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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Urban Beautification; Tag Your Own Train

graffiti-train.jpgBy Ryan Nill

Urban Beautification is one thing, vandalism is another. Now I’m not saying the we support tagging, but it does bear to mention that a little spray here and there does manage to shake the mouthbreathers up. But why suffer all the indignation of jail and community service? Tag your own property, or more specifically you own little train. While not the most useful thing to do, it is rather soothing.

The Graffiti Train is a tiny blank white train perfect for your vandalism needs. Its available from Firebox, for about 35$. Oddly enough, the minimum fine for defacing public property is about 30$ and some community service, so take it with a grain of salt.

[ Firebox ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Easy To Install Integrated Solar Roofing

Sharp Solar Modules (Image courtesy Sharp Electronics)By Andrew Liszewski

As long as you don’t live far enough north to experience weeks without seeing the sun then solar cells can be a great way to reduce your monthly energy bills. But if aesthetics and complicated installations have always been your excuse not to look into solar energy you might want to reconsider. Sharp Electronics who has apparently been in the solar cell business since 1959 currently has a line of solar modules designed specifically for home use.

The modules blend in with your existing (or new) shingles and are resistant to impact, moisture and pretty much anything mother nature can throw at them. They even have a 25 year warranty when it comes to power output which is important since factoring in the long term savings they’ll provide is probably the biggest reason anyone would choose to install them.

A single 62W module will run about $8 per installed watt but modules with larger wattages are also available. And if you’re really curious about how much money solar panels can actually save you there’s an ‘EZ Calculator‘ on the Sharp website that will let you know your estimated savings based on your last energy bill and where you live.

[ Sharp Solar Modules ] VIA [ Home Improvement Ideas ]

Sanyo Introduces the Xacti HD700 Camcorder

Sanyo Xacti HD700 (Image via Sanyo)
By Shane McGlaun

Today Sanyo introduced the Xacti HD700 pocket-sized HD camcorder that records in 720p. In addition to the 720p HD video the camcorder also shoots 7.1-megapixel still shots. Storage is to either SD or SDHC memory cards.

No memory card is included and the device has no internal storage capacity, so you will need to buy a card to use the camcorder. Sanyo says that up to 2 hours and 46 minutes of HD video can be recorded to one 8GB SDHC card. The HD700 is 16% smaller and 10% lighter than Sanyo’s Xacti HD2 model.

The HD700 has a 5x optical zoom and a 12x digital zoom for a total of 60x zoom. Images and video can be framed and viewed on the built-in 2.7-inch LCD. The HD video uses the H.264 engine and the camera only consumes 4 watts of power. The HD700 is Windows and Mac compatible and ships with Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0. Availability for the HD700 is scheduled for October at a MSRP of $599.99.

VIA [ Sanyo ]

Bright Idea: Wind-Up Lamp

Wind Up Lamp

By Evan Ackerman

Designed by Yuko Taguchi, the Wind Up Lamp is one of those concepts with layers upon layers of usefulness. Kinda like lasagna, albeit less tasty. The lamp is powered entirely by a spring driven generator; the more you wind the key, the longer the lamp will stay on. It’s obviously eco-friendly and great in a power outage, but there’s more to it than that… Since it’s wind-up, you don’t have to remember to turn out the light before going to bed. Want the light off anyway? Just unwind it. It also functions as a timer, since there’s a linear relationship between winds of the key and time lit. I’d love to know how exactly much light you get per wind, and then where I can buy one, but there don’t seem to be answers to either of those things quite yet.

[ Wind-Up Lamp ] VIA [ RFJ ]

Eikon Digital Privacy Manager now Available for Mac

Eikon Digital Privacy Manager for Mac (Image via Amazon)
By Shane McGlaun

UPEK announced today that it has preview software, meaning beta software, available for download that allows the UPEK Eikon Digital Privacy Manager to work on Mac computers. The Mac software isn’t available in retail packages at this time with the USB powered fingerprint reader. Mac users have to buy the $39 Windows version of the device and download the Mac software for the device to operate.

