Archive for February, 2013

Learn to Glide from the Master

Years ago we told you about Yves Rossey, a.k.a. Jetman, when he managed to pull off some aerial loops and roll himself like a plane while wearing a jet pack, thousands of feet up in the air and at over 200 mph. He was 51 at the time. Rossey must be getting bored. He released another video a few weeks ago and he is jet free this time. Yep. A human glider. (at age 53 to boot!) And apparently there will be an opportunity in the future for you to learn the art of gliding from Jetman himself.

His human glider video (below) will make you stop and say WOW. Not just about the beautiful Swiss scenery. But he drops out of the plane at over 11,000 feet (3,500 meters). He maneuvers his way around peaks and through valleys at about 150mph and even builds up enough speed to regain 300 feet in one fell swoop. Remember, this is all in an unpowered glider! Like with the jet pack he landed safely with assistance of a built-in parachute.  The tease Jetman offers at the end of the video is the fact that Jetman Glider School is coming soon. Meaning you could learn from this pilot and inventor. There is no other information given yet, but we’ll stay on it. Maybe you can join me in school!


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Man builds own Oreo Separator

I don’t know about you, but I am an absolute sucker for Oreos. After all, I find it really difficult to resist the cream filling of each Oreo cookie, and all willpower just wilts when faced with a roll of Oreos and a glass of cold milk, as the twist and dunk combo is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. Well, artist and inventor David Neevel must be one of the very few people in the world who hate the cream that lines each Oreo cookie, and the inventor side of him decided to do something quirky – be developing a machine that allows him to remove the creamy part of the Oreo cookie.

Neevel’s Oreo Separator Machine, as he calls it, is a creation that defies logic – who in their right mind would resist the creamy bit of an Oreo cookie? Well, the invention will comprise of a mish mash of items, including aluminum, wood, a hatchet and floss, all put together in his garage in Portland, Oregon. Of course, Neevel did have to pay a price to build the Oreo Separator Machine, taking approximately two weeks of his time to do so. Neevel said, “It was a big time commitment. I had to work some long hours. I didn’t see my girlfriend or my dog for hours at a time.”

I don’t think he’d find a decent market who would be willing to pay him money for his invention, as scraping off the cream using the blunt edge of a butter knife is a whole lot cheaper.

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Remotely Control Your Home

Did your grandparents have a light timer in their living room? I think many did. Back when burglaries were fewer and farther between it made sense. Unfortunately crime is on the rise. (I’ll resist going on a political tangent) Burglars are much smarter. So we the home owners/dwellers must better prepare our domiciles. House sitters have become a popular option. Or maybe your neighbor stops by to turn lights off and on. Smarthomes enable remote control of many items in the home. But not all of us can afford a True Smarthome (or can’t retro fit ours).

Announced yesterday at Mobile World Congress, and covered by CNN, in Barcelona is a solution to use our everyday technological capabilities when it comes to remote household control. The BeeWi Mobot will make your grandparent’s timer look archaic! At its simplest the device is a power socket. Plug your light, appliance or gadget in however, and Mobot takes over the control. Multiple Mobots in the home can communicate via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, with  master Mobot also having a SIM card installed. This, of course, means the master Mobot communicates with the outside world via iOS app (no mention of Android yet). Voila. You can control the full gamut of Mobot connected devices from anywhere in the world. Change the lighting while you are away from home. Pop on the TV to entertain the dog. Turn the TV off as a reminder of teenagers about bedtime. Start the washer while on your way home from work. Or scare the heck out of family that may be home! In addition to controlling power on devices, Mobot offers a motion detector which texts you after movement in the house or you can set it up to turn lights on when you walk in. BeeWi anticipates launch later this year at about $195 (£130) for a master and $80 (£50) per additional plug. Sure it is an investment, but for control and awareness of activities at home it should be worth the money.
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Razer Edge gets March 1st pre-order date

Boy, how time flies when you are having fun – or not. I digress, it was just last month in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the folks over at Razer took the opportunity to announce that they have successfully put together all the best elements possible of a gaming notebook/tablet, taking input from hardcore gamers who know best what they want, and asking the engineering team to conjure a miracle, resulting in the announcement of the Razer Edge. Well, we did take a good look at its specifications back then, but there is no harm in going through the list again considering how Razer has just placed the Razer Edge on pre-order from March 1st, and shipping it set to commence sometime later in the same month. It is definitely going to be an interesting gaming spring and summer, for sure!

