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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Donate To A Great Cause And Enter To Win A Lifetime Pass To WoW

This post is syndicated with permission from

I love playing WoW, but after a while that $15 a month adds up. And that’s on top of the money I originally spent on the game, plus the two expansions. Lets face it, MMO’s are expensive. Aside from buying your own arcade cabinet, an MMO is probably the most expensive video game you can buy. Naturally, any help you can get on those monthly fees is always appreciated. So how would you like to never have to pay for a single month of WoW again? Sure, you could just quit playing, but what’s the fun in that? No, what you need to do is win a lifetime pass from Blizzard.

In an effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a Blizzard employee is offering up the chance for some free WoW time. Just head over to the donation page and give the charity at least $25 and leave a comment (“For the Horde” or “For the Alliance”). So exactly what are they giving away? Well, up for grabs are three 1-year subscription cards, and one lifetime pass. That’s right, if you win the grand prize, you’ll never have to pay for your WoW subscription again. Even if you don’t win, you’re still helping out a great cause. So far they’ve managed to raise just over $13,000, which far surpasses the $5,000 goal. You’ve got until January 5th to enter.

[ Donation Page ] VIA [ GamerFront ]

Candle Powered LED

By Evan Ackerman

This is one of those things that, although kinda cool in principle, has (at this stage, anyway) questionable utility. This picture, from Nextreme Thermal Solutions, shows an LED being powered entirely by the heat from a candle. In fact, since candles put out so much waste heat, the LED is actually brighter than the candle that’s powering it. This is thermoelectric conversion in action, and if somebody could make it practical, it would be everywhere. We use all kinds of technologies that pump out tons of waste heat, and then spend a substantial amount of power trying to deal with it. Imagine how much extra battery life you’d get out of your laptop if the heat from the chip was tapped to power the LEDs in the screen, for example.

People are getting more creative with heat utilization and transformation, even doing stuff like using waste heat from laptops to power wireless mice. The real holy grail of this technology, though, is the ability to turn heat directly into electricity in an energy and space efficient manner. We’re not there yet, but it’s always nice to see progress being made.

VIA [ Tech-On ]

Rubik’s Cube Lamp Is Colorful, Potentially Frustrating

By Evan Ackerman

We’ve had the occasional post about gadgets related to Rubik’s Cubes, and most of them are, to some extent, entirely useless. Why useless? Well, you get them, you mess them up, and then unless you’re really really smart (or a robot), they stay messed up and just sit on a shelf somewhere and depress you when you look at them. This Rubik’s Cube lamp (designed by Eric Pautz) is a little bit different in that it is arguably better looking once messed up, since it gives it a nice multicolored effect as opposed to being all conformist and boring. And you can always re-randomize it… And hey, if you re-randomize it enough times, you’ll eventually end up with a solved cube, although the odds of that are not great, considering that there are more potential combinations than there are atoms in the known universe.

This lamp may only be a concept for now, but if you want something Rubik’s-y that lights up, you can always get one of these instead.

VIA [ Go Get It ]

We’re Going To CES – We Need You

By David Ponce

So guys, we’re going to CES (Jan 8th to the 11th) this year again, but this time we’re bringing the cavalry… otherwise known as three of us (sadly, Luke cannot make it). We’re going to dive head first into a gigantic, breathing, pulsating smorgasboard of digital paraphernalia. It’ll be an electric technobrothel where 2,700 manufacturers will trip over themselves to whore their wares to the jonesing press. And it’ll be our job to be discerning Johns.

We need your help.

What do you want to read about? Mainstream consumer electronics? Big honking TVs? More esoteric gadgets? Audio equipment? Video? The hunt for the elusive CES gnomes?

Please make your requests in the comments, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Flashlight Garden Nozzle

Lighted Garden Nozzle (Image courtesy Restoration Hardware)
By Andrew Liszewski

I suppose this is one of those products where you look at it and either go: “hey! I could really use that!” or “why on Earth would anyone need to water their plants at night?” I would be in that latter group, but since my habit for procrastination usually leaves me doing chores in the middle of the night, I’m sure that someone, somewhere would be in a similar situation and have a use for this. And if that picture isn’t descriptive enough for you, it’s your run-of-the-mill garden nozzle with a built-in LED flashlight. It’s also powered by 2 x AA batteries since you probably don’t want to be using an extension cord while watering. You can get it from Restoration Hardware for just $12.49.

