Chrystal Taylor: Welcome to another episode of SolarWinds TechPod. I’m your host, Chrystal Taylor, and today we’d like to recognize the season of gift giving, have a little fun and discuss interesting, cool and weird gadgets and gizmos. Are these things on your wishlist? Are they really on ours? Let’s find out. Joining me today is my co-host, Sean Sebring.
Sean Sebring: Howdy, Chrystal.
Chrystal Taylor: Hi. Hi. We are also very merry to have Andy Garibay with us to dive into this fun topic. Andy, tell us a bit about yourself.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, absolutely. Hey everyone, my name is Andy. I am a video producer, but I am also the host of Movies and Mainframes, another podcast under the SolarWinds umbrella.
Chrystal Taylor: I don’t know who wants to go first, but we can just dive right in in talking about these fun things that we found.
Andy Garibay: Absolutely. I will start off first. One thing that I have, obviously when it comes to tech gadgets or tech gifts or just stocking stuffers, the stupider, the better. And one thing I need to finally bite the bullet this year and get one because I’ve seen it for probably 10 years now, and I really want one, and of course I am speaking about the banana Bluetooth headset.
Sean Sebring: So a banana phone?
Andy Garibay: A banana phone, exactly. It’s a banana phone, just hooks up to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you can be the coolest person walking down the street talking into a banana.
Chrystal Taylor: My favorite thought about this is that anyone under a certain age will be very confused because they’ve never used a phone that has a handset.
Sean Sebring: You can hear without AirPods, what?
Chrystal Taylor: So like when we were kids and you would make the gesture.
Andy Garibay: If the banana is not your deal, they also make the emergency red phone handset.
Sean Sebring: No, I need one of those on my desk.
Andy Garibay: And it comes with the… Actual comes with the cord, so you can just have it tucked into your pocket and just, “Get me the president on the line.”
Sean Sebring: Yeah, yeah. I want one of those on my desk. I would also appreciate if it had the circular dial where you had to spin to connect to each number, which is still hard to use for me, even though I’ve used it before, not often. But it did exist in my childhood, but very difficult.
Andy Garibay: No, absolutely. I still… Yeah, my-
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, classic rotary phone.
Andy Garibay: Obviously grew up with the rotary phone, but my grandparents’ house rocked a rotary phone with like a 30-foot cord well into the nineties. It was amazing.
Chrystal Taylor: That’s awesome.
Sean Sebring: I have a similar need to bite the bullet, and it’s something that I don’t know how I’ve gone so far without it, but it’s the infamous Shake Weight. I’m just kidding. I don’t really want it, but talking about ridiculous marvels of technology is the Shake Weight, and how somehow this non-dumbbell, dumbbell-shaped non-dumbbell, which just makes you look really cool while exercising with it, it was publicized and I think the mockery of itself is what made it actually so successful.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, absolutely. It became the gag gift of the season all the time for several years I think those passed around.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, we have one because it was a gag gift.
Chrystal Taylor: Of course.
Andy Garibay: And I can tell you from experience that it does give your arms a workout, but I never stuck with it to truly see results. But, ugh, after using it for like 30 seconds like, “No, I’m done. Ha, ha ha. This is hilarious. No.”
Chrystal Taylor: “Thanks, I don’t feel great.” Yeah. Sticking with the nostalgia take of the rotary phones and stuff we were talking about, I found a smart mood ring where… It is Bluetooth mood ring that tracks your mood, and I’m using air quotes for those that can’t see me. A smart mood ring that tracks your mood and sends it to an app. So I was talking to someone about it earlier and they suggested, what if you gave the mood ring to your spouse and then all of the data went to your app so you could track their mood? And I went, “When I was like eight, mood rings were the best thing ever, and they don’t tell you anything.” It’s purely regulated by your body temperature, but I feel like the nostalgia market is where technology is really hitting these days. It is an incredible piece of little technology.
Andy Garibay: No, as a preteen, that’s exactly what would happen. You would give your boyfriend or girlfriend the ring, you would have their data on your app, and then you could just look at it all day and like, “Oh honey, why are you upset?” “Because I’m in math class.” But yes, mood rings.
Chrystal Taylor: Yes.
Andy Garibay: Awesome. Do they have any Bluetooth pet rocks? Have you seen those yet?
Chrystal Taylor: Oh my gosh, that would be amazing.
Andy Garibay: Just get random alerts.
Sean Sebring: I also want to say, and this has been an invention that was kind of a myth or a legend or just not achievable until recently, it’s kind of happening, is jetpacks. I would love a freaking jetpack, and it’s becoming almost a reality now. It kind of is, but it’s still not… It’s also terrifying. Don’t get me wrong. I’m scared of heights, but the idea that I could just strap… Yeah. This thingy to my back and Ironman the heck out of the world, that sounds really cool to me. Just flying around. My palms, that’s how I go places, my palms, but a jetpack’s fine. The palms would be better. Seems cooler. It’s way more flashy, but.
Chrystal Taylor: They have those, Sean, they have those. They use I think water jet technology for it, but they are on your hands so you can feel like Ironman. Yeah, I think it’s been really fun to watch other people test that technology over the past several years. I’ll watch all the videos, I don’t need to partake myself.
Andy Garibay: Yeah. No, I would end up just into the side of a building splat. Yeah, the water ones I would try because, hey, you fall, you’re just going to go into the bay. But the water ones have been around for a while, but now, yeah, for the past couple of years have been seeing all the videos for the true jetpacks that you just have jet turbines on your hands and back. Yeah, they look crazy. I want one, but I don’t want one, but I really want to try it, but I’m too scared to try it. I don’t know.
