The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Tech & Gadgets Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bird Song Alarm Clock Wakes iPhone Users Naturally Wed, 15 Feb 2012 11:00:00 +0000 The DailyDust reporter A US company has launched the Bird Song Alarm Clock, bringing a gorgeous collection of colorful high-fidelity bird songs to users’ pockets.

The app, a delight for both birders and everyday users, offers a host of common and exotic bird songs and calls to gently wake users or simply provide daily reminders. Bird Song Alarm Clock contains more than 20 different songs, calls and medleys, including: Robins, Finches, Owls, Warblers and many more.

Bird Song Alarm Clock allows users to select their favorite bird songs or to have the app choose a new bird song at random each time an alarm sounds.

The calming sounds are certain to raise eyebrows, ears and smiles, rather than the buzzes, bleeps and bloops often found in iPhone alarms.

We’ve tried it, and love it.  However, now the snow has gone, we may actually hear birds for real again…!

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Got The Back To Work Blues? Grab A New App Tue, 03 Jan 2012 18:09:09 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Here we have a nice list of new Apps ready to take away the back to work blues..

Powered by article titled “Apps Rush: 7digital, Band Boss, Metro, Desksplorers Knights, Psonar, Skitch and more” was written by Stuart Dredge, for on Tuesday 3rd January 2012 11.47 UTC


Digital music store 7digital’s app has been popular on BlackBerry and Android, but after languishing in Apple’s approval process for a while, it’s now available for iPhone too. The app enables 7digital customers to wirelessly sync MP3s bought from the store to their iPhone for offline listening, making it a bona-fide iTunes rival on the device.

Band Boss

Managing bands? There’s an iPhone game for that, developed here in the UK. Band Boss has you managing a pixelly artist or group with tours, albums and singles. It has plenty of charm, including real artists to manage (virtually).


Free newspaper Metro extends onto Windows Phone with this new app from Associated Newspapers, joining the versions already available on rival platforms.
Windows Phone

Desksplorers Knights

The latest app in the educational game series for 6-9 year-olds, this focuses on the Middle Ages with animation, games and storytelling.
iPhone / iPad


Cloud music service Psonar wants to do for streaming music what pay-as-you-go did for mobile telephony: open it up to a cash-strapped teenage audience. Users pay 1p for every song that they play through a system of virtual credits.

Skitch for iPad

Evernote’s Skitch app gets upsized for iPad, enabling people to annotate photos, screenshots, maps and other images on their tablet.

When Saturday Comes

Independent football magazine When Saturday Comes has joined the App Store Newsstand, with an iOS app selling monthly and annual subscriptions to a digitised version.
iPhone / iPad

Flick Golf Extreme

The Extreme version of Full Fat’s Flick Golf game was a hit on iOS, but has quickly been ported to Android too. Flick golf balls through a variety of unusual courses, from icebergs to fighter jets.

Spider Jack

Chillingo’s Spider Jack has been a casual hit on other platforms, but now it’s spun onto Windows Phone. The gameplay, as ever, focuses on a spider catching flies.
Windows Phone

Spy Mouse

Another iOS hit making its way to Android is Spy Mouse, which is the work of Real Racing / Flight Control developer Firemint. Avoid cats and steal cheese in this line-drawing puzzler.

Mass Effect Volume 1: Redemption

Dark Horse Comics has released a new digital comic based on the Mass Effect console games, telling a story that sits between the two games, filling in the plot.
iPhone / iPad


GymPact wants to help people get fit in 2012 by providing financial incentives: if they don’t check-in at their gym when they said they would, they pay – while good users get rewarded. There’s a fish’n'chip shop next to my gym, I’m not sure how it would tell the difference… Dollar signs indicate a US focus.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine

National Geographic has taken its travelling magazine to iPad, with annual and monthly subscriptions as well as one-off issue sales.


Movie studio Paramount Pictures is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a free iPad app. Photos, film clips and music scores are all included.

