Return of Major Tom

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Oh, no. This is what I get for slacking off. Major Tom did another project, and I missed it!

Looks like he’s gone back to his roots : Girls in motorcycle helmets pointing spotlights at things.

This time, we get to see what they’re pointing spotlights at : Drones! My goal is to create a video short that is both aesthetically and audibly mesmerizing. The story is set on a distant planet where a band of girls who escaped from nuclear holocaust on Earth battle killer drones left behind by an ancient civilization that once inhabited the planet.

He would have done it, too. The trailer is … uh … amazing. That’s the only word I can think to use. It’s worth a watch.

Classic.

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Yeah, sure. Who needs to see the girls’ faces?

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Maybe, think up a way to phrase that so that it doesn’t sound so … low-rent?

Still I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining! I had thought Major Tom had given up on Kickstarter, but I’m glad he hasn’t given up yet. I honestly want to see his film someday.

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Spinners!

This school year, the hot new thing, was Spinners. I’m not going to explain what spinners are, because if you’re living under that big of a rock, I can’t help you. I’m also not going to scoff at them. I’ve never understood why so many people have such a frothing hatred for the current schoolyard fad. I guess it just makes them feel old. So old!

However, now that the fad is fading, they’re going to have to fall back on the two sure-fire paths to success on Kickstarter

“Minimalist” Wallet

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Bottle Opener

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MiniTISPinner

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Or Potatoes?

I’ll be honest. I dunno what’s going on with this one.

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Edible Lollipop Stick

The Edibel Lolipop - Kickstarter

Edible lolipop stick? What a strange idea, what’s that all about?

That's right! For the first time ever you can eat the stick of your lollipop! The stick can be any flavor and made into any color. The stick is made out of a candy interior coated with a hard candy material found on other types of candy. This coating prevents sticky hands and melting while holding it.

But … I don’t want to eat the stick. The whole point of the stick is that the candy doesn’t ever touch your hands. If I want to just hold candy in my hands, there’s plenty of non-lollipop candies I can eat, so I don’t really see the big innovation here.

Risks and challenges  There isn’t much risk involved. As an inventor I have been facing challenges and thinking outside the box to deal with those challenges for as long as I can remember. I'm excited to get the lollipop stick into everyone's tummy! Screenshot_4 Oh, this isn’t a good sign. Any time someone uses the word “Inventor” as though it was a job title it’s usually a good sign they don’t understand how the process of invention really works.

But how can that be? How can he be ignorant of how invention works? This invention is patented. In fact, most of the Kickstarter page is just a copy/paste from that patent. (Which is also worrying. How’s he going to run a business if he doesn’t understand the difference between a patent and a marketing pitch?)

A commenter solves the mystery for us :
Have you patented this? Because unless your name is Pak Nin Chan it seems this was invented in 1991 - http://www.google.com/patents/US6177110 .

That’s right, this invention’s patent, the patent he was actually quoting in his Kickstarter pitch, was invented by an inventor named Pak Nin Chan, and owned by a Hong Kong company called “Candy Novelty Works Ltd.”. Mr Chan has invented a number of interesting looking novelty candies, some of them a bit on the dumb side, but a lot of them look fun and are probably money makers.

… But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the doughy white guy we see in the video isn’t Mr Chan.

Who is this chancer?

Who is this “Ronnie” idiot who not only thinks it’s ok to steal someone else’s idea, but thinks it’s a good idea to actually quote the actual patent, proving that he didn’t steal it by accident?
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OMG! It’s the Living Dinosaurs guy! I covered him back on the first week of this blog!

It’s like meeting an old friend again. Keep up the good work, Ronnie.


Thanks to reader Dario V. for making sure I didn’t miss this one!

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Tail Toppers

These people emailed me and tried to get me to feature their project while it was still running. Presumably they were hoping I’d send them some ‘ironic’ backers, but that’s not how I do things. So here’s “Tail Toppers” a year after their project failed.

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Tail Toppers journey began about one year ago when I scored a dream job at a major toy company. I noticed that leaving my cat alone for over 12 hours a day had a toll on the overall quality of life for my kitty cat. He wasn't as frisky as he used to be. He was depressed.  I did some research and realized this was a major issue with many pets, and rightly so, I mean we're the only ones who are their whole lives. It's especially worse if your cat is an indoor animal at an apartment. I feel terrible.

Aww… So sad. Poor kitty.

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Ok, so … you invented a thing to pinch the nape of their neck?

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Oh. Hmm…, that’s not…

Do you even know where your cat’s neck is?

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Really? Huh. I would have thought that the risks of leaving a piece of plastic clipped over your cat’s butt-hole while you spend 12 hours at work would have risks that were more scatological in nature.

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One Click Garbage

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(Ignore the photograph, he just stole that from Amazon.)

