Monday, July 08, 2019

BeauEr 3X Caravan

Beauer UK reports: [edited]

The BeauEr 3X is a small, expandable caravan that is easy to tow and quick to unfold.

When expanded the 3 modules reveal a kitchen with a refrigerator, a gas hob, oven, sink, work surface, shelves, cupboards and drawers. The bathroom consists of a shower, cassette toilet and a sink. The bedroom has a standard double bed measuring 140x190cm.

When collapsed the width is 1.9m.

Price: from £21,000

Thursday, July 04, 2019

OVEVO Q65 Bluetooth Earbuds - First Impressions

On the recommendation of my eldest son, I ordered a pair of these budget earphones. They cost £32 including postage from Amazon, although you can get them for less at geekbuying.

Two weeks later they arrived. The packaging is smart and the (tiny) instruction leaflet is adequate (I made a PDF of it, downloadable here).

Getting them out of the charging case is a fiddly experience, but once removed they automatically pair with one another. You then connect them to a Bluetooth device in the usual way.

The standard buds are a good fit for my ears, and they come with a small and large set as well. The earbuds are unobtrusive and as comfortable as any others I've used, although I do prefer over-ear headphones. The sound quality is at least as good as the standard Apple wired earphones, and the volume can go loud enough to compete with most environments.

For more information/images, click here, although I would take the battery life/water resistance claims with a large pinch of salt.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

FUELL Fluid 1 Electric Bike

Gadget Define reports: [edited]

Harley-Davidson’s former engineer Erik Buell’s company Fuell has introduced two premium electric bikes, Fluid 1 and Fluid 1s.

The Fluid 1 has a 250W hub-mounted motor (32kph, there is an EU-legal version limited to 25kmh), the Fluid 1s has a 500W motor (45kmh). Both bikes are available in two frame sizes and a range of colour options and accessories. Both models come with two 500Wh lithium batteries.

On a single charge both bikes give up to 200km of riding range. The bike also comes with a 4 Amp Charger which takes the batteries to 80% in 2.5 hrs and 100% in 5.

Both bikes sport carbon belt drive, Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub gears, front suspension and hydraulic disk brakes. There is an LCD panel which can be paired with your smartphone.

Starting price: $2,699

For more information, click here

Sony Walkman turns 40

What Hi-Fi reports: [edited]

Portable radios filled pockets in the 1950s, but when the first Sony Walkman personal stereo cassette player, the TPS-L2, went on sale for $150 on 1 July 1979, it would change the way we listened to music.

The Walkman was a modified version of its Pressman mono cassette recorder, which Sony had launched in 1978 and marketed to reporters. Sony chairman, Akio Morita, wanted a device to listen to opera on his trans-Pacific flights, so Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara removed the record function and speaker and replaced it with a stereo amplifier.

The TPS-L2 launched as the 'Soundabout' in America, the 'Stowaway' in the UK and 'Freestyle' in Australia and Sweden. But in Japan it was 'Walkman', and that’s the name that stuck.

Sony stopped selling the Walkman in 2010, the same year they stopped selling floppy discs, having sold 200,020,000 Walkman cassette players, and 400 million Walkmans of all variations.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


designboom reports: [edited]

Designers Wout Kommer & Jan Portheine have created Kartent, a 100% recyclable cardboard tent.

The Kartent is made of un-coated cardboard. According to their website a Kartent ‘will stay dry with some showers for sure’ and ‘will perform similarly under heavy conditions as a regular tent would‘.

Kartent partners with festivals to pre-assemble the tents meaning you don’t need to carry the extra weight. At the end of the festival Kartent takes the waste to a local recycling facility.

Price: €54.95 for 2 adult version.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cowboy Electric Bicycle

The Verge reports: [edited]

Cowboy is a Belgian startup that currently employs 40 people. The company has recently raised €10 million in funding to leave home. The 2019 Cowboy will enter mass production in Poland and begin shipping to Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and France in July, with more countries to come.

The Cowboy I’ve been testing is a late-model prototype, probably 95 percent complete.

Riding the Cowboy is very similar to riding an Ampler Curt. Both bikes put the rider in a sporty position, offer a single belt-driven gear and near silent 250W rear-hub motor. Both are lightweight for e-bikes, the Cowboy is a bit heavier at 16.1kg. The Cowboy, however, provides noticeably more power from a standstill, helping you get started easier when under load or on an incline.

In fact, I find the torque sensor on the Cowboy to be perfectly tuned to my aggressive riding style. Push lightly on the pedal and the motor provides a light touch without feeling underpowered. Push harder and the bike responds with confidence. The pedal assist never felt too jerky or too weak, even on my prototype test bike.

Cowboy says it uses the latest Samsung 21700 lithium ion battery cells, instead of traditional 18650 cells, allowing them to claim a 70km range from a compact 360Wh battery.

The battery charges in 3 hours off a charging brick of Cowboy design. The bike can be switched from 25km/h (the EU limit) to 30km/h after you swipe away a disclaimer acknowledging your hooliganism. Belt drive is clean and maintenance free. Hydraulic brakes stop the bike with confidence.

