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Monthly Archives: January 2008

Fake Tattoo To-Do List

To-Do Tattoo (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

I have a nasty habit of using my hands instead of a scrap piece of paper for jotting down reminders and to-do lists and while I’ve seen people getting blank to-do list tattoos on their hands and arms before, I don’t think I’ll be following that particular trend anytime soon.

As an alternative here’s a kit that includes 12 temporary to-do list tattoos you can place anywhere on your body. That way if you happen to end up like that guy in Memento with a particularly short-term memory you can at least keep things neat and organized. The kit also includes a skin-safe ink gel pen that easily washes off, but I have no idea how long each temporary tattoo will last.

[ Fake To-Do Tattoo ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Make Your Own NintendoDS Games And Save!

XtenDS (Image courtesy ALBOTAS)
By Andrew Liszewski

When I think about it, I spend more time playing with the NintendoDS than all the other consoles in my apartment. (As is evident by the newly discovered crack in one of the hinges.) I think it’s mostly because it’s the easiest system to just pick up and play, so I’m fairly intrigued by this piece of software called XtenDS which allows anyone to design their own ‘homebrew’ game thanks to an easy to use GUI interface.

The software includes support for sound effects, music, sprites, backgrounds, menu and option screens and even has more advanced functionality like a fully working collision system and an advanced scripting language. Just keep in mind you’ll need to have a homebrew cart like the CycloDS in order to load your creations onto your DS. (Or an emulator on your PC.) And there’s a good chance if you already have one of these carts, you’ve probably already found a way to get cheap games. But if you’ve had an idea brewing in the back of your head for the next great DS title, but lack the necessary programming skills to bring it to fruition, XtenDS could help make it a reality.

[ XtenDS ] VIA [ ALBOTAS ]

Monitor Your Home From Afar With AlertMe

AlertMe (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

On my side of the pond, security companies rely on the fear of thieves breaking into into your home and stealing your prized possessions to sell security systems. But based on the AlertMe website, in the United Kingdom the fear of a bear breaking into your home and stealing your marmalade is just as concerning. (Paddington!!) So AlertMe is another broadband compatible security system that will let you know about any problems no matter where you happen to be. (As long as you happen to be somewhere near a cell tower.)

The system includes motion sensors, door and window sensors, a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm detector and even a set of keyfobs for tracking who’s at home and who’s away. All of the sensors and detectors communicate with a central hub, which in turn sends the information to the AlertMe website servers. In the event of a break-in or other problem the system will automatically alert you via a text message, at which point you can either respond with your cellphone or by accessing your home’s account on the AlertMe website.

The AlertMe starter kit which includes a collection of sensors, detectors, keyfobs, the base unit and other accessories sells for about $790. On top of that there’s also a monthly service fee of about $23. It might seem expensive to some, but for the peace of mind of having a bear-free home, I think it’s worth it.

[ AlertMe ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

Livescribe’s Smartpen Officially Called The Pulse

Livescribe Pulse (Images courtesy Livescribe)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve written about Livescribe and their venture into the smartpen market before, but today the company officially revealed the Pulse (as it’s now known), as well as new features and pricing info. As you’re probably already aware, the Pulse falls into the category of smartpens that rely on special dot paper in order to track and record a user’s handwriting. While I’m still not thrilled with the idea of being limited to only using this dot pattern paper, Livescribe will at least allow you to print your own instead of having to buy special notebooks all the time like with Leapfrog’s FLY Fusion.

The Pulse can also record audio and sync it to what’s being written on paper. The pen itself includes a built-in microphone, but for better quality recordings you can also use a special ‘3D Recording Headset’ which is basically a pair of earbuds with embedded microphones better suited for large rooms or noisy situations.

As for pricing, a 1GB version of the Pulse which can record 100 hours of audio and 16,000 pages of text will sell for $149. A 2GB version which doubles that capacity will also be available for $199. At the moment both pens can be pre-ordered from the Livescribe website and are expected to ship sometime in March.

