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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hitachi-LG Officially Announce The HyDrive SSD/CD/DVD Combo Drive

HyDrive (Image courtesy Engadget)
By Andrew Liszewski

Today Hitachi-LG Data Storage Inc. officially announced their new HyDrives, designed for laptops and compact PCs, which incorporate a 32GB or 64GB SSD into a CD/DVD optical drive. The obvious benefit to such a setup is that you can have a dual drive configuration in a mid-sized laptop, with the fast SSD for your OS and applications, and a large regular hard drive for media and other content. Now according to Engadget, the first generation of the HyDrives, which should be available come August, will actually be 12.7mm thick which means they won’t fit in most laptops, relegating them for use in compact desktop PCs and HTPCs. But the second generation, which will hopefully be available by March of next year, will have a smaller 9.5mm form factor making them usable in a wide range of laptops, as well as increased capacities of up to 256GB.

Specific pricing info wasn’t announced today, probably because the drives will only be available to OEMs at launch, but a ~$200 premium was quoted for systems featuring one of the new HyDrives.

[ Engadget – Hitachi-LG goes official with HyDrive: SSD-equipped optical drives landing in August ]

No Frills SeatBuddy iPhone Case Is Extra Versatile

SeatBuddy (Image courtesy Brookstone)
By Andrew Liszewski

It doesn’t come with a built-in backup battery, or a solar charger, but the Seat Buddy could be one of the most useful silicone iPhone/iPod Touch cases on the market. The only thing that makes it look even remotely distinct from other cases on the market is the pair of rubber straps sticking out of one side, which can be used to hang it from the back of a car or airplane seat’s headrest, the top of a treadmill, a glove compartment or anywhere you can secure them.

It can pretty much be used anywhere, and an included set of velcro pieces allows the straps to be attached to each other so you don’t necessarily have to use it in a place where the straps are clamped down. The SeatBuddy was apparently invented by an airline pilot who could never find the perfect position for watching movies on his iPhone, hopefully not while on duty, and they’re available on the company’s website for ~$24 each with shipping, but the more you buy, the cheaper it gets.

[ SeatBuddy ] VIA [ Apartment Therapy Unplggd ]

Paper Tube Eco-Furniture Grows With Your Kids

Paper Tube Eco-Furniture (Images courtesy HECMEC)
By Andrew Liszewski

How strong is your average cardboard tube? Because I think that’s the only thing standing between this line of eco-friendly DIY furniture from being brilliant, or just an optimistic concept with one fatal flaw. The idea is pretty simple. The chairs and tables come disassembled like your average IKEA kit, but instead of including metal or plastic tubing, it comes with cardboard tubes. So in theory, as long as you have a reliable source of cardboard tubing, you can swap in longer pieces so the furniture grows along with your kids.

Of course since they’re made of cardboard the pieces you’ve swapped out are completely recyclable, and if you tire of the furniture altogether, the various plastic bits like the seats and corner pieces are all made from 100% plant-based resin, making them recyclable too. As an added bonus your kids are free to color or decorate the cardboard bits of the furniture as much as they like since they can be easily replaced if their crayola masterpieces end up clashing with the decor in their playroom. And if that wasn’t enough, apparently the company behind the furniture, HECMEC, claims that their manufacturing process reduces carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 40% since they’re not using steel.

Unfortunately as cool as it all sounds, I can’t really find any information on when or where the furniture will be available, though it’s clear that functioning prototypes at least do exist.

[ HECMEC Paper Tube Eco-Furniture ] VIA [ Inhabitots ]

Custom GameBoy Arcade Mod – Yours For Just $149.99

Custom GameBoy Arcade Mod (Images courtesy XCKDIY)
By Andrew Liszewski

Every gamer would like to have an arcade in their home full of classic titles, but not everyone has the space, or the money, needed to buy and/or build one. Chinese modder XCKDIY may have found a happy medium though. They’ve converted an old Game Boy, well 10 of them actually, into a miniature arcade cabinet by removing and angling the handheld’s controls, and swapping out the 4-way directional pad with an actual joystick. As I mentioned, 10 of these creations are currently available on eBay at $149.99 a piece, and while it’s a clever mod for sure, for that kind of money I’d like to be able to request some different cabinet graphics, and maybe a simple overhead LED to better illuminate the Game Boy’s monochromatic display.

[ eBay – Custom GameBoy Arcade Mod ] VIA [ Tiny Cartridge ]

This Cellphone’s Biggest Selling Feature? It’s Called The McLovin

McLovin Quadband Dual SIM China Cell Phone with Keyboard (Image courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

It looks like a hybrid between the iPhone and the Nokia N97, and it comes with pretty much every modern smartphone feature you could want including dual SIM card slots, quad-band GSM support, wifi, FM radio, analog TV receiver, 3.2-inch QVGA touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard, microSD card slot, an accelerometer, Bluetooth with A2DP, handwriting recognition and of course a 2MP camera. But the feature that will probably actually sell this phone, at least in North America, is the fact that it’s actually called the McLovin.