Price: €1,990.

Monday, June 03, 2019

London-Marlborough-London, 01-06-19

Bitter Little Pill - Alanis Morissette
All I Really Want
You Oughta Know
Hand In My Pocket
Right Through You
You Learn
Head Over Feet
Mary Jane
Not The Doctor
Wake Up

Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin
Chain Of Fools
Money Won't Change You
People Get Ready
Niki Hoeky
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone
Good To Me As I Am To You
Come Back Baby
Ain't No Way

Odelay - Beck
Devil's Haircut
Lord Only Knows
The New Pollution
Where It's At
High 5 (Rock The Catskills)

Parallel Lines - Blondie
Hanging On The Telephone
One Way Or Another
Fade Away (And Radiate)
Pretty Baby
I Know But I Don't Know
Will Anything Happen
Sunday Girl
Heart Of Glass
I'm Gonna Love You Too
Just Go Away

Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
Like A Rolling Stone
Tombstone Blues
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
From A Buick 6

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fruit Picking Robot

The Guardian reports: [edited]

Quivering and hesitant, like a spoon-wielding toddler trying to eat soup without spilling it, the world’s first raspberry-picking robot is attempting to harvest one of the fruits. After sizing it up for an age, the robot plucks the fruit with its gripping arm and gingerly deposits it into a waiting punnet.

Each robot will eventually be able to pick more than 25,000 raspberries a day, outpacing human workers who manage about 15,000 in an eight-hour shift, according to Fieldwork Robotics, a spinout from the University of Plymouth.

The robot has been developed in partnership with Hall Hunter, one of Britain’s main berry growers which supplies Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Standing at 1.8 metres tall, the wheeled machine with its robotic arm has begun field trials in a greenhouse at a Hall Hunter farm near Chichester in West Sussex.

Guided by sensors and 3D cameras, its gripper zooms in on ripe fruit using machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence. When operating at full tilt, its developers say the robot’s gripper picks a raspberry in 10 seconds or less and drops it in a tray where the fruit gets sorted by maturity, before being moved into punnets, ready to be transported to supermarkets.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Gocycle G3

Cycling Weekly reports: [edited]

Gocycle’s folding e-bike uses 20 inch wheels and has the battery fully enclosed in the front part of the frame, with a totally enclosed drivetrain and rear end suspension built in.

Top of the range is the G3 and for 2019, Gocycle is offering the option to swap the magnesium alloy front frame for a high modulus carbon fibre piece. Coupled with the brand’s Pitstop quick release wheels, a lightweight saddle and a carbon seatpost, the carbon G3 has a suggested retail price of £4499.

Gocycle quotes a weight of 14.9kg for the carbon G3 and 16.7kg for the magnesium alloy G3. Both come with a design with no external cabling and a 375Wh battery pack. That should allow 50 miles on a full charge, with a four hour recharge time.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Edge reports: [edited]

It’s Game Boy-like, a D-pad and two chunky buttons sitting below a screen. It’s perfectly square, and remarkably slim. In the hands, it’s pleasantly weighty. There’s a softness to the matte plastic shell, which we can comfortably grip while clacking the shiny buttons. It feels like it costs money.

The industrial design is the work of Swedish electronics manufacturer Teenage Engineering. And the surprises keep coming. The 2.7-inch black-and-white screen has a resolution of 400 × 240 – around four times the pixels of the Game Boy’s screen. Much like the E-ink screen you’d find on a Kindle, it’s not backlit – the difference is that it’s tremendously reflective, the visuals wonderfully sharp and clear.

The in-built speaker looks minuscule, but is so powerful that we have to hurriedly hunt for the volume controls. Then there’s the contemporary modus operandi that gives the console its name. Every Monday, via WiFi, owners receive a new game, the notification light on top of the case blinking to announce its arrival. Whenever you have five spare minutes, you’ll be able to reach into your own shirt pocket, and make time for your Playdate.

And these games aren’t your basic Game & Watch fare. They’re specially crafted titles from such indie superstars as Bennett Foddy, Zach Gage and Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.

It’s the latter’s game that reveals the last surprise. We boot up Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, but now none of the buttons seem to be working. And then we notice the strange metal rod on the right-hand side of the console. From inside the shell, a diminutive crank pops out. We turn it, and our hero begins to move, in the way only a Keita Takahashi character can move – bouncily, ridiculously, with a lurid array of squeaky sound effects – and we start to laugh. And isn’t that quite the point? This little yellow curveball, for all its absurdity, is purpose-built for happiness.

