Ditch the Routine Pocket Pat-Down, and Consider the SmartWallit

There’s a compulsive activity I do almost everytime I leave somewhere, where I pat my front pockets for my keys, wallet, and phone, and don’t proceed until all three are accounted for. It’s a common impulse used to make sure your most necessary items are on you, but is far from infallible. For instance, sometimes you are running especially late, or are just hammered drunk, and don’t remember to take the usual precautions.

There’s been a variety of tracking devices over the years that help you keep tabs of your valuables in situations like that, but I’ve never considered one until the SmartWallit.

The SmartWallit is a small device that you slide into your wallet, and link to your phone via Bluetooth and an app. From there, if you leave your phone behind, the device in your wallet will beep as a notification. Similarly, if you snag your phone, but forget the wallet, the phone will beep, and even provide an approximate proximity to the wallet. While there is a keychain option for the device to keep the “band together” so to speak, there’s no way for it to notify you you’ve left them all, because, as in all things, at a certain point, you’re just screwed.

The SmartWallit isn’t just a high tech game of marco polo between the necessities, though, as there are additional app features. The most intriguing of which has to be the one that reads sensors from the device to know when you opened your wallet last to make a payment, and keeps a loose record of it that will show you the time and exact location it was used, meaning you’ll never forget where that twenty went to again. You can even import more advanced financial features to keep closer tabs on your active spending habits.

Looking for just under $7,000 to finish its Kickstarter campaign, the SmartWallit isn’t the first of its kind, but is among the least invasive, and most versatile, of the tracking devices I’ve seen yet. Plus you can never really have enough gadgets that help you never have to know the horror of replacing the contents of your wallet.

  

How Lasers Are Going From “That Other Pink Floyd Enhancer” to the Weapon of the Future

I’ve always wondered something. Was science fiction of the past just really good at predicting the future, or rather is present technology just evolving based on the suggestions of science fiction?

In the case of the Navy’s decision to start outfitting their battleships with lasers, I hope it’s the former, and fear the later.

Regardless, in a move that a research by the Congressional Research Service compared to the invention of onboard missles in the 50’s, the Navy will be equipping the first of the much hyped Laser Weapons System (LaWS) prototypes aboard the USS Ponce, which is stationed in the Persian Gulf.

This laser weapon system has been in development by the Navy for some time now, and it appears that after a number of highly successful trials, they feel it is almost ready for use in the field, far ahead of schedule. So far, the laser has been used to shoot down drone plans during test runs, but could also be used to take down incoming missiles as well. They are also apparently equipped with a “blinding” function that will serve as a non-lethal alternative to distracting pilots.

The Navy isn’t just itching to use the term “laser cannon” a their next press conference though, as this beauty is actually incredibly efficient and practical. The military is particularly enthused about the relatively low cost of the device ($31-$32 million for the prototype), and the fact that each shot costs less than $1, which is a about a $100,000 improvement over your average missile. Plus, if you’re familiar with the term “laser precision,” you probably have an idea of the kind of battlefield effectiveness this thing is capable of.

The system does have some drawbacks though, as there is the potential of hitting friendly aircraft and satellites, as well as the laser’s dip in effectiveness under foggy, and similarly bad, weather conditions. We’ll know more about it’s potential though when the USS Ponce is officially outfitted with the cannon in 2013.

While not the first time laser technology of this type has been incorporated into combat, the scale and effectiveness of this particular design makes it one of the more unique and potentially useful implementations of the tech ever, and could signal the true dawn of the future of warfare.

Also the thought of a fleet of laser equipped battleships kind of takes some of the edge off that whole North Korea thing doesn’t it?

  

New Cart Design Really Makes Me Want to Take Up Golf

Despite the better efforts of one Happy Gilmore, and the ambitious sex life of Tiger Woods, golf remains in the eyes of many a proper sport, where tradition and pomp rule the day. Much like the Shire, change comes slow to golf, if it comes at all, and for the most part, the faithful of the sport prefer it that way.

In other words, it isn’t the type of place you would necessarily expect to see a hovercraft.

But if PGA golfer Bubba Watson has a say in it, that may become a reality in country clubs across the country. He is lending his name to a new golf cart prototype from Oakley called  Bubba’s Hover that functions just like a traditional hovercraft (if there is such a thing), meaning it can easily traverse over grass, through wooded areas, and, of course, over water.

While the golf cart that works on water aspect is the money shot of this vehicle, and could open up entirely new ways to navigate a course, you may be shocked to learn that this idea is actually somewhat practical. This is due in large part to it’s lesser impact on the condition of a course, thereby ensuring the integrity of the playing surface without being limited to the cart path to do so.

