Category Archives: Hobbies & Technology: Why Opposable Thumbs are Cool

Dingos are awesome, don’t get me wrong. But without opposable thumbs, their hobbies are rather limited (tail chasing anyone?). What really lets a hobby shine is the use of opposable thumbs.

In Which We Are Almost Back To The Future

Marty McFly: where are you now? People have wondered for decades now when Marty McFly will make himself known to the world. People have wondered when he will appear in his DeLorean, straight out of 1985.

Well, okay, maybe not. But, people have wondered when we would have hoverboards. My friends, the time is nigh. They do exist, and with a little financial backing via Kickstarter, Hendo will make them commonplace! 

If you’d like to learn more about the Kickstarter determined to make our dreams real, click here and go back… TO THE FUTURE!

In Which Light Became Easy

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Mr Thomas Edison courtesy of Wikipedia

So I had a bright idea. It really illuminated my way of thinking, and and helped to bring me out of the dark. After all, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Today, dear friends, we honor… the light bulb! On this day in 1879, our beloved Mr. Thomas A. Edison accomplished a miracle that I use every night to read by.

The light bulb is one of those inventions that we all take for granted. Without it, however, life around the world would be vastly different. Can you imagine trying to read by candle light? Or imagine life without movies, or televisions? What about the simplicity of the alarm clock? Without Mr. Edison’s invention, we would still be in the Dark Ages. (Tired of the cliche’s yet?)

In seriousness, Mr. Edison gave us many gifts, and many insights (come back for tomorrow’s quote of the for an example.). Today, I honor the man who lets me read myself to sleep at night. Mr Edison, I thank you for your contribution to worldwide advancements, and for all of the inventions that came after based on your simple idea.

In Which We all Say “i-Limb Here We Come!” (or “Resistance is Futile” – Take Your Pick)

I am a firm believer that cyborgs are walking among us. The way I see it, there are two kinds:

  • Those with cybernetics built into our bodies
  • Those who can no longer operate without some type of electronic device on our person (ahem, cell phones)

That said, medical and technological advancements are amazing. A few years ago, the i-Limb (or as I like to think of it, the first step toward joining the Borg Collective) was introduced. Take a look at the video below and tell me it this doesn’t make you wonder if amputation might be a good thing:

In Which We See Really Real Fake Faces

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Courtesy Chris Jones’ site, linked here and at the end of the article

Technology is growing at ever larger leaps and bounds. Every day, we awaken to something new and exciting to push this envelope or that one. Two of my best friends are involved in the graphic art, ranging from freelance website design, to theme park animation creation, to graphics on TV shows around the nation. One of them happens to be a multiple Emmy award winner.

With all due respect, this video outstrips them both:

And then there is this:

(To be honest, it’s not just the artistic quality and realism, it’s also the humor and the music.)

The ability of our graphic artists to compose computer generated models that look so amazingly real is mind boggling. I find myself transfixed by their skill, and the results of their work. I can’t wait to see what get get next!

Source material found here and here.

 

In Which The Sky is No Longer the Limit

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Image courtesy of DJI


As a child, I loved toys. As a red blooded American adult man, I love toys. This is likely because I never actually grew up. (You’ve got nothing on me, Mr Pan.)

  • Playstation? Check!
  • Blu-Ray player? Check!
  • Fancy dual monitor gaming computer rig? Check!
  • Sports car? Check!
  • Uber-complex SmartPhone? Check!
  • Personal high-flying drone with an eye in the sky? Che…. heeeeeey now wait a second! Where is my personal high-flying drone with an eye in the sky?!

You see the problem here? I haven’t managed to grow wings (yet), so one would think I had found an alternative method to flying that doesn’t involve gripping the armrests in an airplane until my hand imprints are permanently etched for all mankind to see. I’m a sad panda, for I haven’t found this alternative yet.

UNTIL TODAY!

