If you like chocolate (and frankly, who doesn't?) this is a grand idea. Instead of picking through a box of choclates and discarding the ones with jelly inside, or that sickly sweet cherry goo,
Thortons chocolates offers a personalized online service that allows you just to pick your favorites. While you're at it, pick a customized box and message. If you're at a loss they can pick them for you but what's the point of that?
Box of 8 Chocolates - £5.25
Box of 16 Chocolates - £9.95
They do ship select chocolates to the States but check their website for charges.
Via Shiny Shiny.
Tired of wearing the same ring every day? Try switchring and have some fun designing a new ring every day to match your outfit.
Switchring is an interchangeable plastic ring; select a theme and purchase a package that contains four pieces, two wedges and two outer bands; you will now be able to combine the pieces into different styles.
Unfortunately, once you select a theme you can’t choose the colors and pattern that are going to be included in the package, so if you want to expand on one particular theme you might get stuck with doubles.
The rings come in three different sizes and new colors, printed designs and gemstones are released every month. Four-piece switchrings packs are available on the site for $9.99 and eight-piece packs for $16.99. The company ships worldwide.
Being nerdy is so cool these days. And for those who want to flaunt their geekiness there's a calculator ring just calling out your name. "Genius" is what everyone will think you are when you're wearing this accessory. Because who else would have the bright idea to wear an ironic and funky little ring like this? Yeah, snicker all you want, but as time has shown, nerds do rule the world. So get a little "Dr. Evil" and flaunt your mensa status. Be proud. (Now if only the little calculator actually worked.)
James Bond always had those cool tracking devices in the movies. He'd slip some kind of modified cigarette lighter into the bad guy's pocket and walk through a compound trying to track down some super secret nuclear cupcakes or something. Finally that level of technology is available for my household spy missions.
The Loc8tor is a handheld radio frequency locator for tracking small asset tags. Stick a tag on your car keys, and the receiver will point in the proper direction. At two ounces the tracking tags are light enough to stick to lunch boxes, dogs, wallets, or small children. It uses radio frequency broadcasts to work through walls in four dimensions so the handheld can give directions to go up and down stairs. Tags are married to an individual receiver so there's no danger of other users casually picking up signals from someone else’s tags.
Beyond the location features the handheld also has a proximity mode for notification when an asset tag moves outside a predefined area. The package is currently able to track up to 24 different asset tags at once, but the system will be upgraded mid 2007ish to fulfill corporate asset tracking needs and will support up to 6,000 simultaneous tags. $180 for a starter pack isn’t cheap, but it definitely is cool. The guys at Gizmag have some more photos, and a full copy of the latest press release.
I'm not sure he's really enjoying this project, but admit it, he looks adorable here.
Okay, Oscar is not my dog; he belongs to Jenny Cisney, an information designer at Kodak.com who posted these photos on Kodak's A Thousand Words blog. But now I know what my dog is dressing up as next Halloween -- dog paparazzi..
Thanks for the tip from "puddingtain.".
(Note: Stuart wrote about the Gorillapod a while back, but I unfortunately deleted his post in a misguided attempt to fix a glitch in our feeds. In my own defense: I didn't know what I was doing.)
Here's a brilliant idea for people who want to add a personal touch to their home, but are (like me) not particularly creative or artistic.
Inspired by the Paint By Numbers craze of the 1950s, designer Jenny Wilkinson's Wallpaper-By-Numbers range is manageable for anybody who's capable of colouring within the lines. In fact, it's so easy to do she's even launched a range for kids. Even better, her bold designs work well unpainted, so (permanent) works-in-progress will look good on your walls too. And you can impress your guests by telling them that your wallpaper comes from a range that's been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Green tea is everywhere -- in addition to a multitude of hot and cold beverages, there's green tea ice cream (which I love beyond measure when it's made right), cosmetics, nutritional supplements, candles. Well known for its benefits as an antioxidant, it's also recommended by enthusiasts and marketers as a supplement to boost metabolism, prevent arthritis, lower cholesterol, and prevent (or cure) hangovers (among other health benefits).
I'm curious about the new Charbay Green Leaf Tea Vodka. Ami at Coolhunting tells us it's what makes for the unique taste of the Zen martini at celebrity chef Kerry Simon's new restaurant. This new "sipping vodka" apparently took years to develop, and is now one of seven enticing vodka flavors made by Charbay, like Blood Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and Pomegranate.
I don't normally drink vodka, but I like the aesthetics of this brand; I'd offer the green tea flavor to my guests and tell them that it just MAY have the added benefit of preventing a hangover.
Nike has introduced the C.O.R.E. Backpack iD, a new customizable backpack that features integrated iPod controls. No more digging for that iPod. The backpack’s keypad, located on the right shoulder strap, has controls for volume, tracks and play/pause, and connects to iPods via a dock connector. (If a handbag is more your style, check out our past review of DelaPod.)
The coolest feature is the online customization feature -- pick your color and even chose options such as locking zippers and a ventilated back. Dual main compartments are roomy enough for books, binders and all the gear you need for your day.
The Nike C.O.R.E. Backpack iD starts at $105.
If you're the type to work, play, eat, and sleep at your laptop, you're likely to have some bits of food and lint stuck to your computer. However, with a USB keyboard vacuum, you don't need to worry about those cookie crumbs lodged beneath your letter "A" or the unsightly appearance of your morning toast hiding between the "alt" and "space bar" key. A steal at only 4.99, this vacuum from the Container Store comes with two attachments and plugs into your usb port. No batteries needed. Granted USB vacuums are nothing new, but when you find one this cheap it's hard not to ask yourself if being able to get those food particles out from underneath your keyboard isn't worth it. Though you probably won't give up snacking while surfing the web on your laptop, at least you can clean up the evidence afterwards.
What's blue and looks like a tap but plays music in your shower? The Shower Tap Radio of course. With AM and FM bands and a sticky sucker to affix to the tiles, you can have your music everywhere. Just watch those tricky dance steps.
To tune in to your favourite station all you need to do is turn the tap, then to increase the volume, just turn the tap again. It comes with a small but effective aerial, and I don't need to mention that it's waterproof do I?
ï¿½9.95 (Approx. $19.64) at Crazy About Gadgets.
Wi-Fi is great, but sometimes you get all excited about locating a hot spot just to find out after logging on that thereï¿½s a huge traffic jam. With a Wi-Spy Spectrum Analyzer, youï¿½ll be able to detect signal strength for all Wi-Fi networks as well as Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, microwaves, Zigbee, and all other 2.4 GHz transmitters. Youï¿½ll be able to find out which channels are quiet, and which traffic jams to avoid. $99.99 at ThinkGeek. (Maggie)
Although seen on Project Runway judging up and comers, Michael Kors had fashion design street credibility long before the show. Here is his "Astor" Cell Phone case from his MICHAEL line. The best part is that it is only one piece from his "Astor" accessory collection, allowing for complete fashion coordination. Available at Nordstrom in Black (shown) or Luggage, for $48.00. (Ray)
Create your own home-made yogurt with the Automatic Yogurt Maker in less than half a day. Of course, the procedure would involve some work from your end to create the initial mixture, which you pour into the provided glass jars when ready. Then set the timer and relax as you wait for some creamy, delicious home-made yogurt. The yogurt maker retails at Williams Sonoma at $39.95. (Kanchana)
I love this retro inspired radio designed by Marco Pulga & Luc Artioli for Lexon Design. The LED display reads green for FM and red for AM. Currently available at designstore.com in wood (shown) for $60 or in colored rubber for $48. (Ray)
Given my tendency to misplace stuff, I'm almost tempted to gift myself the Credit Card Alarm. The alarm is an intelligent plastic-and-steel card case that beeps every twenty seconds when empty, in which case, you are being softly warned that your credit card could be missing. Extremely practical and can be used with your most valuable cards. Buy it online at $55 a piece. (Kanchana)
Trio's ingenious interchangeable covers give you 3 ways to carry your iPod Nano. The soft inner lining keeps your Nano like new, and the tough, genuine leather outer case keeps it safe and looking good. And the colors are beautiful. $24.00 at Griffin Technology. (Evan)
Schott's Almanac, from the author of Schott's Original Miscellany, Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany, and Schott's Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany, takes us through the year in this humorous, non-traditional almanac which covers everything from political and economic events to memorable moments in pop culture (including a choice quote from Paris Hilton). A nice gift for the person in your life who has everything. $17.14 from Amazon.
For the rock n' roll diva in your life -- the Diavolina Belt Buckle. Made of a silver looking metal, it may just be the prefect accessory. $45.00 @ tokidoki. (Evan)
It's long been a tax dodge to donate obsolete electronics to charities for redistribution to those less fortunate, but according to the UN's Environment Programme those well meaning charitable donators may be contributing to environmental problems in the developing world. Recipients of recycled technology are reporting discard rates as high as 75% on occasion; many of the machines are damaged in shipping or were broken when originally donated. These machines release many dangerous compounds when disposed of in improper ways.
Lead, arsenic, mercury, and several radioactive compounds are released when the electronics are burned. Destruction by fire creates airborne particulates and dangerous fumes; the strong winds of the African plains can quickly spread the danger long distances.
The UN is calling for investigations into the effects of improper disposal, and urging member states to be self policing when it comes to shipping used electronics overseas. Despite their good intentions the UN won't be able to effectively fix the problem alone. The way to solve this problem is for manufacturers to build machines out of easily recycled nontoxic materials, and to develop cheap machines so the developing world won't be stuck with our hand-me-downs.
I become an anti-aesthete during the holiday months, evidenced by the fact that I find this snowman speaker unspeakably charming. Not only does this adorable snowman provide stereo sound to any music player (CD, radios, mp3 players, anything with a standard headphone jack) but it lights up and changes color according to the tempo of the music. Holiday playlists will be all the more festive when blasting (okay, probably more like tinnily sputtering) out of this little gormlessly grinning acrylic novelty speaker-toy.
Available only during the holiday season at Avon, for $30. Includes AC adaptor.
I was recently sent a few pre-release samples of the new green tea beverage, Enviga, and despite some green tea afficionados I know who insist that tea should be "not bubbly, not flavored, and not cold," I found it to be much better than any of those Red Bull-like energy drinks. It is super-caffeinated, and has more of the active ingredient in green tea (EGCG) than any other bottled tea drink. Chinese legends claim that the first green tea was brewed way back in 2737 BC, but it's just recently become a flavor of the month in the western world, touted for its antioxidant benefits and mild flavor.
EGCG supposedly helps rev up the metabolism so in tandem with the caffeine (green tea has natural caffeine but Enviga is "fortified" with even more), Enviga provides a mild calorie-burning effect, especially if, like me, you drink three cans in one go. I'm sure if I had more, I'd be Nicole Richie by now, but after a few hours of bouncing off walls, I was out of Enviga and looking for snacks. There's also 200 mg of calcium in each can.
How does it taste? Not too sweet, not too strong, only mildly fizzy, and the berry and peach flavors (there's also plain) don't have that medicinal tang that's present in so many vitamin drinks. I think most diet soda devotees will understand when I say that it's reassuringly slightly bitter, like a low-calorie drink should be. Some of the newer Splenda-sweetened drinks taste so much like their full-sugar versions, that I get nervous sometimes that I'm downing hundreds of extra calories. This tastes like diet, but in a good way. Of course I understand that plain water or plain brewed tea are both non-caloric, but what's the fun in that?
Enviga will be rolled out over the next few months, and should be available widely.
Not that long ago, it was difficult to find a laptop bag that didn't look like a briefcase or a student's backpack. With my first two or three laptops, my desire for something a little different lead me to try several bags that were designed specifically for women, but not -- as it turned out -- specifically for comfort. They were pretty on the outside, but turned out to have functional flaws that were hard to overcome, like hard handles that dug paiinfully into my shoulder or stiff openings that made it difficult to slide the computer in and out. Never a complete slave to fashion, I always reverted back to my old standby -- a manly-looking black nylon briefcase. Things have changed in the last few years, and we now have more choices and don't necessarily have to compromise comfort and functionality for a bit of style.
Mobile Edge stands out for their line of fashionable and sophisticated women's laptop bags. Their new Monaco Notebook Case, which fits a 15.4" notebook computer, takes its styling from those quilted handbags that are in vogue now (again). (Many of their women's computer bags look to be inspired by modern handbag design.) The sleek, minimalist exterior, made of microfiber, makes this a bag you can take to any business meeting, without getting it mixed up with the ones the boys are carrying, but it's lightweight, sturdy and fairly inexpensive ($99.99) -- which means it's not so precious that you couldn't use it every day.
The Bibliochaise is book storage with a difference. Apart from the fact that it has a higher than average creativity quotient, the Italian designers, nobody&co have thrown in an added utility factor by creating a literal “arm-chair library.” With the Bibliochaise, you can pick off your books right from where you are seated. Because this chair-cum-library is designed to hold 5 linear metres of books and a book-lover as well.
Personally, the fact that I can access my books from my chair is, in and of itself, less appealing to me than what the Bibliochaise has to offer in the art department. With looks that can be customized too (you can choose different combinations of wood for the chair and colors for the cushions), this chair will definitely stand out in your living room. Contact the designers for more information and pricing.
Next up is the Dondola, a sleek stainless steel rocking chair which can hold – if you haven’t guessed by now – books within the three storing cases provided below the surface. Though you can't use this to store as many books as the Bibliochaise, with the Dondola, you can change the balance simply by changing the distribution of books in the cases. And to say the least, its looks are simply amazing. Contact the gallery Made75 for details.
Via The Style Files.
I haven't played Monopoly in years, but I have to admit the new Sephora version has this beauty addict interested in playing again.
In this version, you Go to Jail for bad hair days, get a manicure so you can Advance to Go and collect $200, and pay fines for streaky self-tanner application. The game features popular brands like Stila in Gloss Gardens, Make Up For Ever on Lipstick Lane, Nars on Cheek Street, Murad at Cleanser Crossing and Bliss on Lotion Avenue. According to the press release:
The object of the game is to own it all Sephora-style. Players vie to run the most successful Sephora store by filling it with the most beauty products and essentials such as water and electricity.
To play the game, players buy beauty products to fill up their stores and just like the original, when players land on cosmetic properties owned by their opponents, rent must be paid.
When a player owns an entire cosmetic category, they can place Sephora Shopping Bags on their properties and eventually upgrade to Sephora Stores.
To win, players must bankrupt their opponents so that only one Sephora store remains.
Available from now till January 2007, for US$45. (Thanks to Mag for the tip!)
The Buon Appetito bed linen is meant for anyone who loves having breakfast in bed. Thanks to the clever design by Miss Geschick & Lady Lapsus that incorporates a napkin into the duvet cover, you won’t have to feel guilty about staining your linen with coffee or orange juice ever again as this is what they are meant for. The Buon Appetito bed linen doesn't appear to be available yet, but other cool products by the two German designers can be purchased through their site.
Miss Geschick & Lady Lapsus designs draw inspiration from everyday mishaps like getting a stain on a freshly cleaned t-shirt. The idea is to put these traditionally “negative” elements into a positive context: “That way small mishaps and such will become a stylish and communicative element in your life.”
If you eat rice regularly, you probably regard the electric rice cooker as one of the greatest inventions of the last century. It would therefore hardly surprise you to know that the Japanese have taken it -- as they do with so many things -- to extremes.
According to CNet Asia's Mobile Ojisan, induction heating rice cookers are all the rage in Japan, with the top of the range model being Mitsubishi's Wclass NJ-WS10. Mitsubishi claims that this rice cooker makes better rice than other IH rice cookers because it has an inner pot made of solid carbon, rather than the carbon-coated ferromagnetic inner pot that comes with other IH rice cookers. The 7.5mm thick carbon pot, hand-made in China from a solid carbon ingot, even comes with its own serial number.
The price? 115,000 yen (about US$994).
Hello Ladies. Snowboarding season is upon us, and if you're making plans to hit the slopes you're probably also checking out your gear and updating your equipment. So while you're getting ready to bomb some hills, take a look at the Madison bindings by Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate. Aside from being fashionable, the Madison has a slight asymmetrical shape that contours with the calf muscle, delivering support and comfort designed specifically for women. Add a dash of leather trim around the edges and gel layering around the ankle strap for a cozy fit and you have a smokin' boot binding that even the boys will envy. But rest assured, this season the Madison's look is only for the girls. Get ready for winter!
For those who just don't want to brave the crowds on the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, Popgadget brings you the first installment of our holiday gift guide -- stocking stuffers that you can shop for online. These are our personal favorites:
To put you in the right mood, how about some circuit board Christmas ornaments from Acorn Studios? Not only would these make great ornaments for your tree, they also make good decorations for your computer monitor. They're $14.95 each, and until November 30th, shipping is free to Canada and the U.S.on orders over $20, and you get a free keychain with each order. (Hoyun)
You can apply makeup in any lighting situation with Kiss & Tell Lighted lipgloss, lipstick and mascara. They're $15.00 each. However, these won't help steady your hand in the back of a bumpy taxicab. (Mia)
Perfect for any dog owner, the "How Smart Is Your Dog IQ Test" contains 12 tests to determine the Canine Intelligence Quotient (CIQ) of their loyal companions. Available at I Want One Of Those for £4.99 (Approx USD $8.98 / €7.39.) (Ray)
The ever cute Mood Beams glow with different patterns. With two modes, they are activated by a simple tap or sound. Moon Beams are ready to be shipped to your home from I Want One of Those for £9.95 or approximately USD $17.91 / €14.73. (Ray)
One of our favorites featured earlier, Harry the Organizer from Mocha. Just stick it on a flat surface, shape it up as you like and fit in any number of little objects that you don’t fancy lying around. Simple living, high thinking. Pick up Harry at $30 or Harry Jr. at $22. (Kanchana)
Marli bottle opener: Two years ago Steven Blaess designed a simple figure-eight bottle opener, and Alessi picked it up for production. The Marli design is simplistic, and fits in the palm of your hand; and can even be used with an old necktie as a fancypants designer belt buckle to, uh, hold up your fancy pants. At $19 it's one of the cheapest steel pieces in the Alessi catalogue. Available from MoMa or direct from Alessi. (Johnny)
Glenrothes Scotch gift pack: Sometimes you give a gift that the receiver will enjoy, and sometimes you give a gift to prove that you have good taste. Glenrothes is a Speyside single malt, and one of my absolute favorites. Typical Glenrothes has a sweet nose with golden honey tones in the middle and a tiny bit of peat on the finish. This trio of 100mL bottles is the perfect size for two people to share a glass out of each and sample three unique vintages. These packs are in limited supply this year so spend your $33 at
2D10769+BevMo quickly. (Johnny)
What's more important than keeping warm this winter? Yup, keeping your gadgets warm. MacBook and iPod wrappers are essential for keeping your digital friends nice and cosy. As an additional bonus, the environmentally friendly gift packaging has "your name, the date your cover was made, and for custom covers the number of embroidery stitches." Available from Wrappers. (Stuart)
I'd be very happy to find this Muji multi-tool in my stocking. This stainless steel tool (5.5 inches long) includes a hammer, bottle opener, knife, file, two saws and a hexagon wrench, and comes with a pouch. At the MoMA store for $15 ($13.50 for members). (Hoyun)
The UM Hold uses reclaimed factory waste industrial felt to create these elegant wallets. The zippers come in organge, blue and green. Buy one this holiday season at Branch for $38.00. (Ray)
Celebrate your geekdom with the USB powered Holiday Tree. Simply plug into any USB port and the blue LED will add some Christmas cheer. Includes a Christmas star and Star of David, so you can make a Xmas tree or Hanukkah bush. $11.99 at ThinkGeek. (Evan)
Show me the money! First, you're going to have to take a bath, though. Inside each pear-berry scented glycerine soap bar is either a $1, $5, $10, $20 or even a $50 bill. Perfect stocking stuffer for the mercenary. $12.99 from Bits and Pieces. (Evan)
Goodbye to tedious winding. Set your kitchen timer with a single swish-and-pull of the Tape Timer. Pull the ring to set the timer (up to 60 mins). The tape goes down gradually and signals the end of time with a loud ring. Arty. Available at $15 from Uncommon Goods. (Kanchana)
Vitra Chair Poster: I have one of these posters hanging in my living room, and if your recipient is a fan of design there is no better quick reference for chairs from 1820 to 1990. I consult "The Poster" often to get a designer's name or to see when a certain iconic piece was made. It's forty bucks at Design Within Reach, and DesignBoom has a pair of complimentary posters featuring rocking and folding chairs for $10 a pop. (Johnny)
Case Mod T-shirt: Being a tech kid isn't just about liking computers, but more about being the person who understands how it all works inside the box. When it's time to build a new computer the case is the first thing that gets assembled. Show off your skills with a blow apart schematic of just how it all fits together on the Case Mod t-shirt from mnpctech. This shirt costs ten bones direct from the maker, and any nerd will be proud to fly these colors. (Johnny)
Take a number, Bud! For the person in our life whose family or co-workers are always bugging them to do something. Just use these push pins to put the request on your bulletin board and they'll get the message. $5.95 for set of four at See Jane Work. (Evan)
The Electronic Handheld Sudoku Game can help past the time while improving skills of logic and deduction. Test your brain with over 100,000 puzzles using its cool touch screen. It's available at the Discovery Channel Store for $19.95. (Ray)
The Donut FM Radio has a funky design, is really entertaining to use (rotate the outer ring to tune and inner ring to switch on/off and adjust the volume) and looks awfully cute. Available for $30 a piece at the MoMA store. Don’t keep it around at meal times. (Kanchana)
Still struggling to find something despite this guide? Wow, you are picky. Maybe you should try imagini.net instead. Imagini uses VisualDNA, their very own made-up word to describe their unique gift guide system that's specifically suited to the individual. The site works by providing you with a series of photos, and instructing you to make simple selections based on what one you like best. At the end of it all, you're provided with your very own personal gift guide. Try it now at imagini.net. (Stuart)
There's still time to enter our contest to win a package of home office products from Belkin, including this TuneSync (iPod docking station with 5-port USB hub). Cats seem to figure in prominently in many of the photo entries we've received so far (give me a minute to analyze that one).
We previously announced the first prize winner of our "Getting Lost" contest, who won this AVIC-D2 in-dash navigation system from Pioneer Electronics; we now have the winners of the second and third place prizes:
Laura Conover of Nashua, New Hampshire won an Xtatix Freefone for her second place entry.
And Don MacKinnon of Seattle, WA gets two iSoundCaps for his third place entry.
Look for more giveaways during the holiday season. And tomorrow -- our first holiday gift guide goes up. Until then -- Happy Day of Gluttony!
Cerulean Studios has announced that the newest version of Trillian, Trillian Astra, is in alpha testing. Where the other versions of Trillian brought together all of my chat to one place, Astra is aimed at bridging the gap in controlling and managing your entire online presence on multiple blogs, photo sharing, RSS feeds, and almost any other web service. Taking these independent services and weaving them together to create an always updated interdependent web presence is a lofty goal, and Trillian aims to make that happen with Astra.
The new Trillian widget architecture uses Flash presentation and XML data to export data to other web sites and the contact list. Things like location, current weather, current mood, time zone, CPU usage, mp3 playlists, and your contact list can all be shared. There are advanced permissions lists for creating rules restricting what type of data users can see. Basically, I can define rules to share my phone number and address only to people in my family list, but the family won't be able to see what I'm downloading over BitTorrent.
There have also been several maintenance issues reworked from the ground up. Update and redraw times have been greatly improved, and this should finally fix the intermittent 100% processor usage issues of past releases. They've been plugging all the memory leaks, and streamlining the skinning engine by reducing the amount of XML it takes to write a skin. Custom skins should load faster, and there will be ultra minimalist skins available for using Trillian on older machines.
