All posts filed under: TECHNOLOGY

Express your inner nerd with Kilobyte Couture

In the 1980s it was lame, even downright bogus to be a nerd. Nerds and geeks were a persecuted segment of society who sought revenge in a popular movie of the day, but thankfully times have changed. Now, a quarter of a century later, the intelligently elite traditionally known for having more brain than brawn have embraced their nerdiness, and it’s chic to be geek. Just ask Mississippi State University graduate Brittany Forks, who conceived an idea that combines fashion and computer parts. Kilobyte Couture was born in May of 2006 while Forks was working for her stepfather, Jeffery Wyatt, a researcher at MSU’s Simrall Electrical Engineering Building. To read more, click here. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Advertisements

Prius production in Mississippi

Mississippi got a little cooler today. Toyota has announced that the company will begin producing the Prius in 2010 at the Toyota plant in Blue Springs. The world’s leading environmental car and first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle is currently only being manufactured in Japan. A quick look at the Prius Web site shows that the car is being marketed with the slogan “Prius for the people.” They start at around $21,500. The Camry, $19,000, and the Highlander, $27,500, is also offered as a hybrid on the site. To see a Prius photo gallery, click here. Here’s The New York Times’ article on the subject. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.


New York Times writer Olivia Judson predicted today that Darwinmania will erupt next month upon the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s premiere announcement of the discovery of natural selection. The following year will be the 200th anniversary of his Feb. 12 birth, as well as the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. I have not finished reading The Origin of Species. (I have a habit of buying books, reading part of them, then buying more books.) But I decided to purchase it a while ago as a reference since Darwin’s theory still seems to be the subject of controversy, particularly in public schools where some argue that creationism and intelligent design should be offered in the science curriculum. I guess, because the theory has been controversial, I expected the book to be more philosophical when I began reading it, but it’s essentially a science text about natural selection. The word “evolution” sparks debate, but for some reason, most people seem to be OK with the term “natural selection.” “Natural selection” makes …

The Swim Girl

It’s getting hot out herrre, to borrow a phrase from Nelly, and that means people are taking advantage of their pools. But that can be quite the problem if you don’t know how to swim. Today, swim classes are offered for both children and adults, and Jackson resident Laura Uecker has created a unique part-time business that specializes in teaching adults to swim. It’s the age of the Internet, and Uecker has gone high-tech. At her website clients can look at her schedule and register online to take classes. Uecker, 35, also has access to an underwater camera and films clients for an additional fee so they can perfect their technique by watching themselves swim. She also edits the video on her home computer. Check out our story in The Clarion-Ledger. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

Cool gifts for hip dads

Father’s Day is this Sunday, and young, hip dads just aren’t going to be satisfied with the traditional tie. They want something a little more high-tech and cool. Check out our article in today’s Clarion-Ledger, where you’ll find many Father’s Day gift suggestions. And click here to view another version. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

The extinction of the watch?

The watch just may be an endangered species thanks to the millennial generation that uses their cell phone to tell time instead. To learn more about other products that face extinction, check out our story in The Clarion-Ledger. And here’s another list of things that could eventually go the way of the dinosaur. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Video game nostalgia

In an era when Nikes were new, skating rinks were popular weekend hangouts and Matthew Broderick was a teen idol, Pac-Man ate his way into the hearts of America and became an entertainment sensation at malls and department stores around the nation that welcomed something new called “the arcade.” “Steven Powell began working as an electronics technician in the early ’80s repairing coin-operated video games like Pac-Man, Defender and Donkey Kong encased in large cabinets. Drop some change in one, and you could play until Pac-Man was eaten by a ghost or Defender’s humanoids were killed by aliens. <br/? “I got to play all the games for free,” said Powell, who now owns the Brandon company Arcade Repairs & Restoration. “I never thought it would get to the point where home games would put arcade games out of business.” Fast forward almost 30 years, and there’s a renewed interest in arcade games. Many dragged from location to location bear scars that reveal their age. Powell often buys them at auctions, where a battered game can …

The iPhone?. . . Not so much

Apparently back in the 1970s, people weren’t really envisioning the iPhone. Instead, this was someone’s vision of the future, and you were cutting edge if you had one of these portable phone/bags that you could take with you and hook into any phone jack at your convenience. I’m not exactly sure how this was supposed to work, because didn’t most phone jacks generally have phones already plugged into them? So were you supposed to unplug an already existing phone so you could plug in your own phone/bag/purse? That just seems a little unnecessary. A company called La Pochette that sells vintage purses is offering these retro bags for $295 each, and they actually work . . . if you can still find a phone jack. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

