Archive for April, 2012

iHome iDM5 Executive Work Station

The name iHome often conjures up iPod and iPhone docks as well as iOS-powered speaker systems for me most of the time, and I am not quite sure whether the same applies to you or not. Well, this time around, iHome’s latest release that they call the iHome iDM5 Executive Work Station has every intention to make tablets as well as Bluetooth-enabled smartphones all the more functional, where it comes with a rather compact footprint so that no additional clutter is added to your work area.

Not only that, there is also a full size QWERTY keyboard to keep company the built-in speakers, where other hardware specifications include a microphone and a couple of USB ports that allows you to juice up two power thirsty devices simultaneously. Those who have long grappled with a sense of lack of space and want to get more organized at work will definitely do well to take a closer look at the iHome iDM5 Executive Work Station.

Evan Stein, Director of Marketing, iHome, said, “In addition to using their tablets and smartphones for entertainment purposes, people are relying on them to perform more intricate office tasks as well. Whether video conferencing, typing up reports, making calls or streaming music, the iDM5 is the perfect product for the multi-tasker.”

For those of us who made it to CES 2012, chances are you would have come upon the iHome iDM5 Executive Work Station since it was a 2012 CE Innovations Honoree. This full sized, ergonomically angled QWERTY keyboard speaker system will allow you to type away on your tablet or smartphone in a comfortable manner, all the while ensuring you remain entertained by streaming your favorite music over a wireless Bluetooth connection. Less cables means less hassle and mess to the eyes, not to mention a far cleaner work area.

As for the built-in mic, it will enable you to use the unit as a speakerphone for video conferencing purposes, and if you prefer to play your choice of music from any other audio device, you can always do so via the universal 3.5mm aux line-in jack. Expect to fork out $129.95 for the iHome iDM5 Executive Work Station.

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Kids Swiss Army Knife

So your little tyke wants to be all grown up like daddy and own his or her own set of tools? Of course, giving hardware that has sharp ends and edges which cut stuff up like a hot knife through butter to children who are unable to handle such tools with maturity is never a good idea, as you can never quite tell just when an accident might happen. ThinkGeek steps in with the $7.99 Kids Swiss Army Knife, letting little John or Jane feel smug, knowing that he or she is walking in daddy’s footsteps.

After all, which adult, especially the guys, who do not love fooling around with their fair share of tools? The Swiss Army Knife is definitely one of those gizmos that are handy to have around, not to mention help you out in a tight spot if you are MacGyver. As for the Kids Swiss Army Knife, it will not be able to pick locks, but rather, help your little one have a nice, hearty meal without missing a beat. The half dozen plastic tools will comprise of fork and spoon that are large enough to eat, while the saw blade and the knife will be able to slice through cake, hot dogs, or sandwiches with ease. Enter the can opener/screwdriver which is strong enough to pry apart stubborn plastic bricks.

Last but not least, the magnifying lens helps you have a fun backyard science excursion, in addition to the more mischievious ones burning up some ants in the process.

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Banana Bunker – Practice Safe Snacking

Do we ever think about the tragedies that we narrowly escape everyday? Do we lie in bed at night and realize what could have been, and say “Thank you” for every unspeakable horror that we somehow avoided. I do, and today I actually know one disaster I was cosmically saved from. My daughter put an unprotected banana in her backpack, with her textbooks, her iPad and her brand new gym sneakers. Gasp!

It was luck that saved me this time, but I wont leave it to chance again, as now I know about… The Banana Bunker! A Company called Cultured Containers developed the Banana Bunker to protect your luscious fruit from smooshing and bruising when carried for lunch or snack, of course if you’ve ever had the misfortune of a squished banana in your purse, backpack or briefcase you already know that the loss of the banana was the least of the problem.

Now I know what this thing looks like… and I also know thats probably the only reason you’ve read this far… but the Banana Bunker is in fact, a specialty container designed specifically for almost any size banana. The open ends accomadate different lengths while the ribbed center allows you to bend the case to encompass your own personal banana’s gentle curves.

So get your minds out of the gutter and start thinking in terms of fresh and healthy snacks that wont leak all over the contents of your lunchbox or bag. Is it overkill? I guess the answer will be yes for many of you, but only for those of you that never have experienced the horror of an ill handled banana. Save yourself while there’s still time.