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that I must have my own personal high-flying doohickey right this moment, sleep be damned. Why is this such a cool doodad? Watch the video in the link below and you’ll have a better idea, let me tell you.

(Note: donations accepted if you would like to help out a poor Texan in desperate need of a new toy.)

As an amateur photographer, I like to take pictures and find myself wondering what the best angle should be. I’m limited though, to options like eye-level (I’m not tall) or lower then eye-level (did I mention I’m not tall?) or possibly climbing-dangerously-high-on-that-bench-over-there-and-climbing-on-the-fence-behind-it-eye-level.

Behold and imagine, then, what aerial photography could do for me.  Watch the aforementioned amazing video linked below and wonder as I have what joys this would bring to us all.

In seriousness, this is pretty dang cool, and I want one. Don’t make me  stamp my feet and throw a temper tantrum…

For more coolness, check out this here link.

In Which Multi-Million Dollar Satellites are Used to Find Tupperware in the Woods

Mankind. Humanity. We have come a long way as a species. We have traveled to outer space, and we have explored the depths of the oceans. We have created quadrotor robots that look like bugs but fly like synchronized swimmers.
We have even created what amounts to cybernetic implants (i.e pacemakers and robotic limbs like the i-Limb).

Truly, technology is amazing.

And I, for one, greatly enjoy the ability to use Multi-Million Dollar Satellites to find those ever elusive plastic containers hiding in the world around us called (get this) Tupperware.

If you prefer a more catchy name, I enjoy Geocaching.

You’ve never heard of that before? Well Tupperware is… Oh you meant you’ve never heard of Geocaching. That’s understandable.

The question to ask yourself: do you like scavenger hunts? If you answer yes, then Geocaching may be for you. The basic premise is that people hide things in the world. The “thing” in question might be anything from a mini M&M tube, to a 35mm film cylinder, to an ammo can, to (yes) Tupperware. In these containers are logs that you get to sign informing the next visitor that you were there. If you remember to bring some swag (you know that old silly key chain you found once, or that coin from France that you have no need for?),  you can even trade it for something else that is just as silly but new to you. All the while, you must use your ninja skills to keep from being seen – the whole point here is that you are trying to find something hidden after all; who wants to go to the trouble of searching for something that has been vandalized? All of this is tracked online through a free website.

Yes – I said the “f” word. Geocaching is free to play.

The real appeal, though, is not signing the log and tracking your find (though there is a certain pride you feel when you get to 50, or 100 caches found). Like anything worthwhile, the joy comes from the journey. I have found countless spots that I never would have known existed before. I have spent time with good friends digging through a bush (happily). Geocaching is another great way to bond with friends and family.

Another fantastic part to this hobby are the Travel Bugs. Travel Bugs are small items that have been tagged and tracked. They have goals, which might be as simple as “I want to see everything there is to see” or very complicated such as “I want to travel to London by way of Australia”. It’s fun to find these, and help them on their way. Be sure to log a fun anecdote about how you found the bug, or some other story that matches the theme of the bug. The owner will appreciate it, as will anyone else who finds and logs the Travel Bug after it leaves you.

And of course, you can hide your own caches in the world. Have a favorite spot you want to share with others? Know a place in the park across the street you can see from you window – and like to watch people try to be sneaky? Have a special connection with the place that you had your first kiss? All great places to hide a cache.

Now, with all great fun comes great responsibility (thank you Uncle Ben for making phrases like this possible). There are some rules to consider:

  1. Hide the cache better than you found it;
  2. Be like a ninja and don’t let the muggles see you at your game;
  3. If you take something, leave something in its place; you can always leave something without taking as well;
  4. If you find a Travel Bug, remember that it is not yours and you cannot keep it – be sure to help it on its journey; and
  5. Pick up trash! Part of the fun is seeing new places – no one wants to see an empty soda can in a park.

In conclusion, Geocaching is a great hobby. Give a try and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your stories. You can either add a comment here or email (thedingowashere@gmail.com).

For more information, visit Geocaching.