December 28, 2006

The July Box

My coworker told me a wonderful story about how friends of hers reduce the "toy glut" resulting from too-many gifts to your kid at Christmas:

The kids would get to open all their presents Christmas morning, and for the rest of the day could play as much as they wanted with all of them.

But the day after, the kids would have to divide up their loot in two piles, one that would stay out and get actively used, and one that would go into the "July Box". Each kid had a July Box, and would get to decide which toys wouldn't be seen for 6 months.

Yup. Half the toys went into the July Box, and the box went up into the attic. Then on July 4, at the family celebration, the July Box would come down and the kids would get all these "new" toys. Of course by then they had forgotten about what was in there, so the experience was still as new and exciting as on Christmas morning.

I think this is a wonderful idea. Gives a whole new meaning to "Boxing Day".

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December 14, 2006

Cool Military Tools

I really dig Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog, mainly because it seems like a reincarnation of the Whole Earth Catalog, but in the new medium, the Web.

Well there's a Cool Tools clone that's just for military, hard-use gear: Kit Up.

Kit Up chronicles the gadgets, PX bargains, and everyday items (Silly String as an explosives detector? Whodathunkit?) essential to soldiering life.

Kit Up mimics Cool Tools in a lot of ways, including the sparse white-space intensive layout, the multiple authors, and truly great ideas.


Aussie Cred for Fred

photo of FRED eating tool

The FRED is a cousin of the P-38 Can opener. It utilizes the same basic design, but also adds a small spoon on one end and a bottle opener on the other. FRED is an official acronym - Food Ration Extraction Device - but is usually known by the more popular "Frigging Ridiculous Eating Device." For two small bits of stamped metal, it is astoundingly useful for boot scraping, cutting, wire stripping, prying things apart, and opening boxes. It can also be used as a screwdriver, an improvised tool for firearm maintenance or radio Repair, and even a small but effective weapon. Oh, yeah, and it opens cans.

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December 01, 2006

Light As a Weapon, Times Two

Actually, make that times 5000 or so. A while back I wrote an article for the
Martial Arts site
on Light-Based Weapons. The article mostly considered the blinding aspects of high-powered flashlights like the excellent SureFire and its competitors.

Now someone has overclocked a flashlight into a fire-starting ray of destruction:

Extreme Geek: The Fire Starter Flashlight

The inventor cites the amazing Osram Sylvania EVA 64623 HLX Bulb as the core of the solution.

Weird, though, how categorized the Osram product into "Musical Instruments". Maybe if you look too much at the light the pounding in your head from the pain approaches a 4/4 beat.

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