N.O.V.A. for BBM

Here’s an intriguing combination: Gameloft’s first-person shooter N.O.V.A. meets RIM’s BBM messaging service. We assume the idea will be to help people deathmatch against their chat-contacts.

Mike V: Skateboard Party HD

Billing itself as “The only 3D skateboarding game available on the Android Platform”, this aims to go where Tony Hawk grinded and ollied before, based on skateboarder Mike Vallely.

Fluff Friends Rescue

Mobile/social games company SGN has a new iOS game based on its Fluff Friends franchise, aiming at younger gamers with its pet-rescuing action. Yes, parents, in-app purchases are included.
iPhone / iPad

Trudie Styler’s Warrior Yoga

Not just Yoga workouts. There are songs from Sting too. And it’s filmed at the couple’s Tuscan villa.
iPhone / iPad

Inclusive London

The Inclusive London app helps people with accessibility needs find hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops and other locations. Criteria include wheelchair friendliness, baby changing facilities and hearing loops.

OWN Second Screen

This app is understandably US-focused: it provides “exclusive content” on the iPad while people are watching the Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel. It uses the Media-Sync platform developed by Nielsen and Gracenote, which has previously been used for second-screen apps by ABC.

Driving Eco2

This is intriguing, from car-maker Renault. It’s described as “a widget in order to help Renault cars drivers to minimize the fuel consumption of their cars”. It requires specific hardware plugged into the vehicle, though, to transmit data from the engine to the iPhone.

Electric Sheep Infinite Evolving Artwork

Software artist Scott Draves is behind this iPad app, which is a “collaborative abstract artwork”. The listing explains: “You can vote to determine which sheep, or designs live, die, and perpetuate their genes as you participate in their world-wide Darwinian evolution. This app navigates this nonlinear video space.”
iPad © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

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Rolling Stone Magazine Launches Beatles iPad App Thu, 01 Dec 2011 15:50:00 +0000 The DailyDust reporter Now complementing The Beatles’ music library in iTunes is a new tablet-friendly guide to the Fab Four’s music catalog. The app was created by Rolling Stone and Managing Editor Inc. MEI. The iPad app version of “The Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide” special-interest publication is now available for download.

Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone and other popular magazines, looked to MEI’s team of digital-publishing specialists to help build the app using a combination of custom development and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite(TM). MEI guided the production process, including training on the Adobe DPS software, editorial workflow development, template creation, app construction and final submission to Apple.

“The Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide” is a comprehensive companion to the 13 albums released by the legendary rock group. For each recording, the app provides a main article, a playlist with audio samples and a link to purchase the tracks, an extra “Testimonial” story, pictures and more. It takes the wealth of Beatles history showcased in Rolling Stone’s original print album guide and transforms it into a full-featured iPad experience, enhanced with interactivity and engaging content only available in the tablet version.

The Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide” is now available in the iTunes store.

Device Requirements:
* iPad
* Requires iOS 3.2 or later
* 64 MB

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Only Apple can save Europe now Tue, 20 Sep 2011 10:06:10 +0000 Ewan If the continent needs a do-over for money, lets ask Steve Jobs nicely.

Tucked away in the wonderful Things Apple Is Worth More Than Tumblr site is this lovely statistic from Reuters:

Earlier on Friday the DJ STOXX euro zone banks index fell 4 percent, valuing its 32 members at $340 billion. In contrast, Apple’s market capitalization has soared to $340 billion on the back of the success of innovative technology products like iPods, iPhones and iPads.

So the 32 banks that control the European currency could start again if Apple were to "see them good". Throw in a balanced budget proposal in each National Government and you’ve solved the problem.

Okay, we’d never be able to run a Windows 8 device on the continent, but that seems a fair exchange, doesn’t it?

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How to tweet the same old rubbish every day Sun, 17 Apr 2011 15:30:24 +0000 Ewan Looking for inspiration on Twitter? Why not let your old tweets write the new ones.

It’s an interesting idea, have a computer program look at your old tweets and do some magical foo to create a new tweet that’s just like your old ones… but different!