Chrystal Taylor: Speaking of something that would be an expensive gadget, I stumbled across an Aston Martin gaming rig, which is a driving simulator rig because of course it’s Aston Martin. This thing costs more than most cars. It is incredible technology. It’s very cool. But also you’d have to have a room dedicated to it. It gives you haptic feedback in the seats and stuff, but it’s like you’re supposed to be a real racing simulator like in that movie that they made where they took gamers who do racing simulators and put them in real F1 cars.
Andy Garibay: Does it have any kind of tilt gimbal to it, or is it just vibration with all the accessories?
Chrystal Taylor: I don’t remember. I didn’t look that far into it. That would be even better though.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, any gaming accessory. The only thing that keeps me from buying every single gaming accessory is money, but otherwise I would have everything. I want to so badly, going off that gaming, the driving gaming rig is I want a… So PlayStation obviously has the VR and they have a Star Wars: Rogue Squadron game, but you can buy these $500 setups, so you have all the controls in the cockpit of an X-wing with VR, and I just want to be that dork where my wife comes home and just sees me lost and like, “Come on, Gold Leader,” and then just “What an idiot.”
Chrystal Taylor: Living out a childhood fantasy.
Andy Garibay: Yeah. I want those things so bad. Jumping off that, staying in the gaming circle, let me share my screen. What is this one called? I’ve wanted, ever since I saw Grandma’s Boy, a Scorpion computer chair.
Sean Sebring: Oh yes.
Andy Garibay: This thing is ridiculous. You have the multiple monitor set up right in front of you. You have the keyboard, the bench for your keyboard and mouse. And it just fully reclines, and then the screens just stay perfectly in position in front of your face. So you can be flat on your back and just have the screens, or you could be sitting upright. And I want one of these things so bad. They’re ridiculous, they’re insanely expensive. And quite frankly, they’re stupid looking, but I would be so happy.
Sean Sebring: It’s not too unjustifiable. It could be a reality.
Chrystal Taylor: It could be.
Sean Sebring: One can dream. Andy, I’m in this dream with you. I want one. I want one. I’m going to get a room for it.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, and they range wildly in price. You can find some for like two grand, but then the one I brought up as an example, it’s $10,000. So yeah, it’s whatever you want to pay for it. I’m still hoping they come out with a $250-300 version. That obviously will never happen, but I want a Scorpion chair so bad. I just want to be that guy.
Chrystal Taylor: Before we pivot off of gaming technology, I did see recently that they… If you watched Ready Player One and they have the omnidirectional treadmill setup. They are making those now. You can get the omnidirectional treadmill for your VR these days. It is a thing that’s being made real, which is very cool, but also sounds exhausting.
Andy Garibay: Yeah. Playing 10 minutes of Grand Theft Auto, and I’m just out. It would be like the gym. I’d have to wipe down my gaming rig after every time just because it would be soaking wet.
Sean Sebring: On the note of walking, a neat piece of odd technology, which does sound kind of fun, but also dangerous and not really practical, is a… I don’t know how to… I’ll attempt to share. It is a bicycle almost, but it’s just got a wheel on the front and the back. And also, it resembles a banana because this example’s yellow. So while we’re talking about bananas. So it’s got a front wheel, a back wheel, but instead of a seat or the chassis that would go underneath, it goes above your shoulders with straps to hold you, and then you can go into a hang glide position. So you find yourself a nice hill and this thing seems really neat until you realize you have to walk back up the hill. Really neat concept if you got some rolling hills that are minor grade, or really exciting on one down journey, but then terrible on the return.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, I’m looking at the picture and viewer, just imagine if suspenders were a bicycle. That’s what this is.
Sean Sebring: Yeah. Well, bananas suspenders in this case.
Andy Garibay: Yes, bananas suspenders were a bicycle. That’s crazy. Yeah, no, it’s… I didn’t think about going into the hang gliding position. That sounds awesome. But yeah, it’s just going to be left at the bottom of the hill. There needs to be-
Sean Sebring: I’m not bringing this thing back. It was a one-trick pony. That was it.
Andy Garibay: They have to have rental services. Part of the appeal of going to Hawaii is like, “Oh, they take you up to the top of the mountain, you bike down.” It’s got to be one of those things, and then you just leave it in a pile and we’ll pick them up in a truck and bring them back up. Or those scooters you just see everywhere downtown.
Chrystal Taylor: I will tell you that “it’s a bike, almost” got me real good. That’s a great description of anything. Almost.
Andy Garibay: It’s bike-ish.
Chrystal Taylor: Bike-ish, bike adjacent?
Andy Garibay: So going from physical activity to the exact opposite, there is a bed out there and there’s many, many examples of this bed. Right now, I am on Wayfair and I’m looking at the Hariana Tech Smart Ultimate Italian Leather Bed Upholstered Bed. I doubt that’s the actual-
Sean Sebring: I want it.
Andy Garibay: Title of it. I’m sure it’s all just keywords, but so imagine a bed, a king-size bed that has an ottoman bench at the foot and it’s attached to it. It has some shelving and cubby holes attached to it. It has adjustable headboard, it has wireless charging stations, it has USB stations, power stations. Oh, and just a straight-up La-Z-Boy connected to it as well. It is this huge monstrosity of a bed that has all these things and it’s in one frame, and I want it so bad because you would never ever have to leave your bed. It’s like, “Oh, I’m just charging my stuff. I have my laptop, I have it. I have everything.” The only thing it’s honestly missing, and I think you could fit one in aftermarket, it just doesn’t have a fridge, or a toilet. But it doesn’t have a fridge, which would be really nice.
