If you’re anything like me, you love the MagSafe power ports on the MacBook laptops as much for the cool factor as the lowered chance of pulling the laptop off the table when you trip over the cord in the middle of the night. Now you can have this same cool factor on stage, where the chances of violent cord removal are somewhat higher to boot. As a bonus, they remove the popping noises you get while unplugging from a live amp, and the connectors are gorgeous. The Belkin Breakfree releases in September 2008.
Whatever you think of the MacBook Air, you have to admit that producing one from a manila envelope was and is undeniably cool – trouble is, there’s not much reason to do so these days. Enter the Timbuk2 Steve Sleeve: Made from recycled PET (old plastic bottles!) on the outside with a biodegradable liner, this bag is definitely green. It’s sized to fit the Air snugly, so most notebooks won’t fit. Something like an Eee from Asus might, though – let us know if you’ve tried it.
If I had a MacBook Air to carry around, I’d carry it in this.
Frog Design has piqued my interest with their “A Digital Escape” concept, which is a mask that makes you look like a robot, but more importantly makes the world look and smell however you wish it to. They suggest that it will be used to hide the damage we’ve already done to the planet, but I think there’s a demand for something like this already, especially the scent-manipulation part. This isn’t that strange an idea, if you consider how many people already personalize the sounds of the world using an iPod – why not sight and smell? I know that I’d like one of these, even if it made me look like a freaky cylon – though I think I’d use it more to augment my view of the world than replace it. I leave you with the view from inside the mask:
Images from Frog Design
I like backpacks, but I usually travel light. I had been using a bulky North Face number (the Recon), which was a great bag despite it’s habit of getting snagged on things, until I saw this minimalist bag from Built NY. Fashioned from neoprene, it’s nicely cushioned and stretches to accomodate more stuff. While a lone laptop fits in it quite snugly, the fabric will stretch to accomodate a large pile of stuff if you want – and it’ll shrink back down afterwards. There’s actually two main compartments: a top-loading slot for laptops and books, and a side loading slot for the accessories; the two are separated keep things organized but otherwise the same size. There’s also a little pocket in the left strap for phones, keys, etc. I’ve got one, and I love it – the thing is comfortable as hell, and it gets great reactions – mostly people ask if it’s body armor! If that’s the look you’re going for, you can flip it around to the front and people will stare. Actually, the last time I did that someone told me I looked like Jack Bauer.
The Built Laptop Bag runs about $80 from their website, but Amazon is selling them for $60 right now. Be aware that they are not adjustable, and thus there exists a large version for the titans among us. Color options are black, olive, and a wood-grain type pattern in black and grey. Go grab one before Amazon bumps up the price!
Since I learned about the Pacific Trash Vortex I’ve drastically cut down on my bottled water consumption. Instead, I treated myself to this handsome metal bottle from Sigg that nestles into a stainless steel cup, and I’ve really been loving it. It’s oval shaped, so it’s a bit more pocket-friendly than a conventional bottle, and the black powder-coating is actually matte, which makes it look pretty badass. The cup and strap are totally removable, leaving you with a plain old Sigg Oval Bottle if you prefer that. Mostly I use the bottle alone, but I’ve been using the cup at home a lot. I keep getting asked if it’s a flask, actually – and it could be, because Sigg lines their bottles with a special coating to make sure that nothing from the metal gets into your beverage. (Acidic beverages, like lemon juice, will slowly dissolve metal) Sigg bottles are safe to transport anything people can drink, and are BPA free. Overall, I’m extremely happy with the bottle, and it’s 20 oz (0.6 L) capacity is a good compromise between portability and capacity. The $30 price struck me as high until I held the thing – the quality is top-notch, and chances are you’ll never need another water bottle. Which means less crap in our oceans, and I think we can all agree that’s a good thing.
Welcome to part two (of two) of my Xbox repair experience. See part one here.
6.19.2008 – My Xbox arrives unannounced. I become excited as I realize what is in the box, and the UPS guy backs away slowly.
My 360 hasn’t exactly been a model of high-tech gadgetry. In fact, it’s almost surprising it worked despite a number of scary ailments:
1) It liked to freeze and make clicking noises. This happened both at certain points (loading Treasury in GRAW) and randomly (about 1/2 the time during a Madden game).
2) The drive tray wouldn’t close by pushing the button – the tray itself needed to be pushed gently, so it began to close, then once it reversed itself and opened again you could push the button to close it.
3) On rare occasions, you might get a black screen and the infamous RRoD (Red Ring of Death), which would be fixed upon rebooting.
Needless to say, it’s days were numbered. Here is the story of the end:
5.29.2008 – My 360 dies.
Flipping through the back of Dwell Magazine, I ran across an ad for some familiar-looking art; the familiarity was born in high-school biology class when we did a gel electrophoresis experiment. Gel electrophoresis is commonly used for analysis of DNA and other proteins. DNA 11 on the other hand, will do this analysis on a DNA sample you send them and prepare a work of art based on the results – artistic license seems to be minimal here, with the customer specifying size, color, and other options. In a very real sense, however, this is both a family and self portrait – it’s a picture of the blueprint from which you were built. If that’s a little too much to advertise, they also create portraits from fingerprints and lips; both with striking and less-abstract results. And with prices starting from $190 ($390 for DNA), it’s probably cheaper than commissioning a more traditional work of art to fill that blank spot on the wall.
I just learned about this new hybrid sportscar, the Scorpion; presumably aimed at the Tesla Electric Roadster. Unlike the Tesla, the Scorpion will use an internal combustion engine that burns a mixture of gasoline and hydrogen. Ronn Motor Company, the Austin-based startup that will manufacture the Scorpion, claims that this will result in lower emissions and improved fuel economy. Even if it doesn’t, they certainly got the styling right – this thing looks hot!
Continue reading A New Kind of Hybrid: The Ronn Motor Company Scorpion
We have witnessed the rise of YouTube as a method to savagely inflict your home videos on relatives without first trapping them in said home. Unfortunately, huge quantities of schlock never make it onto the internet because the arcane arts of video codecs and bitrates scare even the boldest of would-be directors. Flip Video has been changing that, though – their Ultra series camcorder delivers an incredibly simple experience, producing files that are ready to upload from an attractively small and affordably priced unit. Despite my deep love of high-definition video, I lusted after the Ultra for many moons, satisfied only when I convinced a friend to buy one so that I could play with it. Now that lust has been renewed, with a vengeance: Meet the Flip Mino.
Functionally, the Mino is very similar to the Ultra; video quality is the same (640×480 @ 30fps). The unit has storage for 60 minutes of footage. The device, however, is 40% smaller, and just generally looks sleeker – sleek enough to reignite my lust. This time, though, I think I’ll buy it myself.
Get a Flip Mino in black or white for $180 at Amazon.