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Google I/O sign-up gizmo may be better than conference itself

As a kid you played with wooden marble blocks. Here's the uber-geeky version.

The 2012 Google I/O registration site will eat your day. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Registration for Google's 2012 developer fest, Google I/O, doesn't open until March 27. But geeks, wonks, developers, and designers might want to head over to the reg site straightaway to goof around with the addictive online "Machine" builder that Google has put up on the site.

The fun little Web app lets you create a machine that flips, spins, elevates, and guides a virtual marble from the left side of the screen to the right. The site says that the best Machines will get featured at Google I/O. This is may be part of Google's promise to give the technically inclined an edge it nabbing registration tickets--if, that is, Google gives the creators of the best Machines free passes to the conference.

You don't have to create a Machine to get into the event, but you do have to pay more than you did last year.