Loop any wire (up to 5mm dia) around the Cableyoyo’s empty spool leaving just the necessary length outside for connection. Then stick it on to a flat surface using its adhesive spindle and you are done. The yoyo can be snapped on/off and can easily be carried in your pocket to hold the wires from your portable devices as well. Get the Cableyoyo for a very reasonable $5 a piece. Or try the CordHog ($6 for a pack of 6) which works on the same principle but is more straightforward, allowing you to just loop the wire around a spiral core. Both products are available in attractive colors and could make lovely gifts for the upcoming holiday season.
QR code is 2D barcode that is currently all the rage in Japan. The chief advantage of QR code over standard barcode is that it doesn't require great resolution to be understood by a QR code reader. Even a low res digital photo of QR code is readable. This means your camera phone can turn into a QR reader just by installing a reader application. In Japan, ads display QR code in magazines, billboards and tv, which reveal secret links or messages.
For those of us who aren't in Japan, Jaxo has created a free java app QR code reader, called SnapABar. The app synchs with your camera and then translates the QR code you photograph. They also offer "Barcode generator," which encodes text into four different QR codes. (Unfortunately, there isn't a standard code yet.) For now, SnapABar is fun to download and experiment with for reading code. However, we still need to wait a while for the QR code to become more widely used before it really starts to get useful.
Pirate skull-and-crossbones are a fun part of our popular design and product culture. And, we've definitely been taken captive by an array of tech treasures. If you're in the market for a fashion-friendly mouse, consider the Crystal Pirate mouse.
Glittery-goodness, this mouse is crowned with a precision-cut, Swarovski crystal pirate skull-and-crossbones. The mouse is state-of-the-art 800 DPT optical technology. Literally, plug-and-play from your USB.
It's not cheap, but it's not walking the plank either.
I have always admired people at the gym who are able to sweat and read at the same time, and I always wonder if they actually retain any of the information they're taking in during the workout. It’s not just the difficulty of keeping your eyes on the usually tiny print of whatever you're reading while trying to cycle or walk up some imaginary stairs that I find challenging, but the ability to concentrate. And the ability to concentrate while trying to not pass out on the treadmill or whatever evil cardio machine you happen to be on, is where the problem lies (at least for me); so whether it’s a book or a video demanding my full attention, there's very little chance that I'll actually retain much information.
If - unlike me - you don't suffer from theis inability to multitask, you might want to continue reading and find out more about Connect 18.
I never have enough USB ports and I really didn't want one of the novelty hamburger/Christmas tree/copulating animal ones, so this 180° Revolving Hub from USB Brando is just what I need. Port 1 and Port 2 can be revolved 180° and as you can see, you can easily adjust the angle of the ports and connect any other USB devices.
- 180° revolving hub
- Aluminum case body
- USB 2.0
- Plug and play, hot swapping
- Red LED indicator
- Size: 106x20x20mm
- Weight: 43g
Besides, the fact that it looks like a kid's toy is always a plus. $16 from USB Brando.
Nobody loves a PB&J more than I do. In fact, on tough days at work I've been known to spend $7+ at the Peanut Butter Company, a local eatery serving nothing but PB&J goodness.
My only complaint about really good natural peanut butter/cashew butter is that the oil separates and floats to the surface easily. If you don't mix the contents well each time or mix them deeply enough, you'll end up with a wasted couple of inches of dry peanut butter.
The Peanut Butter Mixer makes mixing non-hydrogenated/natural peanut butter quick, easy, and mostly mess free. Simply lubricate the mixing rod with a little bit of peanut or olive oil, slide into jar, use the coordinated lid, and stir. The mixing rod cleans itself upon removal from the jar!
Price: $9.99 at Amazon
My cousin’s 7-year-old twins would love to have the Spider-man Boombox … and my husband wouldn’t mind one either. As for myself, I’d rather stick with the scary Darth Vader lamp. The super-hero’s “musical head” includes both a CD player and an AM/FM radio and can be purchased at eToys for $49.99 . . . and if you play tasteless music, it will cover the CD in spider web … well, not quite, but it could be a useful feature.
I haven’t seen the retro look blend better with any product in a long time than it does with the Cassette MP3 player. This gadget looks like a normal cassette tape on the outside but is actually an mp3 player. The camouflage design is not without functional advantages too – not only do you get the cool retro look with the cassette casing, but you can also use the player as a car cassette, or with any cassette player, or as a normal mp3 player.
Struggle to lug your laptop and its peripherals as you work on the go? Are you like me, hate your super slim IBM Thinkpad and require a full-sized keyboard everywhere you go? Red Envelope's infrared keyboard may be a good alternative for you and me.
The compact projector displays a red-diode laser-drawn image of a 63-key keyboard on any flat, opaque surface. The additional audible genius? As you fingers do their thing, there's an accompanying realistic typing sound. Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled PDA, Smartphone, laptop, or PC. Rechargeable power supply lasts for about 3 hours.
Wicked smart light tech.
Price: $180 at RedEnvelope.
Also at Amazon: Bluetooth Virtual Laser Keyboard
Look out acne… ThermaClear is here!
ThermaClear is the latest and greatest in the expanding arsenal of breakout busters. Developed by a laser physicist, ThermaClear is similar to laser treatment devices used by dermatologists to treat acne. Using a proprietary technology, it delivers a controlled burst of heat directly to the pimple which neutralizes the core problem of the evil red spot: bacteria, preventing things from growing uglier. The heat therapy also speeds healing, making those nasty zits disappear faster.
Haven't we all at one point or another wished for one device that can perform the function of several? The Cooltone Mini Fridge is an example of the extremity of such thinking.
The Cooltone seems to have originally started off as a fridge, but looks like the makers just went nuts with the superfluities along the way. How else would you explain the ludicrous add-ons? First comes a digital CD player fixed right on top of the fridge. Next, a digital FM radio with built-in snooze alarm. Next again, sockets to connect your iPod or headset. Still counting? Then add that remote control (of course!) to manage all this and we are just about done.
The free Pinger service solves a whole host of problems and inconveniences you encounter with both text and voice messaging on cell phones. If you use your cell phone for work, or have a busy social or family life, the benefits of Pinger are immediately obvious. Basically, Pinger sends your voice messages via text, allowing you to leave messages for people without calling their cell phones, and to send messages to groups of people with a single call.
Sometimes referred to as "audio text messaging," Pinger is fast and simple to set up (it took me about 2 minutes to register and input my first few names), and works like this: You call the Pinger phone number, hear "Who do you wanna message?", say the name of the person, then record your message. The recipient gets a text message that prompts them to dial the Pinger local number (which they can do by pressing their call button, no need to manually dial) to retreive your message. Because you don't encounter layers of prompts or inputting of passwords, it's painless to shoot off messages like this all day long, and equally painless to receive them.
