Crap gadgets reborn as "Dead Startup Toys"

Originally published at: Crap gadgets reborn as "Dead Startup Toys" | Boing Boing


40 bucks is alot to pay for a toy version of the Coolest cooler to go along with the one I have in the garage.


From crapgadgets to collectiblecrap. It all feels super wasteful to me.


Most of these cases, these things are such crap it seems like you should be able to buy the real thing for $40.


Their take down of the OLPC is unfair. The OLPC may never have delivered on its promise to deliver a $100 laptop to kids in developing nations, but it was a huge influence in spurring the creation of netbooks and Chromebooks, and developing a market for less expensive, lower tier laptops and bringing computing to under-served areas.

The OS was pretty interesting, too. I downloaded a copy and ran it on a virtual machine. It was designed around a community metaphor rather than an office metaphor, which would be more recognizable and learnable for kids in a non-computerized setting (think of a non-electrified village). I never had anyone to test it out with, but it was a fairly novel way of introducing collaborative tech to kids in developing nations.

The other items are bunkum, but the OLPC was a quirky little device that had a huge, if not readily visible impact.


What, no :CueCat with PS2 connector?


I have so many coolers in the garage, I make them pay rent.


I totally agree with you.

My son recently took out his OLPC 4 and the clock activity to use it to time how long he was able to play a round on the cardboard pinball machine I built. Unprompted by any adult. It was and remains a functional tool for many kids all over the world. Who cares if adults saw it as a “toy”: put in the hands of children, they did and continue to do some pretty amazing (and mundane but otherwise unavailable without the technology) things with them. And yes he has a Chromebook, but somehow this tool just fit better for him for the activity in which he engaged himself.


There was a ps2 version? I have a USB cuecat that I still to this day use as a quick barcode scanner.


I bought the OLPC one, and am looking forward to receiving it. I agree it is in a different category from the rest, but it is still a valuable reminder of the mistake of believing in absolute techno positivism, your own hubris, and your own hype. I was in grad school for design during the OLPC’s hay days and I bought it to remind myself of that even well intentioned and well received ideas fail.


I agree!

I think it technically qualifies, but it’s weird to bundle it in with the other stuff.

Kind of like when people say Oxfam is imperialist. Which is true enough in terms of what is meant by the term “imperialist”, but it ain’t imperialist the way Dupont or Monsanto are imperialist.


This is another MSCHF project so I doubt there ever was an intention to sell a physical product.

Cast your mind back to when* MSCHF supposedly launched a shoe and the grumpy contingent of the BB message boards just refused to get the joke. You’re clearly smart enough to recognise satire, but why let that get in the way of a good rant.

*"Jesus Shoes" are Nikes laced with holy water | Boing Boing

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I get your point, it’s a bit mean spirited to compare a charity to the pure greed of Theranos. But when clicking through to the article there was some food for thought:

… The widely-touted $100 price tag also became the OLPC’s personal albatross–the number appears to have initially been selected purely for catchiness and not based on any of the practical logistics of manufacturing the laptop.

… the OLPC represents the pinnacle of “design thinking”–a willful disregard for execution and systemic causes in favor of a singular object … the idea of digital literacy was the grade-school education equivalent of “learn to code,”

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You have to press [F] to pay respects to Capitalism.
You will absolutely not be disappointed!

What? No Smalt???

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Well said. I have one in the cupboard (signed by no less a person than Alan Kay [1]), I should get it out and see if I can find the charger. Lovely little device with so much potential - it would have been wonderful if it succeeded.

[1] Just in case that name means nothing: Alan Kay - Wikipedia




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