If your holidays are likely to include visits to real movie theaters to view films the way they were meant to be seen, on the big screen and accompanied by amazingly expensive popcorn, make sure your investment is worthwhile. Check out the reviews first the easy way - online.
Of course we couldn't do without the venerable encyclopedia of films that began years ago as a labor of love and these days has a lot to interest movie professionals too: the Internet Movie Database. To find reviews, search the movie of your choice. When you get to the movie's main page, scroll down the links in the left-hand window and click on External Reviews. Presto, a list--sometimes a very long list--of reviews. Sources include newspapers, magazines, and lots of websites.
All those future parents who want to listen to the heartbeats of their unborn children in the comfort of their own homes may just have their wish fulfilled if the product concept "Beforme" sees the light of day.
Designed by Elżbieta Madej and Robert Majkut, Beforme is a stethoscope with a built-in MP3 player that can play back the heartbeats of an unborn child. While the embryo-shaped Beforme allows the mother to listen in to the heart rhythms on the MP3 player at the touch of a button, it also displays the beats in a graphical form on the display. In addition, the recordings can be downloaded on to a PC via USB or Bluetooth and then sent to a doctor for examination.
Call that the most utilitarian gift that you can give to a pregnant woman. The product is still in the prototype (embryo) phase.
A couple of years ago, I reported on a great organization called the Adaptive Design Association, which uses inexpensive materials to make custom furniture for children with disabilities. The best thing about ADA is that they help children through smart design. They also offer classes on topics like basic cardboard carpentry.
Like many non-profits in the current economic climate, the ADA is feeling the squeeze, as grant funding is drying up. This great organization is at risk of closing without the help of concerned people who believe in its mission. If you're curious to learn more about ADA, check their gallery of projects, and there is also a page for donations.
We've long been big, big fans of the online shop Dynamism, home of the newest and greatest technology products from Japan so it's with huge excitement that we're helping to announce the opening of a new store by the founder, Douglas Krone: Gizmine. Gizmine is also full of the latest products from Japan, but instead of focusing on bigger ticket items like notebook computers and amazing phones, Gizmine has everything from cool cell phone straps to unique clothing (knife-proof shirts!) as well as the usual tech suspects like cameras, watches, and speakers. Even cameras, though, aren't the same ones you'll find anywhere else.
This Tomy Xaio Digicam is a cute, compact 5 megapixel digital camera, but it has a built-in printer, like an updated polaroid.
Some people are so obsessed with beauty, it seems. Take the STC Wireless Router from Saudi Telecom, for example. Now how attractive could a wireless internet router get ? Pretty much eye-catching, is what one would conclude looking at this one.
The uniqueness quotient ? The router not only sports the regular wireless internet, Voice over IP, land-line telephone and wired DSL but also doubles up as a flower vase. According to the designers, the ratinale behind this exclusive design came about because "Saudi Telecom was in need for a unique router design that would provoke a positive emotional response". Some thinking, that. It might require a bit of re-conditioning for most folks to get used to a wireless router that looks good as well, but then who wouldn’t want to use some harmless camouflage to spruce up a gadgety interior ?
Egad, we haven't mentioned the BlackBerry Storm yet. In case you've been on Mars, the Storm is RIMM's long-awaited just-released entry into the touch-screen phone market, available only with Verizon.
This will be is a shock to BlackBerry devotees, but the Storm is the first BlackBerry without a real keyboard. Instead, like the iPhone, its keyboard is virtual--only the Storm has a technical twist that is supposed to give you something like a real keyboard tactical experience.
Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal's fabled technology columnist, is lukewarm about the innovative keyboard and startled at the Storm's lack of wi-fi, but he likes the Web browser. Find his All Things Digital review and a video here, and a Fox network video commentary here.
In support of Africa's battle against that much-feared disease called AIDS, Dell has released its latest range of Dell Studio laptops labeled (PRODUCT) RED. This special edition has been released to contribute to the Global Fund that is targeted towards elimination of AIDS in Africa.
And the reason to own one just begins there. Three exceptional artists have been roped in to create visually stunning designs in theme red - one of the main colors of many African Gods, "including Mamiwata, who can heal the sick", as artist Joseph Amedokpo puts it. The result - "New World" by Joseph Amedokpo, "Shine Within" by artist Siobhan Gunning and "Healing Patterns" by artist Bruce Mau. With your purchase, a contribution of $20 will go towards the AIDS charity and you can walk home with a laptop that is sure to be the cynosure of many envious eyes. Additionally, as Dell guarantees, the designs are fade and scratch proof as they are permanently infused into the laptop’s casing.
The laptops are priced from $649 for the Dell Studio 15 range and from $799 upwards for the Dell Studio 17 range. For sure, red is the new black.
Via Coolest Gadgets.
The Associated Press's Rachel Metz has rounded up mini-reviews of a handful of new smartphones that would probably please some of the folks on your gift list.
Among the phones is the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, pictured. It's dazzling, but for $800, it darn well ought to be. An example of dazzle: you can run up to 9 different apps simultaneously in separate teeny-weeny windows. Impressive, but that seems like overkill for what is, after all, a phone-sized screen. And Metz says the X1 is sloooow.
Also discussed, at more normal prices: the HTC G1 , the first Google Android phone, and--of course--the iPhone 3G.
I never tire of humidifiers in the shapes of animals and characters - why not bring a little whimsy to an otherwise mundane product? Runa Net will soon launch the Stitch Humidifier (in the shape of the Disney character). This one connects to your PC through USB or AC adapter, and keeps the environment around your desk/cubicle moist. (Just why are offices so dry anyway?)
Via Trends in Japan.