Get yours at bananabunker.com for just under 7 bucks, available in blue, orange, green, yellow and clear. Seriously?

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Light Up Big Bang Rocket

Kids these days are extremely hard to please. When Christmas comes around and they do not find the new iPad underneath the Christmas tree, expect them to throw a tantrum that you would never have dared to back in your younger days. The trick is to insulate them from all of these gadgets and gizmos that they would spend just a few days with before they get bored of it and lust after another device that they saw on the TV, being advertised as the “only gadget they will ever need”. Well, you cannot be a Luddite, so how about taking a different approach during their formative years?

This is where the $19.99 Light Up Big Bang Rocket comes in handy, where it is ideal to amuse kids of different ages, and you need not put in that much effort as well. All you need to do is trim old newspaper into squares, snap the top closed, grab the tail, toss it in the air and be patient – albeit for a while, as the big bang is about to arrive! The moment it is launched into the air, it will light up in multicolored animated light, and when the law of gravity takes over eventually, it will deliver a rather satisfying BANG sound!! You will need a trio of AAA batteries to go along with this puppy though.

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UCube Digital USB Speakers

Looking for a pair of speakers for your notebook? Let’s face the fact that most notebooks do not come with a decent audio solution, which is why there is always a market for items like the $149.99 UCube Digital USB Speakers. Measuring a mere 3.25″ square, the UCube is an ultra portable computer peripheral, and chances are you would not probably notice it take up much space on your desk. Not only that, they are definitely lookers and will not end up as a sore thumb on your work desk. Since these speakers will connect to your computer via USB, there is no need to lug around another power supply on your travels.

Not only that, the speakers are completely detachable from the hefty aluminum stands, allowing you to minimize the footprint. The UCube is able to coax out a maximum of 15 watts per channel, and with Balance Mode Radiator (BMR for short), it is said to be able to deliver a full frequency range with a wide dispersion pattern that would certainly be more than welcome for your ears to listen to.


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RJ-45 keychain rack for recycling fans

If you love to go green and perform DIY recycling projects at home, then you might be interested to check out this particular Instructable that will see you breathe new life into old RJ-45 plugs. What you will need would be some network cable, male RJ-45 plugs, colored rubber protectors for the RJ-45 plug, as well as enough key rings to go around. You will need to form the key chain using a RJ-45 plug crimper, a pair of scissors as well as a cutting or sleeving tool. Once the key chain bit is complete, the rack for the key chain is next.

The next time you arrive home, forget about tossing your keys onto the table, where it will then develop a mind of its own and decide to get lost so that you will be frustrated whenever you are in a hurry and need to get out of the house, pronto! This unique DIY creation will make sure your keys remain where they are, while you can sleep soundly knowing you did your bit to prevent our landfills from bulging up ever slightly more.

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ColorWare Special Edition Illusion Beats Studio Headphones

Most of us do not bother to pick up a decent pair of headphones to go along with our smartphones, simply because we are not serious with our music. However, that does not mean that there is another group out there who pay serious attention to the kind of music which goes through their ears, settling for nothing less than the highest bitrate on their audio files which has been transferred over to their portable media player or smartphones of choice.

Apart from a high quality audio file, the next logical step to take would be to have a decent or at least high end pair of headphones to go along with your device. ColorWare has come up with something which can be said to be their expertise, tapping into their years of experience when it comes to customizing high-end electronics, with the release of the Special Edition Illusion Beats Studio Headphones. No doubt Beats by Dre are the popular choice with music lovers just about everywhere, and ColorWare has kicked things up by a notch to make these headphones all the more irresistible.

For a limited time only, ColorWare will be offering Beats by Dre Studio headphones with an iridescent finish. What makes this iridescent finish so special? Well, it really depends on which angle you would look at it from, where the iridescent paint will deliver a dramatic color changing effect, never mind when you are even in a low-light environment. There are three different color shifting paint finishes from ColorWare for you to choose from, including Blue to Red-color shifts from blue to warm red, purple and copper, Red to Gold-color shifts from red to orange, gold and slights hints of maroon, and Gold to Silver-color shifts from gold to radiant, yet icy, silvery blue and green.