It's a handy tool when:
As a kid, the catchy, familiar "Clap On, Clap Off" jingle and technology amazed me. To be able to have total control over the lights with a simple hand motion basically equated to my concept of modern technology . . . awesome. I always urged my thrifty mother to take the dive and give it a try; I mean, it was the solution to so many problems! She never did, and I therefore have continued my quest in search of a more modern, less foolish, similar device.
Since its market debut two years ago, INSTEON has been a control geek's best friend. Its clever, award-winning technology enables users to control lights and appliances remotely via a plug-in controller. Now your non-geek friends and family can enjoy INSTEON too, thanks to the introduction of new accompanying technology called "RemoteLinc."
So much for man's best friend.
Designer Buro Vormkrijgers probably won't be at the next PETA meeting, not after creating this speaker-for-a-head 20" tall dog. He'll likely also skip the next Salvation Army gathering, as something tells me that anyone charging $900 for two decapitated speaker dogs won't be welcomed with open arms.
The Woofer Speaker System is available now in black and white.
Via Born Rich.
This fall when you're watching the game, you can be seriously loyal to your team. One-for-All's university-branded universal remote hails to your team, sporting team colors and logo.
Even better, this isn't a lame remote, it's actually really good, featuring the an up-to-date code library, Closed Captioning, dedicated menu keys (compatible with Digital Cable or Satellite), and consolidating up to 4 devices (TV, VCR/PVR, DVD, Cable/Satellite). There's also a FAV key which scans 10 of your favorite channels. Great for football season, basketball season, or year-round team spirit. Available for an array of seemingly random teams on Amazon and Target.
For the former cheerleader . . . err athlete in all of us:)
I've been in search of the perfect over-the-head headphones that I can leave at work, since I recently realized that my earbuds actually hurt my ears (a combination of the intensity of my music and the way they fit into my ears, and my low pain threshold). At home I have my bulky-but-beautiful Bose, but I didn't want to make another $100+ investment for something that will definitely result in back-to-back bad hair days and ultimately may end up walking off without me one night.
Enter Bang & Olufsen Form 2. These headphones are definitely the most stylish and comfortable over-the-head ones I've sampled. I picked them up in the Apple Store (I actually bought two pairs). Form 2 fits over-the-head, but feels as if they're floating on your ears instead. Bang & Olufsen, a company known for slick, minimalist design, created Form 2 to be lightweight and easily adjusted for maximum comfort.
Now that New York Fashion Week is over, if you're still looking for a fashion fix, check out the Street Peeper to get the pulse on what people are wearing from cities all over the world. Think of it as The Satorialist gone global.
This website launched by Phil Oh, author of "Secrets of the Model Dorm," has photographers from Berlin to São Paulo to Jakarta to New York capturing anyone with styling prowess. Street Peeper also covers general lifestyle trends, events, and news, such as runway shows and store reviews. Each news item is still curated by Street Peeper's editorial staff, which keeps things slightly left of the mainstream.
What I love about street fashion and this site is the demonstration of quirky personal style. Street Peeper shows that attitude, and a good eye more than makes up for lack of money when you're expressing yourself through what you wear.
Just in case your current hairdryer hasn't already been mistaken for a gun by airport security, Japanese Noda-ya is selling the revolver-inspired Western Dryer for the next time you arrive for your flight way too early.
What better way to kill a few hours than to be detained for spending 4,000 yen (about $35) on a blow-dryer?
Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science and the Musashino Red Cross Hospital are developing a robot capable of reproducing oral movements necessary to produce human speech. The prototype robot, an artificial mouth with a tongue made of silicone and a lower jaw driven by artificial muscles, can mimic tongue and lower jaw movements for reproducing Japanese vowel sounds. The movements are controlled by a computer program based on magnetic resonance imaging of oral movements of the human mouth during speech. The team is next working on building lips and a palate necessary for enunciating consonants, with the ultimate goal of developing a robot that can be used for speech therapy and for teaching foreign languages.
Via The Nikkei Weekly (subscription).
Forget about that "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" nonsense. These three monkeys want to party!
For just $3.30, the sound-activated brown, pink, and blue monkeys will dance (given that they're armless, I take "dance" to mean either "spin" or "turn from left to right") until the music stops playing (or their batteries run out).
Add them to your Hop Pop collection and create the most annoying cubicle at the office!
Fuji Xerox has developed a photocopier that scans articles in Japanese newspapers and magazines and prints them out in English, Korean or Chinese (and vice versa), retaining the layout of the original. Somehow, I doubt that this new device will seriousy threaten the livelihood of professional human translators. Unless some miraculous new technology has been developed for the actual translation function, my guess is that it will produce computerized translations on the level of the web-based translators we've all seen, like Babelfish and Google Language Tools. Instant translations, however rough they may be, are better than nothing in a pinch, and sometimes produce very funny results - not that anyone will buy this copier, which I expect will be fairly pricey, for entertainment value alone.
Via Digital World Tokyo.
Made for people who work outdoors in all weather conditions, this waterproof paper lets you keep writing in the rain, snow, hail, fog, whatever. Around where I live, the only people who'd really need this are the canvassers for political and environmental causes who go door-to-door, like the Sierra Club guy who once showed up in my driveway in a blizzard (that's dedication!).
Rite in the Rain makes a whole line of all-weather adventure journals, notebooks and pens.
Via Weather Snob.
Unlike some of the audio snobs among us, I rarely use noise canceling headphones with my iPod. I'm not that trusting of my environment and the people in it to turn off the sounds around me and insulate myself inside my music. I want to hear danger approaching. When I do occasionally use standard headphones, I wear them a little bit off center so that I can still hear the phone, the doorbell, the dog, the leaky faucet, the creepy footsteps coming down the stairs. With earbuds, I keep the volume really low, which isn't much fun.
AirDrives headphones are made for people like me (and those interested in keeping their hearing intact for the long haul). Unlike ordinary earbuds, they don't go inside the ears, but rest on the exterior of the ears, delivering rich sound quality while keepng the listener aware of surrounding sounds. AirDrives are based on InAir Technology developed by founder Ken Wright who was inspired by concern for his daughter's health and safety.
AirDrives are available for pre-order ($99.99 for regular model, $69.99 for children's version).
SONY saw the light -- or heard the music -- and has dropped their proprietary SonicStage, so the spankin' new SONY Walkman is open to more file formats. By supporting playback of MP3 and WMA DRM and non-DRM audio files downloaded from multiple sources, it finally becomes a desirable player.
Weighing less than 2 ounces, but with the capacity to store up to 4,500 songs, 8 hours of video or hundreds of photographs, the 8GB Walkman® Video MP3 player has pretty much everything and still fits in your pocket. The sleek,compact design has an expensive feel and the screen is big and bright. The user interface is intuitive, so it's easy to switch from playlists to FM radio or photos or video playback. Long battery life, too.
Good sound quality, but of course the ear buds suck.
$179 at Sony now.
I am not a gamer, but have a friend I call "Game Girl" so she did all the testing for this post. Good deal for me, eh? Here's what Game Girl liked about the new Logitech G15:
- High-visibility GamePanel™ LCD: Displays game stats and other important system information.
- Illuminated characters: Choose from three levels of brightness. Great for night play
- Six programmable G-keys: "Perform single keystrokes or complex macros" with six fully programmable G-keys. Create macros on the go, without having to pause the action in "World of Warcraft."
- Handy one-touch controls for volume and media playback.
- "Cool" cable management: It keeps mouse, headset, and other cords out of the way by routing them through channels on the underside of the keyboard.
What Game Girl didn't like:
Personal Touch is a prototype for a laptop customization kit designed by one of my favorite Italian design studios, AnAtomic Factory. The prototype was presented at the Fuorisalone during the Salone del Mobile week in Milan this past April and was a finalist in the Alcantara Lab Awards, by Alcantara®.
If you can't immediately tell that it's 3:34 on the brushed-gunmetal watch shown above, then your childhood education has served you well. Of course you can't tell it's 3:34. Only the creators and owners of the Geomesh can do that!
They know that the 27 LEDs lighting up the mirrored grid are more than just something bright and sparkling to look at. They know that the vertical lights correspond to hours and that minutes are indicated by the horizontal lights, each of which can be configured to represent either one or five minutes.
Available now with blue, white, or multicolor LEDs for $147.
Via I4U News.
I'm a sucker for reasonably priced, cleverly disguised geek-wear. When Swarovski went tech with their new "Active Crystals" line, I found myself wondering if we've gone a little too far with our lust for luxury. When did we go ga-ga for glittery gadgets?
Suspended from a beige silk cord, this heart pendant splits into two parts, revealing a hidden USB memory key. Made of polished stainless steel with fully faceted, asymmetrically-cut Silver Shade crystal, the two halves are held together with a pin. There's 1GB of data (which is about 250 songs or 1,000 photos) with password protection and high-speed USB 2.0 interface.
Hitachi has developed a portable biometric monitor based on its 2005 prototype pulse-monitoring sensor, but much lighter (40 grams) and designed to be worn like a wristwatch. Equipped With an accelerometer and temperature sensor, it monitors the wearer's activities 24 hours a day and sends the information wirelessly to a personal computer where it can be analyzed (how much sleep, how much exercise, lifestyle rhythm). The company plans to release a commercial model in 2008.
As a former guitar player, I know very well the pain of taking your instrument from one place to another. I still remember the days of trying to take the subway in Milan with one of those gigantic hard cases that seemed to always get in the way of some nervous passenger who would start yelling insults at me. Back then, I had welcomed the padded guitar cases with shoulder straps as one of the best inventions ever; at least that would allow me to bike to my guitar lesson or band practice and avoid the hostile subway crowd. But when it comes to traveling on a plane, even the padded shoulder strap case won’t help as, in most cases, the guitar is still too big to be allowed as carry-on luggage.
It's precisely this situation that inspired airline pilot and guitar player Fredrik Johansson to design Centerfold, the first ever foldable guitar. Johansson is also the founder of DeVillain, the Swedish guitar manufacturing company responsible for Centerfold.
This is just what I need for self-protection: the "Immobilizer", a stun gun disguised as a cell phone. While sounding very Rambo-ish, it could come in handy with its impressive charge of 900,000 volts. "Take that, Bad Guy!"
Besides, it also doubles as a LED flahlight. It comes with holster, so assuming your assailant is fine with you making a call, you're home free. I'd be worried about setting it off accidentally, but to prevent accidental discharge it has two levels of safety.
For $100, you can get a 10-inch character from Dig Dug, a 12-inch Pac-Man, and four 7.8-inch tall Pac-Man ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Pokey to prospective buyers; red, pink, blue, and orange to the rest of us). They look soft and huggable, but there's probably no way to tell for sure: anyone buying will keep them under glass and in their original packaging. Don't you know how destructive your finger oils can be?
More Namco plushhere .
Via Shiny Shiny.
Personally, I think that the iPhone and most phones look pretty terrific naked. But, if you lust for all that glitters Fashion Cell Shop carries a complete line of snap-on face plates. Each plate is made from hard plastic, decorated with over 1,300 hand-set rhinestones, and attaches to the front, back, and sides of your phone. My favorite is the skulls, but there are many other designs.
Designs for the new Sidekick III, Sidekick ID, Motorola Razr, Blackberry, Treo, and more.
Price: $39.95 at fashioncellshop.com.
My daughter and I have been on a Dim Sum kick lately, and that means lots of fried dumplings (if only because that's the kind we like best) along with doses of high fat guilt. So I'm happy and relieved to know that there's an alternative way to have fried food that doesn't involve a deep fryer. The Tefal Actifry uses a small amount of oil and circulating hot air to cook foods like french fries so that they're crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, and only 3% fat. You can also use it to cook other vegetables and meat (fried chicken sounds good). All pieces, except the base, can go in the dishwasher.
No information on whether this product is available in the U.S., but UK store Lakeland sells it for £150.
I don't know if Hungry Girl would approve of this since the food coming out of this fryer isn't completely devoid of fat, but it definitely meets my looser low-fat standards.
Via Kitchen Contraptions.
I'm one of those people who would love smoking to be banned from all public places, but I do feel some sympathy for my smoking friends who get twitchy by dessert in a smoke-free restaurant. There are patches and gum, of course, but no hard-core smoker would be caught chewing some fruity Nicorette. So I'm curious to know what a real smoker would think of the Crown 7 electric cigarette.
The Crown 7 cigarette (also available in cigar and pipe styles) is an electronic cigarette which uses nicotine cartridges which also contain water for creating smoky looking vapor to simulate the puffs of carcinogens without the public health concerns. You can watch a video here. There is a tobacco "flavor" but the product claims there is no odor. There's a rechargeable battery for making the vapor, and a nicotine cartridge lasts for the equivalent of two packs of regular cigs.
SpiralFrog, an ad-supported website that allows visitors to download music and videos "free" of charge, was scheduled to launch this Monday in the U.S. and Canada. Here's how it works: you have to register on the site, giving (up) demographic filters such as age, gender and zip code. The site requires only that users register on the site and log in once a month, otherwise your DRM'd files are vaporized.