Where Pro has nonexistent support for letting visiting friends log in with their own credentials, Astra has a proper shared login screen. The SecureIM encryption engine has been updated to support public key architecture. It's a little known fact that Trillian Pro already seamlessly integrates with PGP desktop.
I wish they'd stop doing this. Everytime I'm finally happy with the newest generation of ear buds, some company comes out with earphones with superior technology that I just have to have.
I just reviewed V-MODA's Remix"M" series line awhile back and remember how thrilled I was with those. Now, V-MODA has just announced their new VIBE line, in Gunmetal Black and FlashBlack Chrome. Sure, they're handsome, but more importantly, they sound awesome.
The Vibe series provide a precise balance of rich bass, warm mids and unprecedented clarity. It's the next thing to being there. You can hear when the singer takes a breath, the squeak of a guitar string, the pressure of the drums. BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon) technology further reduces outside noise for a precise and rich bass response (frequency 12Hz to 22Hz). With three sizes of ultra-soft silicon fittings in both clear and black colors, the modaphones fit securely and comfortably.
At a suggested retail price of $101, you'd think they would be one of the higher priced earphones on the market, but not when you compare them to the E Shure series which tops out with the E5c at $549.00 MSRP. These are a steal, comparatively.
And your ears are worth it.
The latest entrant in the luxury mobiles market is the Russian Gresso phone. Unlike the Vertu models, you have nothing to go by except for some good looking pictures and a press release. The body is made from 200-year old African Blackwood and gold with a Sapphire crystal display. Every phone is unique, perhaps to cater to an equally exclusive clientele that can really afford such a phone. No official prices have been announced but expect them to be in the "jaw-dropping" zone. For the technically inclined, nothing to chew upon except a single statement from the company’s press release - "It is well equipped technically."
The official name of the phone is also currently censored, with the only information available being that the designer is Italian. No other specifications are available at this time and the only way of contacting Gresso is by a hotmail address. Given that the whole product sounds shady and with so few details available, we would recommend this to only the real adventurous mobile addicts.
Via Engadget Mobile.
Two knives from templeofthai.com have been featured in the New York Times Style section. The Fruit Carving Knife has an organically-shaped wood handle, and an extremely sharp one-sided blade that is great for preparing fresh fruits.
The second knife is a little more wacky, and aptly named the Kom Kom Miracle Zig Zag Knife. Like a Swiss army knife for fruits and vegetables, the handle can core apples and julienne papayas. Then, you can rotate the blade to carve and peel.
The Fruit Carving Knife retails for $25.00 and the Miracle Knife Zig Zag sells for $13.95.
We know you want to mix it up. I mean, what's better than a music mix or photo album created by you for friends and family? Sure you can ftp, upload, download, or otherwise distribute files electronically, but there's something nice and charmingly retro about physical storage media, and with the MixIt™ CD Stickers you can also make them super cute. With three sets of patterns to choose from, you'll have a great time personalizing your media mixes with colorful dots, happy stripes, or cheerful florals. With an included easy-to-use sticker placement guide you can't go wrong.
$6.99 for a package of 8 at the Container Store.
For those who want to harmoniously blend their home entertainment technology with their artistic taste, U.K. company SoundArt makes canvas stereo speakers from any photographs you choose. Music is delivered through the SoundArt system using DML technology (Distributed Mode Loudspeaker); it works with almost any home audio device (MP3 player, Hi-Fi, digital radios, etc.).
So far, it appears to be available only at stores in the U.K.
If you've been sufffering from a sore thumb lately AND are an excessive BlackBerry user, welcome to the growing list of people with the "BlackBerry Thumb" syndrome. There is a ray of hope, however, which does not involve you junking your favorite gadget. The Hyatt hotels of North America have launched the BlackBerry Balm hand massage in response to their growing list of business clientele complaining of this malady. The 30-minute massage is available in most of the N.A. spas and uses a specially made BlackBerry Balm to relieve the pain. You shell out $30 for the massage that focuses on counteracting tension on various hand and arm muscles, specifically in the thumbs and overworked wrists.
Worthwhile checking it out if you happen to be at a Hyatt. But better still, go easy on your PDAs folks, prevention is way, way better than cure.
You wait six months for one Mathmos product, and then three come along at once. Like Thaw and Float, Melt continues the candlelight theme that was devised as a design competition open to all. Basically, a "send in your design and if it's good we'll make it" deal. Unfortunately, Melt is the least imaginative of the project so far. It has the appearance of melted wax without all the fun: making little canyons for the wax to run down, or covering your fingertips and imagining committing untraceable crimes. Their fried egg demo doesn't help things either...
Available in three colours, in packs of two, for £10/$25 from Mathmos.
Knoll textiles has introduced three new designs, Whisper, Zen and Allure to their Imago lines of fabrics held between sheets of resin, as reported in the New York Times. The fabrics are sold in sheets and have different opacities and can be used as wall paneling, room dividers, or room accents. Imago is perfect for city apartment living. With it, you can create individual spaces without losing light.
4’ x 8’ sheets run from $480 - $1,472, depending upon pattern and thickness.
Show your geek pride. Old skool games rock and now you can take a bit of that old skool cool with you wherever you go. This Joystick Necklace is not fully functional. The .5”x.75”x.5" charm is only meant for ornamentation, but what you lose in playing power you definitely gain in appearance.
DVD Jon is all over the news, again. Where his team once hacked the encryption that prevented copying DVDs this time his sights are set on stop-gap software that will remove a large barrier to the digital rights game. DoubleTwist Ventures has picked up Jon Johansen to help develop code that will enable competing players to sidestep the restrictions that Apple has placed on who is allowed to play in the iTunes playground.
As an example, DoubleTwist could develop a new driver that makes a Zune or iRiver mp3 player appear to be an iPod when plugged into a computer. With this new driver iTunes would be able to copy music to all kinds of nonstandard devices. By licensing firmware updates from DoubleTwist competing manufacturers would also be able to make mp3 players wholly compatible with downloads from the iTunes store.
Increased competition in the MP3 marketplace will lead to lower prices for consumers... and the losers will be those companies who insist on shackling their users with any type of digital rights management. DoubleTwist claims that their software fixes are both difficult for Apple to block, and is currently trying to license their software to other companies. As the software modifies the devices, and not the locked downloaded content, Apple will have a difficult time forcing Hacker Jon's code into oblivion. Word on the street is that we can look for enabled devices in the first quarter of 2007.
We're about due for more Hello Kitty goodness on Popgadget, I think, so here are a few Hello Kitty mobile phones I came across on a recent trip to China. Manufactured by Taiwanese company OKWAP, they aren't exactly new on the market, but I think will be interesting to readers all the same, seeing as most of us won't have easy access to them.
We'll start with A268Kitty, a sweet pink clamshell model with dual colour screens. It's fairly conventional in its features, with the usual camera (3MP) and so on, but it'd probably appeal to many just because of the design. It's also got a basic bilingual dictionary, apparently quite a standard feature on Chinese phones.
The A236Kitty is my personal favourite. The keypad slides out at the bottom, with the 3MP camera at the top on the reverse. I've been using my O2 XDA II for so long, I'm not sure if I could live with a phone that doesn't have a touchscreen and stylus anymore - that alone makes this perfect for me. And check out the adorable menu icons.
In the interest of covering lifestyle issues as well as technology I thought that I'd write up a new gin named Bulldog. I was able to score a bottle, and thought that I would share my tasting notes so no one is caught unprepared when out with friends or in an after-hours business meeting. Though so far released only in a few markets along the right side of America, the Bulldog is going to be crisscrossing the States over the next year.
Bulldog is distilled four times in a copper pot still, and infused with exotic botanicals. The flavors of the Middle East shine show through on a light gin. This is a specific type of gin, and it's my absolute favorite style. Forgive me while I wax nerdy, but cocktails are my forte.
Get snaked. These charming Snake Bike Locks sold by Pylones are a wonderful way to differentiate your bicycle from the countless masses. With a reinforced metal interior, durable cloth exterior and hand-painted detail, the Snake Bike Lock is fully functional as well as cute, providing a safe way to secure your wheels. The whimsical design is a sure pleaser, with kids, adults, and everyone in between. It's the perfect complement to your ten-speed cruiser, adding that flash of color as you fly along city streets in the springtime.
A few months ago, I reported on the Sony Ericsson’s SO902iWP+ which is a water-proof phone. Now, Verizon has introduced the G’zOne, which is water, shock and dust resistant. The phone’s rather nautical look and feel is both rugged and clunky, which may or may not be a good thing. The G’zOne comes with a 2 megapixel camera, speaker phone and two screens. However, Bluetooth and mp3 player are notably missing. Still, if you are looking for a new phone and enjoy outdoor activities this phone is definitely something to consider.
For once, an interesting phone is available in the U.S. The Verizon Wireless site lists it at $299.99 with a 2 year contract.
"The average amount of time that a person spends looking
for misplaced things over the course of a lifetime is one year"
- Harpers Index
Geez, that's depressing. Remember those key fobs that beeped when you clapped your hands? They worked fine until you forgot to replace the batteries.
The SmartFinder comes with four color coded receivers which can be attached to things like keys, wallets, purses, mobile phones, and TV remotes. They even suggest adhering one to the kids, they're kidding about that (I think). With a remote control transmitter that can send a radio signal through walls and floors to activate the 85 decibel alarm on the receiver, locating items up to 25 meters away, you may never lose your keys again. It doesn't say anything about refrigerator doors, so "Uncle" Rog, who left his keys in the frig one time, may still be out of luck.
Unlike the "clapper" system I had before, the SmartFinder has a Low battery warning. Comes with 2 keyrings and 2 double sided adhesive pads provided for attaching the receivers to anything.
£29.95 or $56 at Girls Shop UK.
What does it take to be an A-List blogger when there are over 57 million blogs out there (and still growing)? Well, according to one measure, at least 500 other blogs linking to you in the last 6 months (alas, fame can be so fleeting). You can calculate your blogebrity standing using this Technorati-powered widget made by Terry Ng at Kineda, who was inspired by Dave Sifry's latest report on the State of the Blogosphere. Enter your URL and you'll get a ranking of A-list, B-list, C-list, or D-list, along with an explanation of these groupings.
Then, be obnoxious and flaunt your status by posting an A-list sticker on your blog.
The English have an entire line of "Shocking" games (not even going to try and psychoanalyze that). First up, there's the popular "Shocking Liar" based on -- from what I can tell -- lie detector science. Warm up questions are used to regulate your readings. Ready? ZAP! It says you lied. The game measures the 'lie levels," using a sequence of five LEDs going from red to green. Seems you weren't close enough to the truth.
Then there's the "Shocking Arm Wrestling". Let me tell you from experience that the first couple of times it's funny, but no adult is going to want to be shocked three times.
For the masochistic, there's always the classic . Place your finger in one of the four chambers, push the button and await your fate...
ï¿½17.95 for Shocking Liar
ï¿½9.95 for Shocking Roulette
ï¿½16.95 for Shocking Arm Wrestling
From those demented people at Gizoo.
Radar.net, the mobile photo sharing application, has just introduced a video version. As with the main service -- and unlike its rivals -- it's designed for sharing only among a select group of friends. When you sign up, you get a unique Radar.net email address to send your images to - you can then invite friends to view your pictures and comment on them. You can use Radar on the web, or view the mobile version on your cellphone.
John Poisson, Founder and CEO of Tiny Pictures, says, "Video clips in Radar work just like pictures: shoot a video with your phone and post it to your Radar, where your invited friends can see it and leave comments. Video clips become part of an ongoing visual conversation with your friends."
(BTW, this is the kind of guy you want to buy stock in -- John Poisson was former head of mobile media research and design groups at Sony in Tokyo, before founding Tiny Pictures in S.F.)
Back to our story...
