50’s Futuristic Air Conditioned Lawn Mower

Back in Oct. 14, 1957, they demonstrated the future of lawn mowing equipment with a beautiful bubbled model that sported its own air conditioning. The lucky driver is enclosed in comfort in a clear five foot sphere, and the device even had its own electrical generator powering the important life necessities, such a radio telephone and a chilled drink dispenser.

And if you tired of mowing the lawn in comfort, you could also use it for other gardening purposes as well as a completely radical golf cart. Just think – with the complete enclosure there would be no stray balls to worry about.

I just have one question – why don’t we have this today?

RokBlok Portable Record Player Drives Around The Record

Most people know how a classic vinyl record player works – you place the record on a turntable, which turns the record around at the proper speed. Then a needle is placed on the turning record, which travels the vibrations encoded in the record groove and transforms those into sounds. But the record playing device known as RokBlok does it differently – it drives around the record while the record itself stays still. The end result is the same – music (or whatever audio is recorded on the vinyl disc).

RokBlok

The RokBlok is basically a block of wood and bamboo that is designed to chase the record groove under its own power. RokBlok has its own speakers built in, but it can also send the music over Bluetooth to your other devices. While having a block of wood spinning around on your favorite vinyl disc would seem like a great way to damage them, the maker Pink Donut assures us this is not the case.

RokBlok has been engineered to prevent damage to your records when in use. We do this by carefully balancing and distributing the weight of the player (3.2 oz) across its scratch-proof rubber wheels and not the needle. This makes it so the needle does not take the brunt of the weight out on your record’s grooves.

RokBlok

RokBlok can play both full size records and 45s, and it can provide music (and entertainment) for up to 4 hours – I would suspect that LPs, running at 33 rpm, would probably have the longer run time.  Recharge only takes a couple hours before you are back up making music and spinning around the vinyl disc.

 

 

RokBlok is on Kickstarter, and it has already surpassed its $50,000 goal. The campaign closes on January 24th, so if you want to get on the RokBlok circling bandwagon at a cheaper price than its retail launch you may want to check it out. In the meanwhile, just watch it go, chasing that groove and making music.

Going Boldly With Starship Valiant

When it comes to Star Trek, I have always considered the TV shows to be a much superior product than any of the movies to date. And it’s a great time to be a fan of TV Star Trek, because we have several completed series to enjoy (The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, The Animated Series, and Enterprise) and  a new series coming to CBS All Access in 2017 (Star Trek Discovery). But the offerings don’t stop there – we also have some great fan made projects that more than stand on their own laurels.  Some of  these efforts expand upon the original characters, tapping into a rich universe of settings and history to tell their unique story. And one effort that is doing it as well as anyone is Starship Valiant.

Starship Valiant

The Starship Valiant stories take place aboard the starship USS Valiant NCC-1707, in the timeframe roughly equal with The Original Series. The vessel is helmed by Jackson K. Bishop (played by the multifaceted Michael L. King), a complex individual that is calm under pressure and quick to strive for a resolution. The second in command is the ever capable Leeza S. Kennedy, and together, along with a formidable crew of Star Fleet’s finest, they take the USS Valiant where it is needed, often into hostile territory.

Starship Valiant

But the producers of the series are quick to pull the story back down from the stars and the technology and make it into a human one. This was one thing that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was keen on doing, keeping it with his “Wagon Train To The Stars” original concept.  And I have not seen this done any better than with Starship Valiant’s latest story, “Starship Valiant: Crosses to Bear”.

“Crosses to Bear” explores the struggles and challenges that are faced by a doctor on a starship. In this episode a lot of the “action” takes place in the sickbay.  I won’t give anything away, but the title is a prefect fit for the episode.  David Cox, who plays Chief Medical Officer Roger Floyd, delivers a strong performance that showcases the humanity of it all. The episode is described as a story from the Starship Valiant Universe, and I find that the shorter run time (less than 30 minutes) works very well in this format.

You can find the episodes to date on the Starship Valiant YouTube channel, and the “Crosses to Bear” episode is here. Also, be sure to check out the behind the scenes features and more that the cast and crew have put together. Below is the trailer for “Starship Valiant: Crosses to Bear”.

 

Search Safer, Search Anonymously, with Duck Duck Go

In today’s online world, Google is the king. And for good reason, since they have a mature product that serves up a lot of results. But there are times that you want to search without it being added to your personal data collection. And for that, consider using DuckDuckGo.

duck duck go

DuckDuckGo may be lacking in the extraneous things that Google does, but it is a quality no-frills search engine. You will still find basic web searches, images, and video results, making it a valuable alternative for those times you want to search without it appearing in your life history and marketing choices (thanks, Google).

The Apple Campus Headquarters Update January 2017

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook last year. employees should expect to start moving into its new $5 billion campus by January, 2017. While that date might be a bit optimistic, the complex is making big strides in becoming the home for Apple’s future. Currently the time schedule is to wrap up construction in first quarter 2017 with landscaping to finish soon after. We first talked about the Apple “Spaceship” campus back in 2011 with an infographic, so it’s good to see it come together.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

We are afforded a bird’s eye view of the construction in progress thanks to video photographer (and drone pilot)  Matthew Roberts. Let’s take a peak.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

The auditorium is almost in place. We should expect this year’s iPhone 8 announcement to happen here.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

Solar panels now occupy about 60 percent of the Apple Campus roof.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

The atrium will be a gorgeous opening with a view to die for, no doubt.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

Inside the Apple Campus ring we have continuing construction. This will have a lot of landscaping done once it is finished.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

And speaking of landscaping, we can see some of the trees awaiting placement into their new home in the interior of the Apple Campus.

Apple Campus 2017
Matthew Roberts / Youtube

The tunnel and parking is almost a small city in itself. Employees are already taking advantage of these structures while they finish the campus.

Now, view the video itself below: