Archive for October, 2012

A Claw for Ice

The Empire Strikes Back is definitely my favorite Star Wars movie. Come on. You can’t tell me that you didn’t shiver up and down as the rebels fought the empire on Hoth. The subterranean cold forced the rebels to come up with a number of different innovations for surviving. Massive amounts of high tech clothing to start. How about the ton-ton? A two legged horse that survives the cold.  In the case of the wampa – the big abominable snowman type thing that hung Luke upside down in his cave – he was cut out for the cold. Fortunately the wampa’s strength was no match for a Jedi.

What better way to prepare yourself for the impending winter snow, than with an arm patterned after that very cold weather being? ThinkGeek has a great solution in the Severed Wampa Arm Ice Scraper. You will look like you can take on the world – or Luke Skywalker – with this furry clawed scraper. The mitten keeps your hand warm. And as the winter goes on and your paw gets dirty just throw the mitten in the washer. You can conquer the ice on the car for just $24.99. So get yourself armed for the snow and ice – and add a little character to your scraping.

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Musical Wine Glasses

I am quite sure that back when you were a wee little kid in school, you realized that different levels of water in glasses could create various “notes” whenever your finger rubs on the rims of the glass. Why not be a whole lot more professional now that you are all grown up, with money in the bank to spare? I am referring to the £39.99 Musical Wine Glasses, where it puts a new spin on an age old trick, making a set of these spit out plenty of notes if you are musically inclined.

Each of the shapely glass will come finished with a gold luster, featuring musical notations that let you know which corresponds with various levels of liquid. As an example, a nice full glass might be a B flat, and when you have had your fill of fruit from the vine, you will end up playing a G sharp. Just make sure your finger is wet beforehand, while taking a firm grip on the base of the glass with the other while gently running the wet finger around the lip.

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Tetris takes a Halloween look

Everyone loves Tetris – I have yet to meet someone who did not relish the challenge of ensuring all those lines are cleared in the fastest possible time. The thing is, with the advent of multiplayer Tetris, one is truly capable of finding out just where one stands among your peers. Here is a Halloween take on Tetris, where hacker/squash carver Nathan Pryor decided to put in a whole lot more attention and detail into this pumpkin instead of just sticking a candle within a jack o’ lantern. What we have here is not only a pumpkin Tetris, but it is a very playable one by all means and purposes.

Pryor managed to carve an impeccable grid into a good-size pumpkin, while ensuring it remains loaded with a whopping 128 LEDs for the “display.” Pryor decided to christen this unique mish mash of technology and food “Pumpktris” – how apt, don’t you think so? The stem itself has been transformed into a controller, working like a joystick. The entire Pumpktris is a labor of love, taking a whopping dozen hours of work, 256 pieces of heat-shrink tubing, and 313 solder joints to complete.

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Personalized Musical Mini Jammers

Ever wished you were a rock star? Well, if you could not quite make it in this dog-eat-dog world and yet want to have something to do with the world of rock stars, you could always end up as a manager of a band – or heck, even own a record label of your own. Assuming that path, too, remains closed to you, I guess it is time to face reality, knuckles down, and bite the bullet. Of course, you can always dream a little on the side, as though you had your multi-platinum selling artist under your thumb, barking orders, wheeling and dealing for the best sponsorship deals for everyone on your label, through a pseudo rock star – via the $19.99 Personalized Musical Mini Jammers, that is.

These dancing rockers are seemingly able to respond to voice commands, but the real secret behind such “magic” would be the clever implementation of invisible string. Each of the Personalized Musical Mini Jammers will come with multi-color lights for the latest sold out concert, and will be accompanied by a decent amount of clothes, hats and instruments amongst other accessories, ensuring that each concert held on the self-assembled stage will never be the same as the last. You can even log into the Mini Jammers website to customize your rocker, now how about that?

