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November 15, 2014

Dutchman has Bitcoin wallets injected in hands

Filed under: Gadgets,Health,Technology by Branko Collin @ 1:44 pm

bitcoin-key-fob-btc_keychainAmsterdam-based entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer had two NFC chips injected into his hands earlier this month, The Telegraph writes.

The chips are to act as encrypted Bitcoin wallets. Wismeijer is the owner of Mr. Bitcoin, a company that distributes and operates ATMs for the currency.

Wismeijer told The Telegraph, “Most doctors will not want to install the implant so a body manipulation artist (preferably not just tattoo artist or piercer) will be your next best bet. Make sure they work according to strict hygiene codes and know what they are doing.”

Parool adds that Rockstart in Amsterdam (a start-up accelerator) hosted an implant session yesterday where one could have a sub-dermal NFC chip injected for about 130 euro. Wismeijer told the newspaper that currently about 2000 people have such implants.

It’s not clear from the articles whether Wismeijer uses the chips to store Bitcoins, keys to unlock Bitcoins or something else.

Check the Telegraph for a video in which the question “does it hurt” is answered. Too scared / don’t want to? Martijn Wismeijer told Parool: “They were the biggest needles I’ve ever seen.”

(Photo by BTC Keychain, some rights reserved)

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September 30, 2014

iPads are ‘means of communication’, not computers or phones

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:44 am

In late 2012 a Dutch court ruled that iPads were not phones and that angered broadcaster RTL Nederland because that meant they would owe back taxes to the tune of 323,687 euro on 664 iPads with Vodafone subscriptions given to their employees for Christmas.

RTL appealed the ruling at the time, and yesterday a higher court overturned the decision and ruled that not only are iPads not phones, they are also not computers: they are “means of communication.” The clincher is that the law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable to be taxed, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices.”

The iPad is a fancy tin can with a string attached to it that is not primarily used to do all your work on, giving RTL a reason to pop open some champers.

(Link: webwereld.nl)

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August 12, 2014

The NoPhone, the no-tech smartphone for addicts

Filed under: Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 10:27 am

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There are people addicted to using their smartphones, and maybe you’re one of them. Fear not, you can buy or ask someone to buy you the NoPhone, so you can finally have conversations with humans instead of checking your phone the whole time.

Dutch creatives Ben Langeveld and Ingmar Larsen together with a couple of New Yorkers thought up the 3D printed NoPhone, a black rectangular bit of plastic that feels like a smartphone in your hand, but isn’t one.

According to them, a person touches a smartphone about 150 times a day, significantly reducing a person’s real-life interaction. The NoPhone is like the pen a smoker puts in their mouth to ease cravings.

I bet people would buy the NoPhone for someone else as a huge hint that watching them stare at their phone is annoying. In fact, Langeveld and Larsen made the NoPhone with that specific type of addict in mind.

(Link: www.adformatie.nl, Photo: NoPhone)

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August 9, 2014

17th century book of watercolour paints by A. Boogert

Filed under: Art,Design,Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:39 pm

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Eric Kwakkel found this extensive 800-page book on how to prepare and mix watercolour paints in an online library in France.

It was published in Dutch in 1692 by one A. Boogert:

He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question [...]. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at.

The book is called ‘The Clear Bright Mirror of the Art of Painting’ (‘De Klaerlighte Spiegel der Verfkonst’) and is written in plain Dutch. Unfortunately I keep tripping over Mr Boogert’s handwriting, otherwise I might have treated you to a couple of paragraphs. Due to the nature of the work (three colour printing wasn’t available until the late 19th century), it is likely that the author produced only a single copy. And it’s very cool is that this copy survived.

Shown here are two opposite pages of the index (“blatwijser of regisster”).

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July 25, 2014

Sad Dutch Kickstarter projects are sad

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink,Gadgets,Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:24 am

The Dutch have had their own Kickstarter site for a few months now and I have seen many interesting projects get the funding they probably deserve. However, they are a lot of ‘non-starters’ on the site because anybody can ask for money and hope for the best without being serious. The projects that get my attention usually fall into four categories: the good ones that usually get funded, the ones that don’t get funded or get insufficient funding, the ones nobody gives a toss about but could be serious, and the jokey ones. Let’s have a look at the last two categories, the losers and the jokers:

– ‘I need a computer to review stuff on the Internet and become a YouTuber’.
How about you get a job? It would go faster, too.

– Two guys want to deliver apple pie to their friend for his 17th birthday, but would rather someone else pays for it.
You can’t find 5-10 euro for your best friend? Ouch.

– ‘I make music. To make these tracks, I need money. You want to spend money on music’
It sounds more like you don’t want to spend money on music…

– Someone want to sell ‘trustee rings’ to prove their ‘fidelity’ and got 1 euro so far.
They have GPS and Wi-Fi to track your partner. Stalker alert!

– A statue for Louis van Gaal, but only if the Netherlands wins the World Cup, which it didn’t.
Nice try.

– Frying up extreme eggs.
Ever since a potato salad got funded, Kickstarter is full of food-related projects.

– ‘A story about a boy that lives in a crappy world.’
Buy a diary, write it down and take up drinking like the rest of us.

(Link: www.kickstarter.com/discover/countries/NL, photo of a lightbulb by Emil Kabanov, some rights reserved)

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March 15, 2014

Marjan van Aubel’s table harvests electricity for mobile devices

Filed under: Design,Gadgets by Branko Collin @ 1:52 pm

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Why not make your table top a solar cell? Add in a couple of USB ports and you’ve got a cell phone charger that you could eat off. And that is exactly what London-based Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel did.

Writes Dezeen:

Inside the glass panels is a dye-synthesised solar cell that uses the properties of colour to create an electrical current, in a similar way to how plants use green chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy. [...] Charging times vary depending on the amount of sunlight present. “One cell needs about eight hours to fully charge a battery, and there are four cells for each USB port,” the designer said.

This reminds me of the bookcase with a memory by Ianus Keller and the table shaped case-mod by Marlies Romberg (story here).

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(Link: Bright; photos: Marjan van Aubel)

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September 14, 2013

Phonebloks, a modular open mobile phone platform in search of manufacturers

Filed under: Design,Gadgets,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 11:43 am

Eindhoven-based inventor and designer Dave Hakkens is a man of ideas and his latest idea, a mobile phone of which you can swap out parts when they break down or get too old, is getting a lot of attention on the Internet.

The idea behind Phonebloks is to commoditize the hardware behind the mobile phone in such a way that not manufacturers but consumers get to swap out parts—a sort of Lego for mobile phones. There would have to be a ‘Blok-store’ where you could order the parts you want (at a suitable mark-up of course) all the while feeling good about yourself for not throwing out your entire mobile phone when you get tired of parts of it.

Hakkens seems to have learned from a previous project, a power strip called Plugbook, which he ran on Kickstarter but which failed to reach its target. In order to show your interest in Phonebloks you do not have to pledge your own money. Instead you voice your support via Thunderclap in the hope that manufacturers and investors will sit up and take notice.

(Via my Facebook page where people were ‘liking’ the damn thing by the boatloads. Illustration: crop from Dave Hakkens’ video.)

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August 13, 2013

Shoplifter leaves with photos instead of tablet

Filed under: Gadgets,Photography by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

Since last week the Amsterdam police are looking for a shoplifter who changed his mind while robbing a Kruidvat drugstore located in the De Pijp district.

Initially the man tried to steal a tablet computer that was stored in a display case, but later changed his mind. He left the fancy gear behind and took off with somebody’s printed photos. The man took off on a bicycle.

The video below shows the man entering the store and taking the tablet from the display case.

My theory is the man came in to collect his photos, saw an opportunity to acquire a tablet he had no money for, then realised the bulge in his jacket would look suspicious at the register. OK, so it’s not a very good theory. What do you think was in those pictures?

The video doubles as a free instructional film on Dutch bicycle etiquette. The shoplifter first secures the rear wheel using his wheel lock, then does the same using a chain lock.

(Photo/video: Politie.nl (YouTube))

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December 17, 2012

DIY ‘Price Is Right’ game as gift box

Filed under: Design,Gadgets,Gaming,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:20 pm

Richard Garsthagen made this ingenious gift box for his 15-year-old niece for Saint Nicholas’ Eve.

On Saint Nicholas’ Eve many grown ups and teenagers in the Netherlands give each other gifts. To keep things affordable a spending limit is determined and the name of each recipient is drawn from a hat. The gift is hidden somewhere in the house or wrapped in a difficult to unwrap package called the ‘surprise’, and the person giving it writes a poem on behalf of Saint Nicholas in which the good saint mockingly reviews the recipients’ past year.

Garsthagen’s niece did not seem to understand the concept of a spending limit and asked for gifts that were much more expensive than that, so he hid her gift in a The Price is Right game. In the video he explains how it works, and at Instructables he explains how you can create a game like this yourself.

(Photo: crop from a screenshot of the video by Richard Garsthagen)

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December 11, 2012

Two companies to offer 3D printing services early next year

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:03 pm

A company called 3DSVP will start offering 3D printing services on the premises of the Meneer Paprika store in Haarlem next January, Hyped.nl reports.

The store expects to sell products mainly made of polyamide, but also jewellery made of silver and stainless steel. 3DSVP has been running a web shop since September, showcasing the type of products that you can have them print.

A similar service will be offered by Office Centre in the first quarter of 2013, the difference being that the Easy 3D printing service will use paper as its base material. Office Centre is a Dutch company (founded in 1993 as a merger) that is now owned by American office supplies company Staples. According to Engadget the service “will handle architectural designs, maps, medical models, replica weapons and anything else that can be made with fragments of paper arranged in 0.1mm layers up to a maximum height of six inches”.

Note that realistic replicas of guns are strictly forbidden in the Netherlands.

See also: Ultimaker, a lightning fast 3D printer.

(Link tip: Laurent Chambon. Photo of an Ultimaker-printed casing for a small video camera by HeatSync Labs, some rights reserved)

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