While functionally pointless, the pictured steampunk keyboard and monitor mods may very well be the coolest goddamn things I’ve ever seen. Manufactured at the Steampunk Workshop, these mods (which, sadly, aren’t for sale and cannot yet be commissioned from the original designer) take your computer back to the Victorian age with gorgeous, anachronistic glee.
The keyboard looks like some sort of futuristic typewriter (complete with Roman numeral function keys) the flatscreen LCD monitor looks like something out of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and it seems that a mouse mod is on the way soon – never before has purposelessness looked so damn pretty.
The humping dog
Allegedly, later or upcoming versions of the humping dog actually also work as storage devices, but I refer here to the original, purely decorative humping dog. Complete with a USB dongle where his man-parts should be, the humping dog will, when inserted into any USB port in any computer, proceed to emit a loud, plastic shaking sound accompanied by – well, just watch the video. You plug the dog in, it humps your computer. Hardy effing har.
The humping dog is the exact sort of accessory everyone hears about and instinctively wants, until rationality wins out as we realize that it’s loud, it drains power, it’s essentially useless, and it’s only funny for about nineteen seconds (the exact length of the attached video, which means that after you’ve finished it, the humping dog will never, ever be amusing again).
Ostensibly, the monitor mirror is designed to allow the user to keep one eye on his six o’ clock at all times. Okay, I guess I can see how it works, but…why? If you install a monitor mirror on your home computer, who are you trying to watch out for? Family members? Roommates? People who already know you visit disgusting, depraved websites and would not be remotely surprised if they came in on you masturbating? Why even bother keeping an eye out for them – wouldn’t it be easier just to lock your door and save yourself the occasional sideways glance into the mirror?
Or, if you’re using the mirror at work, wouldn’t its presence alone tip off your superiors that you’re probably doing something you ought not be doing? Merely seeing the mirror, and thereby eventually understanding its purpose, would probably be enough for most workplace managers to demand its removal. Unless you’re seriously worried about someone sneaking up behind you and slitting your throat with an edged weapon or something (in which case you probably shouldn’t be dicking around on the computer anyway), the monitor mirror is really just a waste of ten bucks.
Yes, the USB Doomsday Device has a functional purpose: it serves as a 4 port USB hub. That doesn’t excuse the fact that as a decorative workstation accessory, it’s exactly the sort of thing which could get you reported to the Department of Homeland Security. Just ask the guys behind the Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerilla marketing campaign: we live in a time where any device with flashing lights or visible wires can and will inspire a bomb panic (and, subsequently, jail time). Heck, the Aqua Teen guys only hooked a battery up to some neon lights – imagine what a co-worker or nosy neighbor might do if they saw what appeared to be a hazardous-looking doomsday object, complete with a big red button and a fucking skull and crossbones symbol, sitting innocently on your tabletop.
But, what if you’re in a situation where the doomsday device won’t instill post-9/11 panic in your peers? Is it okay to buy the Doomsday Device?
Not really, no. It’s still a pointless piece of machinery, outside of its extra USB ports. While the user has to go through three different levels of security to gain access to the Big Red Button located in the center of the device, pressing the button doesn’t actually do anything. It plays an awkward explosion sound effect, yeah, but all of the locks and flashing lights and buttons really just turn out to be decorative. How much more badass would it have been if the user could program his own use for the button? The Big Red Button could initiate an immediate shutdown, or open a favorite (hidden) program, or minimize all open windows and send the user straight to the desktop. Looking as cool and complex as it does, the Doomsday Device really just makes you wonder how much cooler it could have been, if only that damned button had some actual purpose.
Firstly, the shirt is battery-powered. Call me crazy, but I don’t feel that my wardrobe should require recharging.
Secondly, WHY? If you really need to detect Wi-Fi hotspots without taking out a laptop and checking manually, why not just carry around a Wi-Fi detector keychain? Why buy something which will not only advertise your nerdiness to the world in a mind-bogglingly ostentatious way, but will also force you to look straight down at your chest, brow furrowed, to get any real use out of it? Pointless. Absolutely pointless.
Even ignoring the obsolescence of CDs in this day and age, it takes some pretty large balls (or a legendary amount of arrogance) to consider your CD collection worth visually sharing to any- and everyone who falls within your line of sight. Software necessities like Microsoft Office notwithstanding, do you really want to advertise your half-dozen They Might Be Giants albums, or your complete collection of the Warcraft series and its expansions?
Yeah, mounting the CDs upright on a wall might make them easier to sort through, but such organization also makes it irritatingly easy for passerby to observe, and silently laugh at, the music, movies, and software you consider most important in your techno-centric life.
What? Just—what? A USB robot I can sort of get, sure. But a snowman robot? Who looks at a snowman and thinks, “You know, this could be a little more futuristic”?
Let’s have a look at its features:
- USB Powered (for great justice!)
- Scanning LED Robotic Eye
- Rate of sweeping is controllable via knob
- Selectable LED Robotic Eye Colors (Blue or Red)
- Authentic Snowbot Sound (on/off switch)
- Rotating, articulating metal arms
- Coiled (12") USB cable extends to 30"
You’ll notice that, unlike the Doomsday Device, the ThinkGeek Snowbot doesn’t even allow for some functional use by providing extra USB ports. It’s a toy, plain a simple: a toy which doesn’t really do anything specific, makes very little sense in and of itself, and can only be powered with the help of your computer. It might be a useful gift for someone you really don’t know what to get, but hell – there are better ways to spend 15 bucks.