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06.30.2006

Harry the messy organizer

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Posted by Hoyun    Category: accessories | design | home
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06.30.2006

Shoe rack attack from j-me

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Industrial design houses are like cars. Once you notice a certain brand you'll see it everywhere. We've previously featured j-me's Big Head Coasters and a readling lamp that incorporates a slot for the book in question. These quirky little designs were simple and marvelous, and their newest piece is no exception.

The newest offering from j-me is a cool negative space to slide your shoes. The redundantly named "Shoe Rack", is a single piece of bent stainless steel that grabs a toe hold on a pair of sneakers or boots. Cantilevered over a half shelf the balancing act gives a floating appearance, and turns shoe storage into an aesthetically pleasing part of the living space.

Via our friends at Big Perk. Available in three and six pair lengths, the shoe rack retails for ~$125 and $180 USD.

Posted by Johnny    Category: design | home
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06.30.2006

ToRead or not ToRead

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ToRead is a unique email based bookmarking service that lets you bookmark complete pages that you might want to read up at your leisure. Bookmarking is already available with web browsers, so what's new, you ask? Here's the answer - with toRead, all your bookmarks are delivered free of charge to your inbox. Which means, it eliminates the need to store your favourite bookmarks on your web browser.

The idea is very simple – register at the site with your email address and add the toRead bookmarklet to your browser. Whenever you want to bookmark a web page, just click on the bookmarklet and you will have the entire article delivered to your inbox instantly.

Sounds pretty cool – I am glad I don’t have to backup all my favorite bookmarks on my browser everytime I clean out my system, thanks toRead.

Via Gadgetell

Posted by kanchana    Category: current affairs
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06.30.2006

iBag turntable

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Summer has arrived. What better way to relax and beat the heat than getting into the ocean or finding a shady coconut tree to lie under? No coconut trees in Hong Kong? No matter, just as long as you brought some cool tunes, that’ll do for now.

Okay, so this may not be a real turntable, but you sure can’t bring a turntable to the beach! This bag has amplified stereo speakers on the outside to play from the radio or the tunes from your iPod or music player. There’s also an inside pouch to hold your player or cell phone. Volume controls are located conveniently on the outside of the bag so you won’t have to dig. It’s also roomy enough for a towel and sunscreen, or other essentials that you may need.

Available at Uncommon Goods for $60 USD.

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories
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06.30.2006

A cobbler in every kitchen

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I know that this is about as low tech as it comes, but I couldn't resist a chance to link up an adorable white haired woman. The lovely Natalie Zee made a killer post on the Make blog pointing to a tutorial on making your own shoes. It seems that Mary Wales Loomis started wondering what it took to make a pair of shoes, and she tore into a pair of pumps with a tack hammer and pliers. After teaching herself the art of cobbling she wrote a book to teach the rest of us.

I know a bit about custom made shoes, and I can say that Mary's book uses some of the same methods that high end shoemakers do. She walks the crafter through creating a plaster cast of the foot and shaping a permanent last around which to make perfectly fit shoes. The tighter fit and lighter construction of women's formal shoes lend themselves well to craft room replication. Tear apart a few pairs of flats, and you'll find that most are only held together by glue!

Posted by Johnny    Category: wearables
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06.29.2006

Pink DS Lite

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Pink, according to Wikipedia is a "color made by mixing red and white and sometimes described as being a light red, but it is more accurately a bright undersaturated red." The DS Lite, as described by the same source, is a "dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo." Therefore a Pink DS Lite is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo, which has the color made by mixing red and white that is sometimes described as being a light red, but it is more accurately a bright undersaturated red. This article writes itself!

The "Noble Pink" DS Lite will be released in Japan at the end of July. Japan is an "island located in the Pacific Ocean"...ah, forget it. Unfortunately no word on an international release.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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06.29.2006

Digital clock T-shirt

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Don’t mind being a walking clock yourself ? Or desperately looking for some attention ? Then dress-up for the occasion with the digital clock T-shirt. This amusing unisex T-shirt has 4 AAA batteries that are within a hidden, washable battery compartment. The batteries last from 12-36 hours depending on whether you are operating in the digital clock or stop-watch mode. The clock itself can be switched on/off through a small button located on the pack.

It is highly likely you will catch a few stares wearing this T-shirt. It might also be a good idea to wear one when you want to get across a not-so-subtle message to people who never seem to get to places on time.

Available from latestbuy.com.au at $59.95 a piece. Buy only if you are looking for some pricey fun.

Posted by kanchana    Category: wearables
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06.29.2006

Mickey Mouse gets a makeover

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While browsing the Nikkei wire service last night I came across an interesting fact: 90% of the Mickey Mouse representations sold in Japan are purchased by women. Toy manufacturer Tomy holds an exclusive license to produce Disney products for Japan, and the company has set their sights on capturing the male market that they have so far missed.

Three redesigned Mickeys are being released late this summer as a gamble that a pop culture image will encourage new sales. The twelve inch vinyl Mickey dolls are designed to appeal to Japanese men in their late teens to early thirties. Apparently the red pants and the milquetoast image just weren't getting Mickey the cold hard Yen that he needs to support his hobbies as a punk rocker, a surf bum, and hip-hop producer.

Pass Da M.I.C - Rap Mickey is decked out in the fashionable clothes of hip suburban schoolchildren: Baggy blue jeans, an over length short sleeve black t-shirt, a white hairnet under a baseball cap. Just like the MTV hip-hop kings Mickey is not without a massive piece of golden Mousekateer bling to show the kind of scrilla he brings in.

Continue reading "Mickey Mouse gets a makeover"

Posted by Johnny    Category: design
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06.29.2006

No more nanny-cams

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If you’re the paranoid type, you may have already installed a nanny-cam in your home to keep an eye on the sitter. But, did you ever think about who might be watching you?

The Spyfinder hidden camera detector finds any wired or wireless camera, active or not. Using LED technology and advanced principles of light refraction, this little wonder will keep prying eyes off of you. [Editorial note: I’m somehow feeling the urge to reference that oh-so-appropriate Daryl Hall and John Oates song here, but I won’t!]

Available at many spy shops, this unit is comparatively a great value at about $100. Most ‘professional’ models go for at least five times that. Makes a perfect gift for your favorite babysitter who talks on the phone too long or has her boyfriend over when she shouldn't.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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06.29.2006

I just want a phone

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Here's an interesting twist, a cell phone without the whiz-bang-camera-mp3-pda-video-blinky light extras. Stripped down to its bare minimum, product developers in India have developed the Mini Mobile. Designed with young children and the elderly in mind, as these users do not require or cannot use all the complicated features that are increasingly packed into phones. Without hard to read screens or hard to press keypads, it has just 3 buttons for placing calls to pre-programmed phone numbers. The Mini Mobile brings back simplicity and functionality into the usual one-up-manship of mobile phone design.

Via IBNLive through Mobile Mag.

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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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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06.26.2006

How many quarters for a PSP?

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I've always loved what you can buy in vending machines in Japan, including manga, underwear, and iced jelly drinks in a can. Now, Sony is taking the trend to the US with their introduction of their vending machines called "Sony Access" to sell everything from PSPs and mp3 players to blank DVDs to accessories like headphones to games and movies. Malls in Atlanta, Boulder, and Santa Rosa are lucky enough to get the initial rollout.

For the record, with a list price of $250 USD, it would take 1,000 quarters to buy a PSP, bring an extra roll for sales tax.

Via Gizmowatch

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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06.26.2006

Zaha Hadid's Kitchen of the Future

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Jane Jetson had it easy living in her space-age futuristic home. Though she was a homemaker, Rosie the Robot or some other electronic contraption really did all the hard work. When it was time to make dinner, all she had to do was dial up a meal. Imagine that?

Architect Zaha Hadid has imagined such a life for the housewife. And I'm hoping that one day soon it becomes reality. As part of Zaha Hadid: Thirty Years in Architecture — on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York through October 25 — this two-island kitchen of the future is laid out in Annex Level 7 gallery, adjacent to the museum rotunda.

Made of steel corian, the two islands — one fire and the other water — come replete with a multimedia environment, aroma heater, and mac lighting. The elongated fire island features three spigots that emit pleasing aromas, a vertical LCD screen for watching TV or surfing the Web, a control panel to adjust lighting according to your mood, an oven range, and a hotplate. The water island houses a sink, dishwasher, and drying rack. An appliance akin to a microwave sits embedded in the wall slightly beyond the water island, while storage cabinets line the rest of the wall's surface surrounding the two islands.

It's not quite Jane Jetson's kitchen, with the ability to relieve you from all the mundane kitchen chores like cooking or washing dishes, but I'd trade my kitchen in for one like this any day.

Posted by lynne    Category: design | home
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06.26.2006

Klegg's Mini is the smallest kid on the block

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It's finally time to upgrade my iPod. Where I once marveled at how a company was able to pack that much sound into a tiny package; I've grown tired of lugging an expensive piece of gear around. I've been looking for a nice and cheap solid state player, and the Klegg Mini fits my two main criteria: Size and Battery Life.

Touted as the smallest mp3 player with a full color LCD Klegg's new one gig model measures 1.8 by 1.6 inches, and was designed to fit on a keychain. The LCD is one square inch, and it comes with a useless slideshow setting for photo viewing when you’re bored. Other features include equalizer settings for music playback, and a voice recorder.

I see a lot of small mp3 players in the news, but the Klegg caught my attention with 26 hours of playback time. That’s almost double the battery life of an iPod Nano. The little guy has a USB 2.0 interface, and the battery recharges while it's attached to the computer. The Klegg mini line has been available for over a year, but their one gig version should be in stores shortly for ninety-nine bucks.

I'd like to throw some brilliant props to Klegg's marketing team for snapping photos of all those celebrities using their product at Sundance. It really made me giggle..

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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06.26.2006

Motorola “Ming” A-1200 PDA Smart phone

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I have to admit, I wasn’t that impressed when I first saw this phone -- probably had something to do with its advertising campaign which uses some rock chick wannabe. It just made me feel a bit too targeted. But after a closer look, rock chick or not, it’s really a pretty cool little phone.

The Motorola "Ming" A-1200 PDA Smart Phone is a fully integrated gadget that serves as a mobile phone, a PDA, a music player, a camera, a video recorder, a name card reader and a data storage device (up to 1GB). The phone is fashioned with a cool looking transparent cover as a protection for the 2.4" color touch-screen display.