Let’s see what it makes of The Daily Dust on Twitter:

Proof that flew past you: Pigeon: Impossible beats out what you let your toys?

A new ad campaign fly…. The Robots are destroying?

Christmas Dinner Causes Dandruff & Airwaves: Angels & Five Other Daily Mail Festive headlines.

Yep, that seems to work for us, try yourself with your own account at

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Bloodhound roars into 2011 in good health Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:09:18 +0000 Ewan The 1000mph British car is in good health, says Richard Noble.

In all the problems of the world, the financial difficulties, it’s great to see that not only is there space for a mad project or two – like the Bloodhound SSC – but to see it being supported both by the public and institutions.

The quest to get a car up to 1000 miles per hour is just soooo British it hurts, and former land speed record holder Richard Noble is one of the names behind this one, and hi end of year diary is full of promise.

Of course it’s been a very tough fight to get this far – there seems to be an expectancy that because Bloodhound doesn’t seem to fit the mould of any normal business, it will soon crash and burn in the difficult financial climate. But it doesn’t – it doesn’t because it is fulfilling a very vital role in all important education and the project is trying to project British engineering at its very best.  One of our Ambassadors made the point – there are very few school engineering projects which excite both the teachers and their classes!

That’s what we need more of on this island – ideas, big ideas, that deliver for everyone.

More at Bloodhound SSC.

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Ireland, why not let Twitter solve your budget problems? Wed, 24 Nov 2010 12:25:43 +0000 Ewan Is crowd-sourcing the way out of “a bit of a pickle” the answer?

Here’s one for Ireland to consider as they face one of the biggest overdrafts they’ve ever seen. Use Twitter.

After all, when The New York Times decided to try and balance the US budget, they put together a quick bit of web code to build some sliders and numerical representations of the US tax and economy, then challenged people to find the best ‘solution’ to the ‘puzzle’ of the US debt mountain.

The results make for interesting reading, including a clear split into two camps of going for spending cuts or tax increases – both balanced the budget but naturally with a different social effect that isn’t as easy to measure.

More at the New York Times.

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Take to the skies with your own jetpack Mon, 22 Nov 2010 09:30:00 +0000 Ewan Just nipping out to the shops, how high are those clouds?

How about flying through the air at 63mph with the latest twist on the jetpack? From the Martin Aircraft Company comes a recreational ‘jetpack’ for you to get from A to B (as long as they are within 30 miles or so).

IT’s not a true jet, but ducted carbon fibre propeller blades, and it’s actually classed as an ultralight, and as such you’ll need to take the company’s training course before you can fly away with it.

Oh and cough up around $100,000 and wait till the prototype is finished testing.

Hat tip to Neatorama, more at Martin Jetpack.

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The House of Lords does not have dementia Mon, 08 Nov 2010 17:01:03 +0000 Ewan That’s the conclusion of Tom Scott, as he analyses the speeches of the Lords in the upper house.

starting from the point of wondering if (a) due to the age of the “peers for life” any of them have lost their mental faculties and (b) if so could you extrapolate it from the speeches made in the House?

To Hansard (which of course is official record) and a swift download of 700mb of text of the speeches since 1999. Would an analysis of unique words, indefinite nouns and the overall wordcount show any indications?

The results ate over on Tom’s blog, but he sums it up nicely.

The heartening but slightly anticlimactic result: no, they’re not losing it as far as I can tell. There are occasional outliers, but you’d expect that with a sample size like this. For example, the Earl of Erroll and Lord Addington both use a high number of indefinite nouns — but they do that consistently; it’s not a steady decline over years.

There you go, we can all sleep easy.

More at

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Halloween goes mecha with the exo-skeleton Wed, 03 Nov 2010 15:28:28 +0000 Ewan Who needs zombies and witches when you can hit them with a gattling gun?

Congratulations must go to “This_comment_has” on the Reddit community for the Halloween Costume that I want to make for next year.

