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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Jacko Steps Turn Your Backyard Into A Michael Jackson Music Video

Jacko Steps (Images courtesy Roberto Paoli)
By Andrew Liszewski

Inspired by the music video for Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, designer Roberto Paoli created these faux backyard stepping stones that are lit from within. Their soft glow can be used to illuminate or draw attention to a garden area, or simply make it easier for someone to navigate your backyard in the dead of night. Unfortunately unlike the magical tiles in Michael Jackson’s video these steps don’t specifically light up when stepped or danced on, but they are a slick alternative to the more traditional individual lights that landscapers often use to illuminate walkways. As for pricing and availability? According to Ballerhouse you should be able to get them from Serralunga, an Italian design shop, but I haven’t had much luck finding them on their site.

[ Robert Paoli – Jacko Steps ] VIA [ Ballerhouse ]

Used Fire Hose Wallets

Fire Hose Wallet (Image courtesy Uncommon Goods)
By Andrew Liszewski

Your childhood dreams of becoming a fireman may have mysteriously shifted towards accountant or lawyer along the way, but I’m sure deep down you still wonder what it would be like to battle blazes every day. And while it certainly can’t compare to the thrills of a firepole, we really like these upcycled wallets made from ‘retired’ fire hoses. Created by Lori Burley, the wife of a fireman, each wallet is one of a kind and bears unique scars and distress marks from actually being used to fight fires. Available exclusively from UncommonGoods for $36.

[ Fire Hose Wallet ]

Lightguns Tee – Always At The Ready

Lightguns Tee (Images courtesy Cuppa-t-shirts)
By Andrew Liszewski

When it comes to gaming attire it’s the subtle designs I appreciate the most. Walking around with Mario or the tri-force emblazoned across your chest certainly shows you care about your favorite game, but it also pushes you closer to crossing that dangerous line of fanboyism. And who wants that? So if lightgun shoot-em-ups happen to have occupied most of your time at the local arcade when you were longer, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this tee design from Cuppa-T-Shirts. It features a couple of brightly colored plastic gats on either side of your person that appear to be tucked into your pants. Perfect for cosplaying Lethal Enforcers or even Duck Hunt. Well perfect were it not for the ~$47 (59 NZD) price tag.

[ Lightguns Tee ] VIA [ ]

Jaanus Osugaar’s Accelerator Spinning Chair

Accelerator Spinning Chair (Image courtesy Jaanus Osugaar)
By Andrew Liszewski

There are three things you absolutely must have before picking up one of Jaanus Osugaar’s unique Accelerator spinning chairs. 1) A strong stomach. 2) Plenty of space in your living room. And 3) A healthy budget for novelty seating. If you can’t already guess from the product shot, including the fact there’s built-in hand straps, the Accelerator chair is designed to spin instead of rock. And we’re not talking spinning as if you were in a barber’s chair. The Accelerator’s offset center design has you spinning like a fallen top, and it will actually take you 6 full rotations to get back to your original sitting position.

The idea behind the chair is to provide a more invigorating experience that energizes and stimulates your mind, unlike a regular rocking chair whose motion is designed to put you to sleep. Is it unique? Most definitely. Is it worth ~$1,700+ (£1,075) plus the cost of an occasional rug cleaning when guests over do it and get sick? Well, that’s your call.

[ Accelerator Spinning Chair ] VIA [ If It’s Hip, It’s Here ]

Tritton AX Pro Headset Reviewed

When you’re playing video games, you want to get sucked into the experience. Total immersion is the ultimate goal when you fire up your console or PC and start up your favorite game. There are many factors that go into the experience. Everything from gameplay, graphics, frame rate and audio all play their part in providing a good gaming experience. Naturally, this means that  you want to crank your speakers up so that you can hear every bullet fire and every shell hit the ground. But what if you have to worry about disturbing neighbors, roommates or family members? Naturally, you reach for your favorite headset.

Tritton has released their AX Pro headset, which promises to deliver excellent 5.1 surround sound from not only your PC, but your Xbox 360 and PS3 as well. Unlike most other headsets that use a standard stereo jack for input, Tritton has decided to take advantage of the optical ports found on most PCs and two of the three current-gen consoles. So will their cross-compatibility and true Dolby 5.1 sound stack up to the competition? Check out the full review over at GamerFront to find out.

