Category Archives: Gadgets

Light Kicks LED Shoe Light System

If there is one thing that I’m really disappointed about with current fashion trends, it’s that not enough garments incorporate bits that light up.

The Light Kicks LED shoe system from Think Geek is a step towards rectifying that. You can change the colour and have them either always on or just when you step down. What more do you need!

MEGATRON MEGADRIVE IS MEGA COOL!

sega_mega_drive_megatron_transformer

Sadly this is a non functioning Megadrive (or Genesis) wont be uttering Megatron’s immortal words “I still function” but it does transform into him, the lord giveth and the lord taketh away, in this instance the lord is Takara Tomy and Sega.

Presumably the USB attachment on his arm cannon is a pendrive, this fits with the Ravage Pen drive released a few years back:

This blaster laptop/USB hub combo:

This Soundwave MP3 Player:

This Grimlock Mouse:

And this Optimus Prime (Convoy) iPod dock;

Via VG247

Amusing LG Viral Marketing Videos

What do you do if you want to convince people that your HD TVs are the mutts nuts? You stage a series of pranks in which people think that the images on your screens are really happening.

At least that is what LG have done in the above and below videos.

Nintendo’s Stroke of Genius

For the past few years people have been saying that the handheld console’s days are numbered because the phones that people carry around with them are getting better and better at playing games.

The logic here is that you are already carnying around a device that you use to call and message your friends, which also gives you access to the internet and a slew of games at your fingertips whenever you want them. Why on earth would you want to also carry around a larger device that only allows you to play games, and maybe lets you access the internet on a crippled browser if you happen to be within range of a WiFi access point (Note I appreciate that Sony’s PSP Vita comes in a 3G flavour but personally I find the idea of paying for a 2nd data contract when I have a perfectly good data contract on my phone slightly repulsive).

There are a small contingent that will argue that a D-Pad or Analogue Stick and buttons are much better for playing games but if you look at the way the industry is going both Nintendo and Sony are migrating towards touch screens. Another argument is battery life, in that if you spend a few hours playing a game on your phone you probably wont be able to use it to make calls later, and although smart phone battery life is nothing like that of the mobile phones we had in days of yore it’s getting slowly better, and for the office slave it’s perfectly normal to charge your phone while in the office so it’s still usable while you are at home.

These arguments aside my personal experience with handheld consoles lately has been that I’ve had an initial honeymoon period where I carried the thing about with me all the time, and occasionally even played games on it, then bit bit bit I started to “forget” to carry it around. I found that most days I didn’t have time to play on my hand held, so I didn’t bother bringing it with me.

Then when I did have time to play games, I didn’t have the handheld on me, but I did have my phone so I amused myself with a short game of Bejewled or some other mindless puzzle game. It’s a viscous circle, sure the games I had on my phone weren’t as good as the one’s I had on my GameBoy Advance, PSP, or  DS but they were the games I had on me.

Sony has tried to make the PSP and the Vita useful in other ways, they’ve added a web browser and music and video playback, to these consoles, and although I admit to having watched a lot of Anime and TV shows on my PSP while travelling my phone and my tablet do all of that much better than the PSP ever could, I don’t know about the Vita but I also don’t see much point in carrying about two devices that do the same thing.

About three months ago I bought a 3DS XL, I’d been unimpressed by the 3DS at a Nintendo preview event and the reported battery life had put the nail in the coffin of any intention I had of buying one, but the XL fixed my issue with screen size and the battery life was better so I took the plunge.

Now when I got it and set it up I had to create an avatar or Mii and the setup process intoned to me that there would be mini games that I could play using something called Street Pass, I wasn’t really interested in this, I’d bought the console so I could finally play Ocarina of Time and see what the hype about Fire Emblem was all about.

After a few days of mainly playing indoors I took my 3DS out with me, and when I got home I noticed a flashing green light on it, when I opened the console there was a message saying that I’d met someone while I was out and that I could play games with them using the Mii Plaza.

