The Ken Doll Reboot

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Well, not anymore. Starting now, Mattel is re-imagining the all-American guy. He may not be as inspiring as an imaginary female solo homeowner or the first imaginary female president, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a rich imaginary inner life. The decision to give him some depth marks a new chapter for men, and dolls who are men. From this day forward, Ken doesn’t always have to look like the most basic frat bro ever to get a B- in econ. He can be complicated, mysterious—maybe even vegan. No more Mr. Nice Ken. (Actually, he’ll still be very, very nice. “We want to make sure Ken reflects a friendly view of the world,” says Shore.) More at GQ.

More toys and a sensible decision to bring him up to date.

Dickbars

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Medium seems to continue to grow in popularity as a publishing platform, and as it does, I’m growing more and more frustrated by their on-screen “engagement” turds. Every Medium site displays an on-screen “sharing” bar that covers the actual content I want to read. This is particularly annoying on the phone, where screen real estate is most precious. Now on iOS they’ve added an “Open in App” button that literally makes the last 1-2 lines of content on screen unreadable. To me these things are as distracting as having someone wave their hand in front of my face while I try to read… More at DF.

I was trying to show my son a funny video the other night which was remarkably not on YouTube. I ended up jumping through a few sites I do not normally visit and almost every one has pop-ups, auto-play videos and all sorts of other crap that ruined the entire experience.

As someone who does not like ad-blockers because I believe they strangle those of us trying to do the right thing, I also wonder if they are what causes crap like this to occur. The overall friendliness of websites seems to only be going one way. Less friendly.

Toybox Time Machine

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Recapture an innocent era of boundless commercial creativity in a beautifully illustrated tome featuring some of the greatest toys NEVER made (but wouldn’t your world have been a better place if they had been?). A tribute to the unbridled imaginations, madcap design, and illustrative skills of the toy creators who drew inspiration from the robots, movie monsters, comic books, and military men that kids adored, as well as the limitless possibilities of the space age. Showcased in catalogs, comics, trading cards, drug store and department store displays, somehow these geniuses knew what we wanted before we did. Marty Baumann has drawn inspiration from these incredible creators and extrapolated on those outlandish and appealing ideas, developing and illustrating an amazing array of fictional toys that reflect that optimistic era… More at CBR.

This looks great.

Buckfast tonic

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What it might be, though, is the most incendiary. Though Buckfast accounts for barely half a percent of Scotland’s total alcohol sales, in 2015 the Scottish Prison Service found that over 40 percent of inmates had drunk some quantity of the stuff before their last offense. Of these, many were violent. (Some enterprising inmates had drained the glass bottle dry and then found it a handy solution for a weapon.) “The Buckie made me do it” is apparently the classic defense… More at Atlas Obscura.

A bizarre story.

ZeTime: real hands, smart watch

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ZeTime: the world’s first hybrid smartwatch combining mechanical hands with a full round color touchscreen. Using groundbreaking technology to mount watch hands through the center of the high-resolution TFT color display, ZeTime blends the classic design of a traditional timepiece with the most advanced features of a smartwatch… More at kickstarter.

I’m not so sure about this idea. In my mind you either go full mechanical or full smart, there is no in-between.

Even Apple walks back to older style watches and does not take that final step to take advantage of the digital display.

For example-

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That is my Apple Watch face.

Why doesn’t it look like the one below?

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See, even Apple can’t leave the past behind?

£7 / month for a lot of mobile goodness

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12 Month SIM only on 3, with feel at home, 600 minutes, 12GB of data and unlimited texts for £7 per month. via Jon Love.

That is an amazing price for that much data (includes cash back deal of course). Would you Americans and Canadians like to share your SIM only prices? These prices must seem crazily low to you guys and we do feel for you in this area.

Echo Show

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Voice responses from Alexa are now enhanced with visuals and optimized for visibility across the room. Call or message your family and friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with Amazon Music, and more. All you have to do is ask.

Echo Show has eight microphones and beam-forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo Show is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive audio powered by Dolby. When you want to use Echo Show, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo Show responds instantly.

I like the look of this and I particularly like the way it is presented in the video below. While I am not convinced, however, that it offers much more than the original Echo in that a screen is not a true necessity, the price does not seem out of this world.