Sean Sebring: What it could also use is the Scorpion arced monitors just draped over the bed.
Andy Garibay: Absolutely.
Sean Sebring: Yeah. But this thing is… What I picture is in RVs, they use every possible square inch of space to create, “Oh, this could be a chair,” or, “Let’s flip it into a table too.” It’s got every nook and cranny, and they added nooks and crannies to then use said nooks and crannies imaginable. So you’ve got drawers. And yeah, the La-Z-Boy kind of reminds me of potentially that chair in your therapist’s office that you lay down and almost fall asleep while talking about your problems. I think I see a boom box attached to it.
Andy Garibay: Yes, it has built-in speakers right next to the headboard.
Sean Sebring: And who doesn’t love a large speaker that reminds you of like a boom box in the early 2000, late 90s?
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah. See, I saw this and-
Andy Garibay: I cannot think of a single person.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah. I saw this and it made me think of two things. I stumble across a lot of these videos from like in Japan where they’re trying to conserve space similar to RVs where they’re trying to convert as many things into other things or make portable or small versions of things that can be hidden away. And it makes me think of that. We’re combining a bunch of stuff into one thing. But all I was thinking of is when I was in college, I lived in an efficiency apartment and this would’ve been so amazing for that, like smaller space where you can just have everything in one spot living by myself, don’t need anybody else, got everything I need. I do think, Sean, you’re right, we need the Scorpion monitors to come down, or to do that thing where they have a TV and a cabinet at the end of the bed and the TV pops up, also would work.
Sean Sebring: Okay, yeah.
Andy Garibay: Yes.
Sean Sebring: Okay, let’s take that one since we’re on visionary now. I also want that TV to go in said ottoman. It can go down like elevator-style and tuck under my bed when I’m not viewing. And when I want to, I press a button. In fact, maybe it just knows. If we’re going for wild tech, it just knows when I want the TV to emerge and it does. Yeah.
Chrystal Taylor: That would be incredible.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, it’s just pressure sensitive on your bed. If you’re in bed, I want that TV up obviously.
Sean Sebring: Yeah, if I lay down and then… Let’s go ahead and make an assumption there.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, clearly.
Sean Sebring: Okay, I got one for us here and I’m going to see if we get a laugh before I describe it, but this is a selfie toaster. It is a selfie toaster. What it is is you slide in some kind of metal, I don’t know who did the grafting on this metal sheet so that the heat coming through is a selfie trace of you onto your toast. So it’s got the smiles cut out, some hair waves, which mine would be nice and easy, there’s not a lot up there. But we’re all into selfies, why not put it on your bread?
Andy Garibay: So who is this for? Because I’m looking at this thing, this thing costs $70. That’s pretty steep price point for a gag gift. And then who is the narcissist that is, “I want my face on my breakfast every morning.”
Sean Sebring: Andy, if you were a good friend, I just left the US, moved over to Ireland, but if I was a better friend, I would’ve gotten a selfie of me and given this toaster to my friends to remember me by. There’s other scenarios where it could still be just as funny to give a picture of maybe a nemesis, a best friend, mortal enemy, your choice. But it says selfie toaster, selfies the image style. But I think there’s way more potential use cases that a photo being burned into toast and then consumed is powerful.
Andy Garibay: I love this nemesis idea. If there was some way you could sneak into their place, replace their toaster, and then guess what? It’s me. Yeah, that would be great.
Chrystal Taylor: That’s pretty good.
Andy Garibay: I would pay $70 for that.
Chrystal Taylor: Do you have a nemesis in mind?
Andy Garibay: No. No. Unfortunately I’m too…
Sean Sebring: That’s way too much effort.
Andy Garibay: Exactly.
Sean Sebring: Yeah.
Andy Garibay: Too lazy to have a nemesis.
Chrystal Taylor: That’s fair. Sticking with indoor appliances, I have seen several of these and I think that they’re so cool. They’re like countertop indoor hydroponic gardens where you can… It’s like a small appliance that sits on your counter and you grow. All the ads are for growing kitchen herbs because it’s meant to sit in your kitchen. But I’m like, possibly you could do all kinds of things with these. I’m not going to explain the possibilities, you can get that. But I was like, “That’s really cool. That’s really cool.” But also seems kind of nuts. What if you walk in someone’s house and they just have a garden on their countertop?
Andy Garibay: That would be pretty cool. That’s the thing, me and my wife, no green thumbs. We literally murder everything that walks into our house that’s greenery. But I’ve heard those hydroponic things and everything, it takes all the guesswork out of it and everything. And that is one thing I’ve always wanted is I do a lot of cooking, I love cooking, so fresh herbs is a huge deal to me. That’d be pretty cool. Is it crazy expensive? Do you remember?
Chrystal Taylor: I’ll-
Andy Garibay: I’m just curious.
Chrystal Taylor: I’ll look. So this one is $118. It’s not too crazy.
Andy Garibay: Okay. Not too crazy, yeah.
Sean Sebring: Because think of all it could generate for you. It’ll pay for itself in time.
Andy Garibay: Yeah. Every time you go buy a packet of fresh basil, it’s going to be like five bucks every time. As long as it can actually work and get rid of my murder thumbs. It’d be worth it.
