Floppy Disk Coasters: Protect Your Tabletop and Your Data

It’s been nearly two decades since I had to use a 3.5″ floppy disk for anything. I used to have boxes and boxes of the things packing everything from Microsoft Windows ridiculously bloated installers to various “warez” that I really shouldn’t have had in my possession. But those days are long gone, and pretty much all of my storage is of the solid state kind now.

After I was done using all those floppies, I thought they might make good drink coasters, but the moisture just got inside, and they scratched up my coffee table instead of protecting it. Fortunately, somebody has created floppy disk coasters with neither of those problems.

TechnoChic makes these fun retro coasters from old floppies which have been covered in vinyl, then backed with cork. Problem solved. No liquid gets inside the disk, and your tabletop is safe from scratches. I suppose you could do the same thing with a little time and hot glue, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

You can grab a set of five floppy coasters over on TechnoChic’s Etsy shop for $25. They’re also available in red if you’re looking for something a little more colorful.

This Colorful LED Rounded-key Keyboard Looks Sweet

I’ve seen keyboards with colorful LED backlighting, and keyboards with cool retro-style round keys. But this is the first time I’ve come across a single keyboard which combines the two ideas into one.

This colorful and distinctive keyboard from Ajazz features bright LED backlighting, which provides a brilliant backdrop to its rounded keys. The RGB backlit version can be programmed to display just about any color, along with some vibrant animations as shown in the video below, including some cool ones that follow the position of your keypresses:

In addition to the RGB version, there’s a blue backlit version if you don’t care for the disco lightshow of the full color version. Prices range from $79 for 87-key with blue lighting to $99 for the 104-key, RGB version. They’re available now from Brando.

Apple II Blu-ray/DVD Drive: Disk to the Future

With the advent of HD and 4K streaming video, you may think that physical disks are obsolete. But frankly, most of the 1080p Blu-ray discs I’ve played on my home theater system look better than even 4K streamed content out there because of the compression streaming services apply to reduce bandwidth usage. That said, this Apple II Disk II drive is no longer obsolete, thanks to its conversion into a working Blu-ray drive.

The old 5-1/4″ Apple floppy disk drive – circa 1978 – was gutted and converted into a working Blu-ray drive by Charles Mangin of RetroConnector. Inside, he’s fitted it with a modern USB 3 drive that can play HD movies and also read and write CDs and DVDs.

I love how it really looks unmodified at first glance. The disk drive door still locks into place, and he even rigged it so the old red LED blinks with drive activity. Priced at $500, it’s a bit expensive given what Blu-ray drives go for these days, but I love the looks of this thing so much that I’m throwing money at the screen right now.

Razer Built a Giant Working Mechanical Keyboard

Many people love mechanical keyboards. In fact, mechanical keyboards are making a comeback these days as people find them to provide better feedback and faster typing compared to skinny modern keyboards. If you love mechanical keyboards, you’ll be happy to know that Razer built a giant one that they had on display at its CES booth this year.

It is the size of a table, and it’s not just for show either – it’s fully functional. It has tactile key clicks and realistic actuation, as well as full Razer Chroma RGB lighting. They didn’t miss a single detail.This massive keyboard rules them all. Can you imagine using this in your home or office? You would feel like a God when responding to comments on the internet.

Anything you typed would be gold. Although typing some keyboard combinations like CTRL+ALT+DELETE, might be like playing Twister. Still, you would feel like the CEO of the world. Sadly, we can’t buy one and experience this thrill. Razer only made it to show off and look cool, so THEY could feel all mighty and powerful. We, the little people, get little keyboards that barely fit our fat fingers. Just another case of “the man” keeping us down. Or in this case, keeping us typing on small keyboards.

[via The Next Web]

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Google caters to the DIY crowd with an AI camera kit for Raspberry Pi

Google created its AIY Projects initiative -- "artificial intelligence yourself" -- to encourage developers and DIY enthusiasts to learn about artificial intelligence. The first project in the series, the ready-to-assemble Raspberry Pi-based AIY Voic...

Epic Life-size Iron Man Contains a Working PC

I’ve seen some pretty amazing case mods over the years, but this life-size Iron Man PC might just be the most incredible PC build yet. Pro system builder Jengki Wmp of World Media Plus created this life-size sculpture of Iron Man in his Mk. 45 armor, which also happens to double as a high-end gaming PC.

