Archive for Dec 30, 2006

Back off, get your own space!

Back off, get your own space!

The Sofa Guard teaches your pet to stay off of couches and furniture. Oh, and it also makes a sound that will annoy you and your friends. The device is a strip of plastic, around a foot wide and a few meters long, that is placed on a couch or any of your other precious furniture.

The product website claims, "Your pet will soon learn that upholstered furniture is out of bounds." They also put in a claim that i think my dog will ever accomplish. "Even in your absence, your pet will steer well clear."

Since the sound that is emitted is apparently annoying, it stops when your pet gets off of the Sofa Guard. The Sofa Guard is now selling in Britian for £18.95, and a 9V battery can be purchased for £3.59. The battery will work for 6 months in the unit. A 3-year "Pro-Idee guarantee" is also included.

New PSP speakers reviewed

New PSP speakers reviewed

Judie over at GearDiary has reviewed the Psyclone Gamer PSC99 NODUS PSP Sound System. It claims to get you "Unbelievable sound from your PSP system." Judie certainly thinks it's done its job; "The Nodus PSP Sound System manages to transform the PlayStation Portable from a very good handheld gaming device to an extraordinary multimedia center."

The shape reminds you of a stingray standing up, with its wavy designs. The PSP is docked in the center of the NODUS, where there is a gap. Volume buttons are included on the backside of the unit. A remote control allows you to control the music that is chosen from the PSP's screen.

An extensive review can be found on GearDiary, along with tons of pictures. You can also visit Psyclone's site for more information on other products they have to offer.

The Psyclone Gamer PSC99 NODUS PSP Sound System Review [Via: GearDiary]

eCoupled introduces what I’ve always dreamt of!

eCoupled introduces what I’ve always dreamt of!

ECoupled will introduce their wireless charging technology at CES, and Slashgear will be there! We will try to get pics and videos of the myserious new technology. eCoupled will users to charge all of their electronic appliances without wires.

I have dreamt of something like this for a while now. I always thought, "perhaps we could charge devices over bluetooth." Now this is a possibility (not over Bluetooth, but wireless nonetheless) with eCoupled's technology.

eCoupled's site doesn't have much info, just a press release and an email address, telling people to wait for CES, when the grand technology will be there for all to see. eCoupled is a subdivision of Fulton Innovation, and all the technology from eCoupled will be viewable at booth #68747 at Sands, at CES.

Could the Archos 604 be the core of your AV world?

Could the Archos 604 be the core of your AV world?

My my, what's this slinky little madam?  Colourful touchscreen, clear GUI, handy hardware buttons?  Let me introduce you fine gentlemen (and ladies, of course) to the Archos 604 - $350 worth of audio, video and image viewing loveliness.  dapreview.net took it in hand and gave it a thorough fingering.

While video is handled beautifully and photos dealt with in a pleasingly straightforward manner, they found that audio was somewhat more tricky to manage.  To quote: "as a video player, the 604 is superb but as an audio player you are better off looking elsewhere even in the PMP market".  Necessary add-ons (like a DVR docking station and a number of AV-codec plugins) to make the unit the core of a home cinema setup would take the total investment to around $500, which is a whole lot of money.  Still, they give it an overall score of 83%, so it's obviously impressing on more levels than it's failing!

Spoon that changes colour helps in the kitchen

Spoon that changes colour helps in the kitchen

Over at Shop.com, you can buy spoons that turn red when your food turns a certain temperature (120 F). This is a good idea and all, but they should have made different options available, like at which temperature the spoon turns red.

Another way to make these spoons more popular is to turn the effect around; The spoon would turn a certain colour when it cools down to a certain temperature. You can buy the existing spoon in a pack of 3, which will cost you $9.50 over at Shop.com.

Hypercolor Spoons: Red When Your "Soup" is Hot [Via: Gizmodo]

What’s up Coby? (Part 2)

What’s up Coby? (Part 2)

Well, after going to the store and a quick exchange, I tried the new speakers at home and they worked! I was amazed at the sound quality $40 got me. The speakers had little distortion and were small, compact and VERY attractive. After listening to these speakers for a bit, I really got the hang of them. They are really simple really! Volume up, makes it louder. Volume down does the opposite and the power button turns it off and on. That's all there is to know really, they are very simple.

Now, playing with these speakers, you get a hang of what you like and and don't like. I found the size to be a real bonus. I could bring this baby anywhere without lugging around a big, heavy package. There is also room to grab your iPod, so you can use your thumb, rather than an uncomfortable and unnatural finger to scroll through items. What I didn't like was the lack off battery capability and the fact that there was no remote. This means, you have to have the unit plugged in at all times, and each time you want to fiddle with your iPod or volume you have to go up to it.