Sean Sebring: Yeah, it’s pretty small. But yeah, I think this are just designed for herb garden in the kitchen. I also had the same exact thought because in the description it tells you that it’s basically once you set it up, it waters itself so you can’t over or underwater it and kill it immediately.
Andy Garibay: Right. So what’s your go-to herb? What’s your number one that you’re planting in there day one?
Chrystal Taylor: I don’t cook a lot, so I’m not the best-
Sean Sebring: I’m going cilantro.
Chrystal Taylor: Cilantro is good.
Andy Garibay: Cilantro is good.
Sean Sebring: Cilantro.
Andy Garibay: I’m going fresh parsley.
Sean Sebring: Both garnish and flavor if you’re into cilantro, so throw it on a burger, throw it on a salad, mix it in some salsa.
Andy Garibay: Absolutely. Yeah, I’m going for fresh Italian parsley. I use that a lot and mince it up, throw it in. Anything really just adds that fresh and brightness.
Sean Sebring: Dinner time over here and now I am getting hungry. And speaking of, I just discovered Belty. Belty is a futuristic innovation that was basically a smart belt, which is exactly what you would assume. Adjusts based on your activity. So if you are engorging yourself sitting down, it will loosen up for you. If you’re walking about it will tighten itself. And there have been many occasions where after a nice meal, I’m like, “This belt’s not doing me any favors right now, cutting into the sides there.” So a smart belt, I’m like, “That’s actually pretty applicable,” but I don’t know how well it would actually work, but I love the idea.
Andy Garibay: All I’m thinking about is Westworld. When does that thing decide like, “Oh, nope, I’m going to constrict,” and like, “No, stop.” But yeah.
Sean Sebring: How much is too much?
Andy Garibay: Exactly. And also how far can that thing expand? That’s the other problem. I would just start to gamify that where it’s like, let’s see how-
Sean Sebring: How much I can.
Andy Garibay: See how much I can eat right now. “Whoa, honey, I went up three notches just during this dinner. I’m going to try to get up to four next time.”
Chrystal Taylor: Challenge accepted.
Andy Garibay: Exactly.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah. When I saw that one, I immediately went to, “At what point does this go wrong?” And immediately it’s like boa constrictoring your waist. I don’t know if I want that in my life.
Andy Garibay: For sure. No, absolutely not. And there has to be… I just don’t want electronics around my waist, especially things that are built and designed to squeeze. I’m fine with my dumb belt. I don’t need a smart belt. But speaking of just… Sorry, Belty seems absolutely useless to me. And so does this product, which… I can’t remember, when we first saw it was probably a year ago today, these have to be the Dyson noise-canceling headphones with the air purifier attachment. Just have to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen recently.
One, because they look silly. Two, they cost $700. And then three, all the reviews say they straight up just don’t work. The noise-canceling headphones work pretty well, but if you have the air purifier attached to it, all you get is the vibration and hum in the frame of the headphones. So you’re just hearing that. So you’re not even really hearing your music very well. And the purifier, while it technically does purify the air, it doesn’t really get rid of everything. And all the studies showed that it just directly injects viruses into your breath. It just takes all that and super streamlines it right into your mouth. So it’s like, “Oh, awesome.”
Sean Sebring: I have to disagree on the look though, because… Let me describe this. So it’s your typical noise-canceling headphones, large, cover the whole ear, but the piece that would be the mask for this air purifier. Picture the, I don’t know what it’s called, the visor that Geordi wears in Star Trek. This belt of a visor over his eyes. But over your mouth. Also, similar to Shredder from Ninja Turtles.
Andy Garibay: Same with Sub-Zero.
Sean Sebring: Yeah, Sub-Zero, right. And I’m like, “Man, this is actually really good villain material,” which is also why it’s probably so dumb and trying to poison them. Maybe toxins were fueled into this person now and they thought they were… Going back to the Ninja Turtles, this is perfect. Maybe that’s what happened to Shredder. He was trying to breathe clean air and took in too much gas and became… Who knows? But I think it’s… Okay, it’s kind of goofy.
Andy Garibay: Same with Bane, yeah.
Chrystal Taylor: Villain origin story.
Andy Garibay: Exactly. “I was born in the dark.” Yeah, exactly. So yes, if you want to be Bane for $700, you can have some noise-canceling headphones by Dyson. It was a weird… Obviously I have not used them. Yeah. “Do you feel in charge?” Yeah. Let’s just all do our favorite quotes. Be here for the next-
Sean Sebring: Thank you Tom Hardy for giving us such quotable material.
Andy Garibay: I know. I love it.
Chrystal Taylor: Sticking with useless technology, this morning I saw that they had created a sauna for your dog that would dry your pet while it was in there. And this thing is… It’s like $660. It takes 25 minutes to dry the dog. And it’s a box.
Sean Sebring: It’s an oven for your-
Chrystal Taylor: It’s an oven for your dog, yeah. It is genuinely like nightmarish.
Sean Sebring: Okay. Leave them in the car. Leave them in the car with the windows up. I’ve got a solution. How is that better? How is that better?
Chrystal Taylor: No, it’s like a dryer. It’s supposed to be heat and there’s fans in there, but if it takes 25 minutes, what’s wrong with the towel?
Sean Sebring: Go get a towel.
Chrystal Taylor: And imagine the panic the dog’s going to have.
