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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Sprayonmud For SUV Posers

Sprayonmud (Image courtesy Andrew Liszewski

Are you tired of all the disapproving looks just because you’re driving a monstrous SUV to pick up milk and bread? Well a bottle of ‘Sprayonmud’ should convince the neighbors and anyone else who’s not so happy with your eco-unfriendly vehicle that your ride is justified since you actually spend the weekends driving it off-road.

A few squirts of ‘Sprayonmud’ here and there should give your SUV or 4×4 that ‘just got back from the country’ look but you’ll want to make sure you don’t obscure the license plate in the process. (Like they warn about on the website but clearly do in their own product shot.) And once everyone is convinced you’re really the outdoorsy type and deserve to drive an off-road vehicle the ‘Sprayonmud’ can be cleaned off with a hose or a quick trip through the nearest car wash.

A single bottle of Sprayonmud is about $16 but you’ll have to factor in shipping costs because it’s coming from the UK.

[ Sprayonmud ]

My Trip To Detroit

pixar_cars1.jpgBy David Ponce

I’m leaving this morning for Detroit. I was invited by GM to attend their 2008 Collections Event, at the Milford Proving Grounds. I (along with a bunch of other bloggers) will get to drive any car in their 2008 lineup, including Corvettes, Escalades and Cadillacs. And we’re getting an advanced driving techniques course as well. Yeah, it’s pretty darn exciting!

Why a tech blogger at a GM Collections event? Bunch of reasons, really, but mostly I suspect that it has to do with them increasingly integrating entertainment and information technology into several of their newer models, especially their Cadillac CTS. They seem eager to show it all to us, and I suspect it’s a smart move. By “us” of course I mean new media. It’s the first time GM holds a bloggers-only Collections event, and this simple fact shows a lot of things: blogs are displacing traditional channels and becoming part and parcel of the established media landscape. But I digress (digest?)…

The reason I’m telling you all this is because I’d love it if you could participate. I’ll be meeting with some car designers there, including Wade Bryant (Design Manager of Advanced Design for the Chevy VOLT) and Therese Tant (Interior Design Manager in the Advanced Studio). If any of you has any questions you’d like to ask them, please post them in the comments to this article. Also, if you’d like to me to look at something or other on the GM lineup, let me know.

For the record, GM is paying for my way there (airfare and accommodations), but that’s it. I’m not required to even write about my experience there if I decide not to. But if I do (and I am), they asked that I disclose this fact. I would have anyway, but it’s nice that they specifically asked.

Now, here’s hoping I don’t meet a cement wall at high speeds…

Vox amPlugs; Stop Annoying Me, You Filthy Hippies


By Ryan Nill

Your guitar is far too loud and no one really wants to hear your rendition of Freebird. Plug this into your guitar and along with a pair of headphones and save us all a little bit of suffering.

The little amps run off two double A’s and come in three new and exciting sounds; Classic Rock, Metal and AC30. Sadly, they all look roughly the same, but its still a pretty nifty music gadget for 70$. Available now from the rather British looking Vox site.

[ Vox Amps ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Your Secret Garden; Haute Horticulture

la bague gazon

By Ryan Nill

Questionable fashion gets an “Eco” twist in this chunky ring that features haute horticulture. The large porcelain fashion rings actually come with compost and seeds; you grow your own fashion statement. It takes about 15 days for the ring’s seeds to sprout and mature, after that it will be ready to wear. Sure, they’re dangerously green, maybe a little less than dangerously stylish. They also are dangerously expensive, with prices between 70 and 120 Euros.

[ La Bague Gazon ] VIA [ Red Ferret ]

Colorlight DVD Plays Colors… And That’s It

Colorlight DVD (Images courtesy Charles & Marie)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of popping in the latest Hollywood blockbuster to show off your new 60-inch LCD screen why not try the Colorlight DVD? Instead of explosions and car chases the DVD “softly rotates through a series of wonderful colors in all sorts of hues and creates a wonderfully pleasant mood…

I guess if you have some weird obsession with everything in the room matching the color of the walls this might be a handy way to make your TV match too but other than that I have to ask why? Particularly in a time where people are encouraged to reduce their energy use I don’t think leaving your TV on displaying random colors is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint, even if it does create a ‘pleasant mood.’

