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bLink 17

Form and function. But can it cook dinner?

By Thom Wong 22 Jan 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He has also been a teacher and contract specialist. With eight years of education and three bachelor degree, Thom focuses mostly on marketing writing.

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As a fan of cheesy sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica, I have a bit of a crush on devices that don't look like the function they will perform. The Alessi Toilet Brush shaped like a potted plant is a good case in point.

So when I stumbled across Ambient Devices it was as if my fanciful daydreams had sprung full-born from my head and onto the 'net. (On a safety note I would watch out for any 12-foot rabbits running around).

Need a desk accessory that says "I enjoy interior design AND being up-to-date with fluctuating markets?" Try the Ambient Globe, a ball that will glow green, red, or yellow depending on what the Dow Jones Industrial Average happens to be doing. You can also set it to respond to customized channels such as the weather of major cities. (How on earth this information could be useful is beyond me, but it sure is pretty.)

The Ambient Dashboard performs relatively the same function, except the information is displayed by needles on 30 different face cards. Want to track the weather, your frequent flyer miles, and new job postings? Now you can, in a sweet analog package.

The Ambient devices work by pulling the information off the Internet, and purport to reduce the amount of time you spend online searching for frequently accessed information. Now if only they had a device to track eBay auctions...

Thom Wong is a law student who spends an unreasonable amount of time online. His 40 bLinks column runs every Monday and Thursday on The Tyee. What's he all about? Click here.

For previous 40 bLinks, click here.  [Tyee]

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