Comes with a 2.0 Mega-pixel camera that also supports video recording; you can view music and other video entertainment on the 2.4” display by using RealPlayer.

In addition to all the regular capabilities such as mp3 player, Bluetooth connection, Internet browser and email, and touch screen-enhanced handwriting recognition now with Pinyin, this little phone has the most incredible secret weapon. Being the rock star that you believe you are, you just can’t carry a business card holder when you need to carry your axe! Your Motorola “Ming” has a built-in business card reader and a data storage device that will transform a business card into digital data and have it stored into the address book! You will never loose the name and number of that agent/manager/boyfriend-wannabe again! Then again, maybe you want to . . .

Comes in 3 different colors, black, white and red, available in Hong Kong for approximately $3980 HKD.

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06.25.2006

IntelliScanner Express bundle

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Here’s something for the “A” type personality extremist. If you constantly feel you need a magic wand and must have all that extra stuff in your house organized, this little bundle may have been made just for you.

This IntelliScanner Express bundle comes with a handheld barcode reader scanner, and a combination of software programs, including Wine Collector, Media Collector, Kitchen Companion, Home Assets, and Auction Automator. This express bundle can help you organize, track, and build reports on books, groceries, wine, home assets, DVDs, CDs, and more.

Each software performs a different function. The Wine Collector will query an online database, catalogue and sort the bottle by name, winery, vintage, and variety. There’s also location tracking in case you can’t remember where you put that very special vintage in your massive wine cellar.

Continue reading "IntelliScanner Express bundle"

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06.24.2006

Egokast video belt buckle

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Oh, decisions, decisions. What belt shall I wear tonight to set off my new outfit? Hmm, the traditional leather? The one with the clamp fastener or the metal buckle? I guess I'll just settle on the one with the 3" video display where I can insert an SD card and play movies just below my belly button. Perfect. This bizarre new product from Egokast is just that, a 3" screen mounted in a stainless steel case that can be attached to a belt or armband to display either full motion video or a slideshow of photos. You can insert an SD card of up to 2GB in size and put an entire movie on there if you so desire. You certainly won't have to worry about getting noticed when you're out clubbing, but you will have to worry about your video selection. My choice? Footloose.

Limited to an initial run of 100, the Egokast One (without memory card or belt) goes for $279.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices | wearables
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06.24.2006

Animal mp3 players' long overdue arrival

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At this point, I have to admit that I'm getting a little bored with the design of the iPod. Especially when the other companies feel the need to make their mp3 players look just like Apple's, only slightly worse. My savior, of course, comes from Japan. Not only are they offering alternatives to white boxes, they are uber-cute as well. First there was the teddy bear mp3 player which holds about an hour's worth of music. And now, it has a friend with the dolphin mp3 player, which is the mascot of Toshiba's Dynabook line.

Via Gizmodo and Akihabara

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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06.23.2006

2007 Honda Fit Custom Art Car

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Renowned folk artist Jack Poppitz is assisting American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and the House of Blues with introducing Honda's premium entry-level Fit to North American drivers. Poppitz hand painted a Honda Fit Custom Art Car that is being auctioned on ebay.

For the month of June, Honda and House of Blues are sponsoring "Fit in the House" events at HOB clubs that include Honda Fit car displays, nightly giveaways, online and on-site branding and an enter-to-win Fit in the House Sweepstakes.

Starting at $13,850, the Honda Fit — even without being hand painted — is quite impressive. The 5-door vehicle features a 60/40 split 2nd-row Magic Seat®, allowing for four distinct interior configurations, 109-horsepower, 1.5 liter, VTEC® engine, and plenty of storage compartments. We especially like the option to add the Honda Music Link (for iPod®) that:

  • Connects the iPod directly to the vehicle's audio system for the best sound quality
  • Uses the audio system's controls to search for and play music from your iPod
  • Charges your iPod battery while it's connected and the vehicle is on

The vehicle even came in first place in Car and Driver's May 2006 comparison test drive of the new crop of subcompacts.

The charity auction for the Honda Fit Custom Art Car began June 20 and ends June 30. So hurry up and visit Fit in the House to bid and learn more about the Honda Fit.

Posted by lynne    Category: cars
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06.23.2006

Build your own laptop at Panasonic

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Panasonic's Let's Note laptop line is turning ten years old, and the company is sponsoring one of the coolest sales promotions that I've ever seen. Their first annual Let's Note Build Fest invites 50 children from around Kobe, Japan to come buy a notebook, but there's a catch. The kids are buying a box of parts and they have to assemble the laptop before they can take it home! Fifty students from nine to eighteen are being given the chance to pony up $1050 USD for this great hands-on experience.

Panasonic's T5 is a great choice for a project like this since the notebook uses standard hardware, and the fourteen available colors add to the festivities. I can't think of a better way to demystify the inner workings of computers for children and technical neophytes. The hands on DIY scene is hot right now and I can see lots of adults signing up for this type of instructional purchase. Just to reiterate, Panasonic: If you bring this to the States I would love to roll my own laptop.

Via IDG's DWT, and here's an auto translation of the original announcement.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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06.23.2006

PSP memory storage

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Everyone who owns a PSP knows that the 32 MB memory stick included in the basic PSP pack is not really cutting it if you want to take full advantage of Sony’s handheld console. If you like to use your PSP for anything more than just playing games, sooner or later you will have to buy a memory stick with bigger storage capabilities.

SanDisk has already been selling 256 MB, 512 MG, 1 and 2 GB Memory sticks for a while and has now launched the Memory Stick Pro Duo with a 4 GB capacity available at several stores for around $200.

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In July SanDisk will launch the Rapid GX Memory Stick Pro Duo, which will allow you to transfer data to and from the PSP a lot faster. According to this Gamespot review about PSP accessories, the first Rapid GX card will be available in July and will have 1 GB storage.

Posted by Camilla    Category: toys
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06.23.2006

LandRoller

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Bigger is better. Hardly a provocative claim these days, but made much more impressive when we're talking about the next generation of inline skates. The LandRoller, (which looks like a pair of rollerblades on crack) has extra large angled wheels on a short wheel base which give greater stability and control over a wider range of terrain. In addition to a smoother ride, the LandRoller also claims to provide more maneuverability and better braking, making this latest skate offering the new up and coming challenger to more traditional products. With Olympic Gold Medalist Apolo Anton Ohno repping for the company, I can see the LandRoller making a legitimate grab for a chunk of the blading population. The videos on the website sure look fun enough. The only detractor might be the steep $249.99 price tag, which will keep these gliders fairly exclusive for the time being. Then again, that may be a good thing for those who can afford them.

Posted by Katherine    Category: toys | wearables
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06.22.2006

New to the Pop crew: Ray Cha

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Ray Cha began writing for Popgadget a couple of months ago, and is now a regular contributor, giving us the cultural perspective on technology news and events, both large and obscure. In the past, he's been a programmer, new media producer and educational technologist, and he now works in R&D and as a writer in the areas of publishing, media, the Internet, telecommunications and culture.

Like Mia, Jenna, Katherine, Camilla and Ann, Ray is a product of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program where he got his masters degree. (By now, it's no secret that ITP is Popgadget's primary resource for finding talent.)

Posted by Hoyun    Category: current affairs
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06.22.2006

A sign of true love

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Nothing says lifelong commitment like a custom made wedding cake. Cake and gaming are two great tastes that go great together. So, it should come as no surprise that a gamer's spouse made an XBox wedding cake. Sweet.

Via Kotaku

Posted by Ray    Category: toys
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06.22.2006

Muji bookend speakers

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Muji is always light on technical descriptions of its products. This product is described as "Simple basic designed speakers." I love the honesty of that statement. No trying to con an unwitting customer into making a purchase by detailing a list of average specs that appear impressive. The speakers do however have one benefit other than their marketing. They are the exact height and depth of a CD case, allowing them to bookend your collection perfectly. Take that Bang & Olufsen!

Get them from Muji Online for £39.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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06.22.2006

Chemistry Oil and Vinegar

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Setting the stage for a chemistry set gone awry, these Oil and Vinegar cruets from Kikkerland will have you mixing volatile liquids, yet the only consequence will be an explosion of taste. Good for bread, salad, and anything else you can think of, snack time will be a thrilling experiment. And what better way to do that than with attractive tableware?

Posted by Katherine    Category: home
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06.22.2006

X-Shaped Rubber Bands

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Rubber bands are simply... rubber bands. Just how exciting can a rubber band be? We all make use of them sometimes without a thought to how to improve on something so simple yet so ubiquitous.

These are not the latest items on the marketplace or anything, but I was having some trouble tying two slippery items together recently and a friend gave me one magical X-Shaped rubber band, and Presto! the job was accomplished effortlessly!

Available at MoMa Store for $5.00 a box, comes in 4 different sizes and colors.

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories
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06.21.2006

Swatch game-themed watch

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I'm not sure if this arcade-themed watch from Swatch has already been around for a while, but I came across it only a couple of days ago. Monster Game ( the watch’s official name) is listed under the I Want to Believe theme along with this cutie companion named Muffled. It really makes you wonder who's responsible for naming watches and categories over there.

Both Monster Game and Muffled are available from the swatch online store for $55 and $45 respectively.

Posted by Camilla    Category: accessories
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06.21.2006

Alice Wang gets behind the solid state music

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We rockstars have accepted that music distribution will move to some type of solid state storage in the next decade, but the standard for that medium has yet to be set. Alice Wang thought long and hard about what consumers may see, and her Audio Sticks could be the packaging and presentation that we buy in the next decade. Her amalgams of hardcopy purchase and digital convenience are USB thumb drives wrapped in the album art. The concept is a very provocative piece that forces an examination of how a change in technology will affect the way we deal with recorded music.

Let’s break this disco down to the individual steps. The music publishing industry is likely to embrace a distribution media that allows for such rights management niceties as encryption and password auth; but initial costs of distributing solid state memory will be much higher than producing a compact disc. Those prices will come down as the major labels and consumers strike a balance between price and fair use.

The user would receive portability and durability. If properly implemented, read-only chips could give the scene what it lost when vinyl died: consistent tone over the long run. Masked ROM chips are amazingly resistant to corruption, and a solid state method could offer me the archival storage that I desire for my media. I like knowing that my old records will still spin in fifty years, and I would love to have the same protection for my digital purchases.