Of course at the end of the day practicality and function come in second to the sheer amount of fun this thing could be.. Faster, more mobile, and infinitely cooler than the regular golf cart, Bubba’s Hover has the potential to cause overwhelming joy to everyone who uses it, or views it in action.

Which is why we’ll probably never see these go into production on a larger scale. Besides probably being more expensive to make, and slightly more dangerous to use, it’s just hard to picture the average country club swarming with these. Plus this was mostly intended as a marketing ploy.

That’s a damn shame too as it deprives people yet another chance to whistle the James Bond theme in real world context.

  

If the Word Useless Were a Concept Vehicle…

Photo From Hyundai

It’s a known fact that the more rich you are, the more eccentric you are allowed to be in the eyes of society. As such, if you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, as a collective entity you’re allowed to be pretty damn unconventional from time to time, so long as that bottom line is in the black.

I mention this since the rationale “because we can” seems to be the only reason behind Hyundai’s recent one person transportation vehicle prototype.

They call it the E4U, and it’s designed for…you know I’m really not sure. I can tell you it can move in any direction, but only in an omni-directional manner, thanks to its kickstand style wheel substitutes. Also it’s apparently not much faster than the average pedestrian, which is really for the best considering the view of one of these rocketing towards you is probably a declaration of war somehow.

Unveiled at the Seoul  motorshow, details about this transport device are few, including if it will ever see release and what combination of hallucinogens and uppers were taken that allowed the E4U to be conceptualized and produced, without killing everyone involved.

Since we know so little about it, I have a few personal questions that need answering:

  • Why is its brow furrowed? Has it anticipated our mockery and is displeased?
  • Are there any features that prevent neighborhood kids from pushing it over, or turning it in the opposite direction, besides their inability to stop laughing?
  • Can Hyundai build the Death Star they got the rider’s helmets from instead?
  • Is its inability to be operated by the obese intentional, or just a gross marketing oversight?
  • Finally, in a pinch, can I duck into this thing to shield myself from Mega Man’s blasts?
  

Building the Ultimate Man’s Kitchen

One of my favorite of the ’90s prime time sitcoms will always be “Home Improvement.”

In retrospect, this is most likely because it introduced most of the world to Pamela Anderson and Debbie Dunning (more than you can say for even “The Wire”), but it also had some memorable gags, a host of hilarious characters, and some truly standout episodes, including the infamous introduction of the man’s kitchen.

The first in a string of episodes where a common room is redesigned and “man-ified,” the man’s kitchen took the misogynist idea that the kitchen is only for women and presented one that was instead an almost cartoonish playground for the average man.

While absurd, with the gadget explosion that has occurred since, there are now enough devices available to truly craft a man’s kitchen. Some of these accessories are absurd and lavish, while others are common and accessible. But when combined, they create the ultimate real life man’s kitchen.

Grand Palais 180 Stove

Let’s start with the impossible shall we?

Your oven/stovetop is going to be the most important part of any kitchen, and if you really want something that will show off that idea, you need the king of all home ovens. Resembling a train car more than a stove, the Grand Palais wouldn’t be out of place in the home of an old world ruler or even steampunk baron. With its built in gas and electric ovens, as well as a variety of different stovetop grill and burner options, it also happens to work perfectly as the centerpiece of the man’s kitchen.

Sure they run around the $46,000 range depending on enhancements , but dammit we can do this thing cheap, or we can do it right.

Hot Dog Toaster

Of course it’s not all ovens worthy of the 1%, as some parts of the man’s kitchen are just down to earth essentials.

Since nothing is more essential than the need for a hotdog, instead of wasting your time with the stovetop or microwave methods, why not make the perfectly cooked hot dog and bun, as easy as you make a piece of toast? It’s possible with the pop-up hot dog toaster, which cooks hot dogs of your chosen consistency in mere minutes with the ease of the average toaster. It’s even got compartments enough for two hot dogs and buns and the design goes well with that $46,000 oven.

A steal at $19.99, this one even got the Barney Stinson seal of approval.

Crème Brule Torch

It’s the eternal question man has asked since the dawn of the caveman.

How can I use more fire doing this?

In the kitchen, the answer is simple thanks to the standard crème brule torch. Ideally used to brown that famous tricky desert, considering it’s nothing more than a small scale blow torch, feel free to use it to make anything where direct heat is required (like melting cheese over nachos) twice as bad ass, and ten times as manly.

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