In every issue of the Rant, Auvik’s newsletter for network administrators and managed service providers, we include a little section called Just For Fun. It’s where we highlight cool things we’ve come across on our Internet travels: gear, books, links, videos, articles, places, and more.
Looking back through the 2015 archives, we realized there’s a bunch of seriously awesome stuff we’ve talked about, and we thought it might be worthwhile to gather up the best of the products in one convenient spot.
So here it is — the top 15 Just for Fun products of 2015. Which ones are on you adding to your wish list? Tweet us @AuvikNetworks with the hashtag #jff2015 and let us know.
1. Ekobrew reusable Keurig filter
If you love your Keurig but feel guilty about all the environmental waste those pods create, this reusable filter from Ekobrew has you covered. Fill it with your favorite free-trade grind and enjoy your coffee with a clear conscience.
2. Autothysis SSD
This drive will self-destruct in 3… 2… Is that the Mission: Impossible theme I hear? No, it’s just the Autothysis SSD from SecureDrives. You can configure the device to automatically destroy its NAND flash chips on any of six triggering events, including low battery or being disconnected from the SATAII interface. You can even issue a destruct command via SMS so even if the drive is lost or stolen, you can be sure your data won’t be accessible. Deep cover disguise optional.
3. Sriracha bacon jerky
4. Choose Your Own Adventure #185: Escape from the Haunted Warehouse
Joey deVilla, aka Accordion Guy, reports: “Between 1979 and 1998, the story goes that 185 Choose Your Own Adventure books were written, but only 184 were released. Escape from the Haunted Warehouse, which had reviews that called it “the scariest one ever,” made it out in the form of a few promotional copies, but was never made generally available.” Now, at last, you can can own a copy.
5. Exploding Kittens
It’s been called “the new Cards Against Humanity.” And it raised a whopping $8.8 million, making it the fourth highest grossing Kickstarter campaign of all time. What is it? It’s Exploding Kittens — “a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats”— brought to you by Matthew Inman (of The Oatmeal), Elan Lee, and Shane Small. We want! I mean, how can you resist a game with unicorn enchiladas, thousand-year back hair, portable cheetah butts, and bear-o-dactyls?
6. Zolt laptop charger
Is Zolt the world’s best laptop charger? Could be. It’s certainly the smallest, lightest, and most versatile. The cute and colorful device is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and powerful enough to charge your laptop, phone or tablet — or even all three at once. Heck, it’ll even charge your speakers or your digital camera.
7. Leatherman Tread
Leave it to Leatherman to come up with a “wearable” that packs a ton of utility into a beautiful form. No, it won’t measure your heart rate or feed data to your smartphone — but it does give you a whack of essential tools in a single rugged band that you wear on your wrist. The Leatherman Tread holds 25 tools, from screwdrivers and wrenches to a SIM card remover and an emergency glassbreak tool. There’s even an option to add a Swiss watch.
8. Grid-It organizer
If you travel a lot — even from office to office — you know what a mess all your bits and bobs can make. A cable and a USB stick here, a couple pens and velcro strips over there. Not to mention your phone and charger, your Allen keys, some sticky notes, and whatever else you carry in that toolkit of yours. It often ends up in a big ol’ pile at the bottom of your bag. But not anymore! The Grid-It series of organizers is a brilliant solution to the mess. The Grid-It is a firm board wrapped in rows of elastic. Simply tuck a piece of gear under an elastic to hold it in place, then repeat until all your stuff has been slotted in.
Too many USB devices, not enough ports? You need InfiniteUSB. This ingenious little cord lets you stack your USB devices by plugging each one into the device that came before. We also love that the head is magnetic so you can store the cords neatly just by folding them into a loop.
10. Candle Charger
Never again worry whether your phone will run out of juice in a power outage. With the Candle Charger from Stower you’ll be connected and communicating. Touted as the world’s first indoor power plant for smartphones, the clever device relies on just two things — water and fire — to produce a USB charge. Light up the provided candle, set your water pot on top, and voila! Your phone is juiced and ready for action.
Sliden’joy sounds vaguely Swedish, was invented in Belgium, and is taking the world by storm following a super-successful Kickstarter campaign this past summer. The laptop accessory expands your display with lightweight snap-on screens. Use them as a triple-whammy desktop view or flip them up to 180 degrees to share with others. The HD screens fit both Mac and PCs in a variety of sizes and connect to your laptop with a single USB.
12. Brik Book
Stickers on your laptop are great, but so permanent. What if you could change up your case decoration whenever you felt like it? That’s the idea behind Brik Book, a snap-on tile plate for your Macbook Pro or Macbook Air. Add colored bricks in any design you want — a business card holder, an alien spacecraft, your name. The only risk is that you’ll spend more time playing with the case than actually working on your computer.
13. Jabba the Hut inflatable
Step back — here comes an inflatable piece of awesome from ThinkGeek. The product specs sum it up nicely:
- 6 ft. tall x 10 ft. long
- Intimidating on your lawn
- Officially-licensed Star Wars merchandise
- Lights up
- Not intended for permanent installation or year-round use, dangit!
14. Ninja gnome
From the product website: “Protect your plants and patio from unwanted intruders and garden pests with this deadly assassin. Dressed from head to toe in black and wielding a samurai sword; he despatches slugs, squirrels and burglars with ruthless feudal Japanese efficiency. When night falls, his eyes light up to strike fear into people’s hearts and illuminate your garden pathways with a gentle white glow.” Nice.
15. Astronaut ice cream
Mmm, freeze-dried… ice cream? Can’t say it appeals to us but there are a lot of fans of this astronaut food on Amazon.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the best treat on or off the planet.”
“…definitely a unique flavor and texture sensation that you’ll either love or hate.”
“This was perfect for our sons space themed party goody bags. The kids loved it…”
“This is amazingly tasty! The whole family was excited to find these in their Christmas stocking. It is a creamy, rich treat unlike anything I have tried before.”
At about $2.50 per 7oz package, it’s not cheap food. But then again, it’s not often you get the chance to taste life in space. Looked at that way, you might consider Astronaut Ice Cream a bargain. Rockets away!