Thanks to Josh Spear for sending this in.

Posted by Johnny    Category: design | devices
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06.21.2006

28 colours of MacBook

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Nope, I'm afraid not. Apple hasn't released the MacBook in an array colours. Strange, when there is an obvious demand for this; take the iPod mini or the original iMac line for example. Well, if Apple isn't willing to pander to a market, then this company Colorware is. Colorware offers brand new MacBooks and MacBook Pros in a choice of 28 colours, ranging from Alpine Green to Cotton Candy Pink. Each laptop goes under a special cleaning, painting, and coating process to ensure a perfect, even, solid colour. Slightly more professional than the red marker pen I once used to remodel my calculator at school. Unfortunately, this colour comes at quite a price; $650 more than the normal Apple store cost. As much as they look great, $650 makes me wish Apple would offer this as standard. Apple, listen! Colours! Please!

Posted by Stuart    Category: accessories | design | devices
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06.21.2006

DYI ds lite carrying case

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What could be better than a denim carrying case for your new DS Lite? One that you made yourself of course. John Spain shows you how on his blog. Using just old jeans and glue, Spain gives extensive instructions and photos, which include an animated gif. And you even get a pair of old school cut-offs out of the process as well.

Via Joystiq

Posted by Ray    Category: accessories
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06.21.2006

Yoda Backpack

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"Keep Your Things Safe It Will" -- so says the endorsement for this lovely new accessory offered by ThinkGeek, the same crazy dudes who'll also sell you licensed collectible Star Wars lightsabers. Because nothing says sexy better than dressing up like your favorite Sci-Fi character or running around with Master Yoda on your back. Though fully functional like a real backpack, with room for books and adjustable straps, take a tip from the ladies and stay away or at least hide it for only your most geeky guy moments. Unless of course you find that very special girl whose definition of 'hunky' includes soda gut and the ability to recite verbatim the Jedi Code.

Previously blogged by OhGizmo!

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories | toys | wearables
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06.20.2006

Flying just got better with Nintendo DS Lite

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. . . but – for the time being -- only if you are flying with Japan Airlines JAL and in either executive or first class.
The Japanese airline company has announced that throughout August it will provide their executives and first class travelers with a Nintendo DS Lite (yes, yes the really nice looking one) and several top titles to choose from during the flight. The handheld consoles have been altered to turn off their wireless capabilities, and their use won’t be allowed during take off and landing.

You can check JAL site for Nintendo DS equipped flights.

Via Yahoo! Games

Posted by Camilla    Category: toys
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06.20.2006

High Voltage bag carries my electricals

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Recycling can be more than just melting down a broken Emco chair to make an Alessi teapot. Sometimes all you need to do is throw a little ribbon and some love on an old piece in order to make it better than new again. We’ve covered the new jewelry from old computing pieces offered by FractalSpin more than once, and geek fashion is always going to be too cool for school.

This High Voltage Messenger Bag from FractalSpin is a hot little way to cart around all your little battery vampires. It may have started out as the standard super durable olive drab military issued bag, but they’ve rejuvenated their stock with a thorough cleaning and a snappy warning of just how dangerously electrifying a personality can be. The interior is chock full of pockets, and the old mechanical clips are perfectly repurposed as iPod and cell phone holders. There’s even an easy access chain on the side to keep your keys close at hand.

Thanks to those crazy kids at Gadget Madness for reminding me to write this up.

Posted by Johnny    Category: accessories
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06.20.2006

Will Return Clock

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Do you want to annoy other people and mess with their heads? Then check out the Will Return Clock. It's all in good fun of course, but with a design that closely mimics the "Will Return" sign of many businesses, its easy to see how people might be confused. It's a real clock, so you can set it ahead by fifteen minutes and keep people perpetually waiting for your ETA.

Posted by Katherine    Category: devices
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06.19.2006

New to the Pop crew: Johnny Brookheart

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Several new writers will be introduced this week, though by now you already know them by their recent posts on Popgadget. Zachary "Johnny" Brookheart (aka Johnny Rock and Roll), who hails from St. Louis, joined our writing team last month, adding his unique voice to the mix as well as another very interesting name.

In real space, you can find Johnny bartending by night and studying economics by day (and night). His diverse, past careers include stints as a watermelon packer, human dishwasher, and ... oh yeah, tech writer for ArsTechnica. For Popgadget, he mainly covers electronics, tech news, and furniture design.

Posted by Hoyun    Category: current affairs
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06.19.2006

Moto Q versus RIM Blackberry 7130c

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For those of you who have not heard about it already, Cingular Wireless and RIM unveiled the new Blackberry 7130c smartphone recently, a week following the release of the Motorola Q. Nearly six months after it was supposed to hit the market, the Moto Q’s much hyped CDMA launch happened in the last week of May.

As I attempt the daunting task of outlining a fair (and concise) comparison of the two, the first aspect that comes up is Moto Q’s sleek form factor. At 0.45 inches and claiming to be the world’s thinnest, lightest QWERTY phone, it couldn’t get much better. The Moto Q is extremely thin and fits very comfortably in the palm of your hand. The Blackberry 7130c isn’t so bad either, but it doesn’t score any brownie points in this category as it is quite similar to the rest of the 7100 series, offering a cell-phone-like form factor and a SureType keyboard that may not appeal to users of the traditional QWERTY layout.

Priced at US$199 with two-year activation and qualifying plan, and $419 full retail price, some of the major highlights of the Moto Q that create a tilt in its favour are :

• Sleek 2.4-inch QVGA 320x240 display
• Excellent phone quality and text/email functions
• Superior video and voice quality
• Jog dial
• Mini SD expansion slot

The quad-band 7130c, priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract, attempts to beat that with the following highlights :

• Sharp 240x260, 65,000-color screen.
• Powered by Cingular’s nationwide EDGE network that allows usage as a wireless modem for a laptop or PC.
• Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free connectivity and car kit support
• Noticeably faster Web browsing, application performance and attachment viewing

For most users, perhaps the most significant drawback of the Moto Q is the absence of push email ability without using SMS or a third-party client. The Blackberry conveniently scores here as Cingular’s BlackBerry Internet Service provides push email to the handset. However, for me personally, the absence of integrated push email facility is not really vital, as I am not a keen instant email user. The other drawback with the Moto Q is that there is no possibility of using the device as an EV-DO modem for a PC, which could be rather disappointing.

Overall, however, my first impressions of the Motorola Q place it a notch higher than the Blackberry 7130c. This time around, Motorola seems to have got it right, and this phone has potential as a Blackberry killer. Check out the CNET reviews site for updates.

Posted by kanchana    Category: devices
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06.19.2006

PQI card drive

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Credit cards are the bane of my existence. Endlessly tempting, with their attractive designs, promises of free money, and to top it all off, a little holographic image of a dove, a globe or something else as universally dramatic, credit cards seem to be a problem for everyone. Here's one card, though, that you shouldn't feel guilty about using - PQI's ultra-slim card drive. Just 3mm thin and housed in aluminium casing, the card drive can be connected to any Windows or Mac computer to store up to 8GB of your data. The card also features software that stores your favourite web bookmarks, as well as your email contacts.

Available in four different storage sizes (1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB), the card drive can be bought from Eupac for £29.60, £38.60, £71.60 and £109.90 (ex. VAT) respectively.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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06.19.2006

Monty Python Toys

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True fandom can't exist without product to fixate on. For example, take a look at the collection of toys, plushies, and paraphernalia based on the now classic comedy of Monty Python. True genius stands the test of time, but everything can be helped with a little marketing! Now you can be a Knight of Ni, or paddle around in your own Rabbit With Pointy Teeth Slippers. Because even if you can't appreciate the nuances of a Black Knight mini-plush, you can still cop a little cool out of owning one, right?

Posted by Katherine    Category: toys | wearables
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06.19.2006

Disney launches family mobile phone service

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Disney launched its “family mobile phone service” in the United States last Tuesday. This service aims to regulate mobile phone usage by children. With this, parents will be able to choose when, how long and to whom their children talk on their cell phones.

An extract from this report on CNET News:

Disney Mobile, which is carried in the United States by Sprint Nextel, also blocks kids from using their phones until they respond to messages that parents have flagged as urgent, and has a built-in satellite tracking feature to locate the cell phone.

Individual service plans for a single line start at $39.99 per month up to $169.99 per month.

Family plans, which include a minimum of two lines, range from $159.99 per month to $249.99 per month.

Handsets start at $59.99 with a two-year service agreement.

While I would certainly feel safer knowing that I can “track” my children at any time of the day, it would also be fairly easy for parents to get unreasonably addicted to such technology over a long term. Makes me wonder how much “regulation” is really okay when it comes to parents and kids. I guess a fine balance, however, is hard to pin down - as always.

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06.17.2006

New to the Pop crew: Maggie Chang

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Hello to Maggie, who joined our writing team a few weeks ago because she craved an outlet for her gadget and toy obsession. It's a good thing she lives in Hong Kong, the dreamland of consumer tech.

Maggie caught our attention by letting us know that Popgadget is her home page, but of course we brought her on board for her writing skills, and her oddball take on oddball things. She writes about devices, toys and accessories, and whatever else grabs her attention as she roams the crazy marketplaces of Hong Kong . Before moving there, Maggie lived in Hawaii and worked in tech marketing. She now teaches English.

Next month, Maggie will be blogging from the Hong Kong Houseware/Toy show where she'll bring us glimpses of the newest geek toys and home gadgets.

Posted by Hoyun    Category: current affairs
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06.17.2006

Interactive guitar and chords guide

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Whether you're a novice or an advanced guitar player, sometimes you may find yourself sitting there in your living room strumming away, and suddenly you're stuck. How do I play that chord? How does that scale work?

Now Chordbook.Com comes to the rescue. Chordbook gives you a flash modeled guitar with more than 1300 guitar chords and inversions. Once you come up with a combination of chords that you like to experiment, you can even save it in My Chords, and hear it strummed. Choose acoustic or electric guitar, left or right handed guitar, and which key to start with. You can put a capo on the neck, move it up and down, and the virtual guitar will show you how it sounds. It shows you 7 different most commonly used scales so you can follow where to put your fingers on the neck. Click on a different key and it’ll show you how to play that as well. Interested in learning about different types of tuning? No problem, it shows you right on screen. Still have questions? The site won’t leave you in a lurch. You can email your questions, plus there’s even a forum where you can talk all about your rock n’ roll guitar problems. And best of all? It’s FREE!