For all that, SpiralFrog's content won't work on your Mac or your iPod, and can only be placed on two media players or phones at a time. At launch, the service was offering more than 800,000 tracks and 3,500 music videos for download. Of all the major labels, only Universal Music Group, has licensed its music and videos to SpiralFrog.
SpiralFrog plans to give a cut of its advertising revenue to the labels, and to attract music fans who normally use online file-swapping networks to share and download music for free.
The only way I could see using the site is if SpiralFrog gave ME a share of the ad revenue.
I have no problem sleeping. Seriously. It's the opposite of insomnia, the waking up part that really gets to me. I have two alarms and my cell phone to thank for the fact that I make it to work every day. Flipping through my L.L. Bean Christmas magazine (yep, it's here already!) I discovered what may just be the greatest alarm clock ever -- the "moonbeam" clock.
The "moonbeam" clock wakes sleepers up with a gently illuminating light. Just in case you fall back asleep, a bell sounds. It's retro shape is playful for any room. It's available in five colors, has a snooze feature, fully lighted dial, and battery backup (uses two AA batteries, not included).
Perfect for the heavy sleeper in your life.
Price: $39.50 at LLbean.com.
After several years of stacking up books by my bedside, books that I never read beyond the first 150 pages, I went through a period when I would only buy books that were no more than 200 pages long (about the length of my attention span plus a few pages beyond that - on the theory that I couldn't possibly be so lazy as to put aside a book that I was almost finished with ). I would go to the bookstore and scan the shelves for thin books, preferably paperbacks that would fit inside my purse. Alas, my narrow set of interests ensured that this self-imposed restriction wouldn't last very long; after a few months, I usually left the book store empty-handed. Now I have a new stack of fat books that I've read through page 150 or so.
I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only person out there with this kind of attention deficit, that there are other people who find that many books are unnecessarily long. Why else would someone have come up with LazyLibrary, a web search tool that finds books on Amazon that are under 200 pages long? You might suspect that people who use this search site (which appears to sell books as an Amazon affiliate) tend to go there to look for non-fiction books on fairly dry topics; popular subjects are finance, investing, productivity, business, and . . . magic (huh?). But then you'll notice that among the popular search terms are "sex," "Harry Potter," and "Oscar Wilde." Interesting.
What a nice educational toy for kids … no wait! What a FUN toy for ME! For $19.95 you can get this talking magnifying glass that will help you identify bugs. It comes with three plastic bugs to train your identification skills, and it will warn you when you're examining dangerous bugs. And here are the toy’s features in all its absolute coolness:
Magnifies specimens 2X their actual size
Answer "yes" or "no" questions to identify bugs in nature
400 fun trivia questions and scientific facts
Alert warning sounds when dangerous bugs are found
Includes 3 plastic bugs to practice identification
Kid's Bug Field Guide contains photos, facts, and trivia
Includes full-color parent's "Lab Assistant" guide
Available at Amazon.
For their Spring/Summer collection 2007, Italian design firm Alessi collaborated with the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and created The Chin Family, a collection of Asian inspired kitchen utensils.
The collection, designed by Stefano Giovannoni and Rumiko Takeda, takes some of Giovannoni’s most famous designs, such as Cico the egg holder (one of my personal favorites) and Girotondo the kitchen timer, and gives them an oriental make-over.
My husband and I love a big bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodles) for dinner. He always gets the combination bowl, spends a few minutes preparing it with all the fresh herbs and sauces provided by the restaurant, and squeezes the lemon wedge in such a way that errant juice squirts straight into my eye. Even when I look away and he tries his best to avoid searing my eyeball with a piece of pulp, the heat-seeking lemon juice finds me.
That's why I'm heading over to LaPrima Shops to buy this two-piece set of Lekue Lemon Squeezers. Because $13 is a very small price to pay for eyesight preservation.
Also available at Amazon.
Via The Uber-Review.
LaCie's upcoming Golden Disk, which features a "liquid-motion" golden wave design courtesy of designer Ora-Ito, looks more like an upscale piece of cheesecake or creme brulee than a 500GB USB hard drive to me. Can't you envision some sort of elaborate sugar work, a dollop of whipped cream, and a fresh sprig of mint beside it?
Hmm. While we all wait until late October for the $189 fanless drive to become available, I'd better re-evaluate my Food Network viewing behavior.
Via Digital Trends.
Are you a puzzler? With fall fast approaching, I can't help but begin to look forward to cold days where no one can accuse me of wasting time as I turn on my favorite jazz and set about pushing puzzle pieces together. Ah, but I digress. Puzzlers and wine aficionados alike will both love this unique Puzzle Wine Rack.
The unit can be placed in one or two orientations: the basic Puzzle or the symmetric. A single unit stores 9 bottles. Multiple units are easily assembled to create different rack sizes accommodating the needs of all users.
I work in an enviable Soho loft space. Honestly, it's cool, creative, collaborative space with zero privacy. No one person has an office, and our CEO has but one rule, "Keep your cell phones on vibrate!" Otherwise, he *playfully* threatens, he'll toss em' out the window (we're on the 10th floor). I've got the SIGNAL Adviser on my desk, but there are definitely other places where I'd like to keep an eye on when I'm getting a call. ThinkGeek has a light charm that you can attach to your phone for those moments when you're somewhere super noisy or somewhere super quiet. The light charm flashes when a call comes in, so you'll blink instead of bother:)
There are two fun styles that come in red, blue, and clear. (Only for use with 1800/1900 MHZ GSM mobile phone.)
Price: $11.99 at ThinkGeek.
Belkin is one of my favorite companies, and not just because of their excellent products, but also because of their social consciousness. They've just come out with 5 new pink-and-chocolate colored cases to help fund Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a network of breast cancer survivors and activists supporting cancer research. For each pink-and-chocolate colored case sold, Belkin will donate $2.50 to support Komen for the Cure (with a minimum guaranteed donation of $225,000).
These new cases add to Belkin’s existing “Hope” line of iPod cases for Komen for the Cure, Sport Armband for iPod nano and “Hope” Remix Metal for iPod in nano. The five new cases are available this month:
Pocket Blues for iPod nano - $24.99 (Pictured above)
Constructed of high-end denim material, includes carabiner, features functional, denim click-wheel protector
If you live in Ulyanovsk, Russia, you had the day off yesterday to celebrate Day of Conception, a holiday set aside for conceiving babies. No kidding - the goal is to procreate and give birth on June 12, 2008, Russia's Independence Day. Those who succeed win prizes, like brand new cars and appliances. I wonder if any cheating goes on (is there a run on Pitocin on June 12th)?