And at $25 from Charles & Marie you might just want to hang a piece of colored fabric over your TV instead.

[ Colorlight ]

Better LEDs From Salmon Sperm

Bio LEDs

By Evan Ackerman

I have to admit that sperm is only the second thing that leaps to mind when I think about LEDs. Not so for Professor Andrew Steckl, an expert in light-emitting diode technology from the University of Cincinnati. It turns out that you can enhance LEDs by using biological membranes to slow down electrons, getting them to emit more photons:

“DNA has certain optical properties that make it unique. It allows improvements in one to two orders of magnitude in terms of efficiency, light, brightness — because we can trap electrons longer. Some of the electrons rushing by have a chance to say ‘hello,’ and get that photon out before they pass out. The more electrons we can keep around, the more photons we can generate. DNA serves as a barrier that affects the motion of the electrons.”

So, where can you get a whole bunch of DNA for cheap? Two words: salmon sperm. “Salmon sperm is considered a waste product of the fishing industry. It’s thrown away by the ton. It’s natural, renewable and perfectly biodegradable.” Any sort of DNA will potentially work just as well, but I’m not even going to touch that one. “I’m receiving salmon sperm from researchers around the world wanting to see if their sperm is good enough,” says Professor Andrew Steckl. Um, good luck with that.

[ Salmon Garnish Points the Way to Green Electronics ] VIA [ TreeHugger ]

And There Was Much Rejoicing: Cell Phone Charger Standardization

Micro USB

By Evan Ackerman

Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Nokia, which together comprise some 85% of the GSM hardware market, have all agreed to standardize their cell phone chargers to Micro-USB. This is great news for consumers, but why are companies making the change when it cuts in to their accessories market? According to Nokia, “with the reduction of cables needed for mobile data connectivity, we can further enhance user experiences in our devices while reducing the burden to the environment.” Forgive me, Nokia, if I don’t believe that you and your buddies are doing this just to be nice to us and the planet. What they might actually be referring to is that in the EU, manufacturers have to pay for part of the cost of recycling electronics that they manufacture, and a common standard might cut down on the number of useless chargers floating around. But I guess whatever the motivation, it’s a good thing.

[ ] VIA [ Gearlog ]

Knicks Cable Holder For Wrangling Loose Cords

Knicks Cable Holder (Image courtesy Charles & Marie)By Andrew Liszewski

USB is great and wireless USB will be even better but until that time we still have to deal with those pesky cables. And if you’re like me you have a USB cable on your desk that’s only used for syncing gadgets and has the tendency to fall off the edge when not in use. This drives me crazy so in my opinion the Knicks Cable Holder is the greatest invention ever created by man! (Take that ‘the wheel’.)

It’s basically a small clip made from metal and plastic that easily attaches to the edge of your desk and hangs off by about a half inch. On the end is a small opening that will accommodate any cable including USB. The idea is that you run any loose cables that aren’t used all the time through a Cable Holder and when they’re not needed they’ll still fall off the desk but get caught in the holder instead of hitting the floor. So the next time you need to use the cable it’s conveniently hanging just off the edge. Simple, easy and incredibly useful.

The Knicks Cable Holder is currently available from Charles & Marie in two sizes for just $11.

[ Knicks Cable Holder ]

You Can’t Escape The Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock

Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock (Image courtesy Andrew Liszewski

There’s few sounds I hate as much as the standard electronic beep of an alarm clock. So I think my body has managed to tune them out with some sort of defense mechanism that also serves to help me sleep through the alarm those rare times I need to wake up in the morning. For people like us there’s the Sonic Boom Alarm Clock that guarantees to wake you up using a couple of extreme approaches.

First off there’s an ear-deafening, neighbor-angering 113db alarm that will go off when it’s time to get up. Keep in mind that a jet taking off 200 feet away is rated at 120db so if you don’t end up having a heart attack odds are the alarm will wake you up. But if for some reason that still proves ineffective there’s also a ‘super-charged’ bed shaker you place under your pillow that will basically shake you awake and guarantee you’ll be in a great mood the rest of the day.

The Sonic Boom Alarm Clock is available from for about $58.

[ Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock ]