June 24th, 2009


Forbes gives Panasonic ToughBook to wild animals.

We found, however, that Panasonic's Toughbook performed as promised. So we came up with some tests that were decidedly unfair.

We used the Panasonic Toughbook to serve Doritos. Then we crushed the chips to dust between the keyboard and the screen, the same screen we used as a dartboard. The darts poked holes in the screen's protective coating, but the display underneath remained undamaged. Not a single dead pixel.

So we presented the $3,460 Toughbook to Nalin, a white tiger who lives at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif. Nalin treated it like a cat toy, knocking it to the ground, gnawing on the screen and licking every inch of its surface. He must have smelled those Doritos. He chewed off five keys, but that turned out to be just cosmetic. We could still type without them, and were able to glue four back on later (we made sure Nalin didn't swallow anything). The fifth just snapped back into place.

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M5-built giant crypto machine for sale.

What we have here is a genuine functioning coding cryptex built by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters. They used it for a demonstration at the RSA Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 24th, 2009. See a video of the demonstration at the following link: http://media.omediaweb.com/rsa2009/keynote_catalog.htm.

The client wanted a unique demonstration of something to do with encryption and secrecy, and Jamie Hyneman, and Adam Savage designed, built and used this machine to encode the phrase "Cryptologists do it in secret". Then they went on stage at RSA and used the machine to DECRYPT the secret message. The appearance was a smash success. The crowd was great. The machine worked great.

THE MACHINE: at 13' long, and just over 6' high, it's made to be highly visible, even from the back of the audience. It's composed of a long pole, holding 29 distinct wheels, built from MDF and Cintra, with applied vinyl letters. There are 4 different alphabet wheels randomly distributed among the 29, making this a moderately robust coding machine (save for the fact that pictures here compromise it's secrecy). All of this sits on a custom welded steel frame and heavy-duty castors. Although it weighs approximately 300 pounds, it rolls around quite easily.

It likely is eligible for a world's record for the largest manual-encoding machine ever built but Jamie's getting cranky about it cluttering up the shop, so his crankyness is your gain. If the WINNING BIDDER wants to call the Guinness people we wouldn't discourage such a thing.


But wait! I hear you saying "Jamie and Adam are fabulously wealthy international television stars! Do they really need the money from selling this thing?" (First of all you'd be wrong; we're far from fabulously wealthy, because Jamie keeps blowing all his dough on robots and white shirts - Okay that part isn't true either.)

What IS true is that we're NOT keeping the money from the sale of this extremely rare artifact. All proceeds from this sale will go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Why? Well because they fight for excellent causes near and dear to our hearts. We will present them a check for the selling price mere days after the auction ends.


Oh sure, keep the giant hydraulic shark. But not the crypto machine. I see how it is. ;]