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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Circuitboard Coasters

Circuitboard Coasters (Image courtesy ThinkGeek) By Andrew Liszewski

I tend to only use coasters when the host of a party hovers over me and seems particularly paranoid about their furniture being damaged by my perspiring glass. At home though it’s a whole different story. Except for that pile of unlabeled DVDs I don’t even have coasters. Of course since the only furniture I really care about is the stuff holding up my electronics, I’m not that worried about where glasses get put.

These coasters from ThinkGeek though I might actually consider since they’re made from actual discarded circuitboards and look pretty interesting. A set of six comes in an “attractive tin” and since they’re made from real circuitboards the designs vary from set to set.

The Circuitboard Coasters are available from ThinkGeek for $19.99 but at the time of writing they appear to be sold out.

[ Circuitboard Coasters ] VIA [ I4U News ]

WaterField Designs DS Lite Case

WaterField Designs DS Lite Case (Image courtesy WF Designs) By Andrew Liszewski

The iPod seems to get all the love from third parties when it comes to cases and accessories but it makes sense given just how many of them have been sold over the past 5 years. But the Nintendo DS has also become a runaway hit selling millions of units so it’s nice to finally see other companies starting to recognize that.

WaterField Designs who frequent readers of OhGizmo will already be familiar with thanks to my past reviews of their products has recently started selling a DS Lite case of their own. Made from ballistic nylon with a double layer leather flap the case holds the unit itself and has pockets for 3 DS games and even a sheath to hold the extra stylus. On the back of the case you’ll find a zippered pocket where you can safely cram all your other stuff including GBA games, headphones or even the charger.

The DS Lite Case is currently available from WF Designs for $39. The exterior of the flap is available in a standard black or patterned design while the underside of the flap can be ordered in black, kiwi or pink leather.

[ WaterField Designs DS Lite Case ]

Plug In & Enjoy Speakers

Plug In & Enjoy Speakers (Images courtesy Yanko Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

A decent stereo system is a pretty essential part of throwing a great party but unless you’ve gone to the trouble of wiring speakers throughout your whole house the music is going to be limited to only a couple of rooms at best. Designer Jinseup Shin has created a pretty simple and flexible solution to this problem with the Plug In & Enjoy speaker concept.

Roughly the size of a power adapter the speakers plug into any outlet and are designed to receive an FM signal from your stereo, iPod, cellphone or anything else that can be connected to an FM transmitter. Once plugged in you turn the front part of the speaker (which acts like a knob) until if finds the signal coming from your music player. Once the signal is located an LED light will turn green. If it has found the correct station simply wait 3 seconds until the LED turns red at which point the knob will control the volume instead. And if full volume is not loud enough you can simply plug in additional speakers in the same room.

[ Plug In & Enjoy @ Yanko Design ]

Pedal Powered Billboard

Pedal Powered Billboard (Image courtesy Advertising/Design Goodness)
By Andrew Liszewski

Last week in downtown Vancouver the billboard you see above was exlusively powered by volunteers pedaling a single bicycle over a span of about 5 days. The advertisement was sponsored by DDB/Vancouver and BC Hydro (hydro is a Canadian term for power or electricity) to show off how energy-efficient LED Christmas lights are. While the reindeer used on the billboard was lit with about 1500 LED lights BC Hydro claims that with the traditional type of incandescent lighting there would only be enough electricity to power 120 bulbs.

While this is definitely a very energy-efficient way to power a set of LED Christmas lights the hard part is finding enough volunteers to keep the bike going. The 5 days this billboard was lit up required some 120 volunteers from the ad agency and local organizations so if you’ve got a large family you might want to consider this alternative next Christmas to help keep the electricity bills down.

[ Pedal Powered Billboard @ Advertising/Design Goodness ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

OGCC Day 19 – SnoWonder Instant Snow

SnoWonder (Image courtesy Sno-Wonder.com) By Andrew Liszewski

OGCC Day 19 (Image property of OhGizmo)The chances of having a naturally white Christmas drastically increase the farther north you live but then again so does the chances of having a heart attack while you shovel the white stuff away. So those of you who choose to live in slightly warmer climates probably have a slim chance of seeing snow on Christmas morn. But since you’ve already got the fake tree, fake fireplace, fake LED candles and fake pine scent drifting through the house why stop there? With a bucket of water and a packet of instant snow you can guarantee a white Christmas no matter where you live.

SnoWonder is a non-toxic plastic based material that when mixed with water expands 50 to 100 times its original volume resulting in a material that looks pretty close to real snow. Because the final product is 99% water it also has the tendency to feel cold even when used indoors but of course won’t melt all over the place. A batch of SnoWonder can last for months at a time but may need the occasional misting to compensate for natural surface evaporation drying it out. The product is also environmentally friendly allowing it to be safely disposed of no matter what time of year you finally decide the holidays are over.

SnoWonder comes in a wide variety of sizes from a $2.95 packet perfect for sticking in a stocking to a $595, 44 pound tub which can be used to keep snow in your backyard all year round.