Read all about it on Revolution Health.
Get your gadgets for free! Now through November 10, 2007, you can submit a video to the YouTube/LG "Life is Good When"contest. The Grand Prize Package is worth over $18,000, but a slew of other wonderful goodies will be awarded to other winners, bringing the overall total to $30,000 (and, that's not shabby!).
LG wants you to show them what makes life good in 15-30 seconds. And, they want the entries to range from the absurdly hilarious (e.g. "Life is good when you're the first one to get the prize in the cereal box") to the warm-fuzzy ("Life is good when your pug snuggles you"). We'll all be invited to vote for our favorite videos beginning November 14, 2007.
This has to be the happiest contest we've ever seen. It's the kind of contest that just makes you feel the love! So, get lovin' and get winnin'!
List of prizes and rules at lgvideocontest.com.
With the popularity of Yoga, it was only a matter of time before someone developed a technological mat marvel. With a built-in MP3 player and stereo speakers, you can listen to your new age music while twisting yourself into a pretzel. And the streaming video playback on the mat means you can see your instructors in any postion.
Still a concept, if this ever does come to the market, it should be wireless with Internet access. But I assume you're not supposed to watch YouTube? Answer your e-mail?
Via Crunch Gear.
Seriously, how cool is this lamp? I’d say almost as cool as the Darth Vader projector alarm clock.
And you thought you'd never find the perfect companion for that penguin flash drive you just bought. Fret no more and say hello to the newest computer accessory to help turn your workspace into a shrine for the flightless bird.
The USB Penguin Mouse is available in black, blue, and pink (how realistic!) for $15.
The web-enabled Ergo Bike Premium 8i has the potential for making those boring indoor cycling workouts more fun. If you're still running on your treadmill, or biking for hours in front of the TV (not that there's anything wrong with that), you might be up for adding a little challenge into your workout routine.
With the Ergo Bike Premium 8i, you can have a race right in the middle of your livingroom - or wherever else you have space to set up your bike - and compete with other livingroom-bikers around the world on virtual representations of real life courses. During the race you can keep track of your competitors on a map; monitor their heart rates, and if you still have enough oxygen for it, speak to them via VOIP. If you feel really bold and self-confident, a web cam will allow you to see and be seen by the other racers. Finally, the built-in MP3 player lets you listen to your favorite tunes while racing your ass off … I mean not even professional bikers get to have that!
Addicted to Heroes, I've nearly dismissed NBC's fall lineup because of their recent falling out with my beloved iTunes. But, even my own stubborn pride (motivated by my personal saturation with summer reruns) couldn't keep me from downloading and watching the Bionic Woman pilot on Amazon Unbox.
True, you'll have to sign up for the season subscription, but you can cancel after you download your free episodes. The four season pilots available include: Bionic Woman (badass and sexy), Chuck (what happens when you accidentally download top-secret government intelligence into your brain), Life (crime drama), and Journeyman (time travel -- makes me miss Quantum Leap!).
My standoff with NBC may be nearing an end. Their programming, led by Heroes, seems to be leading towards the geek crowd:) Visit Amazon Unbox for free downloads and more!
Sometimes when you take a first look at a product, you want to buy it on instinct even when you know that its utility factor is low. If you are a Hello Kitty lover, you know what I'm talking about. I mean, how can you ignore this charming feline for long? Take a look at the Cute Kitty USB optical mouse for instance.
The mouse itself offers no great utility – the shape is rather awkward for a mouse – but the looks are endearing. The actual functions (scroll wheel and buttons) are located in the kitty’s bow, with an icky-pink USB chord to complete the ensemble. Do we hear you sigh with fondness? Then get yours at $8.85 from DealExtreme. You can find similar Hello Kitty accessories at Amazon.
Get ready to be bowled over by extreme cuteness in the form of scented dessert jewelry.
Pancake Meow, a lovely site showcasing (and selling) the wares of a talented polymer-clay artist named Leslie, is full of calorie-free sweet treats to adorn yourself with. Take this adorable Stack-O-Pancakes Ring ($22), for example. Not only is the silver-toned ring adjustable to perfectly suit your fingers, the "main stone" is a stack of maple-scented buttermilk pancakes! It's even got a pat of butter and a generous helping of maple syrup.
Too cute! (Why are my credit cards cowering?)
Via Nerd Approved.
The Beat Dress, from we-make-money-not-art.
Gold Flake Chopsticks, from Trends in Japan.
I love tea and I love being able to make a truly personal and original gift to my friends, which is why I love Blends for Friends.
Blends for Friends is run by a former professional tea taster who mixes custom tea blends based on the personality of the intended recipient.
To help create the most unique blend, you're asked to provide some personal information about the individual the tea is meant for, such as his/her job, hobbies, physical appearance, etc. New blends cost £ 27, but if you wish to order previously created blends the cost is just £ 7 plus postage. The gifts can be delivered anywhere in the world.
My first job out of grad school was in an office of padded-wall cubicles. It didn't take long for me to simultaneously lose my mind and come to my senses, which involved resigning before I had to be committed (or arrested), but one thing I did enjoy was seeing how The Others decorated their workspace. Talk about a knick-knack extravaganza! I don't collect tchotchkes myself, but they're mildly amusing to look at, especially in mass quantities.
Anyway, if I'm ever drunk or crazy enough to revisit the old office, I hope to run into a wall full of these Hop Pop toys. Their cute little heads are triggered by sound to pop up and down, which I imagine must be quite a hoot for at least a minute (twice the length of my desired visit). Disgruntled? Who, me?
$17 each, $88 for the full set, from Dynamism.
I've seen a number of interesting classes held at my gym, so I wasn't surprised to hear that belly-dancing and pole dancing/stripping were being used to help trainers spice up boring ab workouts. It makes sense then that the Hula Chair, which blends "traditional Chinese medicine" with modern technology, promises to help you tone your mid-section via its elliptical motion workout
I've actually used the iGallop this year and I can only report back that it definitely had a positive effect on me (though I'm not sure if I laughed the weight off or rode it off). I've never used the Hula Chair, but I've watched the video (see below) and it's the same concept, only it appears to require less focus on not falling off. Please report back if you try it yourself!
Imagine a phone conversation that goes something like this:
You : Hi Bruno!
Other End : Woof!
You : Just called to let you know I miss you terribly and will be back from work soon..
Other End : Woof Woof Woof!
You : Great! See you soon, be good.
Other End : Woof Woof!