Andy Garibay: I know. I was going to say that’s all that machine is, is an anxiety machine for dogs. Sure it’s going to dry your dog, but you’re going to have to clean up that machine with a lot of, let’s just say it, spray diarrhea because your dog’s going to go absolutely crazy in that thing.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, yeah.
Andy Garibay: There’s no way.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, that’s tech gone nightmare, but also useless. Who needs that?
Andy Garibay: $600 for that? That is insane. You know what? Just get two hairdryers, put them on the cool setting and then just probably have more fun with that too. Guess what? Those are like 12.99 a piece. That’s insane. I can’t imagine putting my dog in a box-
Chrystal Taylor: Nightmare.
Andy Garibay: That has heat, wind and just noise. And I’m assuming… Does their head stick out of the box? Is it just for the body or do you put the whole dog in the box?
Chrystal Taylor: It has a like glass front so they can see out of it and you can see them. But no, it is a box. It’s a dryer cage for your pet.
Andy Garibay: Good so they can see you the whole time you’re torturing them so they know exactly who did this to them.
Chrystal Taylor: Whose idea was this? They must not own a dog. Why would you think that? Actually, I have another one for pets if we’re sticking with pets. I saw this other one-
Andy Garibay: Do you want to torture your pet some more?
Chrystal Taylor: This one’s not torture, this one I think is genius, which is a pet treadmill. So you live in an apartment or something, there are treadmills for dogs to run on so they can get their energy out without destroying everything that you own or you having to exercise yourself. So for someone like me who doesn’t want to exercise, I’m like, “Ooh, a pet treadmill, you can go run around to your heart’s content and be fine and I don’t have to be part of that.” They’re like pressure sensitive, so as they speed up, it speeds up or slows down. I’m like, “That’s genius technology. I’m here for that.”
Andy Garibay: Oh yeah, that makes sense. I didn’t even think about that. Yeah, obviously your dog cannot say like, “Yeah, I’m feeling a 3.5 today, incline 12” or whatever. So yeah, would have to just set it and forget it. I’ll check on you in 20 minutes. “Please turn it off.”
Sean Sebring: So I have one that I don’t think we need to bring up because hopefully some people will remember this one. I think it was underappreciated for its time and it was the shower radio. Now you can just pop your phone on the bathroom counter while you’re in the shower if you want some music. But man, before I would say the late 2010s or early…. Or not late 2010, sorry, late 2000s, early 2010s, having the smartphone and something that could play music for you just in the back, the shower radio was amazing. I thought it was so cool. I went to a friend’s house and showered at his house and he had one and I was like, “This is the coolest thing ever.”
Chrystal Taylor: “This is the future.”
Sean Sebring: I never even knew this would’ve been a thing. That was also when I got to see my first MMO, EverQuest. So that’ll give you a ballpark of when the shower radio was a hit for me.
Andy Garibay: Nice. No, shower radios were dope, but now they have like… There’s Bluetooth everything… It feels like it was especially a problem about 15 years ago where whenever Bluetooth was really catching on and everything was shrinking and shrinking and shrinking, so you could put Bluetooth in everything. It seemed like 15 years ago, everything had some Bluetooth speaker component where it’s like some of them actually made sense where it was like, “Hey, it’s a digital alarm clock for your nightstand, but it’s also a Bluetooth speaker.” Hey, yeah, that makes sense. I get it. “Hey, it’s a pen, but it has a Bluetooth speaker in it.” What? It’s whatever. And they had the Bluetooth shower head. On paper that sounds super cool. I want one too. But inevitably you are going to have to reconnect with that thing constantly. And what are you going to do? You’re going to step out of the shower just sopping wet and just trying to manipulate your phone, but your fingers are wet so it’s not reading?
It seems they’ve calmed down on putting Bluetooth speakers in everything. But yes, the shower radio was so-
Sean Sebring: Revolutionary.
Andy Garibay: Revolutionary. They had the two styles. One was you hung over your shower head like a bar of soap.
Sean Sebring: Yes, that’s-
Andy Garibay: And then they had the… We had the suction cup model, and so you would just stick it… Because we had sliding glass doors and so you would just stick it onto the sliding glass door. Of course, it was made of the thickest plastic because that thing probably fell off at least every other week and you’d have to re-suction it back up, but it never broke. It was awesome.
I got a couple of… They actually exist now, but for me it’s these moments of like, “Oh my God, we live in the future.” There’s a whole slew of products now that I really, really want. And the first one I want to share with y’all is… We’ve seen this over the past 10 years, like some form of it, but now it’s becoming a reality. And this one in particular has been getting good reviews, but it is just a universal translator. And so it’s a little device. So viewers, it’s like the size of a little mini-
Sean Sebring: IPod Nano. No, IPod-
Chrystal Taylor: It does look like that.
Andy Garibay: Yes.
Sean Sebring: That’s what it is, iPod Mini.
Andy Garibay: And so it’s like a little iPod Mini device. And so all it is you just walk up to somebody and you speak into it in your native language and then it has… You choose the setting for whatever country you’re in or whoever you’re trying to speak to, and it just translates what you said to that person. And then again, in turn, they will speak into it and then it’ll translate for you. I know there’s readers on your phone for looking at signage and things like that. So if you were in Japan, Google has a translator that you can just hold it up and it’ll do it. But now we can do it for conversations and voice. I really want one. I don’t do a ton of traveling especially to foreign countries, but it would be super cool to have. For me, it’s straight up Star Trek at this point with this device. It’s like awesome. It’s a universal translator, I want one so bad.