The system houses an MSI X99A Xpower Gaming Titanium motherboard, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with 8GB, an Intel Core i7-5820K CPU, speedy ZADAK511 Shield 3000MHz DDR4 memory, a 240GB ZADAK511 Shield SSD, and a 600W Thermaltake Toughpower PSU. The whole thing is water-cooled using a Thermaltake system. It makes me wonder if Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor would last longer if it were water-cooled, or if it would just electrocute him.

Of course, what makes this system so awesome isn’t the computer, but the incredible, detailed sculpting, with super-shiny red and gold armor, and a slick light-up interior so you can see all the computer components. The rainbow-illuminated cooling fans in Iron Man’s back are a nice touch too.

Amazing build, Jengki. I can’t imagine how much time and effort it took to create this thing, but you deserve all of the awards they throw your way.

[via Mike Shouts]

ZephVR Adds Wind Simulation to Virtual Reality

If you’ve ever strapped on a proper virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, you know how truly immersive today’s VR experiences can be. But there are still some things that break the illusion, like not being able to truly walk around, and the way things FEEL versus the way things LOOK.

In the interest of making VR experiences even more realistic, ZephVR is developing an inexpensive add-on for VR goggles that is designed to produce simulated wind while you make your way through the VR landscape.

The ZephVR adds a pair of lightweight fans to your goggles, and hits you with a breeze of air that’s synchronized with your VR games. Apparently, it uses audio from VR games and machine learning algorithms to listen for wind noise to determine when to blow its fans, rather than detecting player movements. I think that approach seems a little odd, but I’m guessing it’s easier to intercept the audio compared to trying to determine movements in 3D space.

In addition to the autonomous mode for gameplay, the fans can be turned on full time in case you just want to keep cool while playing. Plus, the system is compatible with all three major VR platforms, Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.

The early bird deal for the ZephVR has the add-on priced at just $75, so it’s a reasonably inexpensive add-on to your VR rig. It’s an interesting idea, though I think you might want to wait to test one out before jumping into the Kickstarter fray on this one.

Coca-Cola PC Casemod: Have a CPU and a Smile

We used to feature lots of awesome PC casemods here on Technabob, but the rise of laptops and mobile devices has all but killed the desktop PC except for high-end gaming and professional workstations. So with that, the number and frequency of cool mods has decreased dramatically. But here’s one recent casemod I really thought was worth sharing.

Built as a collaboration between PC maker MAINGEAR and tooth decay maker Coca-Cola, this amazing custom PC build is loaded with the latest and greatest tech, and also looks amazing.

The PC features Coke’s iconic red and white color scheme, and a slick liquid cooling system that incorporates an actual glass Coca-Cola bottle. They even managed to figure out a way to make the cooling liquid look like Coke, complete with fizzy bubbles inside. They even went so far as to use the actual mix of dyes that Coke uses in their soda for authenticity. There’s also a slight green tinge to the side glass, which matches the “Georgia Green” that Coke bottles are made from.

The gaming PC is based on the MAINGEAR Rush, running an Intel 6950x CPU and HyperX memory. However, it’s been highly customized for this build. One of the highlights of the system is the dual GTX 1080 graphics card stack that they managed to mount at a 90º angle relative to the motherboard, and the visible liquid cooling that flows through see-through plumbing and into a cooling reservoir on top of the card.

It’s a really beautiful build, though I really wish it had a Coke dispenser built in. Actually, I prefer Diet Coke.

These Raspberry Pi Cases Make Tiny Retro Computers

If you’re a fan of classic computer systems from the 1980s, then check this out. These custom-made cases let you build a working Raspberry Pi computer system that looks like a mini version of iconic retro systems.

RetroPiCases makes miniature cases based on the Commodore 64, VIC-20, Amiga 500, BBC Model B, and my personal favorite, the Atari ST – which was the last great computer system that didn’t run either Windows or Mac OS if you ask me.

Each 3D-printed case perfectly fits a Raspberry Pi board (be sure to read the descriptions on Etsy to see which board it requires), and provides proper access to its ports, and some cases include an LED power light as well.

The cases sell for about $20 to $35 (USD) each, not including the cost of the Raspberry Pi board itself. Naturally, I think these would be best when loaded up with Emulation Station and system appropriate software so you can use it to run classic computer software.