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Boombero Near Field Audio Speaker

Well, well, what do we have here? A relic from the 1980s? Not quite, although it might look like it at first glance. After all, boomboxes were all the rage back then when I was a kid, and you had to match those sleek beats with jaw dropping moves of your own. Fast forward to today, and the humble cassette tape is no more, and the same goes for the CD player. It is all about digital files now stored on these things that have MP3 playback capability, so why not match modern day Gangnam-style tunes with the right kind of hardware? Enter the £44.99 Boombero Near Field Audio Speaker that comes in either black or white colors.

Boasting an all-new NearFA technology, the Boombero will make full use of Near Field Audio in order to wirelessly transmit and broadcast your music right out of the speakers, hence doing away with pesky wires or connections that tend to get all messed up whenever you stash it away. All you need to do to get started is place your device on top or into the slot and you’re good to go. Heck, rest your handset in landscape to watch movies and enjoy big sound with it. The three AA batteries boast up to 20 hours of continuous playtime, or you can always power it using USB connectivity.

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Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet

What happens when your little one pesters you for a pet? You know the long and winding road that you and the missus are about to head down. For starters, the puppy or kitten will be given all sorts of love at the beginning, but after a while, your kid will begin to pay more attention to the Nintendo Wii U or Xbox 360, neglecting to feed that now grown up dog or cat, in addition to taking it out for walks or bathing it. How about teaching responsibility on the digital front with the $29.99 Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet instead?

The Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet might bring back memories of Tamagotchies for some, except that these are far more intelligent and interactive. After all, they are able to relate stories to you, and even share some jokes around. Heck, if your kid is bored, the Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet will also be able to play games. The thing is, if you happen to “loan” your handset to your kid for them to spend time with the Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet, you might not get your phone back, ever, due to the advertised addictive nature of it. Each purchase of the Ubooly iPhone/iPod Interactive Pet comes with free monthly updates that are delivered automatically via Wi-Fi, where it will play nice with the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4s, 5, iPod touch 4G and iPod touch 5 devices.

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ROCCAT introduces a no-fray gaming mousepad, the Hiro 3D Supremacy

You can ask a gamer to go without a bath for a few days or perhaps just to exist on nothing but pepperoni pizza and fizzy drinks as their staple diet, but don’t ever, ever ask the gamer to use someone else’s rig for more than a day. It is somewhat akin to asking a Formula 1 driver to sit in the cockpit of somebody else’s car and ordering them to win the race. It just does not work, as a gaming rig is a very personal machine, one that has been built from the ground up to cater to one’s whims and fancies (according to the budget on hand, of course). Having said that, one important gaming accessory that should not be overlooked would be the mousepad. After all, once you have a top notch gaming mouse, you might as well go the whole nine yards and ensure your high end gaming mouse will glide along effortlessly on a surface worthy of its Teflon feet. Enter the ROCCAT Hiro 3D Supremacy Surface Gaming Mousepad.

This puppy hails from Germany, and is not quite ready for prime time action just yet. In fact, you will have to go through this Thanksgiving and Christmas without the ROCCAT Hiro 3D Supremacy in your stable of gaming peripherals, as it will only arrive in North America sometime in January next year. This is no ordinary gaming mousepad, as it opens up the category for a new high-performance cloth gaming pad. The main selling point? This is the world’s first mousepad that relies on an advanced new manufacturing process which results in smooth, rounded edges that will not ever fray, even after weeks and months of (abuse) extended use. The build process has been patented, creating an inseparable “power bond” between upper and lower surfaces so that this mousepad delivers unrivaled durability.

As for its gaming surface, the ROCCAT Hiro 3D Supremacy changes the game yet again, boasting of an exclusive vulcanized silicone playing field that sports a complex 3D structure, which ROCCAT claims will be able to deliver significantly increased gliding speed and control on both the X and Y axis. In short, your hand will be able to enjoy the ultimate command capability during even the most demanding of gaming sessions. Too bad there is no word on pricing at press time, but we do hope to find out more.

Press Release
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Pac-Man Plug ‘n’ Play

There is just something about retro designs and in this case, video games that tug at one’s heart strings. Most of us would have been exposed to video games at an early age via classics such as Galaga, Dig Dug and Pac-Man. Who could forget the “wakka-wakka” sound generated by this pseudo pie chart, gobbling up pills in a maze while trying to avoid ghosts from hunting it down? Here is a modern take on the retro Pac-Man, coming in the form of the £34.99 Pac-Man Plug ‘n’ Play.

