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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Sony PFR-V1 “Personal Field Speakers”

Sony PFR-V1

By Evan Ackerman

If you demand on the best from your portable sound system, and you don’t mind looking (and sounding) like an absolute tool, you may want to consider blowing $500 on Sony’s PFR-V1 headphones personal field speakers. Although you wear them on your head, the PFR-V1s don’t actually go in, on, or around your ears. Instead, the 21mm aluminum drivers sit about half an inch away from your ears, projecting sound directly toward them, which is supposed to somehow improve high frequencies and enhance depth and richness by keeping things separate. Bass frequencies are injected directly into your ear canal with a separate set of “extended bass reflex ducts.” The headphones (they’re headphones, get over it Sony) are powered by 2 AAA batteries and should last for 200 hours, or until the angry guy sitting next to you on the bus throws the whole shebang out the window because he’s not a fan of Devo.

[ Audiocubes ] VIA [ Crave ]

Easily Mount Up To Eight Monitors To Your Desk

Paramount Parabolic Multi-Monitor Display
By Luke Anderson

I love to multi task when sitting at my desk. I’ve got four monitors running at any given time, and I think that’s a pretty good setup. However, if you really need a lot of workspace, you might just look into the Paramount Parabolic Multi-Monitor Display from Humanscale.

My configuration includes three wall-mounted monitors and one that sits on my desk. While this unit from Humanscale doesn’t actually provide the monitors, it does accommodate between two and four monitors on a single unit, which is attached to your desk. What’s better is that monitors attach “effortlessly” without the need of tools, and actually curve around you. Frankly, if I ever decide to add any more monitors to my setup, this is definitely the route I’m going to take. You have no idea how difficult it is to mount monitors side-by-side on the wall. I’ll let you in on a small secret: it’s a huge pain in the ass.

This monitor mount will be available sometime in Q1 of this year. Unfortunately there is no word on pricing.

[ Humanscale ] VIA [ Crave ]

New, Faster CompactFlash Format Coming

By Luke Anderson

I love my latest digital camera because it takes CompactFlash memory, rather than SD. While that unfortunately meant that I was left with several useless SD cards, I was more than happy to shell out the extra cash for a much faster format. While CompactFlash is already the fastest flash memory that you can put inside of a camera, the standard is getting revamped to provide even more speed.

The new standard being developed by the CompactFlash Association, dubbed CFast utilizes a SATA interface which promises theoretical transfer speeds of up to 375MB/sec. I’m sure that in reality speeds will be much slower, but even half of that would be a tremendous boost. There are a couple of downsides to this new memory. The first being the fact that it is still 18 months to 2 years away from being finalized. The other (and more important I think) is that the cards won’t be compatible with current cameras. You’ll need to start saving now if you want to take advantage of this faster format.

VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Bluetrek BIZZ Bluetooth Headset With USB Storage

USB Blutetooth

By Evan Ackerman

You can never, ever have enough portable USB storage. Especially if that storage is in the form of upgradeable MicroSD cards, and especially if the storage vehicle performs some other useful function. In this case, the other useful function is a bluetooth headset for your cellphone. The Bluetrek BIZZ is a fully functional bluetooth headset, featuring 7 hours talk time, 10 days on standby, and customizable faceplates. Pull it apart to reveal a USB connector (which also charges the headset) and a MicroSD slot. The MicroSD slot is especially useful since you can use the headset as a card reader, or, if your phone also accepts MicroSD cards, transfer pics and video directly to the storage on the headset. The BIZZ accepts MicroSD cards up to 8gb (yay!), weighs 10oz, and should be available soon for somewhere around $80.

[ Bluetrek BIZZ ] VIA [ Pocket-Lint ]

USB Whack-It Not Nearly Violent Enough

USB Whack-ItBy Evan Ackerman

Don’t get me wrong, I love useless USB accessories just as much as the next guy, assuming the next guy absolutely hates useless USB accessories, and this USB Whack-It is one of the more useless I’ve seen. I’m not saying that I can’t appreciate a good, violent game of Whac-A-Mole. Quite the contrary: this is a terrible, pointless whack game precisely because you don’t get to whack anything with a giant hammer, which is the whole point of the game… Sheer mindless satisfying violence against things that are smaller and weaker than you. In this USB version of the game, all you do is bop your finger against the hairless multicolored plastic “moles” when they light up, and where’s the fun in that? Bring on the huge black squishy mallet and maybe, just maybe, I’d consider paying $20 and a USB port for one of these.

