From the Useless But Cool dept: Andrew Carol (no relation) has built a Lego Difference Engine in the fashion of Charles Babbage’s original.
Due to structural limitations of Lego (plastic bricks and gears can’t handle the same stresses as metal), it’s a cut down version but still functional. Very cool.
And on the subject of Lego, if you’ve been playing with Lego Mindstorms (Lego’s robotic kits), Lego have just announced Mindstorms NXT, the next generation – with a 32-bit RISC processor and a number of other significant improvements. My second childhood should be due any day now, and I’m looking forward to playing with this…
Following on from HTMLWiki, I see Dan Bricklin’s latest project is something called WikiCalc. (You may recall that Dan Bricklin was responsible for the original Visacalc spreadsheet, which helped kickstart sales of the Apple II computer many years ago.)
WikiCalc is a type of Wiki that deals with structured data which can include calculation elements – calendars, etc for example. It looks interesting!
Tiddly Wiki is one of the coolest little hacks I’ve seen in a while.
Essentially, a Wiki that is completely contained within a single HTML file, including edit support. This lets you edit it locally without requiring a web server etc. Very cool.
(Thanks to Matija for the reference.)