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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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07.28.2006

Xylon bikes

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It's rare that you get something that makes you go "oooooh pretty" and "oooooh cool" at the same time. For example, take the wooden bicycles at Xylon Bikes. Tipped onto them by my friend Jessica, I'm not sure if I would trust myself on the streets of New York with one these things. I mean, I'm a pretty laid-back person when it comes to personal property, but for those special things I value, I can be pretty neurotic. And if I had a Xylon I might get a little nutty about wanting to keep it clean and pristine (which in reality never really happens) and would stress all the time about possible theft.

Oh well. I guess it's better for me to just admire the wood frame and material workmanship in photos and get my "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" out in a healthy non-covetous way. My favorite design? Hands down the Cell, pictured above.

Posted by Katherine    Category: eco
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07.28.2006

Availabots

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I'm still in shock over this item. This is so good. The Availabot is a unique method of displaying the online status of your IM buddies. This is so so good. What happens is that a little customizable figurine represents one of your contacts. When that contact is offline, the figure lays crumpled in a heap, but as soon as they sign in, it springs to attention! So so so good. As each Availabot represents one of your contacts, you can have a little gang, each with their own individuality. You've drawn Frank's stupid moustache on his, and for Jane's you've made a mini version of the polka-dot sweater she always wears. What's even better is that the IM contact details are stored within the Availabot itself, so you can do as the site suggests - buy a few, load them with your details, then give them out to contacts as hi-tech business cards. So so so so good!

The Availabots are only in the protoype stage at the moment; so for more info, or to show your support, go to the Availabot home page.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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07.27.2006

Jewelry that "rules"

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I'm kind of a nerd. Or maybe a geek. Or maybe kind of a nerd and a geek. Which is exactly why I like these nifty accessories. After all, they "rule." Now, all sorts of bad puns come to mind, yet I feel your pain and will try to spare you. Still, I just can't help imagining myself wearing the earrings and the necklace together and saying to my friends: "When I wear my ruler necklace and earring set, I feel like I, well . . . rule." (Uh yeah, anyway.) Which wouldn't rule out the fact that most of them would probably disagree, but still feel some sense of pity and not contradict me to my face.

Ruler Necklace
Ruler Earrings
Ruler Necklace, Single (not pictured)

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.27.2006

We need something big

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It’s time.

Time for something revolutionary in the world of technology. I don’t mean a better camera for my cell phone, or a thinner, sleeker iPod (though I wouldn’t walk away from either). I mean something big, like a new VCR or a new internet… something that will make a significant difference in our daily lives.

Innovative… Groundbreaking… Defining. It will have to be every one of these. The past several years have been brought us continued improvement on the technology we already had, but nothing seriously different. Personally, if I see one more VOIP phone, I think I’ll puke. (Sorry, Richard, I know how much you like your Skype.)

Fortunately there are a few potential gems on the horizon like holographic displays and interfaces (think R2D2’s recorded message to Obi-Wan) and true artificial intelligence (we’re not talking Furby here) that may save us. Or me, if I'm the only one complaining.

Anybody have any revolutionary, life-changing, earth-shattering ideas?

Posted by Brian    Category: current affairs
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07.27.2006

Slocum puzzle exhibit opens next week

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This week Margaret Wertheim from the NYT ran a great piece on all kinds of ancient and modern puzzles. Mr. Jerry Slocum is donating his 30,000 piece personal collection of amusements and diversions to Indiana University’s Lilly Library in Bloomington, IN. Slocum is a former aerospace engineer, and his penchant for tactile mechanical problems turned into almost 70 years of collecting.

Slocum’s life collection of puzzles includes gimmick drinking cups from the 10th century, an original autographed Rubik's cube, ancient Chinese ivory puzzles, and Japanese wooden puzzle boxes made by modern masters. One such puzzle box requires knowledge of astronomy; the box will only unlock when an internal compass signals that the star constellation on top has been properly aligned. In a word: invigorating!

With all the video games and rap music kids play and listen to these days, it’s easy to imagine these hands-on physics wonders disappearing, and I’m glad that one man would spend years collecting and cataloguing them. If anyone lives near Bloomington I would love to see some photos of the Lilly exhibit when it opens next week.

Posted by Johnny    Category: toys
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07.27.2006

Ice cool jewels

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Nothing has the ability to cheer me up and bring me out from the darkest recess of my gloomy thoughts more than a novelty ice cube. Happy days, now that the Cool Jewels are out. Cool Jewels are a perfect way to cool your drink from the blazing summer sun while adding a bit of glamour to your life; each "cube" is actually the shape of a giant gemstone. Guests might be slightly stunned by your almost expensive looking ice gems. The tray makes six different shaped jewels at a time.

Get them quick before the summer is over, for £4.95 or just under $10 from Firebox.

Posted by Stuart    Category: home
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07.26.2006

Look out Apple, the Walkman lives on as a mobile phone

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Sony once dominated the portable music player market, first with the Walkman in the 80s and then with the Discman in the 90s. Apple may have beat them to the punch in the mp3 market with their ubiquitous ipod, but the W710i Walkman mobile phone from Sony Ericsson looks very impressive for the next generation of devices which will combine mp3 players and phones. This quad-band GMS/EDGE phone has, of course, an mp3 player and FM radio (and the now required 2 megapixel camera with digital video recording.) Realizing that many people use portable music devices when they work out, they also included a stop watch, a timer as well as "fitness applications." The sweetest feature is the TrackID(TM) function, where you can take a snippet of a song and then send it to a music recognition service to get information about the song. Amazing.

I'm hoping that Apple in their partnership with Motorola returns with something great. Their first attempt, the ROKR E1, which basically put iTunes on a mobile phone, was frankly, a bit of a yawn.

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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07.26.2006

Let them eat (video game-inspired) cake

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I said it once, I'll say it again: "baking and gaming-- two great tastes that go great together." When I first blogged about a bride making an Xbox shaped cake for her groom, I figured that would be the only time I'd ever write about baked goods and video games in the same post. Well, I was wrong. Check out these goodies in the shapes of the original NES, old school standing cabinet arcade games, and Tetris. Fresh.

VIa Game Girl Advance

Posted by Ray    Category: toys
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07.26.2006

JBoard skateboards

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I still remember my first skateboard; well, it actually belonged to my big brother, but I took it over and used it as my own. Back in the day, a skateboard was simply a thick plank of wood with four small hard rubber wheels. And you just went at it. I certainly couldn’t do any tricks or anything with it; in fact, I could barely do anything on it, as ground surfaces were never smooth. There were always those small gravel stones that tripped you up everytime. But we had fun riding it and invented games to play on it, most of which involved riding down steep slopes and almost getting killed. But I digress.

How times have changed! JBoard is perhaps one of the more innovative skateboard designs I've seen lately. The whole look and feel has been altered. It utilizes only one front and one back wheel, so it requires more balance. But the surface has been divided into two parts to allow easier maneuverability. I even tried it at the Houseware show in Hong Kong recently, and it took a little getting used to. The JBoard comes in four colors: blue, yellow, orange or black. Though I can’t get more information from the dealer in regards to prices or availability, I’m sure that you'll see them in a store near you very soon.

For more information, if you can read Japanese, visit Aero-Tobu.Com

Posted by maggie    Category: toys
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07.25.2006

Nintendo DS Cooking Navigator

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Oh my little DS Lite, is there anything you can't do? It would appear not, as technology has reached the point where humans are no longer in control and are being told what to do. Well, being told how to cook, but still! As part of the Touch Generations line-up that we mentioned previously on Popgadget, Nintendo has released the DS Cooking Navigator in Japan. Proving that there's space for more than one Italian on the roster, this title involves a little chef, barking instructions and ingredients at you, teaching you how to cook. Voice respondent (DS: "Add the eggs!" You: "OK!"), so that the instructions will keep up with you and you won't have to put down what you're doing to read what's next. Each recipe comes with nutritional information, along with detailed photos of each step.

If you're cooking is as bad as mine, then we can only hope that the Cooking Navigator will get an international release sometime soon.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices | home
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07.25.2006

Meteorite guitar picks

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Did you know that the term meteor comes from the Greek Meteoron, which means "phenomenon in the sky?" Now you can make that into a personal experience right here on Earth in the form of a guitar pick!

A friend of mine was trying to find the perfect pick for his guitar wailing, and when I saw this, I knew it was the perfect thing for him. These guitar picks are custom made from 4.5 billion year old meteorites. Whether it will actually make your guitar playing sound better or not may be debatable, but it'll definitely create a stir and turn some heads.

Prices range from $110 - $135 USD via MeteoriteGuitarPicks.Com . You can learn more about meteorites and see other meteorite sculpture art on their site.

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories
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07.25.2006

A cellphone for Poseidon

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Last week, I got caught in some pretty horrendous thunderstorms. While getting drenched running for the subway (even with an umbrella), I was wondering exactly how wet the phone stuffed in my pants pocket could get before it died. So, although I never intend to go swimming with my cellphone, I am intrigued by the waterproof SO902iWP+ from Sony Ericsson. It even receives calls underwater and comes with an mp3 player and 1.3 megapixel camera.

Via Akihabara News

Posted by Ray    Category: devices
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07.25.2006

NFB and Kurzweil roll out pocket sized Reader to aid the blind

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I received an email from the National Federation of the Blind today, and I wanted to throw some props to the NFB and Ray Kurzweil for a job well done. Their K-NFB Reader will "read" almost any text by running snapshots through sophisticated optical character recognition (OCR) systems. By interfacing a digital camera with a PDA, the NFB team was able to combine existing text-to-speech solutions with the portability needed for mobile applications. The device is able to index captured images with thirty second voice annotation to assist in locating specific documents. Data storage is upgradable via standard SD cards, and there's even a headphone jack for discreet listening.

