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06.28.2006

Google rolls out Click to Play advertising

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Advertising is similar to a chair. Good design can take a simple chair from a place to sit to a new plane where the form becomes part of the function. A proper advertising campaign requires finesse, planning, and attitude. Google has rolled out their Click-to-Play system of dynamic video advertising, and the color bending medium of flashtastic full motion will theoretically give advertisers a chance to interject a little more life into campaigns that were previously confined to flat text and images. Most importantly it looks to be a winner because Google left the playback controls in the hands of those people who view the ads.

This new format uses the existing Adwords system to pick which ad in the database matches the content of the page you're currently viewing; click once to play the video and click twice to visit the advertiser's website. The CtP ads will compete in the pool with all of Google's other ad formats using the bidding infrastructure already in place. Video length is capped at two minutes, and advertisers are able to track the number of playbacks and clickthroughs. The ads are billed by impression or clickthrough; so other than the Google Video playback controls they seamlessly embed just like the last generation of static image ads.

Google's official AdWords blog has an example up, and I have to admit that it's fairly unobtrusive. I did accidentally click through the example ad a couple of times when trying to switch browsers, but that's a common accident when dealing with large ad formats. They're available in three sizes: 300x250, 336x280, and 250x250 pixels.

New ad formats always seem to have an initial success period based on novelty, but it will be the readers that eventually decide acceptance or rejection. Pop-ups, pop-unders, and full page interstitials were all great successes when initially debuted, but over time their effectiveness has declined. Conveying the message in a medium that encourages participation will ultimately be the strength that keeps these new ads around for quite a while.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs | current affairs
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06.28.2006

RetroGadget: TV wristwatch

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1982 marked the debut of this wonder, Seiko’s TV wristwatch. The watch featured a 1.1” blue-scale LCD display (in other words, a basically black & white screen) on which you could watch a favorite show. There was some ugliness behind the glamour, though. In order to operate in TV mode, you had to attach a plug onto the watch that led to a control box / tuner. The control box was about the size of a cassette walkman (which you’ll soon see in all its glory on RetroGadget) and was also the sole source of sound, which you listened to via headphones. The control box was meant to be stowed away inconspicuously and unobtrusively in an inside jacket pocket, while the connecting wire ran through your sleeve.

The Seiko TV watch was popularized in the 1983 James Bond film, Octopussy, which actually featured the watch with a full-color display, courtesy of some Hollywood special effects magic.

Only recently has there been another attempt at putting a TV on one’s wrist. Japanese electronics giant NHJ has a full-color 1.5” TFT model that doesn’t require all the subversive wiring and control box.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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06.28.2006

Mp3 sunglasses – visual melody ?

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This one is an MP3 player with a difference � well, don�t they all claim to be? And how unique is it this time around? It is a 1GB MP3 player integrated into a pair of sunglasses! This new, impressive-looking USB device from USBGeek supports MP3, WAV, DRM and WMA formats. It has a built-in lithium ion battery which allows a very decent 6 hours of playing. The flip-up earphones let you answer a phone call or just free your ears without having to take the sunglasses off � which is pretty neat. And in case you are wondering about the utility factor of the sunglasses, it is quite respectable too � the product boasts flip-up lenses with contours designed to maximize protection against sun, wind and side impact. Sounds perfect for a day at the beach.

Available from USBGeek at a very sensible price of $99.

Via Gadgetell.

Posted by kanchana    Category: devices | wearables
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06.28.2006

Dada “Code M” MP3 shoe/player

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Okay, I’m all for gadgets and things, but when I read about this, I just can’t help but laugh and shake my head. What else can they come up with!? This thing is just plain funny, AND funny looking too.

Appropriately named, Dada “Code M” is a pair of athletic shoes that doubles as a wireless musical device. The control is integrated into the shoe’s heel and tongue, with memory storage of about 100 songs and a 6-hour battery life. A USB port on the lateral side of the shoe allows downloading of music and re-charging of the battery. You can choose to listen to the music by using the wireless headset, which picks up from the shoes as far away as 30 feet, or pump the music through their speaker.

But what does all these specification matter? I mean, you’re listening to your shoe!! Can you imagine taking off your stinky shoe and putting it on the table to re-charge or transfer files? What’s your mother gonna say? “Get that stinky shoe off of my table!” That’s what she’s gonna say.

The company is already planning on even more interesting applications for the future. “Get Fit” program will provide access to workout related data, while “Get Smart” program will allow users to forward phone calls from a cell phone to the Code M headset. Yes, your lifelong dream will finally come true; you can talk to the shoe and pretend to be Maxwell Smart. Other features are in the works too: GPS devices, navigational systems, and the LED display to stream video and enter the “game” market.

If nothing else, for the price of $199.99, these shoes will definitely get you some serious attention.

