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iKettle boils water on command for lazy smartphone users

Getting up and walking into the kitchen is such a hassle. Why not stay under your cozy covers and use your smartphone to turn on the kettle? That's the idea behind iKettle, a Wi-Fi-enabled kitchen gadget that connects to your iOS or Android device.

The iKettle can be controlled remotely from anywhere in your house. You can kick back on the couch, turn on the kettle with your phone, and lounge around until the water is ready. You will get a notification on your phone when the kettle has reached a boil. A keep-warm setting maintains the heat until … Read more

The 404 1,291: Where we paddle out to North Brother island (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- What happens when you install every adware, toolbar, and plug-in offered for download on the Internet?

- Great comments on YouTube for Jeff.

- Cheap vacation: An abandoned island in the middle of NYC.

- You can now buy a spray at Home Depot that makes anything wateproof.

- I usually don't get excited about iPad cases, but this one takes me back.… Read more

Sonic screwdriver toothbrush gives you a timeless smile

Jelly babies have a way of getting stuck in your teeth, no matter what planet you're from. Scrub them out of there with an officially licensed Doctor Who sonic screwdriver toothbrush.

The $20 electric toothbrush looks like something you'd find next to the sink in the Doctor's bathroom, though we never actually see the bathrooms in the Tardis. It runs on one AA battery and comes with a spare head.… Read more

Tetris alarm clock levels up your mornings

You could wake up to the buzzing of an alarm clock. You could wake up to your smartphone's ringtone. Or you could wake up to the dulcet tones of the Tetris theme music.

The Tetris alarm clock is officially licensed. At first glace, it's a little nondescript. Look closer and you'll see the function buttons are shaped like Tetris blocks.

The clock's real draw are the falling blocks that build each number as the time changes. The gadget is currently available for preorder for about $40 from Firebox.… Read more

Podtime: Napping tubes for pod people

You want to take a nap, but you don't want it to be just any old nap. You want to nap in sci-fi style in a nearly indestructible polycarbonate tube with frosted doors. You want to nap in a Podtime Sleeping Pod.

A $2,100 Podtime comes with a mattress fit to the tube's dimensions and "outstanding air circulation." That boast probably won't help if you're claustrophobic, however.

The sleeping pods fold down into flat packs for portability. Since each pod weighs about 220 pounds, you won't want to haul it along on your morning commute, but it could be moved around on occasion as needed.… Read more

Personalized superhero action figures: You are Iron Man!

Advances in 3D printing hold great promise for the creation of drugs, medical implants, prosthetics, and now superhero action figure versions of ourselves.

The $125 Personalized Superhero Action Figure available from Firebox is several big steps up from doodling a superhero version of yourself on the inside of your Trapper pocket folder.

It's pretty simple to turn yourself into a mini-me full of rippling muscles and superhuman strength. Take two pictures of yourself, one from the front and one from the side. Send them in to Firebox. Wait for the 3D-printed version of your head and your choice of action figure to arrive.… Read more

Paging Dr. iPhone: ThermoDock takes your temperature

The Medisana ThermoDock gets you one step closer to having a medical toolkit like Dr. McCoy on "Star Trek." This is an infrared device that plugs into your iPhone. Point it at your forehead, your dog, or your iPad 3, and take its temperature.

The nice thing about infrared is that you don't have to stick the ThermoDock where the sun don't shine. That means your iPhone stays at a safe distance from steaming coffee mugs, people carrying around flu germs, and grumpy children.

This gadget can also be used to check the ambient temperature of your room or the great outdoors. As we like to say here in New Mexico, "It's a dry heat!"… Read more

&$@#! Periodic table of swearing cusses you out

The Interactive Periodic Table of Swearing speaks both to the giggling inner 12-year-old and stressed-out adult in all of us. It's a big, electronic table with push buttons that prompt a rainbow of cuss words and phrases.

The table is rife with variations on F-bomb expletives. You can guess what phrase pushing the "Mf" button triggers. There are also some milder insults like "silly bastard" and "stinks like piss." The table is a British creation, so some of the curse words feature charming Briticisms like "arsehole" and "bollocks."

Heavier swears are to the left while lighter and more infantile interjections are to the right. This would certainly spice up your next chemistry lab.… Read more

Sleepy Bunny gadget soothes worried puppies

Everyone has heard of the old trick for getting a young puppy to sleep. Set a ticking clock next to it. The problem is that in the Digital Age, very few people have clocks that tick.

That's why your not-so-sleepy puppy needs its own gadget. Sleepy Bunny is a stuffed bunny toy with a mechanical heart inside.

Puppies have a lot in common with human babies. Trouble sleeping through the night is a frequent issue for the little pooches, especially when they are newly separated from their litter mates. The good news is that you don't have to put them through college when they turn 18.

The removable Puppy Pulse battery-powered heart mimics a real heartbeat. It is designed to reduce separation anxiety and keep sweet little Spot from waking you up with plaintive yips at 3 in the morning.

It can also help you avoid getting into the habit of having your pooch in bed with you. It may be cute when he's little, but eventually Tiny could turn into a 170-pound, bed-hogging Great Dane.

Sleepy Bunny is currently available for preorder from Firebox.com for $26. When your teensy pup grows up to be a big, strong dog, it can use the bunny as a chew toy. Just be sure to pull out the heart for safe keeping.… Read more

Life-size pet Daleks roll and rotate

One thing had always perplexed me about Daleks. As a "Doctor Who"-watching kid, I contemplated the thorny issue of how they got up stairs. Now, I have the opportunity to do some testing on my very own life-size Dalek.

U.K. company Firebox.com is offering officially licensed Dalek replicas. Each one is more than 5 feet tall and is hand-built to order. A variety of classic colors are available.

Sci-fi fans love to obsess over prop accuracy. Firebox.com uses the original molds and specs from the BBC prop department, so that every nob, plunger-looking attachment, and laser shooter is dead on.

The Dalek replicas won't try to exterminate you, but can get some action out of them by playing with the rotating dome, extendable plunger arm, and casters. I'm imagining taking one of these for a stroll around the neighborhood on a leash.… Read more