Stevie Wonder actually had the first Kurzweil Reading Machine produced . . . in 1978. After seeing Ray on TV, Mr. Wonder came over to the factory and begged them to make him a reading machine. The engineers managed to assemble a machine that day, and Stevie took off with it in a taxi.

It's no secret that digitizing scanners gets me very excited. Considering that OCR technology was developed in 1950 to help government code breakers scan large amounts of cyphertext, this just proves that the best uses of technology aren't always in the blueprints. A lot of nifty ideas can be discovered in the secondary discussions that come up over cocktails and cupcakes.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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07.25.2006

KicksEngine visual tool for eBay users

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I don’t know what's getting me more excited about the KicksEngine, its its clever use of eBay’s API or the fact that it makes it so extremely easy to search and bid for sneakers.

I'm afraid I might have to keep this post short and just go into sneaker heaven for a while and possibly damage my bank account irremediably with just a few clicks.

KicksEngine is a visual tool that searches the latest listings of your favorite kicks on eBay. We do the work of coming up with relevant keywords for you so you don't have to. All you have to do is click on the images to the left and the latest results will appear, simple as that.

Now let me go click and search!

Via Flytip

Posted by Camilla    Category: current affairs
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07.25.2006

Get Hitched and copy files between iPods

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Presented as a device that will transfer files between any two USB devices, the Hitch from Sima Products seems destined for primary use as a medium to copy files between iPods, if for no other reason than how it looks.

The Hitch is compliant with all copy-protection, so it will still manage licenses. It has a very intuitive interface complete with touch wheel, making it a breeze for anyone familiar with an iPod. It uses USB 2.0 technology, so transfers are zippy (an average album of 15 songs takes about 80 seconds to copy from one device to the other). Hitch’s internal battery can also charge any device, too. A fully charged Hitch can charge 2 iPods (5th generation video models).

Think of all the Hollywood spies that could have used this on the fly to swipe secrets. If nothing else, I’m sure someone will quickly figure out how to bypass the copyright protection feature.

Posted by Brian    Category: devices
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07.25.2006

World's largest plasma television from Matsushita

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In the continuous jostle to develop the world's biggest plasma television, Matsushita Electric, owner of the Panasonic brand has announced that it hopes to start selling the world's largest 103-inch plasma television by early 2007. And the statistics of this new entrant? Weighing under 475 pounds and measuring approximately 8-by-4.5 feet, this latest monster is set to beat the existing 102-inch model developed by Samsung by a mere one inch. And by way of comparison, "the panel is bigger than a double-sized mattress and almost as heavy as an upright piano." The plasma panel is capable of producing images at a high definition resolution of 1920-by-1080 pixels. Now Matsushita competitors such as LG and Samsung will have to grease up their machines and announce something even better (read "bigger") to stay in the race.

The device is slated to be launched at a price of - hold your breath - $50,000 in Japan this September. The 103-inch panels are already available for order by business users in the United States and will ship this autumn. Will the plasma market stand competition from the already hot LCD television market? Especially when LCD players are planning to conquer bigger horizons with the launch of the eighth generation LCD panels by the end of this year? Only time (and plasma addicts) can tell.

Via The Sidney Morning Herald.

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07.25.2006

Cup-a-Cake individual cupcake holder

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Magnolia Bakery in NYC is famed for its cupcakes. Some may say they're overrated, but if you're one of those who believe the hype you should get yourself one of these. The Cup-a-Cake will allow you to buy a box of those tasty treats and enjoy the leftovers at a leisurely pace, transporting a single cupcake anywhere with maximum protection (because, well cupcakes are serious stuff.) And yes, your co-workers will think you are serious (or seriously insane) when you carry your dessert darling in this airtight plastic container. But don't pay them any attention. They're just envious that their cupcakes come out of their lunchbox all sad and squashed while your icing stays perfectly untouched.

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07.24.2006

Tivoli iYiYi home entertainment system for iPods

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With looks that could kill and a name that would make you tear your hair out in frustration (I did when I tried to pronounce it), the Tivoli iYiYi is the latest entrant to the world of iPod accessories. This is a universal docking station which can interface with all iPods, including the new nano and video models. Besides offering playback and recharge for the iPod when docked, there are a few other trimmings included with this sleek device: a remote control with which you can control both the iPod as well as the iYiYi, an FM/AM radio with RDS (Radio Data System) support and 10 presets, an auxiliary input plus stereo headphone out, and a digital alarm clock.

Though the iYiYi offers no great advantages over other iPod docking stations (if you don't care for the other frills, check out the Intempo iDS which comes with 7.5 watts sonic stereo output and with sub woofers), it seems like a decent package and has a definitive edge in the looks department. Whether it manages to hold ground in the surplus iPod accessories market remains to be seen.

The iYiYi debuts at $299 this fall in two colors - pristine white and glossy black.

Via SciFi Tech.

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07.24.2006

Motorazr V3i DG bling cell phone

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After the successful launch of its Razr V3i as THE bling phone to have with eye-popping candy colors like hot pink, deep purple, silver blue, classic silver and classic black, what else can Motorola do to keep the craze going for this sleek little number? To top itself one further, Motorola has collaborated with fashion designers from Milan, Dolce and Gabbana, to come up with the uber bling phone – Motorazr V3i DG, this time in distinctive “Cha-Ching” gold color. And to ensure that people notice that your particular Razr V3i is most definitely different than all others, the phone has a large engraved DG logo emblazoned on it.

The Motorazr V3i DG offers a large internal color screen, quad-band technology and Bluetooth wireless technology. Designed for an enhanced imaging experience, this sleek handset comes complete with an integrated 1.23 megapixel digital camera with a full screen view-finder, zoom, and video capture and playback. Add cutting-edge music capabilities and you have the complete mobile multimedia package.

Pictures can be shared via email or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), or save them to the MicroSD removable memory card to print when you are back at home. But when a still image just won’t do, video capabilities promise to capture all your action-packed experiences.

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Just having the phone is not enough? Motorola has got you covered. You can purchase exclusive matching accessories separately. These include a personalized Motorola H700 Bluetooth headset, a wired stereo headset for listening to MP3 music files, or a luxury gold eel skin leather phone case.

Retail price for the Motorazr V3i DG is approximately $599 USD.

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07.24.2006

Cooking hotdogs using solar power

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If you happen to be attending Burning Man this year, be sure to pack hotdogs. The Alternative Energy Zone AEZ will have the SOLAR DEATH RAY 3000, which (despite its name) is a big reflective dish designed specifically to cook frankfurters. It may be rather large, but there's not a grill to clean when you're done.

Via Makezine

Posted by Ray    Category: design | eco
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07.24.2006

Cool looking effects pedals

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If you are a guitarist with a geeky side you might start getting overly excited about Marcelo Giangrande’s effect pedals . . . or maybe not.

Personally, I quite liked the idea of finding a sound byte named Playstation pig to demonstrate the effect of the ‘That’s Echo Folks com Pigs Tail’ pedal. Giangrade is based in Sao Paolo, Brazil, but if you're interested you can purchase his irresistible pedals on Vintage & Rare Guitars or on pedalGEEK.

Via MusicThing

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07.24.2006

Stiletto cake server

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This little mule is sure to add a little fun to your next celebration. From Chiasso, the spike cake server makes any birthday a little more interesting and maybe a little bit kinkier. Certainly not as lady-like as the set from Neiman Marcus that contains a proper heel and a matching handbag, which Kanchana wrote about last month.

Stainless steel and plastic construction. To really make things daring, use it with a cake from one of those naughty bakeries.

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07.23.2006

Xbox 360 Messenger bag

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The Xbox 360 messenger bag looks good and at first sight in appears to be quite functional as well. Unfortunately, according to this review on planetxbox360, this fashionable 360 accessory doesn’t quite cut it; while it would make a successful regular messenger bag, when it comes to fulfilling its true purpose -- namely, carrying around the Xbox 360 and all its necessary peripherals -- it doesn’t perform as well.

Should you still be interested in purchasing a true 360 fan bag, this messenger bag is available on Amazon for $50; after all, it does look quite nice.

Via Aeropause

Posted by Camilla    Category: accessories | toys
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07.23.2006

Philips Head Screw Cufflinks

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Are you one of those types who always make a mess of things? Well here's something you may actually want to screw up. These Philips Head Screw Cufflinks will not hassle you for all those little mistakes and lack of attention to petty details. They won't even care that you perpetually run late to appointments. Screw them on (though really they work like ordinary cufflinks) and all of life's little disasters won't go away, but you will look good and mighty distinctive while battling them.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.22.2006

Swiss spice

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I often find myself crying in despair over my lunch. Yes, you know the scenario: you've sat down to enjoy your freshly purchased sandwich only to find that you've forgotten to bring salt and pepper with you. Another possibility is that you've brought the salt and pepper, but it's been in your pocket all day, and the moisture from your sweating legs has seeped through the makeshift sachets you constructed from discarded envelopes. "Am I the only person that this happens to?" you ask yourself. "Yes," is what I would've thought, but apparently not, as the Swiss spice has arrived. Waterproof, humidity-proof, and robust casing mean that you'll never be without your favourite condiments again. Oh, almost forgot, the product description exclaims that the shaker "can be used single handed." Amazing. I think I'd have to experience it firsthand in order to believe that incredible feature.

Available from Firebox for £9.95 or $18.30.

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07.22.2006

Make old macs useful again

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Someone's offered another solution to the problem of what to do with your obsolete Macs. A rather inventive Mac fan has created iPod speakers using old Mac Classics and Quartos computers. Simon Clement of Arawak Art Solutions provided detailed instructions and photographs on taking apart the vintage machines, building the speakers, and putting everything together.

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07.21.2006

Apple should sell DVDs

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Attendees to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) are expecting to see new iPods and new PowerMacs, but Think Secret is reporting that Apple is quietly preparing to roll out a feature length movie store. Rumors have Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount, and Warner Bros already signed for distribution deals, and the rest of the major studios are theoretically in talks.

