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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Prinics Digital Photo Frame Printers

Prinic 8-inch Photo Frame Printers (Images courtesy Prinics)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s easy to share a digital photo via email or a public website, but how do you accommodate those family members who haven’t quite embraced the digital age just yet? Well one option is to upgrade your digital photo frame to one of these models from Prinics which feature a built-in 5×7 printer. That way, when your parents are scrolling through baby photos and lamenting about how they’d really love a copy of a particular shot, you can print one out for them right then and there.

The printers use a special, self-contained photo paper & ink cartridge that’s extremely easy to replace, and since the cartridges are completely sealed, they apparently have an unlimited ‘use-by’ date. I’m not sure how much the cartridges cost (which is a factor that could make or break the product) but each one is good for 36 shots. The Prinics frames come in either 7 or 8 inch models and besides the printer they also feature memory card slots, an easy to use GUI, a remote control and even patterned or plain black acrylic frames. Unfortunately the Prinics site is a little vague when it comes to pricing, but if they intend to compete in the 5×7 photo printer market they’ll have to aim for a reasonable MSRP.

[ Prinics Photo Frame Printer ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Classic Storefront Rocket Ride Is No Longer Just A Nickel

Classic Storefront Rocket Ride (Image courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)
By Andrew Liszewski

If Antiques Roadshow has taught me anything, it’s that people will pay ridiculous amounts of money for the smallest bit of nostalgia, which is probably why something as big as this Classic Storefront Rocket Ride available from Hammacher Schlemmer comes with a $10,000 price tag. (Instead of the nickel it would have cost you to ride it back in the 1960’s.) In its defense though, the Rocket Ride is an authentic unit that has been completely refurbished to its original state including the tapered nose cone and retro space travel graphics. And thanks to a new electric motor, the ride still works like it used to, providing the passenger with a thrilling minute of rising, diving and banking motions. The working handlebars can be used to control the speed of the ride, and the unit also includes ‘realistic’ rocket and countdown-to-launch sound effects.

[ Classic Storefront Rocket Ride ]

Love Meter T-Shirt

Love Meter T-Shirt (Image courtesy Lazybone)
By Andrew Liszewski

While those light-up shirts that respond to sound or wireless networks might get you the odd look or the occasional chuckle, the Love Meter T-Shirt has the potential to get you a lot more. Apparently the concepts of love and proximity are interchangeable, so as you move closer to another person wearing one of these shirts, the ‘love meter’ will actually increase, and as you move away, the ‘love meter’ drops. I suspect that unless you buy two of these shirts you’re not going to stumble across someone else wearing one on a regular basis, and if you’re concerned about other people getting too close for comfort, you can always switch it off or yank out the battery pack before the ‘love meter’ fills up.

At about $44 from the Love Meter T-Shirts are a bit on the expensive side, not to mention that the manufacturer seems to have lifted the idea from the 8-Bit Dynamic Life Shirt that ThinkGeek already sells.

[ Love Meter T-Shirt ] VIA [ Gear Live ]

Dot Matrix Business Card

Dot Matrix Business Card (Image courtesy Instructables)
By Andrew Liszewski

Over on Instructables, Tom Ward has a great tutorial on how to create a rather professional looking electronic business card that scrolls your contact info via a 5×15 matrix of red LEDs. Not surprisingly, the design is considerably more expensive than a traditional business card, but it’s definitely the type of thing a client won’t ever throw away.

This is the sort of card that would suit a high-tech business, or those who were involved in high-value contracts, where an innovative image is all important. I would never suggest that it would replace a conventional business card, but to impress that all-important prospective client, there would be more than a few companies who would be happy to spend just an extra few dollars. Like the flashlight card, the aim is to design a business card that people just can’t throw away!

The design is really quite simple for what it does – a matrix of 5×15 LEDs, connected to a single-chip “PIC”microcontroller. A handful of resistors and switches complete the design (Schematic available below). By keeping the microcontroller in sleep mode unless the buttons are pressed, the battery can last several years, and still allow a couple of thousand displays of your messages.

Dot Matrix Business Card (Image courtesy Instructables)

While the materials seem pretty easy to find online, the construction does require some know-how, including soldering skills and a way to program the card’s PIC microcontroller. And while Tom admits that making these by yourself by the hundreds is not easy or cheap, he is optimistic that they can be commercially produced which should drastically reduce the per-unit costs.