Thanks John W, for the tip!

Posted by maggie    Category: toys
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06.17.2006

Unimat 6-in-1 Cool Tool

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I remember once someone told me about the best wedding gift they ever received. He and his wife got matching Makita power drills. Now that's romantic. Likewise, when I saw the Unimat 6-in-1 Cool Tool I thought to myself 'who cares about picking out china and flatware?' For the couple that likes to tinker together something like this would be infinitely better. The Cool Tool is actually six machines in one. Depending on the configuration it can be used as a jig-saw, wood lathe, drill press, sanding machine, metal lathe or horizontal/vertical mill. And with additional attachments (not included) the system can be built upon to make additional machining tools! I can definitely tell you that I'd use something like this much more than I would nice table linens or a pretty vase.

Posted by Katherine    Category: devices
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06.16.2006

Miniature sized robotic turtle

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It took me awhile to pluck up the courage to actually blog about this one, ‘cause it’s just so “un-techie,” girlie, and silly. But I can resist it no more!

Not only do these tiny walking turtles walk, they play songs too. You can program them to walk in a rhythmic pattern, or have them race against each other. This rhythmic walking pattern can be programmed by “clicking” on the turtle’s shell, and it can store up to 15 “clicks.” What’s more? The turtle shells are interchangeable, so you can even trade with your friends and play mix and match with turtle fashion.

The turtles are made by Japanese company Takara Tomy , which was selected by Time magazine as creator of one of the best inventions of 2005 in the robot category. There are six colors to choose from: Melon, Peach, Orange, Mint, Pineapple, and Soda. If those are not the colors you like, don’t let that stop you. These little turtles have become such a fashion accessory that people have come up with ingenious designs, customizing each detachable shell with nail art and trading them with friends.

Each costs $14.90 USD, and they're available at Toys Brando.Com.HK .

Also available at Dynamism.Com

Posted by maggie    Category: toys
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06.16.2006

RetroGadget*: The first portable cell phone

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It was the very first portable cell phone. It was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. It was introduced in 1983. It was a whopping $3,995 and had a waiting list numbering in the thousands. It weighed 28 ounces and measured 13” x 1.75” x 3.5.” It was analog. It boasted one hour of talk time and eight hours of standby time. It was . . .

a brick by today’s standards. Compare it to Motorola’s latest, the RAZR, which weighs in at 3.5 ounces and measures 3.9” x 2.1” x .5,” and can be had for free with a contract. Oh yeah, there was the LED display, too! Can’t forget that!

If you really want one, they’re still available and much cheaper!


* - RetroGadget is a new series that will look back at what once was the latest and greatest in gadgets. You may laugh because something is so absurd by today’s standards. You may bow your head in shame because you once owned one of the featured items. You may cry because you miss a favorite past gadget and start searching eBay for a replacement. Whatever the case, join us as we stroll down memory lane.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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06.16.2006

iSplash™ Rugged

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This is for all those times when a only a boombox will do. While the delicate design of an iPod or the compact ease of most mp3 players these days are an essential when it comes to personal music portability, sometimes you just want to send out a blast of rockin' beats for everyone else to hear. For situations like that, the iSplash Rugged is perfect. Though many iPod/mp3 speaker systems will allow you plug in your player and share your tunes (the old-fashioned way) most do not provide the protection and care required for outdoor environments. This is where the Rugged excels, providing a zip connect module with 18" retractable plug and a safe splash-proof casing to keep your iPod dry. For other mp3 players there is a mini-cable jack allowing you to plug in almost anything that outputs audio. The device comes with all other standard boombox accoutrements, such as headphone jacks, high-fidelity stereo speakers, electronic equalizer, and sub-woofer. And, the handle doubles as a stand. So how fun is that? Rock on in the summer sun, near the water, in the sand, or anywhere else for that matter.

Posted by Katherine    Category: devices | home
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06.16.2006

Kodak Wi-Fi digital camera

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Digital cameras are great. You can take a limitless number of pictures, and the immediate ability to look at the quality of pictures I've taken satisfies my urge for instant gratification. It’s all good, except that I dislike the process of loading it up onto my computer. Kodak must have heard me.

The Kodak EasyShare One Series WiFi digital cameras offers the choice of 4.0 megapixels or 6.1 megapixels. Both give you WiFi capability with 3x optical zoom, and a 3.1” rotating touch screen. You can store and organize up to 1,500 pictures with 256 MB of internal memory, and can add even more picture capacity with the SD/MMC card expansion slot.

With WiFi capability and the Kodak EasyShare Dock, you’ll be able to easily transfer pictures and videos to your computer without USB, connect to the Kodak Gallery and email pictures right from the camera. If you’re equipped with the Kodak Photo Printer 500, you’ll be able to print wirelessly as well. Also, with the dock, you’ll be able to charge your camera in approximately 3.5 hours.

At a price of $299.99 USD, it sure is a nifty little device, and I can say goodbye to the USB transfer!

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06.16.2006

BUZZ OFF Kennebago fishing shirt

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Now you can scream “Buzz off!” at all those blood-sucking insects when you are on an outdoor trip. Well, maybe not really – the L.L. Bean Buzz Off Shirt is here to take the baton from you. This shirt has been specifically designed for outdoor buffs and is coated with an invisible, odorless, harmless layer of “BUZZ OFF Insect Shield” treatment which repels mosquitos, flies, ticks and chiggers. You can forget spraying on those smelly insect repellents while you are trekking, hiking, fishing , or just on a casual trip – the Buzz Off shirt promises to be your shining knight. The shirt is wrinkle-free and the integrated repellent lasts up to 25 washes.

The shirt is available in four colours, as well as in a long-sleeved version. The short-sleeved version is priced at $46 and the long-sleeved at $49.

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06.15.2006

New to the Pop crew: Stuart Memo

We looked far and wide for new writers, and were thrilled by the number of qualified, truly quirky people who responded to our invitation to apply. Posts from our new writers have been appearing here for a few weeks now, and it's time to let you know who they are, one at a time.

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From Glasgow, we have Stuart Memo writing about devices, games and accessories. When not writing for Popgadget, Stuart plays bass for the band Data Panik, and works as a software engineer. Unwittingly, he has also become our tech forensics expert and troubleshooter (proving that no good deed goes unpunished).

Data Panik is playing tonight at Bar Bloc in Glasgow (Club Olum) -- admission is free. You can also catch them at The Ghetto in London on July 3rd at a Rockstarz show (a "polysexual mash-up of new great bands and top indie dj's"), and at The Garage in London on July 4th (with Polysics). Additional summer performance dates are up on their website.

Though we wanted Stuart on our team partly because his sample posts were so hilarious, he claims to have no sense of humor in real life.

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06.15.2006

Honda fuel cell car by 2010?!

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According to this post on Sci Fi Tech, Honda has announced that it is planning to bring hydrogen fuel cell cars to the consumer market within the next three to four years.

Having spent a big part of my life in smog-covered metropolis Milano, where non-car weekends need to be regularly planned and enforced by the administration to reduce air pollution, I can’t wait for cars that only emit … water.

Better than the hydrogen running car is the energy station for the home that Honda is working on. The station is able to create hydrogen out of natural gasses and would allow anyone to refuel their car right in their home garage.

Via Sci Fi Tech

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06.15.2006

Underwater MP3 player

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I’m not much of a swimmer (reads: not at all), but whenever I see somebody doing laps in a pool, I often wonder if that’s not the most boring thing to do next to running on a treadmill, I don’t know what is. I would know because I do run/walk on a treadmill sometimes, like once a year, and I can’t imagine doing that without some sort of device to distract or entertain me while doing it.

I was very excited when I read about the SwiMP3 Underwater MP3 Player . It utilizes direct transfer of sound vibrations from the cheekbone to the inner ear to provide an exceptional sound clarity. When the device is placed on any bones of the skull, it leads to vibration of the fluid in the inner ear. Supposedly bone conduction hearing is a safe and well-established sensory capability. I do wonder, however, if it would make me dizzy.

Priced at $199.99 USD, currently, the SwiMP3 only has a 128MB model available, and the capacity cannot be expanded due to its need to be sealed watertight. It can play only MP3 files, but the good news is that you can use the player as deep as 10 feet, it comes with a built-in lithium rechargeable battery that gives you approximately 4 hours playtime, plus, and it’s compatible with both PC and Mac.

Now all I have to do is learn how to swim, and start counting... Was that 1 lap or 10 that I just swam???

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06.15.2006

SodaKeeper

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Oooooh. Doesn't it suck when your fizzy drinks go flat? Though soda rots your teeth, and you really shouldn't have that liter of coca cola hanging around in your fridge, what to do when you've twisted open a bottle and can't finish the rest? Well you may think about picking up a SodaKeeper . The little bottle top helps keep pressure in your opened beverage, making all the nice fizzies stay in place for the next time you want to give your pearly whites a corrosive soak. Just pump the balloon at the top, and voilà, next time you order that pizza or need to pull a caffeine-fueled all nighter you'll have something tasty and bubbly fresh to drink.

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06.15.2006

Shake and Bake Switchplates

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I was walking through my neighborhood this weekend browsing a mostly unimpressive artists' fair and stumbled across a cute booth full of bright colored rectangles. A couple of local St Louis girls have founded MetalMorphosis, a company going after the nichiest of home decor markets: they're concentrating on cover plates for light switches. Sara Stewart and Kelly Robinson are offering unique little products for designers that are trying to accessorize every last part of a room.

Starting with a copper switch plate, the duo decorate and then kiln fire their plates for durable heirloom quality three by five inch pieces of functional artwork. Their methods include liquid enameling, dry sifting, etching, cloisonné wire, and grisaille. The company is a year and a half in, and they've done very well with private commissions and public showings.

Posted by Johnny    Category: design | home
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06.15.2006

Keep your cool

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The CoolIT USB beverage chiller helps you keep your cool during those late nights at the office or intense gaming sessions.

The CoolIT chills to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, bringing your warm beverage to a refreshingly cool temperature, or maintaining your already-frosty libation’s frostiness.