Apple has a history of favoring DRM to restrict usage of digital properties, and their movie implementation will likely be no different. The industry has tried a few different approaches without long term success: Movies could be rented for a specific time period, say three days, after which point they would cease to play. Another option is that the videos would be restricted based on the number of times played.

I don't think that Apple will use either one of those restrictions. Barring Front Row, those types of DRM don't fit with my jet-set digital hub Netflix lifestyle.

My bet is that Apple will move into the download-to-burn service. D2B is a rental option that lets the digital purchaser burn DVD's for playback on home theater systems. Cinema Now and Movielink, the two major players in the downloadable movie game, announced this week that they will soon allow consumers to make DVD copies of their downloaded content. That's a huge step forward for an industry that has always resisted new technology over piracy concerns.

Consumers love choice, and Apple would be uniquely positioned to offer the soundtrack, the digital copy and the burnable hard copy at the same time. One purchase could provide me with a copy for watching on my computer, a DVD to watch in the living room, and an iPod copy for when I'm on the go. I bet that the first company to sell ultimate portability is going to win the media wars.

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07.21.2006

Eupa Mini Grill

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George Foreman has nothing on this. When it comes to finding a cute and convenient "hot plate" the Eupa Mini Grill serves up tasty meals for the single gal (or guy) looking to save space in the kitchen. Promoted as just a little larger than a standard piece of paper (exact measurements: 11.7”x8.3”x3.1”) the Mini Grill seems like a great way to get things cooking when you're either too tired or too unfamiliar with food prep to make a bigger production for yourself. Perfect for that high-school aged cousin just heading off to university or that friend of yours who only eats top ramen. And best yet, the cord wraps around the base for easy storage.

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07.21.2006

I am in love with a little Armadillo

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Peter Stock quit his job to try his hand at independent game development, and nine months later he released Armadillo Run. This home grown hit that's surprised the video game industry, and made Peter a hero in the homebrew video game scene. Though weighing in at less than two megabytes this game is hands down the most gaming fun I've had since watching Ben Kuchera play Guitar hero.

Armadillo Run is a great little game that uses goal oriented Rube Goldberg contraptions to move a rolling armadillo towards a goal. The machines built in the game respond to real world physics, but professional structural engineers won't have an advantage. The scenarios involved in moving that cute little ball are just too crazy to come from a textbook. The learning process involved in building amazing machines to accomplish mechanical tasks brings a great sense of self satisfaction as trial and error teaches the relationships between space, velocity, and strength.

The amount of fun pulled from building a gigantic rubber hammer to play croquet with a rolled up armadillo is staggering. Some levels require elaborate contraptions to circumvent pre-built obstacles that block our intrepid Armadillo, while others levels have nothing in them and require a framework and propulsion systems. I've built some crazy machines using rockets and elastic and girders and sheet metal. To be honest, I feel like Macguyver every time I sit down to play.

The game is available solely from Peter's website for $20. There's a full featured demo that features a ten level tutorial, and six levels of full game play. Fair warning: Don't download the demo if you need to get work done today.

Posted by Johnny    Category: toys
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07.21.2006

MyFoodPhone : Beating your bulge is just a click away

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According to the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than two-thirds of adult Americans over age 20 are overweight and a third of these are considered obese. And this population is exactly what Sprint's latest MyFoodPhone service is all set to target.

Sprint phone subscribers in the U.S can now avail themselves of this unique service to control their diets. So where do you start? Fill out a pre-defined dietary information form on the MyFoodPhone website - this includes statistics such as blood pressure, your current weight, the carbs, proteins, fats that you consume.Then, using your camera phone, you take pictures of your meals and send them across. After analysing these details, "nutrition advisors" from MyFoodPhone will send you a personalized 90-sec video by email telling you what you are doing wrong (or right). At $10 a month for the service (plus photo transfer fees), you get video-based advice from the nutritionists every 2 weeks.

The idea is that taking photographs of the food would tweak your conscience and help you eat (and exercise) right. But what if you don't take those photos? You would be forced to at least consider the $10 a month that you are shelling out.

So go ahead and gorge on all those delicious butter cakes . . . but just remember - your camera is watching!

SciFi Tech Via Medgadget.

Posted by kanchana    Category: body
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07.21.2006

For those who eat at the computer

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For as long as I've worked on a computer, I've eaten at a computer, which means sticky keys and upset system administrators. It is a little hard to believe that it took someone this long to get this product out, but I'm glad that someone did. Korean designer, Duck Young Kong, has created a tray that sits on top of a keyboard. Being able to touch type is probably required, but everything has its price.

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07.20.2006

Sidekick III's Hip Marketing Push

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Just a day after the Sidekick III was released (it was officially released July 10, but available to Tmobile customers for a while before), celebrities, press, and regular folk were invited to a posh event at a loft in Soho — New York — for its launch. It was a major event — you know one of those red roped, guest list affairs. DJs, hosts, and bartenders wore "I Love SK3" t-shirts, while models walked around with the new Sidekick in hand. The device was also the star of the show as one resided on each floor encased in a plexiglass housing for all to view.

The loft was phenomenal — it featured a three-level roof deck. On one there was a pool so partygoers could cool off from the exceptionally humid night. Guests left with parting gifts in hand. And while many were hoping for a free device, they instead received a Tmobile Sidekick swag bag containing a t-shirt and accessories for the device, such as Bluetooth headsets and juicy couture cases. What a way to enter the market, huh?

But that's not all. The Tmobile Sidekick also has its own reality style promotion lined up. Today, the cell phone carrier is sending a production team to Tampa Bay, FL to tape "A Day in the Life of DJ Short-e," a local DJ there, to follow him throughout the day and into the evening, where he will finish up with a live performance at the Whiskey Park North. As the Sidekick III is the communication device of choice in the entertainment industry, the campaign will highlight its many uses for that particular crowd.

Posted by lynne    Category: current affairs | devices
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07.20.2006

LaCie Brick mobile hard drives

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I never understood why most techie computer equipment had to be plain boring black, or silver, or white for that matter. So I was extremely excited when I finally saw the LaCie Brick mobile hard drive in person. I know it's been out for a good 6 months, but I'd only heard about them, hadn't seen them or held them in my hot little hands.

LaCie Brick appeals to geeks and kids alike. Borrowing the design from the ultimate toy, the Lego blocks, the “2 x 2” size block comes in red, white or blue and goes from 40GB to 120GB (priced from $109.99 to $249.99). The “4 x 2” size block also comes in three colors and goes from 160GB to 500GB (priced from $99.99 up to $349.99). What’s the greatest thing about this design? Not only are these drives functional, they’re stackable as well, so you can make a robot or transformer while you’re at it!

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07.20.2006

video games break into the real world: part 1 - Tetris

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The Wooster Collective is an arts organization that supports ephemeral street art. Here is a great example of an installation done in Melbourne, Australia. This replication of a a Tetris screen was placed next to a highway to implant the idea "I'd rather be playing Tetris" to drivers.

Via Joystiq

Posted by Ray    Category: design | toys
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07.20.2006

Stainless Steel Wallet

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So one of the highest ranked movies out right now focuses on the Man of Steel. But you can be your own superhero with this Stainless Steel Wallet. Using the same steel screen used in the medical and aerospace industries, this bi-fold wallet is both durable and smart. And, unlike its leather counterpart, this wallet is resistant to salt and acid. (Designed by Theo and Paul Stewart-Stand.)

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.19.2006

Sanyo's water resistant Xacti CA6 camera

Sanyo Xacti CA6

Sanyo is gambling that what we really want is six megapixels in a water resistant package that can hold up to all kinds of rambunctious summer fun. Their Xacti CA6 is splash proof, and designed for easy one handed point and click shooting. Sanyo will always be there if you need to hang upside down underneath a waterfall to film the elusive Zambian Crazypants fruit bat. I'll be sitting next to the pool drinking Pina Coladas.

The $400 CA6 shoots 6 megapixel still photos, and does video in four qualities for maximizing storage space. The camera records to standard SD cards, and can fit one hour of high quality 640x480 MPEG video per gigabyte of storage. Bear in mind that carrying backup memory cards could get expensive if you intend to use it solely as a rugged video camera. The CA6 seems to be a suitable video camera for all those non archival videos that we shoot spur of the moment. I'd use it to film a birthday party, but not for making a documentary.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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07.19.2006

Merriam Webster USB Dictionary and Thesaurus

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As I came across this device, I was reminiscing about my school days when we kids would lug a thick, mean-looking Webster's dictionary to our English classes. And the bigger the dictionary, the more respect the proud owner would command, which in turn would set off a fierce competition among kids to refresh their dictionary supplies with many different variants, all in order to get into the good books of the professors. Perhaps I would seem like a dinosaur if I were to share the memories with the digital generation of the present. To get to the point, the device that triggered these memories is the Merriam Webster's USB-based Dictionary & Thesaurus.

The 256MB flash drive contains the Webster's digital dictionary with 300,000 words and an accompanying thesaurus with 500,000 words. A portion of the drive is also allocated for other pre-loaded software programs such as phonetic spell correction, a grammar guide and confusable function alerts - a facility by which the software will alert the user if he might have mistaken similar sounding words (e.g bore and boar).The remaining memory can be used for normal data storage - the specification doesn't say how much of the memory is left, though.

Available for $49.95 at Franklin.

Via Everything USB.

