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Monthly Archives: February 2011

OhGizmo! Review – A!arm App

By Caitlyn Muncy

There are few alarm apps out there that are worth their salt, but this one seems to hold some interest. Going by the name of A!arm, this iPhone app has a sheep counting game, and an alarm that be shut off by voice command. For those of you out there that love telling the world what you’re doing every moment of the day, you can connect this app to facebook and twitter to tell your friends when you got up.

The animations for this app are absolutely adorable, and the beep for the alarm is almost ear shattering, which is why being able to shout at the phone to turn it off is a plus. Though the sheep counting game is supposed to be for going to sleep, I found it to be a more useful tool for waking me up as it’s two rotating barrels with puzzle-esque figures you have to focus on. The alarm itself has to be kept open, which can drain your phone battery, but most people charge their phones overnight anyway, so that shouldn’t be a huge deal. The beep seemed to be a little sound sensitive, but that is adjustable. You can also set how long you want to snooze. It is available for $.99 in the App Store.

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thodio’s MacDec Turns Your iMac Into A MacBook

thodio MacDec (Images courtesy thodio)
By Andrew Liszewski

The sizable and extremely usable trackpad on Apple’s MacBooks means most users won’t ever have to even consider using a mouse with them. And with the introduction of their external ‘Magic’ Trackpad last year, iMac users can enjoy a similar experience. But if you want using your iMac to feel as close to using your MacBook as possible, and are willing to cough up $135+ in addition to the cost of Apple’s Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, head on over to thodio who will happily take your money in exchange for their MacDec dock.

Machined from 15mm thick nut or teak wood, or transparent acrylic, the MacDec has the same general shape of a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and uses 8 powerful neodymium magnets to securely hold the Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad in place. It’s also got a set of 4 clear rubber feet on the underside to keep the whole thing from sliding around on your desk or on your lap, and ranges in price from ~$135 (€99) for the wood versions, to ~$163 (€119) for the acrylic. And hopefully you’re not just paying for a first year 3D animation student’s render.

[ thodio MacDec ]

Taser’s Protector System Limits Your Phone Use While Driving (But Probably Not How You Think)

Protector Safe Driver System (Image courtesy Popular Science)
By Andrew Liszewski

Anytime you read a headline that involves a product from Taser you probably get all excited that someone, somewhere is getting shocked. I know I definitely was, but it turns out their in-car Protector System is a lot less exciting than I’d hoped. It’s designed to prevent drivers from being distracted by their smartphones by locking down all but the simplest of functions while a vehicle is running. And it’s facilitated by a special app that’s unfortunately only available on the Blackberry and Android platforms at the moment since it relies on Bluetooth which is one of the iPhone’s weaknesses when it comes to third-party apps.

The app communicates over Bluetooth with a small dongle that attaches to your vehicle’s diagnostic port, and completely locks down the phone except for said app which provides basic functionality including voice dialing and of course 911 access. By itself it’s not a bad idea if you just can’t seem to tear your eyes away from your phone’s screen while behind the wheel, but it actually does a bit more. The dongle includes GPS and cellular functionality, complete with its own SIM card, and will keep track of a vehicle’s location as well as reporting back unsafe driving behavior (for monitoring teens) and even accidents. The downside though is that the kit runs $249.95 plus a recurring fee starting at $14.95/month if you don’t want to sign a contract. AND it can’t be used to shock anyone…

[ Taser Protector Safe Driver System ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Giha Woo’s Ghost Keyring

Giha Woo's Ghost Keyring (Image courtesy Giha Woo)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m just going to come right out and burst everyone’s bubble before you all get too excited. This clever and amusing take on the traditional round keyring which adds the ghostly outline of a key so it blends in with the rest of your collection, is nothing more than just a concept designed by Giha Woo. It’s not available for sale, it probably doesn’t exist outside of a 3ds Max wireframe and given it dates back to 2009, there’s probably no chance it will ever become a reality. Even though I’m sure millions of people (myself included) would happily trade a dollar, if not more, for one.

[ Giha Woo’s Ghost Keyring ]

LavNav Lights Up Your Toilet For Those Late Night Bathroom Trips

By Chris Scott Barr

If you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, the last thing you wan to do is turn on a bright light. Night lights are great, but there’s one place that really needs to be decently-lit, and there isn’t always an outlet right next to it. That’s right, the toilet. The LavNav solves that problem by illuminating just the toilet with a soft green or red light.

