Crank calling
Insider is often accused of being cranky, but sometimes that’s what gets it done. In this case, a crank is very much appreciated. An enterprising U.K. firm has developed a hand crank that attaches to a cell phone. In the unfortunate but all too common instance that your phone dies, simply attach Mr. Crank (not the official product name, but I have christened it thus) and give it a good whirl for a few minutes. The product (actually named, prosaically, The Wind Up Phone Charger) will provide about a half hour of power to your phone.

It’s true that sometimes the old solutions (in this case elbow grease) are the best ones but what I really need is a Mr. Crank for my laptop. I imagine the crank would have to be the size of a fire hydrant and I’d have to spent about 90 minutes jerking it around to get any power out of it, but it beats a dead battery anyday.

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Brand new pig
To coin a Monty Python phrase: And now for something completely – a new species of wild pig. That alone is almost enough to end this Insider entry, but in the interests of our advertisers, I’ve been asked to keep your eyes on this page a few seconds longer. The pig in question was found in the Brazilian jungle. It’s about four feet in length, according to this article, and is about twice as heavy as its nearest relative. (I assume they mean Steve Ballmer.) Judging by the picture, it’s cuter than it sounds. And probably delicious.

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Simple fact: kids dig robots
Researchers have discovered that toddlers will interact with a robot as if it were human if you just give them the right stimuli. In this case, that means giggling a lot and sitting down once in a while. More or less exactly how most toddlers act, only with fewer temper tantrums and less full diapers. The robot, QRIO (“Curio”), was treated as one of their own by the kids who are participating in an experiment conducted by the University of California San Diego.

According to the story:

“Eventually, the children seemed to care about the robot’s well being. They helped it up when it fell, and played ‘care-taking’ games with it – most commonly, when QRIO’s batteries ran out of juice and it lay down, a toddler would come up and cover it with a blanket and say ‘night, night.’”

I’m not really sure if this is cute or we should be preparing for the coming QRIO revolution.

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