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07.19.2006

Surgial Tubing Bracelets

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With my eye always on the lookout for unusual jewelry, I naturally gravitated towards these Surgical Tubing Bracelets by Jonathan Glatt. With their mixture of unusual materials and clean lines they're the perfect compliment to contemporary ensembles, which often make more traditionally styled jewelry look prissy next to futuristic-looking laptop bags and mobile phones. Gotta love the dark bold colors too, with just enough presence and simplicity to draw attention, but not complicate things.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.19.2006

Magnifying Glass Necklace

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If you take a close look at the things around you, you'll find that they're much more complex than they first appear to be. Take for example this Magnifying Glass Necklace, which looks like a cute novelty accessor (which it is). But, in addition to being a nice necklace, the magnifying glass is fully functional and is just the right decorative touch to complement the intrepid soul who might wear it, the type of individual who always pays attention to all of life's little details.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.18.2006

Solid silver Xbox 360 by Christofle

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You see all sorts of faceplates available on the market these days that are specially designed to outfit this popular piece of machinery. After the release of some high fashion designs from Mr. Karl “High Fashion himself” Lagerfeld (reported here via Gizmodo ),

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the Xbox catwalk continues with haute couture fashion show with names like Chanel and Sonia Rykiels. Andree Putman, one of the world’s leading interior designers, has released an uber-collector version as well. Limited to only 5 in the world, this Xbox faceplate is made of silver and crafted by the very exclusive Christofle, the maker of fine silver since 1830, and will cost approximately 1000 Euros, (that’s about $1,260 USD,) and be available for viewing at the Colette boutique in Paris by the end of 2006.

Via Ming Pao Weekly, Hong Kong.

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07.18.2006

Magnetic memory is on the block

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I've left a busy seven days behind me, and I pulled a space cadet on the big news from Freescale. New forms of ultra fast computer data storage have been on the market in very limited quantities for the last couple of years. These specialty components have been little used due to the insanely high costs. Just last week Freescale announced that chip yields have been stabilzed, and the company will begin selling "magnetoresistive random-access memory" (MRAM) en masse. These chips use magnetic gates to store data, and can hold their memory in the absence of electricity. The usage would appear similar to blazingly fast Compact Flash, but the underlying technology is worlds apart.

There's an easy analogy to explain the practicalities behind chip yields and the resultant pricing. Microchips of all types are very tricky to make, and a lot of them get thrown away for manufacturing defects. It's a lot like trying to bake cookies, but burning half the batch every time. The big news is that Freescale has finally managed to develop a system that turns out a whole lotta cookies at once. Four megabyte chips are still priced at $25 so it'll be a little while before we start seeing super fast storage technology in our gadgetry.

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07.18.2006

Ride home with the MFX Classic faucet

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Slender . . . is not how I would describe this product. But perhaps it would be of great interest to you if you happen to be a motorbike enthusiast (well, make it motorbike-obsessed). This product could help you keep in touch with your bike even while you are inside your home. Well, not really. It's only a faucet that looks like a motorbike. This patented MFX classic faucet is from MFX Inc, the company which specialises in creating unusual motorbike accessories. The handles of this faucet look like - yes you guessed it right - the handles of a bike. And the body itself looks like the gas tank of a motorcycle! The surface is made of brass and chrome and comes with a five-year warranty.

What's the unique advantage of having this faucet? None. Except perhaps, if you want a distinctive bathroom which can be appreciated by your guests from the biker community. And how much do you have to shell out for accomplishing that? A whopping $699!
Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Via Home Improvement Ideas.

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07.18.2006

Programmable Plug-N-Heat Thermal Auto Mug

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Well guess what... this is so geeky it hurts. The Programmable Plug-N-Heat Thermal Auto Mug must have been made with the hardcore commuter in mind - the kind of SUV warrior who toughs it out on the highways and mean surface streets of America, waging two-hour one way battles from Suburbia to Urban Center and back. After all, why wouldn't an "ordinary" high-end travel mug like the ones made by Nissan suffice unless one must traverse hours and hours of endless traffic, putting other hot/cold beverage containers to shame? The trouble is, I'm unconvinced that integrated heating elements and an insulated interior construction powered by a car lighter is significantly better than a non-electricity guzzling counterpart. Even with the with the easy to read digital LCD display. Though at least the price is kept reasonable enough. Still, I'm wondering how somebody is supposed to wash the thing. And if you're going to spend twenty bucks on a thermos anyway, those high end mugs blogged earlier have great ratings, and as someone who personally owns one, I'd rather put my drink in there anyway.

Posted by Katherine    Category: devices
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07.17.2006

Power Station Organizer

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Let me tell you, my desk is a disaster area. I have cords, plugs, wires, you name it scattered across any available real estate. And sometimes (well actually most of the time) I lose things. So imagine how nifty the Power Station Organizer looks to someone like me. The Power Station Organizer will allow you to plug in up to three devices and provide a nice adjustable cradle for each one. Like a good power strip without the messy cords, one cable comes out to plug into the wall, keeping things neat and clean.

Now, I have more than just three devices. I'd probably need two or three of these, but just thinking about the vast improvement of order and clarity just one could provide makes me a little giddy. Come to think of it, I really should clean up my desk . . .

Posted by Katherine    Category: home
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07.17.2006

Fujitsu palm vein technology

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I read something in a newspaper yesterday: a new sports complex is being built near where I live and will be opened in the year 2010. The year 2010?!! "That's the future!" I thought to myself. Well, yes, obviously it's the future, but it sounds so futuristic. Growing up, I thought I would be zooming around with a jetpack by then. So, with the future looming, we need some futuristic technology to go with it. Enter Fujitsu's Palm Vein technology. Park your hoverbuggy in the local skyport, teleport into the mall and add items to your hypercart. To pay for your shopping, simply place your hand above the scanner. Above the scanner? Yes, grandad, this isn't your old-fashioned fingerprint recognition. Fujitsu has realised that germaphobia is at an all time high, so has therefore created a contactless palm vein scanner. Here's the process: You go into your bank where they take a scan of one of your hands. The scan reads your unique vein pattern (essentially a map of the veins in your hand), and stores it on your ATM card. Then when you go to use your card to make a purchase or take cash out, all you have to do is place your hand above the scanner. The ATM then compares its scan with the scan stored on your card. If they match then authorisation is complete. Some banks in Japan have already been equipped with this technology, and Fujitsu isn't limiting it there. Akira Kuroki, general manager of Fujitsu’s Ubiquitous Systems Group said "You could also use it to get into your house, and to access your PC or terminal". That's handy.

Read the press release here.

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07.17.2006

Power on-the-go with the Motorola P790

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If you are an existing user of Motorola phones or accessories, this one could be a true blessing. And if you are not, never mind - you could still consider this the next time you decide to buy a Moto. All because Motorola has recently announced the entry of the P790, a wireless charger that can charge your handset when you need it the most. This sleek charger does complete justice to Motorola's tradition of stylish devices and at 2.8 ounces, it is compact enough to fit into your purse with ease. What's more, it is available in 6 different colors (oh yes, pink is one of 'em too!).

The charger itself has a rechargeable 1,700mAh battery to fully power your handset twice and your Bluetooth headset more than 10 times. And you can charge the handset as well as the headset simultaneously by using a Y-cable. I would have liked it even better if this device could be used as a universal charger for other handsets as well. For now, it is compatible with Moto devices alone. So the next time your Moto dies down, just whisk out the P790 in style and jack in your device to get quickly going.

Priced affordably at $30, the device is going to be available by Q3 2006.

Via Slashphone.com

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07.17.2006

Dance dance iPod karaoke party

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The CAVS IPS-11G has an iPod dock, but it is not an accessory for the iPod. In this scenario the iPod is only an accessory for the world's greatest portable karaoke station. This rocking out machine is able to access data from 8 different iPod models, USB memory sticks, and external USB hard rives. In this scenario, the iPod is used only for raw data storage, and has almost nothing to do with the ancient art of ka-ra-o-ke.

The CAVS is able to play MPEG, AVI, MP3, and can also be used to serve slideshows using JPEG, BMP, and GIF images. The backside features two microphone ports for playback of the MCG-MP3 karaoke format. We'll need both microphones for all those dance-dance rock and roll singalong parties that we'll be throwing when I finish redecorating my living room.

This style of docking station is more of a bridge for connecting multiple types of media with a home entertainment system. This type of niche product is a nice catch-all solution for those goofy times when you need to get a movie from a thumb drive to a television. There's no information on availability or pricing, but expect to see it on shelves within the next six months.

Via those nice kids at Podcasting News!

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07.17.2006

Bobbi Brown Beauty Bar

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A girl has got to have her chocolate once in awhile. Apparently I’m not the only one who feel this way. Bobbi Brown, the makeup artist who founded her cosmetic company with just 10 lipsticks many moons ago, feels the same way. Inspired by decadent bars of chocolate, her new Fall look is all about chocolate. In addition to wearing the color, she collaborated with Vosges Haute-Chocolat on a limited edition chocolate bar, blending antioxidant-rich Japanese macha green tea with dark milk chocolate. A perfect combination because it tastes delicious, makes you happy, and could be good for your health!

Each bar is $6.00 USD. Available at Vosges Boutiques , selected Neiman Marcus locations, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics .

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07.16.2006

Rubber Redux

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Recycling with an edge... Those are the words that come to mind when I look at Elizabeth Hake's Rubber Redux bracelets. Made out of recycled rubber (and in one case, sterling silver) these accessories find glamour in the discarded and cast-off. Who knew tire treads could be trendy? And like many other accessories blogged here, you'll find the mix of tough-girl cool and clean lines a fetching accompaniment to your digerati wardrobe.

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07.16.2006

Egg Whiskey Timer

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Who needs digital, when analog looks sooo cute? This Egg Whiskey Timer holds three minutes of sand, allowing you to clock time the old fashioned way, with a decidedly twee twist. When all the sand is gone, just flip it over for another countdown. Just remember to keep your eye on the time. With no buzzer included this timer requires your careful attention, which limits its usefulness, for sure.

