I'm not sure how I feel about human-powered search engines. If I had to choose between computer-powered results full of irrelevant links and spam, and results generated by random people, I'd take my chances with the non-human option. Luckily, you don't really have to choose, since you always have Google as a fallback.
It's interesting to see how different companies are approaching this idea of human-generated search results. Whereas Mahalo, Jason Calacanis' new project, uses a submission system where the company screens each submission before acceptance and publication, iRazoo, a new search engine, offers what appears to be a much more open method for us to influence search results: we, the unruly masses, can recommend sites. And we're encouraged to do so by being awarded points that we can use to purchase goods.
As a New Yorker, I've learned that space is a commodity, and transporting items via the subway is little less than a nightmare. Meet B.I.O, the ultimate office-to-go. I met this space-saving wonder at Spring Design & Art, a favorite Brooklyn store. B.I.O saved me the hassle of hauling my office clutter across town to a new job.
Deceptive at first glance, B.I.O is a terrific 3-in-1 trick. Its flat aluminum surface actually hosts three must-have office objects: a business card holder, a 3-pen holder, and a postcard/photo/notepad holder. All items can be snapped out of the sheet and assembled in about 5 minutes.
Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Issey Miyaki . . . oh my! Have you ever wondered about the science behind your favorite fragrance? Perfume Science is interesting for gals of all ages curious about the scentology.
Perfume Science teaches novice perfumers about the biology, chemistry, and techniques behind fragrance design. You can experiment with countless fragrance combinations, and learn how your nose and olfactory system work with your brain to detect and determine smells. This kit is a wonderful mini-laboratory that includes 8 high-quality perfume oils and decorative flacons for storing your favorite creations.
Price: $50 at Amazon.
Arrgh. I get so mad at Netflix for sending me DVDs that are scratched and skip (at the best parts of the movie of course). Wouldn't it be wonderful if every piece of media we owned, rented, or borrowed were a download? Until that glorious day is upon us, it's awfully handy to keep the Xinix CD/DVD Repair Pro close by.
Repair Pro is a motorized device that can clean and repair all DC/DVD media discs (games, software, videos . . . oh my!). It boasts a success rate of 98%, eliminating the scratches which cause skipping, mosaic, freezing, and scrambled screens. The best part? No need to use a spray cleaner or any type of cleaning solution.
We love this, because it means that we can finally clean and sell that vintage Paula Abdul CD. Straight Up.
Price: $34 at Amazon.
Now that the initial excitement over the iPhone has tapered off some, I believe reality is sinking in and some iPhone converts and admirers are newly appreciating the virtues of other smartphones. Among the Popcrew who couldn't resist the iPhone when it came out last month, I would say Evan is the one most in love with her iPhone one month later (I always knew she was the least cynical of all of us).
While I've used an iPhone, I haven't yet bought one for myself. I was tempted to when I first played around with the browser, which is so far superior to that of any other phone that I've considered getting an iPhone just for web browsing (in which case, I wouldn't even bother using it as a phone). On most other phones, I'm always too impatient with the compromised functionality, slow speed, and appearance of web pages to bother with it except when I'm really desperate and nowhere near a computer. On the iPhone, you get full web pages, and can zoom in and out with a pinch of your fingers on the screen. It's lovely and so fast (who knew there were so many wi-fi hotspots all over the place?), and I never get tired of the futuristic feeling of browsing endlessly through Bluefly on it during lunch. I've even seen Mia pubish posts on Popgadget directly from her iPhone - we've never been able to do that on any other smartphone.
I got my Helio Ocean a month before the iPhone release, and while web browsing on the Helio doesn't compare to the iPhone, the Helio still comes in way ahead of other smartphones I've used. The 2.4 inch screen, with QVGA display and 260K colors, is simply beautiful (albeit much smaller than the iPhone screen), and with the click-free search feature, you can search the web by typing in your terms on your idle screen without first opening up a search box. I find that I browse a lot more often now because it doesn't take many steps to get to what I'm looking for.
Remember when we wrote about the tiny Zen Stone? The MP3 player that fills with 250 songs and can be slipped into your pocket?
Now there's a new model -- the Zen Stone Plus -- which takes 500 songs (2 GB), but is also an FM radio, with 32 station presets, PLUS there's a built-in stopwatch, countdown timer and clock, handy for workouts. PLUS, there's a microphone, but by far the best feature is the menu display so you don't have to wait until a song starts playing to skip it.
I'm a notorious sloucher. My beautiful-to-look-at chair and desk at work, along with my questionable posture, definitely contribute to my back and shoulder pain. In spite of exercise and some yoga, I still suffer occasional pain, and I'm frequently too busy to stop off for a massage. In recent weeks, Spine-Worx has become my go-to for relieving back pain.
A simple and useful device, Spine-Worx quickly and gently guides misaligned vertebrae in the mid and lower spine into their correct position, bringing relief from back pain, tension and stress. To use it, you recline on the padded ridges whose unique contours apply even pressure where needed. In as little as 10-15 minutes, tense muscles relax and stretch, helping to relieve back pain and related symptoms. Your body weight controls the applied pressure, and allows your back to conform to its natural shape. Ahhhhhh!