A mix of aluminium, rivets, spray paint, bolts and  a truck to move the costume to the party has resulted in “the most extravagant costume of the year” in his words.

I like!

Hat tip to Boing Boing.

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The electronic dead drop for the USB age Tue, 02 Nov 2010 17:00:23 +0000 Ewan Would you stick your computer into a public wall for the sake of art?

I just love this idea. Sure you’ll need to make sure that your virus protection is up to date, and be aware of trojans, but the simplicity is what attracts me to it

It’s called “Dead Drops” and is an art installation project by Aram Bartholl. he’s left some USB memory sticks around New York, for people to use as a communal sharing and socialising point.

You are invited to go to these places (so far 5) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file

Can we have this in the UK please?

More at Datenform.

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Take to the street of London with Nike Tue, 02 Nov 2010 12:02:26 +0000 Ewan Your gameboard… London. Your Transport… Nike. Your goal? Fun!!!

“Run Your City” is Nike’s latest mix of advertising and gaming. By turning London’s postcodes into a hex-map with phone boxes in every space, you get a game board of 48 hexes. Challenge your players to enter this grid and call back to your central computer from the phone boxes and not only do you get close to three thousand people playing the game, but some great visuals and graphs on the website.

Try this “Boys vs Girls” look at London to see the teams and players move around the city last week as the compete to complete the challenges.

Expect more of these real world / artificial worlds to come – for now, enjoy Nike’s effort (with some help from their agency Widen + Kennedy)

Hat tip to Fast Company.

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Alarm-a-geddon as iPhones fail to wake up Europe Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:17:20 +0000 Ewan Has anyone calculated the cost to the economy of the iPhone’s Alarm/British Summer Time bug?

Thanks to a bug in the iPhone Software, while the clock was automatically altered over the weekend to put the clocks back, any repeating alarms on the phone were never changes. So all over the country, the iPhones rewarded their owners with an extra hour in bed… by mistake.

The error was picked up in Australia as their clocks go back earlier than here in the UK, but although a bug fix was promised, nothing had been updated in the iPhone software.

Will it be fixed in time for the US clock change? Time will tell (and sorry about the pun).

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How to Rick Roll your Tutor in five hours Fri, 22 Oct 2010 10:31:54 +0000 Ewan Hats off to Mayniac182 on Reddit for submitting the lyrics to Never Gonna Give You Up in his college paper.

Now it was a little bit more than a cut and paste, with some creative formatting, he managed to have the lyrics appear as the first word on every line of the page.

That takes dedication.

Yes the language had to be a touch stilted to make it work, but this goes down as a win for creativity. Or sadness. You decide.

Hat tip to Jack Scoresby.

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Show me the colour of your website Thu, 21 Oct 2010 15:19:44 +0000 Ewan Where does the #880000 of The Daily Dust sit in the Web 2.0 Palette?

What happens when you take the logos of the Top 100 websites and analyse the colours used? Is there a key to success in the shades used by the artwork team? That’s what Colour Lovers set out to discover.

Blue and red.

That’s the main colour of the web. There’s a reason that Facebook went with blue ("I’m colour blind, it’s the only colour I can see.” says owner Mark Zuckerberg), but as for the others it turns out that because the big boys are blue and red, all the copycats tend too pick up the same colour.

Does that explain Yahoo’s mixing of blue and red to get purple?

The question is whether blue and red will dominate the trends of the next few years, or if an upstart website will capture the spirit of others and inspire a green revolution?

More at Colour Lovers.

PS as for us? We wanted to be like the Red Top tabloids…

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Why Alec Guinness really is Mark Zuckerberg Tue, 05 Oct 2010 16:15:31 +0000 Ewan A very white hat is doffed towards Kevin Marks for his look at the Facebook biopic “The Social Network.”

Now that Marks has mentioned it, the relationship between Aaron Sorkin’s new film and “The Man In The White Suit” and Guinness’ inventor make a lot more sense:

Both films capture the ascetic geek intensity and focus well, but Sorkin and Fincher want to tear it down, whereas MacDougal and MacKendrick see the Innovators Dilemma clearly 45 years before Christensen did. As Lessig says, The Social Network portrays a legal system that preys on invention, not supporting it; the Man in the White Suit has the inventor’s notebooks establishing rights that he needs to be paid for.

