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Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Office Music Democratizer For LastFM & Pandora

Office Music Democratizer (Images courtesy BreakfastNY)
By Andrew Liszewski

Office music politics always ends up being either a dictatorship, whether ruled by a local radio station or that guy with the really nice speakers, or a collection of independent states where everyone simply wears headphones and listens to what they want. Neither seem that beneficial to fostering a teamwork mentality, so BreakfastNY created the Office Music Democratizer which gives everyone a vote regarding what they do or don’t like when it comes to music.

Their solution is a light up set of buttons on the wall that allows anyone in the office to either like or dislike the song currently being played by LastFM or Pandora. Hitting the like button increases the song’s rating, while hitting the dislike button immediately causes it to jump to the next track. I can still see this solution as being problematic as haters will readily jump up to skip the current song, but since everyone in the office has the same powers, hopefully it will indeed lead to some manner of democracy among the people.

[ BreakfastNY – Office Music Democratizer ] VIA [ swissmiss ]

I Really Want To See What This Gas Turbine Model Train Can Do

Gas Turbine Model Train (Images courtesy Gizmag)
By Andrew Liszewski

HO-scale model railroads have their appeal, but given the choice, anyone would opt for a model railroad you can actually ride, ala Silver Spoons. I mean what could trump that? Well it turns out a rideable model railroad powered by a gas turbine engine does.

Created by Japan’s Hidepon Works this model train, designed to look like a boring commuter car, sounds particularly awesome when it’s starting up and running. Like a jet that’s destined to never leave the runway. But that’s ok, because watching it zip around a scale set of tracks still looks like a heck of a lot of fun. And after seeing it in motion I’d really like to see what it’s capable of when really opened up along a straight length of track.

[ Gizmag – Gas turbine model train looks (and sounds) incredible ]

LMP Keypad Extends Your Apple Wireless Keyboard

LMP Keypad (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

I can understand why Apple left the numerical keypad off their Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Most of the time I use mine on the road, and that extra few inches would make stashing it in my bag kind of difficult. But admittedly I do use it at home from time to time, and that’s when I wouldn’t mind having those missing keys. LMP apparently feels the same way, and that’s exactly what their new extension Keypad, which just passed through the FCC, provides.

It’s also powered by 2xAA batteries and connects to your PC via Bluetooth, and even comes with a special sleeve adapter that lets you marry it to your Apple wireless keyboard. It can also be used as a standalone device if you just want a slick, brushed aluminum numerical keypad. As for pricing and availability? Those details are hopefully coming soon.

[ Wireless Goodness – Finally, a number pad for Apple’s Wireless Keyboard ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Magic Chair Folds Up In A Snap

By Chris Scott Barr

If you need someplace to sit, isn’t a chair usually your first choice? Of course, sometimes you can’t find a chair when you really need one. Perhaps you’re in an area where all of the seats have been taken, or maybe you just need a rest in an area with no seating at all. Then you have to scout around and try to find something that you can rest your bum on, which may not always be fruitful. So I say, why not carry a chair with you?

This video, while uploaded way back in 2007 has been brought to our attention. I have to say, as far as portable chairs go, this one looks like the most interesting. I can’t say that I’d necessarily trust it to hold much weight, judging by how little material is actually there. Not to mention, you should never trust anything presented by a magician. Unfortunately like most magicians, I don’t believe this man has revealed where the chair was purchased (or how it was constructed if it is a custom job).

[ YouTube ] VIA [ Current ]

WheeMe Massage Robot

WheeMe Massage Robot (Images courtesy DreamBots)
By Andrew Liszewski

Congratulations robots, you’ve claimed yet another job in your continuing effort to replace mankind. This time around it’s masseuses who are getting kicked to the curb thanks to the WheeMe from a company called DreamBots Ltd. It looks like one of those handheld roller massage thingies that someone else is supposed to drive across your back, but this little guy is completely autonomous. Once it’s running a built-in tilt sensor ensures it never falls off your back, and its wheels are made of soft ‘fingerettes’ that provide “a delightful sense of bodily pleasure.” Their words, not mine.