I’m not sure that most companies' IT departments envisioned their USB ports being used for this purpose, but they at least have to appreciate the novelty of it! I suppose one could pass it off as a new mouse – it’s not far off in shape and size.

Manufactured by CoolIT Systems, known for their liquid cooling systems for PCs and other computerized devices.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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06.14.2006

Lexar'll make you jump jump

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The Lexar Jumpdrive Mercury has been eagerly anticipated since first being announced at CES this year. As the first USB thumb drive to incorporate a persistent data display the Mercury is giving just a little taste of what type of monochromatic visuals we can expect on new gear in the upcoming year. Since an E ink display can retain the last image sent without taking any juice from the power supply the technology is in the running as a future replacement for that stuff we call paper.

Back to the drive itself; Lexar has released one and two gig versions, and the drive ships with Lexar's Secure II Dashboard security suite. The package is cross platform and allows for encrypting files and folders and secure delete. In what can only be described as a small miracle there isn’t a price premium for the early adopters. Street price puts the one gig version at $50 USD, and the deuce at $80.

Check out the review from Everything USB.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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06.14.2006

Ties Suck

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Are you just another working stiff who wants to stick it to the 'man' but can't seem to bear breaking your corporate dress code? Well, why not replace your old boring neck noose with a ThinkGeek 'Ties Suck' Tie. In a lovely bit of detournement, you can state your disdain in zeros and ones, all the while giving the pretense of "just fitting in." Just be sure your boss doesn't also read binary.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories | wearables
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06.14.2006

Eye of the ... Soccer ball?

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So, these are a little weird to say the least. But if you were a die-hard soccer fan, perhaps you would want a pair of contact lenses like these.

Manufactured by a German optician, these contact lenses put a new twist on “Keep your eye on the ball”! Unfortunately -- or not if they freak you out -- they are only available in Germany. For the price of $54, you would also get an extra pair with an image of the German flag.

Since we here at Popgadget believe in good customer service links, here’s the link to Lufthansa Airlines just to connect you with your pair of soccer eyeballs quicker and easier.

Via Coolest-Gadgets

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06.14.2006

Nintendo DS Lite launch

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I really hate it when companies bring out a slightly better version of a product that I've already purchased. The DS Lite however is a genuine improvement on the Nintendo DS. I had to have it, and my impatient self set about importing one from Japan immediately. It was therefore no surprise to me to see the reaction to the release of the DS Lite in the US at the weekend. New York was the heart of the mania, where keen shoppers queued from 12 midday to be the first to get their hands on the "lighter, brighter" DS. Not only were customers treated to a warm welcome from Mario himself (I always thought Mario was a fictional character, apparently not!), but also the first 100 people through the door of the Nintendo World store were treated to a free carry case and a copy of the brilliant Brain-age brain training game. Some chose to come dressed as their favourite characters (unlike Mario - he was definitely real), while others were happy to play wirelessly with each other on their 1st generation DS systems. One member of the line was even seen wearing a tuxedo, having left a wedding party early to join the fun.

Posted by Stuart    Category: current affairs | devices
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06.14.2006

Shoe-and-Handbag cake server

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Now, if this doesn’t raise the curiosity of guests at your party, I wonder if anything else will. This amusing product from Neiman Marcus happens to be a two-piece shoe-and-handbag cake server. As you must have already guessed, one is a shoe and the other is a handbag - doubling up as cake servers. Well whoever thought of that! The product purely adds to style quotient and is also good for gifting purposes. If you don’t mind shelling out $45, grab a pair at Neiman Marcus.

Posted by kanchana    Category: accessories | design | home
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06.13.2006

Nyko's Power Tuner for PSP

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We know how much you love listening to your iPod in the car, but how about listening to your PSP? Sure there might be Bluetooth and FM transmitters out there, but how about one that also serves as a car adapter? Nyko Technologies recently released its Power Tuner for PSP that functions as both. Now while the kids are fidgeting in the backseat of the car, you can power up the PSP and let them watch and listen to movies or games at the same time. And after they fall asleep, you can listen to your own MP3s that you've loaded onto the device.

The Power Tuner features a 4-foot cable and thre FM frequencies so you can obtain a clear signal.

Available at Nyko retailers for $19.99 USD

Posted by lynne    Category: accessories | toys
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06.13.2006

Light Delight taps from Equa

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What if you could visually determine the temperature of the water everytime you turn on a tap ? The Light Delight range of taps introduced recently by an Italian company called Equa does just this. The USP of this product is that the water flowing through the taps has an integrated light which indicates the water temperature – blue for cold, violet for lukewarm and red for hot. Not only is this a trendy addition for your bathrooms, but it's also an invaluable safety device if you have children around.

See a demo here.

Via Coolest Gadgets

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06.13.2006

Sony Post-it LCD display

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In 1974, Arthur Fry applied a discarded adhesive, concocted by his work colleague, to pieces of paper to make sticky bookmarks for his hymnbook. The rest is history. Post-it notes are now everywhere. I have a soft spot for that style of good old-fashioned traditional inventing. That's why I had to look twice at this new monitor from Sony. They've taken their normal LCD range and added a plastic panel along the bottom, simply for sticking Post-its to. A great traditional design solution! If that's not enough, Sony has added a little groove for pens and pencils to sit in wait for those ever-decreasing analogue moments of the day.

No price for the E-series monitor has been released yet, but the display will come in both 17" and 19" sizes, and will be available from 19th June.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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06.13.2006

Get into the World Cup mood

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The World Cup started last Friday and I anxiously waited for Italy’s first game on Monday. I am not usually a soccer fan and I am not particularly patriotic either, but every time the World Cup is on I can’t help becoming a little bit of both.

And to really get into the World Cup spirit, what's better than being able to create your own personal training field in your living room? You can hang velcro soccer on an empty wall in your house and develop/show off your kicking skills at any time.

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Finally, this beer holding table can only help you properly enjoy every single match.

Velcro Soccer and beer table are available at fussideluxe for € 14.95 and € 69.95 respectively.

Via Uber-review

Posted by Camilla    Category: toys
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06.13.2006

iPod in a can

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There isn't much to say about Atech's iCarta iPod dock and Bath Tissue Holder. No joke; someone actually made a speaker system for the iPod with a toilet paper holder attached. The iCarta's sporting four speakers, a charging iPod dock, adjustable spacers for different iPod models, and a quick release fastening system for portability. My only question is: How many of these can they possibly sell?

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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06.13.2006

Automatic door

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This is straight out of a science fiction movie, but if they can actually make it come true, it may be extremely useful. This Fukuda’s Automatic Door fits like a glove, and opens just enough to fit the exact shape of the person or the object that’s passing through. Its motion-detecting portal saves energy by keeping a door from having to open and close all the way, which helps to maintain a stable temperature in a room, and can prevent dirt or other materials from entering. In addition to people, this sci-fi door can be used to accommodate objects large and small, like packages dropped off at a post office, or even a car coming through a garage door. And, it will be most useful for people who are handicapped or can’t manage to open and close the doors very easily.

It’s still in prototype mode right now in Japan. You can check it out at e-taf.com.jp , but it’s in Japanese only.

Via Time's Best Invention

Posted by maggie    Category: current affairs | eco | home
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06.12.2006

World Cup Bluetooth headset

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Ladies and gentlemen, if you didn’t notice, it’s World Cup soccer time again. And it’s all frenzy around here in Hong Kong, with giant TV screens in all the pubs, restaurants, and even street corners. Whether you love the game or not, you won’t be able to escape it, since that’s all you can see, and that’s all everybody talks about for the month of June and well into July.

If you’re a die-hard fan, here’s something to show off your love for the game.

iTech Dynamic Ltd came out with the World Cup Bluetooth headsets. You can support your favorite team, just as long as it’s England, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, or Italy. For all other teams, you’re out of luck, but there’s always the paint set and DIY method.

The headsets can be clipped comfortably onto your clothing; they feature simple single button control, and buzz to let you know when there’s a call. With 10 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby time, you can talk to all your soccer mates from around the world.

Available in HK for $268 HKD, or selected Orange stores in UK for £40.

Via Tech Digest

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories
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06.12.2006

Monopoly: Nintendo collector’s edition

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Before I got granted a Vic 20 and a Game & Watch that allowed me to play games by myself, I was periodically torturing various family members begging them to play Monopoly with me. The hours my parents had to invest in playing the famous and endless board game with me – I actually believe we probably only played it through two times – were very likely what in the end convinced them to give in and let me play videogames.

My family members may have forgotten all about Monopoly, continuing to live a peaceful life unaware that the Monopoly nightmare might start again soon. Apparently, a Nintendo edition of the board game is already in the works. New York’s Park Avenue and such are soon going to be replaced by Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and other iconic Nintendo characters.

How can I not play!

Via Wonderland

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06.12.2006

Sidekick III Coming In July

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Rumors of the coming of the Sidekick III have been surfacing on the Web since late '05, but now there are pretty reliable sources reporting that it's coming will be sooner than later. Most reports estimate that July 10 will be the on-sale date. Unfortunately T-Mobile press representatives won't confirm this.

The first tip comes via mobilehipster. Thanks for being kind enough to post the link to the FCC documents about the device, which include the manual as well as internal and external photos of the latest iteration of the Sidekick.

Our second tip comes from viewing a page layout for an upcoming issue of a credible print publication that contained a photo of the gadget and a listing of new features.

Continue reading "Sidekick III Coming In July"

Posted by lynne    Category: devices
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06.12.2006

Quick Egg Boiler - Microwave

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In the land of easy living there will always be another gadget on the horizon guaranteeing to save you some time on food prep. Though it seems that the Pasta Express is a total bust, perhaps this toy-like device can actually deliver. The Quick Egg Boiler says that you can use it to cook a single boiled egg in the microwave. All you need to do is add a little water and radiate between 5-9 minutes depending on how soft you like your hardshells. Though not quite as quick as instant oatmeal, it might add a bit of variety in the morning.

Available at Compact Impact

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06.12.2006

Timestrips say it's time to go

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A much talked about labeling system is finally set to reach the retail consumer this year. Timestrips use capillary action to draw a liquid at a constant rate across the label to provide visual use-by dates for fresh groceries and leftovers. The professional and catering versions are timed stickers designed for spoilage tracking in large kitchens. Most restaurant regulatory agencies require all meats and produce to be labeled with date received, date opened, and future disposal date. These stickers are just the next evolution in food tracking.