Chrystal Taylor: That’s exactly what I was thinking of, Star Trek. It is a hundred percent that. Live out your nerd fantasies when you go travel, get those translations. I think that that’s a useful piece of technology that’s only going to get better as we continue moving forward. So it’s going to get smaller and maybe it’ll be an earpiece. I’m just waiting for the day when it gets even better.
Sean Sebring: I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. But a potentially taboo thing to bring up is Star Wars: Episode One. And I want the machine that allowed Liam Neeson, aka Qui-Gon, to just pop a little thing in his beak and he could just swim and breathe underwater. And I’m like, “Man, that would be so useful.” Talk about a Swiss army device. Just, “Oh, got to swim. Better pop this thing in.”
Andy Garibay: I’m sorry, Sean, I think you mean the rebreather that Sean Connery used in Goldfinger.
Chrystal Taylor: And to bring it-
Andy Garibay: 40 years before Qui-Gon. RIP. And I am a prequel apologist, but let’s be real.
Sean Sebring: Okay, hear me out. Because when that episode started, it said a long, long time ago and it was in a galaxy far, far away.
Chrystal Taylor: I’ll bring this reference more current for you guys and bring it up to the Horizon Forbidden West where she has a rebreather as well. That’s way more current reference, so it seems more possible to me because it’s definitely more based on technology that we have now. But it would be very cool.
Sean Sebring: I like the name though. I didn’t know it had a name. Yeah, rebreather. I want one. Stocking stuffer ideas for you, guys.
Chrystal Taylor: Rebreathers do exist that don’t do that. They’re used for simulating high altitude environments, for instance. So for people who are training to go do mountain climbing or… My ex-husband was in the military and he used them to increase his stamina so that they could do those marches. They would use them to falsify higher altitude where you didn’t have the oxygen levels that you have at sea level and that kind of thing. And that’s also called a rebreather.
Sean Sebring: I’m trying to breathe what I want to breathe. And this device was designed to make you more miserable and therefore more tolerable. If I could train to breathe the water, that’d be cool.
Andy Garibay: Abyss-style, I want that.
Chrystal Taylor: Gills.
Andy Garibay: I want that pink liquid from Abyss.
Sean Sebring: Or Kevin Costner, let me just get some ear gills real quick.
Chrystal Taylor: Oh my gosh, Water World.
Andy Garibay: The movie’s supposed to take place like a hundred years in the future and he’s already evolved to gills? Come on man.
Sean Sebring: They’re out there.
Chrystal Taylor: We’ve gone to a different podcast now. We’re not doing Movies & Mainframes.
Andy Garibay: It’s the crossover event everyone’s been waiting for.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah. Speaking of cool things that we saw in media that are being made now. We were talking about this like a week ago, the self-lacing tennis shoes from Back to the Future, and hover boards that made the rounds a few years back that are a reality.
Andy Garibay: Oh yeah.
Chrystal Taylor: Those are really cool. I could do with self-lacing shoes. But then again, I think about Belty and I go, “What’s going to happen when it decides, ‘We’re just going to constrict all the way. Don’t worry about it’?” What are the limiters on those things?
Andy Garibay: But I’m okay with it. Yeah, that’s true. I’m totally okay with it on a shoe, but I do not want it around my waist just because I know that’s where the real pain point is. I got a belly, it’s going to be an issue. But shoes, it’s fine. My feet are fine.
Chrystal Taylor: There’s internal organs to protect in the belly region where you don’t have that on your feet. And speaking of shoes, there’s the… If you’re a shoe collector, I imagine these are really cool, which is like you put a magnet… It works with magnets, but it’s like a hovering shoe holder. So if you want to display your shoes, it holds them in a hovering magnetic field effectively, which I thought was really cool. And I’m not a shoe collector, but if you are one of those people that collect sneakers, for instance, those things are super cool.
Andy Garibay: I’m looking at it now. I’ve never heard of this and-
Sean Sebring: I can picture so many other things I’d want to put on display and have float and spin in a shrine of sorts above shoes. But everyone has their own thing. Yeah, that does sound really cool. The applications would just be different for me.
Andy Garibay: Yes. If I had an obscene amount of money, and I was just a gross person, that would be my closet. It would just be instead of shoes on the floor, they would just be hovering. And I’m like, “Yes, I’ll take these two today.”
Sean Sebring: A hovering mess though, just like that way they’re at arm’s reach, you don’t have to shuffle through them at the ground. You can shuffle through them at chest level because I’m game for that too. If you’ve heard of screen privacy, the privacy screens, this is far superior if you’re in a cold place and you need to wear a sweater sleeve tube to encase your CRT monitor. It’s a screen privacy hat scarf thing, literally how it’s labeled in this piece of technology. And there’s a mobile version where you can just put it on like a scarf beanie and walk around and look at your phone in case you need just a tube of scarf material to separate your phone and you from the outside world, which also indicates you can’t see where you’re going.
Andy Garibay: Absolutely not.
Sean Sebring: Looking at the phone one, especially, the picture, you know that they’re only seeing half of their screen.
Andy Garibay: Absolutely.
Sean Sebring: Oh yeah.
Chrystal Taylor: You’re not seeing the whole thing. This is insane.
Andy Garibay: They’re only seeing half their screen, their face is sweaty and hot, they’re smelling their own breath. It’s not a pleasant viewing experience.
Sean Sebring: It’s picture perfect.