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07.16.2006

Video games break into the real world: Part 2 - Space Invaders

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People become pixels as Guillaume Reymond brings the phenomenon of video game journeys into real life to a whole new level. He has created an amazing video of Space Invaders using stop motion animation, with some extremely patient people sitting in an auditorium. This particular example of how some video games have established an iconic presence over time, reflecting back on other parts of our culture, is a real treat to watch.

Via Joystiq

Posted by Ray    Category: design | toys
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07.15.2006

Swapsets headphones-cum-headband

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For most of us who use headphones while commuting, jogging or otherwise, it generally seems like a hard task to look stylish and wear headphones at the same time. But what if you could do both? Take a look at Swapsets, an interesting new line of headbands for women by designer Steffi Thomas.

Featured on the ZDNet review “Wild for women’s gadgets,” this headband helps you dress it up by functioning as a headband-cum-headphones-cum-headset. Whew! Seems like a pretty ingenious idea and the product itself looks too adorable to resist. The headset is optional and so are Dangles, which can be attached to the bottom of the headband to look like earrings.

Create your own look by blending the different styles, colors and fabrics available for each of the individual items on the Swapsites site. Or if you are too lazy to do that and yet want a complete look, buy one of the pre-designed packages containing all the items at a starting price of $60.

Techwear via ZDNet.

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07.15.2006

Nail Bangle

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For ladies who like their DIY this Nail Bangle bracelet seems like a fitting gift. Made of sterling silver and fashioned by Connie Verrusio, this accessory could be used to add a bit of edge to otherwise dressy attire or provide a bit of adornment to your everyday tough girl uniform. Dressed up or down you'll look fabulous.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.14.2006

Webcams and telescopes!

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My girlfriend has a lovely view from her apartment. Eleven stories up in the Central West End I can see the St Louis Art Museum and Washington University's Hilltop campus. A few months ago I tried to rig up an elaborate webcam system so we could share the view from her windows with the world, but I failed miserably. Most webcams just don't have the optics needed for long range viewing, but I think that we may have finally found a solution.

Sometimes the best computer products are those sold with no manufacturer's name attached. This morning Brando announced a white boxed USB webcam with tripod, but the kicker is that it comes with a separate 7x18 optical telescope! The auxiliary optics snap onto the front of the camera for a little assistance with those long range stakeouts. The SVGA 800 by 600 resolution won't be winning any awards for breakthrough technical achievements, but if you're in need of a long range USB surveillance then this $26 one trick pony is worth picking up.

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07.14.2006

Felt iJackets by SURA

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I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for bright colored items. But I’m even more of a sucker for items that are made of felt material. It just reminds me so much of childhood when I spent hours using felt material to create pictures, or played costume changes for some cut-out figures that were made from the same material.

So when I saw the display booth from SURA Ltd at The 2006 Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys , I lingered there for so long that I thought they might call for security and have me arrested for lurking and stalking.

SURA Limited has a whole line of attractive and well made stationary and gift items. Amongst sleek looking telephone straps, photo frames and business cards holders, there laid these candy looking iJackets for iPod and iPod Nano that tugged at my heartstrings. They come in all sorts of color combinations that make you want to keep them all. In addition to the iJackets, there are all different sizes and colors of storage bags for your cables and drives or whatever else you want to store.


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The When? Desk Top Calendar is another fun item to brighten up your boring workday. The date sticks up prominently atop the calendar so it’s visible from afar. Also check the piglet Jojoju line of products.

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07.14.2006

Kiss Digital Player

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I have seen this on the streets of Hong Kong before, but somehow forgotten to write about it, so I was pleased to have run into it again at The 2006 Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys .

The KS 2000 is a very basic MP3 player that comes in either 512MB or 1GB. Weighing only 24g, it’s a little nothingness around your neck, but plays FM radio and does voice recording as well. Utilizing USB 2.0 interface, it supports both PCs and Mac systems. There are plenty of other players on the market that offer more features, but this one has the unique resemblance to a bean (well, looks like it to me anyway). It's smooth and feels nice in your hands, and has a mirror finish display like one of those NW series players from Sony , only it's smaller.

I believe the 512MB retails at approximately $600 HKD, and the 1GB retails at around $900 HKD on the streets.

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07.14.2006

More from the Hong Kong Houseware and Toy Show: Box Massager

Amongst the many fun and new items on display at this recent show were plenty of items that would make you scratch your head and go “What in the world...?” One odd product is this Box Massager iin the shape and form of a pack of cigarettes. There's even the tip of a cigarette showing to give you a sense of realism.

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Now, I’m not sure how soothing it would be for most people to have a box of cigs massaging their body, but I can think of at least one group of people who would enjoy this sensation: those trying to quit smoking. Quitting smoking must be very difficult, so maybe it would be comforting to know that you can still have the pack in hand and enjoy a massage with it, without the temptation of actually smoking it.

Continue reading "More from the Hong Kong Houseware and Toy Show: Box Massager"

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories | body | devices | toys
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07.14.2006

Photo Tote

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Theoretically an accessory like this could be really cool. In reality however, it falls a little short. These
Photo Totes
allow you to display up to three photos on the surface of your bag, but tend to come in styles befitting either the very old, or very young. Made out of polyester and PVC, it's the kind of thing you might get as a gift, feel bad about taking back, and end up using as a container to hold sewing notions. But, perhaps if the company that makes these were to streamline their shapes and market these items to the craft/customization set, they may have a product that may work. I can just see it now: groups of little girls at a party beading and bejewelling their own photo tote.

Posted by Katherine    Category: accessories
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07.13.2006

The Internet is watching you

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Michelle Kessler and Byron Acohido at USA Today have done a fantastic job providing a layman's walkthrough of the current state of consumer data mining. Their article covers both online and offline collection methods to show just how companies get your information, and what they're doing with it. The ultimate value of this data collection is to identify selected subgroups of the population and to hit them with advertisements for products at the time when they are most likely to make a purchase.

A friend of mine was recently approached by a marketing firm and offered close to $50,000 a month for access to his website logs. The company wanted his site statistics for testing of systems that track and record website usage data. In other words: This marketing company tracks what websites you visit and what you do while visiting. New tools are making these data collection efforts easier everyday. The internet is no longer anonymous, but many websites would like you to pretend that it is.

To be honest, there isn't too much to learn about me.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs
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07.13.2006

CR_S_W_RD P__ZL_

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Currently in theaters, Wordplay is a documentary on crossword puzzles and the annual tournament of the nation's best puzzle solvers. If you get inspired to improve your skills, check out the New York TImes Deluxe Touch Screen Crossword Puzzle by Excalibur Electronics. This handheld device comes with 1,000 puzzles of varying difficulty and removes all excuses for not practicing for next year's tournament.

Posted by Ray    Category: current affairs | toys
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07.13.2006

Sony 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo

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Have you ever wondered what size your brain is in gigabytes? No? I reckon mine is about 2GB. I have a basic operating system on there, a single language pack, and a few blurry, low quality movies stored away. I was perfectly happy with my 2GB head until today, when Sony decided to announce their new 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo. That's 3000 photos at a 5 megapixel resolution. Much more than my tiny mind can handle!

The 4GB Memory Stick will be launched this summer, selling for €170.

Posted by Stuart    Category: accessories | devices
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07.13.2006

Clean/Dirty Bag

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Dirty or clean? Clean or dirty? Do you ever have trouble trying to tell the difference? Well for those times go ahead and grab a Clean/Dirty Bag. Perfect for travel or any occasion when your worn and unworn items might get mixed up. Just stash all the fresh undies in the "wear me" section, and after wearing transfer them to "wash me." Easy breezy. Now if only doing the laundry was this simple.

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07.12.2006

Robotic smells are almost here

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Long distance smelling has always been a joke in the scientific world, but Japanese scientists have developed machinery that can analyze odors with fifteen electronic noses and break them down into the elemental compounds on which the smell is based. Once a basic profile for a scent has been created then it may be immediately duplicated or saved for future playback. Essentially, we're dealing with the first olfactory VCR.

Playback is a bit more difficult. Using a series of ninety-six separate ingredients the smell formulas are remixed, and a vaporizer diffuses the scent with the air. The distribution principle is similar to a perfume atomizer, but much more technically sexy.

The technology has far reaching consequences for the internet and entertainment media. "What scent were Megan and Sally wearing in that vampire fight scene?" or maybe "Emily and I were looking at the Cadillac webpage, and their new cars just smell so good!" I know that it seems strange, but there really are no limits to the marketing tie-ins that could result from this. Perfume, soap, and shampoo would practically sell themselves, and Madison Avenue would have to hire a lot more scientists.

Sadly, it will be a long time before this type of technology can be slipped into a magazine, or embedded into a monitor. The sensors and remixing station take up almost a square meter, and I’m guessing at ten years before we can shrink the system down to a portable size.

Special thanks to Daniel Ashbrook for his picture of a pretty flower.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs | devices
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07.12.2006

inVoca 4-in-1 Voice Operated Remote Control

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You know that Desperate Housewives is on a minute from now and you can see the remote control right in front of you. But you are rustling up dinner with dough smattered all over your hands. That might rule out grabbing the remote - for most of us at least. Then what do you do? Shout for help? Press the remote with your elbows? Hobson’s choice?

What if you could just speak the words “Channel 4” and the television would light up at just the right time? You can do just that with the inVoca voice-operated remote control.

This remote has voice recognition that accepts more than 54 language and accent independent voice commands and can control upt o four devices - TV, VCR/DVD, Cable/DSS, AUX. It runs on 4 AA batteries and you can train it to store up to four different user profiles with favorites and channel scanning. What’s more, the setup information is stored within non-volatile memory, which means it is retained even if you take out the batteries. Though this remote is primarily designed for individuals with mobility disabilities, the potential applications of voice-enabled electronics are enormous.

Available for around $45 from SmartHomeUSA.com.