[ Tritton AX Pro Review @ GamerFront ]

OhGizmo! Review – iMicrophone

By Chris Scott Barr

The great thing about smartphones these days is that they can effectively eliminate the need to carry around a bunch of extra devices. Calculators, PDAs, MP3 players and even personal recorders are all obsolete when you have the latest technology. I personally use my iPhone for all of the above, and then some. I never thought that I had a need to record voice memos, but now that I have a phone that can do it, I use the feature quite often. The audio quality isn’t bad, but it’s not the best in the world. Thus, having an external microphone to attach could prove rather useful.

I’ve had a chance to take a look at the i-Microphone, which is a tiny mic designed specifically for Apple devices. If you own an iPhone, you’ll quickly find out that just plugging in an ordinary mic won’t work. This is because it uses the same jack for audio input and output. So how well does this little device perform?

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Tie-1-On Modular Bean Bag Furniture

Tie-1-On Modular Bean Bag Furniture (Images courtesy CB2)
By Andrew Liszewski

As far as comfort goes, you just can’t beat falling into a bean bag chair and letting yourself completely veg out. But as far as not making your home look like a college dorm, pretty much anything looks classier than a sack of beans covered in Dorito stains. So kudos to whoever came up with these Tie-1-On sectional pieces. They may look like a couch (mostly) but they’re actually bean bag chairs in disguise.

Made with water-resistant polyester and filled with styrofoam ‘beans’ they’re available as both a chair and an ottoman that can be tied together using the straps in the corners. Kind of like Voltron if Voltron was a couch made of smaller pieces of furniture instead of robotic lions. …And now the downside. They’re only available in red which probably won’t match most motifs, and a chair/ottoman combo will set you back about $300. ($199 for the chair and $99.95 for the ottoman.)

[ Tie-1-On Modular Bean Bag Furniture ] VIA [ BLTD ]

PianoMaestro Teaching Aid Works On Any Piano

PianoMaestro (Images courtesy ARAHI PianoMaestro)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re learning the piano on a budget, companies like Casio have been selling electronic keyboards with follow-along light up keys for a while now. The only downside is that when you want to move on to something ‘grander’ you no longer have that help. But that’s exactly what makes the PianoMaestro system unique. It’s a software/hardware combo that uses a long strip of LEDs that can be placed on any digital or acoustic piano, from a Casio to a Steinway & Sons.

Once you’ve got it properly aligned so that the LEDs sit atop their corresponding keys on the piano, you plug it into your PC and load up the accompanying software which turns standard MIDI files into onscreen musical notation. The software is catered towards beginners so while a piece is being played back you can not only see what keys on the piano you’re supposed to play, but you can also limit it to just one hand’s part, and slow it down until you become more comfortable and proficient at playing it. At just $169 everywhere outside Australia (where it’s just $139) it’s far cheaper than years of piano lessons from a teacher. Though it seems to be lacking the one important thing you get from someone standing over your shoulder: discipline, you can find a happy medium by getting some extra instruction online via a piano tutorial at

[ PianoMaestro ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Nixon’s Synapse Watch Features A Touchscreen Interface And A Multi-Timezone Display

Nixon Synapse (Images courtesy Nixon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Part of Nixon’s 2011 collection, the Synapse watch will certainly appeal to the jet-set crowd, and anyone who can’t get enough of touchscreen UIs. It’s retro-riffic display uses a dot-matrix font to display the time in four different timezones at once, though presumably there’s some way to differentiate which one corresponds to which part of the world. I’m just not seeing it. And the black bar you’ll notice to the left of the display is actually a touch-sensitive strip allowing you to navigate the watch’s UI without getting the screen covered in fingerprints. Also it was probably cheaper to integrate than a full-screen touch panel.

It’s still listed as ‘out of stock’ on the Nixon website which means it’s not available just yet. But when it is you’ll be able to order it in one of four different finishes including black, silver, gunmetal gray and gold for $200-$250.

[ Nixon Synapse ] VIA [ LuxuryFiend ]