Playdate will cost USD $149. All twelve games in Season One will be included. It is scheduled to ship in early 2020.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Free Font - Public Sans

Public Sans is ‘A strong, neutral typeface for interfaces, text, and headings’ designed by U.S. Web Design System, based on Libre Franklin. Available in 9 weights, with corresponding italics.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

London - Wigan - London, 18 & 19-05-19

Dusty In Memphis - Dusty Springfield
Just One Smile
No Easy Way Down
I Can't Make It Alone
Son Of A Preacher Man (mono)
Just A Little Lovin' (mono)
Don't Forget About Me (mono)
Breakfast In Bed (mono)
I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore (mono)
The Windmills Of Your Mind (mono)
In The Land Of Make Believe (mono)
So Much Love (mono)

Exile on Main Street - The Rolling Stones
Rocks Off
Rip This Joint
Shake Your Hips
Casino Boogie
Tumbling Dice
Sweet Virginia
Torn And Frayed
Sweet Black Angel
Loving Cup
Turd On The Run
Ventilator Blues
I Just Want To See His Face
Let It Loose
All Down The Line
Stop Breaking Down
Shine A Light
Soul Survivor

Young Americans - David Bowie
Young Americans
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Across The Universe
Can You Hear Me

Speak & Spell - Depeche Mode
New Life
I Sometime Wish I Was Dead
Boys Say Go!
What's Your Name?
Tora! Tora! Tora!
Big Muff
Any Second Now (Voices)
Just Can't Get Enough
Dreaming Of Me
Ice Machine
Any Second Now (Instrumental)
Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix)

Doolittle - Pixies
Wave of Mutilation
I Bleed
Here Comes Your Man
Mr. Grieves
Crackity Jones
La La Love You
No. 13 Baby
There Goes My Gun
Gouge Away

The Best Of - Green on Red
Time Ain't Nothing
Born To Fight
Hair Of The Dog
Keith Can't Read
Morning Blue
This Time Around
Little Things In Life
You Couldn't Get Arrested
That's What Dreams
Zombie For Love
Baby Loves Her Gun
The Man I Used To Be

Bellybutton - Jellyfish
That Is Why
The King Is Half Undressed
I Wanna Stay Home
She Still Loves Him
All I Want Is Everything
Now She Knows She's Wrong
Bedspring Kiss
Baby's Coming Back
Calling Sarah
No Matter What [Live]
That Is Why (Live)
The King Is Half Undressed [Live]
Jet [Live]
Now She Knows She's Wrong (Live)

Zooropa - U2
Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
Some Days Are Better Than Others
The First Time
Dirty Day
The Wanderer

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Project Blue

Wired reports: [edited]

Research on robots has been hamstrung by extravagant costs — the popular research robot PR2, a pair of arms not dissimilar from Blue, will set a lab back $400,000. Blue’s reliance on 3D-printed components puts its price tag much lower, at just $3,000 in materials per arm, and the goal is to get the total cost, with manufacturing at scale, to $5,000 per arm.

Historically, if you wanted to operate a robot arm, you had to keep humans far, far away, lest the machine fling them across the room. That’s why industrial robots have been kept in cages. But robots have been getting a lot better at sensing their world, in particular reacting to human contact by stopping before they hurt us. This has led to a boom in collaborative robotics, where humans work right alongside machines.

Blue, on the other hand, isn’t particularly sensitive to human touch. The arms give way a bit instead of shutting down. This is because the robot’s relatively cheap motors are 'backdrivable', meaning a human can grab the arms and move them around even when the machine is powered off.

“This robot is designed on the assumption that in the future, robots will be controlled much more intelligently by AI systems that use visual and force feedback, much like how humans control their own arms,” says UC Berkeley's Pieter Abbeel, a robotics researcher who's overseeing the project.

Say you want Blue to learn to fold a towel. For a sensitive collaborative robot, that is a tough task, because bumping into the surface of the table might trigger it to stop. But Blue can put force on the table when reaching for the towel without freaking out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Free Font – Simplifica

Created by KAIWA, Simplifica is a single-weight, condensed sans-serif. It is pleasingly balanced, and legible in large and small point sizes.

Available here

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

X-ray Records

NPR reports: [edited]

Western music may have been changing the world in the 1950s, but if you happened to be in Russia you were out of luck. State censorship was in full effect in the Soviet Union, and purchasing a western recording was close to impossible. But a few industrious music fans invented a way.

Stephen Coates, the leader of a British band called The Real Tuesday Weld, happened on this secret history by accident. Several years ago on a tour stop in St. Petersburg, he was strolling through a flea market when a strange item caught his eye.

"I thought, is that a record? Or is it an X-ray? I picked it up, and it seemed to be both," he recounts. "I brought it back to London, and I was fascinated by it. So I started to dig, and that has led me on a very strange journey."

Coates is now an obsessive of what is nicknamed 'bone music' — makeshift LPs etched into used X-rays, providing a disguise for their contraband contents. He's collected his findings in a new book, X-Ray Audio: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone.

According to Stephen, around 1946 the Second World War was over and a guy retunred to the Soviet Union with a war trophy, a recording lathe. It's like a gramophone in reverse, which you can use to write the grooves of music onto plastic. People who came into his shop observed what he was doing, and made their own machines.

They would start off with a regular X-ray, put a plate on it, draw around it with a pen and cut it out.