Posted by kanchana    Category: devices | home
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07.12.2006

Wooden memory sticks

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Ok, this is getting ridiculous. USB memory sticks seem to be entering a world of one-up-man-ship when it comes to design. We've already had USB sushi, but this time Dutch company Ooms has taken the literal meaning of "stick," and created a USB drive that is exactly that, a genuine wooden stick. According to Ooms, "The sticks are picked from the woods and are manually selected on their natural beauty."

The sticks come in three sizes with relative pricing; 256MB (€45), 512MB (€60) and 1GB (€70).

What's next in the battle of memory stick design? My suggestions: the USB "Memory Mug" - "Have a data drink, backup your files while enjoying a hot cup of coffee", or the "Flash Cap" - "Wherever I lay my hat (that's my homepage)"

Go to Oooms for the memory sticks, or if you're a company wanting to manufacture my incredible ideas, use our contact page.

Via Uncrate.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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07.12.2006

Tyvek Wallet

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In an age of technology it makes sense that you can stash your cash in a
Tyvek wallet
. Traditionally used in clean room garments and as envelopes for the U.S. Postal Service, Tyvek is difficult to tear and very durable. And, despite the seeming flimsiness of this accessory, it's actually quite strong. So when you tire of your duct tape wallet go ahead and take a walk on the light side. Just don't make the mistake of dropping it in the mail.

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07.12.2006

What's in a name

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Naming your child is always tricky. iVillage hosts a great site called Baby Naming Wizard: Name Voyager to help parents select names. Using data from the Social Security Administration, this java weblet graphs the top 1,000 names that were registered with Social Security in the US from the 1880s up to today. Using an elegant interface, you can enter any name and see how its popularity changed over time, which makes it an interesting sociological tool as well. For instance, Elvira has seen a major drop off after the 1910s and dropped off the charts by the 1980s, as Ashton had a hugh spike from 2000 - 2003. These phenomenon might correlate with the tabloids' coverage of one Mr. Kutcher along with the rise of a first name only B-list celebrity in Gothic clothing. Check out chapter 6 of Freakonomics to read about a theory on how names disseminate across our culture over time.

Thanks Burns (whose name does not appear in any decade).

Posted by Ray    Category: current affairs
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07.11.2006

SpotScout Online will find you a parking space

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Driving around in search of a parking space is never fun, but a new company is set to launch a parking spot locator service this fall. SpotScout is betting on a couple of new ideas to connect drivers through their cellphones.

The basic premise is that those with parking spaces will broadcast their willingness to vacate the spot, and drivers will schedule a time to take over the space. The new driver winds up paying a finder's-fee premium, and the original occupant of the parking space gets a small payment for his thoughtfulness. All the transactions are taken care of through SpotScout's network, and the company pulls a percentage each time the money changes hands.

Many commercial garages have already jumped on board, and the company is working with automakers to integrate the new service with onboard navigational systems. Wired's coverage reports over 800,000 users are already signed up, and the initial service offering is slated to begin with New York, Boston, and San Francisco.

Picked up from TechWeb @ Yahoo.

Posted by Johnny    Category: cars
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07.11.2006

3.2 megapixel hello - The Samsung a990

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Samsung and Verizon Wireless have beat the rest of the mobile device makers to the punch by rolling out a cell phone with a 3.2 mega pixel digital camera crammed inside. The Samsung a990 has become the highest resolution camera phone available in the American market. The a990 is a full out multimedia experience offering a high resolution auto focus camera, MP3 playback, a video recorder, and full mobile web access.

Nicely enough, the phone is equipped with Bluetooth for headsets and data link, but the phone also supports printing stored photos directly to a Bluetooth enabled printer. Extra data storage is available via microSD and TransFlash memory cards. My favorite new Samsung default feature is a translational text mode for business cards. Just shoot a photo of a business card and the phone's software is able to interpret the text to automatically add a new entry to the phone's contact list.

Verizon definitely has the right idea. The company has also been making a push to educate consumers on their VZ Navigator system that uses GPS chips in the phone to provide real-time driving directions. Seeing as how a single device is now able to provide a telephone, a high quality camera, mp3's, web access, and driving directions, there may not be many other devices that I need to buy. Mark my words: the company that is able to reduce the number of devices I carry to exactly one will be the winner of the technology wars.

Thanks to Mobile Review for defining the Business Card mode, and thanks to Mobiledia for the pictures.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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07.11.2006

More from the Hong Kong Houseware & Toys Show: Silicone USB bracelet

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Another silicone item I came across at the recent Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys last week, is the silicone USB bracelet.

Now, I’ve seen similar items in the past, but none with such pretty colors and softness that you could almost wear them as a fashion statement. You know, like one of those charity bracelets that a lot of people were wearing, but this one is actually functional.

The storage capacity runs from 128MB all the way up to 2 GB. It's very portable and light weight, no driver needed, with easy data storage and exchange. The USB uses 1.1 and 2.0 interfaces.

These exhibitors are manufacturers so they couldn’t really tell me where these items are available in the retail space, but try your local computer stores like Fry’s, or via eBay.

Posted by maggie    Category: accessories
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07.11.2006

Meet Roebling, the Brooklyn bunny

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When Kevin Dresser and Kate Johnson are not busy with their Brooklyn-based design firm Dresser Johnson, they run the website Brookyln Bunny, which is dedicated to their rabbit Roebling. They set up a couple of webcams to track the daily adventures of their Dwarf Hotot rabbit, who was named after the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Life seems pretty sweet for a rabbit owned by designers. He eats out of Jonathan Adler bowls, and hops on Interface Flor modular carpet. He even has a great logo, which is available on t-shirts. The site has links to information on everything from rabbits to animal rights organizations to art. The truly dedicated fans of Roebling can go to his myspace page and become his friend.

Posted by Ray    Category: pets
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07.11.2006

Nomad Travel Silverware

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Do you ever have to eat and run? Well if you've ever found yourself with a meal on the go and no utensils you may want to pick up a nomad travel silverware set. With a knife, fork, spoon, and bottle opener folded into a neat compact, you can enjoy civilized dining just about anywhere. And with a 34" nylon strap to keep everything together you can rest assured that your mini-cutlery doesn't go anywhere without you.

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07.10.2006

More from the Hong Kong Houseware & Toys Show: Silicone Cookware

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As I was cruising the aisles of The 2006 Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys that was held last week, I noticed that there were a lot of products made of silicone material.

Among the larger exhibitors at the show were the folks from Silicone Zone. In addition to looking scrumptiously tempting even without any food in them, their products feel really nice and soft when handled. Easy to use, the silicone cookware can go from temperature extremes of -58 F up to 428F, from freezer to oven. They also claim to use a unique high gloss finish that creates a non-porous, non-stick surface that will not retain odors or flavors, while promoting even heat distribution and quick cooling.

There’s even a short video demo on their site to show you how easy it is to use their line of product.

With such attractive designs and colors, even I will be tempted to pretend to cook just to have an excuse to have some of these fun toys as decorations and to brighten up my dull looking kitchen.

Posted by maggie    Category: home
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07.10.2006

Roll your own gourmet ice cream

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I quit smoking one hundred and seventy days ago, and I've discovered that ice cream is a suitable substitute for nicotine. While reading Gourmet magazine today I discovered a company that combined my two favorite things: technology and dessert. By combining the magic of frozen cream with the power of the internet, Chicago based Ecreamery lets me point and click custom flavor concoctions in a web browser.

The process starts by selecting one of three milk fat ratios: 8% Gelato Mix, 12% Classic Mix, and 14% Super Premium. Higher milk fat percentages produce denser ice creams with creamier consistencies. Ecreamery offers seventy-seven base flavors, and by matching two flavors with two mixed-in toppings the variety and choice is almost beyond comprehension. I've never tried dill weed or chocolate merlot as an ice cream, but I'm tempted to give it a shot.

Shipping options are limited to only two sizes: four pints or four quarts. Those cute cartons do not come cheap. $100 per gallon doesn’t include the cost of dry ice packing and two day shipping, but that’s the cost of a cutting edge ice cream addiction.

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07.10.2006

Auto-stir coffee mug

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Here comes a device that could eliminate the need to churn in sugar and cream to your coffee. Or tea. Or chocolate. Or, as the official description claims “the traditional challenge of adequately mixing honey in a hot drink”. Curious? It is a nifty Self Stirring Mug with a miniature battery-operated propeller at the bottom. The propeller spins at 3000rpm, effectively churning the beverage within the cup. It is activated by a tiny button on the handle and runs on 2 AA batteries. The package includes a lid that prevents the liquid from spilling over while it is being churned.

Available at $30 for two mugs at Hammacher Schlemmer. I would find much use of the mug at work for my absolutely vital afternoon cuppa. Now, if only it could also re-heat the beverage within, I would have been one happy customer.

Via The Green Head.

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07.10.2006

Star Wars spuds

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So while you're out living la vida yoda and trying to decide between being the chosen one or darth vader go ahead and keep yourself occupied with these Star Wars Mr. Potato Heads. In a mashup between your favorite old skool toy and sci-fi movie classic there's the Darth potato, a Storm Trooper, and good old R2D2, making endless fun or geeky hilarity, depending on how you look at it.

Posted by Katherine    Category: toys
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07. 9.2006

3-Way Travel Bag

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We've posted about the Transformer Bag, but here's another customizable pouch-laden carry-all for your consideration. The 3-Way Travel Bag by Karine Dupont advertises at least ten different configurations as you clip and clasp your way to the exact combination your heart desires. Made of nylon and natural leather, it'll help you travel in comfort and style.

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07. 9.2006

USB aquarium

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Seems like the list of non-computer related devices powered by USB is growing every day. Now add to it an aquarium, available from Think Geek.

This underwater marvel contains two lifelike fish, a small motor to create lots of waves and a blue LED to illuminate the tank – Just add water and plug it in to a USB hub and voila… instant desktop fun!