Perplexed? Not to be – that’s probably the kind of conversation you would be having with your pet dog if you own PetsCell, a GPS enabled cellphone designed exclusively for the canine members of the family. Which means you don’t have to be worried about Bruno when he's all by himself, as you can call him and make sure he's alright. And the two-way communication ensures that he doesn’t miss you too much either.
If you don't like carrying a USB on your key-chain or clipped to jeans or to the inside of your purse, the IOGEAR Wallet Drive might suit your data transfer needs and organization style. The Wallet Drive is touted as "cutting-edge portable storage on a diet." We agree!
Brilliant metallic blue, barely 3mm thick, and a length smaller than an average business card, this storage device allows you to bring your data (music, documents, photos) almost anywhere without compromising drive space. Pile on the photos and bring them to your mom's house next time you visit:)
Multiple operating system support and USB 2.0 & 1.1 functionality. Plug 'n Play, no separate power supply needed.
Price: $56.99 at Amazon.
Like the rest of us, some companies anticipated Jobs announcement last week of a touch-screen iPod. After the iPhone it was just a matter of time.
Today Belkin and Griffin touted their cases on the market for the iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPod. First, Belkin, if only because their press release hit my in-box first:
The collection includes the usual suspects:
- Sport Armband Plus for iPod nano (F8Z200-MBL), iPod classic (F8Z201-MBL), and iPod touch – $29.99. Made of breathable, water-wicking Coolmax material.
- Remix Acrylic Case (also available in metal) for iPod nano (F8Z215) - $24.99; iPod classic (F8Z212) and iPod touch – $29.99. Slim, lightweight, and stretchable neoprene material with a handy pocket for earbuds or a key.
- Leather Sleeve for iPod nano (F8Z204) - $24.99; iPod classic (F8Z205) and iPod touch – $29.99. Soft, durable leather with soft-suede lining.
One of my minor complaints about Scarlett Johansson's latest movie, The Nanny Diaries, is that a nanny cam hidden in the eyes of a teddy bear is such a painful cliche that you don't even have to see it in the trailer to know it's there.
You would think that a wealthy family on the Upper East Side of Manhattan would at least have something a bit less obvious, like this $149 Puppy Wireless Camera Set by Brando, for example. The camera is hidden inside the puppy's nose and can transmit both video and audio over a 2.4GHz frequency so as not to interfere with certain wireless routers or cordless phones (neither of which would be in a palatial apartment like the one in the movie, anyway).
This little pooch is way cuter than that raggedy old teddy bear, too. And you know that appearances are no small thing to the well-to-do.
Apparently, acupuncture beauty treatments are becoming all the rage in Japan. Interestingly, the inspiration came from Hollywood, where celebrities made this practice somehow glamorous. It has to happen this way, as acupuncture is too commonplace in Asia for it be considered trendy until trendy people in other parts of the world put a twist on it. No doubt, the hype will come full circle and cosmetic acupuncture will take off in the U.S. as a result of its growing popularity in Japan. And if the costs of acupuncture treatments in general is any indicator, acupuncture beauty treatments in U.S. clinics or spas will come at a much higher cost than in comparable facilities in Japan or other Asian countries (one clinic in Tokyo charges $86 for a 70-minute treatment). Where I live, near Washington, D.C., Asian-trained practitioners often charge a fraction of what their American-trained counterparts charge for similar treatments.
Unless you're throwing a surprise party for Heathcliff, I personally don't see the appeal of ice cubes in the shape of fish skeletons. Then again, for only about $10 per tray, I guess I don't have to.
Via Nerd Approved.
If you go looking for the restrooms at Bar 89 in SoHo, instead of a private room for women and a separate one for men, you'll encounter an open area upstairs with a row of hi-tech looking stalls. Through the glass doors, you can see the toilet and sink lit up in red and blue. I observed someone going into one of them, and when they closed the door, after a second or two, the glass door became opaque and the word "occupied" lit up at the top of the door. I entered a stall, saw that I could still see the guy sitting on the sofa across from me, and assuming that I was no more invisible to him than he was to me, quickly exited. But I went back to investigate and take some photos with my cell phone camera (my Helio Ocean).
Save! Save your data, save your pennies! Use this desktop bank, which looks like a super-sized "save" key, as a reminder to back up your data and a place holder for your nickels and dimes. A fun office gift, it's anything but subtle. There's a slot cut into the top of the plastic key for sliding in your spare coins, and a base that pops off with ease. If you're religious about the practice of "save" you may end up never losing data again, or in this case, at least, you may end up having a constant supply of pizza money.
Perfect for the friend who has everything or the friend that forgets it all!
Price: $10 at Uncommongoods.com
To appease the multitudes of angry, pissed-off, peeved, (insert your own adjective here), iPhone users who are furious about the $200 price drop Steve Jobs announced this week, a subdued Jobs wrote on the Apple website that they will give a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple retail store or the Apple online store to these early buyers. While the details are still in the air, this is a conscientious move by the "people's company." I, for one, am feeling slightly appeased.
Here's most of the open letter :
To all iPhone customers:
I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.
First, I am sure that we are making the correct decision to lower the price of the 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, and that now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to 'go for it' this holiday season. iPhone is so far ahead of the competition, and now it will be affordable by even more customers. It benefits both Apple and every iPhone user to get as many new customers as possible in the iPhone 'tent'. We strongly believe the $399 price will help us do just that this holiday season.
I'm not sure what this says about me, but when I first saw these 1GB USB penguin flash drives, I hoped they were erasers. Don't they look like little pencil toppers? Not that I would want to rub one of these 1.6" x 1.2" x 0.8" critters to the point of disfigurement, of course, but something about a $34 flash drive with a flip-top head just isn't quite as exciting.
Skins are a great way to personalize the outside of your laptop. You find yourself in stealth-mode, keeping the other folks in the coffee shop wondering "Is she a PC or Mac user?"
Skynmobile, a company who we've reported on before, now offers a monogrammed skin. Pretty in pink, a sure-to-sell fun and very girlie design presents an initial in Swarovski Crystals (avilable in white, pink, red, purple, green ,blue, black & brown). Extra letters can be added for $5 more.
Show skin! Bust out a little bling! Personalization is always in style:)
Price: $40 at Skynmobile.com.
I appreciate the benefits of solar power, wind power, hydropower, and other alternative energy sources, but do I really understand how they work? To be honest, no. Of course not. This little Loopwing Wind Power Generator Set, by Tamiya, Inc. is a great idea for ignoramuses like myself who want to see with our own eyes how one harnesses and converts wind into energy. The wing catches the breeze, converts it to electricity and powers the little model car, which you can then watch in action.
Available for $46.49 at Amazon.
