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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Giveaway Instructions

So, you’ve made it this far. Great! You’ve been listening to Fook and me on The Fook Show every Tuesday, and you’re here to claim your prize, right? Well, here’s what you have to do. Send us an email to [email protected], with “I Want My Prize!” in the subject line. We’ll pick one winner at random every week.

This week, the prize is a copy of Photoshop Elements 5.0 & Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0 (a $300 value)! Courtesy of Q101.

Singapore’s Floating Apartment Building

Singapore Scotts Tower (Image courtesy World Architecture Andrew Liszewski

Ok, so the building itself is not actually floating but the unique design of this apartment building gives the impression there’s not much holding up the residential dwellings. Created by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (or OMA) the Singapore Scotts Tower will be a 36 story, 153 meter tall tower located in the city’s shopping and lifestyle district and will include 68 high-end apartments.

The building’s design includes four individual apartment towers that are vertically offset from each other and suspended from a central core tower which is what makes it appear as if they’re floating. Besides being photo fodder for every tourist with a camera the lifted towers also reduce the building’s footprint leaving more room for park space and other leisure-related structures on the main floors.

I’ll agree that the building looks slick but I wonder how many potential customers are actually turned off by imaginative designs like this? I’m sure the engineering behind it is completely sound but people no longer have the feeling that tall buildings are indestructible given past events. (No matter how unique those events were.)

[ Singapore’s floating towers ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Dot Matrix Tyvek Wallet

Dot Matrix Tyvek Wallet (Image courtesy Perpetual Kid)By Andrew Liszewski

If even a duct tape wallet doesn’t seem geeky enough for your tastes then I have to admit it might be time to seek some professional help. But in the meantime even the most hardcore of geeks would be proud to carry around this Dot Matrix wallet made from Tyvek. The design of course comes from the continuous feed paper typically used in dot matrix printers back in the day complete with spoke holes on the sides (the non-removable type, nice) and the alternating color stripes. And the best part is the numbers printed on the wallet are actually the first 3,000 digits of pi.

Tyvek, the material the wallet’s made from is typically used in house construction and it’s basically a lot like paper but made from plastic fibers instead. It’s flexible and will get softer with wear and tear but at the same time it’s extremely durable and tear resistant. During college I used to work with contractors and the Tyvek sales people actually wore wind-breakers made from the material. Boy am I glad to be out of college.

The Dot Matrix wallet is available from Perpetual Kid for $14.99.

[ Dot Matrix Tyvek Wallet ]

Beat Blocks – Wood Block Sequencer

Beat Blocks (Image courtesy Jeff Hoefs)
By Andrew Liszewski

As we grow up most of us move onto ‘big person’ toys like gadgets, video games or even cars. But it seems that Jeff Hoefs is still fascinated by the building blocks he enjoyed as a child. So much so that he’s constructed this multi-track drum sequencer that uses specially designed wooden blocks to represent the ‘samples.’

The blocks are laid out in sequence on the interactive board and each block actually has its own sub-sequence identified by the blue tape. Electrical contacts on the board touch contacts on the blocks allowing each one’s sequence to be recognized and played back. The Beat Blocks can even be integrated with MIDI hardware or use MIDI to connect to a computer. And while the prototype shown here only has 4 tracks future versions designed for actual performances will include up to 8.

[ Beat Blocks ] VIA [ MAKE: Blog ]

A Bathtub That Also Functions As A Speaker

MTI Melinda Tub With Base (Image courtesy MTI)
By Andrew Liszewski

Many people feel that music is the best way to make a relaxing bath even more enjoyable but not surprisingly they’re hesitant to use their iPods since electronics and water still have that long-running feud. So instead of just settling for some crappy waterproof radio MTI has developed the Stereo H20 audio system which delivers “full bodied sound” through the tub itself.

Both the technology and the components are absolutely state-of-the art and completely hidden from sight. The “speakers” are actually high-performance acoustic transducers precisely engineered with the most advanced level of technology and materials. The acoustic transducer system is applied to the bath shell’s exterior surface near the waterline. This transforms the bath shell into a magnificent sounding board that evenly distributes the sound within the entire tub environment, enveloping the bather in invigorating or relaxing sounds of choice…

The acoustic transducers can generate the full sound spectrum and can even introduce bass frequencies into the water further ‘enhancing’ your bathing experience. The discreet amplifier used by the Stereo H20 system also has the necessary hookups to connect to any portable media player (including the iPod of course) and can be easily integrated with any home audio system.

