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Monthly Archives: September 2012

ProForm’s ‘Tour De France’ Training Bike Automatically Raises And Lowers To Match The Actual Tour Route

ProForm Tour De France Training Bike (Image courtesy ProForm)
By Andrew Liszewski

It might look pretty run-of-the-mill as far as stationary bikes go. But there’s a reason ProForm’s ‘Tour De France’ has been named the official training bike of the actual race. And it’s not just because of the yellow highlights that match the famed yellow jersey. Thanks to its Google Maps-powered iFit Live Technology, you can virtually ride on any road on the planet. Including the official Tour De France route, which is one of the 24 pre-mapped and pre-programmed courses it comes with. (You can create your own too.)

But watching yourself following a virtual route on a tiny scrolling map isn’t that interesting. Or challenging. So the ‘Tour De France’ will automatically incline and decline to match the contours of the route you’re taking, making it feel like you’re riding up and down on the actual mapped terrain. Still not enough for you? The friction on the rear wheel is also automatically controlled to recreate your body’s wind resistance. When you climb on the bike and adjust it for your body, its onboard computers will calculate your height and weight, and apply the same amount of resistance you’d experience from the wind out on the open road.

It’s also got built-in wifi for syncing your performance results to iFit.com, is compatible with Polar’s chest-based pulse monitoring systems and even includes the necessary hookups for connecting and listening to your iPod. All for just $1,299. And let’s just hope you can avoid looking like this after a particularly gruelling ride.

[ ProForm Tour De France Training Bike ] VIA [ Mobile Magazine ]

AstroClip Turns You, Your iPhone 4 And Your Telescope Into An Astrophotography Station

AstroClip (Images courtesy Kickstarter)
By Andrew Liszewski

With the recent final launch of the Space Shuttle program, the world’s attention has once again turned to the stars. And if you find yourself fascinated with gazing at the heavens, and also happen to be obsessed with iPhone 4 photography, here’s a Kickstarter project that could use your support. The AstroClip is yet another camera enhancement add-on for your iPhone, but this time it allows you to focus the lens on any telescope with a 1.25-inch eyepiece. A set of 3 adjustable screws ensures there’s always a tight fit, and depending on the size and caliber of your telescope, with minimal setup and adjustment you’ll be posting some NASA-quality images to your Instagram account, instead of just your cat playing with yarn.

The project has set a goal of $15,000 so that the AstroClip can be made in the United States, and with a donation of just $25 you can guarantee yourself one, if and when they go into production.

[ Kickstarter - AstroClip ] VIA [ Fancy ]

The Jedi Path Manual Doesn’t Come With Midi-chlorians – Makes Up For It With Cool Packaging

Star Wars - The Jedi Path (Images courtesy StarWars.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t care how many times you read and re-read The Jedi Path manual, without even the tiniest sprinkling of Midi-chlorians you’re never going to become a Jedi. But that’s ok. Because as a way to say “we’re sorry for everyone who actually thought this fake Jedi training manual would work”, Lucasfilm has gone and wrapped it in one of the coolest packages I’ve ever seen. Sure, ebooks might be more convenient, but with a push of a button the metal doors on this miniature vault slide open to reveal a copy of The Jedi Path inside. Which then rises up complete with lights and sound effects. Try that with your Kindle. If any of my textbooks in university had come packaged this way, I might have actually read them.

The book has actually been available for almost a year now, and we’re not sure how it slipped past our radar. On the plus side though, it’s given it time to drop from it’s original $99.99 price tag on Amazon, to just $57.31 now.

[ Star Wars - The Jedi Path ] VIA [ GeekAlerts ]

Lexar Dual-slot USB 3.0 Card Reader Reviewed. Verdict: USB Finally Catches Up to Faster CF Cards

By Paul McCollum

Anyone who has kept up with the megapixel boom in digital cameras knows the frustrating drawback of higher and higher resolution images: file size. Any recent DSLR camera is churning out images up to and over 10MB per picture and that’s ignoring video files. Filling up a 16GB memory card, which is almost the standard these days, wouldn’t take more than a few shooting sessions. Finally getting around to removing said pictures from their digital film canister could take hours. Flash memory has been bumped in speed a bit to be able to store high definition video and images but USB 2.0 card readers max out pretty quickly.

Lexar, a friend to digital photographers, has a new card reader that takes the leap to USB 3.0. Besides being fast, it has a compact and dust proof design that should make it easy to carry with your digital cameras. Newer, faster memory and this spry little reader gives you a fighting chance that you’ll be able to get all your one year old’s birthday pictures off your camera before he hits the terrible two’s. The jump from 40MB/s to 500MB/s sounds great but how does it actually fare when dealing with your average memory card. Performance, transfer rates and time are tested and graphed in a review posted at Everything USB.