[ Dot Matrix Business Card ] VIA [ MAKE: Blog ]

The Orator’s Briefcase PA System Seems Perfect For Manic Street Preachers

The Orator's Briefcase PA System (Images courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you spend your days on a busy street corner preaching to the masses at the top of your lungs, you’ve probably noticed that people tend to ignore you more often than not. But don’t worry, I’m sure they care what you have to say, it’s probably just that they can’t hear you over all the hustle, bustle and traffic. So might I suggest this Orator’s Briefcase that will not only bring an added level of professionalism to your rants, but will also ensure that everyone in a block’s radius will hear your message thanks to a 20-watt amplifier and dual 4-inch speakers.

With the briefcase open you also have a pop-up lectern on which to organize your notes, and it comes with both a handheld condenser mic that can be attached to a gooseneck arm, as well as a 3/4-inch lavalier mic that clips to your tie, lapel or collar of your t-shirt. A control panel on the side of the briefcase allows you to make adjustments to the volume and tone, while line-out ports make it easy to hook up to external speakers or provide a feed to a recording device. You can get one from Hammacher Schlemmer for $349.95.

[ The Orator’s Briefcase PA System ] VIA [ GeekAlerts ]

Kodak EasyShare P520 Digital Frame Stays Fingerprint Free

Kodak EasyShare P520 (Images courtesy Kodak)
By Andrew Liszewski

Besides dropping in price, digital picture frames have advanced quite a bit over the past few years. The resolutions and image quality have definitely improved, and instead of having to rely on a small set of buttons or a cramped remote for navigating through hundreds of photos, they now feature intuitive touch screen interfaces. On the other hand, touch screens usually means your display ends up covered in fingerprints, which is why Kodak’s latest model, the EasyShare P520, features something they call the ‘Quick Touch Border’ which is basically a touch-sensitive strip that runs around the perimeter of the LCD. The UI can be navigated using just the touch border, and like the iPhone, it even allows you to swipe your finger across the bottom to easily scroll through your photos.

Other features include a USB port and dual SD card slots for expanding your storage space (I’m not sure how much memory the frame actually comes with) a 5-inch LCD color screen that uses ‘Kodak Color Science’ for “vibrant colors and crisp detail” and your choice of silver, red or white frames. It should be available sometime in September for $79.95.

[ Kodak EasyShare P520 ] VIA [ Gear Live ]

Clock Delay By STUDIObloomm

Clock Delay (Image courtesy STUDIObloomm)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve been looking for a clock that’s hard to read, takes up a lot of space and is inexplicably expensive, you probably won’t find anything better suited than the Clock Delay from STUDIObloomm. It uses three cogwheels to represent the hours, minutes and seconds with the current time being shown at the point where the cogs nearly meet. The clock was apparently designed to rekindle an interest in technology, presumably since all of its mechanisms are exposed, but I’m not sure if it’s cool enough to make me interested in paying about $1,885 for one.

[ Clock Delay ] VIA [ Dezeen ]

Is This The Production Chevy Volt?

Production Chevy Volt? (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

While cars like the McLaren F1 or the Bugatti Veyron will always be in my dreams, back here in reality the Chevy Volt tops the list of vehicles I would actually buy. In fact there’s a lot of excitement over GM’s second attempt at an electric car, which is kind of surprising since hardly anyone outside the company has seen what the production-ready version actually looks like. I guess in this case it really is what’s on the inside that counts. It’s rumored that the General will unveil the official Chevy Volt as part of their 100th anniversary celebrations, but it looks like a few photos might have already been leaked. The car is scheduled to appear in the Transformers sequel (aka Trainwreck 2) and it seems a spy has managed to catch the Volt on video while it was on set.

Chevy Volt Interior? (Image courtesy Motive Magazine)

But the leaks don’t stop there. Motive Magazine was also able to snap a few pics of a display (again, supposedly created for GM’s upcoming Centennial event) showing off the Volt’s snazzy center console. Now I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of these photos, and even though I usually don’t like posting rumors, this is one reveal I’m definitely excited for.

[ GM-VOLT – BREAKING: Production VOLT Spied!! The REAL DEAL!! ] & [ GM-VOLT – Chevy Volt Interior Picture Leak ] VIA [ Crunch Gear ]

Build Your Own Block Light

By Luke Anderson

As a child, many of us spent countless hours as young construction workers. No, we weren’t hundreds of feet in the air balancing on steel girders, but merely snapping together plastic bricks. We created everything from castles to space ships. Now someone has given us the option of making our own lighting fixture in a similar fashion.

While using actual LEGOs would be very awesome, such a design would be doomed. Those tiny bricks just don’t stand up to heat well enough to surround a light bulb. These Block Light bricks are made from a more durable plastic that still allows for the same sort of customization. The $45 kit comes with 219 small, 16 medium and 4 large blocks for your building pleasure. The only downside is that it’s currently only wired for use in the UK.

[ Red5 ] VIA [ Technabob ]