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Monthly Archives: February 2006

iRex Iliad E-Reader

iRex Iliad E-Reader (Image courtesy iRex Technologies)By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s nice to see the Sony Portable Reader finally showing up in their online store, in true ‘Sony Style’ it’s missing a few features that some users might want.

The Iliad E-Reader from iRex Technologies is looking to be a nice alternative to Sony’s own Reader. Instead of Memory Stick & SD, the Iliad has slots for storing books on Compact Flash, SD and MMC, in addition to the 224 MB of available flash memory built-in. It can also access new content via a USB hook-up or through a WiFi connection. The Iliad supports PDF, XHTML and TXT with other formats being added in the ‘near future’ but also includes MP3 capabilities with a built-in headphone jack allowing audiobooks to be enjoyed when you’re just too lazy to read.

The Iliad’s biggest advantage is that its touch-sensitive screen can be used to jot down notes on ‘blank paper’, or mark-up books and documents that have already been uploaded to the device.

The Iliad E-Reader will be available in April 2006. Pricing information is to be announced.

[iRex Iliad E-Reader] VIA [Ubergizmo]

Hospital Communicators

Hospital Communicator (Image courtesy BBC News website)By Andrew Liszewski

In yet another case of science-fiction meeting reality, health workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospital have started using small voice-activated badges that allow instant communication between the staff just by saying the person’s name or their department. A technology not unlike the communicators used by characters in ‘Star Trek TNG’.

Developed by BT Health, the BT Managed Vocera system is a huge improvement over cellphones, radios and even pagers. Since the badges are designed to be constantly worn, even important staff members who are often away from their desks or phones can instantly be contacted. And since the technology is all voice-activated, the staff no longer needs to memorise phone numbers or maintain lists of contact numbers in order to stay in touch with every department.

[Hospital Communicators] VIA [BBC News]

Canon EOS 30D

By Bruce Eaton

When I first read about the new EOS 30D by Canon Inc., I didn’t really pay attention as it costs $1400. I did notice it though, because it features an 8.2MP CMOS sensor, amazing .15 second start up time, and a sizable 2.5″ LCD. The thing that really caught my eye though, on closer inspection, is that this camera is fully compatible with all EF and EF-S Lenses, and all EOS accessories. In other words, let me paint this pretty picture for you: all those really fancy EF lenses and stuff for your SLR will work with this digital. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by not having to re-buy it all.

Other nice things on here are its CF/Microdrive compatibility, a 100 to 3200 ISO range, 5-frame-per-second & 30-large-JPEG-frame burst, and USB 2.0 to top it off. This really is the kind of device you buy and you are done with… for a few years
[Canon EOS 30D] VIA [Uncrate]

RC Robotic Shark – Jaws At Your Command

RC Robotic Shark (Image courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s not quite the scale of the Jaws we all know and love, this Robotic Shark from Hammacher Schlemmer is still quite impressive.

At 2 feet long, this robo-shark is fully articulated to replicate the actual swimming motion of a real shark. It can operate in depths of up to 9 feet (perfect for the backyard pool) and can move up, down, left, right and even backwards through the water. The shark can operate up to 40 feet from it’s remote unit, which is also completely submersible, meaning you’re not limited to playing with it from poolside.

The only downside is a limited 15-minute run time before the battery requires charging again (4 hours for the initial charge, 1 hour for each subsequent charge) though additional batteries can be purchased. The shark also comes in two colors/frequencies allowing two to be used at the same time.

The RC Robotic Shark is available from Hammacher Schlemmer for $99.95.

[Remote Controlled Robotic Shark] From [Hammacher Schlemmer]

The Sports Utility Watch

sport utility watchBy David Ponce

Because wearing something nice, elegant and sophisticated on your wrist wouldn’t make bold enough of a statement, the SUW was made (that’s SUW as in Sports Utility Watch). Its mission is to be as ostentatiously ugly as possible, and attract frightened glances from frail old ladies.

Its 1.5-by-2-inch rectangle features a one-inch square timepiece that features analog and digital time, a light so there’s always one at the ready, a stopwatch and Japanese movement. Also featured is a fully-functional compass, a thermometer that gives the temperature in Celsius, and a 10-inch genuine leather band. Made of space-age titanium, the SUW is so lightweight you’ll hardly know you have it on.

