Blog Archive

23 March 2006

Urinal Consoles

I’ve had an idea going around the back of my mind for a few years now. I didn’t really think it would work, so I’ve never really pursued it. (Well, that and the fact that I’m too lazy to pursue it...) The idea would be to put a small ball-bearing game in the bottom of a urinal instead of a standard drainage hole. The aim would be to chase the ball around the puzzle using just pee-power. (And you’re all sat there wondering why I’ve not bothered to pursue the idea... I know!)

It’s a (perhaps not-so) well-known fact that men can’t help but aim at anything that’s happened to find its way into a urinal; be it a cigarette butt, a pineapple cube, a pint glass, some drunken student... whatever – we simply cannot help to aim our hose at it and give it a good blast of wee-wee. I’ve been caught out by some “clever” marketing technique that exploited this idea in the past. A drinks company had placed targets advertising their drink in the urinals, the only problem being that when you actually hit the centre of the target, you got serious splash-back. Thanks for that you clever marketing folk. Well done.

Anyway, there’s always someone who takes the simplest of ideas and pushes them to the limit. These On Target urinals designed by Marcel Neundörfer have a pressure-sensitive display screen embedded in them. Not only does this provide entertainment whilst taking a leak, but it also saves on cleaning bills (apparently) as your aim is improved by the game (apparently).

On Target

Genius. I want one! But where will it all stop? Hungry Hippos in the bottom of the toilets...?!?

[Via Boing Boing]

Update: 23 March 2006 (22:31)

And if you’re interested in urinal-game-related things, you might also be interested in this You’re In Control (Urine Control) project from 2002.

[Also via Boing Boing]

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16 March 2006

A Teaspoon and an Open Mind

Those of you who know me are probably aware that I don’t “do” books. They’re boring. There’s always something better to do than read. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a proper book all the way through since leaving school. Even then, I only read books because we had to and, where possible, I’d always opt for non-fiction rather than fiction.

Well, all that’s about to change! Suzy bought me A Teaspoon and an Open Mind: The Science of Doctor Who by Michael White for Christmas. She’s bought me a few books now and I always feel a bit bad because I don’t read them. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I ditched reading the free Metro paper whilst tramming it to work in favour of my book – and, no, I’m not just sulking because they didn’t print my letter!

Despite all the highly scientific references, which I struggle to understand at 8:30 in the morning, this book is remarkably easy to read for anyone with an interest in the future, time travel, aliens, telepathy, teleportation or just science fiction in general. And it’s not just a book about Doctor Who; this is used purely a reference point for the author.

The book obviously covers far too much for me to comment on here, so I’ll just summarise what’s realistically going to be possible or not at sometime in the future:

I know some of that might seem a bit far-fetched, but you have to read the book to understand why something isn’t necessarily impossible just because it’s not possible yet. There’s one thing of which I’m sure though. Michael White’s arguments for why time travel and aliens might be possible are infinitely more convincing than Mark Haville’s arguments for why evolution is impossible.

Since this thing they call ‘reading’ was so enjoyable, I’ve already chosen my next book: Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. No doubt I’ll post something about that too once I’ve finished reading it. Just don’t hold your breath; it’s a big thick book...

(And don’t forget, you can always see whether it’s fair to judge this book by its cover over on Judge A Book By Its you really can judge a book by its cover!)

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6 March 2006

New Walkers Logo = Bad

The other week at work, I was walking past the vending machine thinking about how I’ve not had any reason to grumble about anything recently, when I noticed something a little strange. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And then it struck me. WALKERS CRISPS HAD A NEW LOGO!!!

In case you’ve not seen it yet, here’s a comparison of the old and new ‘Banner Sun’ logo (as it is officially known):

Walkers Logos

Yeah, I know. It’s rubbish. That’s exactly what I thought too. I complained to Leicester-based Walkers via their website a week or so ago:

Dear Walkers,

I was wondering why you recently changed your logo? The new font you’re using looks like an attempt at being modern and futuristic but, in my opinion, you may have devalued your brand by changing a well recognised icon. (Admittedly, it still looks like your logo, but it seems like this was just change for the sake of change.)

Not only that, but all the rebranding must be costing the company a fortune; unnecessary expenses which will probably end up being paid for by your customers. As a result, I’d be most interested in knowing what the associated costs are with making a change like this and whether you expect it to have any impact on your sales.

I look forward to hearing your reasons for redeveloping your logo and I thank you for taking the time to read my comments.


Tony Ruscoe

I got my reply today:

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Lineker *
Sent: 06 March 2006 16:07
To: Tony Ruscoe
Subject: Re: Walkers Logo

Thank you very much for your recent email.

We really appreciate hearing from our consumers who take the trouble to let us know their preferences regarding our products. Walkers would never make any changes or additions to any of its product packaging without conducting a tremendous amount of research. Feedback from the research carried out has been overwhelmingly positive.

We hope that you will remain a loyal Walkers consumer, enjoying many products from our range of Crisps and Snacks.

Thank you once again for taking the trouble to contact us with your opinion; it is very valuable to us and very much appreciated.


Consumer Care Team
Walkers Snack Foods Limited

Yeah? Well you didn’t ask me! I’m sure that some of your annoying market researchers lured a few bored shoppers into a room purely on the premise that they’d receive some free crisps if they did a quick survey. Nobody tells the truth in those things. Least of all the market researchers, who were probably bribed by the new logo designer if they let him get his own way.

Anyway, I’m glad that you really appreciate hearing from me. I’m just not quite sure how I can remain a loyal Walkers consumer when I also like to eat Wheat Crunchies and Nik Naks. (Although they’ll probably end up showing off the crap logo too if you buy them off Golden Wonder like you did with Wotsits.)

P.S. My mate Chris reckons that it looks like it says ‘Wankers’ now. And he’s always right...

* It wasn’t really from Gary Lineker; I just made that bit up to see if you were reading this post properly.

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