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Monthly Archives: September 2012

LEXON Sliding ‘Jet Calculator’

LEXON Sliding 'Jet Calculator' (Images courtesy AVING.net)
By Andrew Liszewski

I was under the impression the world no longer needed basic, stand-alone calculators but it seems I was gravely mistaken. This ‘Jet Calculator’ from LEXON is clearly made to appeal to the design-minded consumer who also doesn’t have access to a cellphone, PDA, computer or mathematically-gifted idiot-savant. Made from aluminum alloy (and boring plastic keys with a crappy ‘LCD’ font) the calculator comes in a silver or gold finish and features a pretty useless sliding screen design.

Both the silver and gold models will be available in Korea in April for about $42 and $53 respectively.

[ LEXON Jet Calculator ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Musical Drum Table Will Drown Out The Awkward Conversations At Your Next Cocktail Party

Musical Rumba Series Drum Table (Images courtesy Musical Furnishings)
By Andrew Liszewski

I could never see myself buying a coffee table that was just a coffee table. But I could definitely see myself buying a coffee table that was embedded with a collection of drums and other percussion instruments. The Musical Rumba Series tables are hand built by artist Tor Clausen in his Olympia, Washington studio, and each one comes with a collection of interchangeable and rearrangeable percussion inserts. Why you’d want a table you can drum on is kind of hard to explain, so I recommend checking out this video of it in action. (That was all it took to sell me on the idea.)

The tables come in 2×2, 2×4, 3×3 and 4×4 configurations and can include various combinations of the of the 12 different percussion modules like snare drums, chimes, cow bells, high hats and even a cymbal crash. Since the tables are all hand made they range in price from $800 for the 2×2 configuration up to $2,900 for the 4×4 and require half the total price as a deposit.

[ Musical Furnishings Musical Rumba Series ] VIA [ Cribcandy ]

THX Chief Scientist Says Blu-ray Is “Too Late”

Blu-ray

By Evan Ackerman

After all the uproar about HD DVD and Blu-ray, with Blu-ray claiming the final victory, you have to wonder what exactly the victory consisted of. According to Laurie Fincham, Chief Scientist at THX (the high-fidelity sound reproduction standard), “It’s too late for Blu-ray. We don’t really need another spinning format… I think consumers will only become interested in replacing DVD when HD movies become available on flash memory.”

I have not bought into any high definition disc system, nor do I plan to. Why not? Well, I never thought it was worth the expense or the hassle. The point that Fincham is making is that Blu-ray is just not enough of a step forward to really get the attention of the market. The transition from VCR tapes to DVDs made a lot of sense, if for no other reason than you can’t skip around a tape (plus they take up lots of space). But the difference between DVDs and Blu-ray discs is nowhere near so dramatic… You can just fit more stuff on ‘em, the functionality isn’t materially changed.

The big deal, of course, is the high def resolution. At the moment, Blu-ray is the way to go if you want to watch a movie in 1080p. The problem, according to Fincham, is that the optical disc is relatively large, fragile, and expensive, and fixed media is definitely on the way out, even now. A dual layer Blu-ray disc holds 50gb of data. Sure, that’s a lot right now, but it won’t be a lot for long, as flash memory prices continue to decrease while capacities increase:

“In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me in a wallet, or walk into a store and have someone copy me a movie to a USB device. Stores will like that idea, because it’s all about having zero inventory. I don’t want to take up shelf space with dozens of HD movies “By the time Blu-ray really finds a mass market, we will have 128GB cards. I would guess that getting studios to supply movies on media cards, or offer downloads, will be a lot easier than getting them to sign up to support a disc format.”

Fincham doesn’t touch on the issue of streaming HD content over the internet, which I think is probably the biggest long-term threat to the Blu-ray format… But either way, since I can’t actually afford an HD TV, much less a Blu-ray player or discs, I’m just gonna stick with my DVDs, thank you very much.

[ DVDTown ] VIA [ DVICE ]

Calculator With USB Hub Just Blows My Mind

Calculator Hub

By Luke Anderson

Is it just me, or are people turning everything into USB devices? Seriously, who needs a calculator that is also a USB hub? Better yet, who needs a basic calculator such as this sitting next to their keyboard and mouse. Honestly I thought that the calculator built into Windows or OSX coupled with the numberpad on your keyboard was more than enough to take care of things. Not only is this gadget all but useless, it seems a bit overpriced at $23.99.

[ GizFever ] VIA [ GeekAlerts ]

In Case Of Sith, Break Glass

In Case of Sith, Break Glass

By Luke Anderson

How many times have you been hanging out waiting for the bus minding your own business, only to be jumped by some half-crazed Sith Lord? Since there are only ever two, it’s probably pretty rare, however, if you’re unarmed, things aren’t likely going to go well.