[ USB Whack-It ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

Laken ISO 70 Bottles Use The Magic Of Aerogel

Laken ISO 70 Bottle (Images courtesy Laken) By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s technically not magic, Aerogel is still pretty cool. It’s a glass-like substance that’s composed of 99.8% air and uninterestingly enough was the very first thing I every wrote about for OhGizmo! All that air not only makes Aerogel amazingly light, but it also works as a fantastic insulator which is why Laken is now using it in their ISO 70 aluminum bottles.

The Aerogel-enhanced bottles will actually keep a beverage warm for twice as long as a standard aluminum-polyurethane bottle and will prevent your beverage from freezing when the temperature drops below zero. If that wasn’t enough, at 24 ounces it’s even half the weight of a traditional vacuum insulated bottle.

At one time Aerogel was incredibly expensive but I guess the price has come down since the Laken ISO 70 bottles only cost about $59.

[ Laken ISO 70 Bottle ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Math Alarm Clock Is Evil, Evil Genius

By Evan Ackerman

It’s a well-known fact that I like naps. It’s also a well known fact that I hate waking up from naps. We’ve seen clocks that shake you, hide from you, or even electrocute you, but I feel confident that my brain would not be required to defeat any of those. The Turing alarm clock was designed to require the owner to prove awakeness by answering a series of math questions. It’s too bad I can’t do math in my head even while fully conscious, but come to think of it, it would be pretty cool if you could program this clock with other questions as well… Say you need to study for a bio test; just program the clock to not shut off until you answer a series of bio questions correctly. If, like me, you’ll do anything to shut the damn thing off, you’re guaranteed to learn whatever it takes to answer those stupid questions and get back to sleep.

[ Cheaphack ] VIA [ Hack A Day ]

Corvette BBQs Combine A Love Of Speed And Steak

BBQ Vette (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

A few weeks ago I wrote about a couch that was modeled after the back-end of an Aston Martin DB6. Unfortunately the price was a bit on the high side ($7,300) and that didn’t even include the shipping costs from the UK where they’re built. So here’s a ‘made in America’ alternative that combines the back-end of a Corvette with a large BBQ. Like with the DB6 couch, no actual Corvettes were harmed in the making of these grills, but the 2000 degree fiberglass resin reproductions look exactly like the real thing.

The firebox itself is insulated to prevent damaging the paint job and other accessories while the grill is hot, and it comes in either a propane or charcoal version depending if you want to taste the heat or the meat. As an added effect the taillights even work but you’ll need someplace to plug in the retractable 20 foot power cord. The grill even comes with a UV protected black cover embroidered with the customer’s name and the date of manufacturing.

The charcoal version of the BBQ Vette runs $1,795 while the propane version is $2,195. They come in 4 standard colors including yellow, black, white and red but custom VIN color matching is also available.

[ BBQ Vette ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

PLDS Lite-On EZ-DUB External Burner

PLDS Lite-On EZ-DUB Burner (Image courtesy PLDS)
By Andrew Liszewski

For the less than technologically inclined comes this external burner from PLDS (Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions) that makes the act of copying or backing up files to a CD or DVD considerably easier. On the top of the burner you’ll find two touch sensitive buttons labeled DUB and FILE. Hitting the FILE button will bring up a simple application on your PC that looks like a large EZ-DUB icon. All you need to do is then drag files directly onto this icon and they will be added to a ‘to-burn’ queue. When you’re done you just hit the FILE button again, insert a blank disc into the tray and it will burn your files.

Duplicating a DVD or CD is even easier. When you hit the DUB button it will ask you to insert the source media at which point it will automatically create an image on the computer. After that you just need to insert a blank disc and the image will be written to it. While experienced pirates users will probably find the interface lacking in options, imagine how much easier the process will be for all those family members who feel you’re the only person they can call for help.

You should be able to find the EZ-DUB in stores now for about $80.

[ Lite-On EZ-DUB ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]