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Monthly Archives: May 2007

Lustre – Fake Chandelier Silhouette

Lustre (Image courtesy Ugly home)By Andrew Liszewski

Lustre is aimed directly at the market of people pretending to be something they’re not and provides a unique way to class up any room. It’s basically a decal you apply to the ceiling that gives the effect of a shadow cast from an elaborate hanging chandelier. As with any product like this you’re probably not going to fool anyone but you’ll at least gain points for creativity.

But don’t look at the Lustre as a cheap way to enjoy high-society living because it will actually set you back about $134. At that price you can probably replace the dangling light bulb in your dining room with an actual chandelier. (Please note I have no idea how much a chandelier actually costs.)

[ Lustre ] VIA [ UberReview ]

WowWee Roboquad On Preorder, Roboboa In The Works

By Evan Ackerman


WowWee‘s Roboquad is now available for preorder for $99, with delivery in August. If you were a fan of the modable Robosapien, you might want to check out the specs on this spidery quadraped. You can either control it via the remote, or let it run around autonomously. In autonomous mode, Roboquad will navigate with it’s infrared sensors, reacting to objects and light and noise based on how you’ve set it’s “personality,” which is a function of levels of activity, awareness, and aggression. The remote lets you access 72 preprogrammed functions, and of course, you can customize movements and functions to the nth degree.

Even if you’re not really interested in the Roboquad, it’s worth watching the video for the synchronized dance sequence in the middle:

WowWee is also working on a Roboboa; more info on that (and a vid) after the jump.

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PQI Vista ReadyBoost Memory Module: Internal USB? No Thanks.

By Evan Ackerman

PQI ReadyBoost Module

The DiskOnModule from PQI takes advantage of the ReadyBoost feature built into Windows Vista, which lets you plug in some of those USB flash memory keys that you have lying around (or any other form of flash memory) to improve your system performance. Rather than embrace the convenience of an external, removable, reusable, dirt cheap USB key, the DiskOnModule gets plugged directly into your motherboard (i.e. inside your computer), kinda exactly like RAM, which is better in innumerable ways (albeit slightly more expensive). No, plugging the module directly into your motherboard doesn’t improve the questionable performance of ReadyBoost. At $67 for the 2gb version, it’s significantly more expensive than a USB key, and you can’t use it for anything else. Even if I weren’t sticking with XP, I think I’d probably pass.

[ PQI DiskOnModule ] VIA [ Akihabara News ] – Get It While You Can (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski is clearly meant to compete with the new Joost streaming video service but they seem to have one slight advantage at the moment. While Joost has gone out and legally secured their content doesn’t seem too worried about the law and has amassed a pretty impressive collection of movies and TV shows available as streaming Divx files.

The site does use the Divx web player (as opposed to Flash) which means you’ll have to install it if you haven’t already. And unfortunately it also means doesn’t work with the Nintendo Wii’s browser either. The videos aren’t exactly DVD quality but compared to other streaming sites like YouTube it’s like watching a 4K digital print. The list of available films contains plenty of B-movie titles but there are also quite a few flicks definitely worth watching. (Blade Runner for example.) And if there’s any doubt regarding the legality of you can also watch the second half of Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End if you missed it in theaters this past weekend. For those who prefer TV the site also has a pretty up-to-date collection of popular shows if you missed them the first time around.

A quick WHOIS search of the domain reveals that is based out of Sweden which could mean the site will keep operating for at least a bit longer before it inevitably gets shut down.

[ ] VIA [ Uneasy Silence ]

Toshiba’s In-Car HD DVD Player

Toshiba Automotive HD DVD Player (Image courtesy Tech-On!)
By Andrew Liszewski

While the battle over high-def disc formats wages on in the home Toshiba appears to be making a preemptive strike at the automobile market. At the ‘Automotive Engineering Exposition 2007’ the company showed off a prototype in-dash HD DVD player they’ve been co-developing with Alpine Electronics.

