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Existance is futile
January 1, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Let's start the year off right with The Most Useless Machine Ever!. AKA The BEST Machine Ever! via

Do you love it? Build your own!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts (49 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Transparent version.
posted by knave at 8:45 AM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


They've encapsulated 100 years of Cubs Baseball into one box.

Brilliant.
posted by eriko at 8:49 AM on January 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


I've shown this to a few people and they are all like "What is that?" My reply: "It's the most awesome machine, EVER!"

They still don't get it.
posted by eastofottawa at 9:02 AM on January 1, 2010


I really identify with that machine. That's me every morning when the alarm goes off.
posted by Kattullus at 9:12 AM on January 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh, this is getting so made by me! Awesomeness.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:12 AM on January 1, 2010


That is my new favourite thing evar. Thank you!
posted by magdalenstreetladies at 9:22 AM on January 1, 2010


Creepy version.
posted by rlk at 9:31 AM on January 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's like the mechanical version of a former boss! (I swear his job description was to say NO to everything)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:32 AM on January 1, 2010


want
posted by gigbutt at 9:33 AM on January 1, 2010


#include <unistd.h>

int main (int argc, char **argv)
{
  unlink (argv[0]);
  return 0;
}

posted by Rhomboid at 9:38 AM on January 1, 2010 [20 favorites]


It reminds me of one of my former girlfriends.
posted by Toekneesan at 9:44 AM on January 1, 2010 [5 favorites]




In these days of high power prices I prefer my pointless machines to have a power-saving feature.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:46 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great! But ponder this for awhile: Is it even more useless after the battery dies?


Or LESS?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:52 AM on January 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


Picky quibble: Technically, it doesn't actually "switch" itself off. This is obvious in the transparent version (first comment above). The lever comes out, flips the switch to the off position, but the machine continues to run, momentarily, until the mechanism returns to the rest position and the lid is closed. In other words the switch turns it on, but doesn't turn it off; something else inside actually turns it off.
posted by beagle at 9:59 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


All it is missing is the ability to forward itself to all of its friends and relatives with "LOL!" in the subject line.
posted by pracowity at 10:05 AM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Didn't I see this like years ago? In a vid with a transparent box, and the hand that comes out of the box actually looks like a little plastic hand. And there was joyous laughing as they flipped the switch like 3 or 4 times. Someone find that one for me, please.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:08 AM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big in Japan
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:11 AM on January 1, 2010


At around 0:14 I felt like smacking his hand and telling him to stop teasing it.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:13 AM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Picky quibble: Technically, it doesn't actually "switch" itself off. This is obvious in the transparent version (first comment above). The lever comes out, flips the switch to the off position, but the machine continues to run, momentarily, until the mechanism returns to the rest position and the lid is closed. In other words the switch turns it on, but doesn't turn it off; something else inside actually turns it off.
posted by beagle


A smart guy once told me this joke about insight.
It is the French revolution. A mob has rounded up elites and brought them to the guillotine. A doctor is shoved forward. He protests that he tried to help the sick who were poor but the crowd will have none of it. He is placed in the guillotine and the lever is flipped. The blade swooshes down and then miraculously thunks to a stop just before hitting his neck. The crowd takes this as a sign from god that the doctor should be spared.

A lawyer is pressed into place. He cries that he tried to help the poor who were charged with crimes but again the crowd will hear none of it. The lever is pulled and the blade rushes down. Once again it comes to a stop a hair above his neck. God has freed another righteous man.

Now an engineer is put into the guillotine. The crowd is eager for blood since the last two men have been freed. He looks up to the wood frame and cruel blade silhouetted against the sky as the crowd jeers and taunts him. His eyes narrow and he blurts out. "Aha! I see the problem. There is a knot in the pull rope that is getting caught in the pulley when the blade drops. Should be an easy fix."
posted by Babblesort at 10:21 AM on January 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


http://www.leavemealonebox.com/
posted by mwhybark at 10:22 AM on January 1, 2010


I don't know why but I assumed humans were the most useless/best machine ever and "build your own" was going to be borderline NSFW.
posted by Skorgu at 10:26 AM on January 1, 2010


See also The (Unspeakable) Ultimate Machine on Kevin Kelly's blog.
There is something unspeakably sinister about a machine that does nothing -- absolutely nothing -- except switch itself off.
posted by memebake at 10:50 AM on January 1, 2010


Oh, just think of the things I could accomplish if I had one of those marvelous machines!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:51 AM on January 1, 2010


The lever comes out, flips the switch to the off position, but the machine continues to run, momentarily, until the mechanism returns to the rest position and the lid is closed. In other words the switch turns it on, but doesn't turn it off; something else inside actually turns it off.

