John Farrier's Blog Posts

We Found a Hidden Stash of Chuck Norris Dolls, So We're Giving Them Away!
Warehouse find: 13 Chuck Norris plush dolls - Win one in by entering an upcoming NeatoMail giveaway. Hurry! One time deal: once they're gone, they're gone!

How Apple Gets You to Touch Their Computers

Every design element of an Apple Store is arranged to subtly encourage visitors to become customers. The computer screens, for example, are angled at 70° to compel users to adjust them. Touching the screen lets users experience Apple products tactility and increases the desire to purchase one:

The point, explains Carmine Gallo, who is writing a book on the inside workings of the Apple Store, is to get people to touch the devices. "The main reason notebook computers screens are slightly angled is to encourage customers to adjust the screen to their ideal viewing angle," he says -- "in other words, to touch the computer."

A tactile experience with an Apple product begets loyalty to Apple products, the thinking goes -- which means that the store exists to imprint a brand impression on visitors even more than it exists to extract money from them. "The ownership experience is more important than a sale," Gallo notes. Which means that the store -- and every single detail creating the experience of it -- are optimized for customers' personal indulgence. Apple wants you to touch stuff, to play with it, to make it your own.

Link -via Kottke | Photo: Oswaldo Rubio

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Drunk Texts from Famous Authors

Because I could not stop for beer, it kindly stopped for me. Jessie Gaynor of The Paris Review imagined intoxicated text messages from famous authors including Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Dan Brown and others.

Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Pokémon Cars

If you want to play while on the road, now's your chance. The Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy and Toyota are giving away three Pokémon-decorated cars, one of which looks like Oshawott and another like Pikachu.

Link (Google Translate) -via Kotaku

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Perfect for Wedding Solos: Skull Violin

The face of death peers out from this electric violin by Stratton:

That statement is backed up by a rich, focused tone from the Barbera Twin Hybrid transducer system, providing a strong output signal that's great for acoustic styles, but also exceptionally well-suited for use with high-gain effects in high-volume performances.

It's a bit pricey at $2,999, but it's guaranteed to get attention.

Link -via Boing Boing

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Game of Thrones, The Romantic Comedy

(Video Link)

I'm just glad that it's not a teen romantic comedy set in a high school. Please, HBO, do not do this with Season 3.

-via The Mary Sue

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An AT-AT for the Bike Lane

Pedalpalooza is a bicycle festival in Portland, Oregon. Last Saturday afternoon, it conducted a Star Trek vs. Star Wars-themed ride. This tandem bike, though too underpowered for a campaign on Hoth, navigated the city streets with ease. Watch a video of it at the link.

Video Link -via Technabob | Official Website

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What Separates Average Computer Programmers from Extraordinary Programmers? Beards.

Some programming languages become widely used. Others languish in obscurity. How can you predict which languages will succeed and which will fail? Tamir Khason has figured it out: it's not the the language, but the developer. Languages devised by people* with full beards or, in some cases, mighty mustaches, thrive. Those made by the clean-shaven gain few fans.

Take, for example, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, who are pictured above. They have fine, beardly beards. They also invented C. A coincidence? Maybe. But certainly a beard can't hurt. And studies that I just made up show a strong correlation between having a beard and being super intelligent. So why take chances? Start growing one today.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Quibik

*Intentional use of gender-inclusive language, as you will see at the link.

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Fog-Covered Horse Racetrack

(Video Link)

I haven't the foggiest idea who won this horse race. Fog covered the Elwick track in Tasmania, making the horses and riders all but invisible to spectators:

Although visibility was still poor it was good enough to proceed and Harding gave the all-clear.

As the horses and jockeys made their way to the barriers and started to load into the gates, nature again took another turn and the fog quickly engulfed the racetrack as the three horses were set to jump.

Link -via The Presurfer

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1d6 Ring

This sterling silver ring by Individual Icons would be a great engagement ring for a gamer. The recipient should roll a 4 or higher to accept a proposal.

Link -via NotCot

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Enterprise Mobile

Raymond Davidson, a skilled woodworker, made this mobile from scraps around his workshop. He doesn't say which Enterprise it is, but I'd guess that it's the NCC-1701 or the NCC-1701-C.

Link -via Walyou

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Typographical Star Trek Intro

(Video Link)

The Quintek Group's elegant alternate introduction to the original Star Trek smoothly blends William Shatner's narration with graphic styles reminiscent of both classic Trek and The Next Generation. It's just lovely.

-via Kuriositas

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Scene from a School Restroom

Redditor TypicalTacos attends a school in Barrie, Ontario. This mysterious figure made from black duct tape was found in a restroom there.

Your assignment is to explain its meaning. Show all of your work.

Link -via Geekosystem

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Dog Desperately Wants to Be Friends with Penguin

(Video Link)

Theirs was a forbidden love, separated by the speciesist rules of society and a glass wall. It was not to be.

It's for the best, pup. She was totally friendzoning you.

-via Blame It on the Voices

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Apartment Complex Designed Specifically for Motorcyclists

For some people, time spent not straddling a motorcycle is time wasted. If that's your lifestyle, then the new NE Apartment complex in Tokyo is perfect for you. It's designed to provide garage space in each apartment as well as other amenities a motorcyclist would appreciate:

Residents of this three-story Japanese apartment complex can revel not only in the ample room for their bikes to roam, which even allows enough space for a full rotation, but the innovative architectural design that gives the sense of a larger living space.

Link | Architects: Akiyoshi Takagi, Yuji Nakae, and Hiroshi Ohno.

Photo: Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

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Domino Chain Reaction

(Video Link)

A falling domino releases enough stored energy to tip over another domino about 50% larger than itself. Dr. Stephen W. Morris of the University of Toronto illustrates this by using a 5 millimeter high domino to knock over a 1 meter high domino.