At a time when everyone else is building wide open, publicly viewable photo sharing applications, the Radar strategy is an interesting one. New users can refer their friends, but it won't add up to the kind of viral marketing you get with Flickr or YouTube. The company is betting that in the long run more people might want to use it for the privacy issues alone. I asked John why they built the service along these lines:
First, there are literally hundreds of services out there that allow you
to share publicly -- some great and some horrible -- but we felt there was
still a parallel need for a way to interact with your friends privately,
especially when it comes to something as personal as pictures and videos
from your cameraphone. In Radar, there's no creep looking at your
pictures. (Unless, of course, he's a friend of yours.)
Radar users can also transfer higher-quality cameraphone videos to their PC and post them to Radar via e-mail. Radar supports cameraphone video clips up to 3MB in size. And if you're sending a video to your girlfriends of the highlights of last night's date, just for example, you can set detailed privacy settings .
Radar is free and new users can register by visiting Radar.net on their PC or mobile internet browser.
Smoking kills. And in case you forget while lighting up that cigarette this Coughing Screaming Ashtray is a sure reminder that all things you consume will eventually eat you up on the inside. When you place your cigarette in the lung-shaped ashtray it starts to cough and scream. Certainly not the most cheerful item to have in the house, but if you're trying to quit smoking, perhaps it might be just what you need to help you kick your habit. After all, smoking is bad for you!
I rarely go to the major shopping search engines like Froogle and Pricegrabber for the same reason that I no longer shop on eBay or go to those big warehouse stores. Their sheer bigness is just daunting to me, and I want to get out as fast as I can. The last time I used a search engine to find a product to buy, I was overcome with acute click exhaustion within 10 minutes.
So, the first thing I noticed about TheFind.com, a new shopping search engine that recently launched in beta – and just in time for the holidays – is that I don't have to click to see the relevant details of each product that comes up in search results. When I put my cursor over an item, a lengthy description of the product from the merchant's site automatically pops up next to it, as shown in the above screenshot. I love that I can glide over 30 results (or 90 even, if I choose that option) very quickly and see details for any item I pause over in a split second. With other big search engines, I find that the product details that come up on the first page of results are never enough, so I have to click to another page to read the rest of the description. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I find this hugely frustrating and often abandon the search midway. With TheFind.com, I don't feel compelled to click away from the main search result page unless I'm seriously considering a buy, so I'm able to browse many more options in much less time.
The grid option displays the results in an eye-pleasing format – nice, large images (though, of course, the quality differs depending on the what's on the source site) displayed in catalog style (more like an online store than a search engine page). And, as with other search engines, you can save items to your list or email them to friends.
A couple of additional features on TheFind.com make searching more controlled and also more fun. You can click the "sale" option at the top to narrow your search to those items that are on sale, or the "new" option to narrow it to those items that are new (how new, I don't know). These are useful functions if you're on the lookout for price reductions or new releases in a particular product category.
What may at first escape the casual user is that there's a deeper distinction between TheFind.com and its competitors:
Though it is not widely known, the fact is that most shopping search sites today only show you products from stores that proactively list their products and rank those product not based on relevancy but rather, who pays them the most. Clearly, this is not the best experience for the user, because it limits the number of stores, products and prices that you see.
For those interested in being truly thorough in their search, unbiased results may make all the difference. The company states that the beta release searches over 500,000 stores and 150 million products (the largest of any existing shopping engine). And this comprehensive reach enables them to "truly rank products by objective algorithms that determine the most popular and leading brands, products and stores."
I did a search for cases for my Blackberry 8700c, and here's what it took to get to my final purchase:
No more yelling "Stop riding your skateboard in the house!" or "You just ran over the cat -- go outside!" With the Tuck n' Roll upholstered vinyl skateboards, you can safely cruise the hallways . The site calls it "sculpture you can ride" and I wouldn't disagree. Hang it on your wall and call it an "installation."
They also make custom embroidered vinyl longboards for the office surfer. Specs: upholstered vinyl longboard with custom designed embroidery, Indy 215 trucks, clear and aluminum wheels & 1/8" risers, 36" x 9".
For pricing info. check out the site Modern Convenience.
This perhaps is one product Cleopatra would have died to possess. Dolores Piscotta, of Piscotta Cashmere, New York, has been selling clothes and accessories made from milk for the last two years. The eco-friendly milk cloth T-shirts, pants, camisoles etc are available online and are sent to boutiques across U.S.
The fabric is made by a Chinese company, Cyran, that Piscotta discovered online while on one of her searches to discover innovative materials. The process of making cloth from milk involves extracting the milk protein which then undergoes a chemical process to create usable fabric. And this is something that surprised me – the technology to create milk fabric was known since World War I! The inhibiting factor however, was the high cost of production. The process remains expensive even today inspite of advances in technology – the proof lies in Piscotta’s T-shirts retailing at $110 a piece.
Advantages of milk fabric? Velvetiness for your skin that beats even the finest quality silk. And Cyran claims that the 18 amino acids that milk protein contains are healthy for humans.
Well, I would rather take the cheaper (and reliable) alternative of drinking milk to get mine.
Sustainable textiles and clothing have been gaining a lot of ground. Now, hemp has long been a favorite renewable fiber, but did you know there are alternatives? Bamboo Clothing by Ecodesignz is a line of clothes made from organic bamboo as well as organic cotton and spandex blends. With a growth rate of up to two feet a day, bamboo is a fantastic renewable resource, producing strong and incredibly comfortable clothes that compare favorably to silk. Check out the 100% bamboo fiber short or long sleeve tee shirts. They're moisture wicking, naturally bacteriostatic, and antimicrobial to reduce body odor build-up. (And their thin weight makes them ideal for layering!)
These thoroughly modern bags by Silent Revolution are a refreshing change from the giant, shapeless hobo-type bags that everyone's carrying these days (from the Olsen Twins to Wall Street executives). Let's face it, those loose, formless bags with cavernous interiors just aren't meant for carrying gadgets which are hard with sharp edges (and yet so fragile), and which we need within easy reach. And we've all witnessed women dumping the entire contents of their gargantuan handbags onto a tabletop or floor (yuck) in order to find their ringing cell phone (that wasn't me, I swear).
Made in Los Angeles (and sweatshop-free), Silent Revolution bags combine functional design to accommodate the devices we carry with "urban streetwear" styling. But the look is minimalist and sharp, so wouldn't look out of place at the office (unless you work in a terribly conservative place). Their handbags and laptop bags, made of vinyl or nylon and priced from $114 to $298, have padded pockets for iPods and palm devices, and headphone ports.
I’ve spent some face time with the Monster Central AVL-300 home automation remote over the last two weeks. The AVL-300 remote is an all-in-one programmable home theater remote control, but it’s also a controller for Monster's IlluminEssence automated lighting systems. By integrating the two systems together seamlessly the company has produced a very powerful remote with a great feature set. However, that level of control adds a level of complexity that makes the learning curve for the initial setup a little steep.
Sigh, what to do on a slow Sunday afternoon when you have a spare $40K to spend. Why, go for a spin in your personal submarine, of course!
The Exomos Goby is a highly compact three person submersible craft that can dive up to 40m and features a state-of-the-art air conditioning/decompression system, keeping everything comfortable. Popularized in the new ‘it’ capital of the world, Dubai, UAE, this sleek, sophisticated craft is sure to keep you in the see-and-be-seen crowd.
So, crank up the Fab Four and take a dunk!
As if it weren't enough to OWN a Porsche, you can now have YOUR name in place of the type designation. So, for example, I'd have "Evan" in the same customised text and the same font as "Porsche" on my Boxster. I wish.
We are a nation that likes to personalize everything so maybe this business model is a good idea. It'll cost you though: $450 for the first 5 letters and $60 per letter after that. Texts can be made for all 911 models - Cayenne - Boxster and Cayman. They can manufacture your personalized text in the same colors as the type designation, in grey or black, chrome, or if you're going for the pimp look -- in gold. ( A chrome or gold name or text costs an additional $90 per letter.)
Name Your Porsche suggests: "Let your creativity run wild and give your Porsche its own identity and a unique name. You can make up anything you want: 'made in Germany', 'back off', 'follow me' or 'have a nice day'... Or why not use the back of your Porsche to make a personal message like: 'no more Ferrari', 'my third', or 'thanks daddy'."
Via Trend Hunter.
Ever want for that perfect, airbrushed look that you see on magazine covers? Well, now you can get airbrushed, too! The Japanese SKII cosmetics line has debuted Air Touch Foundation, which uses the wonder of precision to retexture the look of the skin surface, making it appear smooth, translucent and radiant - much like a baby’s skin.
At a touch of a button, the amazing ionization technology delivers foundation one particle at a time for a most precise and natural coverage. When the ionizer is switched on, the positively charged micro foundation particles are instantly attracted to the negatively charged micro particles on the face, covering the skin in a single, even and precise layer – no mess, caking or streaking.
Available in 4 natural shades: Light Golden Tone (Light), Golden Tone (Medium), Rosy Tone (Medium), and Neutral (Dark). 5ml refills available.
As a kid, tangrams were such a delight to me. Hours of my time would be spent on getting those seven pieces to form myriad shapes limited only by the complusions of creativity and time. So when I read that I can have one of those tangram shapes on my walls serving as shelves, I was naturally excited.
A brainchild of the Italian furniture design company, Lago, this floating "Shelf System" allows users to arrange the pieces in a variety of ways ranging from abstract geometric shapes to representations of people and animals. Apart from the designs shown in the pictures above, several other brilliant designs are available at the Lago site.
LG has created a mobile phone that can receive DMB (digital multimedia broadcasting) -- a digital television signal first introduced in South Korea. It's one of many products coming out of South Korea that are using this technology. The LG-KB1800 mobile phone has a specifically designed screen for watching television, which can be viewed both indoors and outdoors and has higher video quality than typical mobile phones. It also has USB out, so you can turn your computer into a television.
For now, this phone will only work in South Korea and they haven't announced any pricing information yet.
Via Akihabara News .
I doubt that your office is as messy as mine is -- I don't even know where my desk is anymore and there's a bird's nest of cables on the floor that aren't attached to anything, but remain there in the hopes of some day finding their matching devices.
While I ponder how my promising little work space turned into my office of shame, Belkin is giving away a package of home office products (total value of $180) to help one Popgadget reader get organized. All you have to do is:
1. If you're not already a subscriber to our free newsletter, click here and sign up;
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, and a digital photo of your office by midnight (Eastern Standard Time) of November 28th.
You must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the United States (apologies to our readers outside the U.S.). The winner will be selected by Popgadget editors based on how well your photo illustrates your need for help. By entering this contest, you agree to having your photo, name and city of residence published on Popgadget in the event you are the selected winner.
Here's what's in this prize package:
The CushTop laptop cushion pictured above keeps your lap cool and comfortable while you're on your laptop in bed, on the couch, or on the floor (especially helpful if you've lost your desk).
With Verizon Wireless and Sprint’s release of the KRZR, life just gets sexier and sexier in the land of mobile phones, but what about the necessary-but-oh-so-utilitarian-looking land of satellite phones?
Effective immediately, satellite phones have joined the world of the beautiful. Globalstar, Inc., a leading provider of mobile satellite phones, has introduced the new GSP-1700 mobile satellite telephone.
The newly designed GSP-1700 telephone is nearly half the weight of the company’s current satellite handset and close to 45 percent smaller. A new lithium-ion battery is designed to provide users with four hours of talk time and 36 hours of standby time. The GSP-1700’s lightweight ergonomic design embodies the ruggedness of the current Globalstar phone while integrating convenience-oriented features such as a new five-mode color display and Bluetooth headset capability. The phone supports six operating languages and is available in three vibrant faceplate colors, using durable high-luster or metallic finishes. The GSP-1700 is being manufactured by QUALCOMM and incorporates a data solution and EV-DO network capability.
Now about those rates...
The Electric Sheep Company has announced a fantastic contest for those Second Life gamers with an entrepreneurial streak. In seeking a creative business idea to monetize the time spent in the game, the company has offered 350,000 Linden dollars (roughly $1,290 USD) and exclusive use of an island for six months to the capitalist pigdog who can present a business plan for the virtual world. The guidelines make it clear that the award is an investment in the winner's idea, and any type of Second Life business is suitable for submission.