The Pac-Man Plug ‘n’ Play, in essence, is a console that has been shaped to look like Pac-Man’s head; boasting authentic arcade controls. All you need to get going is an actual display, so it should not be too hard to find one unused display in the vicinity in this day and age. Some of the classic games included in the Pac-Man Plug ‘n’ Play console would be Galaga, New Rally-X and Dig Dug among the dozen original 8-bit titles. Just make sure that you have 4 AA batteries to keep it going, and we would recommend using rechargeables if you think that you are going to spend a lot of time with this puppy.

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Bang & Olufsen introduces BeoVision 11 Smart TV

Danish audio visual maestros Bang & Olufsen has come up with their very first foray into the Smart TV arena – with the introduction of the BeoVision 11. Arriving in US showrooms later this month, the BeoVision 11 is said to set new standards in the marketplace that boasts of promises to deliver rich sound, design perfection, full connectivity and best-in-class video experience. The BeoVision 11 is said to come with an all-in-one entertainment and information hub, resulting in a signature balance of form, function and technology.

The BeoVision 11 was conceived in order to deliver the entire family with a comprehensive array of up-to-date digital entertainment, where there would be no compromise of timeless aesthetics, intuitive controls and high-quality sound. Your ears will definitely need no convincing that the BeoVision 11 is a top notch piece of home entertainment, boasting half a dozen speakers within the BeoVision 11′s slim interior, where each of them is powered by a dedicated 32-watt ICEpower amplifier. These amplifiers have enclosures that are supported with rubber bushings in order to remove vibrations in the rest of the TV.

Apart from that, there is also a powerful new digital signal-processing algorithm that makes sure everything remains the working in tandem at clockwork, allowing it to switch seamlessly between dedicated sound modes whenever it detects music, sports, drama, or even movies. This ends up as an impressive, clear sound experience, which is something that one would not normally find from a flat-screen TV. The BeoVision 11 comes with a full digital surround sound decoder module, where it can deliver up to a dozen audio channels using Bang & Olufsen’s TrueImage processor.

An all-new video engine inside the BeoVision 11 will drive the 240Hz LED-based LCD display alongside its glare polarizer in either 2D or 3D. There is a two-sided LED backlight that boasts of 1.5 D local dimming in order to significantly improve contrast in 2D viewing. Digital noise and motion blur are also reduced by a radical margin, revealing a stunningly natural picture regardless of the circumstance.

If you are interested, you will be able to pick up the BeoVision 11 in 40″, 46″ and 55″ screen sizes, where it will retail from $5,995 onwards from this month at authorized Bang & Olufsen stores.

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Belkin@TV plus – Your TV, Where you Want It

I’m always trying to download movies and TV shows to my iPad and Android devices, TV watching is indeed the best time killer for me. If I have to wait for my daughter’s volleyball practice, or for a doctors appointment, a little television makes the time go by so much faster. Wish I could just take my TV with me everywhere.

Check out Belkin @TV, which makes your smartphone or tablet able to tap into your home TV, so you can watch whatever it is you have on your TV (or DVR) including all your favorite shows and movies anytime, and almost anywhere. It’s like being in your living room, except you’re actually wherever it is you need to be.

So watch TV on your smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Mac computers. With @TV Plus, you can also watch anything already recorded on your DVR or you can simply record directly to your mobile device, allowing you to enjoy shows, movies, or news on your smartphone or tablet, even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

@TV is easy enough to use, simply connect your DVR or cable or satellite receiver to the set-top box using the included component or composite cables and download the @TV Plus app on your mobile device.(around 13 bucks for iOS, Android is free) The box will now transmit to your router and the web, and your mobile device will be able to receive your TV programming through a Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G connection.

Wow, quick and easy content sharing, and it turns your device into a TV remote. How cool is that? @TV is available at amazon.com for around $179 bucks and would be an awesome gift for the gadget lover in your home. Mom, are you reading this?

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