I was curious so I opened up the Mii Plaza and got a piece of a puzzle and played a stripped down RPG. To paraphrase Mr. Bobinski from Coraline, “That was nice but not so Amazing”. Anyway I was still carrying about my 3DS because was was still in the honeymoon period and every day I noticed the little green light with more and more people added to my plaza I slowly got hooked on Street Pass Quest, and I noticed that the 3DS had a pedometer built into it, that gave you coins to spend in the games for walking about. I’m no fitness freak but I’ve always like the idea of having a pedometer to see how much I walk, just never enough to buy one. Now I had one for free, and I got points for walking!

Here is where the genius of the 3DS comes in, you don’t have to actually play it all the time to benefit from having it on you, you pick up coins, you add to people to your Mii Plaza, heck you can even get bonuses in the actual games you are playing.

The 3DS encourages you to have it on you even when you know you aren’t going to be able to use it, because you might pick up some Miis for your Mii Plaza and because you will earn coins by walking about.

I even saw a post on Reddit a few weeks back (I’ll link to it once I find it) asking if people actually started getting out of the house more just so they could get Street Pass hits, most people didn’t but a lot of people did say that they often altered their walk home to to school so that they would pass by places where they thought they would get more street pass hits.

There is even the potential to meet or in some cases seriously creep out people who you bump into on a regular basis which is quite cool and a way to meet fellow games.

What Nintendo have done with the 3DS is Genius, it’s made me carry about my console most of the time just in case I get a street pass hit and to rack up my pedometer. But in doing so it’s made me play more games on the 3DS, which will mean that I use the 3DS more and probably continue to buy games for it rather than in languishing in a drawer somewhere because I never get a chance to play games on it.

Google I/O My Take on the Big Picture

I didn’t plan on watching Google I/O yesterday, but I’d hit a lull in my code when it was about to start and I’m really glad I did.

I think the best way to look at Google I/O is to contrast it with an Apple Keynote, Google announced or built upon a lot of services that Apple provide to iOS users:

  • Chat Platform
  • Music Platform
  • Games Platform
  • App Services

Among others, but the crucial thing is that at no point did Google say that any of their new services were exclusive to Android or Chrome.

Google and Apple are both service and hardware vendors, they both sell you an ecosystem, an experience. But the difference is where Apple’s ecosystem is focused on providing services that lock you into their hardware, Google by contrast sells hardware that allows you to take advantage of their ecosystem.

Google don’t care if you use GMail or Google Maps from an Android phone or an iPhone, so long as you use GMail or Google Maps.

By contrast Apple need you to buy an iPhone, they don’t care if you use Apple Maps, Google Maps, Bing Maps, Nokia Maps, or even the Open Street Map Project. They want you to use those services on their shiny shiny devices, because they get a cut of any revenue made from apps on those devices.

One thing that I think gives Google the upper hand is that the cost of entry into their ecosystem is much much lower, and it doesn’t tie you to a particular device manufacturer. I can try GMail out on my iPhone and use it as my primary email, move to the web, or get an Android phone, it doesn’t matter and it’s free for me to do so.

If, however I want to try out Apple’s ecosystem, I HAVE to get and iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad all of which are expensive purchases. Apple only makes money if I fork out money for the device, given that once a user does get an iDevice they get locked into the ecosystem and most will find it very hard to migrate to another device, but that initial barrier to entry is fairly high.

I’m not sure whether the services to sell hardware or the hardware to sell services will prevail. It’s entirely possible that they will co-exist for a very long time, but the hardware to sell services does feel a little outdated to me.

Personally I think that it’s more likely that Google’s model will prevail in the end. The thing is that’s not going to stop me from say buying an iPhone, because even if I did I know I can take my Google services with me.

I know that this totally ignores Windows 8 and BlackBerry but there is a whole other blog post in that.