The download of the preview version is free and presumably the final version will be as well. Once installed Mac users can access any password protected website or application by swiping their finger across the fingerprint reader. Mac users can also unlock the screen saver and wake their Mac’s up from sleep with a finger swipe. You can download the Mac preview version of Protector Suite from the link below.


QinetiQ Sentry – Unmanned Jet Skis For The Military

QinetiQ Sentry (Image courtesy QinetiQ)By Andrew Liszewski

QinetiQ, a defense contractor from the UK with poor spelling has developed an unmanned maritime reconnaissance vehicle that’s about the size of an average jet-ski. The small craft is designed for multiple military or security-based roles including harbor patrol, battlefield reconnaissance, intruder investigation and even damage assessment all without risking the lives of any sailors.

And even though it’s only about 3.5 meters in length the Sentry still has an advanced stealth design, is capable of speeds up to 50 knots and can run for about 6 hours at a time. It can also be configured to operate by remote using a simple PC-based console or it can be programmed to autonomously carry out pre-planned missions like patrolling a particular body of water.

The Sentry is yet another step in the military’s slow transition to unmanned vehicles. Not only do the remotely operated craft remove the military personnel from any danger but it also means the vehicles can be smaller and more fuel-efficient since they don’t need to accommodate a human pilot or any of the life-support and emergency systems that are required.

[ QinetiQ Sentry ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

OhGizmo Review: Mobile Edge Laptop Backpacks Part 1

Mobile Edge

By Evan Ackerman

New backpack smell always takes me back to the first day of school. And since I’ve been out of school, I haven’t put much thought into replacing my ancient JanSport. But ever since Mobile Edge sent me a couple of their laptop backpacks to check out, my sense of style, my laptop, and my back have all been demanding something new. I was able to meander about with these backpacks for several weeks on a trip up to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ll review them both separately over the next few days. You can be assured that these reviews are unbiased since I had to send the backpacks back (grrr); but it’s worth noting that I was disappointed to have to do so, ’cause I really did (mostly) like them. Read my full review after the jump.Continue Reading

E-V – Sunny Solar Powered Electric Bike

E-V Sunny Solar Electric Bicycle (Image courtesy Thera-P-Cushion Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

The E-V Sunny is supposedly the first all solar electric bike and it manages to harness enough of the sun’s rays by incorporating solar panels into the wheels. Well to be more specific the solar panels are more like hubcaps that cover the spokes but they apparently have enough surface area to maintain a constant charge to the batteries which in turn power a 500 watt motor on the front wheel.

The bike can reach a fairly impressive top speed of about 19 mph but the solar cells, battery and other electronics give it a combined weight of about 75 lbs which isn’t exactly light.

The E-V Sunny bike will also set you back about $1290 but there’s a slightly more affordable $795 kit for converting your existing bike. I also have to point out that the website is now taking orders “for delivery in September of 2006” so I’m curious if anyone knows someone who actually bought and received one?

[ E-V Sunny Solar Electric Bicycle ] VIA [ EcoGeek ]

Not A Lamp & Not A Box Lights

Not A Lamp & Not A Box (Images courtesy David Graas)
By Andrew Liszewski

Designed by David Graas the ‘Not A Lamp’ and ‘Not A Box’ lights take the IKEA idea of flat-packed furniture and apply it to lighting instead. The ‘Not A Lamp’ is designed to sit on a table and has the silhouette of a lamp cut into a simple cardboard box while the ‘Not A Box’ is designed to hang from the ceiling and uses the outline of a light bulb with a simple shade instead.

While I like the negative image effect of both lights I suspect the ‘Not A Box’ is a bit more useful since it has a large hole on the bottom that allows the light from the bulb to shine down onto a table. The intricate pattern of the ‘Not A Lamp’ on the other hand looks like it gives off very little light. So in this case I guess form just edges out functionality.

And from what I can tell both lights come with ‘some assembly required’ not to mention supplying your own bulb but I can’t imagine the instructions for putting it together are that hard to follow. The ‘Not A Lamp’ also comes in your choice of brown, orange, green or blue colors.

[ Not A Lamp & Not A Box ] VIA [ Cribcandy ]