At $150, it’s an inexpensive way to make people understand you mean business, even if it’s of the fugly kind.

[Sports Utility Watch] VIA [BoingBoing]

Pebble 1Gb – Pebble Sized MP3 Player

Pebble 1Gb MP3 Player (Image courtesy Advanced MP3 Players website)By Andrew Liszewski

Since the day I bought my iPod Shuffle, the biggest feature I now look for in an MP3 player is size. More specifically, small and light. Being able to stash it in your pocket without it acting like a diving weight is the biggest plus in my books.

While the Pebble 1GB takes a lot of it’s design and feature cues from other gadgets (including the name), in the end the whole is definitely greater than the sum of it’s borrowed parts. The diminutive player packs quite a feature set including an OLED screen, preset and user-customized EQ modes with DBB and 3D sound functions, a voice recorder, an FM tuner with recording capabilities and of course USB 2.0 connectivity. The built in lithium polymer battery is rated for 12 hours of playback and to top it all off, the Pebble doesn’t look that bad either.

The Pebble 1GB MP3 Player is available for $170 (after currency conversion) exclusively from Advanced MP3 Players.

[Pebble 1GB MP3 Player] From [Advanced MP3 Players]

Mandylion Password Manager

Mandylion Password Manager (Image courtesy ThinkGeek) By Andrew Liszewski

Passwords are as much of a nuisance as they are a necessity. Though there seems to be far more convenient security solutions on the horizon, for now the password is still our best solution to keeping things safe. Keeping track of passwords is a whole other security problem on it’s own though. Sure there are plenty of apps you can use, but they usually have limited portability. (Even I don’t carry a PDA 24/7) And I don’t think Homeland Security recommendations include the post-it-note on your monitor solution either.

The Mandylion Password Manager is a simple keychain-size secure device that has been tested and perfected in actual warfare by the US Military. It can store up to 50 different logins and the passwords themselves can include up to 14 alpha-numeric or special characters. The data is stored in permanent memory, so even if the battery dies everything will still be safe. It includes numerous tamper-proof features (you need to use a user-defined combination of the 5 buttons just to access it) and it even has a self-destruct feature for ‘high-risk scenarios.’ Cool!

The Mandylion Password Manager is available from ThinkGeek in a ‘5 User Workgroup’ for $269.

[Mandylion Password Manager] From [ThinkGeek]

Up To 8GB of Storage On Your Mobile With The Stick And Stor

mobile stor stickBy David Ponce

If you don’t mind Frankensteining your mobile with a little bump on the back and a funny looking tapered blue cable on the side, then a company called US Modular has a product that promises to add up to 8GB of extra storage to any Micro-SD or T-Flash enabled mobile. These include the Samsung D600 and the infamous ROKR (and, yes, that sort of makes the ROKR suck more, as you can’t really take advantage of the extra space anyway — at least not for music).

The “Stik & Stor”, as it’s called, comes in sizes ranging from 1GB to 8GB (to be released soon). The 1GB ($80) and 2GB ($100) versions are flash based, whereas the 4GB ($150) and 8GB ($200, when it comes out) use a microdrive.

It’s not exactly clear what the particular phone’s operating systems or applications will have to say about the sudden appearance of the mammothy storage, though US Modular claims peaches and cream seamlessness.

We’ll see.

[US Modular] VIA [I4U]

The Cell Gunphone

By David Ponce

Yes, this is a few years old (hence the brick-y mobile), but it’s the first time I see a video of it in action. Nevertheless, here’s an extra worry for law enforcement officials everywhere. The Cell Gunphone looks like, well, a pretty old crappy cell phone, but it is in fact a fully functional gun that fires up to four .22 caliber bullets. Once loaded, you simply have to press the keys 5 to 8 in quick succession, and your unknowing target will be filled with lead.

So, from now on, when you’ve lost a police chase, don’t even try to call mom to tell her about it, cause the Police might just have to shoot you down anyhow.

[The Cell Gunphone] VIA [TechEBlog]