No filters, no food, no cleaning. A perfect e-pet!

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07. 8.2006

From the Hong Kong Houseware & Toys Show: Kiss-Me Meter

The 2006 Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware & Toys was held this past week here in Hong Kong, and yours truly was the Popgadget representative at the show, doing the glamorous work of cruising the aisles, with eyes like a hawk, looking out for that very special new and fun item to bring to your attention.

Well, folks, there sure is a lot of junk at a show like this. Most of the items are completely useless to most of us, but once in awhile, you see something interesting.

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We all have one of those nights (or mornings) when you know you shouldn’t have agreed to that last glass of bubbly, but being the social animal that you are, you couldn’t say no. So you find yourself behind the wheel heading home, and you think to yourself, “Even though I feel okay, and I still look Fabulous despite the fact that it’s 4 am, if I somehow get pulled over now, how much trouble will I be in?” The Kiss-Me Meter could be your savior. Not only is it easy to use, it’s extremely portable as well. You can even attach the little detector on your cell phone. All you have to do is follow the LED indicator to a complete heart shape to better breath. In addition to detecting alcohol on your breath, it’s good for personal bad breath detecting as well. Your local police force, kissing cousins, and co-workers will thank you.

The Kiss-Me Meter will soon be available at a store near you, if it's not there already.

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07. 8.2006

Fruit Loofah

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Get your daily serving of fruit with these super cute fruit loofahs. Sold in a set of four, you'll be sure to get plenty of anti-oxidants as well as ample exfoliation. Perfect for yourself or as accents in a gift. Let the fruit times roll.

Posted by Katherine    Category: body
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07. 7.2006

Dolphin & Whale G-Shock and Baby-G watches

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Casio has just announced the latest models in its 'G' line of watches. This time the focus is on environmental protection, with part of the proceeds from the Dolphin & Whale Eco-Research Network watch going to support research into how dolphins and whales live. The watch itself also leans toward helping the environment by being solar-powered. "What if it's dark, and I need to know the time?" I hear you ask. Well, you're out of luck, I'm afraid. Casio states that the display "shuts off after a certain period in a dark location." Oh well, if you get caught out in the dark then don't get down. Just think of the happy little dolphin scientist you've helped out!

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices | wearables
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07. 7.2006

They said it couldn't be done

For a long time, computer scientist didn't believe it was possible to generate 3-D models from a 2-D image source. Some very bright people out of Carnegie Mellon University have been making some very impressive progress in the area. By identifying objects and regions image (such as the sky, the ground, cars or people) as reference points, their < a href="http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dhoiem/projects/popup/index.html">software is able to extrapolate a 3-D model. Their results speak for themselves.

Via Techeblog and HipTechBlog

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07. 7.2006

iGo Pitch Duo projects your PDA

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The Pitch Duo is essentially a signal converter - it takes input from a handheld device and outputs a VGA compatible signal for a monitor or video projector. Connectivity options include hardwire, Bluetooth, and a standalone mode for accessing PowerPoint files without the handheld. The ultimate goal is to allow the traveling salesman to leave the laptop at home to make presentations directly from a PDA.

The Pitch Duo contains a Pentium class processor to provide the graphical muscle needed for slide transitions, but if you're looking for the full razzle-dazzle presentation experience then you'll have to keep lugging around a laptop. According to the user manual: "The Pitch Duo PowerPoint solution does NOT support animation features, embedded audio, embedded MPEG, live motion video, or bullet-building." Though the processor has the necessary power to throw an image on a screen it does not have enough juice to display video. Disappointing, but this device is only made for those that have to travel ultra light. If you're a hardcore road warrior who would benefit from carrying one less device there's an older review over at Pocket Now.

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07. 7.2006

Stylish vacuum: the Dirt Devil Kone

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Designed by famed artist Karim Rashid, the Kone portable, rechargeable vacuum from Dirt Devil brings style to your chores.

This is the vacuum you’ll want to leave out for everyone to see. The original white version gives off a soft glow when the handheld is placed in the charging base. Also comes in five other stylish colors: champagne, charcoal, blue steel, light pink, and plum.

Like the original Dirt Devil, the Kone has a permanent, washable filter basket so there are no bags to replace and keeps the unsightly cord out of sight.

Alas, the accessories do not include someone to do the vacuuming for you, but at least you can look cool doing it yourself.

Posted by Brian    Category: home
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07. 6.2006

Benjamin Moore's Pocket Palette

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One issue that has always given me trouble when designing new interiors is color matching. I've been considering buying a book of color sheets to always have a paint reference on hand at home, but the fancypants art scientists at Benjamin Moore Paints have saved me the trouble.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present the keychain sized spectrophotometer! The Pocket Palette Device can take readings from any type of material around the house, and will examine the color to report the closest match available in Benjamin Moore's paint catalog. Fabric, ceramic, walls, clothes, fruit bowls and puppy dogs can now be scanned to work your decorating into that perfect little bit of feng shui.

Most in store color computers require a one inch square sample chip to make color matches. Instead of worrying about damaging a wall to get the proper sample size the scan can now be taken directly from the wall and the numbers phoned in to the paint shop. The Pocket Palette is auto calibrating, can store twenty recorded samples at a time, and retails for $300.

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07. 6.2006

Sony Micro Vault Tiny

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Nope, this isn't a photo of Miss A. Giant, from Largeton, typing on Apple's new Massive Book Pro. This is in fact Sony's new USB storage drive. The Micro Vault Tiny holds an astonishing 2GB of data using flash memory, despite being only 1.5g in weight and 2.4mm thin. Not only that, the drive comes in four colours, each with its own carrying case.

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Sony didn't give a price with the press release, which in my mind can only mean one thing - expensive!

Update: Sony provided the following pricing information following the publication of this post...

256MB – $29.99 (USD) ORANGE
512MB – $49.99 (USD) VIOLET
1GB – $79.99 (USD) BLUE
2GB – $109.99 (USD) GREEN

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07. 6.2006

Samsung New Vision NV7 OPS

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Samsung has announced the NV7 OPS 7.2 megapixel camera as the mid-range entry for the New Vision line of luxury cameras the company is currently rolling out. The $450 NV7 is a solid point and shoot device that boasts 7x Schneider optical zoom, a 2.5” LCD, two separate types of image stabilization systems, and 30 frame-per-second video in VGA (640x480) mode. The image stabilization technology applies to both still and video modes, and the black stainless steel case should hold up to plenty of knockin’ around. Digital stabilization is very important when you’re holding a camera that’s less than an inch thick.

The NV7 features all of the usual camera preset modes for indoor, outdoor, low light, macro; but it does include a unique feature that I’ve been dreaming of. Shoot anything from books to t-shirts and the NV7 is able to provide an editable text file with some handy bundled text recognition software. This might sound like just another digital gimmick, but I do this kind of thing all the time by hand. It’ll be fantastic to have some software to automate the process. Samsung has offered this text mode on several other cameras in the past, but the newest version won’t be on shelves until this fall.

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07. 6.2006

Pen down stains with Tide to Go instant stain remover

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Imagine you are just about to attend that meeting with an important client and by sheer bad luck you spill coffee on the flawless white shirt that you so carefully chose for the big moment. I have been in this situation numerous times, so imagine my delight when I bumped into this handy tool - the Tide to go instant stain remover, housed in a easy-to-use pen-shaped roll-on that you can rub on fresh stains to remove them instantly.

This one is quite handy - you can slip the pack into your wallet to use while you are on the move. Definitely a must-buy if you are an all-thumbs person like me.

The 6 pack is available for $17.34 at Amazon.

Via Her Accessories.

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07. 5.2006

Mercedes Benz to get Smart in the US

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Maggie earlier wrote about the smart car, and here’s an update. For those of you who've been waiting to buy a smart fortwo in the US, the wait will draw to a close in 2008. Yes, it is official! After the long period of speculation, and lots of hearsay about the Mercedes Benz smart car hitting the US markets, the official confirmation is finally out. The latest Benz smart fortwo line will be finally unveiled in the United States in the first quarter of 2008.

In their official press release, the company announced the successor to their smart fortwo - the new smart fortwo. The new smart car will be available in three models which are as yet unlisted. While the low fuel consumption and sleek looks of the existing smart fortwo have already triumphed in the European market, the success of the much awaited new smart fortwo on the American shores is yet to be seen. This time around, Daimler Chrysler has chosen the Michigan–based UnitedAuto Group to be their exclusive distributors. The U.S.A., as the world’s largest automotive market, will be the 37th market for smart.

Personally for me, owning a smart car has advantages that far outweigh its drawbacks. One of the major factors that go in its favour are its better-than-average fuel efficiency - invaluable in the face of rising gasoline prices. The other one is the added oomph factor which comes with zipping through clogged traffic with ease, though I will no longer have the luxury of bundling in my entire family (of 6 people at any given time) into the car to witness my driving prowess.

In all, a package that I would love to be seen in. You can view some of their impressive demos online. Our image is courtesy of the Unofficial Mercedes Benz weblog which has more “spy photographs” of the as yet unreleased smart fortwo.

More links : Casanova Cars, Behind the curtains

Posted by kanchana    Category: cars | current affairs
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07. 5.2006

DS Lite cotton covers

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My DS Lite is fairly grubby already. It might be to do with the fact that I don't stop playing it during mealtimes. Oh, or going to the bathroom. I should probably get one of these lovely Japanese cotton covers to at least prevent any visible dirt. Gametech produce hand-stitched cotton covers specifically for the DS Lite, using the finest hand-dyed cotton from the Nagano prefecture. The covers also have a cool little elasticated strap just like a notebook to keep it all together. Only available in Japan at the moment, the covers sell for 3,980 Yen, which is about $35 or £19. See more designs at Game Watch.

