Ruggedized laptop

lappyMy friend Jon found the perfect laptop to power with my SolarRoll when I take off for no man’s land. It may only be a 1ghz Centrino and a paltry 800×600 screen resolution, but at 4 pounds (that’s about 2 kilos for you foreigners) and optional (as if I would turn it down!) integrated GSM/GPRS/CDMA/GPS/802.llb and a touch screen interface I can’t think of a machine I’d rather have with me on my desert expedition.
Curzon, you’re gonna be making the big lawyer bucks soon enough, what do you say? We can publish a nice travel book afterwards-it’ll be just like one of the old time Brits you named yourself after. I’m ready to leave on almost immediate notice if anyone out there wants to fund my expedition. All details can be worked out when the time comes.


The latest issue of Bruce Sterlings always fascinating Viridian mailing list pointed out this new product from Brunton
solarroll The specs look excellent.

SolarRoll 14
MSRP: $399
* 12″x57″ open
* 17 oz
* Max output: 14 watts (15.4 Volts / 900 mA)
* Perfect for running satellite phones and charging laptops

Now all I need is an Iridium satellite phone, a rugged sub-notebook computer and one of these and I can finally start doing some SERIOUS traveling. I just hope the radiation doesn’t interfere with my equipment.


Bringing together Adamu’s post on nostalgia and mine on the wide world of cola, I bring you CCCP Cola. I saw a bottle of this in the supermarket in Almaty, when I was in Kazakhstan, and just had to try it. I asked our local host about it and found that despite the name it was actually created after the fall of the USSR as a nostalgia product. For the curious, it certainly tastes as if it were brewed before Communism fell, perhaps when Stalin was still alive-and aged in Lenin’s formaldyde-preserved armpit. And no, it isn’t in the Cola Database. Maybe I should write them a review.

Also have a gander at this awesome Kazak bar that Curzon, Saru and I saw while we were there.


Homemade Les Miserables 2d Fighter

My friend Matt passed on a link to this amateur 2d fighting game based on Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables. The game is being distributed as freeware, so go ahead and download it. It was built using the first edition of a fighting game design program called 2D Fighting School (2D格闘スクール), published by the Japanese media company Enterbrain. The product info page for the newer 2nd edition product is avaliable here.

Since I’ve never seen or read Le Miserables, Matt supplied me with this summary-

Valjean is a former felon, trying to stay out of trouble. Marius and Enjorlas are french revolutionaries, Javert is a police inspector (and Valjean’s former warden), Thenardier is a crook, Cosette is Valjean’s daughter, and Eponine is Thenardier’s daughter.

I’m still trying to figure out how Ponpon the car-driving rabbit and the ki-fireball throwing French policeman fit into the story. I guess I’ll have to read the book.

Continue reading Homemade Les Miserables 2d Fighter

The True Story of the Hello Kitty Vibrator

When I went to study in Japan I had to field a lot of strange questions and requests from people. One of the most asked-for souvenirs was the infamous Hello Kitty Vibrator.
Kitty-chan Vibe
When my cousin came to visit we even went looking for one- but we never found it. And now, thanks to the Asian Sex Gazette, I finally know why. Finally, I can sleep at night.

The emergence of the Hello Kitty vibrator as a cult adult item caused friction between Sanrio and Genyo, and Sanrio ordered the company to stop making the units. Genyo refused, since it had paid a lot of money to license Kitty for their products. There seemed nothing Sanrio could do, since they had approved the item for sale (see the official Sanrio sticker on the boxes). The answer came when the Japanese tax authorities raided Genyo on suspicion of tax evasion. It seems that some creative accounting was going on between the president of the company, a Mr. Nakamura, his vice president, and the owner of the factory in China where the units were made. All three were arrested, and Sanrio had the excuse needed to yank Genyo’s license. They seized the molds used to make the vibrators and destroyed them.

Extra: Everyone should check out the picture Curzon posted in the comments section.

Mamederumon, the Magic Bean of Japan!!

Boingboing points out a BBC story on a magical new product from Japan. The BBC article doesn’t say the half of it. Here’s a full translation of the original product site.
Note that the name Mamederumon is made up, but translated literally means, ‘thing which sprouts from a bean’

The bean with a message in it is being born!

The egg of Mamederumon!
From an egg a plant is born!
Exciting and thrilling!
The introduction of the egg!

Simply water the egg, and after a few hours have passes the shell will split by itself.

A bean with a message inscribed on it will sprout from the egg.

Then if you just take care of it, something good may happen.

Plans to go on sale from late February for ¥798 (¥760 with tax).

Magic beans

The story of Mamederumon
Once upon a time there was a land called ‘Mamederumon.’ In this land there dwelt a peculiar hen. The eggs laid by the hen of Mamederumon were rather large, and from within would sprout a large bean. On this bean a message was inscribed, and if cherished and cared it would grow rapidly in size, and the person who raised it would likewise be filled with vigorous energy.