There are already thousands of small businesses operating within the confines of the game, and the amount of money changing hands is staggering. Business Week, Wired, and Popular Science have all recently been digging into the science behind the economy, and PopSci's numbers estimate the GDP of the Second Life economy at over $64 million.
While it is true that there are many people making six figure salaries off of Second Life the popular claims that have measured the entire economy in USD are exaggerated. It is impossible to cash out every single Linden dollar, but the balance of new members constantly joining keeps the economy at an almost perfect equilibrium. The exchange rate to USD never fluctuates too far from the accepted norm, and many people depend on the game for their sole income. The stable economy makes a perfect environment for the inventive merchant... now get out there and push some pixels.
This screen comes from the people at Innovation Lab, who have embedded optical fibers that work like pixels into concrete. The optical fibers can be lit to create monochromatic images. Even more amazing, the optical fibers work with natural light as well as artificial light, making it effectively transparent. This technology has many applications for architecture and urban planning. I'm particularly interested in it's application in transportation infrastructure, such as subway stations, highways, and sidewalks.
I am fascinated with the kind of obsession that humans have for robots. The latest milestone in the robotics field is that the Aizu Central Hospital near Tokyo has become the first hospital in the world to have an android receptionist and two porters. With most of the progress in this area happening in Japan, this bit of news doesn’t really come as a surprise.
The robots produced by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk have been hired at a cost of $508,000.
The blue receptionist robot welcomes visitors and answers spoken queries while the green porters (seen in the picture above) can help them find their destination while carrying their luggage at the same time. Hospital official Naoya Narita says, "By introducing them, we want to show the scene of a future hospital, where robots are getting along with patients and visitors."
If this is where the future services industry of Japan is heading, it will only add to the woes of an already disgruntled and out-of-work labor force. With all due respect to the tremendous applications that robots have had in the manufacturing industry, when it comes to caring, give me a human being any day. No robotic hospitals for me.
Via Yahoo! News.
At first, I didn't get the appeal of this toy, the Zero Blaster, which shoots smoke rings basically.
But then I gave it to my "focus group," the neighborhood kids -- after all, they're the target group -- and they loved it. They practice making bigger rings and especially have fun with it at night, when it glows . The vapor rings can go up to 12 feet, but my testers say you really have to practice. It comes with its special, water-based non-toxic fuel, which you can reorder on the site. With its ray-gun type sound effects, it's by far the most peaceful gun in the universe. Let's replace all Smith and Wessons with Zero Blasters.
New Zero Blaster is $19.95 at Zero Toys.
Way of the Rodent has a couple of new t-shirt designs to get you into Christmas-mood with some gaming attitude. I would have to vote for the Katamari Xmas Roller which I was told should be available in women's sizes as well, even though I couldn’t find the fitted style on the site yet … hopefully in time for Christmas!!! And I would definitely settle for the irresistible cuteness of the LocoRoco Loopy.
Price for one t-shirt: $22; €27, or £18.
Australia's national science agency has proven that they are not lame ducks. These nerdcore scientists like to go out, slam a couple of schooners and rock it like Wayne and Garth. Dr Richard Helmer has led a team in showcasing the CSIRO's skill with sensors embedded in textiles. A long sleeve shirt has now become the newest instrument in the metal head’s arsenal. The scientists have created a system for measuring arm movements for translation into the first full featured electric air guitar.
When configured with guitar samples the controlling system uses the angle of the left arm to define the location on the fret board, and the right becomes the strumming hand. Want a new instrument? No problem. Just change samples, and recalibrate the sensors to respond to new limb positions. There are a couple of videos up on the website, and it's obvious that the technology is overly young, but still hilariously cool.
I would love a sensor shirt with a chest speaker for rocking out, and would use it to practice for the 2007 US Air Guitar Championships. Maybe Apple can implement a similar system into a future iPod for on the go rocking out, or at least give us some cool Theremin style toys tied to the headphones. Hey, maybe by the time Guitar Hero 3 is ready for release Red Octane will have hired some Australians to invent a bitchin' non-tactile interface.
Network is Brio’s newest addition to its toy line. The Swedish company, mostly known for its beautiful wooden toys and in particular for its railway sets, has designed this new set meant to give a behind-the-scenes peek into what goes on inside a computer.
BRIO Network is an original world of rail play that features the imaginary creatures who live inside your computer. They drive super-cool vehicles around the tracks. They can listen to their messages and interact in fun, new ways. Though the networkers are inspired by the computer world, you do not need a computer to play with them.
The single pieces that make up the whole BRIO Network are available on Amazon; if you live in Europe you can find retailers directly on the company’s site.
Halo's Master Chief has been immortalized in stained glass. The creator put it up for auction on eBay. Unfortunately, the sale just ended, but that shouldn't stop us from admiring it in all its glory. Hopefully, more will be on their way, because it really is the perfect gift for any gamer's home.
What better way to boast about where you've been on holiday and show how ugly your kids are, than with the ribbon photo bag. The bag has six slots for 4"x 6" photos that you can change as you please. You could have a new bag every day! Why not carry around a giant photo mosaic of your own face? The possibilities are endless. Well, until you realize that all your photos are on the computer and you can't be bothered printing them out anymore.
Get one from Initial Ideas for £12.99/$24.80.
This whimsical little handbag, made by Zelle and available at Fractalspin, is a bit of a surprise. From a distance, what you see is a black bag with interesting metallic shapes forming an eye-catching pattern. Up close, you notice that it's made of recycled computer diskettes (12 genuine 1.44 MB diskettes, to be exact). A magnetic latch holds the two sides together at top (though it doesn't close the opening all the way). For a different look, you can remove the latch and take out the bottom liner to convert it into a slim bag you can hold close to your body.
The label on the bag suggests that you "allocate interior pockets to manage internal fragmentation." There are five interior pockets -- 2 with snaps, two elasticized, and one zippered -- for your cell phone, iPod, credit cards and cash, lipstick, etc. The main compartment is big enough to hold a book, a pack of tissues, a hairbrush, candy. "Available memory: 17.28 MB." Gimmicky, yes, but super cute. It's $65 on the Fractalspin website.
These pens could make me take up letter writing again. When I got mine, I was in desperate need of a new pen -- the last time I dug around in my purse to sign a credit card slip, all I came up with was a chewed crayon.
Created by the international design company Acme Studio, which works with artists, architects, and designers, each rollerball pen is a work of art. And it doesn't get by on looks alone; it feels solid and comfortable in your hand, much like the Montblanc. Information about the designer and the design movement is included with each pen. I chose the "Alphabet" black and white number, designed by Rod Dyer, who has won a boatload of awards for his design and advertising work. Each collectible pen comes in a padded aluminum storage case and you can buy a matching card case to go with your stunning new writing utensil.
Guaranteed for a year, and available for $62 @ See Jane Work.
Investing in a good vacuum sealer is a good idea if you are constantly throwing away excess or spoiled food. The basis of vacuum sealing technology is simple - leaving behind air in a food package or container can cause the oxygen present in the air to cause fats to develop "bad" flavors and even change the color of the food. Using a vacuum sealer, this air can be removed completely, resulting in an increase in the storage time of refrigerated, dried and frozen foods.
The Tilia FoodSaver V2840 Advanced Design does this faithfully. It has two vacuum speeds to seal the food and and an adjustable food setting that ensures a secure seal for dry or moist food. It's CrushFree Instant Seal feature can immediately stop the vacuum process when vacuum packaging delicate foods. Obviously, the appliance works only with FoodSaver accessories and FoodSaver bags that, fortunately, are not very expensive. There is even an instructional DVD to explain how to use this device. The only concern that I have is that it looks big and I am not sure whether I have sufficient space on my kitchen counter to host it. If I do though, I am sure I will have a good time showing it off to my guests given it's sleek appearance (a contrast to some similar, but less attractive vacuum sealers seen everywhere).
The Tilia food saver is available at Amazon for $134.85.
Keep the fingerprints of the ones you love, forever! Robin's RazzMaTazz Loving Touch jewelry takes the fingerprint of your loved one and preserves it in gold, silver, or chrome. As a keepsake to remind you of your nearest and dearest, the Loving Touch pendants are recommended as keychains and charms, which seems reasonable enough (though the suggestion to turn them into golf markers is a bit... perplexing.) It's a nice gift idea for grandparents, friends, really anyone with a sentimental streak and a weakness for borderline schmaltz. To be fair, the Loving Touch pendants are not bad-looking. Though not the stuff of high fashion, the charms have an intimate appeal which must be acknowledged. Everyone wants to be able to keep their loved ones close. And now you can take a part of them with you wherever you go.
If I got to drive one of these on duty, I'd join the London Met Police in a sec! Unhappy with their Renault F1 highway patrol car, the bobbies upgraded their motor pool to these speedy numbers.
Nah, don't they wish.
While the Italian police received a souped-up Gallardo pursuit vehicle from Lamborghini, this English model is just for show -- the exhibition at the MPH '06 car show in Birmingham to be exact. Most of the Lambo's grey paint job was left in tact, with yellow and blue checkers pasted down the sides and lights on the roof. But it probably wouldn't work as a police car anywhoo -- while driving the 8 miles to the car exhibit, it was pulled over twice by other curious cops.
"What? . . . I can't hear you!"
That is the sorry refrain from many of the so-called "baby boomer" generation. Soon, it could be echoed by the "iPod generation." (I don't like to be labeled so I'm not declaring allegiance to either group.) We've all read the scary articles about hearing loss in the "iPod generation." According to one survey, about 13% -- more than five million kids (ages 6-19) -- have hearing loss in one or both ears already. Sure, loud rock music contributed to hearing loss among baby boomers. Take me for example; it took years of reviewing concerts before I got smart and statred wearing ear plugs, but by then I suspect I'd already done some damage.
But the real culprit is the new music players which make the problem much worse for the next generation. Don't get me wrong -- I think the iPod is the best new discovery since the Walkman, but I worry about the iPod generation, specifically my 11 year old daughter, Mackenzie, who is permanently attached to her pink iPod. Any device which pumps music directly into the ear canal, as ear buds do, easily desensitizes the listener to dangerously high sound levels. Since damage to hearing caused by high volume is determined by its duration, and we tend to listen to iPods for long periods of time, we damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that transmit sound impulses to the brain. Studies have shown that listening to anything over 80 decibels can ultimately create hearing loss.
Addressing this problem, France and other European countries have enacted laws that limit the volume of iPods and other devices to 100 decibels. It took only 2 days before posts appeared on the web with detailed instructions on how to circumvent the new laws. Of course.
A recent study conducted by MTV of 10,000 people who responded to a survey posted on the MTV web site, indicates that only 8 percent considered hearing loss "a very big problem."
That was even below their concern about acne (18 percent). As an aside, I'd like them all to read Pete Townshend's account of his Tinnitus . That's enough to make you instantly turn down the volume.
So, what's been done about this problem? Realizing that you've got to get the kiddies early, Kid's Ear Saver has developed an attachment that permanently attaches to headphones and reduces the volume of any connected sound device, including CD/DVD players, games, computers and stereos.
That's great for the little ones, but this isn't going to work when they notice their friends don't have this attachment. That's where Ingemi comes in.
As fun as 'smart' shopping trolleys, like the U-Scan Shopper, might be to use, they hardly solve one of the fundamental problems of supermarket trolleys - they never go where you want them to.
Shoppers are likely to welcome the new MarkitCart. Its makers claim that it is more user-friendly, convenient and safe to use than the conventional shopping trolley. With a low centre of gravity, a lightweight body (made of recyclable, shock-absorbent plastics) and large fixed rear wheels, it is supposedly easier to steer. It's also less likely to run away from you and cause accidents; in addition to a conventional travelator brake and a manual foot brake, a built-in braking mechanism automatically kicks in when the trolley travels at 6km per hour. Some thought has been given to the basket too: it holds more than the conventional trolley, has a child seat that holds two, and there's a separate section for fragile items.