Razer did say that all purchased units during the pre-order period will be shipped to consumers later that very same month, and we do wonder whether there will be enough supply to keep up with voracious demand, assuming that happens, of course. The Razer Edge is touted to be the most powerful tablet in the world, and before it is even released to the mass market, you might be interested to know that it has already picked up its fair share of awards, having swept eight gongs at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where among them include CNET’s “Best of Show” award.

Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director, had this to add about the Razer Edge, “The Razer Edge combines the features of full-functioning PCs, touch-enabled tablets and gaming consoles into one incredible, portable form factor. Furthermore, the Razer Edge’s powerful chipset, unique among all tablet computers, ensures that you can take advantage of the world’s most sophisticated games, programs and apps on these multiple platforms anytime.”

The Razer Edge will be powered by an Intel i5 processor and have a 64GB SSD, while the Razer Edge Pro sports an Intel i7 processor with an option for a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Its gamepad controller, home console dock and extended battery accessories will also be up for pre-order at the same time, although the optional keyboard dock is due for a launch in Q3 later this year. Prices for the Razer Edge begins at $999 and goes north from there.

Press Release
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Sceptre SB301523 Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 unveiled

I guess you can more or less say that in this day and age, it is no longer considered as a luxury to actually own a semblance of a home theater system. Thing is, most of the time, such home theater systems do not come cheap – not by a long shot, but thankfully, there are some manufacturers out there who know that not everyone prints money or has an inexhaustible bank vault to fall back upon, which is why the good people over at Sceptre have come up with the Sceptre SB301523 Speaker Sound Bar 2.1.

Yes sir, the name itself says it all, the Sceptre SB301523 Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 should not disappoint most folks unless you are extremely particular and discerning about your audio quality, but then again, if you are of the latter group, you would surely look a whole lot higher up the home theater hierarchy instead of something from Sceptre, say, maybe Bang & Olufsen? Having said that, the Sceptre SB301523 Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 will boast of a built-in subwoofer, and it intends to be the all-in-one sound solution that you need for your humble pad, where it is touted to deliver a dynamic home audio experience without having to break the bank, and neither will it look like an eyesore in your living room.

Just what kind of performance can you exact from the SB301523 Sound Bar 2.1? It is said to produce heart pumping surround sound thanks to its dual 20 Watt speakers and a built-in 40 Watt subwoofer. Apart from that, you will also be able to find integrated technologies such as High Efficiency Amplifier, SRS WOW audio and sculpted bass response which is said to deliver a more natural audio, in addition to a wider sound field and raised sound image. Sceptre’s latest Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 will retail for $159.99, and works best as long as your TV is no larger than 40” in size.

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Bird Box Radio and MP3 Speaker

If you happen to have a sizeable yard (whether it is at the back or in front, that does not matter), surely it would look a whole lot better with a carefully manicured lawn and some trees growing out of it, providing a decent amount of shade from the heat of the scorching sun. Where there are trees, you can be sure that life will be attracted to it, such as creepy crawlies that turn the soil to make it more fertile, and of course, them birds who you love or hate (the latter tend to be folks whose freshly washed cars were parked under a tree). Well, the chirping of birds will surely bring about a smile to anyone’s face, no matter how gloomy it was in the beginning, but what happens when you take the idea of a bird box and add some technology into it? You end up with the £19.99 Bird Box Radio and MP3 Speaker, that’s what.

The Bird Box Radio and MP3 Speaker is pretty much self-explanatory, where it is shaped like an FM radio, sporting a retractable aerial as well as a headphone jack that allows you to plug in an MP3 or portable media player, and play back your own tunes out loud. The radio itself will come with multi-colored lights which illuminate and flash whenever music is played, resulting in a disco atmosphere. Being eco-friendly, it is made from cardboard so that you can recycle it when the product reaches the end of its life. It is powered by a quartet of AA batteries.

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A New Approach to 2.1 Sound

I find it interesting to peruse Kickstarter and Indiegogo and see what gets funded – or does not get funded. It sort of gives insight as to what people are interested in. Especially in the world of technology. One Swedish company – People People – just completed their second successful Kickstarter campaign. Their Memoto, wearable mini camera, raised over $500k. And yes, their second product funded there was just as creative.