The real excitement is that Nestle has confirmed that their initial testing was well received and Timestrips will be rolled out on one of their products this year. With this vote of corporate confidence it won't be long until other manufacturers pick up the technology for prepackaged foods and pharmaceuticals. The company is touting their product as an "intelligent post-it note," and I think that it's going to make quite an impression on the way we consume perishables.

Thanks to Rita for the heads up.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs | devices
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06.12.2006

Rock album cover tote bag

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What is it about a black vinyl album cover that gets me all warm and fuzzy? It’s one of those things that I just can’t explain. Perhaps it’s from all those Sunday mornings when I played with my dad’s album collection when I was little, while he played the music on our old turntable system. Maybe that’s why I keep buying these albums even though I don’t even have a turntable anymore.

Now, here is a chance for all of us to relive that memory and get that warm and fuzzy feeling all the time. With this, I can finally put some good use to those albums that I’ve collected but never played. This tote bag has velcro-enclosed clear vinyl sides and will hold two different jackets. It comes with Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Springsteen, Aerosmith, Joplin, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd or Kiss on one side and a random rock favorite on the second side. And when you’re ready for a change, just slip one out and put in another one of your favorites from your collection, and presto! You’ve got a new look! It even comes with two amplifier knobs (that still turn) decorating the sides, and the two-inch wide shoulder strap is adjustable.

Available at Eco-Artware for $65 USD.

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06.12.2006

Make your own charger: Minty Boost

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Fresh from Limor Fried at Eyebeam, the Minty Boost DYI charger for your handheld devices. The 2 AA batteries and the charger circuitry (which you can make with instructions provided or buy) all fit inside an Altoids box. Aside from the designs, Fried does a great job with providing documentation on her design process. Fried (who also designed the Cell Phone Jammer) is one to watch.

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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06.12.2006

Floating pool thermometer with remote digital display

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Ever felt that rude shock while stepping into a pool at 50 degrees F? And wished you could sense the temperature in advance? Well, check out the Floating Pool Thermometer from Sharper Image. As the name indicates, this thermometer can be placed inside a pool to sense the pool temperature.

The thermometer has a 433MHz transmitter that transmits readings within a range of 100ft. Thanks to which, sitting in the comforts of your home, you can monitor the information on the wireless indoor display. The floating thermometer has a huge LCD display as well which makes it easy to view the readings from a distance. It can display water temperature, humidity, high/low temperature alerts and temperature trend indicators. It runs on 2 AA batteries (not included with the package).

Available for $69.95 from Sharper Image.

Via Gearlog.

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06.11.2006

Five Fingers barefoot shoes

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Unless you're doing some serious sailing or heading to a water park, I’m not really sure how much use you'd get out of these shoes. I mean, those who enjoy being barefoot probably wouldn’t need these. And those who don’t like being barefoot may feel they need something a bit more “shoe” on their feet.

Nonetheless, they do look pretty cool. By utilizing a new patent pending material called Vibram, the sole is designed to follow the contour of your feet and toes, providing a gecko-like sure grip on slippery surfaces. The individual toe slots design boasts it will enhance dexterity, control, and stability to deliver a more natural walking motion.

Priced at $70 USD, they come in 4 colors. Women’s sized from 36 to 42. Men’s sized from 41 to 46. Available at Vibram Five Fingers

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06.11.2006

Back in black

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Apple has re-introduced the special edition U2 iPod.

The latest tribute to Bono and company is a 30GB video iPod, which upgrades from the last unit. The new beauty features the distinctive red click-wheel (which sets it apart from the standard black version) and the blackened steel back with each band member’s engraved autograph. Also included is an exclusive treat: a coupon for the iTunes store that lets you download an exclusive 30 minutes of videos and band interviews.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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06.10.2006

Swiss Army Knife MP3 player

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I think the Swiss Army Knife is one of the coolest old school gadgety things in the history of gadgets. Well, guess what, the little Swiss Army Knife is “old school” no more. This new version has got a flash based MP3 player built in and a USB drive.

In addition to the regular tools -- 2" blade, mini scissors, nail file with nail cleane -- this little gizmo comes with an MP3 player in 1GB or 2GB capacity (a 4GB version should be out later this year). The player will play MP3, WAV and WMA files, it has an FM radio, and even a voice recorder. It also comes with an external remote control and is equipped with 2 headphone jacks so you can share with that special someone.

For those who want to travel with this and not be stopped by airport security, there is a flight version available with just the player, but who wants that when the player can be removed from the knife so you can toss it into your luggage while keep the player in-flight? Those Swiss folks thought of everything, didn’t they?

1 GB version available at Think Geek for $169.99 USD.

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06.10.2006

Pasta express

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All aboard the Pasta Express! It may look like a regular old pasta noodle container, but it's more. This wacky device will, as the advertisements tell you, let you cook, strain, and drain your meal without having to even dirty a cooking pot. Basically you load up your pasta, pour hot water into the container, slip on the strainer top, and let the noodles cook. Then when enough time has elapsed (7-10 minutes) you remove the thermal lid, drain, and enjoy! Now that's easy. I'm even tempted to order one to give it a try, because let me tell you, on those nights when cooking seems like a chore even saving small steps along the way to preparing dinner can help. And hey, it's only $19.99!

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06. 9.2006

Razor® Pocket Mod™ Bistro Electric Scooter

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Okay, when those Razor scooters first came out I thought they were cool. You know, they folded up kinda neat, the chrome finish looked hot - I have to admit, I wanted one. Then the deluge of scooter riding perpetual adolescents (those aged 9 - 45) flooded the sidewalks of New York City, killing any ill-conceived feelings of covetousness I might have had for those wheeling tray tables of pedestrian doom. Well, Razor has come out with an offering which has once again whetted my appetite for one of their products, but this time I'll keep my cynical distance until I can be sure I won't be dodging these things while trying to cross the street. Still, there is something movingly aspirational about the Razor Pocket Mod. I mean, anybody can kick-wheel themselves along using an ordinary scooter, but the Pocket Mod has a 250W/24V motor which can travel as fast as 15 mph and as far as 10 miles on a single 8-hour electric charge. It can accommodate riders of up to 220 lbs. And then, the Vespa-like styling has a European feel that speaks to fantasies of summers spent exploring little Italian villages and reclining under the Tuscan sun.

Ha. Who am I kidding? But still, it's a cute little scooter isn't it?

Posted by Katherine    Category: cars | toys
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06. 9.2006

Not just any old iron

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When I used to play Monopoly as a kid, I always seemed to end up being the iron. I have no idea why. My older brother would always grab my favourite first - the sports car. I'm not really a big fan of sports cars; it just seemed to be the only practical method of travelling from street to street available in the game. My second choice was the iron. I suppose it was because it was such an odd thing to be. An iron! In my harder to impress adult life, the iron is a far less interesting object. It stands for time-consuming boredom. Gratefully, design student Mary Hackney has taken steps to revitalise the universally despised item, whilst sparing a thought for the difficulties men have with them. This new improved iron caters for the fact that many men have problems when using their larger hands with small handles and dials. Other features include a "go-faster stripe" and a scanning device to recognise the fabric being ironed in order to adjust the temperature accordingly. Hmm, I think I'd still rather have the sports car.

Via BBC News.

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06. 9.2006

The See and Store in the kitchen

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My maid comes in twice a month to do my laundry and clean my kitchen, but it's a pretty easy job. My kitchen might be decked out with all kinds of fancy equipment, but I'm almost worthless in front of the stove. I try my hardest, but my cooking is so far from impressive that my girlfriend laughs whenever I mention attempting dinner.

However, this complete lack of talent hasn’t stopped me from decorating the least used room in the house. A cool spice rack is paramount to this effort, and the See & Store magnetic storage system is a prime candidate for kitchen deployment.

The nice kids at MOCHA sent in notice that they've rolled out a new selection of the containers in a few different configurations. A five pod vertical counter stand, a twelve square wall mountable square, and several new colors in the classic wall strip. The See & Store has been around for quite a while, but this is solid design and infinitely handy if you're trying to keep things close and visible. Let's face it, the tiny apartment industry keeps Sweden in business, and the See & Store is a system modular enough to be creatively adapted into any space.

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06. 9.2006

TOPO table from NONDesigns

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NONDesigns, a California-based studio specializing in creating products through non-conformist solutions, recently unveiled the TOPO table at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). According to lead designer Scott Frankly – "We got tired of perfectly flat tables so we made this series called TOPO." In case you are wondering what that implies, the TOPO is a “corian table with removable basins.” It has a surface with intermediate plastic inserts that have been molded over rocks, creating functional landscapes that can be placed either face-up or down. These inserts can then be filled with soil and plants or with utensils, fruits etc.

The design claims to be completely customizable - in the sense that one can choose how much of the table-top real estate goes towards the decorative and how much towards functionality. The idea sounds intriguing, but the price tag of $940 will probably appeal to the taste of avant-garde buyers alone.

Via Inhabitat.

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06. 9.2006

Bling it on

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Once I saw this, I just couldn’t walk away without having one in my hot little hands. True, this is just plain silly, but with a name like that, what can I do other than embrace it and buy one for my niece.

Peel and stick decorations for your phones, laptops, PSPs, or your rock n’ roll guitars. There were various styles to choose from at the computer ghetto mall close to my house here in Hong Kong, but you can get yours via PhatPhones.Com for £4.95, or many other merchants on Ebay at prices ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 USD.

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06. 8.2006

Sony Vaio UX series micro PC

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I used to have one of those first generation PDAs when PDAs were still in monochrome color and the most you could use it for was to keep track of your appointments and some addresses and telephone numbers. Okay, maybe you could pretend to read a book, but there really weren’t that many eBooks available back then. And I always thought it was sort of a waste of technology to have such an “advanced” device just to tell me what day it was. Plus half the time I could barely see what was on the screen because that screen just wasn’t very bright and not very easy to read. Nonetheless, since I’m such a gadgety kinda gal, I ran around with one in my workbag anyway.