Andy Garibay: I’m keeping with things, we live in the future now, things that I want. So AR is a big thing. I used to take piano lessons. I used to play piano whenever I was younger. Haven’t done it. And now my daughter’s getting into music, she’s playing guitar, and while she’s taking these lessons, I’m thinking like, “Oh, I should pick up piano again, this and that, blah, blah, blah.” I still know how to read sheet music. Not fast, but I know all the basics. I still remember the chords. But there are these AR piano apps now that work with Meta, and there’s one in particular that gets pretty good reviews and it’s called AR Piano. And so you wear Meta and it uses the camera to see your actual keyboard, but you don’t even need a piano or keyboard to use this, it will project one in AR onto a surface for you.
But if you have a piano or a keyboard, it works exactly like Guitar Hero, where it’s like you pick a song and it shows… It’s lining up with the keys, and if you tilt your head a little bit or cock your head to the side, it stays with it and it lines up with the keys so you know, just like a guitar Hero like, “Oh, my right hand, which is orange. I’m about to play these notes in my left hand, which is blue, about to play these notes.” I want it. It just looks fun because I was so bad at reading sheet music that the best way for me to learn a song was through muscle memory of just playing it over and over and over and over and over. And this thing seems great. I don’t have to waste my time plucking through each note. “What is that? Oh, that’s F#. Okay. Damn it. Now what’s that note? That’s… Okay, that’s A.
Sean Sebring: Yeah, if you can memorize how to beat Mario from one to three, it’s just memorization. I don’t actually have to be good at guitar. If I can remember which notes to hit when without knowing what I’m doing, I can play a song.
Andy Garibay: Exactly.
Chrystal Taylor: It does look really cool.
Andy Garibay: And speaking of that, I legit could beat Mario World 1-1 with my eyes closed.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah, that’s probably true.
Andy Garibay: No problem. You always remember where the jump is to get the mushroom, jump over the cavern. Yeah, so that’s how I learned anything with my hands was just through repetition, over and over and over and just become muscle memory. I really want one of these things. I think it would be super cool. And I love playing piano, so.
Sean Sebring: I’m going to potentially end us here on the DVD rewinder, which doesn’t actually exist, but I can guarantee was sold to someone.
Andy Garibay: Yes, I remember those.
Sean Sebring: A DVD rewinder.
Chrystal Taylor: It’s been really fun talking about some random stuff that we found on the internet in our searching for wacky gadgets that are sometimes cool and sometimes entirely useless, but interesting to talk about nonetheless. Let’s get into some rapid-fire questions and we’ll start with what is the best gift you’ve ever gotten? And I’m going to qualify this with as a child, and then I’ll ask again as an adult.
Andy Garibay: Okay, I’ll go first. So it is either between Christmas, it’s Christmas 1988, and there’s a huge box under the tree. I have a feeling I know what it is, but there’s no way my parents bought it for me because it’s way too expensive. But lo and behold, I open it up and it is GI Joe’s Rolling Thunder. It is a huge vehicle that has two ICBM missiles that come up and guns everywhere. It was amazing. The other one was 1992, I got my very own CD boombox, which I was not expecting. And CDs at that time were just like, “Oh my, it’s black magic. How is music on this thing?” And I was super jazzed. And it came with two CDs that my parents bought for me. And this will tell you something about myself. The two CDs that they knew I wanted were the album Us by Peter Gabriel and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. And as a 12-year-old going on 13, I was super pumped.
Sean Sebring: Mine is way nerdier than that. I want to say I was around the same age and I got a child’s bow and arrow. That kind of dullish metal tips and plastic feathers at the end of the two arrows that came with the bow. That one. And I think we talked about this in pre-episode discussions. It’s not about the gift necessarily, it’s about the memory of the gift, which made it great. And it was just the perfect Christmas winter day in just south of Austin, Texas, Buda. And we had a big chunk of land that I just got to go all around and pretend I am… Oh, I don’t know, Link from the Legend of Zelda and shoot some trees right in their base. And of course the arrows don’t stick because they’re not really sharp. But it was probably one of the most memorable gifts of just enjoying the gift, which doesn’t happen as you become a parent, you’ll realize they don’t enjoy it as much as they should. But enjoying the gift outside, that’s got to be one of my most memorable moments with a Christmas present.
Chrystal Taylor: Mine is probably a tie. Like Andy, I have two. So the first one, which I got earlier in my life is my Barbie Dreamhouse that I got, which is a classic. It was the first Barbie Dreamhouse that had a working elevator. And it didn’t do much, but it was extremely exciting and it was way better than my sister’s Dreamhouse because it had electronics in it. We played Barbies all the time for years and years. So it got way more use than it probably would in many people’s households.
But the second one is going to be the year that we got for Christmas after launch, our N64. My parents took us to Toys “R” Us. They tricked us and told us we were going to do something else. I don’t remember what it was, but it was right before Christmas, maybe a couple of days before Christmas. So Toys “R” Us was absolutely jam-packed. And for those who don’t know, Toys “R” Us was a toy store in the United States that has since closed down and maybe reopened again. I don’t know, but it’s a weird thing. But Toys “R” Us was the place for toys when you were a kid. And we went and we picked out the translucent green N64, and it came with Donkey Kong 64. We played games before that, we had other Nintendo systems and whatever, but that one was like the bomb. We got to go pick it out and we had to share it, which is why it’s a tie. We had to share it. And it wasn’t just anyone’s gifts, I had to share it with my brother and sister, so.
Andy Garibay: What was your go-to game on the N64?
