Now that Jekyll has started getting updated again, it's time
Honestly, just got sick of the ridiculously slow rebuild times and the
fact that ruby is not a language I'm into. Being more of a python
person, I've decided to give Pelican a shot. It's now backing the
static page generation of the site, and has already helped fix the
archive generation, as well as point out a few misbuilt pages. It can
also generate the full site (~415 posts) in around 5 seconds, versus
jekyll's way too fucking long.
Anyways, if there's any issues you notice with the site, please let me
know via Twitter or by email on the tips account in the footer.
Now, off to tag all of the old posts, integrate the mmorgy posts, redo
the project posts like I've been meaning to do for years, and... ugh.
I thought blogging wasn't supposed to be this much work.
No, I haven't been living under a rock. Yes, I've heard about Durex
I really have very little snide and belittling to say about it. I
think they actually did a pretty fucking good job. If the dude that
lead the design team had not decided to go the "we're the first EVAR"
route, this would be a completely positive article. But we can't have
everything we want.
If you haven't heard about the Durex Fundawear, watch these two things
first so I don't have to be all SPOILERS and shit.
Oh my sweet fucking jesus at the time of this writing there's 3.6
MILLION views of that video. This is what happens when a company that
knows their brand decides to use it.
The "How they did it" video:
Basically, arduino with some sort of network shield, and cell phone
vibrators. Hey, interaction design students, remember when this was
your junior year project? Remember how many views your project video
got? KNEEL TO YOUR ESTABLISHED BRAND GODS.
Don't worry, though. Someday you too can grow a sexy scruffy beard and
a plaid shirt and be a tech lead at a fancy design firm and call
yourself the first in the world to do something that was first talked
about almost 40 years ago and has been on the market since the 90's
and that I've blogged and taught workshops on for years and
helped make a dedicated arduino shield for
and is now a common IXD student project. I WON'T BE BITTER.
NOT AT FUCKING ALL.
No. Really. See Also:
"Underwear and touch and remote presence is something that's never
"This is a project about transferring touch across mass distances,
and that's a first, globally."
Ben Moir, dude that doesn't do his fucking research
Even so, this is getting a LOT of press. Last I checked there were
10's of articles on major sites about this, and 3.6 million hits over
3 days isn't too shabby for a sex tech project.
The Good Parts
Ok, with that out of the way, let's get on to why I like Fundawear.
It's accessible. It isn't insertible, it's just wearable. One of the
major freakout factors of sex toys is that you have to put something
in them or put them in you. Then you have to hook it to a piece of
hardware that you may not even trust to make phone calls or print
pages, much less manipulate your bits. With Fundawear, well, you have
to put yourself in it, yes. But that's not quite the same.
Expanding on the lack of bits manipulation, Fundawear seems more like
a foreplay toy than an in the act toy. It's a way to caress someone's
erogenous zones over distances, versus poke/stroke them. This means
less to go wrong because you aren't promising orgasm, you're just
promising tickling. That's a far easier promise to fulfill than the
"GONNA MAKE YA CUM" of most sex toys.
While I rant and rail about how it's got all of the creativity of a
student project, it's also as easy to grasp as a student project. A
lot of the work I do around teledildonics isn't really graspable by
those that aren't familiar with the tech world. Fundawear keeps it
simple enough to let people go "Oh. I touch this thing and I move
There are lot of problems of current teledildonics that Fundawear
either skirts or just plain solves.
Obtaining: Durex has access to a LOT of storefronts that usual
teledildonics devices do not. They could easily ship this to stores
that will stock it next to their condoms, winning the impulse-buy
market flat-out compared to online buy-and-wait.
Interface: Since you're caressing areas, not manipulating nono
zones, you can be a lot more playful. It's just fun, not a means to
Usage Interruption: One of the big problems with teledildonics is
that it's usually attached to data streams like video conferencing.
There's a LOT that can go wrong with this, especially if you're in
the middle of doing... things. Since Fundawear is just foreplay,
having disconnection issues isn't quite as jarring.
Cleaning: Just throw it in the wash! Not so easy with dildos or
tubes or whatever.
The Iffy Parts
Outside of my own ranting above, there's really not a lot that's
outright wrong with this project. It's an experiment, and I think it
works well as that. It'll hopefully get people thinking more about
remote sex via technology, in ways that are accessible to those that
won't just stick whatever in whatever 'cause there's some circuits in
it (STOP JUDGING ME).