Posted by maggie    Category: devices | wearables
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06.28.2006

Art of the machine

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Artist Arthus Ganson, whose talent outstrips his fame, creates sculptures with material from the previous century but still quite relevant for this one. The self described "mechanical artist and choreographer" masterfully combines found objects with custom-made mechanical systems to invoke both the organic and the machine. On one level, the sculptures (such as Machine with 23 Scraps of Paper, which recreates flying birds) are plainly wonderful to watch as they operate. On another level, Ganson's work comments upon our relationships with machines. For example, Machines with Wishbone asks who is doing the leading, us or our machines.

A 5 minute clip for his DVD can be seen on the PBS show NOVA's website. His work can be seen in an ongoing exhibition at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA.

Posted by Ray    Category: design
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06.27.2006

Would you care for a glass of oxygen?

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Not quite the hexagonal water that our fearless publisher wrote about long ago, but it still promises to give you a boost of oxygen.

What is it? It’s OGO Water, or 'The Breathing Water," as its manufacturer has dubbed it. From the Netherlands, OGO has an oxygen concentration that is 35 times higher than regular water. The burst of oxygen in each bottle of OGO will give your O2 saturation a boost. Our less-than-scientific tests resulted in a consensus that OGO did definitely give panel members a quick pick-me-up feeling.

Available in still, sparkling, and Flower Power (lightly flavored with elderflower and lychee) varieties, it’s sure to please almost every palate.

OGO appears to have made its way to Australia and the UK, and will debut soon in the US, courtesy of Verve Brands, LLC.

Posted by Brian    Category: home
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06.27.2006

The Cloud meeting room

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There is nothing worse to stifle the flow of ideas than your surroundings; namely the grey confines of a meeting room. Swedish designer Monica Forster has created an adventurous solution to this problem. Looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy's hat, the cloud is an inflatable room designed to be an ideal escape for creative brainstorming. The room takes three minutes to inflate, and comes with it's own carry case to allow you to transport it from meeting to meeting. Costing $5,900, best ask your boss first before charging it to the company account. If you'd rather just take the risk, then take your Amex to Urban Peel.

Via Cubeme.

Posted by Stuart    Category: design
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06.27.2006

Nakamichi Lumos 7” DVD player

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Nakamichi has established its reputation as a manufacturer of high performance and scrumptious looking designer style audio equipment that can easily give the better known Bang & Olufsen a run for their money.

Lumos portable DVD player is one of Nakamichi’s latest entries. Measuring at only 203 x 155 x 27 mm (that’s approximately 7.9” x 6.1” x 1” for us non-metric folks), it features a startlingly crisp 7” TFT-LCD widescreen color display with a resolution of up to 1440 x 234 pixels. It’s compatible with almost all the currently popular file formats: DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD, MP3, DVD-R/RW, CDR/RW, JPEG, picture CD, CD+G. The video format even supports both NTSC and PAL. As if that’s not enough, an integrated SD card reader allows you to share the photos and movies captured with any SD-compatible digital camera.

When you’re sitting pretty at home, this player has a 5.1 channel digital audio output so you can hook it up to your surround sound stereo. Weighing only 480 grams (approx 16.9 oz, without battery), you can wrap this little baby around your finger by using the built-in leather strap, make a fashion statement and bring it anywhere. Have a business presentation to make? No problem. Equipped with an extendable stand, even a remote control, the Lumos boasts an uncompromisingly cinematic experience even at extremely tilted angle.

Priced at $3,980 HKD, that’s approximately $512 USD, it’s available at your nearest Nakamichi distributor, or contact its international headquarters in Singapore, Japan, or Hong Kong. Sorry, no email addresses were available.

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06.27.2006

SlimEx Onyx 40GB USB Hard Drive

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The latest SlimEx Onyx USB hard drive from Soyo seems like a perfect data transfer medium for users on-the-go. It weighs less than 3 oz. and is small enough to almost fit into your wallet (Dimension: 3.9" x 2.4" x 0.4"). The Onyx is USB 2.0 compatible and claims transfer speeds up to 20 times higher than what you would obtain with a standard USB 1.1 connection.

Some desirable features that catch attention are :

• Suitable for rugged use as it is housed in a “heavy-duty” magnesium alloy casing
• No download cable or PCMCIA card required
• No drivers needed for Windows ME/2000/XP
• Mac compatible

The Onyx is available for $175 at Meritline.com. The package includes the USB cable and installation CD.

Via Productdose.

Posted by kanchana    Category: devices
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06.27.2006

Introducing the Dog Mouse

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Take note, dog owners who take your canine companions as well as your PC accessories seriously. While you are toiling away at the office, and your pooch is enjoying herself at doggie day care, use this dog shaped mouse from Ever Green in Japan to get you through the day. I'm not quite sure if it will increase your productivity or if it is ergonomically sound, but isn't the "Boss" sign cute?

Via Akihabara News

Posted by Ray    Category: accessories
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