It's a servo motor. Servos work by translating an electrical signal into an angle of rotation. When you turn the machine on the signal indicates the right angle for the hand to hit the switch. That turns the power off which means the signal disappears and the servo turns back to 0.
posted by DU at 11:37 AM on January 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Reminds me of the "do-nothing," a little country toy from my grandmother's house. Turning the crank kept me quiet for minutes on end at age five, so it did quite enough.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:50 AM on January 1, 2010


Does anyone know why I get "an error occurred, please try again later" on this and (seemingly) almost every other youtube video? I've completely cleared cookies, tried three different browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome), reinstalled the Flash player twice, made sure Javascript was enabled, and ensured no firewall is running, and searched through a plethora of other people complaining about the same issue.

This seems like a big enough problem that YouTube should be freaking out, but so far I haven't found any "official" response to the issue.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 12:13 PM on January 1, 2010


Thanks for inadvertently reminding me that I need to rig up a two-stage servo motor to replace the broken one that powers the popup headlight on my scooter.
posted by davejay at 12:26 PM on January 1, 2010


 •    • •   •O   •    •    ••      •   

posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:26 PM on January 1, 2010 [22 favorites]


I liked this, but I have a weird thing for boxes.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2010


Yes, but does it play that song, too?
posted by Evilspork at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2010


It does heat the room.
posted by alasdair at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's clever, but I would be even more impressed if it were a machine that could turn itself on.
posted by logicpunk at 2:16 PM on January 1, 2010


That's clever, but I would be even more impressed if it were a machine that could turn itself on.

Men already exist.
posted by DU at 2:25 PM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does what it says on the tin.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:26 PM on January 1, 2010


Momentary contact toggle switches are sometimes hard to find...
posted by Chuckles at 2:35 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it would be improved by a random delay time before switching itself off. Makes it a little less machine-like, and more like THERE'S AN EVIL SPIRIT IN THAT BOX!!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


fff, there are places on this planet that such a box would get you accused of witchcraft.


I so want one
posted by darkstar at 3:57 PM on January 1, 2010


This device infuriates me. I shall smash it with my blown-glass hammer.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:23 PM on January 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


@ fivefreshfish
"I think it would be improved by a random delay time before switching itself off."

I disagree completely. The instantaneous reaction is part of why I think it's so funny. It's like the machine version of an uptight old lady yelling at a child, "Oh you stop that right now!"
posted by toekneebullard at 5:22 PM on January 1, 2010


@ Beagle
"Picky quibble..."

If you read the instructable, it's built to be a machine that actually turns itself off. The original design didn't, so he made one that really did.
posted by toekneebullard at 5:25 PM on January 1, 2010


Turning the crank kept me quiet for minutes on end at age five, so it did quite enough.

Yeah, I can think of the hours which this box could keep a four year old quiet and there is no price too high to pay for those blissful hours of peace.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:13 PM on January 1, 2010


Please don't speak @ people here, tkb. Speak with them. Leave the @s at Twitter.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:41 PM on January 1, 2010


Kronos: The title of that video is extremely misleading in that it says it is "a little creepy". It is not "a little creepy". It is the creepiest thing since Cringley's fucking Christmas card.

C-c-can't sleep . . . paw in hole will get me . . .
posted by The Bellman at 7:49 PM on January 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gee, I don't know...didn't seem so bad to me.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:08 PM on January 1, 2010


Oh man, I just found my dad's birthday present. Thanks Metafilter!
posted by bookdragoness at 4:02 AM on January 2, 2010


I hereby make a decree that, on Metafilter, "@" is pronounced "I wish to politely address."

There. Problem solved.
posted by Scattercat at 5:54 AM on January 2, 2010


S'aright?
S'aright.
S'okay?
S'okay.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:58 AM on January 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Kronus -- I see you have the live version of The Thing bank that kept me entertained for hours as a kid.
posted by rtimmel at 10:03 AM on January 2, 2010


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