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Crazy Forts

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What really grabbed my eye this week was not so much a geeky gadget but a really cool toy I wish I had when I was a kid. See, I loved building forts, little playhouses, and tents for imaginary play, and I loved my Tinker Toys. Crazy Forts is both of those in one! A Crazy Forts kit looks like nothing more than Tinker Toys big enough to live inside, but what else does a kid need?
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fort2.jpgA Crazy Fort set comes with 44 sticks and 25 balls used to connect them in at various angles. Build your fort, castle, tunnel, pyramid, or whatever you can think of, then throw a bed sheet over it to finish your building. The product site has plans you can download for different designs, but it won't be long before your kids come up with something completely different.
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Isn't this better than seeing the kids move furniture around all over the house? Even better, there are no batteries, cartridges, or refills involved. No movie or breakfast cereal tie-ins. All you need is an imagination! Crazy Forts could be a classic, like Tinker Toys and homemade playhouses. It just makes sense.
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Fort3.jpgThen I think about all the times I've looked around the house for something I could use to hold up something else, a prop of a certain size, or something with a particular angle, for all kinds of crazy reasons. Even though I'm no kid, I kinda want one (or two) of these for myself! Available from Mastermind Toys and chapters.indigo.ca for $34.99.

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Frog Log
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Animals
This Simple Device in Your Pool Can Save an Animal's Life
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Frog Log

If your pool has been open since the start of the summer, you've likely had to deal with frogs, mice, and other unwanted animals leaping into the water for a dip only to find themselves unable to leave. This product spotlighted by CBS Minnesota doesn't keep wildlife from falling into your pool, but it does give them a safe and simple way to climb out.

The Frog Log bills itself as a "critter-saving escape ramp." To install it, just place the semicircular pad on the water's surface against the side of the pool and lay the weighted pouch on the edge above it. Frogs, lizards, ducklings, chipmunks, and even some insects floundering in the pool will see the device's net trim and swim towards it. After hoisting themselves onto the platform, they can take the mesh bridge to safety.

Wildlife biologist Rich Mason was inspired to make the product after friends of his found 53 dead frogs in their pool one summer. He knew that such deaths could have been prevented, so he got to work building the tiny creatures an escape route. The Frog Log took hundreds of hours of research, testing, and development to make it a reality, and today Mason sells thousands of them to customers around the world each year.

Each Frog Log costs $23 with 3 percent of the profits going to help conservation groups like Amphibian Survival Alliance and Green People. Purchase your own through the Frog Log website to keep the critters in your backyard safe through the end of swimming pool season.

[h/t CBS Minnesota]

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iStock
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technology
Wireless Recording Device Captures Studio-Quality Songs on the Go
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iStock

When they aren’t near a studio, some musicians settle for recording snippets of songs on their smart phones during the writing process. Spire Studio offers a better way: Small enough to fit inside a purse, the recording device allows artists to record and mix professional-grade tracks without stepping foot inside a recording booth.

According to Fast Company, Spire Studio is a new product from iZotope, a Massachusetts-based company that’s been in the recording business for more than 15 years. The sleek, cylindrical gadget is designed to be a modern tool for making music. Using it is simple, with a button for one-touch recording and a studio-quality microphone built in. It automatically adjusts levels for a smoother sound and gives musicians the choice to layer tracks on top of one another.

Once the actual music has been captured, users can move to the Spire Studio app to edit it. The device wirelessly connects to a smartphone where mixing and polishing tracks is easy even for a beginner to do. And if a friend wants to improve upon the song further, the file can easily be shared for them to play with it.

Spire Studio is designed to be accessible to musicians of all experience levels, but that’s no reason for serious recording artists look down upon it. Some professional bands, including The Ultramods and Gorillaz, have composed entire albums using nothing but iPad apps. Songwriters looking to graduate past the Voice Memos app on their phone can purchase Spire Studio for $350 when it hits the market this fall.

[h/t Fast Company]

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