Chrystal Taylor: It would be Mario 64 or Donkey Kong 64. Donkey Kong 64 was a game we played together, which is not… It’s a single player game, but because you have five different playable characters we would swap. So I was always Tiny Kong and Diddy Kong, and my brother was always Donkey Kong and Lanky Kong. And then my sister played Tiny. So we would just swap out like, “Oh, this is a section for this person. And we would all sit together. It was how we worked together. And then of course, Mario is Mario, so.
Sean Sebring: Ocarina of Time all the way. But moving on.
Andy Garibay: Goldeneye. We didn’t even call it the Nintendo 64, we called it the Goldeneye Machine. It’s all we-
Chrystal Taylor: We did play Goldeneye, but unfortunately my brother was so good at that game that you couldn’t beat him. So it was less fun for me.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, we had a friend like that too, which we would have to handicap his play somehow because he was just ridiculous. We’d have all the guns and he would just only have hands and still somehow just take us all down.
Chrystal Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. So what’s your favorite gift you’ve received as an adult?
Sean Sebring: I can go, I don’t have to think about that. Mine wasn’t Christmas, but it’s still a gift I was very grateful for. It was my 29th birthday right before my daughter was born, meaning my wife was very, very pregnant. And we were in Austin. We were still locals to Austin. And so she organized all my friends to come out when… We went and had a couple drinks before we went into a comedy theater event, Esther’s Follies. And I had the best time just enjoying the show. And what made it even better is there’s a magician, pulled on stage my incredibly pregnant wife, and had her perform tricks with him. Which one included firing a dog out of a cannon. Of course, no animals were harmed in this performance, but just getting to sit there and enjoy the show, and the fact that my wife put it together for me and it was all my friends, it was just such a selfless gift to ensure that I had the best time ever.
I’ve never had a better gift given. Of course, other than my children and my wife herself. Hey, if this is being recorded, it needs to be recorded.
Andy Garibay: Yeah, best gift as an adult. I love my wife and children, but anyways. I wouldn’t say it’s my… I’m having a hard time thinking of this one because as an adult, we all fall under this trap now as an adult, “Hey, I want that.” So I buy it. As long as the price tag is reasonable within my budget. I don’t have to wait until Christmas to buy a PlayStation or a game or some piece of technology. It’s like, “I want it, give it to me now.” So I am going to choose the present that I got that I felt was the definitive line of “now I am an adult.”
Every year my mom would ask because she didn’t want to waste her money or… She was very nice, she didn’t want to waste her money or want me to have to go return stuff. So she would just straight up ask what I wanted and then she would always get me little stocking stuffers as the surprise. And so one year I asked for it and I got it. I got a very, very nice 12-inch cast iron skillet. And I was pumped. I was so jazzed to get that thing. I remember I was with my cousins at the time because we were just all… It’s Christmas, so we’re all together. And my older cousins just looked at me like, “What are you doing? You just wasted an ask and you got a 12-inch skillet? Just go to Target and get one you weirdo.” But I was super happy and for me that was like I’m officially an adult now. I’m not asking for, “I want a game. I wanted this.” “Nope, I want a cast iron skillet.”
Sean Sebring: No, I actually like socks for Christmas.
Andy Garibay: Me too.
Sean Sebring: I get you.
Chrystal Taylor: Because you probably won’t buy them for yourself. That’s not a fun buy.
Andy Garibay: I buy them for myself, but I don’t want to, I want somebody to take that away from me.
Chrystal Taylor: That’s fair.
Andy Garibay: So yeah.
Chrystal Taylor: I think I’ll do my actual adult gift, and then my real favorite gift I’ve gotten as an adult. So my favorite like “I’m an adult”-style gift was a couple of years ago my mom got me a Cricut. Which for anyone who doesn’t know, I make costumes for my son. And that thing has been the best. I was so excited to get it and to use it, and I have learned something new on it every year that I’ve had it. That’s been really amazing. But my real favorite gift I’ve gotten as an adult is my former partner went and waited in line for hours and hours to get me the Switch on launch day with Breath of the Wild. I didn’t ask him to do that, but that’s what happened. And then I played Breath of the Wild for the next several days of like, “I don’t want to talk to anyone.” And it was great.
Andy Garibay: Nice. Yeah, when I got that game, it was just same thing. Wife didn’t even know where I was. I was just somewhere in the house playing in handheld mode in a dark corner. “Must unlock another shrine.”
Sean Sebring: Man, this was so much fun. We did a very merry episode last year and I don’t know that it could beat how much fun we had this year. No offense to my former episode with my former self, but as we’ve gotten to talk about so much weird stuff, which is totally vibing with me, what a great episode. So that being said, thank you listeners for joining us on another episode of SolarWinds TechPod. I’m your host, Sean Sebring, joined by fellow host Chrystal Taylor, and we’re joined today by our guest, Andy Garibay.
Andy Garibay: Thanks for having me.
Sean Sebring: As mentioned at the beginning of the episode and for those not aware, SolarWinds hosts another marvelous podcast, Movies & Mainframes, hosted by our guest and very own Andy Garibay. If you haven’t yet, make sure to subscribe and follow for more TechPod content. Thanks for tuning in.
Andy Garibay: You ever watch a movie or TV show where someone is using a computer to hack into the mainframe and think to yourself, “That’s not how that works, that’s not how any of this works”? Movies & Mainframes, the fun podcast that explores the representation of technology and media. Join hosts Tom and Andy as they review your favorite movies and TV shows and run a query if the tech is done right. Download Movies & Mainframes wherever you get your podcasts.