Of course it’s the film from the fifties that correctly handles the unique dimension that a woman can bring to a start-up or new business, and not the modern 21st Century portrayal.

Fancy that. Marks’ full thoughts are at his blog.

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Circle the dates and get your geek on Mon, 04 Oct 2010 10:42:39 +0000 Ewan Looking for a new calendar for 2011? Then how about the Geek Calendar, by geeks and for geeks.

In their words “The Geek Calendar is a celebration of the nerdishness of contemporary British life. It’s also a project to raise money for libel reform.”

See if you can spot Professor Brian Cox, Jonathan Ross (looking a bit like Vincent Price to be honest), Imran Khan, Adam Rutherford, Ben Goldacre, Alexs Krotowski and more throughout next year.

Next up, you can ask why it seems to have 20 geeks in it, filling up the months – all I can think up is twelve pennies (original months) to the shilling, and twenty shillings (geek months) to the year (pound). I could be wrong though, given it has fourteen months…

Order your calendar at

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Will London have its very first super swarm? Thu, 30 Sep 2010 07:47:11 +0000 Ewan Foursquare fans flock to Jewel Bar to try and score a coveted “250” badge in the smartphone game.

It’s never been done before, so why not do it now – which in our minds here at T’Dust is a perfectly good reason. What’s never been done? Foursquare awarding a Super Swarm Badge in the UK.

The badge is awarded by the location based game Foursqaure, which runs on your mobile phone allowing you to check in to places you are at to compete to be the mayor of each place, and also to earn badges for special tasks and challenges.

One of the badges is the Super Swarm, awarded to all the people at a location… if there are 250 Foursquare playing people at that venue. As Londonist points out, that’s never happened in the UK… yet.

So if you’re badge collecting in Foursquare, get yourself down to the Jewel bar on the 7th October, start counting, and cross your fingers!


Could this be yours?

The fun kicks off at Londonist, picture by Dennis Dude-K (Flickr)

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Your Military Power Suit is one very big step closer Wed, 29 Sep 2010 17:52:09 +0000 Ewan On the bounce, Troopers! Your exo-skeleton is closer to being a reality.

Fans of Starship Troopers (the novel that is, not the film) will know that the secret of any Infantry is staying mobile – and having an armoured suit around you with hydraulics for strength and the ability to run faster, jump higher and carry more than the enemy is a good skill to have.

And Defence Manufacturer Raytheon is getting closer to that ideal, with their next prototype. It’s called the Sarcos XOS 2, and Dace Freeman of CrunchGear got to live out his inner Johnny Rico:

> > > > > >

Hat tip to CrunchGear, more at Raytheon.

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How to write a newspaper report about Science Tue, 28 Sep 2010 08:18:43 +0000 Ewan Martin Robbins lifts the style guide at The Guardian on covering scientific stories.

While it might be parody, there’s a huge amount of truth and hard stares into the mirror in The Lay Scientist’s blog. Put together by Martin Robbins, it’s a skeleton of how to write a ‘good’ story about science for a tabloid.

Of course it’s a generic story, but how many stories follow this exact same mould?

In this paragraph I will reference or quote some minor celebrity, historical figure, eccentric, or a group of sufferers; because my editors are ideologically committed to the idea that all news stories need a "human interest", and I’m not convinced that the scientists are interesting enough.

At this point I will include a picture, because our search engine optimisation experts have determined that humans are incapable of reading more than 400 words without one.

There’s more to delight, amaze and horrify you in the full glory of the post at The Guardian (yes, that is a link). And then you can go and read about Dr Richard Feynman, pictured above.

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Girls who like boys who like girls like different music Mon, 27 Sep 2010 08:09:43 +0000 Ewan Last.FM’s Gender plot allows you to explore how music changes with age and gender.