Via Jean Snow

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07. 5.2006

Put the cord back on your teen’s phone

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As the number of teens with cell phones continues to rise dramatically, so do the bills that Mom and Dad have to pay, since the accounts are in their names. Parents are concerned not just over the cost of passing out mobile phones to all the kids, but there’s also concern over who their offspring might be talking to.

Sprint and Sanyo have teamed up to offer a phone and service that allows parental control over whom their kids can call and who calls them. They simply enter all the ‘allowed’ numbers in the phone’s contact list and then lock out any changes. Only those numbers on the list can call in or be called. Advanced features that cost extra money, like online services and ringtones can also be controlled.

The Sanyo SCP-2400 phone (pictured above) comes with teen-friendly features and is available in five different colors.

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07. 5.2006

Patient monitoring with Columba telephone bracelet

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It is estimated that nearly 850,000 patients are managing their lives with Alzheimer's in France, with 165,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Perhaps of some solace is the fact that technology is trying to keep pace with this dreaded disease that affects millions of elderly all over the world.

Medical Mobile and Orange have developed the Columba telephone bracelet for the French market to help monitor Alzheimer patients. This product integrates mobile phone and geographic location technology in a watch-sized device that a patient can wear on the wrist. When an Alzheimer’s patient wearing the bracelet leaves the precincts of a familiar area, an alarm is signalled to the family members or caregivers. A medical call-center can then ascertain the exact location of the patient via the bracelet’s GPS assisted geolocalisation system. The bracelet also has loudspeaker and hands-free functions to help the attendants to directly communicate with the patient.

More information available at medicalmobile.com and medicalintelligence.ca.

Via Techwear Weblog.

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07. 4.2006

Apple Imagination contest winners announced

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Have you seen the Apple Imagination contest yet? It's totally rad, and one of the better marketing promotions I've seen this in the last couple of months. Apple Discounts sponsored a contest for those creative type Macintosh users who like to mock up the products they would buy if offered. These concept models are common pseudo-proofs that fly around rumor sites between Apple's product releases, and occasionally they turn out to be an accurate glimpse into what the great white giant is thinking.

At the very least these types of exercises are an accurate picture of what the community wants to see in future products. As can be expected, the contest submissions include tablet Macs and iPhones and updated iPods in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

The judges rated the submissions on originality, creative presentation and "desirability" to pick a grand prize winner of a Tivo-esque home appliance that doubles as an all-in-one wireless media serving platform. David Randall's iVault is definitely an interesting idea for a product, and more importantly the demand is there. Not surprisingly, residential data vaults and central media centers are already making an appearance as an amenity on new construction luxury homes.

Posted by Johnny    Category: current affairs | design
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07. 4.2006

Miss Army Knife

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So we’ve seen the Swiss Army knives that have tools specific to fishing, watchmaking, golfing, even mountain biking and snowboarding, but what about one for the ladies?

The Miss Army Knife is the all-in-one pocket tool for the girl-on-the-go. Encased in a pink (as opposed to the classic red) case, the Miss Army features flashlight, keychain, needle & thread, safety pin, corkscrew, mirror, pen, tweezers, perfume bottle, bottle opener, screwdriver, scissors, knife, ruler, nail file, and pill box.

Keep the Miss ‘A’ in your bag and be Semper Paratus.

Posted by Brian    Category: accessories
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07. 3.2006

Nokia “L’Amour Collection” 7380

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Imagine you're Maggie Q in MI: III, wearing a tight fitting red dress, looking gorgeous, slithering away in the grand ballroom, a secret agent in an extremely dangerous covert operation, deep, deep (did I mention deep?), undercover. Outwardly calm and collected, there’s only one extremely important, do-or-die question on your mind: Where in the world will I put all my communication and spying devices?

Fear not, agent 99, special agent Nokia 7380 comes to the rescue. It is perhaps the most non-communication looking device out there on the market. First of all, there aren’t any buttons like a conventional telephone. Secondly, there’s not even a regular looking screen on there. Lastly, if your boyfriend, or bf wannabe tells you that size doesn’t matter, you should be suspicious, but if agent Nokia 7380 tells you that, it’s the truth.

Agent Nokia 7380 measures merely 114mm x 30mm x 20mm, weighing only 80g, but boy oh boy, can it perform for you. It utilizes a unique but very intuitive rotation scroll wheel in place of a regular keypad. It comes with a 2.0 megapixel camera for those incriminating photos that you want to take. It’s even equipped with a video recorder/player. Of course, there’s the standard MP3 player and FM radio, plus multimedia messaging, Bluetooth, and OTA (Over The Air) remote synchronization as well.

Elegantly designed with sensual leather-inspired materials, complemented with etched metal and quicksilver surfaces, you can pull the classic ploy of “checking your lipstick” while in fact reporting to Headquarters.

Retail list price is $4,388 HKD, that’s approximately $560 USD, a small price to pay for looking covertly glamorous.

Posted by maggie    Category: devices
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07. 3.2006

Keep your cool while surfing the net

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Not just your ordinary mouse, the Nyko AirFlo mouse has a fan integrated into it that gently blows air through specially-designed ‘pores’ on the outer surface to keep your hand cool.

Perfect for intense gaming sessions or fast-approaching deadlines that are cause for sweaty palms. The optical mouse features a scroll wheel and special rubberized grips to make it fully functional.

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07. 3.2006

Cellstik Backup Drives

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It's pretty obvious that Cat from TechieDiva knows where I'm comin' from on this. I'd like to see a show of hands of all the people that have dropped cellphones in toilets. I personally once deep-sixed a brand new Treo 600. That was two years ago, and losing the numbers stored on my cell phone today would be comparable to putting a bullet through my laptop. I'd wind up in the fetal position on the floor of my creative compound.

To safeguard against this potentially crippling loss of data six one trick ponies have come into my life. These little gems backup all the data from a cell phone to a specialized thumb drive. It's a great little piece of dedicated data recovery hardware that’s dead easy to use. Simple push button operation takes data from the phone to keep it safe, and a second button puts the data back on the phone. There's a USB interface for taking the backups to your computer for a double measure of redundancy. Phones from Motorola, LG, and Samsung are supported, but there are individual backup drives for each type of phone so be sure to check the compatibility list before buying.

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07. 3.2006

Spam Shirts

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Spamshirt - Now here's a straightforward idea for a company: "Spamshirt does exactly what it suggests. We take spam, and we put it on a shirt." So you know all those annoying emails you get, the ones that your filters don't catch? Or how about the occasional unwanted solicitation that makes you cry with laughter? Now you can personalize and immortalize your best junk mail, elevating it to the level of art. And, just in case you aren't lucky enough to get interesting spam, you can choose from a set of pre-existing styles to get you through your creative slump.

Posted by Katherine    Category: wearables
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07. 3.2006

Bubble Spa bath mat

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What is it about bubbles that make them so enjoyable? Is it the shape? The airy quality? Or simply the fact they're called "bubbles"? From a pair of Nike Air Max to carbonated drinks, everyone loves a good bubble. Even when the fun of the day is over, and it's time to be serious and get clean, people love to throw some Bubble Bath into the equation. And for those lucky enough with a spa bath at home, well, let's not think of the amount of fun those people are having. For the "great unwashed," however, the Bubble Spa bath mat allows the recreation of a Spa bath in an ordinary tub. Using a "powerful AC motor", the mat produces customized, heated bubbles in what I guess to be a noisy manner. Coupling that with the fear of the powerful motor around water, I think I would have a hard time relaxing in my new spa!

Bubble it up for £34.95 from the The Gadget Store.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices | home
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07. 1.2006

Citibank's RFID PayPass credit card

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Dan Costa over at Gearlog was recently sent a new type of credit card by his bank. The new MasterCard PayPass is an RFID token that uses radio frequency keys to authorize purchases. The basic principle is very similar to the speed passes currently in use at gas stations, toll booths, and subway stations all over the country.

Dr. Costa did a very nice write up on the potential pitfalls and inherent security features embedded into the payment medium, but he missed one bit of very important information. Hackers have already managed to solve the problem of trying to read a chip from within two inches, and rumor has it that there are breathtaking hacks regarding RFID capture and spoofing being released at this year's Defcon conference.

It's a very interesting read to see where the technology is now, but I do not trust that keyfob yet.

Posted by Johnny    Category: devices
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07. 1.2006

iEcology, vacuum and steam cleaner by Osim

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Since I moved to this new apartment more than a month ago, I’ve been getting by using a tiny little broom. There comes a time when a girl has to choose between a simple hand broom, and a powerful vacuum cleaner. And I’d have to say, the lure of a powerful vacuum cleaner is winning day by day.

In fact, I should get triple excited, as Osim’s iEcology promises to combine and replace not just one or two, but three household tools. This triple cleaning device acts as a vacuum cleaner to suck up dirt and dust; it can act as a steam cleaner to dislodge stubborn stains and kill germs; and it can act as a mop by using a combination of steam and vacuum to clean and sanitize.

This water-based vacuum gives you super hot steam that cuts through and loosens dirt and grime - from stubborn grease stains in the kitchen and moldy tiles in the bathroom, to the upholstery in the living room and mattresses and bedding in the bedrooms. The vacuum sucks it up, ridding your house of any germs or dust mites present in one easy step. This effectively cleans and sanitizes, all at once with nothing to wipe away, no dirty cloths to change.

You know what else? There is no vacuum bag to replace, which means, six months from now, you don’t have to go play that annoying “match your vacuum bag number” game at Sears. All you have to do is dump out the bucket of water after you’re done!

The Osim iEcologi comes in black or white, and equipped with more attachments than you can shake a stick at. Priced at $6,880 HKD, not the cheapest vacuum cleaner on the market, but potentially can be extremely useful. Now, if only it could cook me a meal at the same time as well . . .

Posted by maggie    Category: home
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