Slingbox Mobile Home Theater
The road. Sure it can be ugly. The lumpy beds, flat pillows, and sub-par
chicken wings from room service. You’re desperate for comfort, even
something as meager as watching your favorite TV show while waiting
for room service. As long as your hotel has an internet connection
and you have a Slingbox at home, you’ll never have to watch The
Weather Channel again.
Slingbox and the SlingPlayer, which you download to your laptop,
feature support for everything from your TiVo to your cable or satellite
box. Slingbox installs into your existing home setup in minutes
with a cool intuitive wizard that auto-discovers and configures. You
can even get a mobile version that you use on your smartphone or
on Pocket PCs that use the Windows Mobile OS (a Mac-compatible
version is on the way). I think I hear room service knocking.
The Ultimate Action Figure
Acrobots have a peculiar expressiveness
that’s articulate and strangely open to
interpretation — and this is what makes
them the ultimate action figure for the
office. Use their jointed bodies and magnetic
hands to erect pyramids, re-enact scenes
from kung fu movies, and stage dramatic
displays that hint of emotions that you
just can’t otherwise communicate. Believe
me, there’s no better way to spend a dull
moment at work.
· It comes up often enough in the
shop: you want to mark a line “x”
inches in from the edge of something.
You end up futzing around with
tape measures, pencil tick-marks,
and straightedges — but still aren’t
sure you got it exactly right. Well,
Japanese woodworkers have been
worrying about this problem for a few
centuries longer than you, and have
evolved a better way: the marking
gauges called kebiki.
A similar western tool exists
(expensive brass and rosewood
models are popular in the tool-fondler
catalogs), but I admire the simple
elegance of the Japanese version.
The kama kebiki type has a
comfortably rounded oak grip, and
two (retractable) steel knives for
scribing lines. Its official function is
laying out mortises, but even after
owning one for 20 years, I’m still
discovering surprising new uses for
mine. Scoring cut-lines in wood
reduces chip-out, and strips of thin
veneers, plastics, etc., can be sliced
off directly. And it’s one of those
special tools that gives you pleasure
just picking it up.