I’m not sure if the unit included a pop-up HD LCD screen but without one it seems kind of pointless to use an HD DVD disc in the first place. But I guess with newer movies being released to the HD DVD format people are starting to amass collections they will eventually want to use on the road.

Toshiba is hoping to actually release the player sometime in 2008 and is no doubt also hoping the HD DVD format is still a contender in a years time.

[ Toshiba Presents Automotive HD DVD Player ] VIA [ Tech Digest ]

Earlarm Timer – It’s Hard To Sleep Through This

Earlarm Timer (Images courtesy Mini Castle)
By Andrew Liszewski

Yours truly can sleep through even the loudest of bedside alarms but I’m pretty sure if the sounds were blasted directly into my ear canal I would wake up pretty quickly. That’s part of the idea behind the Earlarm from Mini Castle. It looks and functions like an earbud-type headphone but without any of the cords. And from what I can tell it’s completely self-contained so you don’t need a separate audio source.

The Earlarm website has a list of possible uses including as an alert to not miss your stop on public transportaion, during driving to remind you when it’s time to take a break and even as a personal wake-up alarm that won’t bother anyone sleeping nearby. While there does appear to be several small buttons and a tiny LCD display built into the device I have no idea how configurable the timer is which is a big factor on how useful the Earlarm could actually be.

It’s currently available on the Mini Castle website for $14.99 but buying a pack of ten will bring the unit price down to only $13.99.

[ Earlarm Timer ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Royal Canadian Mint Unveils $1 Million Coin

Royal Canadian Mint $1 Million Coin (Image courtesy Reuters)By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve ever visited Canada you’ll know the $1 and $2 coins they use can be a bit annoying since they tend to weigh down your pockets. But as usual it’s the millionaires around the world that suffer the most. A few weeks ago the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a giant gold coin with a face value of $1 million CDN.

Weighing in at a pocket-bursting 220.5 pounds (or 100 kilograms) the extra-large pizza-sized coin is claimed to now hold the record for the world’s largest and highest denomination. It’s also the purest ever produced with a 99.999 percent purity level. Oddly enough with the current price of gold the coin is actually worth twice the $1 million face value which makes it seem like a pretty good investment as long as you’re willing to break the law and deface or destroy official currency.

Understandably the coin is being produced in a very limited quantity so don’t expect to stumble across one in your change bowl some day.

[ Spare any change? Canada unveils C$1 million coin ] VIA [ Geekologie ]

Cool Jazz – Guitar Shaped Ice Cube Stirrers

Cool Jazz - Ice Cube Guitar Stirrers (Image courtesy Verbena)
By Andrew Liszewski

Even though they may rock harder than the rest of us, groupies are still like you and me and have the same basic needs. So when the temperature rises they also seek out a cool beverage for some relief from the heat. But when you’re a groupie ice cubes just don’t cut it. Instead these Cool Jazz Ice Cube Guitar Stirrers are the way to go.

The kit includes 3 plastic stir sticks shaped like the neck and fret board plus the mold used for making the guitar body out of ice. And given the unique shape of the mold I assume it’s made from silicon or some other soft material to make it easy to remove the guitars once they’re frozen.

The Cool Jazz ice cube mold is available from Verbena for $9.

[ Cool Jazz-Ice Cube Guitar Stirrers ] VIA [ Cribcandy ]

Fohenz Aqua Speakers: Not Too Weird

By Evan Ackerman

Fohenz Aqua

It often seems as though major electronics manufacturers have thrown in the towel when it comes to speaker design, oscillating between conventional and blocky, and totally weird. The Aqua Speakers from Fohenz are desktop speakers that are designed to look different without being over the top. They’re a smooth piano black with silver bases, highlighted by some of those ubiquitous blue LEDs that just scream high-tech. The sub is 3.5 inches, with 2 inch satellite mids. At 6 watts, you won’t be blown away, but you’re unlikely to find sexier speakers for the equivalent of $27. Available only in the Korean market, so far.

[Sexy is relative, I guess. To me, these speakers look as sexy as Hillary Clinton in a thong. -Ed.]