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Real Life Debugged » Innovation

Tag-Archive for ◊ Innovation ◊

I thought USB Cufflinks were a joke, but during a visit to Pasadena this winter, I found a Lego USB stick.  I thought that was pretty cool and would have made the purchase if not for the $39.99 price tag for 256KB.

Yes, srsly.

But Cufflinks.  Hmmm.   2GB each for a black tie evening of 4 GB.  My inner geek says, “Cool!” but I’m left wondering if I’m truly swayed by coolness, or after a longer pondering would file it in the “just because they can do it” category.

When, exactly, would USB cufflinks be a lifesaver?  Can you think of a situation during which one would be expected socially to wear cufflinks when easy access to several Gigs of data might be required?  And seriously, someone else wouldn’t have one on a key chain somewhere?  Even those little USBs fit nicely into an inner jacket pocket to maintain the smooth trouser look.

Fashion and function merging once again.  Because if you lose a snazzy cufflink, you’ll always have a data backup on the other arm.

I got a check from the Department of Defense that represents Your Tax Dollars At Work.  You paid for me to recommend where some of that defense money goes.  I tried my best, and I hope you’re happy with my performance.

Whatever your opinions or political leanings, I think we all agree that the effects of war on our warriors and their families is tremendous.  And we hear stories how returning soldiers and veterans don’t receive the best possible care.

Let me tell you about some of the medical research being funded.  Real research and development projects aimed directly at the most significant medical problems.  A huge new challenge is dealing with IEDs - Improvised Explosive Devices - causing blast injuries.  Those who survive often suffer lost limbs, traumatic brain injury, PTSD.

I’d like to tell you about where the money is going, and how the government decides to spend it.


I imagine kids on a Halloween scavenger hunt in the cemetery.  Each group’s crumpled paper reads, “Find and take pictures of headstones of the following people -”

Sitka Russian Cemegary Lisa Simone Copyright 2008

Dead person # 1.  Find the grave of a woman who was an avid Scuba diver, underwater photographer and author, and who looked like a million bucks without plastic surgery or Jimmy Choo shoes.

Watch the video of the tragic barrel racing event that took her life, and write down the name of the horse that skidded, rolled over and squashed  her flat.

Morbid, eh?  Well once again, technology is here to save the day.


You know the saying, “When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you”? The Onion presents a video that parodies how companies provide what they feel we should want. And like sheep, we assume that they are correct. Kinda like that 54-Button Remote Control.

Have a good laugh - Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop with No Keyboards.

Perhaps this isn’t such a parody after all …

By accident I surfed backwards in time this morning from 2009 to 1987. Omaba’s Federal CTO appointment crashed into a 25-year Technology Timeline. Who knew you could use “PERL”, “God”, “Powerpoint”, “Boiled” and “Duct Tape” in the same article.

Four mouse clicks and 10 minutes … the first PC. Start of the World Wide Web. Flash Drives. USB.  All from a press release about some dude from Virginia who may translate previous work in technology-related policy and development to bring the Federal government out of the dark ages.  Hmmm.


I wrote before about Siftables - the toys that think. Taco Lab Blog explores this kind of creative thinking from all angles including emerging technology, education, and product design with international perspective.

Some recent posts:

» Advice to kids interested in technology including the “basics” - take stuff apart!

» Technology-based art: “[H]ow artists use dynamic, interactive technologies to reveal the logic, structure, and beauty inherent in experimental, non-traditional applications.”

» Ideas and products based on gestural input (like the Siftables)

And the concept of Chinese Shanzhai and China’s tactics to slide into the gaping price gap between high cost American goods and the inexpensive American DIY (Do It Yourself) culture.

Taco Lab was founded by MIT grads who have a great mission:

We won’t give you a design that can’t be made, and we won’t build you a solution no one wants to use.

Siftables - Toys that Think: I Want ‘Em!
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Mixing paint with cans of blue and red

Mixing paint with "cans" of blue and red

Hi tech toys are pretty cool. Hi tech toys that think are beyond cool!  And what if they also secretly foster learning and problem-solving?  Sign me up!

When I originally started this post musing how we learn problem-solving skills as kids. Like neat toys that promote creativity. Or just wandering around in the woods. Tying Hot Wheel’s orange track sections to our shoes to go “skiing.”

But nahhh. Let’s jump straight to the chase. I found a toy I want for Christmas.

“Siftables” - One part of me instantly tries to dissect them in my head - little micros, a low power wireless links like Zigbee, oh the algorithms! Another part of me just wants to lay them all out on the table and muck around for hours.

Siftables - the Toys that Think - ” … cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?”

Watch the movie and don’t miss the end! I want ‘em!