Now, let me introduce you to something almost as small as a PDA, but can do a whole heck of a lot more. The new Sony Vaio UX series micro PCs are small and lightweight, but they come fully equipped with a 30 GB hard drive, wireless WAN/Lan, Bluetooth technology, a 4.5” LCD touch screen, a slide-out backlit keyboard, built-in microphone, and TWO (not just one) built-in cameras, one in the front facing out, and one facing the user.

Continue reading "Sony Vaio UX series micro PC"

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06. 8.2006

Uranium Jeans

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Check out "the interactive clothing concept," brought to you by Uranium Jeans, a French company that has started making jeans and clothing with embedded thin flexible micro screens. "Luminous and communicative," and "the very latest thing," says the company on its website.

Oh really?

While I want to believe that a pair of Uranium jeans are "alive," and will give me "the real sensation of turning into a bionicle [sic] being" I just can't seem to get my big whoopties on for a pair of jeans that have a scrolling text bar embedded into them. Even with the ability to customize the message and add images I have to ask myself why I'd want to turn my body into a billboard (and in case you're wondering, no I don't like designer logos either, so why push the equivalent with technological steroids?)

But logo madness aside, they're not even cute. Not even. With all the aesthetic subtlety of the spectaculars at Times Square, I'm not sure what proud fashionista could seriously doll up in one of these and keep a straight face. I mean, the crazy club thing has its place, but companies like Cyberdog have been rocking that for years, and though they primarily use LEDs and EL wire, Enlighted works the blinkie bling better than almost anyone out there. I can't imagine Uranium taking off for anything but novelty wear.

Oh well. Uranium has already opened up shop in France with a St. Tropez store this week and a boutique in Los Angeles planned for the end of summer. So I guess we'll see...

via textually

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06. 8.2006

Looking for a place to look for love in

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Hundreds of websites promise to match soul mates, but the lack of regulation and accountability in the industry is surprising. The Washington Post is running a great piece on the ramifications of the online meet and greet. Sadly, it's not all tea and cupcakes, Mary Ann. Casual keyboard banter has led to problems with STD notification, fraudulent profiles to entice new users, and the standard cases of cash and ticket scams that have plagued mail order bride companies for decades.

Young Pakistanis worldwide have decided to go a different route and integrate a dating site with a respectable online version of the TV show "The Dating Game." Shaadi Online picks a profile for one lucky lady that's shown to the viewing audience. Interested viewers respond with their willingness to marry the nice lady, and the computer screens all of the potential applicant profiles. The bride-to-be picks a gentleman out of the top three and they get married after introductions and marriage counseling. No muss, no fuss, and it's kind of respectable when compared to MySpace.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs
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06. 8.2006

Reef Fanning sandal with bottle opener

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Well this one is exclusively for the men – a pair of sandals that are quite neat to have on a camping trip or at the beach. Not that they look extraordinary, but because it's a cool idea to have a bottle opener built into the outer sole of each sandal – especially when you are dehydrated and realize that you forgot to carry a bottle opener along. The sandals have been created as a tribute to pro-surfer Mick Fanning and are available for $39.95 to $43.95 at DogFunk.com.

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06. 7.2006

Eat your way through acne with Borba skin-care chocolates

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If there is a universal word that is synonymous with adolescence, it is acne. The one thing I remember about acne is that all the ugly break-outs always mysteriously and precisely surfaced just before important events. And not to mention those frantic, vain attempts at appeasing them with expensive creams and weird looking home-made concoctions. To add to this, the primary advice given by those clued-up on acne remedies was a very painful one to follow - avoid sweets and chocolates as both of them will surely give you zits.

Well, time to introduce you to a contrary opinion - Borba, a manufacturer of cosmetics and “ingestible skin-care products,” has released the “Chocolate Clarifying Bar,” a Swiss dark chocolate that contains the patented Borba “Skin Balance Clarifying Aqua-Less Crystalline Powder” to promote skin clarity, prevent break-outs and reduce redness and irritation associated with acne.

If this works, pampering yourself with chocolate remorselessly was never so easy – that is if you are a chocolate-lover looking for an acne remedy. The Borba skin care chocolate is available online only at Nordstrom. You could also visit Borba's retail locator for more outlets.

Via Strange New Products.

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06. 7.2006

Vinyl Killer Crystal record player

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The Vinyl Killer has been around for a few years now. It's a clever little motorized bus that drives around in circles on top of any 12-inch vinyl record. It has a stylus on its underside, so that when it's on its merry trip it will play music from whatever record you've chosen. The bus is more of a novelty that any serious replacement for your turntable, as the speaker is quite small, and listening to music from a moving source can be quite disorientating. It is amazing to watch though! Why am I talking about this now when it's been available for a few years? Well, the creators, Razyworks, have recently released the Swarovski Crystal Limited Bling Bling Edition. For $520 you can be the talk of the town with your crystal encrusted battery-operated minibus. Unfortunately, the talk of the town will most likely be "Did you hear about the person that paid $520 for a toy record player?!" For the less flash among us, the standard $70 version is still available.

The Vinyl Killer can be bought from Razyworks' online store, or if you're in Europe, get the standard version from Funkyzilla.

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06. 7.2006

Tiny JVC Everio G series hard drive cam

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I practically stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this little thing sitting in the display window of an electronics store here in Hong Kong. I just couldn’t get over how little it is! Measuring at just 2.68" x 2.72" x 4.29", it fits easily in the palm of my hand. In fact, I’d be afraid it may get lost if I just dropped it into my handbag!

The JVC Everio G series hard disk drive camcorder weighs approximately a pound, and comes in either 20GB or 30GB capacity. You can get up to 37 hours of recording in Eco mode. Ranging from 10x to 32x optical zoom, depending on the model, you’ll be able to zoom all the way to China!

Tiny camera doesn’t mean miniature sized viewing screen; this little baby comes equipped with a 2.7” 16:9 widescreen clear LCD monitor. Another nice feature is that at a touch of a button, you can check the remaining battery time and hard disk space, even when the camera is off.

In addition to easy sharing by using the USB 2.0 fast transfer with other devices like your computer, TV, VCR/DVD recorder, printer, and direct DVD burning without a PC via the optional Everio Share Station, there's also an SD memory card slot for extra storage and easy data transfer, convenient for recording and transferring video and still images to other equipment.

Suggested retail price is listed at $900 in the US. In the streets of Hong Kong, it’s priced at HK$5,650, so that’s approximately $730 US. You could also get an extra battery and 30GB space to make it go even further -- they’ll cost you about $350 and $1,100 HK respectively.

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06. 7.2006

Let's enjoy Wanroom life!

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Wanroom and San-X, the Japanese makers of these niftaaay plushie toys are insane. Insanely cute, that is. Each stuffed toy takes on the persona of an everyday household object, with special character names, and a sly little hidden compartment for storage or a mobile phone holder. Whether it's the cute little sofa, the bed (with slippers) or the bath/shower complete with bubbles you will have a hard time picking just one. In fact, you may "enjoy Wanroom life" so much that you'll have to get them all.

Posted by Katherine    Category: toys
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06. 6.2006

Life saving Smartshirt from Sensatex

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The latest offering from the world of body electronics is an intelligent shirt that can sense the wearer’s vital signs such as body temperature, heart rate and respiration. The Smartshirt from Sensatex, a developer of integrated smart textile systems, is a cotton shirt that lives up to its name. Made of fully-washable fabric that has a patented nanotechnology-based conductive fibre seamlessly integrated within, the t-shirt is designed to digitize the wearer information and then transmit it via a wireless connection to a remote back-end system for real-time monitoring. Another advantage of the wireless connectivity is that it eliminates the need for a trained technician to be present to perform the data transfer or retrieval.

The technology used to develop the Smartshirt was first commissioned by the U.S Department of Defense, DARPA, presumably because of the huge investments involved, and took 5 years to see the light of day.

The applications of this invention are innumerable and some of them include remote monitoring of patients with chronic illnesses and elderly patients, training support for athletes, monitoring of individuals who work with hazardous materials, and tracking of professional truck drivers’ vital signs to alert them of fatigue. The price tag on the t-shirt is not available as yet and the actual deployment will begin later this year. The company is looking for beta testers – contact them and you could be one of the lucky ones to get a feel of the Smartshirt for yourself.

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06. 6.2006

Origami Chaise

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Well, I’m not sure how comfortable these would be to sit on, but they sure are pretty and will look fantastic in my imaginary spacious living room. They make me think of those intricately designed and executed Japanese origami art pieces.

Featured in the furniture show in Milan recently, these chaise longue titled Antibodi were designed by the red hot (and I don’t just mean looking) Spanish Italian designer Patricia Urquiola, who worked for and was mentored by the great Achille Castiglioni. Like an organic flower, the chairs bloom from cells of petals sewn in triangular shapes. The petals feature reversible materials in felt and wool fabric, and wool fabric and leather, which create a supporting cover which is then fixed to a stainless steel metal frame.

Available at Moroso in Italy

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06. 6.2006

rice cooking v2.0

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Despite my love for the old school, I must say that I am currently smitten with the new "Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker" from William Sonoma. I don't mind the warm and fuzzy feeling of the "Fuzzy Logic." The design of traditional cookers has not really changed much in the last fifty years, although culinary tastes have. So, I find the claim of being able to perfectly cook different varieties of rice appealing. (It also can be used as a steamer and slow cooker.) Despite much trial and error, I never could master steaming brown rice with my trusted cooker that I've had since graduating college. Further, I'm sure there are many purists, who insist on cooking rice on the stove, which make me question the whole idea of "authenticity." For me, it seems like the time is ripe to take the rice cooker into the 21th century, with me and my multi-grains with it.

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06. 6.2006

Plant-me Pet

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Spanish designer Martí Guixé has the greatest website, "brilliantly simple and curiously serious" indeed. Among his many creations are the Plant-Me-Pets, weird squeaky toys that can also be planted to grow vegetables. They come in tomato, melon, and pumpkin, but tell me, how could you really bear to bury the poor critters? It's exactly the kind of ambivalence Guixé seeks to engender: emotion or function? You decide.