This has to be the coolest ad for Star Wars that I’ve ever seen. Apparently Spike is going to be airing the movies beginning April 4th, and they really want to stir up some buzz. Apparently it’s working because not only am I writing about it, but you’re reading this.

VIA [ GearFuse ]

Specs On The New Asus EEE 900 Revealed

Asus EEE 900

By Evan Ackerman

I decided a few months ago that the first incarnation of Asus’ EEE laptop was not quite enough machine for me. I loved the small form factor and the fact that it has everything necessary to be totally usable (and not much more), but I wanted just a little bit extra, like a bigger screen and a little bit more storage space. Asus has announced the new EEE 900, which looks like it’s going to be pretty much the perfect laptop for my needs. Overall it’s the same size and weight as its predecessor (the speakers have been moved from the sides to the bottom), with an 8.9″ 1024 x 600 LCD, 1gb of ram and an 8gb SSD with Windows XP in the base configuration, and it should offer a battery life of 2.5 – 3 hours. It also may be using Intel’s Atom platform (900mhz Celeron M), which is supposed to be adopted in Q2 of this year.

Supposedly, the EEE 900 will also include a resistive touchscreen (!). However, based on the FCC filing, Gizmodo says no, while DigiTimes quotes Asus’ VP of Sales as saying that the “second-generation Eee PC lineup will include touchscreen panels and possible GPS support.” What it will definitely include is a multi-gesture touchpad like the one on Macbooks (except less fancy), allowing you to use two fingers to zoom in and out on pictures and stuff.

On release (May or June), the 8gb/XP model should retail for $499 in the US.

VIA [ Engadget ]

Compact HDMI Hub Codenamed Medusa

Medusa HDMI Hub (Image courtesy Akihabara News)
By Andrew Liszewski

Until HDTV manufacturers start including a lot more than just 2 or 3 HDMI ports on the back of their sets, there will unfortunately be the need for external HDMI hubs and switchers. Thankfully though it looks like both the size and design of these devices has vastly improved. Akihabara News has dug up some info on a new compact HMDI hub code named ‘Medusa’ that not only looks pretty slick, but will also be reasonably priced. The specs include:

-HDMI Spec 1.3
-Compliant HDCP Rev 1.2 Spec
-Wide Frequency Range : 25MHz – 225MHz
-Supports 12-bit deep color up to 1080p
-CEC support
-HDMI 3 out port

Unfortunately that’s pretty much all the info available on the Medusa right now, but apparently GeekStuff4U will begin carrying the device within a month.

[ Akihabara News - Medusa HDMI Hub, When Small is Beautiful ]

Official Rubik’s Speed Cubing Kit

Official Rubik's Speed Cubing Kit (Image courtesy Rubik's Cube Official Site)
By Andrew Liszewski

While robotic Rubik’s Cube solvers like the Tilted Twister take the tedium out of properly arranging all those colored squares, they’re not exactly the fastest solution to the problem. Believe it or not humans still have the advantage when it comes to quickly solving a Rubik’s Cube, and the current world record stands at just 9.18 seconds.

And if you’ve been trying to shave a few precious seconds off your own cube solving time, the official Rubik’s Speed Cubing Kit has a few completely legal tricks to help you out. (And by legal I mean by world record standards. I don’t think there’s any country in the world who’s gone to the trouble of setting up anti-Rubik’s tampering legislation.) The kit includes a bottle of lubricant to help reduce the friction on the moving parts, and a couple of screwdrivers for loosening up the joints. There’s even a small manual on how to become a professional cuber, but apparently that dream requires you to know how to read Japanese.

[ Official Rubik's Speed Cubing Kit ] VIA [ TOKYOMANGO ]

SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System Ensures No Sponges Left Behind

SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System (Image courtesy 7 Gadgets)
By Andrew Liszewski

We’ve all heard or even seen the hour-long TLC specials about surgical instruments being accidentally left inside a patient. But even something as simple as a sponge can lead to a deadly infection if forgotten, and that’s why every single sponge has to be accounted for. But instead of relying on a nurse to manually count the sponges before and after an operation, the Safety-Sponge system from SurgiCount employs special bar codes printed on every sponge that are scanned into a PocketPC computer before and after they’re used.

Essentially, the system works much like a grocery store check-out counter – every laparotomy and gauze sponge is pre-labeled with an individual and unique bar code (in this instance, a 2-D data matrix label) and a scanning SurgiCounter is used to read the labels. Unlike other technologies, there is no major change in a hospital’s established AORN manual counting practices and procedures. And no other technology can offer documented time stamps of when every item was counted in and out.

Since every single sponge has a unique bar code, the system can even alert the operating room staff if the same sponge has been scanned twice. I guess as long as the special barcode-branded sponges aren’t considerably more expensive than a regular sponge, there’s no reason for a hospital not to adopt a system like this. But then again I’m not a doctor, I just pretend to be one on the internet.

[ SurgiCount Safety-Sponge System ] VIA [ 7 Gadgets ]