UK start-up (although now owned by CBS) Last.FM is a great little tool that takes the music you listen to and find people who like the same sort of music. It’s a social network where your friends are those who you’d share a Now Album with. Oh and there’s lots of whizzy graphs for you to look at as well.

Their latest tool, the Gender Plotter is a fascinating look at both the obvious and allows you to explore your music in another way.

With all the data from users they can work out which bands and performers go with which age group, and gender. So you can now confirm some intuitive guesses:

For example, if you are a healthy young male in your early twenties, you probably should listen to bands such as Iron Maiden and Metallica. Gorillaz and Radiohead might just be acceptable. If you get older you can then switch to artists like Neil Young and Genesis. It’s all quite obvious really.

Yes, that’s my plot above – go ahead and giggle at my musical choices over the last six months.

More at Last.FM.

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Dear Facebook, have you tried turning it off and on again? Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:58:11 +0000 Ewan Classic IT advice to the biggest website in the world sorts the problem.

In case you missed it, the apocalypse happened last night. It might only have been for two and a half hours, but worldwide internet usage dropped sharply (see above) as Facebook had a bit of a server problem.

The problem was some weird mumbo-jumbo about redundant servers, synchronising data and a master index value that got manually changed and caused a bit of a problem, but the solution was one that everybody knows.

They turned it all off, then turned it all on again.

Hat tip to the writer of the IT Crowd, and others. More at Facebook’s blogpost of an apology.

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Robot World Cup takes place in Bangalore Thu, 23 Sep 2010 15:03:39 +0000 Tom Moran The Robot World Cup has taken place in Bangalore, India, with 17 countries from around the world competing for the presigious title.

Fifty two teams kicked off the tournament designed to encourage young people to think about engineering and technology.

The Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA), as it is known to those involved, is now in its 15th year.

While there is no clear sign yet of the golden boots of David Beckham among the electronic contenders, organisers say the technology is improving each year.

Founded in 1997, FIRA is an international organisation facilitating competitive football – usually 5-a-side – competitions between autonomous robots.

And with Scotland’s innovative move to employ robots in a Stirlingshire hospital, perhaps this is one football tournament the country should enter to ensure progressing beyond the first round!

Image by Brad Beattie, Wikipedia.

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I don’t want you to have my number any more Thu, 23 Sep 2010 14:14:03 +0000 Ewan Ever wanted to take back that bit of paper with your phone number on it? Now you can, with Paginglist.

It used to be that once you scrawled your number on a slip of paper at the end of the night, that was it. Even if in the cold light of day that might have been a bad idea. But with a new UK based start-up, those morning after realisations might be all you need.

Rather than handing out your number, you hand out your “tag name” on Paginglist, and your would be contactee – who can still easily get in touch – will go through the PagingList website to call you. And if you suddenly decide that you don’t want to stay in touch any more, just “blacklist” their name and never be worried again.   Safer dating, networking and Facebooking.

Here’s how they pitch the offering:

Paging gives you permanent control over who can – and can’t – call you. If you delete a Tag from your list, they can never contact you again. With the explosion of sites like Facebook and Twitter more and more people are posting their phone numbers online or giving them out to strangers, and  regretting it.

Sounds like a useful idea, especially when you think of the celebrities loosing their phones or having their number posted in Internet Forums. Could this have saved their embarrassment?  More than likely.

Find out more and sign up at PagingList.

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To cut where no pizza has cut before Thu, 23 Sep 2010 06:45:07 +0000 Ewan Forgive us, but it’s an obvious headline for a pizza cutter that looks like the Starship Enterprise.

Congrats to Think Geek for stocking the geekiest kitchen utensil this side of Gamma Hydra 4. It’s a pizza cutter where the circular knife is the classic shape of the saucer section of the USS Enterprise.

For the real geek, this is the 60’s TV version of the Enterprise (ie the original) and has a laser etching of the name and ships national construction contract number (that’s the NCC bit!)

Grab your cutter at Think Geek.

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