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Monthly Archives: January 2006

Smoking And Drinking By Your PC Just Got Easier With ThermalTake’s XRay

thermaltake Xray cigarette lighterBy David Ponce

This would be perfect with that USB Ashtray we showed you the other day. If your idea of a good time involves a cancer stick, a beer, and a few hours of Counter-Strike… then you might have found the product for you. The ThermalTake XRay goes into a PC case’s 5.25″ bay, and is simply a cigarette lighter, of the type found in cars. What’s more, it has an integrated beverage holder.

To top things off, it’s all of $20, at ThinkGeek.

I almost feel sad I don’t smoke.

[ThermalTake XRay] VIA [Xataka]

Asahi’s Beer Pouring Robots

asahi beer robot promotionBy David Ponce

Here’s a match made in heaven: beer and robots. For most of the world, it’s a match we are left to simply dream of (you know, slave bots bringing you a cold one, instead of the usual “Get it yourself!”) If you live in Japan however, you should know that Asahi is running a promotion where they’ll be giving away 5,000 fully stocked refrigerator robots. What do these lovely creatures do?

Well, aside from stocking and cooling up to six cans of beer and two mugs, upon the press of a button, the machine will open up a can, and pour in into the mug with a perfect head every time.

To win one, contestants must collect 36 seals found on specially marked Asahi beers. Of course, you don’t have to drink the beer… but then you’d probably be missing the point.

[Robot-Dreams] VIA [Prylfeber]

Come inside for a few more pictures.

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Kingston’s Tax Time ThumbDrive

kingston H&R tax driveBy David Ponce

Tax time is looming. And paper returns are so passe. Kingston, makers of all things memory, have partnered up with H&R Block to make a 256MB thumb drive that comes pre-loaded with TaxCut software. Simply insert the drive in your PC, fill out as much as you can, and bring the drive to your closest H&R Block. They’ll take care of the rest.

For $40 (after a $10 mail-in rebate), you get a little thumbdrive, and a relatively easier way to pay the taxman.

[] [H&R Block] and [TaxCut]

Alpine’s Blackbird, An MP3 Playing Personal Navigator

alpine blackbird MP3 player navigation system
By David Ponce

Alpine makes high-end in-car electronic stuff. That’s their thing and they’re darn good at it. But someone must have noticed the gadget revolution taking place and decided it was time for Alpine to enter that market. Their offering? The Blackbird portable navigation device/MP3 player.

The unit is primarily a GPS navigation system. It has a 4GB hard drive that comes pre-loaded with detailed maps of the US and Canada, as well as 6 million POIs (points-of-interest). It has, however, a slot for an SD/MMC card, which you can load up with MP3 or WMA files. It will then play these back through your car stereo via an FM tuner located in the included cradle, with 12 selectable frequencies. It even automatically reduces the volume of your music while it is giving you spoken driving instructions.

When you reach your destination, detach the unit from its cradle… and keep listening to your tracks via headphones. Though it’s a little bulky to be used as a standalone MP3 player (it’s 145mm by 74mm by 29mm), this type of functionality is great.

Additionally, there is a built-in radio data system (RDS) traffic tuner. This is a subscription service that is slated to be offered in selected markets in late spring 2006 which would enable you to get traffic reports, as well a weather information, directly to the device.

Of course, they don’t give them away, but at about $750, it’s more than reasonable for a navigation system. And, we’re on the waiting list for a review unit, so stay tuned for first-hand impressions.

Expect them in stores late February.

[Alpine USA]

OhGizmo Review: The Ultrasone iCans

ultrasone icansBy David Ponce

The iCans, a set of semi high-end headphones from company Ultrasone, come bundled with a bunch of relatively exciting promises. For one, they feature “S-Logic Technology”, which is meant to give the listener the impression that the sound comes from further away, rather than being “stuck inside the head”… kind of like being at a live concert. Also, they allow you to listen to your music at a lower volume (as much as 40%, or 3-4 dB) while still giving you the same loudness impression. They fold up for “easy storage” and come in a relatively nice tin box (a “can”, hence the name) for more convenient transportation. Finally, there’s ULE technology which shields your ears from as much as 98% of the radiation produced by the magnetic drivers.

I got a set to review a few weeks back, and I’m finally getting around to posting my impressions. So, come inside for all the details. Out here, you’ll get the verdict and the links: they’re a nice looking pair of great sounding headphones at a reasonable price. Are they going to give you eargasms? No, not really.

[The iCans] and [Ultrasone]

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World’s First Flash Drive With BCD

smartdrive didigo UBS flash drive
By David Ponce

Well, it’s a flash drive from My Didigo. It comes in flavors from 128MB, to 4GB. It’s claim to fame is that it includes a display of esoteric descent: it’s the world’s first USB flash drive with a BCD (Bi-stable Cholesteric LCD Display), which doesn’t require a battery to show it’s status. From what I gather, and correct me if I’m wrong, that’s just fancy talk to say e-paper.

In other words, this flash drive’s display would be updated each time it’s plugged in, but once unplugged, would remain the same until next time, thus negating the need for batteries. Remaining drive space is displayed with words, or in fashionable pie-chart manner.

No word on price.

[My Didigo’s Flash Drive] VIA [Chip Chick]

Ghostbusters As Animated GIF

ghostbusters animated GIFBy David Ponce

I’m not going to kill my bandwidth by including a 250KB image with this post. Just below, you will find links to websites who don’t seem to mind.

But, it seems that turning full movies into animated GIFs is all the rage these days. First, take Star Wars, and now you’ve got the first Ghostbusters.

Yeah, that’s right. Just get some popcorn, and watch a fully mastered, soundless, animated GIF purporting to show the full movie.

[At Temdroid and ReBlog]

Bill Gates Runs Like A Girl

bill gates runs like a girlBy David Ponce

What’s this? A product you can buy? A gadget of some sort? No, certainly not. It’s only a link to a skit produced by the good folks at Attack of the Show, purporting to show a mock Steve Jobs introducing a real Bill Gates running like a true gal.

You have to see it to understand why I put it here.

[Bill Gates Runs Like A Girl (opens automatically)] VIA [TUAW]

Gordon Bennett Robot Sculptures

gordon bennet works
By David Ponce

You have to (have to) agree to the notion that one day, robots will wash our feet, massage our backs and whip us back into shape if we don’t bring them Penzoil Margaritas when they darn well want’em. While our inevitable slavery is only a matter of time, we can spend the peaceful interlude creating effigies to our future warlords.

Gordon Bennett gets it. He builds 14 to 25 inch tall robot sculptures from “recycled” objects that are priced anywhere between $650 and $2,700. They look very retro, and very cool. And he knows that by doing this, he’s buying himself some serious preferential treatment with our future, (artificially) intelligent masters.

[Gordon Bennett Works] VIA[Josh Spear]