The MTI Stereo H20 system will be officially unveiled in May and will be available as an option on most of the tubs the company sells.

[ Bath And Beethoven ] VIA [ electro^plankton ]

Brain Trainer mini – Mental Workouts To Go

Brain Trainer mini (Image courtesy AnyToys UK)By Andrew Liszewski

Thankfully the fitness ‘fad’ that sweeped the continent a few years ago is still going strong from what I’ve seen. But these days it seems even more in vogue to keep your mind in top condition as well. The Brain Trainer mini is a palm-sized device designed to improve your mental capabilities as well as your memory by exercising the prefrontal cortex.

It does this through a series of 4 different games that each have 5 different levels of complexity. These include:

Flash: memorise the 4 numbers that appear on the screen quickly.
Sequence: memorise the numbers that move across the screen quickly.
Catch: catch the block as it moves from left, right, top or bottom.
Blocks: memorise the block shape that appears for an instant.

It’s no Gameboy or DS but by playing even these simple games for a few minutes every day you’ll supposedly improve your attention and memory skills and help your reactions become swifter and more accurate.

The pocket-sized Brain Trainer mini is available from AnyToys UK for about $20.

[ Brain Trainer mini ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

Taxi Hailer – Flag A Cab, Look Like A Dork

Taxi Hailer (Image courtesy Taxi Hailer)By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know about you but where I live I can see taxi drivers avoiding me if I were waving one of these things in the air. The Taxi Hailer is a credit card sized device (though a bit thicker at 5mm) with a bright orange light that’s supposedly highly visible both day and night. The idea is to wave it around when you’re trying to hail a taxi since it increases the odds of a cab driver seeing you.

Using the device is dead easy with a simple on/off button and the light is claimed to run for at least 100 hours on 2 user replaceable lithium cell batteries. And if you’re the corporate type you can even order the Taxi Hailer branded with your company name and logo. Like I said before the cab drivers I usually deal with will probably be more likely to ignore me if I was waving this thing around but given the Taxi Hailer website uses images of Big Ben and such I suspect things might be different with London cabbies. From what I’ve heard they actually know where they’re going too.

The Taxi Hailer is available on their website for about $20.

[ Taxi Hailer ] VIA [ Gadget Candy ]

Pet Your Fish

By Evan Ackerman

Fish Tank

Why don’t I keep fish as pets? It’s simple: lack of interactivity. Sure, they’re pretty or whatever, but you just sprinkle food at them occasionally and they go about their business while you go about yours. This fish tank however brings you and the fish together, letting you feed the fish much more directly. The little cups on the sides of the tank in the picture are connected to the tank and open to the air, which allows the fish to swim into the cups to be hand fed (and petted or nuzzled if that’s your thing). The tank is sealed at the top, creating a vacuum which prevents the water from pouring out. It’s a custom tank, but it should be a fairly straightforward DIY project if you’re fish-obsessed, or just really really lonely. Lots more pics here.

[ Impossible Fish Tank ] VIA [ Fark ]

Escort Passport 9500i Radar Detector Remembers Speed Traps VIA GPS

Escort Passport 9500i Rader Detector (Image courtesy Popular Science)By Andrew Liszewski

If your lead foot has gotten you into more trouble with the law than the Duke boys ever did it might be time to equip your ride with a radar detector. (If permitted by local laws of course.) The Escort Passport 9500i does everything a radar detector should but also uses an integrated GPS unit for a ‘Mark Location’ feature. When you come across a speed trap just hit the ‘Mark’ button a few times and the location will be stored in the device’s memory. The next time your vehicle approaches that area an alert will sound well in advance allowing you to ‘adjust’ your speed accordingly.

The GPS hardware also helps reduce false alarms where the detector can be triggered by motion detectors or automatic door openers. It will store both the coordinates and the exact frequency of the false signal so that in the future the alarm won’t sound when you drive past. But it’s also intelligent enough to warn you again when a signal with a new frequency is found in the same area just in case, which is why we think this is one of the top radar detectors.

The Passport 9500i is available on the Escort website for $449.95. Alternately you can save yourself half a grand and just drive the speed limit.

[ Escort Passport 9500i ] VIA [ Popular Science ]