Via The New Inventors.
I've been searching for ways to avoid showcasing a TV in my living room short of chucking it into a dumpster (which is where it came from originally). Séura Television Mirrors are an answer to the problem, and a very sexy one. By using a specially designed two way mirror the company is able to hide a television that can be clearly seen when on, but vanishes behind the reflective face when the power is shut off. The mirrors may be flush mounted, or hung on the wall in a decorative frame.
From 20x30 with a 15 inch LCD TV to 49x32 with a 45 inch television; there is a range of Séura mirrors to fit any decor, but not most pockets. The mid range 32x36" mirror with a 15 inch LCD hidden inside is almost $3,000, and the premium line caps out at $12,000. Not cheap, but a great piece for hiding an eyesore in plain sight.
The NanoNuno umbrella has been nominated as one of the best inventions of 2006 by Time magazine. As I wrote previously, this umbrella does not allow moisture to penetrate through it's fabric, and hence there is no tedious drying to do after a walk in the rain.
The other equally interesting contenders in the clothing category are the Sphere Macro React tennis dress from Nike and the Hug Shirt from Cute Circuit. The tennis dress incorporates a fish scale pattern on it's back that swings open to release heat and moisture, ensuring that you stay cool and dry. The Hug Shirt, in contrast, keeps you warm by simulating the experience of being hugged by a loved one, using Bluetooth and mobile phone technologies.
Read more about these three inventions and many more at Time's website.
Do you ever wish your gadgets could be more warm and fuzzy? If only they could be as soft and loveable as these plush hi-tech keychains. Measuring 2.5”x2.5” you can choose from a camera, boombox, or cellphone. All are made of felt and sport happy little smiley faces. Currently on sale at Fred Flare for only $4.99, we can stock up now while we can in preparation for the upcoming gift-giving season. Old, young, or young-at-heart, it'll be hard to resist these cute little charms. You'll end up wishing you had life-size functioning versions each time you pull out your hard shelled mobile, digital camera, or other techie device.
Now here is a treadmill designed just for kids, the Kid Treadmill. Well, I never imagined I would see a product like this! I mean, I wonder if you could even convince your child to get on an exercise machine like this, even if you think he/she needs it. Aren’t there more fun ways your child can get some physical activity than being on a boring treadmill? And isn’t it an alarming indicator that obesity is setting in so early?
Nevertheless, if you are interested in the specs, the only new feature of this treadmill is that the height is customized for children. In addition, it has a normal treadmill display to indicate the speed, distance covered etc. And the speed can be adjusted to suit the required level of exertion.
Available at FutureMemories for $99.95
As the old joke goes, “If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there.” *
Hippies decorated their jeans with embroidery and drew daisies on everything, which sometimes included their cars. (See the photo below of the Merry Pranksters psychedelic bus, "Further.")
Beetle owners were big on decorating their cars and in honor of that , Volkswagen UK has launched Beetle Art , a site where you can customize your car by ordering special vinyl stickers for your Bug. On the accompanying microsite, prospective Beetle customers can configure their desired car, choosing a body style (hatchback or cabriolet), body colour and decal design. They can pick from and try different colours for each of the decals. That's my version pictured above.
The special vinyl stickers, called Beetle Art, were created by four up-and-coming artists and illustrators: Mibo, Parra, Steve Wilson and Jamie Cullen. Ultimately, customers will probably be able to custom design and order their own "car art."
Guaranteed for three years, the vinyl decals reportedly can last up to five years. If you want to sell your Bug, the stickers can be removed without damaging the car, though I would worry about fading. They cost from GBP 45 for a single panel to GBP 200 for an entire car. I want a big "MINE" for my stationwagon.
* Paul Kantner
The penguin lamp above was designed by Gi? Colonna Romano for the Italian light manufacturer Slide Design, and was launched across Europe this past September. A percentage of the lamps' proceeds will go to the penguin foundation to help Little Penguins.
But Kok? is not just a lamp. There is another initiative called "Kok? Smart" whose purpose is to allow young artists around the world to express their creativity on one of the penguin shapes, with the goal of raising awareness of environmental protection. These unique pieces will be exhibited around Europe and afterwards auctioned during the Salone del Mobile in Milan.
So far I haven't found any information on where to purchase a Kok? lamp.
It never fails. I selflessly agree to drive home late at night from a marathon day trip with friends. My passengers all religiously fall asleep 15 minutes after we get on the road. Since I can’t blast the radio, I make sure to turn the thermostat down. This ensures that the car stays cool and I stay alert on my lonely drive. Inevitably, someone eventually wakes up long enough to start whining about the cold.
To my rescue comes the heated electric travel blanket from the Auto Sport Catalog. Warm on its own but better plugged in! This simple yet ingenious cover includes a 5 ½ foot cord that plugs into a cigarette lighter for powered warmth. At 40” x 58,” this comfy cover is big enough for two. At last, I can drive in comfort.
Now, about that snoring problem…
Okay, I know Halloween is over, but for those of you who are missing all the dressing up, here's a nifty product that allows you to dress up before you get dressed. Scare a few people as soon as you get out of the shower with the ghost towel. Careful though! Watch the towel doesn't accidentally slip off mid-fright; that may result in a whole different kind of scare, one that could lead to a possible arrest.
Available from I Want One Of Those for £24.99/$44.98.
Last Easter I was at a rockin' party in Indianapolis. Sitting around a campfire with my internet friends from around the country, knocking back a couple of brewskies, and telling stories of heroic deeds. My buddy Elle asked if I wanted to see her new laptop, and pulled a Fujitsu P1500 out of her purse. I'll admit that I fell in love with her laptop instantly. I've been waiting for the new model before making a decision, and Fujitsu has made me a very happy Johnny.
Fujitsu has updated their smallest LifeBook convertible tablet line with a speed bump. The new P1610 runs a U1400 Core Solo at 1.2 GHz. The most redeeming feature of the P series is size. At ~9x7 inches it's only a little larger than a paperback and sports a tiny 8.9 inch WXGA LCD. That's 1366 x 768, and quite a bit better than the 1024 x 600 resolution of previous models.
While some tablets offer active screens with a magnetic stylus, the Fujitsu tablets have stuck with a passive screen. An active screen needs a specialized "no contact" stylus for input, but a passive screen will work with any blunt object that makes contact. In case of a misplaced stylus there's always the emergency finger poke with a passive touch screen.
Engadget's Dr. Paul Miller gave prudent advice with his counsel to ditch the standard three cell battery for the upgraded six cell. The prime reason for buying an ultra portable is always having a ready machine so it's disappointing that the original battery only provides 3.5 hours of charge. The double size six cell will last for seven and that's a bit more useful.
The full package carries an 80 gig hard drive, Bluetooth, and a gig of RAM. My only complaints are that the RAM capacity maxes out at one gigabyte, and that there isn't an optional battery powered docking station for adding a DVD drive on those days when I do want to travel heavy.
This beautifully designed timepiece ushers in a whole new chapter in Bluetooth accessories by providing the most discreet way to date to manage your cell phone. Imagine you are in a meeting with M and the Minister of Defence [sic] and Felix Leiter calls on your mobile to chat. With your phone pocketed away and in silent mode, reaching to answer it would be noticeably disruptive to your meeting. Instead, your timepiece discreetly vibrates to alert you to an incoming call. With only a slight turn of you wrist, your watch displays your caller’s number (or name if the number is stored in your phonebook). A discreet press of the crown and Felix is sent to voicemail for a later callback.
Other features of the MBW-100 include incoming text message notification and play/pause control of music functions. It will also alert you if you have traveled out of range of your cell phone, which is handy if you are the type to forget your phone somewhere.
The watch itself is a beauty. Designed in conjunction with watch giant Fossil, it’s got a sleek steel case with a polished/brushed bracelet and features a scratch-resistant mineral glass crystal. The crystal has an anti-glare coating to make the display easy to read. And, oh yeah… it even tells time!!! Actually, it will display the date and time from your phone, so you can easily set and synchronize the time on your wrist. The watch is a bit heavy (which is a positive in my book since it makes it feel more substantial), so it may take a little getting used to for some.
Comes with charger/cradle and retails for $399 on the Sony Ericsson site.
So you dig those high fashion Pokia (Now Hulger) handsets but don't like the high end price tag? For $39.99 you can get your hands on the "poor man's" equivalent by ThinkGeek. The ThinkGeek Bluetooth Retro Handset will get you up and away from your teensy little mobile, giving you that old skool feel of chatting it up on a generic dial phone. Not cool, you may say, but then you're just not appreciative of the "geek" aesthetic, are you? The old-style handset works at up to 30ft from your mobile, charges via USB, works with Bluetooth V1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and allows you to both make and recieve calls. Your purchase comes with the Handset, USB cable, and Instructions. The pretty phone that comes with the promo picture, however, is not included!
Next time you sprain your ankle or twist your wrist, you can sport one of these cool looking elastic bandages instead of the usual not-so-pretty ones.
Fabian Seibert is the designer behind these funky bandages and the swarovsky bling plasters, which can both be purchased directly on the site (between 18.00€ and 22.50€ for the bandages and 9.90€ for a plaster three pack).
If you ask me, definitely worth having to keep that sprained ankle in place on a hot summer day.
Little did we know that when people were advising us to "get a foot in the door" they meant it literally. While looking right at home in a fashionista's trendy apartment, this sexy stiletto is actually a rubberized doorstop. This Manolo Blahnik of door wedges will only set you back $9.95, much less than those high heels you've been drooling over.
Available at Firebox.
Yes, just as kids do, spices love taking a ride on a carousel.
This is a spice rack which can hold 8 spice bottles that rotate, and the most important feature is the auto-measure ability. With this feature, you can do away with measuring spoons while dispensing spices, as each spice bottle is designed to dispense its contents exactly a quarter teaspoon at a time. Eliminates the clutter caused by extra measuring spoons in your kitchen. But if you don’t want to use the auto-measure feature, the bottles also have pop tops for shaking and pouring. Additionally, the entire carousel can be mounted under a cabinet to save storage space.
The auto-measure feature seems pretty interesting to me. And I would be very happy to see it implemented for other kitchen utilities as well. For example, if my coffee flask could pour out exactly one cup of coffee at a time, I could just pour away without having to monitor the level. Small pleasures. Check out the Auto-Measure Spice Carousel available at Tiny Living for $32.95.
I'm a firm believer in the "renaissance man" style of teaching. Everyone should know a a little bit about everything. It leads to a well rounded person with varied interests and lots of life experiences. The teachers of America are responsible for the amusing stories told at the cocktail parties of tomorrow. In the interests of mutual education I present: Lock picking!
The most famous underground work on the subject was done by an MIT student, and he's affectionately been "Ted the Tool" to his kinsmen. Every hacker with a toolbelt knows his name; even if his poorly photocopied treatise didn't make him wealthy it did make him infamous. The only problem with Ted's how-to lesson was that it was only exceptionally useful if you already understood the basic theory involved and just needed refreshers on the internal mechanics of locks.
Locksport International has produced a successor to The Tool's work. "A Locksport Primer" is a simple guide to starter lock picking techniques in graphic novel form. The guide explains the basic techniques of the locksmith's trade with lots of photographs and word bubbles! It makes fun work out of lifting bound pins and re-keying a lock cylinder.
The discussion on tool making is some of the most concise that I have ever seen. Trying to fabricate lock pick tools can be intimidating, but the LSI tutorial makes it fun and simple. Handmade lock picks aren't guaranteed to work better than the mass produced versions, but they are cheaper and worth a lot more street cred.
I would encourage the LSI to keep producing these guides. I have sixteen books on the subject, and I still found it educational. Good job, guys.
Shout out to Hack A Day for the link.
Here's another way people are embracing putting up aspects of themselves on the Internet.
The website "Share Your Look" is half photo share site and half street fashion site. Currently in beta, the site contains the typical social networking features: commenting, ratings, and tagging. The sort features are also interesting, as you can organize the entries by nationality, most recent, most viewed, among others.