[ Full Review @ Everything USB ]

Deal Of The Day: Dell Vostro 3750 At $50 To $300 Off


By David Ponce

It was just yesterday that we were talking about a deal on a Dell Vostro 3550 and today we’re back with the Vostro line. See, the 3550 was a 15-inch laptop and it happens to have a larger cousin in the Vostro 3750. 17 inches is a lot of laptop for a small to medium business, but according to NotebookCheck, Dell “has a impressive notebook with a 17.3 inch display in its array with the Vostro 3750. It manages the balancing act between the consumer and business market.”

Aside from the internals, new in this laptop from the previous generation is a refreshed aluminum/plastic case that comes in three colors. And today’s deal will have you saving $50 on models over $699 and $100 on models over $899, along with additional instant rebates. For an idea of what that means, the Core i5 model with 6GB DDR RAM and two USB 3.0 ports, 1600 x 900 LED-backlit anti-glare LCD, HDMI, HD Webcam, 802.11n WiFi, 34mm ExpressCard, eSATA, optional backlit keyboard, 8-in-1 card reader, optional Blu-ray and Windows 7 pre-installed OS usually sells for $899. But today you get $150 off instantly, and an additional $100 off coupon leaving the machine at $649.

[ Dell Vostro 3750 At $50 To $300 Off ] VIA [ LogicBuy ]

QUMA Motion Capture Puppet

QUMA Motion Capture Puppet (Images courtesy SoftEther)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of poking, pulling and adjusting a 3D character in your CG software using a mouse or stylus. The QUMA (pronounced Cooma), from Japanese company SoftEther, works kind of like those 3D wooden mannequins that artists often pose when sketching the human body. Except that the QUMA connects to your PC over USB, and the majority of the puppets’ joints feature sensors that not only detect when they’ve been moved and adjusted, but also translate those movements to the character in your 3D software.

For stop-motion artists who are used to manipulating a physical character it’s probably a great way to transition to the virtual CG world. And even for experienced CG artists it seems like a very quick way to rough in a specific pose or gesture on a character. Pricing and availability info for QUMA has yet to be announced, though SoftEther does have an SDK available for 3D software companies wanting to ensure their particular package is compatible. (You may just want to write those plugins yourself SoftEther.)

[ QUMA Motion Capture Puppet ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

QuickSmart Backpack Stroller

QuickSmart Backpack Stroller (Images courtesy Pocket-lint & QuickSmart)
By Andrew Liszewski

As if parents of infants don’t already have enough to carry around, from diaper bags to playmats to whatever, an Australian company called QuickSmart has now created a collapsible stroller that fits into a backpack. The whole package weighs less than 9lbs, so it’s not like strapping on a pack designed for a 3-week wilderness expedition. But it’s good to know that if Sherpas aren’t able to find work on Everest, they can always provide much needed support for new parents.

The stroller itself doesn’t seem to cut too many corners either. It includes a 5-point harness and canopy, padded seat and footrest, a built-in shopping basket and is suitable for wee ones aged 6 months and up. In backpack mode it even has mesh side storage pockets for holding diapers, water or whatever else your little one can’t leave home without. Available from Amazon UK for ~$160 to $194. (£99.99 to £119.99)

[ QuickSmart Backpack Stroller ] VIA [ Pocket-lint ]

Amphiphilic Rev7 Gum Doesn’t Stick Like It Used To (And That’s A Good Thing)

Rev7 Gum (Images courtesy Revolymer Limited)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve ever had to clean gum out of your hair, scrape it off from under a desk or remove it from a carpet, you quickly realize why its hydrophobic (repels water) nature makes it the bane of cleaners everywhere. In fact I was once told that many casinos don’t even sell the stuff because it’s so difficult to clean off their gaudy carpets. But Rev7 is a different story.

Its new gum base was developed, based on research conducted at England’s Bristol University, so that it’s amphiphilic. Which means it’s both hydrophobic and hydrophilic at the same time. Its hydrophobic properties allow it to still be chewable and not just dissolve in your mouth immediately. While it’s hydrophilic properties allows water and liquids to penetrate the gum, making it far less sticky to many surfaces and materials, and far easier to clean.

[ Rev7 Gum ] VIA [ PSFK ]

Hands-On With SanDisk’s New Ultra USB Flash Drive

SanDisk Ultra USB Flash Drive (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

If there’s one market that has to be terribly difficult for manufacturers to distinguish themselves in, I’d imagine it would be USB flash drives. But a stroll around the floor at CES this year led me to conclude that there are 3 ways you can distinguish your product. 1) Design, whether slick, durable or straight-up novelty. 2) Capacity and performance, including read and write speeds. 3) Bundled extras. And SanDisk, one of the few bona-fide brand-names when it comes to USB flash drives, has covered a couple of those criteria with their new Ultra USB Flash Drives. Originally introduced at CES, the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB drives are finally available, and we had a chance to take one for a spin. More after the jump.

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