Returning to my above point about the simplicity of Fundawear, I also
wonder if that might be its downfall as a product. It seems like the
initial experience is pretty powerful. But if commercialized, what
would reuse be like? I have no stats about how things like Highjoy or
Sinulate were used/reused by consumers, so I'm not sure what kind of
precedents we have thus far.
Turning Fundawear into a product seems difficult. It's presented as
undergarments that have the vibrators embedded. Actually making
undergarments that will fit a majority of people is no small task.
This is one place where sex toys excel. We can assume they'll either
be pokey or poked in, and that people have pokey or pokey-inny (or
both!) bits for them to be used on, probably of a certain size. The
larger the surface area of the body you have to cover with your
product, the more complicated things become. They could easily make
this a clip-on system so it would work with whatever you might already
have (and hugely increase their market share as people add it to
fetish garments instead of just underwear), which could solve this
It's kinda awesome to see big brands venturing into wearable intimate
interfaces in a way I don't hate. We've gotta get a market around this
stuff one way or another if it's ever to be viable, and I've seen a
lot of false starts and stupidity. While not wholly original,
Fundawear seems like a good beginning toward mainstream realization of
I've been dodging writing about all of the crazy new toys that've been
announced lately. I'm sick of spending words pontificating on things
that might never come out. I've seen too many toys get lots of
attention and never ship, and I don't feel like joining the media
circus that is the current "LOOK, TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN STICK IN/STICK IT
IN" press release copypastafest. I figure I'll wait for things to
either be released or be interesting, and join in that fanfare.
Lovepalz now apparently fulfills the released part. I have yet to
hear of anyone actually getting their hands on one. There's been no
pictures posted of the finished product. No word of the software
that'll be used to run it. But
according to a text only post their website, your Zeus or Hera
will now be on its way to you as soon as you confirm your shipping
info. They didn't even update their Facebook page. Huh.
Anyways, I can technically post about them now without breaking my own
rules. Though it's pretty much a complete guess as to what's going on.
WINZZ, the company behind the Lovepalz, does not fill me with
hope. They started with a media campaign about being kicked off
Kickstarter. That's fine, it's how the PR game is played, even though
we can't confirm whether kickstarter actually did that. However, they
used that to harvest information versus actually trying their own
crowdfunding (not that crowdfunding sex projects is easy), not
actually taking orders for the product until months later, and then
not actually shipping the product until April 20. This seems kinda
sketchy to me.
I know pretty much fuck all about this thing. I can tell you the chips
in it (because they posted them), the dimensions of the hardware
(because they posted them), some of the basic usage principles (From
watching the videos they posted)... But I have no idea if it works as
sex hardware, or how interaction will work, or pretty much anything
that would make me throw $189 plus $30 shipping at it. I've never
really seen anyone ride on their PR alone in sex hardware like this.
Usually some sex blogger gets one and does the talking for them.
Weird part that keeps me thinking at the moment? It's wifi. I think
it's actually the first self-connecting toy. Everything else has been
either wired, bluetooth, or radio. I mean, wifi is great. It's
wireless, you don't have to worry about bluetooth stacks or dongles,
even if configuration can suck sometimes. The paranoid side of my
brain thinks that also means that they could easily tie it to their
own service, effectively pulling what RealTouch did
before they went open source,
only allowing the device to work via some sort of permissions process.
The screens in the image above are apparently from LovePalz website,
which means all device configuration and interaction either takes
place on a locally running webserver (in which case they haven't
solved platform agnosticism via browser as interface?) or on their
site (which means flash or else they are bleeding some motherfucking
edge on the HTML5 'cause WebRTC has landed mainline anywhere yet? Ok
sorry I'll stop web nerding)? The configuration process is unknown,
and there are no screens on the device itself. So you somehow have to
at least set it up on your wifi, but how? I realize these are things
that no one worries about because you're supposed to fuck it, but,
well, if I didn't worry about these things, there wouldn't be a
It's not that I don't think sex toy manufacturers can't make a good
product. I just don't trust them to, especially not an unproven
company's first product.
Maybe they'll prove me wrong. That would be awesome.
"These transmitters continuously monitor all mounting activity of
your cattle and transmit the mounting data (cow I.D., date of mount,
time of day of the mount & duration of the mount) to your
computer where advanced software algorithms examine the mounting
profile of each animal."
WHY AM I NOT WRITING ADVANCED SOFTWARE ALGORITHMS FOR MOUNTING
PROFILES AT THIS VERY SECOND. WHY.