There are 13 dominoes in Dr. Morris's line. If he had 29 dominoes, the last one would be as tall as the Empire State Building.

-via The Presurfer | Morris's Website

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Quilled Beard

Sarah Yakawonis is a master of paper quilling -- the art of curling and coiling strips of paper to create images. Here's one of her more playful pieces.

Link -via Colossal

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Lisa Frank's Alien

It was 1979. Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger was unavailable to help create the movie Alien. But Lisa Frank, maker of bright, cheery stickers and school supplies for tween girls, was. That is the disturbing alternate history imagined by deviantART member GalenaLarkin.

Link -via io9

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Bears Can Count

Let's keep up the pace, humanity. Other animals are starting to catch up:

Scientists trained three American black bears (Ursus Americanus) to discriminate between groups of dots on a touchscreen computer: Two bears learned to pick the group with fewer dots, while the third learned to choose the group with more dots. In some trials, the group with fewer dots took up more space; in others, the dots moved. All three bears could use the number of dots to guide their choices, but the bear trained to pick groups with more dots performed better on its tests and could also discriminate with moving dots, researchers report online this month in the journal Animal Behaviour. Overall, the bears' performance matched those of monkeys in previous studies, suggesting that animals can evolve impressive cognitive abilities without living in large social groups.

Next, they'll probably learn how to make and use fire.

News Story -via DVICE | Photo: Jennifer Vonk

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Time-Lapse Video of the Coding of Space Invaders

(Video Link)

It's an oddly mystifying video to watch, much like a time-lapse video of the creation of a painting. YouTube user irrationalistic wrote a version of Space Invaders for a programming class. There's something beautiful about the way it takes form before your eyes.

-Thanks, Say Uncle!

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Shotgun Shell Wreath

Hang this wreath on your door to welcome visitors. Etsy seller Angelique M arranged a hundred used shotgun shells on a wreath and topped it with a burlap bow.


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Bacon Dreamcatcher

Do not let your pork dreams escape. Keep them secure in your mind and your belly with this bacon dreamcatcher.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

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Tabasco Sauce Bottle Lamp

To add some spicy hot mood lighting to your pad, follow Michael Krumpus's instructions. He made an Arduino-controlled mood lamp that lights alternating sequences of LEDs inside old tabasco sauce bottles.

Link -via Make

Previously by this maker: Bomb Alarm Clock

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Chen Chun-Hao Nails It

Taiwanese artist Chen Chun-Hao doesn't use a brush or a pen, but a nail gun. He drives hundreds of thousands of nails into boards to recreate masterpieces by Chinese masters. By varying the size, depth and placement of the nails, he makes finely-detailed pointillistic images. View more photos of his work at the link.

Link -via Dude Craft | Photo: Chen Chun-Hao

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Seal Your Wedding Vows with a Pinky Swear

Bethany and her groom decided to affirm their commitment to each other in a way that expressed the seriousness of marriage. She explains:

We said "I do" over a pinky swear because you NEVER break a pinky promise.

Link -via Offbeat Bride | Photo: Michael Porter

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10 Survival Uses for a Cell Phone

You can keep trying, but that cell phone will never work again. We've obviously been hit by an EMP. The 21st Century is gone -- and much of the 20th with it. But survival expert Creek Stewart has some good ideas about what we can do with your phone, including starting fires, setting snares and making fishing lures.


Previously: 10 Survival Uses for a Tampon

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This Birdhouse Looks Like a Vintage Camper

The Shasta camping trailers of the 1950s and 60s let Americans hit with the road with comfort and style. Now even birds can get that retro-cool look (and the envy of others) by moving into this birdhouse made by Etsy seller jumahl.

Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Thin Crust Necronomicon

Jennifer's pizza has both forbidden knowledge and black olives. What's not to love? The Gastronomicon will drive your taste buds insane with delight.

If you'd like to make your own, you can find Jennifer's recipe at the link. We should all feel compelled to do so immediately.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

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A Taxi Service in Which Passengers Rate Drivers -- And Vice Versa

A new company called Uber simplifies the process of hailing a cab. Just activate an app on your smartphone, and Uber will send a car to your location. You won't even have to handle any money:

Uber calculates the total fee on arrival, adds tax and a mandatory tip, and then charges the whole fee to a credit card registered with a user's account. No money or cards change hands. GPS tracking prevents driver padding, and passengers can file a complaint about a circuitous route or wrong turns.

At the end of your ride, you can leave a review with Uber. But beware: the driver can do the same for you. So behave yourself or you may find it hard to get a ride:

At the completion of a trip, a passenger is asked to rate the driver; the driver, in turn, rates the passenger. Drivers who have poor ratings do not last long, Mr Kalanick says, while poorly-behaved passengers may have trouble securing a ride, since a driver can decline a fare if the hailer has a bad reputation.

News Story and Company Website -via Kottke | Photo: mattiaskristiansson

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Twinkie Sushi

The Twinkie, nature's perfect food, can be used for almost any culinary purpose. Here's a recipe for a sushi-like production. You'll need fruit roll-ups, dried mango, candied fruits and dried fruits. And, of course, lots of Twinkies.

Link -via PJ Lifestyle | Photo: Hostess

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Half-Ton Scrap Metal Transformer Wine Rack

Discreet affirmations of grace and style are the mark of a wine connoisseur. This is how you should present your wine in a way that communicates your breeding and upbringing. Now for sale on Craigslist: a 32-bottle wine rack made from a thousand pounds of automobile and motorcycle transmission parts.

Link -via Geekologie

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Profile for John Farrier

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