This is a small, low power web server to be installed on your home network. In the bad old days of 1995, installing a home server was a common way to have a “personal home page” (Which is what we were forced to have before Facebook existed), but nowadays, it would be pretty unusual. Even for purely internal things, people tend to just use super-cheap cloud hosting.

The Software

As far as I can tell, there’s a javascript interface to trigger the installers for web apps like WordPress. I guess that might be slightly handy if I ever forget how to install WordPress.

Oddly, it’s called “WebKit 2.0”, which implies that it’s his second released version, but I can’t find any evidence of a first version. (Never mind that “WebKit” is a name that’s already in use by Apple to describe an important piece of their operating system. Good Job on researching!)

But what about connectivity?
webkit_04bee OH NO! BEES!

The Hardware

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Looks like he “invented” this brand new piece of hardware by buying a RaspberryPi educational computer and cutting off the HDMI and USB ports.

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Brilliant. This man is a true genius among engineers.

Good job on putting that tape over the logo, though. That shows real effort.

The Customer

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As this person pledged €1 to point out, there’s absolutely no customers for this.
Who would need a personal server, but not have the confidence to just use a regular one? (Like a Raspberry Pi for example!)

It’s targeted at IT nerds who don’t know anything about IT. I know that sounds like the setup to a joke about the IT guys where you work, but actually it’s just the description of a stupid product nobody needs.


This project was kindly suggested by Andrea L (Who also identified the stolen case photograph.)

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Rocketships for the Imaginationless

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Generations of children saved up their allowance and lemonade-stand money to take advantage of this amazing offer.

Imagine how disappointed they were when they finally realized it was made of cardboard!

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Oh, But how times have changed! Nowadays the cardboard is a selling point!

That’s right, It’s another cardboard box specially manufactured for kids to play in. No longer will kids have to take a refrigerator box and design their own spaceship.

But, don’t put away those crayons just yet! Just like last time, there is a single panel specially designed by adults to be drawn on by children. (Or by an adult moving a child’s hand around, as shown in the video.)
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It also comes with “Imagination Triggers” which are “Short stories” to help you “improvise” when you play. Because apparently some people can’t think of a way to make spaceships and astronauts interesting to a four year old!

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Currently available are Castle, Space Capsule, Teepee, and Windmill. (Volcano coming soon!)

But don’t worry, they all come with “Imagination Triggers”, in case you have so little faith in your child’s intelligence that you don’t trust him or her to come up with a fun fantasy involving a castle.

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Kickstarter Loves Balls

Haha, it’s a pun, right? I said “Balls” to make you think of testicles, but actually I’m going to show you articles about baseballs, or footballs or something, right?

No. Wrong. This is about testicles.

So let’s give those balls a kick!

…start.

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This project is still underway. It’s a pair of balls to hang from the underside of your desk. … so you can fondle your balls while you work.

I bet it’ll succeed. Kickstarter loves balls. Just look at this project from 2015!

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Bike balls! Why should trucks get all the ‘fun’? This project was successfull, and they’re now selling them as a product. You can order these from their web site.

They even made it on the news in Norway.
balls_03 “Confused” isn’t the word I would use.

balls_04 I’ve wondered this. If truck-nuts are supposed to make a truck look like a dog, why don’t we see female trucks with truck-vulvas? Or, I don’t know, why not just a nice, innocent truck-tail?

Why’s it always about the balls?

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Slap Sim

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Let’s talk about game engines. They’re a wonderful thing.

Back in 1993 when Doom came out the impressive thing was that players could walk around a 3d environment and shoot things. Nowadays that comes free. So does physics simulation, lighting, animations, VR Support, and lots of other things.
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Yes, with a modern game engine, you can have a simple “game” up and running in under an hour. And with all the ready-made artwork in the “asset store”, you can fill your game with half-way decent environments and characters for under a hundred dollars, and maybe another hour of your time to drag-and-drop everything in place.
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This explains why we see so many amazing “indie” games these days. A small team of two or three people can skip all the hard technical parts, and concentrate their efforts on the creative things that are going to make their game interesting, creative, and unique.

… but it’s also the reason we see games like “Monterey Jack : Pimp Simulator”.

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First, they got their engine up and running. Then they drag-and-dropped some characters into it. Then they ticked the boxes to turn on the physics simulation, and the VR support. All that took about an hour, and most people would consider it just a first step. A test to make sure all their tools were working properly. but, imagine you were lazy, and didn’t have any good ideas for games anyway. You might start to think “Hey, now I’ve got a ‘game’ where I can knock people over by slapping them. All I need to do is think up a story about slapping people and I’m done!“.

…And that’s exactly what they did. It’s blatantly obvious that they took what should have just been an engine test, bought a little city scenery at the asset store to make it “open world” and decided that they’d “created” a gamed about a pimp who walks around slapping people. Easy.

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