[ Lighted Garden Nozzle ] VIA [ Home Improvement Ideas ]

Fish Tank Friday: Shark On A Water Slide

By Evan Ackerman

Somehow, an intrepid reef shark on display at a resort in the Bahamas was able to escape her pen by jumping over an 18 inch wide, foot high wall. She landed on an adjacent waterslide (called “The Leap of Faith”) and made it all the way down to the bottom, presumably doing whatever the shark equivalent is of shouting “wheeee!” the whole time. Right before splashdown, one of those automatic thrill-ride cameras snapped the above picture.

Unfortunately, sharks and chlorinated water don’t mix very well, and although resort staff were able to rescue the shark from the pool and return her to her tank, she died shortly thereafter. Oh, and the resort wasn’t open at the time, so there was nobody else on the water slide… But if there had been, this would have taken the concept of “thrill ride” to a while new level.

[ TMZ ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Pogo Sketch Stylus Turns Your Multi-Touch Trackpad Into A Drawing Tablet

By Luke Anderson

I spend a good bit of time doodling, enough that I picked up a Wacom tablet a couple of years ago. I admit that it’s helped me take my art in a new direction, and I rarely finish a project without using it. I don’t generally take it with me on trips, since it’s just one more thing to stuff in my laptop bag, plus I don’t usually do a lot of digital artwork on the road. Regardless, there are times where I wouldn’t mind doodling in Photoshop and find myself without any means. Well now I may just be able to use the trackpad on my MacBook Pro for minor drawing tasks.

The recently-announced Pogo Sketch is a stylus which can transform a multi-touch MacBook or MacBook Pro trackpad into a tablet for drawing. It uses a special material on the tip which allows it to act as a bridge between your hand and the trackpad. This will allow you to have a precise drawing tool at your disposal anytime you’re near your laptop. You can also use it as a stylus for your iPhone or iPod Touch. The Pogo Sketch will go on sale at the beginning of January for just $15.

VIA [ TenOneDesign ]

BHO Anti-Static Wristband Eliminates The Need For A Ground Wire

By Luke Anderson

I remember the good old days of being a full-time networking/PC tech. I had my workbench where I did all of the major internal work on the computers that came in. I always had a couple of static wrist straps lying around (I had a tendency to wear them home and forget them), and I always hated using them. That stupid cord always got in the way of everything, though at least the ones I used let you remove the cord from the band, which was about as convenient as it got. Well now it seems that someone has created a static wrist strap that needs no grounding wire.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no electrical engineer, but I always thought that unless you had something to ground out the strap, it was pointless. This particular one appears to store and discharge the static using a small resistor and a screw. Here’s the full explanation given on the site (you’ll have to forgive the broken English, since it’s a Taiwanese site).

Principle :
As per physics principle of “Corona” Discharge effects and “Points Discharge”
by transmission of electric potential difference to arrive the effect of
electrostatic elimination?That is use the physical principle of “Engineering of
static” transmit is use ion push ion transmission pushing the static of human
body as per the way of high electric potential enter the activation area than
use ” Skin effect” pushing the static from activation area to the point of storing
static and between the storing static area with discharging have one meg ohm
resistor to stop the static return to transmit. Further, the device out side have
one screw, it connect with inside conductor circuit
(1). Use for – When people touch high Static power n careless make instant
large electrostatic charge conduction, can offer ion neutralization with outside
water molecule by the screw when the ion neutralize un-finish in time.
[It’s “Corona discharge effect ] to eliminate the static reach to the final
purpose of ” Static voltage balance”
(2). Can be use to make the function of electric potential zero
(Just use the rew touch the grounding source)
(3). Can be used to check the circuit termination.

If these work as described, I could certainly see a huge market for something like this, especially since it’s not nearly as ugly as the ones I’ve owned. The main problem you’re going to run into is actually getting your hands on one. They’re only about $11, but you’ll need to get it imported.

[ BHO ] VIA [ CoolestGadgets ]

Now You Can Really Drop The F-Bomb

By Luke Anderson

I’m sure we all have that day at the office where things just never seem to go right. The day where there’s never any coffee, the copier is broken and your boss wants you to stay over late. I believe that’s what is generally referred to as Monday. It’s during those times that you might feel the need to spout off a profanity or two, which probably isn’t the best thing to do in your office. But don’t worry, you can drop the F-Bomb any time you want, and get only a chuckle in response.

Okay, so this plushie toy is a bit cheesy, and having it spout off your favorite word might still get you into trouble. Not to mention that you’ll probably end up throwing the F-Bomb at some point, rather than throwing it. I’m sure that at $10 it would make a decent gag gift for that guy in the corner that’s always grumbling about people stealing his stapler.

[ Stupidiotic ] VIA [ FoolishGadgets ]