Aurvana is nirvana, as least for the audiophile. The brand-new high-end noise-canceling headphones from Creative Labs use the latest technology, X-Fi (Xtreme Fidelity), which, in case you aren't familiar with it, makes your MP3s sound better than the original CDs by intelligently restoring the details that are lost during compression. With three switches, you get the optimal choices: one is to turn the noise-cancellation feature off, the one in the middle is the "crystalizer" that enhances your MP3 playback, and the last button is a CMSS-3D that provides virtual surround sound for movies or playing games.
After trying different combinations, I found the best for music is when both the noise-canceling AND the Crystalizer are activated.
The Aurvana will be released mid-September and will retail for approx $299. Currently, there is no pre-order available but check back with the Creative Labs site.
When great design meets great utility, a product like the Solar Bottle is born. The Solar Bottle is the brainchild of Italian designers Alberto Medo and Francisco Gomez Paz. The designers were introduced to the SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection) system at Milan's International Furniture Fair and were inspired by this effective but inexpensive method of purifying household drinking water.
The SODIS system is based on the fact that when water is filled into transparent PET bottles and exposed to six hours of sunlight, the UV-A radiation and increased temperature from the solar energy will effectively kill disease-causing pathogens in the water. In an effort to design a container that does maximum justice to this technology, the duo created the award-winning Solar Bottle (still a prototype).
It's not quite as cool as a Bat-Signal clock projected onto a wall would be, but this collapsible Batman clock ($45) is still plenty trendy in an eccentric Comic-Con sort of way.
It measures four inches when closed and sports a "high polish finish" that's sure to complement a nicely rubberized Batsuit.
Via The Uber-Review.
After two years of speculation, the 6th generation iPod was formally announced today. For me, the only question I needed answered was "did I get screwed buying a $600 iPhone just two months ago?" Yes, yes, yes!!!!! But also not really. Yes, there is a new iPod, the iPod Touch, which has nearly all the features of the iPhone (big touchscreen, wifi) but it doesn't have anything addititional which would make new iPhone owners want to throw their instantly antiquated phones through the windows of the nearest Apple store. But...the prices of the iPhone (still the same iPhone, relax, no 2G upgrade announced yet- stay tuned in January...) dropped significantly. The 4 GB model is now, $299 (while supplies last, and then gone completely), down from $499, and the 8 GB model is also $200 less, at $399. Bummer for the losers like me who rushed to get the iPhone, but great for holiday gifting and the smart people who waited just a bit.
This story makes me so sad. It reminds me of the scene in Artificial Intelligence where the robot child played by Haley Joel Osment is sent out into the woods to fend for himself by his human mother; it reminds me of all the God-fearing Cylons hanging onto dear life in Battlestar Galactica.
We wrote about wakamaru about a year and a half ago, when Mitsibushi first introduced this domestic robot. But, as reported in The Nikkei Weekly, consumer response has been less than enthusiastic since then. It turns out that wakamaru just doesn't do enough, and is rendered somewhat useless in homes with multiple stories and homes without Internet access (query: why would someone who doesn't even have Internet access be purchasing an expensive robot?). Users found its voice-recognition capability too narrow, yet its body too big for small Japanese homes (yes, and some people wish their kids were smarter and a few inches taller).
Some families did get attached to this little guy, however, and threw farewell parties at the end of its functioning life this past spring, when Mitsubishi pulled the plug. Sigh.
Though a long way from being commercialized, the new battery developed by Sony generates electricity using glucose, which is chemically broken down with enzymes. Apparently, you can power small electronics endlessly through a supply of glucose solution which you pour into the battery (I'm sure airline security will love that). While glucose-powered batteries are more environmentally friendly because they don't emit carbon dioxide, at this stage of development, they're not yet very practical. The output of a single glucose cell is 50 milliwatts; in the photo above, four cells are linked together to generate sufficient power to operate an MP3 player.
Via The Nikkei Weekly.
Do you remember how amazing your imagination was as a kid? You could probably create entire worlds around your tea-set, or from your tree house. You were Mary Poppins making magic to transform your surroundings. Can you believe that today's kids are now consumers of "green screen" technology, able to truly make their wackiest visions come true?
The Rip Roar Creation Station is an awesome gift to give the tech-savvy kids in your life (best aunt, mom, sister, babysitter e-v-e-r!). The Creation Station allows the user to capture video, then edit and share it instantly with the world. Using the included green screen, integrated software, and single-click upload, almost anything can happen! The producer/director can instantly make it look like the actors are climbing mountain tops, talking to animals in the forest, or fishing at a beautiful lake with their friend the black bear.
Digital image editing has always been a challenge; it's difficult to transform a 300x600 image to 100X500 image without cropping out something important or distorting the original image. The ingenious Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir have created an amazing digital photo editing tool that is content aware. Using a process they call "Seam Carving," the tool preserves the most vital parts of an image and removes the unimportant parts when you resize it. Their method was presented in a paper at SIGGRAPH 2007. An online demo video has the blogosphere whipped up in geeky excitement, and is definitely worth watching. Adobe just hired Avidan along with a couple of other digital imaging innovators, which has Photoshop users ecstatic with the prospect of this feature being included in a future version.
If you're a fan of Project Runway, as I am, you remember Chloe Dao from season two. Spunky and talented, she beat out Santino Rice and Daniel Vosovic to win.
I wondered what she'd been up to but refuse to watch "WEAR Are They Now," the re-hash-the-season show, just a blatant attempt to squeeze more ratings out of a reality show. As it turned out, she found me through one of my favorite companies, run by one of the smartest women I know, Alexandra Elliot of Pacific Design.
Chloe just parterned up with them to create stylish cases for laptops, DVD players, iPods and cell phone cases, in bold patterns and vibrant colors. The retro patterns are fun and playful and most importantly, functional. My spoiled iPhone is sporting the blue/gray pinstripe, with its versatile dual design so you can use the iPhone with the flip cover or detach for use as an open face case.
I recently had a chance to interview the busy designer via e-mail:
I travel often, and part of my baggage problem is that I pack a lot of books no matter where I'm headed. And, these days you never know I could sit on the runway for at least 5 hours. I've held off investing in the Sony Reader until now, released this week my own Sony PRS500 Portable Reader System has arrived, and it's stunning.
This Reader utilizes E Ink Display technology, which depicts text as clear as if it were on paper, but the screen can be magnified up to 200% (perfect for anyone prone to headaches or if you want to loan it to your mama like me). I've found that the brightness of any room does not have a negative impact on the high contrast/high resolution screen. The Reader weighs just under nine ounces and is super slim at less than a 1/2". Leave no word behind, carry-on multiple books without over-packing your bags with those fiction/non-fiction bricks you know you won't get to read. The battery life boasts up to 7,500 pages per single charges.