I met my daddy on Maury

It’s funny, but sometimes you can tell what’s going on in pop culture by looking at baby onesies. Earlier this week, we did a story about High-Tech Tots and reported that they’re making baby onesies and T-shirts featuring the iPhone and iPod. And another previous post talked about the “What happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s,” baby clothes. Today, while reading the Best Week Ever pop culture website, I ran across a blog entry about onesies they’re selling on the Maury Povich site. As anyone who has watched Maury knows, most of his shows seem to revolve around determining the paternity of children raised by mothers who – after testing five, six, and sometimes even 10 different men – are still unsure about the father of their child. So now they have a onesie that reads “I met my daddy on Maury” and T-shirts for adults that echo Maury’s catch phrase after the DNA paternity results have been analyzed – “You are NOT the father.” The onesies cost $14.95. Save

High-tech tots

In The Clarion-Ledger today, you’ll find a story about High-tech Tots. Our children are growing up in a media-saturated world. While many of us can recall a time before the personal computer, our children have never lived in a world without them, and even those who are very young are adapting quickly to the technology that has become part of the fabric of their lives. When we asked if anyone out there had noticed their children emulating them by talking on the cell phone or playing with the computer, we received many responses from parents who said their little ones were much more tech-savvy than they were as children. What about your children? Have you noticed the same? Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Be afraid, be very afraid

National Geographic is promoting its new film “Sea Monsters,” funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The film explores prehistoric sea creatures that are the basis of legends like the Loch Ness Monster (a claim I was fascinated by as a child). Eighty million years ago, places like Kansas were at the bottom of the great inland sea that divided North America, and these “sea monsters” swam above. (My childhood dream was always to stumble upon one’s fossilized remains while poking around in the dirt.) Sadly, the site’s theater listings indicate that “Sea Monsters” isn’t playing in Mississippi, but it is showing in Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana if you want to check it out. I spent a lot of my childhood sitting on the carpet in the children’s section of the West Union Attendance Center school library right beside the librarian’s desk where the “strange” books were stored. They included “Thirteen Ghosts and Jeffrey” and the mysteries of the Loch Ness monster, Big Foot and the Bermuda Triangle. Were you fascinated …

‘Transformers’ hits theaters

If you were a boy who grew up in the 1980s, chances are you watched and owned “Transformers.” The Saturday morning cartoon popular with Gen X kids was released on the big screen this week. Check out my “Transformers” story today in The Clarion-Ledger. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

My Genographic Project results

Several years ago, I began researching my ancestry using and was hopeful I would be able to trace at least one family surname back to Europe or the area of the world in which my ancestors lived prior to coming to America. For some surnames, it was easy to find a family connection to others who had conducted extensive ancestry research, and I was able to discover that my roots are most likely Irish and German.Other branches of the tree were more difficult, and roadblocks stalled my search, leaving me to wonder exactly who I descended from. I recently stumbled across another ancestry research alternative while visiting the National Geographic Web site. National Geographic sponsors The Genographic Project, a global ancestry research project that tests the DNA of participants and categorizes the results according to the genetic markers found in your DNA. Pay $100, and you will receive a DNA testing kit. Swab your cheeks with the contents, send the DNA back, and several weeks later, your DNA results will be securely posted on …

Film review: ‘Children of Men’

For some reason, science fiction movies and stories set in England just seem a little more creepy. Maybe it’s because Europe is across the pond, and Americans just aren’t as familiar with it. Sometimes sci-fi movies set in the U.S. seem a little over the top and unbelievable, but I’m somehow able to buy that a virus can wipe out most of London and turn the remaining survivors into the walking dead. That is the plot of “28 Days Later,” one of the creepiest sci-fi/horror films in years, and “Children of Men,” another recently released sci-fi film set in England that depicts a dystopian futuristic society, shares similarities. In the future, the world becomes a very violent place, and for some reason that’s never clearly explained, women are no longer able to have children. The last child was born 18 years ago, but something miraculous has happened. A woman has become pregnant, and Clive Owen is willing to risk his life to help her and the baby survive. It’s a film you’ll probably have to …

Bored people across the pond are reading my blog

Having a blog is pretty fun. I’ve only done it the last few months, and I figured I probably had about 10 readers, most of whom are family members. I mean, who gives a tater tot what I think, you know? But the beauty of an Internet blog is that you are potentially able to reach bored people all over the world. This week, I signed up for Google Analytics, a blog statistics program, to see if it could tell me anything interesting about who was reading my blog, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that bored people in several countries have stumbled across it. Apparently most people who have checked out my blog are from the United States, but at least two people in Xian and Chengdu, China, were bored enough to read it. At least three people in the United Kingdom have been bored enough to read my blog. Google tells me they are in Manchester, Waterford and Ripe. (Hi there!) My blog is also being read by at least two bored …

Trends: When it comes to art, you can’t get more original than this

If having a photographer take your portrait isn’t intimate and personal enough, you might want to hand over your DNA to someone who can create a completely original piece of art for your home. A company called DNA 11, with the slogan “From life comes art,” takes DNA and fingerprint samples and turns them into colorful works of abstract art. Essentially, your chromosomes become cubes and your fingerprints become swirling labyrinths. The company allows you to select the color and size of your art. Then it sends a kit for collecting your own DNA samples. The samples are sent back to a lab, digitally enhanced and printed. This sounds really cool, in an X-Files sort of way. I just hope Big Brother and/or a mad scientist who wants to clone art lovers isn’t behind this. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Trends: Chillin’ with technology

