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12 Things You Can Do On A Segway

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Early on, Segways developed a reputation for being useless and nerdy, but in the last few years people have found plenty of things you can do with, or on, a segway. The personal transporters are becoming more popular as gas prices rise and more uses are found. Keep in mind, these are things you can do if you have the skill and the balance to ride a Segway as they are made to be ridden.

1. Play Polo

Segway Polo is just like regular polo, except the players ride Segways instead of horses. The first organized match was in 2004, and now the game is played worldwide, overseen by the International Segway Polo Association. The international championship tournament is called the Woz Challenge Cup (yes, named after Steve Wozniak) and has been held annually since 2006. (image credit: Luiza)

2. Off-Road Sports

Some Segway enthusiasts have used a Segway as an ATV, skateboard, bicycle, skates, or an SUV. How fun is it to go "four-wheelin'" on two wheels?

3. Play Golf

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Spice up your golf game with the Segway X2 Golf! It's a special model with tires that won't hurt the turf and attachments to hold your golf club bag and a scorecard.

4. Urban Sightseeing

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Sightseeing can be tiring and hard on the feet. That's why so many cities and historical areas offer Segway guided tours. From Anchorage to Zurich, you can find a Segway tour that allows you to see the sights close up without wearing yourself out. (image credit: iluvcocacola)

5. Build a Wheelchair

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Spanish designer Josep Mora took a Segway, added a seat, a kick stand, a folding handlebar, and ramp. The result is a motorized wheelchair (which is not endorsed by Segway). See a video of the chair in action.

6. Make an Arrest

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Long Beach, New York police officer Jose Miguez gave chase to a stolen Mercedes while on a Segway. At 12 mph, he couldn't keep up with a car, but he kept the vehicle in sight until the teenagers who stole it abandoned the car as it crashed. It was easy to catch up with the perpetrators when they were on foot. Many police forces and security departments are finding that Segways save them money in many ways. Outfit a police department with Segways and you'll find you can cover more area with fewer officers walking the beat. Replacing just a few police cars with segways saves money on gasoline, maintenance, insurance, and parking space. But most importantly, many law enforcement units purchase Segways with Homeland Security grants, so the initial outlay is practically zero.

7. Deliver Pizza

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The owner of Nonni's Italian Eatery in Concord, New Hampshire is battling the high price of gasoline by delivering pizzas via Segway. Mathew Mitnitsky modified the Segway to hold pizzas. He says it saves "a ton of money."

8. Race!

200segwayllc.jpgThe Segway Challenge is an obstacle course race for Segways. It's  part of Gen Con Indy, a gamer convention in Indianapolis. They hold open rides for those who want to try it out, and a tournament to see who is the best Segway rider of all. The next Gen Con Indy will be August 13-16, 2009.

9. Walk Your Daughter Down the Aisle

200dicksonwedding.jpgBruce Dickson has a neuromuscular disability that makes walking difficult. He traded in a wheelchair for a Segway to get him where he needs to go. His favorite Segway memory is his daughter's wedding, in which he was able to escort her to the altar on his Segway. Dickson was concerned that he would roll over her dress and tear it, or somehow draw attention away from the bride, but the outdoor wedding came off perfectly. He has also used a Segway for fishing, dancing, and at work.  Dickson is a lawyer in Washington, DC, a city where Segways are more popular than other places, possibly because of the wide sidewalks and long distances to cover.

10. Take a Road Trip

You could ride a Segway long distances, like across the continent, but at a maximum of 12 mph, it would take a long time. 100 days, to be exact, as Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell found out when they traveled from Seattle to Boston on Segways. They quit their jobs for the project, a luxury you probably can't afford. But you can enjoy their adventure vicariously by watching the movie 10 MPH. The film is here in its entirety, 93 minutes.

11. Dance

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I don't know the story behind this picture of a Segway ballet, but it looks like fun! (image credit: gunnyrat)

12. Make Friends

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Tens of thousands of people have purchased Segways since they went on sale in 2002. More people are turning to Segways as gas prices rise. But those people are spread far and wide. So they meet online at Segway Social, a social networking site for Segway owners. At Segway Social, you can share Segway stories and tips, find a "glide" (a Segway route) map, and meet other "gliders" in your area. (image credit: Lady Madonna)

Special thanks to Kathleen Pierce for researching this article.