Welcome to Transparent Speaker. As you can see, errrr not see, the name perfectly explains the device. Their concept was a functional sound system that really played into a user’s environment. Rather than using particleboard or even wood, People People wants the speaker to fit your world rather than making your room revolve around the speaker. What makes the Transparent Speaker unique is the construction. Two versions are offered. The $800 Transparent Speaker comes fully assembled. If you choose to be more creative try the $450 Transparent Speaker DIY Kit. All the parts are included except the 6mm material for the walls. You pick and cut your own material more local to you. As you add years to the speaker and since construction is so easy the parts are easily replaceable. So a broken speaker does not mean trash heap. Distribute your music via powered USB port (for a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi dongle), two auxiliary outs or even an Airport Express docking space. Two 3 inch drivers and a 6.5 inch sub give highs, lows and everything in between. The amp contains DSP to ensure it measures up within the category. And a basic control panel keeps bass, treble and volume accessible. Combine all these assets and you have a stylish, unique and eco-friendly solution that also performs. Obviously, People People seems to be keen on figuring out what the world wants to see – or in the case of Transparent Speaker – not see in their technology.
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All Day Fitness Watch

Do you wear a watch to keep the time? Assuming that you do without having to rely on your smartphone to get the job done, how about making sure that your timepiece too, is able to help you out in making sure you remain fit as a fiddle. Of course, wearing a watch is not going to automatically exercise your body on your behalf, but the $99.95 All Day Fitness Watch will be able to keep track of your resting heart rate, total number of calories burned, in addition to the overall activity and rates your fitness.

The All Day Fitness Watch is capable of comparing your current resting heart rate to the average reading from the past week, while using that data to compile a fitness score. As you continue to work on your body, logically speaking, your fitness levels should improve with a lowered resting heart rate, making it a snap to track progress and set goals. There is an integrated accelerometer that can detect all kinds of movement, allowing the timepiece to automatically track how much time you spend moving each day, while performing a rough calculation on number of calories burned from exercise and daily activities. Other features include a pedometer, chronograph, and countdown timer, not to mention showing off the date with an alarm built in.

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Magellan GPS watches arrive in Europe

Dedicated GPS navigation devices have been around for quite some time already, although there is the very real and present danger of such a niche market to go out of vogue with the plethora of devices these days (smartphones and tablets, especially) that already come with their fair share of built-in GPS navigation capability, hence doing away with the need for a dedicated GPS device. Still, companies like TomTom and Magellan are still around, and the latter has decided to expand the worldwide availability of their Magellan Switch Series of crossover GPS watches across the pond, specially targeting athletes who run, bike, swim or participate in a wide range of outdoor activities. The Magellan Switch and Switch Up watches will be made available from this month onwards from select retailers and via Magellan’s European distribution network.

In order to offer more support for their European users, Magellan has decided to expand its Magellan Active website (active.magellangps.com) by throwing in more languages such as French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch, and of course, the mainstay, English. Magellan Active makes it a snap for multisport athletes who want to record their performance data on Magellan’s Switch Series, as it is easy to upload and track data online using intuitive charts, maps and metrics, all from a single location.

The Magellan Switch Series of crossover GPS watches will include some more innovative features including an ‘Activity Pacer’ which will tell runners should they be on target with their goal, while offering specific targets in order to attain the desired result. There is the Switch GPS watch which was specially designed for runners, and remains as a powerful fitness training device that has been packed with innovative features which will include nine customizable sport profiles, easy-to-read high resolution display, eight hours of battery life, a high sensitivity GPS receiver, 50 meter water resistance, and compatibility with ANT+ sensors.

The Magellan Switch Series will be available as of now from Magellan’s European distribution partners serving UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Benelux.

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Braven BRV-1 is one rugged speaker

There are speakers, and then there are other speakers which are head and shoulders above the rest in terms of performance. Normally, most portable speakers are not exactly the toughest piece of consumer electronics in terms of build quality. Braven has something different for the masses later this spring, in the form of the Braven BRV-1 rugged speaker which will be able to live out all of your outdoor adventures without batting an eyelid. Of course, it will boast of IPX5 certified water resistance and is also shock absorbent, making this ultra-lightweight and compact portable speaker which fits into your palm comfortably without missing a beat being able to handle situations like drizzles and even a day by the beach. Needless to say, being water resistant does not mean it will be able to accompany you on your scuba diving trip.

The Braven BRV-1 rugged speaker sports a modern design that would not look out of place in this day and age, and is ideal for your next road or bike trip. It carries a 1,400mAh battery that boasts to deliver up to a dozen hours of playtime, where it pumps out audio at 6W of power. Music will be streamed wirelessly using Bluetooth connectivity, but there is also hope for older legacy devices, where they can be connected using a 3.5mm jack.

Not only that, the Braven BRV-1 rugged speaker will also boast of a noise-cancelling microphone that enables you to use it as a hands-free device, where you can make and receive calls from just about anywhere. Not only that, the Braven BRV-1 also doubles up as a portable powerbank, since it can also use its power reserves to juice up other devices such as a smartphone over USB. If you are interested in the Braven BRV-1, it can be yours for $169.99.

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