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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Old Skool Retro Famicom Controller For The Wii

Wii Old Skool Retro Controller (Image courtesy Codejunkies) By Andrew Liszewski

Last week Play-Asia started carrying the official Club Nintendo Super Famicom controller for the Wii, which is the perfect way to play all those SNES titles currently offered on the Wii’s Virtual Console. But what about those NES VC games? Are we expected to use an SNES controller for them as well? Certainly not. That’s why Datel is now selling this retro Famicom-styled NES controller, also for the Wii.

In terms of features it’s a pretty basic recreation of the NES/Famicom controller, but it does have a ‘turbo’ rapid fire button upgrade to keep your button mashing to a minimum. You can pick one up from the Codejunkies US site for just $19.99, and help ensure the Wii’s place in history as the most over-accessorized gaming console of all time.

[ Wii Old Skool Retro Controller ] VIA [ MAXCONSOLE ]

Navy Failing To Give Away Sea Shadow For Free


By Evan Ackerman

Looking for a badass new yacht for free? Sea Shadow, commissioned by DARPA and now a US Navy castoff, is about as badass as it gets. You may be familiar with Sea Shadow from the Bond move Tomorrow Never Dies, but it’s a real ship, and it’s really stealthy. It’s 160 feet long, and comes with 12 bunks, a table, a microwave, a fridge, and a gigantic covered mining barge that the CIA used to keep Sea Shadow protected from satellite surveillance. The catch is that you have to take the barge too, and getting anything for free from the Navy is apparently “a bloodthirsty, paperwork ridden, permit-infested, money-sucking hole…” Why does that not surprise me.

If nobody comes up with an offer, Sea Shadow (which originally cost nearly $200 million) is going to be scrapped at the end of this year.


iDuck Wireless Aquatic Speaker


By Evan Ackerman

There are plenty of options for listening to music in the bath, but as far as I know none of them are duck shaped besides this one. And impressively, that’s not the only upside to the iDuck waterproof speaker system. It includes a wireless transmitter shaped like an egg that can connect to any audio source through a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can take your music collection with you into the warm naked bubbly wetness with a minimum of hassle. Not enough features? Okay, how ’bout this: it also glows! In four colors! Wowzees!

The iDuck runs on a total of 7 AAA batteries, and costs about $40.

[ iDuck ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Peephole Motion Sensing DVR


By Evan Ackerman

Getting tired of standing at your peephole, staring out at your lawn muttering about those damn kids? The peephole motion sensing DVR has the potential to make your life much more efficient by recording condensed footage of the damn kids and letting you mutter at them whenever and wherever you like. Mount the camera and motion sensor outside your door and the LCD on the inside (I think you have to remove your peephole), and everything that moves outside the door will get recorded to an SD card. A 4 gig card will record over 11 hours of footage, and since it only records stuff that actually happens, it’ll be a much better use of your time.

The peephole motion sensing DVR costs $200, from ThinkGeek.

[ ThinkGeek ]

Is The Government Spying Via DTV Converters? Not A Chance


By Luke Anderson

I always love a good conspiracy theory. There’s nothing quite like diving into the complex possibilities of what our government or some large company might be cooking up. Well the best one that I’ve heard recently is concerning those fancy little DTV converter boxes that the government is handing out coupons for. Why do you think that they are trying so hard to get those into our houses? It’s because they’re trying to spy on us!

While I’m sure at least a few people out there gave some thought to that last line, it isn’t actually true. A YouTube clip that surface recently showed someone taking apart such a device and discovering a small camera and microphone stashed away inside. While there were some who inevitably fell for the hoax, it was just that. Someone merely cracked open the case, carefully added the components to the board and made it look believable.

When you think about it, there’s no way that the government would plant such devices. Could you imagine the number of people that would have to sit around all day watching people who are watching TV? Now that would be a crappy job.

[ YouTube ] VIA [ Wired ]

Green Erg Generates Electricity From Walking


By Luke Anderson

With the world focused on renewable energy, people are always trying to find new ways to harness the power from everyday activities. There have been devices that generate electricity from revolving doors, and even surfaces when they are walked upon. While these are all great, we still do a lot of walking, and surely there’s a good bit of energy that can be harnessed from it. And that’s exactly what the Green Erg generator intends to do.

Essentially the device is comprised of a set of rollers which are  dragged along behind a person as they walk. As the rollers turn, electricity is generated. At normal walking speeds as much as 2 watts of power has been achieved. Sure, this doesn’t look like the sort of thing you’d want to go walking down the street with, but it is aimed at Africa where it is more difficult to find power.

[ GreenErg ] VIA [ Core77 ]

Disco Ball Hat Somehow Makes A Propeller Beanie Look Cool

Disco Ball Hat (Images courtesy UrbanTrend)
By Andrew Liszewski

Looking for a sure fire way to get kicked out of your local club? Or more likely a guarantee that you’ll never get through the front doors in the first place? Just show up wearing this asinine Disco Ball Hat. It looks like a standard black baseball cap, but features a light-up spinning disco ball on top that’s sure to let everyone know they should never invite you to their parties ever again.

And if you want pricing info you’ll have to contact UrbanTrend directly. Watch how fast I go.

[ Disco Ball Hat ] VIA [ Fashionably Geek ]

Smart Light Switch Provides Tactile Feedback Depending On Your Home’s Energy Use

SmartSwitch (Image courtesy Peter Russo & Brendan Wypich)
By Andrew Liszewski

We’ve all got that nagging voice in the back of our heads telling us we should make a conscious effort to use less energy, but I’ve found it’s easy to drown it out by leaving my blender running 24/7. So it doesn’t hurt to have other reminders about our wasteful ways around the house.

The SmartSwitch is an intelligent light switch that lets you know when your home, or even your local electrical grid, is using substantial amounts of power. Now it doesn’t actually prevent you from turning on the light, but thanks to a built-in ‘brake pad’ the act of sliding the switch does become more difficult during the hours of peak energy demand in your neighborhood. That way you would think twice about whether you really needed that light on, or if you could use a more energy-friendly alternative like simply opening the curtains.

The SmartSwitch was created by Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich from Stanford University for the Greener Gadgets Design Competition.

[ Core77 – SmartSwitch ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

Grace Tape2USB Cassette Converter

Grace Tape2USB (Image courtesy Grace Digital Audio)
By Andrew Liszewski

Yeah, I know, it’s not the most drool-worthy of gadgets, but since I’ve been asked a couple of times over the past few months to convert a cassette tape to MP3s, I figure it would be of interest to a handful of our readers. The rest of you can just move on.

The Tape2USB converter is a pretty basic device that allows you to convert an old-timey audio cassette to a digital audio file, presumably WAV, which can then be transferred to your PC via a USB connection. From there you can use the included Audacity software to edit the audio files, or even convert them to MP3s. What I find particularly interesting is that the Tape2USB even looks like the type of cassette player you’d find in the late 80’s, with the large ‘ka-chunk’ playback buttons and even a rolling analog counter with a reset button. Classic! But at $129.99 from Grace Digital Audio, you’re probably better off just wiring an old Walkman directly into your PC.

[ Grace Tape2USB ] VIA [ Gear Live ]