Dec 15, 2010

Follow Me. Call Me. I Love You. Be Stupid.

What do you have to say in ten characters or less? You'd better think of something clever, because Diesel Watches wants you to have a brand-new LED panel watch, into which you can program anything you like. Ideas include: BrushTeeth, Pay Bills.

Diesel's new watches feature a scrolling LED message display, a silicone strap, and come in black, blue, white, purple, grey, and glow-in-the-dark.

Listen Exclusively to the Mos Eisley Cantina Band On Coloud's R2-D2 Headphones

Need some R2-D2 cans to match your bathing-suit and Droid phone? These headphones could be clamped 'round your head for 50 notes. Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, and Darth Vader and models are also available, but you can't go wrong with Artwo.

You can probably guess that Coloud's headphones are going to put style over substance, especially at that price-point. Nonetheless, for people who don't feel the need to spend hundreds, a bit of off audio quality or tinny bass won't be too much of a problem. Surprisingly, they even have an inline-mic on the headphone cable, for receiving phone calls.

Available now, the headphones are 39.90 Euros, which converts roughly to $53.

Dec 14, 2010

Not Just Another Face In the Facebook

With most Facebook updates there is, inevitably, backlash against the changes that greet users when they sign in for the first time. Not so with artistAlexandre Oudin. He saw an opportunity.

For anyone who wants to copy his style, all you have to do is block the other photos you're tagged in and upload photos to your profile pictures album that are the exact size (yes, down to the pixel) of the display on Facebook and voilĂ  !

Zuckerberg Will Donate the Majority of His Wealth

Joining up with Bill Gates, George Lucas, Warren Buffett, and 50 other billionaires, Zuckerberg has agreed to donate the majority of his wealth to charity, as part of the Giving Pledge movement Gates launched back in August.

It's the largest philanthropic work ever done, with over 50 billionaires pledging to give away most of their fortunes to various charities. They're not legally bound to do so, but if they renege then I imagine all hell would break loose. Just imagine having Gates' beady glare on you, wherever you go. *shudder*

15 other billionaires signed up recently, alongside Zuckerberg. AOL's co-founder Steve Case, and investor Carl Icahn are just some of the names you might recognize. The charities on the receiving end of the Giving Pledge's handout haven't been named yet, but considering Gates fascination with green issues, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some funky eco-friendly initiatives start looking or greener.

Military-Designed "Bat Hook" Lets You Charge Your Phone from Overhead Power Lines

It's ridiculous all the half-baked solutions we depend on to resuscitate a dead phone. Especially when there's a potent supply of free power just waiting to be tapped, right above our heads. No, not the sun—overhead power lines.

The Bat Hook is as simple as any plug-in charger, but it's great for on-the-go. It's just a weighted hook with a razor blade in it, strung on the end of a cord: you toss it over the nearest power line. Its blade pierces the live wire, neatly and safely conducting electric current down to you, for convenient charging of gadgets, jumpstarting cars, or powering your roadside business. It even works in the rain!

The explanatory video from the Department of Defense says something about how it's only for trained Special Operations soldiers, and "you should never throw something over power lines," but that is clearly just marketing hype, calculated to give the Bat Hook an air of exclusivity.

Dec 13, 2010

In the Future, Even Our Cookware Will Be Modular

Ever have those moments where excess spatula handles run wild in your kitchen? Yeah, me neither. Still, you shouldn't deny yourself a snap-together cookware system, if only for the purpose of saying you have a snap-together cookware system.

Even Earbuds Can Be Beautiful

The a-JAYS series is designed specifically for iOS devices—check out how the L-shaped plug aligns perfectly with the starkly top flat of an iPhone 4. The cables themselves are completely flat—which means fewer tangles in addition to an appearance unlike your typical headphones. Form following function! And aside from sound, the only thing I could ask of my headphones is that they don't collapse into a tangled piled of hell after a few days of use.

If they're anything like their standard earbuds, they'll probably sound pretty good too—but so do a lot of hideous audio products.

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Is a Headset That Knows When You're Using It

If you're a headset devotee, you'll know that they don't always stay put on your ear. The Plantronics Voyager Pro UC packs capacitive sensors so it knows when you're wearing it—and when to direct calls to itself.

Think of the Voyager Pro UC, which will get its full announcement at CES in January, as asmart Bluetooth headset. Thanks to capacitive sensors, it knows when you're wearing it—if it happens to be buried in your bag across the room, calls will just go to your handset as usual. If you pop it on your ear mid-call, it'll reroute the audio there immediately. An included USB dongle lets you use it with a PC, and the sensors will automatically switch, say, your Skype status to "In a Call" when you're actually in a call.

