Archive for September, 2007
Of course it’s the fall and the days of summer are fast falling behind us but before you pack up the pool equipment there is one final thingy we want to show you. This is the Medusa pool light, a solar autonomous floating lamp for swimming pools. Toss one of these organic looking devices into your backyard pool and it will light up the water for your nighttime swims. The tentacles look to be made from fiber optics and gently twist and turn around in the current. The great thing about it is that since it gets all of its energy from the sun you never need to charge it up.
This past June we wrote about Casio’s tough G’zOne Type-S mobile phone when it was released and we recently got a chance to get our hands on one to see just how tough this thing really was and what “water resistant” really meant. What we found is that the G’zOne Type-S lives up to its hype on standing against the elements and also had some nice surprises we were not expecting.
It’s no secret that Sony needs to pep up sales of the PlayStation 3. Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 continue to outsell the PS3 and as the holiday season starts to approach Sony needs to do something to get its console on the Christmas wish lists of kids. But what could they do? For starters how about introducing a cheaper PS3?
These little bumper cars come as a set of two, one red and one blue, each with their own wireless remote control. The controllers let you drive them forward, back, left or right similar to real bumper cars with the goal of bumping your opponent. Each mouse-like bumper car has sensors on each side on on the back that tally up your hits along with headlight “eyes” and noises when you get bumped. After three hits your car freezes indicating that you lost the match. The cars measure a little over 4 inches long and from the product page video they seem to move pretty quick. The set goes for $40 before you add in the cost of the required 10 AAA batteries.
Check out this picture from earlier this year of what reportedly is a jet engine for a Chinese commercial airline. The jet stopped off at an airport in Germany just for fuel already looking like this. Apparently this engine, which wasn’t working anyway, had straps holding the fan blades from freely turning in the wind because it caused too much vibration during flight. What really tops this off is that these strategically placed straps are actually seat belts from inside the plane.
Richard Garriott has been one of the founders of computer role-playing games since the days of the Apple II. Under his gaming name of Lord British, the creator of the best-selling “Ultima” series and the first MMORPG “Ultima Online”, Garriott cemented his place in the video game history books. Now he wants to set another record: to be the first second generation astronaut (his father Owen Garriott was a NASA astronaut on Skylab and one of the early Shuttle missions) and the first-ever video game creator to fly into space. Garriott has announced his plans to fly to the International Space Station in October 2008 where he will help perform a number of science experiments.
“I am dedicating my spaceflight to science,” remarked Garriott in a press release. “It is my goal to devote a significant amount of my time aboard the space station to science, engineering and educational projects. I understand the necessity for conducting research in extreme environments whether it is collecting microorganisms from deep sea hydrothermal vents to carrying out experiments in the continuous micro-gravity of Earth orbit. We need to be adventurous in mind and stimulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels.”
Information on the release of the new “Rock Band” game from MTV has made its way into the blogosphere today flaunting a lower-than-expected price. The game is to be released for both the Sony PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on November 23, both priced at $169.99. As an early surprise, Rock Star will also be available for the PS2 the following month on December 10, going for $10 less at $159.99.
The games will come bundled with a single guitar, microphone and a drum kit. Also, that guitar that comes bundled for the PS2 and PS3 won’t be tethered with any wires letting you rock out more freely but unfortunately the Xbox 360 will require you to plug it in, at least for a while. A wireless guitar model for the 360 is expected to come up sometime next year.
This funky 21st century vehicle is the Aptera, a three-wheeled energy efficient car that will come in either an all-electric version or a hybrid model. You get a top speed of 95 MPH, zero to 60 MPH in 10 seconds it seats 2 comfortably (or 3 squished together). A solar panel on the roof is used to help power the climate control system inside. It uses RFID to power on, has GPS navigation and a CD/MP3/DVD sound system with XM radio too. Safety is covered by the Aptera’s twin airbags and a rear view camera.
If you throw down a fully refundable $500 now you can secure an Aptera when the vehicles begin to roll off the assembly line in a year. The hybrid model will get you about 230 miles per gallon and costs $29,900 while the fully electric model only gets you 120 miles before your charge is depleted (but you save on the sticker price which is $26,900).
Microsoft appears to have given in a little bit in response to concerns and complaints about their new Windows Vista operating system. The company’s original plan was to have the original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) stop selling the Windows XP operating system with new computers as of January 31, 2008. Custom builders would get another year giving them until January 31, 2009. After that it would be all Vista and no more XP.
Since that original plan was made the sales of PC’s with the new Vista OS haven’t been quite as good as Microsoft and the manufacturers had hoped and OEM’s have asked the company to extend XP a little longer. Due to this Microsoft has announced that OEM’s can continue to sell XP pre-installed on their computers for 5 additional months, putting the end date out until June …
If you live in an area prone to earthquakes and aren’t content with waiting to find out how big that last one you felt was then the GraGraph is for you. This device (which doubles as a clock with time/date) is like having your own seismology lab on your night table: when an earthquake happens the GraGraph will sound its alarm and display the intensity of the quake on the Richter scale.
Little tremors happen all the time that we don’t feel but the GraGraph will measure the tremor and display it for you. And should The Big One ever hit the gizmo will give you ideas about what you should be doing instead of standing there listening to it. Thankfully it’s small enough to scoop up as you make a dash for the safety of a doorway.
1,000 lucky patrons at Wednesday’s San Francisco Giants baseball games were given Visa’s new Micro Tag payment device pre-loaded with $15 of credit. The keychain-sized tag contains Visa payWave technology which allows customers to merely swipe their tag over a reader at the point of purchase. The amount of the purchase is then automatically debited from the tag. It’s making purchases easier to do than swiping your debit or credit card. Cash? What’s that?
A company by the name of Freedom Driver Technology announced this week some devices which will let you play sound through from virtually any flat dense surface such as a table or wall. These three devices – the Mini Can B15, Mini Box B20 and BT Stereo FREE-D B25 – should be available by the end of November.
The Freedom Driver devices use “sound wave transference” to drive sound into and out of the flat surface of nearly any flat-dense material in a 360-degree radius. They have a a “proprietary vibrating core” which changes electrical energy into mechanical energy. They are designed to transfer audio from portable devices like laptops and MP3 players, with the FREE-D B25 being capable of getting audio via Bluetooth.
For those with high-end, audiophile-quality home audio systems, seeking out new tech to better your setup is always an ongoing hunt. Esoteric, a division of TEAC America, looks like it may have a new item for you: the Esoteric P-05, priced at around $7,000 and available now.
The Esoteric P-05, and its sibling D-05, are CD/SACD transport and D/A converter components. They are designed to output native as well as up-converted digital audio signals. They incorporate a number of audiophile specific technologies, such as up conversion of audio at fs 88.2 kHz (x2) and fs 176.4 kHz (x4) for CD playback, DSD/1-bit 64 fs signal for Super Audio CD natively and without up-conversion and a AK4397 Delta-Sigma DAC device from AKM Semiconductor, implemented in a dual-mono configuration.
Verizon Wireless and Motorola today announced the debut plans for the new MOTORIZR Z6tv mobile phone. The product is due out October 5th and will cost around $180 after a $50 mail-rebate and new two-year customer agreement.
The MOTORIZR Z6tv is a slider-style phone optimized for Verizon’s V CAST Mobile TV, V CAST Music and Video multimedia services. It sports an integrated MP3 player, two-megapixel digital camera with video capture, landscape or portrait on-screen viewing modes, over 50MB of internal memory and a two-inch display. There also of course is Bluetooth.