couldn’t live without my Galaxy SIII, but refuse to use an e-reader over print books, for instance. I’m particularly adamant about limiting technology when it comes to the kitchen, restaurants, and food in general, where I just think that containing the number of technological advances produces a better atmosphere.

But even I’m finding it hard to not love the e-table designs currently employed in a few restaurants across the world. The most interesting of which belongs to an Asian-Fusion restaurant in the SoHo district of London called Inamo. It looks like a touch screen table, but actually works off of an interactive projection concept that would allow for diners to, among other things, view menus, access a live camera in the kitchen (a somewhat pervy extension of the open kitchen philosophy), play games, change the digital tablecloth, and even project an image of the food onto their plates.

A similar idea from designer Clint Rule places a greater emphasis on social features that would aim to turn the café environment to a much more integrated place with options like voting on music, or sharing what you are reading with others around you and elsewhere.

Neither of these are entirely unique, as this idea has been a popular science fiction mainstay for decades and restaurants here and there for years have employed similar designs. But I believe that one of, or more realistically a combination of, these two ideas represent a real trend that could be seen soon in many more restaurants. Worldwide, eating out is becoming more of a cultural phenomenon than it has ever been as chefs become rockstars, and dishes become worthy of pilgrimage. In that growing environment a certain amount of technological expansion is almost inevitable just as it has been everywhere else. As long as the food remains the draw though, and waiters and waitresses keep their jobs, I see no harm in exploring the benefits and uses of this idea, if for no other reason than it looks pretty damn cool.

An Auto Pet Feeder for the Busy/Lazy Among Us

Pets really are great for many, many, reasons, the least of which being that they really don’t require much. Some water, some food, and the occasional toy are nice, but what any expert will tell you is that in the end what they really need is a healthy amount of love and personal attention.

Of course, if you’re being practical, if it is between personal attention and food, you should probably go with food.

Which is why there is an idea like the Pintofeed out there that recognizes you can’t always be around to feed your pet. For those times, it provides 5 and 10 pound storage areas that allows you to automatically feed your pet in pre-set portions via a mobile app.

The Pintofeed is smartly designed to function as a perfect “while you are away” feeder, with features like the ability to control several at once via your mobile app for multiple pets, being able to set food measurements down to the half cup, and even receiving an alert once the feeding is complete. The device works off of your in home wireless network, is available for multiple users, and is currently attempting to reach its $50,000 donation goal on indiegogo.com, with 29 days to go if you are interested.

It’s a shame when you can’t be around to feed your pets like you want to be, but when those times do happen, it’d be great to have the ability to still insure they’re fed with complete ease. Because in situations like that, the only other option is to trust your neighbors to do it, and really who knows what those weirdos are up to.

Oh He’ll Feed Your Pet, The Question Is To What?