The internal memory 3 slot is perfect for removable memory cards, so take your books, documents, photos, and MP3s with you wherever you go. You can also upgrade your purchase to include optional Memory Stick storage or SD memory card. And, while there are numerous free e-books online, there's also Sony's Connect eBookstore.
Phenomenal technology, I'm a convert! And, finally my chance to stop annoying people on the subway with my bad book/coffee balance and intrusive (well-clumsy) page turning.
Price: $272.84 at Amazon.
Danny Rozin is an artist and teacher at ITP, where many of us at Popgadget studied. This week, Rozin has a new show, called Fabrication, opening at New York's digital art gallery bitforms. In the show, he continues to explore the concepts of mirrors, representation, and the relationship between the digital and analog world. He will be presenting the world premiere of two sculptures, Weave Mirror and Peg Mirrors, and one US debut of Snow Mirror.
Weave Mirror uses 766 curved prints which are connected to motors. As they are manipulated, the prints create portraits, when viewed at a distance. Similarly, Peg Mirror employs 650 wood rods and a camera in the center of the piece. The camera picks up images, and software written by Rozin translates the digital video into an analog image by moving the pegs, as if they were pixels on a computer monitor. Finally, Snow Mirror, which was first shown in Seoul in 2006, captures site-specific images and projects them on a screen made of silk.
Fabrications opens at the bitforms gallery nyc, and runs from September 8th 2007 to October 6th, 2007. An opening reception is this Saturday, September 8th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Rozin will also be presenting an "Artist's Talk" on Saturday, September 29th at 4:00 pm.
An inventor in Nuremberg, Germany, has just opened a fully-automated restaurant, Baggers, that delivers meals to diners via a gravity-powered rail system. No surly waiters or snobby sommelier, and you don't need to leave a tip for the machine. Hmmm...makes you think, doesn't it?
The kitchen is intalled directly beneath the roof of the multi-story restaurant. Customers order their meals using a touch-screen system that is placed at each table, and the entire restaurant is networked via a computer system. Customers' orders are registered upstairs in the kitchen and a computer in the cellar keeps track of supply stocks. The system also calculates the likely delivery times for drinks and meals at every table and keeps customers informed.
Creative Labs recently unveiled their upcoming TravelSound i50, a portable speaker system made specifically and exclusively for the diminutive iPod shuffle. Aside from the USB port and carabiner clip, what I find most interesting about the unit is its size. It makes the shuffle about four times bigger than it really is, which negates one of the main advantages of the clip-like little player.
The i50's built-in battery is good for 15 hours of audio playback and will be available next month in Japan for about $59.99.
Call it ingenuity, call it inventiveness – but this product from New York based inventor Scott Amron certainly deserves mention.
Apparently what propelled him into action was the fact that current methods of getting water into our mouths for rinsing after brushing are sloppy, create waste and place unnecessary stress on our bodies. The result? The award-winning (Reddot Design Award 2007) brush-and-rinse toothbrush that eliminates the need to use rinse-cups or your hands to rinse your mouth. The idea is elegant – when you place the toothbrush under a faucet, it simply redirects the water from the faucet in a perfectly parabolic angle similar to a water fountain. Well, I am amazed that a simple modification can transform an ordinary product into such an interesting innovation.
The nifty little toothbrush is available from the Amron site at $3 a piece.
Are you a consultant, road warrior, or just travel to see your loved one(s) an awful lot? The mobile office is perfect for the worker on the go. It has the capacity to hold up to 50 or more hanging files--more than enough to keep you organized. The 10"x17" top surface of the desk is covered with non-skid rubber, ensuring that a laptop, briefcase, PDA, peripherals, and cell phone won't slide off. There's a large storage area for your officeware, but you can also tuck your laptop inside to keep it hidden from plain view. Finally, there's more than enough room to write.
26" From back of desk to front, 11" Tall at the widest part of the base.
Oh sweetness! I get the feeling that this gizmo was created by a few friends and quite a few beers and maybe a little Mary Jane on a camping trip. Around 2AM they had a marshmallow fight, and one of them said, "If only I had a marshmallow blaster!" Whatever the back-story, this pump-action, pneumatic gun propels one large-fluffy marshmallow (or a hand-full of miniature marshmallows) up to 50'.
Now, if you're on a camping trip and you find yourself under attack by a mutiny-bound troop of Girl Scouts, you'll find that the easy-to-refill bolt action design ensures fast, nonstop action. Campfire capers can be the best kind.
The front grip detaches for simple cleaning. Includes carrying case. Ages 12 and up. 6" H x 2 1/2" W x 15" L. (2 lbs.)
Price: $39.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.
More toys along these lines to be found at Amazon.
Where was this when my Mackenzie was 4? Using the new Leapster Learning Game System is more like playing than learning. At 12, Mac is above the recommended age (4-10 years), but as the Leapster has multiple skill levels she adjusted it so she could try out the L-Max library of software titles, enjoying the interactive touch screen and pen that allows her to write, draw, and paint.
For the little ones, story animation helps them learn essential school skills such as letters and numbers, plus all-important phonics, using some of their favorite characters, like Dora The Explorer. The software library features games for pre-K through 4th grade.
Like all the Leapfrog inventions, the Leapster is completely interactive and demonstrates that learning is fun. And you have to admire their motto, "Think Up." Make a good license plate, don't you think?
$59 at Leapster and Amazon.
Bad-boy, billionaire, businessman, Mark Cuban recently blogged that "The Internet is Dead and Boring." As much as I'd like to respond with an intellectually thoughtful post, I think I'll let the Internet speak for itself. I don't know how it happened or where I was when I clicked through, but I stumbled upon The Daily Puppy. Much like favorites cuteoverload.com and stuffonmycat.com, this is a website that very simply solicits puppy photos and posts them.
Readers can sign up to have puppies delivered to their inboxes, drop a widget on their personal website, or subscribe via RSS, and are encouraged to rate the pooches with 1-11 biscuits. Commenting is active and reveals a goofy, fun-loving community of adoring fans. As reader Yourmomsage channels Star Trek's Scotty she writes, "This pup is so cute, my head can't hold all the cuteness, 'She's gonna blow, Captain, I kinna hold her innymore....' Kaboom!"
There's nothing more exciting than new innovations in assistive technology that can help disabled or elderly people live fuller, more independent lives. This particular hands-free device, developed by researchers at Osaka University, is worn on the head like a hairband, with either end equipped with microcomputers and infrared sensors to detect your movements when you press your back teeth together. Pressing the back teeth together in different ways enables the user to send four different types of signals to control electronic devices.
Via The Nikkei Weekly.