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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Announcing The Winner Of The IDAPT i3 Universal Desktop Charger!

By Chris Scott Barr

Congratulations are in order for reader methodicjon who was randomly selected to win the IDAPT i3 Desktop Charger! As for the rest of you, stay tuned for more chances to win!


Amazon Starts Delivering Items In Reusable Totes

By Chris Scott Barr

If you do a lot of shopping online, then chances are that you’re used to having a plethora of boxes and packing supplies taking up space in your house. Not only is it a pain to get rid of, but it’s not very environmentally friendly. Amazon is trying to do their part to cut down on the amount of waste used in shipping by introducing the Amazon Tote.

If you live in the Seattle area, you can select to have your orders sent to you in a tote. The totes go out once a week, and everything you’ve ordered in that time will be delivered in one. They’ll come back and pick it up on their next round, or you can keep it. The option is free, so you don’t need to pay more to do your part. However, if you do happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you can have totes sent out twice a week, instead of just once.

[ Amazon ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

GEAR4 UnityRemote Saves Your iPhone From Cumbersome Dongles

GEAR4 UnityRemote (Image courtesy GEAR4)
By Andrew Liszewski

I like the idea of using an iPhone or an iPod Touch as a universal remote, but I’m not so crazy about having to stick it in a case, or attach some cumbersome dongle to give it IR functionality. So I really like the solution that GEAR4 has come up with for their UnityRemote. Instead of some accessory you have to attach to your device, a downloadable app talks to a separate Bluetooth controlled receiver that uses 5 infrared emitters to blast out commands in 360 degrees. That way you don’t have to worry about pointing your iPhone or iPod Touch in the right direction either. It’s not going to be available until October according to the GEAR4 website, so there’s not a lot of details available at the moment, but according to The Gadgeteer it will sell for $99. That’s pretty much $90 more than other options like the My TV Remote, so you’ll have to decide if the convenience is worth the extra coin.

[ GEAR4 Unity Remote ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

Mr. Clock Is Starved For Attention

By Andrew Liszewski

From a distance, Mr. Clock appears to be uncooperative and even stubborn. Since he assumes you’re not paying attention to him, instead of showing the time, his segmented display will just show random, nonsensical configurations. But when you get right up close to him, he’ll immediately start performing his time keeping and reporting duties by displaying the current time. He was designed by Hye-Yeon Park as an art piece more than anything, but he also finally answers that age-old question; if a clock’s ticking away in a gallery and there’s no one around to see it, does it really display the time?

[ STUDIO HYE-YEON PARK – Mr. Clock ] VIA [ MoCo Loco ]

BottleBob Bottle Cap Punch Puts A Straw Hole Anywhere

BottleBob Bottle Cap Punch (Images courtesy Epaulet)
By Andrew Liszewski

Besides blowing your friends’ minds with your ability to jam a straw through a metal or plastic bottle cap, this BottleBob punch should also stop that nasty habit straws have of floating up and out of a bottle filled with a carbonated beverage. Using it is as easy as placing the punch on top of any bottle and jamming down the plunger to pierce a perfect straw-sized hole in the cap, but I have to wonder where that small disc of metal or plastic ends up afterwards? $21 available from Epaulet, and I assume it’s also good for emergency tracheotomies.

[ BottleBob Bottle Cap Punch ] VIA [ bad banana blog ]

Plextor PX-B120U USB-Powered External Blu-ray Drive

Plextor PX-B120U USB-Powered External Blu-ray Drive (Image courtesy Plextor)
By Andrew Liszewski

Last week Plextor made things a bit easier for HD movie buffs lacking a Blu-ray drive on their laptops with their new PX-B120U external Blu-ray/DVD/CD drive. Now it’s not the most compact external optical drive on the market, and the top-load design makes it look like a relic from the 90’s, but what sets this drive apart is the fact that it can be powered by a single USB connection. So if you intend to use it when traveling, you can leave the AC adapter at home.

The drive comes bundled with Cyberlink’s Blu-ray and DVD software, and since the decoding is handled by your computer, you’ll need to ensure you have a system capable of HD playback before being able to enjoy Blu-ray content. It also has a reasonable MSRP of just $99.99, and can be used in conjunction with the company’s upcoming PlexMedia media player, turning it into a home theater Blu-ray player as well.

[ PR – Plextor Announces the New PX-B120U USB-Powered External BD ROM ] VIA [ GadgetReview ]

NEXiLUX Portable Gaming Guitar

NEXiLUX Portable Gaming Guitar (Images courtesy NEXiLUX)
By Andrew Liszewski

Like concerts, rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band are best enjoyed with a group of people, so if you often find yourself traveling to a friends house with your faux guitar in tow, this collapsible alternative from NEXiLUX should help you look a bit less conspicuous enroute. The neck collapses into itself but also breaks away from the body leaving you with 2 pieces that should be pretty easy to stash in a backpack, and it looks like it provides all the functionality of the guitars included with either game, including a touch sensitive strip on the neck for use with Guitar Hero World Tour. It’s also compatible with the Wii and the PS3/PS2 though for some reason not the Xbox 360. ~$60-70, though I’m having a hard time find a retailer who still has them in stock which tells me it’s either really popular or really crappy.

[ NEXiLUX Portable Gaming Guitar ] VIA [ DCEmu ]

Cisco Valet And Linksys E-Series Routers Now Available In Canada

Cisco Valet And Linksys E-Series Routers (Images courtesy Cisco)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s hard for even IT professionals to get excited about a wireless router, since arguably they all tend to offer similar functionality. You plug in your modem, configure a few security settings, and you can then enjoy the internet without any wires. But believe it or not, Cisco’s Linksys E-Series and Valet wireless routers, which are now available in Canada, have a lot to get excited about, particularly if you serve as your family’s primary source of tech support. Both the Linksys and Valet routers provide the same level of configurability you’re used to, but thanks to the included Cisco Connect software, even consumers without a background in IT should have no trouble setting them up or connecting their PCs.

In fact the Valet routers in particular are designed to be as consumer-friendly as possible. They don’t even feature the term ‘router’ anywhere on the packaging, and come with an Easy Setup USB flash drive that makes configuring the router and your PCs almost as easy as plug-and-play. But besides ease-of-use, both routers also offer some unique consumer oriented features I really like such as the ability to setup up a guest network with a unique password and custom limitations (time limits, blocking nefarious sites etc.) so visiting friends don’t have access to your primary network. I’ll actually be posting a review of a couple of these new routers next week (hopefully) so stay tuned if you’re in the market for a new one, since they’re definitely worth considering from what I’ve seen.

[ Cisco Valet & Linksys E-Series Routers ]

Canadian pricing details and additional product information is included after the jump for my peers ‘up north.’ Continue Reading

Review – NZXT Phantom

This post is syndicated with permission from

When it comes to your PC, looks aren’t everything. I believe the old phrase is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Despite this, most gamers like to have a case that can turn heads, or at least cock a few eyebrows. Well that was exactly what case maker NZXT was going for when designing their latest chassis, dubbed the Phantom.

It’s easy to look at pictures of a new case and tell that it’s going to look pretty good. But honestly you just never know if it’s going to stack up when the box shows up at your door. Or maybe it looks good, but the materials used are flimsy and the inside is poorly designed. Well you needn’t worry here, as we were fortunate enough to have one of these land on our doorstep not too long ago, and we’ve had a chance to look it over, install components and use it as a primary case for a bit. So does it stack up? Keep reading for our verdict.

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