Via Fashion PSFK.
While looking like one of those adorable cartoon vehicles in the movie "Cars," this is actually a photo of the Chinese Liebao (Chinese for "Cheetah") SUV which was revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show.
Via Auto Blog.
Consider this alarm clock to be a sequel to the one I wrote about earlier, and what a harsh way to finish the sequence!
One look at the specs of the clock (in fact just one look at the clock) and you know that this baby will not let you ignore her. Imagine her scrrrr-ee-aa-ming at you on the top of her voice during the wee hours of the morning when all that you want to accomplish is within the confines of your dream world. Apart from the high decibel range, the clock has the usual tiny LCD screen and snooze feature.
Though I'm tempted to try all types of waking devices to help me get out of bed in the morning, I hold back because I believe it can't be healthy to have harsh noises waking me up. To support this belief, studies have also shown that the body wakes itself up by a series of internally (and precisely) timed signals in the morning as it is just getting adjusted to the needs of a new day. Harsh noises therefore disrupt this rhythm, and even if you do manage to get up, you only end up feeling groggy for the rest of the day.
This apart, if you still want to try the Fire Bell alarm clock, it's available from Spilsbury at $14.95. And be assured that for the price that you pay, you get only noise.
The makers of the Pocket Drive, Seagate, have created the Susan G. Komen Special Edition Pink 6 GB version of their popular storage device. 10% of the purchase price goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Aside from supporting a worthy cause, the Pocket Drive, itself, is a well thought out device. It pulls juice from your computer via its USB plug. I especially love the retractable cable, which helps reduce the clutter of multiple devices attached to your computer. Even further, this Pocket Drive come bundled with free music tracks, including works from Joan Jett and Alana Davis.
You can purchase this Special Edition Pink Pocket Drive at Amazon.com for $101.99.
Via Gadget Madness.
These Pixel Colored Pencils were featured over at sister site Babygadet as a convenient solution to the roly poly nature of regular pencils for kids, but you don't have to be a child to enjoy this coloring set! In fact, I might argue that as nice a set of pencils might be for the tots and tykes, it's the big boys and girls who'll love having these colored pencils on hand. Produced with an eye for design, and infused with sly humor, the set includes twelve colors and one #2 pencil. Fit them into your book bag or stash them at your desk. You'll be the one cool kid everyone envies.
Pacific Design has just launched a new collection of laptop bags, which includes two variants: the backpack version and the Messenger bag version. Both variants have a stylish design and guarantee maximum protection for your laptop. In addition, the Ruckus collection's innovative design makes this line of laptop bags up to 30 percent lighter than similar laptop bags.
All bags feature an ergonomic shoulder strap and multiple storage compartments, including a protective iPod/MP3 player pocket, and if you register your Ruckus product at www.pacificdesign.com, you'll receive a free removable iPod/cellphone pouch.
Ruckus Laptop backpacks and messenger bag come in four different color combinations: olive/bold black/super yellow; rose white/granite gray/posey pink; bold black/slate gray/pearl gray, and coming in March 2007, slate gray/sand/tiger orange.
Both bag styles are available at: www.pacificdesign.com, www.ebags.com and at www.cdw.com respectively for $69.95 (backpack) and $59.95 (messenger bag) and will be available at Staples stores in January 2007.
Pacific Design has also a line of really nice PSP cases, also available on their site for $19.95.
The Soft Spot Table is a table-cum-bench designed by Stephen Reed as a product of what he describes as "acknowledging the behavior of people perching on the edge of coffee tables." I find the perspective pretty interesting.
The table has two halves – one that can be used as a normal coffee table and the other connected half that you can sit on. What's so unique about that ? The idea is that when you sit on the latter half, it bends to provide a cushioning experience. This part of the table is made of wood tiles connected with elastic cords that create the cushioning effect and can be used as a normal table as well. The specifications do not talk about the maximum weight that the elasticity can handle, though. And there isn’t a price tag available yet..
If you think you have a soft corner for this soft spot table, check it out at the Stephen Reed's site.
A few days ago Johhny posted about the touch screen monitor from Wacom. While that product is available today, here's an amazing prototype called "Blue Eye" that is still far from a commercial release, but shows a glimpse of the possibilities for the future.
Created by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, the Blue Eye table is made of glass with a camera mounted overhead and a projector underneath. You can place analogue objects or pictures on the glass and take digital pictures of them, which are instantly projected onto the glass. Then, the user can manipulate, move, stretch and give motion to the images.
The video provided on the TechE Blog site gives a great demo of the Blue Eye table.
Though I only drink coffee occasionally (and even then only the iced variety), I can surely appreciate when the joe I drink is fresh, flavorful, and not too strong or too weak. I also understand anything that makes getting ready in the morning easier and faster.
Enter Coffee Giant’s Perfect Pod. The Perfect Pod lets you create self-contained, single-use pods for use in virtually any coffee machine. Sure there are many machines out there that use the single-use pods, but they’re all one-cup systems and vary the pods enough so you can only use the manufacturer’s own pods in the machine. And what if you are attached to a favorite brand of java, like Starbuck’s or Dunkin’ Donuts?
Make it easy by making it in advance. Make it disposable. Make it in the perfect strength. Make as many cups as you want with one pod. Make it your favorite blend. Make it Perfect Pod. [Note to self: Hmmmm… maybe I should sell that to their ad people!]
Technical baselayers for cold weather rock. There's nothing like being out on the slopes, exerting yourself, and actually not freezing your butt off because your long undies wick away moisture and keep you dry (and warm) with ease. Makes you wonder why more people don't dress appropriately for the cold, right? Well EESA, a new entrant into the activewear market was wondering the same thing. Their conclusion? Fashion conscious snowboarders often ignore their better judgment, prefering to wear cotton or other less optimal fabrics and clothing because they dislike the style (or lack thereof) of most base layer activewear. The solution? EESA clothing of course.
EESA's line of fashion conscious clothing for men and women takes its cue from the street and merges that sensibility with current textile technology. All garments are moisture wicking, anti-microbial treated to minimize odor, and quick drying. Think toasty Patagonia-like warmth, but with fresh cuts and colors that don't scream "backcountry mountaineering!" The sleeves on EESA garments also contain "trigger finger loops" -- hidden finger loops that help prevent the sleeves from bunching up (and you don't have to put up with a hole in the cuff of the shirt). The garments don't run cheap ($65-$75), but that's the price for style. And at least you won't have to suffer to look good. More styles and purchase information can be found at www.eesa.com.
You know that saying, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch?" Well, with the Eggulator you can count just about anything you want. A unique device, the Eggulator is a fully functioning calculator shaped like a carton of eggs, with egg keypads inside to assist with all your number crunching endeavors. In a slightly macabre touch, a little chickadee sits in the lower left corner, as if to remind you of what lost potential is contained within the other little egg-lings. Other than being slightly creepy (and therefore also kind of entertaining), the little bird has no other function, and is stated to be "purely decorative." Hee, ...this is exactly the type of office tool I'd like to have at my desk. Give me some Handy Bands and an Eggulator, please.
Sells for $16.99 at ABO Coffee & Dessert.
We asked readers to send us their most horrific stories about getting lost while driving, for a chance to win a Pioneer Electronics AVIC-D2 GPS and other prizes. We talked to our first place winner, Aaron Tucker from Del Valle, Texas, and found out that the day we notified him was, coincidentally, his birthday. So, Happy Birthday, Aaron! Here's his winning entry:
My wife and I won a little $100 Explorist GPS a few years ago at a casino in Louisiana and we go geocaching every week as far out as we can stand to drive. We'd been north to Oklahoma, east to Louisiana, and west to San Angelo, just picking up caches as we went and taking pictures of historical markers. Then two weeks ago we decided to go south. There were several caches in that direction, and about half way (150 miles) we noticed mile markers for the first time. The first one we saw was 143, then 142 and so on, so we decided to see where it ended up. The GPS we own just draws lines to track your route and doesn't tell you where you are or where you're going. We ended up in a fairly small town called Laredo, and half way through we were asked for $3 and entered a little gateway. Suddenly everything changed. Every block of the road ended with a deadly car-wrecking speedbump. We saw some police in a truck with very large guns and that's when we realized we weren't in the United States anymore. Stop signs switched to Alto signs. Gas went from $2.75 to $10.81. We were scared. The pointer on the GPS just blinked innocently as if nothing had changed. We went about six more blocks, dodging pediestrians and bicyclers like we'd never seen before. Then we were assaulted by the smell of something good! Cookies! After five hours of driving, cookies were good. The building only said "Jugar Jugar" and was pretty awful looking, like every other building in what we would soon learn was Nuevo Laredo. As soon as we stepped in, we saw about a hundred slot machines and large trays of cookies. Since we were there, we handed over $40 for $420 pesos and played for several hours, and had cookies. Apparently you can smoke, drink, and play without ID! We actually left with over $120 after taxes and their 1% fee, so our scary driving trip suddenly turned into a fun accidental trip across the border.
The bad news, leaving Mexico without buying anything is bad. Customs and Border Patrol swooped down on this 30ish couple like ants on sugar. They pulled us around to a private holding area and questioned us and searched us like we were some kind of smugglers or something. Apparently there's been a lot of crime in the area. After 2 hours we were allowed to go. Three miles into Texas there was another border patrol checkpoint and when we said we dind't buy anything, we knew it was time for another rubdown. We don't plan on going that direction again. Ever.
To keep his story short, Aaron left out the details of why border patrol was so interested in his car. Here's the rest of what happened: ". . . since we were Geocaching we had a trunkload of stuffed toys stuffed into big green ammo boxes, each with a notepad and pens in plastic bags for visitors to our caches to log their finds, AND stuffed animals are the #1 way for families of drug lords to carry their drugs across the border! . . ." Aaron's GPS (from the story) was stolen a month ago.
We haven't heard from our second and third place winners yet -- it could be you, so check your emails.
Like most dogs, my pup Henry likes to stick his head out the car window, ears flying and a blissful look on his wind-blown face. Vets will tell you that for dogs, the combination of smells makes them "high." (I've tried it but it didn't do the same for me.) But I worry about my doxie launching himself out the window so we've tried tying his leash to the headrest, jerry-rigging an extension leash...you name it, we've tried it.
So when Bamboo Pets came up with the Quick Controlï¿½ Leash + Seat belt latch, both Henry and I were relieved, and I was cursing myself for not thinking of it first. As you can see from the photo, the velcro pouch hides the metal universal seat belt connector, with a convenient zippered pocket to hold keys, money, waste bags. Besides eliminating driver distraction -- Henry prefers to drive -- it gives me peace of mind knowing he's not going to visit that poodle in the next car.
Available in 3ft. and 6ft. lengths, the Quick Controlï¿½ Leash + Seat belt latch fits any size dog.
Visit Bamboo Pets for a store directory and list of online retailers. Approx $20.
Suedy's Koo-ki Sushi is really kooky. I mean, really. If you're expecting some savory maguro or ebi, get ready for a surprise, because this sushi is actually made out of chocolate. As a novel specialty item, Koo-ki Sushi sure gets your attention. The craftsmanship is exquisite, with faithful attention to detail. Each confection really looks like sushi, but tastes very different (I'm sure.) The site allows you to shop online, and even ship to your desired destination, ensuring that even if you don't live near a Koo-ki sushi store you can still savor and give the gift of choco-sushi to your friends and family. You'll be sure to astound (or confound) them with your efforts. Even the included wasabi (green tea flavored) and soy sauce (chocolate) is a sugary treat.
Intel has launched its Centrino Duo Blogger Challenge with six bloggers -- including our own Mia -- and a "mystery blogger." Here's the premise:
On October 1, 2006 - Intel provided laptop machines with either the Core™ Duo or Core™ 2 Duo processor and built in Centrino wireless technology to 6 rising stars in the blogosphere. In return for these machines, our participating bloggers agreed to contribute to this group blog over the course of 5 weeks sharing their honest opinions and responses to a series of questions about blogging, the blogosphere and technology. Apart from recieving a laptop computer, none of these bloggers have been compensated in any way or asked to write anything specific about Intel. The aim of this blog is meant to stimulate discussion and bring bloggers together regardless of their “categories.”
