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Author Archives: Radu Iosif

OhGizmo! Review: The CitySlicker MacBook Case (Bag?)

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Laptop cases and bags come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and designs. We have seen some banal, quirky, fun, and weird ones, but surprisingly not so many serious classic looking ones.

The folks at WaterField were kind enough to send us their retro-looking CitySlicker case [Editor’s note: I like to think that this is a bag, and not a case. Cases usually let you use the laptop while it’s still inside. This does not. -Ed.), designed specifically for the 13” MacBook Air. Right off the bat, the case emanates quality and style, especially because of its generously thick dual-leather flap, which can come in 5 different (rather serious) colors. On top of this, the unit we looked at was the upgraded CitySlicker that came with a leather grab handle, as well as a shoulder strap, giving it an even more classic high-end look. Besides the leather flap and a neoprene-reinforced bottom, the case has 3 layers of protection on the inside: a padded liner, neoprene, and impact-resistant plastic.

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OfficeChums Put A Cute Spin On USB Hubs

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There really isn’t a whole bunch to say about this product. It’s a USB hub with three MicroSD card readers. The hubs are shaped like a pig, a cat, or a dog. The MicroSD card readers are suckling from the hub. It’s… cute. Right? Anyway, the flash cards themselves clearly have to be purchased separately, but they’re cheap so you won’t break the bank in the process. It’s £19.99, or $31 and the PigChum is currently available, while the others are up for pre-order.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ HolyCool ]

Sony To Launch Innovative Lens-Cameras

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Another camera? Yawn, right? Well, not quite. We’re actually really intrigued by the rumored DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 from Sony. These are not cameras, at least not complete ones. They’re meant to be attached to a smartphone (iOS or Android), and operated through the on-screen buttons, but the “cameras” lack a display, even a shutter. What they do have is “a sensor, processor, zoom lens, WiFi connectivity and an SD card slot.” Not just any sensor and lens, mind you, but the vaunted 1 inch RX100 Mark II sensor and Carl Zeiss lens in the DSC-QX10. The QX100 will get a “larger 10x focal range and a 1/2.3-inch 18-megapixel CMOS sensor.” So yeah, you might be able to squeeze some pretty high quality shots from your phone… but really it’s not your phone anymore, now is it? Granted it’s not a full fledged dSLR either, so an argument could be made for portability. But these are crossover products and these can be hit or miss. The DSC-QX10 and QX100 are expected to be officially announced on September 4, for an as-yet-unknown price.

[ SonyAlphaRumors ] VIA [ Engadget ]

OhGizmo! Review: The SWITCH Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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Earlier this year, Native Union introduced their new SWITCH wireless portable speaker into a market that is already saturated. However, we still agreed to sit down and take a look at it for any of you considering purchasing such a device.

The SWITCH is more than just your small party wireless sound system; it serves both as an external battery and as a conference call unit. It comes with a full duplex microphone that allows all participants to converse simultaneously for up to 16 hours. The battery life is quite impressive, considering it features three speakers, “including an active sub-woofer with an enhanced bass-reflex system.” This results in an unexpectedly crisp and distortion-free sound, even at high volume, making it the perfect candidate for a small apartment, office, or picnic gathering.

The SWITCH has a simple, yet practical and appealing design, with an intuitive multifunctional button and a large volume control wheel. After some extensive use, it remains tight and there is no sign of looseness. The brick-like shape of the device lets you use it in a vertical or horizontal postion, depending on the needs. To top it off, the rubbery material coating that comes in several colours gives it a high-quality feel.

Native Union is selling the SWITCH for what initially seemed like a hefty price tag: $149.99. Getting to play with the product, however, made us feel like the price was somewhat justifiable, especially for someone that will use all of its features. As mentioned before, it would work great for personal use, but also in a corporate environment, where both conference calls and socializing events take place.

[ Product Page ]

Minimalist Bladeless Fan Creates Vortex In Your Living Room

We’ll admit we’re not too sure of how this fan works, but from what we understand, you’re looking at a bladeless fan that will circulate the air in your room in a quieter and more efficient manner than traditional fans. It also looks kind of cool. The Exhale Fan features 9 spinning discs and a 6-speed DC motor; once up to speed the discs use “the science of laminar flow” to suck the air up from underneath and fling it to the sides. This effectively creates a vortex in your room and homogenizes the temperature throughout, which in turn should lead to lower energy bills as you won’t be overheating just to feel warm in that one faraway corner of the living room. Traditional fans simply push the air down below them, which is a less efficient way of doing things.

At least, that’s what we’re getting.

In the end, it’s a cool looking fan that is quieter, and more efficient. And for the privilege of owning it, you have to pledge $250 to the Indiegogo campaign. Should it reach its goal, you can expect yours in March 2013.

For a couple of demo videos and links, just hit the jump.

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Seiko Japan Launches Limited Edition Star Wars Watches

The Star Wars saga is perhaps the cult classic amongst geeks, so it’s no surprise to see products like the above watch making the rounds whenever they’re announced. Seiko Japan is putting out a series of wristwatches featuring various characters from the films. The one in the picture is the Seiko Brightz R2-D2, and features a 300dpi screen that can display scenes from the movies. Other watches are more traditional looking and come in flavours of Darth Maul, Darth Vader and Stormtroopers. Depending on the model, there will be between 500 and 1,500 of each made. With limited supply comes of course the fancy prices: around $1,800, although now that they’re already on the market, you can find some on eBay for less.

Hit the jump for pics and links.

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Personal Energy Orb Makes You Cycle Before You Can Use Your PC

Spending ungodly amounts of time in sitting in front of a PC is bad for you. Mkay? But yeah, you’re lazy, we get it, so as always technology comes to the rescue. Developed by two students at the University of Munich for a physical computing course, the Personal Energy Orb is an Arduino-based device that keeps track of how much you’ve cycled, and rewards your efforts by letting you use your computer properly. An LED-filled orb is attached to your handlebars, while a revolution counter keeps track of distance traveled. The more you pedal, the more the orb shifts to green. Come back home with a fully green orb and you can use your PC normally. A red orb on the other hand means that Windows will set the mouse sensitivity to its lowest setting, annoying the heck out of you until you decide to either throw the whole thing in the garbage, or actually go outside for some activity.

Considering it’s a school project, the two students were happy to see that it did in fact work, though it wasn’t without its occasional hiccups, mostly battery related. As for commercialization, there doesn’t seem to be any clears plans for that.

PEO – Personal Energy Orb from Janko Hofmann on Vimeo.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

You Can Now Print Your Own Food

Regular readers of this site will be familiar with our ongoing coverage of the rapidly evolving field of 3D printing. The short of it is: it’s getting cheaper, fast. But today’s news isn’t about how much price has dropped. It’s about what these machines are able to print. The Imagine 3D Printer doesn’t use melted plastic extruded through a fine tip, as most other printers do. Instead it uses special syringes that accept any soft form material. This means you can even print with food, as long as you blend it first. Any soft material you can think of, like frosting, mashed potatoes, uh… blended chicken (?) can be loaded into the machine and printed into intricate 3D forms. It has a large 9″ by 9″ printing tray, so you’re not limited to cupcake sized creations.

The Imagine 3D Printer is $1,995.

Hit the jump for a video of it in action, and links.

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