Gone are the days when you leave a note taped to the refrigerator. Uncrate reports that the new Samsung Wireless ICE Refrigerator, which sells for $3,500, has the following: a detachable 10.4-inch wireless TFT touch-sensitive LCD Pad with a digital calendar, scheduler and memo pad; a built-in sound system; a digital AM/FM radio; and it can be programmed to let you know when your food’s expiration date is nearing. You can also wirelessly watch television on the LCD. Uh, does anyone really need a refrigerator that can do all this stuff? The only thing it seems to lack is a cryonics compartment that will preserve your body until they develop Frankenstein technology that can bring you back to life. It seems like our attempt to simplify things with technology is sure making things unnecessarily complicated. Remember when refrigerators just refrigerated things? You put stuff in one, it got cold, and everyone was happy. It makes you wonder if other kitchen appliances will change with the times. If you can listen to music and watch television …

Trends: Old-fashioned bunnies signify technological rebellion

I blogged about the return of 1800s-style baby bonnets in another post below, and I’ve also noticed lately that 19th century- and early 20th century-style toys seem to be making a comeback. I’ve seen many crocheted and hand sewn bunnies, bears and dolls posted on Style Hive that look very old-fashioned, and I think their revival signifies a rebellious cultural move. My belief is that sometimes, when our popular culture is saturated with something, society has a tendency to collectively move in the opposite direction. We are currently being bombarded by technology and are learning to quickly adapt to change. (The new iPhone below is a good example.) I think the old-fashioned toys represent a desire to return to a simpler time and expose children to wholesome, basic products without all the bells, whistles and memory cards. I even found a crocheted robot online that marries both ideas. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Speaking of James Cameron . . .

Speaking of James Cameron, who is mentioned below in another blog entry, The New York Times reports today that the famed “Titanic” director has begun working on a new $200 million production called “Avatar,” a science fiction movie with virtual characters designed to be so lifelike the audience will question whether they are human or animated. The word “avatar” is catching on lately because of popular video games and virtual world Web sites like “Second Life.” Those who want to explore can log on and create an “avatar” or animated version of themselves. But “Second Life” doesn’t exclusively own the word. Yahoo also allows users to create avatars for their own lists three meanings of the word: 1. In Hindu mythology, an avatar is the incarnation of a god. 2. It means an embodiment or personification of principle, attitude or view of life. 3. It’s a graphical image that represents a person, as on the Internet.Hummm. . . I wonder if my avatar should audition for the new movie? Got a comment? E-mail …

Film review: ‘Aliens of the Deep’ – Where are the aliens?

I was very excited about renting this 2005 film, because I’m fascinated by marine biology, particularly the unusual animals that live at the bottom of the ocean. Hoping to get an exclusive view of the strange creatures we rarely see, I put this in my Netflix cue thinking director James Cameron (of “Titanic” fame) would take me to the bottom of the ocean and show me a number of interesting creatures I’ve never seen before. I thought the film would consist mainly of underwater photography of the unique inhabitants, but to my disappointment, viewers only see a few glimpses of the strange “aliens” as they pass by Cameron’s submarine. The bulk of the film is about Cameron and his crew of scientists. Way too many scenes show them preparing to venture below and sitting around inside the vessel discussing the origins of life and the possibility of its existence on other planets. If I wanted to rent a film about astronomy, I would have looked for something with Carl Sagan or Stephen Hawking in the …

Trends: Computers, a la natural

For those who like the idea of ironically combining modern technology with traditional natural elements, check out Wood Contour, where you’ll find wooden keyboards, monitors and mice. The Web site says every luxury piece is custom-made from one solid piece of wood. Visit Popgadget for more interesting products. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Trends: Wood memory sticks

My friends and I were just talking about memory sticks yesterday in the office, and I found this one covered in natural wood that can be purchased at Charles & Marie. That will look pretty interesting sticking out of your computer. The 1 gig “stick” sells for $89. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Trends: Shower tiles that change colors

Speaking of things that change color, like the purses below, these are heat-responsive shower tiles that change color when they are wet. Created by Moving Color, the company said the tiles were inspired by the Northern Lights of Alaska. They appear black at room temperature and change colors when temperature is applied.The company offers three types of tiles. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Photo credit: Moving Color Save

Trends: A step beyond glow-in-the-dark

A company called LumiGram is now making shirts, purses, pillows, table cloths, etc., out of fiberoptic material. I guess it’s a step beyond glow-in-the-dark. I’m not sure if it’s my style, but it’s a pretty interesting idea. It has that “Studio 54” disco look, and that’s a scary thought, because that means not only have the ’80s trends like leggings returned, disco and the styles of the late ’70s and early ’80s may be right around the corner. I’m not sure any of us are prepared for that level of tackiness again. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.Photo credit: Lumigram Save