August 17, 2012
Why I won't ever back another Kickstarter project
Before you start hating on me, consider the following:
1. I've backed five within the past year. Of the five, I've received actual products from two. The other three, well, they no longer return my emails long after they achieved their funding targets and deposited my money in their bank accounts. In my country we call that money for nothing.
2. The two which finally shipped took, respectively, five and eleven (11) months AFTER their stated shipping dates to finally deliver the goods. In the meantime I received a steady stream of excuses and yadda yadda yadda about how much harder it was to actually make a real product than a prototype, etc.
3. Both of the finished products — tech accessories which I won't impugn by name because that's not how I roll, if I don't like something I don't publicly trash it but, rather, prefer to simply ignore it — are of no use to me. Now, in their defense, 99% of the tech accessories I buy fall into the same category: all promise but no useful function for me.
One sits on my nightstand and functions beautifully as a paperweight (although I will say that $90 is way more than I generally pay for a paperweight) while the other I sent to my great friend and technophile Paul Biba because I know he'll like it and find it the cat's pajamas. Hey, diff'rent strokes.
And if you think it's just me being in a cranky mood, hating on Kickstarter like this, you prolly missed Tuesday's USA Today Money section's front page story documenting precisely my complaints along with a number of others.
Yes, I realize "others" is ambiguous in the previous paragraph but on rereading, for once it's correct both ways so I'm letting it stand.
Long story short: If I want to spend money on a tech product that far more likely than not won't be of any use to me, 1) I'd prefer to actually get a chance to try it and 2) I much prefer to find it's useless within days of paying for it rather than months later.
Lawn Drink Holder
From The Green Head: "Resting your cans or bottles in a patch of grass tends to result in accidental spillage, so use these cool new Lawn Drink Holders instead. The portable stainless steel cupholders are perfect for securing your drinks when partying out in the backyard, playing games like golf or bags, or just snoozing away the day in the warm summer sun in a hammock."
Set of two: $12.95.
"The Book of Love" — The Monotones (1957)
I could listen to this classic song all day (and once in a while I do just that).
It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1958.
Ketchup Packet Baby Onesie
What took so long?
From the website:
Babies actually can be more than just crying poopy diapers-with-legs.
Little baby fits ever so gently into this perforated ready-for-consumption Ketchup Packet.
You may even forget that you"re looking at a baby when you drift into hallucinations of fries, scrambled eggs, bacon, hamburgers, hot dogs, and barbeques!
You"ll never have to ask a waiter for extra ketchup again.
You just squeeze on the baby and get a squishy surprise.
Oh man, that sounds horrifying.
Well, at least you'll get a ton of laughs and baby will stay warm.
• Covers baby's entire body and has a Velcro-sealed opening* at the bottom for access
• Super-soft polyester
*Do not count on this closure's ability to serve as a back-up diaper. Just saying.
How does a kangaroo clean its pouch of joey dirt?
FunFact: Up until I was about 11 my nickname was Joey Dirt.
But I digress.
The nonpareil C. Claiborne Ray, in her weekly "Q & A" feature in the New York Times Science section, addressed the question of joey dirt and its removal from a mother kangaroo's pouch, as follows.
Q. How does a female kangaroo rid itself of the dirt that its joey brings into its pouch as it jumps in and out?
A. "A female kangaroo cleans her pouch by licking it out," said Colleen McCann, curator of mammals with the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo.
"She is able to push her long snout in to clean it effectively, removing the urine and feces of the young joey by using her tongue," Dr. McCann said. "She works her tongue around a young joey that is still attached to the teat, and older joeys are temporarily ejected while she cleans the pouch."
Drawing up top (which accompanied the feature) by Victoria Roberts.
Personalized Walk of Fame Coffee/Tea Mug
Everybody is a star and now
everybody can have one.
Flowchart helps you choose a religion
Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?
$8,500 "Smart" Office Chair Shape Shifts
Why pay less?
From Bloomberg Businessweek:
Why does furniture force us to sit still? Dr. Patrik Künzler believes chairs should instead encourage small but constant motions that are good for the body. He spent six years developing a product to challenge the convention that a comfortable chair should have a flat seat and a back. The $8,500 LimbIC chair, released in 2011, incorporates ergonomics and neuroscience to stimulate not just the body, but also the emotions.
Made by Inno-Motion, a company in Zurich that Künzler founded after studying at MIT Media Lab and which he now leads as chief executive, the LimbIC Intelligent Chair uses custom-sized, carbon-fiber shells that wrap around each leg. They allow a generous range of movements — stretching, leaning, twisting — while supporting the spine.
Striving for ergonomic perfection, Künzler, now age 43, threw out traditional sitting rules such as the expectation that people should sit upright, with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. That science was developed in the 19th century, he says, and in fact, most LimbIC users prefer their feet to be suspended in air.
They should feel weightless and bouncy, an effect achieved by stimulating different body points that send signals to the inner ear. The result: a feeling of happiness and increased creativity, says Künzler, who extensively studied the limbic system, a part of the brain involved in emotions (including pleasure) and instinct. These claims have not yet been verified, though customer feedback so far has been extremely positive, he says.
In concept, the chair acts as an extension of the body, adjusting subtly to the user's movements, such as picking up the phone or using a mouse. This keeps the body constantly engaged, improves circulation, and keeps the back’s vertebrae lubricated. The longest Künzler has sat in one is 16 hours, including getting up to eat and use the restroom. (Sitting for 16 hours? The man must have a death wish.) You can even make dancing and skiing movements while seated, if you’re feeling particularly animated. (Watch the video.)
"I could sit and concentrate for extended periods of time even with my acutely herniated disc," one finance expert writes in a testimonial. "With other chairs, this used to be impossible."
Still, the design is so radical that it’s barely recognizable as something to sit on. "Some people think: gynecology chair," Künzler admits. "It doesn't look comfortable. With a human in it, you recognize it as a chair, but without it you don’t."
So far, Inno-Motion has sold about 50 chairs — mostly to customers with desk jobs, as well as dentists, athletes, and artists. The price makes it somewhat of a luxury item, but he says, "Most see it as an investment in their health and in themselves."
[via Kay (Leah)]