Now whether that’s a case of poor translation, or an intentional attempt to cash in on a fad that’s long since passed, I’m sure there are still people out there somewhere who found Superbad funny and will buy it just so they can tell people that yes, they are talking to you on their McLovin. Available from Chinavasion for ~$122.

[ McLovin Quadband Dual SIM China Cell Phone with Keyboard ]

CTA Digital Milking This Wii Thing For All It’s Worth – Introduces Inflatable Racing Kart Accessory

Inflatable Racing Kart for Wii (Image courtesy CTA Digital)
By Andrew Liszewski

Continuing in a long line of confusing, awkward and utterly pointless gaming accessories like the Wii Bowling Ball and the Wings for Wii comes CTA Digital’s latest creation, an inflatable racing cart designed to take games like Mario Kart Wii to the next level. It includes a plastic steering wheel which will accommodate a Wiimote, just like the accessory that comes with the actual game, and while it’s listed as being “safe for both kids and adults” I just can’t see anyone over 15 comfortably fitting into it.

The accessory will be officially unveiled at E3 where attendees will have a chance to give it a go, but if you’re already sold on the idea you can pre-order one from Amazon right now for $39.99.

[ Inflatable Racing Kart for Wii ] VIA [ GoNintendo ]

Robby Garden XP Robot Mower Slices, Dices And Mulches

Robby Garden XP (Image courtesy LawnBot)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it will set you back around $2,000 (€1,559), the Robby Garden XP robotic mower has some unique features that somewhat justify the price. Unlike other robomowers which require you to install a perimeter fence so it doesn’t wander into flower beds, gardens and children’s sand boxes, the Robby uses a grass sensor to distinguish between your lawn and other areas you don’t want shredded. Apparently it’s not perfect, and works best when there’s a distinct separation between grass and garden, like a row of decorative rocks or shrubbery, but it’s better than having to lay underground wires.

The Robby Garden XP also shreds and mulches the trimmed grass as it roves your property, essentially creating a fertilizer that should in theory help your lawn flourish. And to conserve battery power the grass sensors are also able to tell how tall the grass is, automatically adjusting the speed of the cutting blades when there’s less work to do, which also makes it less noisy. It seems pretty safe too, since simply touching the mower will automatically stop the cutting blades, and a single button on top allows you to easily turn it on or off at any time.

[ Robby Garden XP ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

Sony ‘Tune Tray’ Car Stereo Line Expands

Sony Tune Tray Car Stereos (Image courtesy Sony)
By Andrew Liszewski

Sony’s Tune Tray car stereo line was apparently introduced at CES this year with the DSX-S100 model pictured above. It’s yet another PMP-friendly deck with support for MP3 or WMA files, satellite and HD radio and a feature they call ZAPPIN which plays 6, 9 or 30 second clips of each song until you find the one you want. Pretty much the same thing as the ‘Scan’ feature that’s existed in car radios for years and years, but made cooler with the name ‘ZAPPIN.’ The most unique feature of the DSX-S100 though is the Tune Tray which uses the space that would otherwise be occupied with a CD player to store and protect your MP3 player inside while it’s connected.

And even though the DSX-S100 is still listed as coming soon on the Sony website, the company has just announced two new models, the DSX-S200X and the DSX-S300BT. The S200X adds a second USB port on the front for connecting an additional audio device, and Sony’s SensMe technology which creates custom playlists and channels from your music, kind of like iTunes’ Genius, while the S300BT gets all of the above plus Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and streaming your music over A2DP.

The DSX-S200X and DSX-S300BT are expected to be available in September for around $200 and $280 respectively, while the availability of the original DSX-S100 is still unknown, but should sell for around $150.

[ Sony DSX-S100 ] VIA [ CNET ]

Protect 486 Scooter Armor

Protect 486 Scooter Armor (Images courtesy Marc Graells Ballve)
By Andrew Liszewski

Designer Marc Graells Ballve claims this anti-theft armor he designed for scooters called ‘Protect 486’ was actually inspired by mother nature, particularly the armor worn by armadillos. But anyone who saw Tim Burton’s original Batman film will find a striking resemblance between the Protect 486 system, and the armor deployed by the Batmobile while Batman was out cleaning up the streets of Gotham. I’m not accusing him of ripping it off or anything, I’m just saying. And while it looks like a half-decent idea for protecting your ride from vandals, theft and even rain, I have to wonder what effect the extra weight and drag would have on the scooter’s gas mileage.

[ Protect 486 Scooter Armor ] VIA [ I New Idea Homepage ]