The identity of the mystery blogger, described as "a person who many believe may just have defined the entire category of blogging itself," will be revealed on November 15th.
See Gawker's take on the blogger challenge.
Executives have always been the addicted client base for the BlackBerry, due to it's impressive email abilities. But the developers at RIM (Research In Motion) realized they were missing a huge segment of the market. So they spent two years engineering the Pearl and it was worth every minute.
I asked Mark Guibert, the VP of Corporate Marketing at RIM, who their target audience is for this device: "The new BlackBerry Pearl is helping attract many cell phone owners that hadn't previously considered BlackBerry. It's one of the smallest and lightest smartphones on the market and yet it still delivers the full BlackBerry experience that so many people have come to love. That's a powerful combination."
Now drastically slimmed down -- 4.2 by 2 by 0.6 inches -- it's smaller than it's competitors, mainly the Treo, Motorola Q and Sidekick. With it's snazzy black and silver polish you're tempted to show it off at any opportunity.
The discreet "pearl" in the middle of the device acts as your tracking wheel and is surpisingly easy to use. The new features are a camera (1.3 megapixels, with flash), memory-card slot, voice dialing, movie playback and a music player. Four instant-message programs are built in (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ). Texting teens weren't interested in a BB until they could download ring tones and take pics.
I was reading Design Spotter this week and came across a very attractive appliance. So taken was I with Pierre Ittner's Red Hot that I will declare it to be the prettiest espresso machine on the planet. Beyond looking like it was stolen from Dr. Seuss the design calls for 100% all metal construction throughout the piece.
Sadly, this design is still in need of a home. I've corresponded with Pierre, and he's currently shopping for a house willing to adopt his machine for production. This could be a perfect match for a company like Illy, Alessi, Francis Francis, Starbucks, Kitchenaid, or Target. I don't care which company sells me an espresso machine, but someone needs to get behind Ittner and bring this machine to my countertop! Truth to tell, I'm only slightly biased because the Red Hot would perfectly match my newly refinished kitchen cabinets.
Dear People Who Decide Such Things,
I am proud to fly my colors as a patron of companies which have wisely invested in designers who do not produce boring products. If your company builds this espresso machine I will buy one. What's more, I will write to encourage other people to buy this machine for themselves, and as a gift for any friend who appreciates good design and superior aesthetics.
Time for yet another Mathmos lamp! Continuing their candlelight theme, Float, instructs you to fill its glass with water, insert a candle into the glass, and then light it. Instead of the candle burning down the way, the light remains where it is, and the body of the candle moves upward due to its desire to float on the surface of the water. I'm a huge Mathmos fan, but Float just seems to want to be clever rather than fit in with its good-looking siblings. Why can't you do both, Float? Although, I know that at some point soon my universal love of Mathmos will kick in, and I'll have to buy one. Hmm, that frosted glass one looks really good.
£35/$67 from Mathmos direct.
What do you do when everyone has the same product?
In the 90s, screen saver programs became a popular way to personalize computers. Originally, screen savers were created to protect your monitor from having an image "burned" into the screen if nothing changed for a long period of time. Even after they solved this technical problem, people still loved and used screen savers because they could project their personalities onto these beige boxes.
Today, protective cases for iPods allow owners to individualize their mp3 players in a similar way. Some of my favorite examples are iPod Gelaskins, which have a diverse range of quirky patterns and playful illustrations. They fit all the major kinds of iPod, including the Nano, new Nano, mini and video lines. These covers are made with scratch resistant 3M vinyl (sort of an ironic choice of material for an mp3 player accessory.)
For £9.95 (US$18.40) on Urban Retro, the Gelaskins are an affordable way to both protect and personalize your iPod.
The Street Muttz Interactive Puppy is a cute addition to the various lines of interactive pet toys. These cute creatures have been programmed to activate when they sense your presence and react to different kinds of touch (mess with their noses and you get a growl).
All the cute of having a pet and none of the work sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Street Muttz are available at I Want One of Those for £19.95 or US $35.91.
It's hard to meet people nowadays who are completely happy with the way their bodies are. Hence, it's is no wonder that there's a multi-billion dollar industry ready to alter every aspect of our bodies to our satisfaction. The CoCo Nose Clamp is one more offering from this industry, and promises to transform your ugly nose to one similar to Queen Cleopatra’s.
The product claims to be a support tool for the beautification of your nose. The technology itself seems to be pretty simple, with the device using pressure applied over repeated intervals of time to get that crooked nose a bit straighter. The areas that contact your nose are made of silicon, so you can supposedly wear it without any pain or discomfort. One size fits all since the size of the device can be adjusted by turning the knob. The company recommends that you not wear it all the time or while driving or sleeping.
Though I'm sure that wearing this on your nose is not a pleasurable experience, if it saves you from going under the knife, it may well be worth it.
Available in blue only, it can be ordered online at Kenko (Japanese site).
PBJ is a company that specializes in all types of tablet computers. Designer Crispin Jones was commisioned to reinvent the most boring part of all technology... the plastic box that holds the sexy electronic components. With a goal of bringing classic craft designs to the technology scene Mr. Jones has created a pleasing case modeled after the Japanese suzuribako boxes used to store writings implements. Beyond the stylistic reasons for the deep decorative lines; the texture carved into the surface provides a no slip hold for fingers.
Though I admire the aesthetics I don't agree with the design philosophy that Mr. Jones has used here; there are no external buttons, and input is entirely through the touch screen. The lack of any type of sensor pad for scrolling is pretty limiting when it comes to daily use beyond reading a single page; "tap the screen to continue" went out of fashion with my Handspring Visor.
Personally, I'm a fan of large numbers of programmable buttons that can be chorded to help ease the lack of keyboard shortcuts. Common functions like copy, paste, page down, page up, volume controls, minimize app, ALT-TAB, are perfect for dedicated buttons. The lack of a proper keyboard shouldn't mean a lack of control. The UMPC is a new breed of machine, and it will take innovative control schema providing the full range of PC functions before a keyless box can be fully welcomed into the fold.
Via your friends and mine at Core77, and photos were taken by Dan McAlister.
The first thing I thought when I saw the picture above was: When gadgets are getting smaller and sleeker by the day, who would want a large bulky remote control? Well, according to the company, a large remote provides ease of use and no possibility of losing it. One way to look at it: Since plasmas and LCDs are getting larger by the day, there's no reason why their controllers should lag behind.
As for technical specs, they're the usual for a universal remote with support for six devices including TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite, cable and auxiliary A/V device. The company claims that IR codes for most popular A/V devices are included. The large buttons glow in the dark so that you can continue to use the remote even when the lights are switched off. If you thought that being so big would mean more batteries, no worries there – all it requires are 2 AA batteries.
One thing is for sure - families that have one of these are never going to have those panic attacks when their favorite TV show is about to come on and the remote control is nowhere to be seen. If this is important to you, the $35 that this will cost you will be money well spent.
Available online at the Brookstone shop.
Via Random Good Stuff.
Here's a way to pace the eating of your Halloween candy (because we all have it whether we admit it or not). The mini-Candy Grabber is a home version of the arcade game found in amusement parks and supermarkets. However, instead of toys, this version is filled with candy. Place a fake coin into the machine, and you have 75 seconds to pick up a piece of candy and drop it into the shoot. The controls are, in fact, fairly complex, as it comes with three joysticks to maneuver the claw. Your edible prize will certainly taste better after working for it. The mini-Candy Grabber is one of those rare toys that has both kid and adult appeal.
The Candy Grabber is available at I Want One Of Those for £17.95 (US$33.20.)
These rubber undies add a little spice and organization to that sad little cubicle or cluttered home office. There's no great new and amazing technology behind the Handy Bands, but it sure is cute to take such a common office staple and give it an unexpected twist. Novelty driven design-o-philes, I'm sure, will be all over the cheerful yet restrained palette and will especially like the way these rubber bands impart a sense of fun through sharp attention to detail. Handy Bands are the type of non-essential item that people generally don't buy for themselves, but I'm sure they would make an appreciated add-on or little surprise as a gift to a friend. I know I'd be totally tickled if somebody picked these up for me. And they sure beat using bland old beige colorless rubber bands.
Almost a year ago several sites reported on a limited edition Prada notebook that was set to be released "sometime in 2006." That time is soon as Cnet Asia has the confirmation that the notebooks will be available for the Christmas season. The $2,500 Asus S6F 3.3lb ultraportable is still available with tricked out leather lid and palmrests in light and dark cowhide; but Prada has outdone themselves by speccing a pink leather for their limited release of 50 machines.
On initial release the light cowhide version of the S6F was well accepted by most, and extremely well received by some. Most reviewers admit that the $400 leather upgrade package is mainly for impressing collegues, and expressed common concerns over how the leather would weather daily wear and tear.
The hardware specs on the S6F are respectable for an ultraportable machine. The glass is an 11.1" WXGA widescreen display at 1366x768 running off an onboard Intel 950. The processor is a 1.66 GHz Core Duo with a ceiling of two gigs of DDR2 RAM. Other amenities include a 120 gig hard drive, a DVD burner, integrated wifi, gigabit ethernet, and a 4-in-1 memory card reader. The laptop weighs a little over three pounds, but the downside is that battery life is only a shade over two hours.
What is it, you ask? It's a mouse of course -- the new Hela's Glider Mouse which looks so peculiar because it's designed ergonomically.
The central mouse position gives you an optimal working posture and suppossedly eliminates the "painful motion of repeatedly having to reach out for the mouse next to the keyboard." It works with both standard and small size keyboards and laptops, and is good for righties or lefties. The "glider" moves effortlessly across the pad, and even though the "advanced user" can configure the mouse using 12 switches for customized programming, it doesn't require any extra drivers or software.
At ï¿½150 , it's still cheaper than computer claw. Buy at Helga Co..
Ouch, you just made me reach for the mouse!
Thirteen years after its inception, the Dutch design collective Droog has organized a show of its innovation work which has arrived at New York's Museum of Arts & Design, after making its way through Europe.
Founded by Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers, Droog collaborates with a diverse body of designers to create masterful products, such as their famous Milk Bottle Lamps, using low-cost industrial, as well as recycled, materials. The results are simple products made with environmentally sound principles. The show entitled "Simply Droog" presents furniture, lighting, household items, from Droog's collection of projects.
The Milk Bottle Lamp can be purchased at Plushpod for $139.
Simply Droog runs from September 21, 2006 through January 14, 2007.
I recently switched to a laptop bag that holds my laptop in a vertical position rather than the more common horizontal position, and I swear it's much more comfortable, though I have no idea why. Lately, I've seen more vertical bags on the market, like this LEVertigo bag from Be.ez (manufacturer of multimedia accessories in Europe and Asia). A few new colors have recently been added to this collection, like this "Kakee" one. It fits laptops up to 15.4". I love the bright interior color and the large front opening -- I imagine both features are designed with visibility and easy access in mind. Unfortunately, it appears that there are no distributors yet in the U.S.
You're confident in your individuality, right? So you can have some fun with this "I'm just a bar code" door mat. Made from 100% recycled truck tires with durable nylon flocking, usable indoors or out, washable and durable. Measures 30" x 18".
Bet you'll be the only one on the block with one.
Available for $23.99 from those funsters at Perpetual Kid.
This doggie sleeping bag provides pooches with a reversible training blanket (pee-resistant, in other words) and a cozy inside for burrowing into. Most importantly, it gives them their own blankie for sleepovers, visits to the kennel, your parents', or just a sleep-over party with the neighborhood pups.
Ventilation holes improve air circulation, and it can unzip to lie flat, with that lovely recognizable scent of home, dander, and dog hair mixed in with the aromas of past bones. Yummy.
When not in use, the bag rolls up for easy storage and transportation. Also available in pink.
At Bamboo Pets.