Since these will be special edition headphones, you can be sure that such exclusivity will not come cheap. We are talking about the Illusion Beats by Dre headphones retailing for a cool $1,000 apiece, where they will come with an embroidered, black Ultrasuede carrying case for that added touch of luxury. The headphones themselves will ship within two to three weeks’ time if you have deep enough pockets.

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Soundwagon – Driving the Music Home

I probably shouldn’t admit that I have a rather large collection of records. As I write this my daughter wants to know what they were, and if that was how we listened to music before we had electricity. Bless her little heart – no candy for her today. Anyway, the point of the story was, I no longer have a record player and I don’t have the overwhelming desire to buy one either, but I would like to hear a couple of those old tunes.

So check out Soundwagon, it just doesn’t get any neater than this. This officially licensed Volkswagen Van record player can be carried in your pocket. The Soundwagon has a player needle that is powered simply by a 9 volt battery, you just place your little VW on top of any 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record and let her go for a spin. The unit has been recently redesigned with an improved speaker and features much better sound quality than their original roll out.

The Soundwagons are made in Japan, are available worldwide, and come in blue, black, gray,white, magenta and cherry red for just under 100 bucks. Visit Soundwagon.jp  for an instructional video or for ordering information and don’t forget to bring it with you next time you want to check out some records at your local retirement community yard sale. Geez.

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Postcarden – the Desktop Garden you can Mail

I am always looking for cute little items that are unique and different, not just because its my job, but because I always like to have some neat little trinkets laying around if the need should arise. Teacher gifts, thank-you’s, birthday greetings… heck, wouldn’t an original holiday card be fun? I am sick of candles, chocolates and beautifully boxed handsoaps – Isn’t there anything else?

There is now, this morning I came across Postcardens, lovely little cards that pop-up and grow a little desktop scene, with a tiny amount of  love and care. These postcards are printed with vegetable ink and simply require you to open them, spread the seeds, water the base, and place in a sunny area. In no time you will have your very own tabletop mini garden.

The London based company likes to think of their products as gifts for thoughtful givers. Personally, I just like to look cool. There is a nice variety in the card offerings, from a magnificent botanical garden, a winter wonderland, or to an overgrown backyard shed. Each one is the product of some pretty creative and talented folks. Aside from gift giving, your Postcardens could be used for marketing campaigns, wedding invitations or new product launches, especially since the company will entertain all kinds of custom work.

So next Christmas give up those old news musical cards and get with one that actually grows and will give its recipients some pleasure for weeks to come. For more information on pricing and custom orders, or to watch a video of a Postcarden “unfolding” please visit postcarden.com  To order cards in the US starting at around $12.50, visit our frinds at Uncommongoods.com

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PS Vita gets Skype app

The PS Vita is Sony’s most recent portable gaming console, signaling an end to the era of the PSP while ushering in a new age of top notch hardware. The thing is, great hardware without the right kind of software is never going to take off in a big way, and the same applies to Sony and their PS Vita. Sure, the PS Vita does look fantastic from all angles when you think about it, not to mention having a touch sensitive back area that adds another dimension to your portable gaming sessions, but software developers have yet to fully take advantage of this gaming control scheme.

Well, games are not the only items that will run on the PS Vita. There are productivity apps as well thrown into the mix, although one would think that you would not get much work done on what is primarily a portable gaming console. Still, you can now keep in touch with family and friends over Skype on the PS Vita with the latest Skype Video and Voice calling app that has been made available of PS Vita owners over at the PlayStation Store.

This would mean once you have installed the app and signed in using your Skype account, you can go ahead and make free Skype calls on the PS Vita itself. This allows you to keep in touch with gamers worldwide regardless of where you are, Skype is available for both the 3G/Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi models of the PS Vita. This version of Skype will deliver free Skype-to-Skype voice calling, and high-quality video calls that make use of the PS Vita’s front and rear cameras. Whenever you are gaming or running applications other than Skype, the Skype app will runs in “background mode” to make sure you are not interrupted.

If you feel that you want to make that phone call to a landline or cellphone in a different country, how about ponying up a little bit of extra money in exchange for some Skype credit so that you can enjoy one of the cheapest calls to landlines and mobile straight from your PS Vita itself? Yes, it is going to look rather weird talking to a portable game console all by yourself, but at least it is a start.

Do bear in mind that not all games and applications will “pause” during a call, so that is something to take into consideration before you go ahead and make full use of the Skype app for PS Vita.

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