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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Deal Of The Day: HP TouchPad 9.7-in WebOS For $469

By David Ponce

We spend a lot of time talking about notebooks and desktops here on the Deal Of The Day column. So it’s nice to veer off into the tablet world for a little change. Today we’re looking at HP’s Touchpad, the highly anticipated 9.7inch WebOS tablet that usually sells for $499 in 16GB flavor, and $599 at double the memory. Today you can get a $30 off coupon, as well as 15% off on accessories for it, like cases and docks.

The Touchpad is the first device to sport WebOS outside of a cellphone, and HP has decided that the right place to do so is in the heated tablet market. It packs 1GB of RAM and a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, as well as the ability to play nice with other WebOS devices. The operating system has been described as “smooth and intuitive”, while the screen is “crisp and clear”.

[ HP TouchPad 9.7-in WebOS For $469 ] VIA [ LogicBuy ]

3-Ring BinderPad iPad Case Makes Me Wish I Was Going Back To School In September

BinderPad iPad Case (Images courtesy ZooGue)
By Andrew Liszewski

I used to think my Trapper Keeper binder was the epitome of high-tech learning. Heck, I’m pretty sure I even had a calculator that attached to the 3-ring bindings inside. But I might as well have been carrying around a chalkboard compared to what today’s kids get to tote around at school. ZooGue’s BinderPad case is really just another iPad-friendly polyester sleeve, with cutouts providing access to the display and hardware buttons. But it sets itself apart with an extra flap punched with 3 holes allowing it to clip-in to a 3-ring binder, not unlike my old calculator used to. Except that the iPad can be used for way more than just spelling out you-know-what. $29.99, available now in black or grey finishes.

[ iPad 2 BinderPad Pouch ] VIA [ Cool Hunting ]

Plustek’s OpticBook 3800 Scanner Is Optimized For Digitizing Books

Plustek OpticBook 3800 (Image courtesy Plustek)
By Andrew Liszewski

Converting a CD to MP3 files is pretty much a one-step process these days. (Unless you’re really anal about how the tracks are ripped and compressed.) But converting a printed book into an eBook to enjoy on your eReader is far more involved. And while Plustek’s new OpticBook 3800 scanner doesn’t make it as easy as inserting a book and hitting go, it does provide some key advantages if scanning printed pages is a priority for you.

The leading edge of the scanning bed has an extremely thin bezel which facilitates scanning the pages of a book as close to the inner spine as possible. While the company’s ‘SEE’ or ‘Shadow Elimination Element’ technology removes the shadow and distorted text that usually appear close to the spine. The scanner’s lid also features a very generous layer of foam padding which helps flatten books or pages against the scanner bed, further reducing curved distortions on the scanned page. Unfortunately turning pages and processing each scanned image with the included collection of OCR software is left to you. Of course a machine that will do all of that for you does exist, for a mere $250,000. While Plustek’s alternative is just $300.

[ Plustek OpticBook 3800 ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Ion Audio Piano Apprentice Ditches The Teacher

Ion Audio Piano Apprentice (Image courtesy Ion Audio)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s not going to instill as much discipline when it comes practising as having an actual person teaching you to play, but Ion Audio’s new Piano Apprentice will at least let you learn at your own pace. It features a 25 note keyboard with touch-sensitive keys that light up showing you exactly which ones you should be playing. And if that’s not enough to get you tickling the ivories like a concert pianist, the Piano Apprentice has an accompanying free app for your iPad, which docks just above the keyboard, showing you how and where you should be placing your hands. For portability it can be powered by 4 x AA batteries or an optional AC adapter, and it should be available sometime in September for ~$100.

[ Ion Audio Piano Apprentice ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]

Leica’s Extra Lens Holder Doubles As A Stabilizer

Lecia Lens Holder M (Images courtesy Leica)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re not thrilled with the idea of being burdened with a camera bag while out shooting, Leica’s lens holder lets you attach a second lens to the underside of either your Leica MP or M7 film cameras using the tripod mount. It will of course add a bit of extra weight to the whole package depending on what lens you’ve got hanging down there, but sometimes a heavy camera’s not a bad thing when you need to keep it steady during a longer shutter. In fact, Leica even positions the accessory as a way to add a stabilizing handle to your camera, and as a miniature tripod. (Just make sure you’ve got a lens cover on!) As for pricing, since it’s an official Leica accessory they seem to range from ~$180 to $200+ online.

[ Leica Lens Holder M For MP & M7 ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Canon Announces Desktop Accessories

Canon Desktop Accessories (Images courtesy Canon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Most consumers associate Canon with imaging products, from digital cameras to printers to photocopiers. But I guess they’ve decided they want a bigger slice of that sweet, sweet office equipment pie, and have introduced a couple of wireless accessories designed to complement your laptop. The X Mark I Keypad and X Mark I Mouse will sell for $59.99 each when they’re available in September and August respectively, and both connect to your PC via Bluetooth serving as an external keypad, mouse and dedicated calculator. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one does which. Both are available in black or white finishes, while the keypad adds a small solar panel to augment its single AAA battery.

[ PR – Canon U.S.A. Announces New Desktop Accessories For Today’s Business Professionals ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

This Portable N64 Could Be Worth Sacrificing Your Console

Portable N64 (Images courtesy AcidCow.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since it’s not available on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, and probably never will be, my old N64 is the only way I can still play Rare’s classic shooter Goldeneye. But this most recent portable N64 conversion, as massive as it may be, is probably the only way I’d ever consider sacrificing my old console. The ‘who’ part of the conversion is currently lacking in details, but the ‘how’ is elaborately detailed in over 75 photos you can find here. I mean some of the more technical bits are obviously lacking, but if you’re confident enough to even try and attempt a mod like this, you’re probably already competent enough to figure that stuff out on your own.

[ AcidCow.com – Handheld Console Made Out of an old N64 ] VIA [ TechEBlog ]

Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit

Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit (Image courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

Looking back on my childhood, there’s one important lesson I learned that I’ll carry with me the rest of my life: Paper airplanes will not fly when weighed down. My attempts to get them to carry any kind of payload, for fun or nefarious reasons, were always a complete failure. So it’s with a raised eyebrow and a bit of skepticism that I bring you this Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit.

It supposedly adds an electric motor driven propeller to a paper airplane that provides about 90 seconds of flight time on a 20 second charge. But as thin and light as it looks, I’m dubious that it’s not just going to bring your paper craft crashing to the ground once launched. If it works then its $19.99 price tag is certainly worth the investment, but just think of how much paper you can buy and planes you can fold with that much money.

[ Electric Paper Airplane Conversion Kit ] VIA [ The Green Head ]

Recycled Cardboard Cooler Boxes

Recycled Cardboard Cooler Boxes (Images courtesy Cascades)
By Andrew Liszewski

Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to a styrofoam ‘Esky’ when you’re heading out for a camping adventure? These coolers are made from 70% recycled cardboard while still working just as effectively as their styrofoam counterparts. With just two bags of ice they’ll keep food and beverages cold at around 41°F degrees for 36 hours when ambient temperatures are around 77°F outside. (That 36 hours obviously gets a lot shorter when the thermometer rises.)

The inside and outside of the box are covered with a ‘NorSheild’ waterproof coating which means it’s ok to get it wet, and allows it to be used again and again without the cardboard turning to mush. And when it reaches the end of its lifespan, you can just toss it in your recycling bin. $14.99 each as part of an introductory offer. After that you’re looking at $19.99 per box.

[ Recycled Cardboard Cooler Boxes ] VIA [ Motley Food & The National Post ]