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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Easily Convert Your Vinyl To MP3s

Sony PS-LX300USB Turntable

By Luke Anderson

I was born in the 80’s, so the first music format known to me was the cassette tape. I never really thought that they were all that cool, aside from recording my favorite songs off the radio (which were all missing at least a few seconds from the beginning as I raced to press record). I’m almost sorry that I didn’t get the experience of vinyl, as people that grew up on records claim that you’ll not find a better sound. Unfortunately, while it may have a great sound, your old 45’s aren’t exactly the easiest to to tote, so it might be worth your time and effort to put that music on a more portable format.

Sony has made the process of ripping music from vinyl to MP3 format about as simple as possible. Their new PS-LX300USB turntable hooks into your computer’s USB port and works with the included Sound Forge Audio Studio to bring your music into the digital age. You won’t have to spend a fortune on the equipment either, as it will only set you back $150.

[ Sony ] VIA [ SlipperyBrick ]

New MacBook Pros Receive The Multitouch Treatment

Multitouch Trackpad

By Luke Anderson

I was rather disappointed when I heard about Apple’s big new laptop, the Air. Honestly it just had too few features for an outrageous price. Sure, it was tiny, but that’s one of the few things that it had going for it, and certainly not worth the asking price in my opinion. However, one feature that I found interesting was the multitouch trackpad. Thankfully that feature is no longer exclusive to the Air.

Apple announced the release of new MacBook and MacBook Pro models. The MacBooks simply received a processor refresh, memory increases and hard drive upgrades. The Pro models got much of the same, though they also made the GeForce 8600GT available with up to 512MB, up from 256MB. The big news, however, is that all MacBook Pros will have the same multitouch trackpad featured in the Air. If you’ve been holding off on a new Apple notebook, now is probably your best time to get in on one.

VIA [ Apple ]

Zen “Sandbox” Active Surface 3D Computer Interface

Zen PC

By Evan Ackerman

The Optimus keyboard is pretty and all, but it’s awfully flat and keyboardy. The Zen Sandbox PC may be monochrome, but it uses some kind of conceptual “z-axis” electronic surface to create dynamically tactile 3D features that the user can manipulate.

Zen PC

The Zen is designed for the visually impaired, since it would be able to display braille, or a textured simulation of your computer desktop. You can also turn it into a piano, or a xylophone, or just about anything else you can imagine. At the moment, though, you’ll have to imagine the Zen too, because it and the technology that powers it are still just a concept.

[ Zen PC ] VIA [ Gearfuse ]

Underwater Hotels – Istanbul Says “Me Too!”

Istanbul's 7 Story Underwater Hotel (Image courtesy Vagabondish)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s not the first underwater hotel (that honor goes to the Poseidon in Fiji) a new hotel being built in Istanbul hopes to set itself apart from its competitors since it’s being built on the ruins of a historical 1930s tobacco factory in the city center. The hotel will have 7 floors all underwater and every room will have a view of the sea. Of course no one’s really sure how great that view will actually be since local experts claim the visibility in the Istanbul Bosporus Strait is only about 10 feet.

However the hotel is on track for a 2010 opening, which will coincide with the city taking over from Linz, Austria as the Cultural Capital of Europe. It’s being build by Tanriverdi Holding who have promised a multi-million dollar budget to ensure the hotel is finished to 7-star standards, and that it’s also 100% waterproof.

[ Istanbul’s 7-Story Underwater Hotel to Open in 2010 ] VIA [ Cribcandy ]

Robot Coupe Bread Slicer – The Best Thing Since Sliced Something

Robot Coupe Bread Slicer (Image courtesy Robot Coupe)
By Andrew Liszewski

While Robot Coupe is actually an entire brand of catering equipment, I don’t think the word ‘robot’ is the best way to describe this automatic bread slicer. Just feed a baguette or similar sized loaf of bread into the vertical feeder and a stainless steel blade will cut anywhere from 180 to 360 slices a minute. You can also vary the thickness of the slices from 8mm up to 80mm for some serious ‘Texas toast’ action.

But the lack of arms and the fact that you have to manually feed this thing baguettes just keeps it out of the robot category for me. However if you own a catering business or sandwich shop this could still be a great replacement for a slow assistant, but all that time you save better be used to sell more sandwiches since the Robot Coupe Bread Slicer has a price tag of about $2,700.

[ Robot Coupe Bread Slicer ] VIA [ oobject ]

From The Road: Quick Review Of The JVC KD-NX5000

jvc kd-nx5000

By David Ponce

So hey, I was thinking. I bought this here car stereo a couple weeks back, the JVC KD-NX5000. It’s pretty nice. So, below is my two minutes’ worth of impressions on it.

Out here, the three-word verdict: awesome, slightly quirky.

Cell Phone SIM Card Spy Can Read Deleted Text Messages

Cell Phone SIM Card Spy (Images courtesy BrickHouse Security)
By Andrew Liszewski

USB devices that can be used to access SIM card data on a computer are nothing new. But this particular one from is apparently the first SIM reader that can be used to access deleted text messages still on the card. Just like deleted files on a PC hard drive, as long as the deleted data on the SIM card hasn’t been written over by a new file, it can still be retrieved.

Obviously such a device raises a whole mess of privacy and legal concerns, but the company is targeting it at parents who want to check up on their kids or bosses wanting to check up on employees, which are apparently both legal uses for it. And while using the device to check up on a suspected cheating spouse is kind of a legal gray area, using it to see what secrets a complete stranger has on their SIM card is of course completely illegal.

The SIM card spy can also be used to backup or edit phonebook data on a PC, which is a considerably easier task with a full keyboard. But at $149 from there are far cheaper USB SIM readers on the market if that’s all you want to do.

[ Cell Phone SIM Card Spy ] VIA [ Geekologie ]

LINX B-Tube Wireless Speaker In A / Is A Can

LINX B-Tube Speaker (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

Besides the sleek aluminum finish, the LINX B-Tube speaker should appeal to the design conscious because you can place it anywhere in your home and not have to worry about unsightly wires. That’s because the speaker uses Bluetooth A2DP to stream stereo music from a cellphone, MP3 player or even your computer. It has a range of about 32 feet and can even be used to receive calls from a Bluetooth equipped phone thanks to a built-in microphone.

As for power, the B-Tube uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides about 6 hours of playback time, so you will occasionally need to connect the included AC adapter. And if you none of your devices have bluetooth, the speaker also includes a standard 3.5mm jack for connecting your equipment the old fashioned way.

You can get it from for about $80.

[ LINX B-Tube Speaker ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

Citizen Astrodea Celestial Watch

Citizen Astrodea Watch (Image courtesy Japan Trend Shop)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m particularly fond of watches with a busy face, but the Astrodea collection from Citizen is kind of pushing the limits. The watch face has a 35° view of the heavens (as seen from the Northern Hemisphere) that rotates in real time and shows 1,109 stars and 169 cluster galaxies. It also includes other measurements like equinox indications, constellation markers, location of the sun, solar position, sunrise and sunset times and the daily duration of sunshine.

The watch comes in either a blue or gold face version, has a stainless steel case and band and uses non-reflective sapphire glass. And because the face itself is so detailed the watch even includes a 10x magnifier for close-up viewing. Both versions are available from Japan Trend Shop for $585.

[ Citizen Astrodea Watch ] VIA [ Popgadget ]