Airplanes are dirty,
noisy and expensive. But now, a dedicated team of experts are
working around the clock to build a clean, quite and affordable
alternative: The rubber band-powered airplane. Folks, I'm not
making this up! When finished, the "Rubber Bandit" will be 33 feet long, with a wing span of
71 feet, and be powered by a rubber band that weighs 100 pounds.
After six years of work and more than a half million dollars,
the plane is ready to fly any day now.
Miracle Car Wax Deflects
Want to break the law
without risking a ticket? A new company claims its "Stealth
Guard" car wax fends off police radar. The company that
makes the product, Radiant
Labs, says the wax turns police radar into heat, thereby
giving you a few extra seconds to slam on the brakes. The
company promises a line of Stealth Guard car paint later this
year. Hey, if I wax my cell phone with this stuff, can I get
through the security checkpoint at JFK airport without setting
off the alarm?
The Smell of
Modern Rolls Royces,
which use cheap plastic and other synthetic materials in their
cars just like everybody else, started getting complaints from
their well-heeled customers that the cars didn't have that
certain Rolls-Royce "something" anymore. Rolls
researchers studied the problem and found out that new cars
didn't smell like the old ones did. See, the old Rolls Royces
were luxuriously appointed with dead cow skin and dead trees,
the stench of which Rolls customers came to associate with
luxury. So the company formulated a spray-on liquid that brings
back that old leather-and-wood Rolls Royce stink. And,
reportedly, customers are happy again.
PC Nose Candy
of products that stink, a just-outside-of-Silly-Con-Valley
company is working on bringing something smelly to your
computer. Oakland-based DigiScents
is creating a system for delivering odors over the Internet.
Here's how it works. You buy a USB peripheral device called
iSmell (that's a product, not a confession). Like a printer, it
contains "cartridges" of scented oils. When you launch
a smell file on your computer, the iSmell heats a specific
combination of oils to create the smell of bananas, rotten eggs,
or even the smell of an old Rolls Royce. The product will be
available by the end of this year, according to the company.
(Pictured are DigiScents co-founders Joel Lloyd Bellenson and
Phone Spam Hell
Every technology has it's
upside - and it's downside. Unless you're new to the planet,
you've read that the new world of net access and e-mail via
mobile phone is all upside. If got bad news for you: A coming
plague of phone spam threatens to ruin it for everyone. Read
all about it.
Ad Creep of the Week
which is a web site that offers searchable archives of news
groups and e-commerce, recently added a "feature"
whereby whenever someone posts a message and mentions a company,
the mention becomes a live link to related areas on the Deja
site that sell things. Needless to say, a lot of usenet
enthusiasts are honked about Deja modifying - and profiting from
- their posts.
Crackies, Not Iraqis
The Pentagon thought Iraq
had launched a coordinated cyber-attack on a couple hundred
military web sites during the UN conflict with Iraq in 1998. But
a two-year study revealed that the attacks were really
perpetrated by a bunch of American teenagers, as well as hackers
from American biggest Middle Eastern ally Israel.
Lab: Sony's Tiny Camera
is working on a tiny, 330,000-pixel digital camera that's
smaller than a Bic lighter. It uses Sony's "Memory Stick
Duo" storage technology, which is a shorter version of it's
standard "Memory Stick" technology. The camera is less
than 2.5 inches long, .84 inches wide and only a half inch thick
and weighs less than one ounce. It even sports a tiny LCD
display, so you can view your 640 x 480-pixel pictures after
taking them. The camera is a science project at this point, and
the company has no plans to sell it. Sony hopes to learn how to
make very small and light cameras, which can be integrated into
clothing, watches, PDAs and - who knows? - maybe even your
Dot-Com Food Hard to
A new restaurant called Venture
Frogs in San Francisco dishes up food named after
dot-com startups. You can order eBay Eggplant, Microsoft Minced
Chicken and Yahoo Thai Beef Salad. But the most Silly Con Valley
aspect of their menu is the shameless pandering to the
technology-business press. Yes, you'll also find Business 2.0
Bok Choy, Internet World Beef Bowl and even Upside Strange
Flavored Wings, thus guaranteeing coverage - and customers - for
this otherwise ordinary restaurant.