The light has a motion sensor that makes sure it is only on when someone walks close to it. It will stay on long enough for you to do your business, then automatically shut back off. The light will turn from green to red to let guys know to put the lid back down. It might not be the classiest of devices, but this $32 purchase is better than flipping on that bright light at 3 in the morning.

[ iwantoneofthose ]VIA [ Technabob ]

iPhone 4 Decal Makes It Look Like The Original 1st Gen Model

Aluminum First Gen iPhone 4 Decal (Images courtesy iStickr)
By Andrew Liszewski

When I was younger our iPhones didn’t have a fancy glass back, front-facing camera, compass, retina display or even a flush-mounted headphone jack. That’s the way it was and we liked it! So if you feel spoiled by today’s 4th generation model with all its extra bells and whistles, this custom decal will remind you of a simpler time when people still bought cellphones from companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

Printed on Avery/3M media, not only does this decal provide a bit of retro charm harkening back to the good old days of the iPhone 2G, but it also provides scratch protection, is completely waterproof and even has a cut-out letting the mirror-finish Apple logo on the back of the iPhone 4 to show through. Available from iStickr for just $9.99.

[ iStickr – Aluminum First Gen iPhone 4 Decal ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Nomad Touchscreen Friendly Paintbrush Now Available

Nomad Touchscreen Friendly Paintbrush (Images courtesy NomadBrush LLC)
By Andrew Liszewski

A lot of users see the iPad’s large touchscreen as a blank canvas waiting to be filled, but for painters, using a finger or even a traditional stylus just doesn’t provide the same experience as a brush on canvas. So after grappling with those inferior options available to him, architect/artist/inventor Don Lee was inspired to create the Nomad Brush.

Instead of regular bristles made from something like sable hair, the Nomad uses a blend of natural and conductive fibers, allowing it to be detected by the iPad’s capacitive touchscreen. So while technically any device with a capacitive touch screen will work with the brush, at the moment the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch are probably your best bets given the large collection of painting and sketching apps available in the iTunes App Store.

At the moment the Nomad Brushes are all hand-made from the aforementioned natural and synthetic fibers with a carbon and walnut wood handle, and as a result will set you back $24 each. But they look like a piece of art in and of themselves, so as far as I’m concerned even at that price they’re a steal.

[ Nomad Brush ] VIA [ TUAW ]

Jeremy Scott’s Swatch Watch Collection

Jeremy Scott's Swatch Watch Collection (Images courtesy Highsnobiety)
By Andrew Liszewski

Jeremy Scott’s collaborations with Adidas, including his JS Wings 2.0 and Flame sneaks, made us instant fans of his designs. And you’ll soon be able to coordinate your footwear and your wristwear thanks to an upcoming collaboration he’s doing with Swatch. There’s no pricing or an official release date as of yet, nor do we know if this is the full extent of the collection. But if you’re a fan of fine art, arcing electricity or even his JS Wings 2.0 shoes, you’re sure to find something you’ll like amongst these.

[ Highsnobiety – Jeremy Scott x Swatch Watch Collection ] VIA [ ALBOTAS ]

I Want To Work In A Plexiglas Dome Too!

PONS + HUOT Offices (Image courtesy Christian Pottgiesser Architects)
By Andrew Liszewski

We don’t cover a lot of architecture here on OhGizmo!, unless it brings something more than just a clever design to the table… err structure. But I felt compelled to share this amazing office space, particularly with those of you stuck in a cubicle environment. I know how soul sucking they can be… I’ve been there… but as you can see there’s always hope that there’s someplace better out there. In this case the ‘someplace’ is the offices of PONS + HUOT, designed by the French firm Christian Pottgiesser Architects.

PONS + HUOT Offices (Images courtesy Christian Pottgiesser Architects)

It’s a beautiful example of how sharing a workspace doesn’t have to involve felt walls and speckled gray desktops. The giant organically shaped wooden desk provides endless real estate for employees to pull up a chair and work, and those who don’t necessarily want to collaborate or be disturbed can take refuge in a series of clear plexiglas domes that provide a bit of solitude. The trees sprouting up through the desks are a nice touch too, but what you can’t see in the handful of photos I’ve included are the meeting rooms cleverly hidden below the desk, so head on over to the Christian Pottgeisser Architect’s website to see the entire gallery of this amazing creation.

[ Christian Pottgiesser Architects – PONS + HUOT ] VIA [ Freshome ]