Posted by Katherine    Category: home | toys
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06. 5.2006

Be Mario: the Nintendo Amusement Park is coming

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Not too long ago, Camilla posted about the Super Mario virtual world mingling with the real world. Nintendo enthusiasts just upped the ante by recently releasing a beta version of its interpretation of an amusement park ride. The Nintendo Amusement Park site includes a great video demo. Applying what they call "physical augmented reality," players use harnesses, pulleys and bungee cords to experience Super Mario Brothers in real space. You even get a costume and Mario mustache. I know it's only in beta and the production values will only get better, but I love how the backdrop looks like bed sheets and you're basically jumping on a giant bead bag with eyes. Get ready to jump over Goompas, as they are said to be gearing up for a full blown version for E3 2007.

Via Joystiq

(Please note, that Nintendo is not involved in this project. Thanks Matt and Stephen!)

Posted by Ray    Category: toys
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06. 5.2006

To-Fu Mates

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I love tofu. And who doesn't? Well... if you don't, even you will love these super cute Tofu Head Connect Cubes. Sold individually, yet made with the ability to "stick together" at the corners they'll make one Tofu block party you won't want to miss. At $7.50 USD each, they'd make a great squishy add-on gift for your vegan friend, and even possibly the meat eaters in your life.

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06. 5.2006

Recycle your cell phone for half the money

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A new service out of the UK has confirmed a theory that I've had for a long time. There is a great chunk of change to be made recycling used electronic gear. Envirofone is saving the world by buying retired cellphones in order to keep them out of landfills. Essentially, the company buys old phones on a recycling sales pitch then resells them for a profit. Payouts are available as cash, Argo's gift cards, or as a donation to a charity of your choice.

This company's service is extremely useful... if you don't know how to use eBay. As an example, Envirofone is offering to pay seventy-five dollars for a Samsung D500, but the going rate on the used market is upwards of $150. I'm surprised that The Register's coverage didn't mention that Envirofone is owned by Eazyfone, a company that solely exists to redeploy used electronics collected through various channels.

This business model is a very old trick in the technology business. I've made a habit of haunting a few "recycling centers" I know that receive tech gear from environmentalists through the front door, but operate a ghetto fabulous computer junkyard out the back doors.

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06. 5.2006

Micro Rice Cooker

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I'm really really hoping that this Micro Rice Cooker works as well as it looks because I could use a gadget like this. Even though the effort is probably the same (you still gotta rinse the rice, add water and wait), there's something about using the big rice cooker to make one serving of rice that seems wasteful and more work.

The ceramic bowl has 2 indicator lines on the inside to let you kow how much rice and how much water you need to cook the perfect serving of rice. Let it stand for 15 minutes (did you know that rice tastes best if it's soaked in water for awhile?) and cook it in the microwave on a low setting for another 15 minutes. Take it out and eat. Of course you can just buy one of those ready-to-eat microwaveable rice bowls that you can get at your Asian grocery store, but that gets pricey and I'd like to think that I'm not THAT lazy.

Available at Compact Impact.

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06. 4.2006

The history of chart topping in 37 minutes

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Here is an interesting art project by R. Luke DuBois, part of his "time-lapsed phonography" explorations. DuBois's sound installation for ipod entitled "Billboard" used the Billboard Hit Singles chart to create a 37 minute long interpretation of contemporary popular music. DuBois took all the songs that reached #1 and aggregated them into one "song." Weighted by the number of weeks the song was on the top of the charts, the average song got one second in the piece. The end result is an abstracted archive of the history of popular music from August 1958, when the list got started, up to today.

You can hear "Billboard" at the Bit Forms Gallery in New York until 7.15.05.

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06. 4.2006

Handsfree can opener

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Need a better can opener? Sharper Image is betting you do. Check out their Handsfree Can Opener. With just a push of a button the Handsfree can open most round cans, automatically traveling around and cutting a smooth edge just below the rim, allowing you to lift the lid safely without sharp edges. The can opener runs off of two AA batteries and will open about 100 cans before needing more juice. Best of all is that the battery-operated cordless design will let you use this little baby wherever you need to, in the kitchen or out on a campsite. How convenient.

Posted by Katherine    Category: devices | home
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06. 3.2006

Fruity home appliances

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Ahh! I love the smell of lemon zest cleanliness in a kitchen, and, eh, the look of strawberries on my fridge. These panels from Vincon instantly transform the dullest of kitchens into a walk-in fruit bowl. The range consists of apples, oranges, lemons, strawberries, coffee beans and more bizarrely, broken eggs. The flexible sheets are thin enough to be cut with scissors to allow for variations in appliances, and are easily interchangeable due to their magnetic nature.

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The designs were produced using "high quality digital printing", and only 100% organic fruit was used in the photographs. Ok, I made that last part up - I thought it might make you feel better about yourself if you bought one.

Get them now from Vincon for €116 each.

Posted by Stuart    Category: design | home
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06. 3.2006

Roasted Garlic Express

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Garlic is good for you. Even if you don't count warding off vampires as a health benefit, there are several other reasons you may want to increase your intake of the stinking rose. And if you are so inclined, you may want to have a look at the Roasted Garlic Express, the "world's first portable electric roaster." (I'm assuming that claim is for garlic roasters.) But still, all jokes aside the Garlic Express allows you to roast up to three medium sized bulbs of garlic at a time, and does so with minimum fuss and hassle. The cook cycle is less than thirty minutes, which sure beats having to turn on and heat your oven, or permanently flavoring whatever else you may use to roast. Another big plus: the little garlic shape is so cute!

Posted by Katherine    Category: home
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06. 2.2006

Make your gadgets unstealable with Datadots

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When I finally bought an iPod, it was after 2 years of waiting for the “right” model to come along. But my troubles failed to cease – for along came the fear of getting my precious one nicked. There isn’t a truly comprehensive insurance scheme available for portable electronics as yet, so we recommend that you take a look at Datadots for some solace. So what are Datadots? The Datadots DNA kit contains a bunch of tiny dots suspended in adhesive which you smear on your beloved gadgets. Each dot within the kit contains the same unique serial number which you register at the Datadots site. The idea is that if the device is stolen and is recovered by police, they can trace it back to you.

Wondering what’s the use of Datadots once the device is already stolen? For one, the police can definitely tell if the gadget is stolen. If you are a persistent gluer, you can also stick the dots in different places on the gadget (though it is recommended to smear the glue mostly on the gadget innards, to keep it looking pretty). A major deterrent for thieves is that they will end up with a very ugly gadget if they try scraping off all the dots. The glue also contains warning stickers to highlight that the gadget has been marked against theft.

Datadots are also being used by car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Ford Australia to reduce car thefts, and by several corporations and leading manufacturers as well. Check out the Datadots global website for further information.

The basic kit is priced at $19.95 and the advanced kit at $34.95.

Via Gearlog.

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06. 2.2006

Nokia N93 mobile phone

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If you're in the majority of the population that wants all the bells and whistles on a mobile telephone, this yet-to-be-released device may have been custom made for you.

The Nokia N93 is packed full of features, more than most of us really need but would love to have just the same. In addition to being a plain ol’ telephone, it boasts a 3.2 megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss optics and 3x optical zoom. But what’s the point of taking all those pictures if you have no one to share them with? Not a problem. With the new partnership with Flickr , you can upload, share and comment straight from your phone.

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Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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06. 2.2006

EZ Faucet

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Is your faucet EZ? Well if it isn't, it could be. The iTouchless EZ Faucet infrared sensor faucet adapter can automate any sink, enabling easy control with the wave of a hand. The adapter fits over a conventional faucet, and runs for about a year and a half on just four AAA batteries.

Touchless faucets are great for limiting the spread of germs and saving water, as they shut off instantly once your hands are removed from the sensing area. To adjust the temperature and flow of water, you can use your existing faucet controls and leave the adapter on. Plus there's a manual override in case you need it. Save money, save water, and save the hassle!

Posted by Katherine    Category: home
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06. 1.2006

Windows Vista beta 2 overview at Ars Technica

Kurt Hutchinson's first look at Windows Vista Beta 2

My good friend Kurt Hutchinson has kicked out a great write-up for Ars Technica on Microsoft's second beta of Windows Vista. This update to the Windows line has been in the planning and production stages for a long time, and it's nice to finally get to play with a stable copy that's fairly close to what the final version is going to be.

The developers have thrown in new graphic effects and a slew of bells and whistles designed to make the Windows experience capable of competing with Apple's OS X in beauty pageants. Vista has had quite a bit of brand new coding put in, even including native support for cutting edge hybrid hard drives that haven't made it to the market yet.

We're finally seeing a total update for Microsoft’s desktop security protocols. User Account Control (UAC) has been implemented for tightening up the account privileges assigned to normal users and the default firewall package has been seriously beefed up to include packet filtering. The plan is that this will finally be a copy of Windows that the power user can trust and the novice can enjoy.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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06. 1.2006

Skinny Water

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So tell me, what's the skinny on Skinny Water? If the website is to be believed, Skinny Water will suppress your appetite and increase fat burning, with no calories added. Sound too good to be true?

I'm sure it is.

Though free of ephedra, preservatives, and caffeine, Skinny Water contains a special ingredient called Hydroxycitric Acid, otherwise known as “Super CitriMax," a purported appetite suppressant and fat synthesis inhibitor. The idea is that you're supposed to consume a bottle of Skinny 30-60 minutes before each meal, allowing the beverage to get to work. Haha. You know, many dieticians recommend drinking a glass of plain old fat water as a way to do the same thing. (Yeah, proper hydration will work wonders, I hear.) Anyway, with our weight-conscious society always looking for quick shortcuts, it will be interesting to see if Skinny Water takes off.

Posted by Katherine    Category: body
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06. 1.2006

Track your workouts with Adeo Fitness Companion

Adeo.jpg

The Adeo Fitness Companion recently released by the Motion Lingo Company is targeted at serious athletes, skiers and cyclists. Simply speaking, it is a multi-function device which can give you audio updates of your progress during your workout – data such as speed, distance, topographical maps, and satellite maps of the route you have covered. It has a built-in GPS tracker that can tell you where you are going and how fast you are getting there.You can also hook it up to your iPod or any other MP3 player, and the device will intersperse real-time workout information with your music.

Once you are ready to download the information, connect the Adeo to your PC and you can check on your workout data, add comments and track information such as weather conditions, and even your shoe mileage. The Adeo costs $149.99 and there is no monthly fee to use the real-time services offered. The price tag may not appeal to you if you're only a weekend runner or if you just bike to work. But if you're training seriously, then this is one must-have on your list!

Posted by kanchana    Category: wearables
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