All in all, I like these. For $40, you really can't go wrong with these. The sound quality is great, along with the size and iPod capabilities. This is a product I would recommend to all of you who want cheap iPod speakers, at good quality. Two thumbs up from me!

Coby CS-MP87 Portable High Output Stereo Speaker System [Via: Amazon]

Camera with a touch of wilderness

Camera with a touch of wilderness

I am not sure whether this is doing a service to the wilderness, or making use of it in a bad way, but Olympus has designed a camera that is almost totally made out of wood. Their claim is that the wood case is not added at the end of production, but rather a solid wood block is carved to make room for the camera parts at the beginning of production.

This is a great camera for people who admire wood, or who would want have something different. The wood becomes the finished frame of the camera in 5 intricate steps that are illustrated in the image to the right.

The camera was shown off at Photokina earlier this year, and might have an appearance at CES. SlashGear will see if they can get more pics at CES.

Camera made entirely of wood (almost) [Via Cnet Crave]

Nokia N95/N80 comparison video

Nokia N95/N80 comparison video

If you've been wondering how the upcoming N95 will compare size-wise to Nokia's N80, then Howard Chui has the video for you. While the N80 has had nothing but good reviews so far, Howard obviously doesn't think much of it in comparison to the dual-sliding GPS/multimedia/kitchen sink N95 uber-handheld. We can only hope that it had a relatively soft landing.

Hopes are understandably high for this cellphone, due for release early next year. Helio has shown some of the possibilities for a GPS-enabled handset, and I'm very curious to see what of Nokia's own Augmented Reality GeoTagging research makes it into production models.

Howard Chui [via Darla Mack]

Microsoft eye up the dashboard

Microsoft eye up the dashboard

I'm going to say it and then give you a couple of minutes to make all the obvious jokes, then we can get back to business: Microsoft are partnering with Ford to offer embedded software called Windows Automotive in selected models in 2007, with all 2008 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models coming later.  Right, you can make all the "blue screen of highway death" jokes now. 

Finished?  Well, you'll be pleased to know that the only systems it integrates with are entertainment and communication, rather than anything to do with brakes or engine timing or steering or anything.  Available at first on the Focus and Five Hundred models, it'll mean things like managing email and downloading music are possible from the comfort of your velour seat.

Detroit Free Press [via slashdot]

TomTom Linux Project

TomTom Linux Project

When I'm cruising the mean streets, hat swung backward and my favourite Cher tape blaring, the last thing I want to do with my TomTom GPS unit is build a new Linux distro.  But there are other people out there not as blatantly cool as I am, and if you're one of them you might be interested in the OpenTom project, a way to unlock the GPS units' firmware and hardware and run custom software such as an mp3 player.

A cheap old unit on eBay would be a great way to play with the OS, and some of the newer models (such as the 910) might be an interesting beginning of a basic carputer.  Check out the mp3 player (which also has an accelerometer) after looking at the project wiki linked to below.

Use a mouse upside down for only $35!

Use a mouse upside down for only $35!

Thanko is a typical online shop/company that sells some unusual and (few) useful USB contraptions. One of those is the USB Wireless Space Mouse. It is a mouse that can be used upside down and in the air. So if you are too lazy to put the mouse on a flat surface, you can use it in the air. Great!

I don't know what bugs me more: How lazy people have gotten, or the fact that you can use any current mouse, turn it upside down, and it use it, and that you really don't need to be this new mouse. Just try it now with your current mouse.. I don't imagine it would be much better on this "Wireless Space" mouse.

The design of the mouse it just disgusting, and the mouse is pretty large. It weighs 100g wih the batteries that must be added in. It is a wireless mouse that uses an ugly wireless transmitter. You can buy it for $33.17 (I know, pretty unusual number) plus shipping.

USB Wireless Space Mouse [Via: Thanko, Inc.]

Microsoft’s future OS plans to be ambitious

Microsoft’s future OS plans to be ambitious

Now that Vista has finally moved off of Wired News' Vaporware Awards list, albeit only in business versions, flighty analysts are already looking to the future of Microsoft's OS strategy.  There have been plenty of opinion pieces claiming that Vista will be the last of the traditional Windows series, with dark hints about internet-based web-appliance systems and the like, but it all seems rather hashed together.  Still, I'm all for intrigue and crystal-ball gazing, so it was interesting to see James Kyton's analysis of what little information about the next-gen developments will be.

Codenamed Fiji and Vienna, the former could be considered 'Vista RC2'; expected to be released in 2008, it will build on the much-vaunted sidebar and tighter system integration of the OS with WinFS add-ons to enable virtual folders and/or saved searches, default HD-DVD compatibility, NGSCB security and possibly even a Garageband-rivalling music suite provisionally titled Monaco.

Details on Vienna after the cut.

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