The WheeMe isn’t available just yet, but will apparently be exhibited at the upcoming CES show in January where our sister site, BotJunkie, will make sure to put it through its paces, probably repeatedly.

[ WheeMe Massage Robot ] VIA [ IEEE Spectrum ]

Seated Snowboard Is The Perfect Accessory For Lazy Shaun Whites

Seated Snowboard (Images courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not saying there’s anything particularly wrong with a snowboard you can sit on, in fact it looks like a lot of fun. I just don’t think you’ll be getting recruitment letters from Olympic snowboarding teams, even if you manage to pull off a Tomahawk while never getting off your can. So I suggest letting your dreams of corporate endorsements and gold medal glory go, and just literally sit back and enjoy the ride, particularly if you suck at the real thing. You see the fact that you’re sitting means your body’s center of gravity is lower, so you’re less prone to wipeouts or falls. And since your boots aren’t locked in to bindings, you can easily and safely control your speed by digging your feet into the snow. $49.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer.

[ Seated Sled Board ]

Personal Credit Card Christmas Tree Ensures You’ll Have The Saddest Christmas Ever

Personal Credit Card Christmas Tree (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

The holidays are traditionally supposed to be spent with family and loved ones, but I realize not everyone is lucky enough to have people to be with on Christmas day. So if the part of my brain that deals with emotions hadn’t been re-appropriated for sarcasm, I’d probably feel kind of sad thinking about the poor soul who has to carry around a credit card-sized pop-up Christmas tree. When folded down it’s thin enough to carry in a wallet’s card slot, and when popped-up the magic of internal refraction and LEDs causes the tree to grow a festive green color. Now all you need is a pop-up cup of eggnog and your loneliest Christmas ever will be complete. $10 from

[ Personal Credit Card Christmas Tree ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

Deal Of The Day: $150 Off On The Fujitsu LifeBook MH380

By David Ponce

Netbooks are still popular, despite the rise of the tablet. Fujitsu’s LifeBook MH380 is a good entry in this field, though some have suggested it is overpriced given its performance. Usually selling at $449, you can now have it shipped to your door for $299. At $300, it makes a heck of a lot more sense. The 10-inch device has an Atom N450 processor and comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition. It ” also features a 6-cell 5800mAh battery, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth & 1-year international warranty.”

[ $150 Off On The Fujitsu LifeBook MH380 ] VIA [ LogicBuy ]

Dynamic Eye Sunglasses Block The Sun’s Glare No Matter Where You Look

Dynamic Eye Sunglasses (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

The idea seems pretty far out there, but Chris Mullin has designed a pair of sunglasses that use an LCD display to selectively darken the area in your field of view where there’s a glare, like from oncoming headlights or mankind’s greatest foe, the sun. Wearing them is akin to holding your hand up to block a bright light, except that it all happens automatically, faster than the blink of an eye. And even if you turn your head, or if the source of the glare is moving, the darkened spot on the glasses also moves to ensure the bright light hitting your eyes is darkened to the point where it’s not irritating, or causing serious damage.

The technology seems like something that wouldn’t be feasible until the not-too-distant future, but when you think about the size of digital cameras or modern display technologies, the pieces to this puzzle are already out there. In fact there’s a video of a prototype doing its thing on the Dynamic Eye website, which admittedly looks pretty slick. What’s particularly cool is that you don’t actually end up seeing black blobs while wearing the glasses. Light still passes through the darkened area allowing you to see what’s behind it, and since the glasses are so close to your face your eyes will always be focused beyond the spots, so they’ll look more like darkened smudges when they’re activated.

Now unfortunately the glasses aren’t ready for primetime just yet, and Chris currently has a Kickstarter page set up hoping to raise $20,000 by the middle of January to proceed with development.

[ Dynamic Eye Sunglasses ] VIA [ Yanko Design ]