New year technology: Going Back to 2019

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Another item that’s been looking for a way to break back into the market for a while is the Polaroid OneStep+ camera. If you have ever seen a Polaroid camera, the look and feel of this will come as no surprise to you. The controls are satisfyingly minimal, the biggest of all being the button that works the shutter. We are talking proper mechanical here, with levers, switches and buttons to do pretty much anything. However, the photos tend to suffer somewhat from being incredibly blurry, very much like the product of the original iterations of the camera were. If you’ve ever used Instagram to ad blur to a picture for that retro look, you’ll love it. Of course, there has to be a tech angle in the Polaroid story, so there’s a free app in which you can configure various modes and features via Bluetooth although it has to be said these features are pretty basic. The big thumbs down on these cameras is the price tag of around €20 on the film cartridges. This would be OK if it took 36 shots instead of just 8. Oh, and while we’re at it, the company states that “Rapid movement during development can cause portions of the film to separate prematurely.” So, if you were thinking of ‘shaking it like a Polaroid picture’, don’t.

Radio used to be a thing before Spotify and iTunes. The Haynes company would like you to believe it could be again with their FM radio kit. Another example of logo engineering, the Haynes name has been bought by a licensing company and is no longer the reliable source of engineering information it once was. However, as a relatively cheap project kit that’ll keep someone quiet for a couple of hours on Christmas day, it’s a reasonable investment. It doesn’t look like the sturdiest radio you’ll ever see but at around €20, you probably shouldn’t expect it. the battery, of course, is no included.

Straying away from the path of tech for the final item, something that caught my eye recently was the return of the magic 8 Ball. Perhaps it never even went away, I have no idea. In case you’ve never seen one, it’s an enlarged version of the 8 ball in the game of pool, colloquially known as something of an unknown quantity. It has a small window in the front and when you shake it, a simple message will appear. Does this mean all your Christmas gift ideas are solved? Let’s shake the Magic 8 Ball. Hmm…”don’t count on it”.