[ SnoWonder ]

Plus Deck Cassette To Digital Converter

Plus Deck Cassette Converter (Images courtesy Firebox.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

If for some reason you still have a bunch of cassettes you need archived to a digital format but feel hooking up your walkman to your PC’s sound card with a stereo cable is too low-tech then this is for you Mr. Overkill. The Plus Deck converter is easily installed into a spare 5 1/4 inch bay on your tower and can either be used for simply playing back that old mix tape or recording it to a format that might still be in use in 5 years.

As novel as this device is I think the chances that most people having any type of recordings that only exist on a cassette tape are pretty rare. Any album has long since been re-released on compact disc and while you can complain about digital not sounding as good as analog I can guarantee they’re at least better than what cassettes were capable of. There’s a reason professionals used the larger format reel to reel tape instead of these. However if you did the whole ‘garage band’ thing back in the 80’s and 90’s you do probably have a shoebox full of old recordings but I suggest just leaving them where they are.

The Plus Deck converter is currently available from Firebox.com for just under $200.

[ Plus Deck Converter ] VIA [ Coolest-Gadgets ]

No Touch Pickpocket Alarm Card

No Touch Alarm Card (Image courtesy Greenspecial Ind. Co.) By Andrew Liszewski

There are certain adjustments that need to be made when you move to the downtown core of a large metropolis. These include learning how to diffuse that crazy guy who’s picked you as his evening target, knowing what streets and back alleys to avoid when the sun goes down (this is optional depending on why you moved downtown) and getting used to carrying your wallet in your front pocket. Now I’m not saying everyone riding the subway is a pickpocket, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of having to get all your IDs and credit cards replaced.

Of course if the front pocket approach doesn’t jive with your ‘style’ then you might want to look into this alarm card. At only 2.7mm thick the No Touch card is designed to be placed inside one of the credit card slots in your wallet. It has a small optical photo sensor that when exposed to light will sound an alarm letting you know if your wallet has been removed and opened. I can already think of a lot of ways to foil the card but I guess if you don’t know it’s inside the wallet beforehand it would probably be quite effective.

While the No Touch alarm card can be purchased in bulk with custom graphics for promotional purposes it’s also available at various online retailers for about $12 each.

[ No Touch Alarm Card ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

OGCC Day 18 – Mountain Dew Can Christmas Tree

Mountain Dew Christmas Tree (Images courtesy David Barshow)
By Andrew Liszewski

OGCC Day 18 (Image property of OhGizmo)To me this represents the perfect combination of Christmas spirit and hardcore geek. First off you have Mountain Dew which is the unofficial drink of late-night gaming marathons. Unlike Coke or Pepsi the Dew is smooth enough to be consumed very rapidly providing that immediate and much needed boost of caffeine at 3 in the morning.

Of course after 3 months of soda consumption you’re going to be left with a ‘mountain’ of cans and while recycling might seem like the right thing to do it doesn’t get your website spread across the internet as quickly as turning those cans into a full size Christmas tree does. Using about 400 cans, some PVC pipe for the trunk and construction flags these guys spent 4 days turning all that aluminum into the perfect decoration.

To be honest I never would have thought a tree made of Mountain Dew cans would be anything but tacky but looking at that shot with the lights off and the tree all lit up I’ll admit it doesn’t look half bad. Of course you could do the same thing with any type of can but the green and red color scheme Mountain Dew uses just fits the holiday season.

If you’d love one of these for your own home (or more likely bachelor pad) but would like to avoid consuming the 400 cans of Mountain Dew then you’ll be happy to hear the the tree is currently up for bid on eBay with a starting bid of $300. (Though the reserve has not been met at this point.)

[ Mountain Dew Christmas Tree ] VIA [ Make: Blog ]

Rapid Transit USB To USB Device

Rapid Transit (Image courtesy the Herrington Catalog)
By Andrew Liszewski

For the time being Apple has decided to ignore the Zune’s ‘killer’ feature of being able to transfer music wirelessly between devices but while they may claim no one really needs or wants that option you can pretty much guarantee the iPod will one day gain that functionality. So for the time being the only way to copy MP3s, videos or photos between two iPods is with something like the Rapid Transit. Just connect two devices (including digital cameras) via their own USB cables to the RT and then using its built-in screen you can select what files or folders you want to copy between the devices.

And you can choose to view this feature as a plus or minus but the Rapid Transit also plays along with Apple’s DRM which means that music transferred from a friend’s iPod to yours can not be played until your iPod is re-synched to iTunes. (You need to enter your friend’s iTunes password to unlock the songs transferred to your own iPod.) However I’m pretty sure music that wasn’t purchased from iTunes is free of these restrictions. When travelling the RT can use its own rechargeable battery but also comes with an AC adaptor that allows you to recharge any USB-rechargeable device plugged into it.

The Rapid Transit is available from the Herrington Catalog for $129.95.

[ Rapid Transit USB Transfer Device ]