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Slow Wi-Fi? It Could Be Your Neighbor's Fault
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If your Wi-Fi connection remains interminably slow no matter how many times you restart it, you can probably blame your neighbor. It could be that there are too many people using Wi-Fi connections on the same channel, even if you're all on different networks. But, as Tech Insider teaches us in the video below, there is a way to circumvent this, returning you to the prime TV-streaming Wi-Fi speeds of your dreams. (These instructions apply to Mac users, but if you've got Windows, How-To Geek recommends a tool called the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector to do the same job.) It seems like a lot of steps at first, but it'll be worth it—we promise.

If you’ve got a Mac, hold the Option key while clicking the Wi-Fi symbol in your top menu bar. Go to “Open Wireless Diagnostics,” then when that opens, go up to the top left menu bar and click the drop-down menu “Window > Scan.” That will open up a window with all the nearby Wi-Fi networks. Click the “Scan Now” button on the bottom right, and your computer should recommend the best channels for you to use—say, you’re on Channel No. 1, but the best 2.4GHz channel is No. 3. Tech Insider recommends writing those down (there are options for both 2.4GHz channels and 5GHz channels).

Now, you’ll need to break out your iPhone. Download the AirPort Utility app, and go to your phone’s settings. Scroll down to the AirPort Utility app in your app list, and enable “WiFi Scanner.” Use the app to scan your house for Wi-Fi networks and note which channels are commonly used by your neighbors’ networks. (If you don’t have an iPhone, you can also use Acrylic Wi-Fi for Android or Windows phones.) This will help you avoid the most congested networks.

Then, log onto your router on your computer by typing your router’s IP address into your browser, just like you would any web address. From there, go into Wireless Settings, and change the channel your network operates on to one of the recommended options that you wrote down from your computer's diagnostics window earlier. And don’t forget to save!

This should help you get a faster internet connection by minimizing the amount of interference from other networks around you. Because the best neighbors are the ones who don't slow down Game of Thrones for you.

See the process step-by-step in the video below.

[h/t Tech Insider]

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This 'Smokeless' Fire Pit Promises a More Efficient Burn
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BioLite

For thousands of years, people have gathered around open flames to cook food, find warmth, and share stories deep into the night. Campfires have been around since the dawn of humanity, but what if there was a way to use modern technology to make them even better? The people at BioLite believe they've found one.

The FirePit is the outdoor gadget startup's answer to the recreational, backyard fire. It offers the same benefits as a more conventional product: a space for building wood or charcoal fires, a removable grate for grilling, and metal screens on each side to protect onlookers from embers. But the yellow battery pack is what sets it apart from anything else on the market. With the press of a button, a fan inside the FirePit stokes a hotter, more efficient blaze without producing all of the smoke and soot people are used to.

Couple sitting by a firepit on the beach.
BioLite

"Air injection makes the fire burn more completely," Ryan Gist, one of the lead engineers on the project, told Mental Floss. "So you basically get all the energy out of your fuel." The result is a fire you can enjoy without worrying about your eyes and throat burning, moving your chair every five minutes to avoid a gust of smoke, or having your clothes stink for weeks.

It also makes for a fire capable of burning longer and brighter with less wood. Smoke is made of tiny fuel particles that haven't fully burned up. Using a fan, the FirePit can draw that runaway fuel back into the fire before it has a chance to escape. "It's like when you're stuck on the highway behind a truck and it's got black stuff coming out of the tailpipe," BioLite marketing director Erica Rosen told Mental Floss. "When you see black stuff coming out of a fire, it's the same thing. So what we've done is, we've given fire a tuneup."

FirePit's built-in fan makes the fire easy to control. If campfire gazers want to see big, roaring flames through the box's X-ray mesh, they can turn the air down low. The higher fan setting produces a smaller, more intense burn, which is perfect for chilly autumn nights. Adjusting the blaze can be done remotely with the BioLite Energy app or manually from the control panel on top of the battery pack.

People sitting by a fire.
BioLite

BioLite designed the FirePit for backyards, but its foldable legs make it convenient to carry to the beach, a campsite, or anywhere else where you might bring a cooler of the same size. Once it's cooled down after an evening of grilling hot dogs and toasting marshmallows, the pit fits neatly into its solar panel case, where it can recharge in time for the following night (the battery also features a USB plug for charging indoors).

The FirePit recently debuted on Kickstarter, where it's available along with its solar carrying case for a special deal of $169 (once the first 300 FirePits go, it will be sold for the regular price of $199). To help the campaign reach its $100,000 funding goal, you can reserve yours today with shipping estimated for May of next year.

Skewers cooking on a grill.
BioLite

All images courtesy of BioLite.

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