Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Toys for Girls and Boys
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This month's WIRED magazine has a long article about various tech toys that Santa might be enticed to bring. I'm merely commenting on some of the more interesting or noteworthy ones here that accompany many of the standard things, like huge plasma TVs or other gadgets that are simply bigger, better, or more feature-filled. I'm not dropping any hints what-so-ever. Really.

Sorry if this post is long, but these are some comment-worthy items you won't want to miss!

From the under $30 section:

1) Bracelets and pens (made by Cellular Jewelry) that flash lights when they detect an incoming call for your cell phone, in case you need some other way to be notified of your call.

2) A one-can-sized cooler/heater that links to your car's cig lighter to chill soda or heat coffee.

3) A dog aromatherapy kit. Apparently it releases "a scent similar to the pheromone given off by bitches just after birth." I guess it's supposed to calm your dogs. Or incite them to feed. I don't know, it doesn't say. But I'm pretty sure I don't want my house smelling MORE like dogs.

4) Glowing zebra fish. Although illegal in California, these genetically modified aquarium fish would be cool to put in a tank. Speaking of fish tanks, have you seen the one designed to provide water for your toilet AND serve as an aquarium? It's called the Aquariass, and it was not mentioned in WIRED that I know of.

For more expensive items, they mention a portable GPS box called a TrimTrac that transmits its location every fifteen minutes. This would be very cool to carry around while biking so I could trace my routes and create maps of them. It works worldwide and supposedly costs only $160 plus a low monthly subscription charge for the service. I'm sure they'll get smaller and cheaper in the future because I think there will soon be a time that everyone will be able to track all of their possessions via a web page with little RFID chips.

On page 155 they show a solar recharging jacket called the SCOTTeVEST. They say it has 30 pockets for all your gadgets. The back of it sports some solar panels that recharge the electronics when you're out in the sun. I guess it would be most useful in Southern California, the desert, or the summer -- all places and times when you DON'T want to wear a jacket. Now, if it was a solar-paneled T-shirt, that would be useful.

Page 169 shows off a toy Batmobile that receives visually encoded signals from a kids' show on TV, and then either immediately or later excutes the commands coming from the show. Now that's a genious of cross-marketing at work -- toys that not only match the characters on the show, but fundamentally interact with the show, and contain hidden features that don't activate until the shows tells them to.

Cuddly bugs of many sorts show themselves on page 170. Cute plush microbes, germs, and viruses. Everything from athelete's foot to ulcer, black death to ebola to sore throat. Collect the whole set of 20 (and more to come, no doubt).

And without doubt, here's my favorite item: The Stadium Pal catheter. Perhaps originally meant for sports fans, the apparent inclusion here amongst high-powered gaming machines and joysticks appears to recommend it for long EverQuest sessions that are too intense to allow you to bop over to your bathroom when you need to relieve yourself. Just stay in your gaming chair and empty the leg pouch later. (Also comes in a ladies' version.)

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