What do you think? I am completely wrong?

Lockpick Cufflinks

Perfect for the activist who wants to look sharp in a suit but also be able to get out of a pair of cuffs when needed. These cuff links by Sparros incorporate a pair of lock picks so you can use them to uncuff yourself if captured by “The Man”

The f/60 Lens Kitchen Timer

Do you like both photography an cooking? Do you like to have items lying about your house that looks like photography kit but isn’t really then maybe you should buy the The f/60 Lens Kitchen Timer at the Photojojo Store! It’s pretty much what it says on the tin, a kitchen timer that presumably goes up to sixty minutes that looks like an SLR lens.

Unlike the SLR Lens Mugs you can get this one doesn’t seem to be shaped like any particular manufacturer’s lens it just looks like a lens. Still quite cool, I’d consider it if  it went to f/120 I think f/60 is a little limiting.

via PhotoJoJo

Animated Gif of it and some cookies after the break… Continue reading

SoundSpark_choker_zoom_400

Sound Illuminating Dress

This dress created by YouTube user safirecat may not have been that difficult to create but the idea is still quite cool. It’s just EL Wire hooked up to a sound driver that changes the brightness of the EL wire on and off depending on the ambient sound levels. You can get the components from Cool Neon Lighting:

The Sound Driver is $12 and the EL Wire is about $1.60 a foot or with a discount for a whole spool.

They even sell kits like a learn to solder kit for $35 or their “Cool Neon Artist’s Kit” for $175

On a related note mentioned in the comments of the YouTube Video is this cool little project by Sensebridge called the Sound Spark its a pendant/necklace that reacts to ambient sound with flashing LED lights.

The Sound Spark is only $29 and comes with in 3 different coloured LEDs and two different necklace styles.

To go on another tangent, Sensebridge also sell the “Heart Spark” which does the same as the Sound Spark but instead gets it’s signals from a wireless heart-rate monitor (Sold Separately), I’m in no way affiliated with these people but I think what they sell is quite cool, they apparently are working on a product called the Mood Spark which is like a mood ring but it actually lights up in different colours. That’s pretty nifty, you’ll have to hunt it out on their website because I can’t be bothered linking to it (it’s not hard to find) apparently they have working prototypes…

Nexus 7 Not an iPad Killer But It’s not Meant to Be

Right now people are probably composing millions of blog posts singing the praises of or deriding the Google Nexus 7 that was announced yesterday. Here is a summary of what you are likely to read:

Blah blah blah blah iPad, Blah Blah Blah Nexus 7 Blah Blah Blah Blah competition heating up Blah Blah Blah,  Blah Blah Blah Google Blah Blah Apple Blah Blah Mountain View, Blah Blah Cupertino Blah Blah Blah 7 Inches, Blah Blah Blah Steve Jobs said it’s too small. Blah Blah Blah Could this be an iPad Killer? Blah Blah Blah I’m a pundit I know what I’m talking about, Blah Blah Blah probably not an iPad Killer.

The thing is if you looks at the specs for the Nexus 7 there is no way it’s aimed at the iPad, sure it might eat into it’s market a little, but compare there is no way that a $199 device is going to compete with a $399 device, for one thing the iPad 3 is resolutionary, whatever that means (I really wish Apple would hire someone who spoke English).

People are making the wrong comparison though, the Nexus 7 is priced exactly like the Kindle Fire, it even comes with a gift certificate for Google Play store that is pretty much exactly what Amazon introduced to raise flagging Kindle Fire Sales  earlier this month. Just look:

It’s practically an upgrade to the Kindle Fire at the same price point! I’m not saying that it’s not going to eat into iPad sales, but that’s not what the intention is, Google want a device that people will use to consume it’s content, they sell books, movies, games and other crap, the Nexus 7 allows you to give Google money to view the content they sell, plus if you have big pockets it might just fit in there which the iPad doesn’t.