[ Livescribe Pulse Press Release ]

Toast-It Notes

Toast-it Notes
By Evan Ackerman

The upside: it’s lower in cholesterol than real toast with real butter. The downside: you can’t eat it. I mean, unless you really want to. Post-it notes and butter both sold separately; you can have the toast pad for $7.50.

[ Toasted Notes ]

Gomboc Is World’s First Self-Righting Object


By Evan Ackerman

You don’t think about it much, but generally, when stuff falls over, it doesn’t get back up. Off the top of my head, I can think of two exceptions to the rule: Weebles, and turtles. Of course, Weebles (and most other self-righting objects) cheat by having a weight in the bottom. The Gomboc, “invented” last December by Gábor Domokos and Péter Várkonyi, is the first convex, homogeneous object with only one stable orientation, which means that it’ll always turn itself “up” no matter which way you set it down, without any help:

Turtles, though, seem to have had this figured out a while ago… Quite a few of them have shells shaped nearly identically to the Gomboc. As for practical uses for those of us who aren’t turtles, I honestly don’t know what this is good for. How about a cake mold, to make self-righting pineapple upside-down cake? Yeah, okay, got nothin’. It’s definitely cool, though.

If you want to order one, they’re available in a limited edition starting at about 1000 euros. Or you could just go find a turtle somewhere.

[ Gomboc ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Rare Entex Adventure Vision System On eBay

Entex Adventure Vision (Images courtesy bobsbrand)
By Andrew Liszewski

For some reason I’m pretty fascinated with classic ‘portable’ gaming, and even though I’ve never heard of Entex or their Adventure Vision System, I’m sure I could happily waste a few hours playing through its handful of games.

As the story goes, there were only about 10,000 of these tabletop systems ever produced and not only is this one in mint condition in the original box, but it even includes all 4 games in its library. If you’re curious what kind of graphics the Entex Adventure Vision was capable of just check out that gameplay promo shot there. The display only had a resolution of 150×40 pixels, but that’s not too bad for 1982. (Considering the original GameBoy released 7 years later only had 160×144 pixels.) I particularly like the cover artwork on the game boxes, I’d say it’s pretty darn close to what you see on screen.

This particular Entex Adventure Vision System is actually available on eBay right now, but it unfortunately has a ‘Buy It Now’ price of $5,500. Not surprisingly it’s yet to be snapped up by someone.

[ eBay – Entex Adventure Vision System ] VIA [ Joystiq ]

TrekStor DataStation microdisk

TrekStor DataStation microdisk (Image courtesy TrekStor)By Andrew Liszewski

This TrekStor portable drive doesn’t really do anything particularly innovative, but it does use a 1.8 hard drive giving it a footprint that’s just slightly larger than a credit card. It comes in capacities of 20GB, 80GB or 120GB and has a sturdy aluminum housing which helps with heat dissipation and only weighs between 65 to 75 grams.

The DataStation microdisk also includes a copy of Nero BackItUp 2 Essentials, giving you a one button option for backing up files, and is suitable for use with Leopard’s Time Machine feature.

In fact the only downside I can see with these drives is the price. The 20GB version sells for about $135, the 80GB version is about $233 and the 120GB version is about $290.

[ TrekStor DataStation microdisk ] VIA [ Digital Drops ]

Enlightenment Bookshelf Lamp

Enlightenment Lamp (Images courtesy Light Up Your World)
By Andrew Liszewski

There have been plenty of books written about ‘The Enlightenment’ over the years, but it takes a truly gifted mind to realize the word ‘enlightenment’ includes the word ‘light.’ And it takes a whole other level of genius to turn that realization into a clever pun-inspired lamp.

The appropriately-named Enlightenment lamp is made of white plexiglass, is 24cm x 17cm x 8cm and includes a 9-watt energy-saving lamp to illuminate it from the inside. For maximum enlightenment you’ll want to stick it on a shelf full of other hardcover tomes, or you can also go the less-classy route, and just use it as a bathroom nightlight.

The Enlightenment lamp will set you back about $130, but %10 of that cost actually goes to educational charities.

[ Enlightenment Lamp ] VIA [ DVICE ]