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07.31.2006

RetroGadget: Tiny telly

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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07.31.2006

Next stop on the germophobe express

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What luck! Another gadget perfectly suited for me, the resident germophobe.

Whether it’s from a faucet in a suspect country or from a babbling brook found on a camping trip, SteriPEN will help ensure that your H2O is safe to drink.

Using UV technology, SteriPEN destroys more than 99.99% of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in seconds, letting one rest assured that Montezuma will not be taking revenge. Operates on 4 AA batteries that can provide up to 140 uses. Comes with a lightweight storage case for easy packing.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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07.31.2006

Snazzy Sun Bricks will make you the talk of the block!

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Add some originality to your outdoor lighting with Sun Bricks. Sun Bricks compliment or replace traditional low-level patio lighting with these flush-to-the ground patio pavers.

Alternate Sun Bricks with traditional patio bricks to add nighttime safety and atmosphere to your home. Solar powered LED technology means no increase in the electric bill and no bulbs to replace. Each day’s ‘charge’ provides about eight hours of power for each self-contained brick.

Available from the Herrington Catalog.

Posted by Brian    Category: home
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07.31.2006

The iLane reads your email

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As a long time owner of a Treo I will attest that trying to read and reply to email while driving could get you killed. The iLane is a glove box device that uses Bluetooth to interface with a smartphone to provide a voice command interface to dictate and manage incoming information. The goal is to keep email, text messages, calendar events, and phone calls from distracting the driver, but to still allow for taking care of business. The iLane may not be a perfect method to keep all eyes on the road, but it does qualify as the next best option.

When incoming messages make it through an elaborate filtering system, an excerpt is read to the driver through a text-to-speech module. The driver can listen to the rest of the message or formulate a reply with voice command. Seven supported languages make this the perfect piece of gear for large corporations to include in entire fleets of vehicles.

The only requirement for interfacing with the iLane is Bluetooth and a compatible handheld. Newer Blackberry devices, Palm, Windows Mobile, and Symbian smartphones are all on the approved list. For now the box is an aftermarket add-on, but the company is currently in talks with several device manufacturers and auto producers to implant the technology directly into cellphones and dashboards.

Shouts to my crew over at MTT.

Posted by Johnny    Category: cars | devices
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07.31.2006

Zero tension mouse

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How about buying yourself a mouse that resembles the beacon light on a cop’s vehicle? Nah…. What if it were designed particularly to prevent RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) in long term computer users? Now it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it ?

The Zero Tension Mouse (ZTM) is a vertical mouse made completely of plastic and is based on the very popular “Active Release Technique” propounded by Dr. Michael Leahy for treating repetitive motion injuries. This technique claims that if the muscles can remain relaxed during activity and yet perform the desired function, motion injuries can be prevented. And the ZTM is designed to do just that. You place the mouse directly on a flat surface and wrap your entire hand around it (consider this similar to gripping a joystick). In the bargain, the back of your hand actually rests on a curved seat that will enable you to move the mouse away from your body without requiring any extra effort – and hence the name “Zero Tension Mouse.” There are grooves on the handle which are designed to hold your fingers as you wrap them around it. With the fingers thus wrapped around the handle, your index finger will touch the right mouse button, and the middle finger, the left mouse button. What about the scroll wheel? Your thumb, lying on the top of the handle, is free to operate the scroll wheel placed on the top surface. Which means that the work is evenly divided among the fingers and takes away undue strain on any one finger at all times.

Though this might seem a big change in the way traditional horizontal mice (that we have gotten so used to) are used, it is a change for the better because the ZTM will force you to place your hand vertically at a 90 degree angle and close to your body. And that means no strain on your arm and a completely relaxed hand.

It's a plug-and-play device – meaning no installation software is required -- and it's compatible with Windows 98 and higher and Mac OS 8.6 and higher. The device is available in small, medium and large sizes (unfortunately the left-handed version is not yet available). The large size is around 4.5 inches tall, 3.4 inches wide, and 5.6 inches deep and is the only model to be available in a cool minty blue, while the others are in black. At $80 a piece it may seem expensive, but is definitely worthwhile in the long run because of the health benefits it offers. In all, definitely a must-have on your list if you are a computer addict like me.

Posted by kanchana    Category: devices
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07.29.2006

Tiniest flash & color filters for cell phone cameras

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Of course you need accessories for your phone camera. If you're like me, you use that camera more than any other because you always have it with you, so you may as well give in and have fun with it, even if the picture quality is generally lousy. A few months ago, I wrote about the stick-on cell phone Phlash. Now there's an LED flash with color filters that you can carry on a keychain (stick it on your camera to use it, and then remove it when you're done), the Color Flash Cube from Greenbulb. Everything looks prettier through color filters, and this tiny flash is actually very bright. Made of plastic, it reminds me of those toys I used to get out of a vending machine, but it works, and at $12.99, it'll make a good stocking stuffer for next Christmas.

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Greenbulb offers another tiny, cheap accessory, the SS Mirror (short for "Self Shot Mirror"). Have you ever tried to take a picture of yourself to find you've managed to take a picture of your left ear or your mother with an uncharming expression in the background? The SS Mirror is about the size of a thumbtack and you stick it next to the lens to properly frame your face for self-portraits. Of course, many camera phones now have this mirror built in, but if yours doesn't, you can get a package of three SS Mirrors for $3.45. The tiny mirrors are also good for checking your lipstick.

Posted by Hoyun    Category: accessories
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07.28.2006

Jet-set downloadable content at the airport

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Those kids at Springwise tipped me off to a new kiosk in the duty free section of Amsterdam's Airport Schiphol. The airport has helped launch a store selling music, videos, and books in useful digital formats. In spite of boasting one of the worst flash based websites on the internet, Fuel for Travel is offering an interesting and much looked for service.

Content falls into two categories: Entertainment and travel guides. If it's your first time in Amsterdam you'll be able to buy guide books, maps, and language lessons delivered straight to your electronic device. Top 40 music and TV shows from Dutch producers are available. American audiences would be familiar with MTV and Nickelodeon who have partnered with FfT by offering most of their current lineup. Feature length movie support is set to be launched at a later date, but the service does have many mobile phone games currently for sale.

Supported devices are mostly Samsung, but Blackberry, Creative, I-River and HP have phones and video players on the list as well. Samsung is a partner in the endeavor and their video players and phones are available for purchase at the kiosk.

One caveat to consider: there's no iPod video support due to Apple's annoying DRM restrictions.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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07.28.2006

Pico disc duplicator and ripper

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I know Stuart was recently ambitious enough to attempt the transfer of all his CDs into digital format, but every time I rip a CD and wait for the painstaking process to be done (listening to the horrific grinding spinning noise the whole time), I think about how many CDs I've collected over the years and conclude that I'll probably be listening to CDs even when everyone else has all their music stored on holographic jewels around their necks. Digital storage offers so many advantages, but unless you're a real young'un, you likely have much of your music collection stored in boxes, not a hard drive. There are actually services available for people who want to have someone else transfer their entire music collections in one go (and who don't want to spend a weekend in a ripping frenzy, unlike Stuart) but they're expensive. RipDigital, probably the best known of these companies, charges $199 for 200 CDs, enough to buy you 199 brand-new iTunes tracks.

Of course, those guys at RipDigital don't have employees sitting there ripping each CD one by one; they've got the big honking machines that you throw a whole box of CDs into which spit out mp3s. The large capacity rippers tended to be prohibitively expensive for home use, not to mention being bigger than my washing machine, but a new one, the Pico MP3 ripper, weighs just 6.5 lbs. and costs $699. Yes, you could get about 700 CDs converted by RipDigital for you for that much, but the Pico will let you start your own neighborhood or family racket, letting you rip 25 CDs in a go, totally hands-free. The Pico will rip into mp3, wav, aiff, or flac files, and will retrieve all your CD track information from CDDB just like an application like iTunes will do.

The Pico is also a disc duplicator, so you can make up to 12 CDs or 6 DVDs an hour, a big advantage if you're the type who likes to share the "wealth" when you've compiled all your home movies onto DVD.

The Pico super-duper drive connects through USB 2.0, and rips right into any home computer. The $699 price includes 50 blank recordable DVDs and a lifetime discount on Disk Makers other compatible blank media.

Posted by Mia    Category: devices
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07.28.2006

Asus Lamborghini VX1 laptop

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Seems like every company is producing its own brand of laptop these days, especially if it belongs in the high-end logo driven market. First there was the Ferrari laptop, and now, we have the Lamborghini laptop.

You can finally lay your hands on the actual item, after the sneak peek preview about seven months ago. The Asus Lamborghini VX1 laptop features a 2GHz Intel Core Duo T2500 chipset and Intel’s Centrino technology with a WiFi adapter built in. Also features a 15” VX1 with Color Shine high-resolution LCD screen. The machine completes with a gig of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, Bluetooth capability and a DVD burner.

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Performance aside, would you just look at how sexy this thing is! Comes in black or yellow, the notebook features the trademark Lamborghini logo with exceptional mirror painting finish. It looks as gorgeous as sin, and to those lucky few who are able and willing to fork out the big bucks, it’ll cost you a pretty $3,500 USD. (No, don’t even ask, the car does not come with the laptop.)

The only thing I can think of that will make it an even “cooler” toy would be for the cover to open up like the race car itself – like a pair of wings.

The information is in Chinese, but if you want to look at more detailed pictures, check out Taiwan – CNET .

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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07.28.2006

Fisheye camera #Two

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The original Fisheye camera created such a worldwide stir last year that it’s not surprising there’s now a newly improved Fisheye camera No. 2.

The new Fisheye camera No. 2 still features that simple look of a camera, using 35mm film, and 170 degrees field of vision like the old version, but this time around, it has added a couple of more settings to make your pictures look even more interesting.

New features of the Fisheye No. 2 include “B” Bulb setting. This setting allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you like by holding down the shutter button with your finger. Also features “LNB” variable exposure switch where you can “L” lock the shutter in case of misfire, “N” for normal setting, and “B” for the long exposure setting. Standard flash hotshoe & built-in electronic flash is where you can sync a Lomographic Colorsplash Flash or any other manual hotshoe flash to your Fisheye 2. But the most fun of all, I think, is the Multiple Exposure Switch, where you can take as many shots as you like on a single frame. The casing this time around is also a bit sturdier due to the metal-plated exterior.

Price for the new Fisheye camera No. 2 is approximately $65 USD, and it’s available via Lomography Society International – Fisheye Camera.

Posted by maggie    Category: devices | toys
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