And for those looking to get even more intimate with their earpiece, the Voyager Pro's "Whisper Alerts" will quietly intone the subject lines of emails from a set group of Outlook VIPs in your ear without anyone being the wiser. Clever! Pricing and availability will be announced early next year.

Dec 12, 2010

Bamboo Earbuds Are an Exercise in Simple Technology

Gadgets don't always have to be chockablock with high-tech innovations. Sometimes, a clean, simple design is perfect. Just $24.

Sony's Active-Shutter 3D Glasses Shipping Now For $150

Sony may ship two pairs of glasses "free" with the LX900 TV, but for anyone needing to pick up an extra pair or two they're available now on Amazon for $150 each.

Compatible with Sony's HX800, HX909 and LX900 3DTVs, the batteries last for up to 100 hours before needing charging, but don't forget you'll need to purchase an emitter for $48 if you haven't done so already, and a 3D Blu-ray player. The 3DTV is pretty crucial too, but then I don't expect anyone to be buying these glasses for kicks.

One Spork Multitool To Rule Them All

You love sporks. You love multitools. And now? Look on with a delicate blend of respect and astonishment that the two coexist, in blissful harmony that is the CRKT Eat'N Tool.

The CRKT Eat'N Tool is a bottle opener, screwdriver/pry tip, three metric wrench reliefs and a carabiner all in one. Oh, and a spork. Don't forget the spork. You can get one of your own for $7 here.

Dec 11, 2010

The Tannenboing: A Different Kind of Christmas Tree

For those tired of traditional Christmas trees—their prickly needles, their tiresome ornaments, their limited lifespans—there's another way! The Tannenboing, which bills itself as the "modern, sustainable" Christmas tree, is low on upkeep and high on surreal futuristic style.

So what exactly is your new tree? A brushed aluminum spiral that extends to a height of six feet when suspended from the ceiling. It can hold up to 250 ornamental items weighing up to 20 pounds around its curving track, and it will either have the effect of making it look like you have a whole whole lot of presents under your tree or not really very many at all, I haven't quite been able to figure out.

Scientists Say There's a Planet Lined With Diamonds

The extremely hot planet Wasp-12b has such a high carbon-to-oxygen ratio that scientists are saying that the planet's surface might be littered with diamonds. The lead researcher specifies: "You might see land masses and mountains made up of diamonds."

Astronomers are saying that it's the first carbon-rich planet ever observed. Planets in our solar system typically have a 1 to 2 carbon to oxygen ratio, Wasp-12b, on the other hand, has more carbon than oxygen. Because of all that carbon (and that there's no water on the planet), astronomers believe that Wasp-12b could have diamonds in its core (but current technology is limiting them from seeing the actual core).

Before you start building your DIY space shuttle though, you should know that the planet is 1,200 light years away and ridiculously, ridiculously hot (like 2315 degrees Celsius hot). There was also murmurs that Wasp-12b was going to be eaten by its star. So maybe diamonds aren't forever.

Dec 10, 2010

TV and Internet Are Turning Teenagers Into Loners

A new study found a direct link between the time teenagers spent staring at screens and their inability to have meaningful relationships with their parents and peers.

You've likely been at one end of this debate—either you were a teenage TV zombie being told by your parents to go play outside, or you were that parent trying to keep your kid from spending another mindless hour on the Internet. In this battle, it turns out, the wisdom of age prevails.

The study, published in this month's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found that every hour of TV watched increased the teen's likelihood of detachment from friends and family 4% and each hour of Internet increased it 5%. Let's break that down: If you're 16 and watch 4 episodes of 24 after school, you're 20% more likely not to like hanging out with your parents.

Gorillatorch Switchback Is Half Headlamp, Half Lantern

Sometimes you need a light that you can set on a table. Sometimes you need a light you can strap to your forehead. The 130 lumen Gorillatorch Switchback just happens to be both.

The Switchback's main module has 5 LEDs—one XP-G LED spotlight and 4 white and red LED flood lights—which are adjustable from 5 to 130 lumens. Clip it to a supplied headband and it's a headlamp. Pop it in the supplied shell and it's a lantern. Pop Gorilla's signature magnetic spider legs on that lantern and you can wrap this thing pretty much anywhere you damn please. $60 over at Joby.

Dec 9, 2010

Concept-to-Reality Watch Has Gone at Sale at Tokyo Flash

The readability on this watch design is actually pretty simple. The top circle on the face represents hours, the bottom left is minutes (in groups of five) and the bottom right circle is single minutes. For a more detailed look at how they're read, check out the video below or the product page here. The Satellite costs $93/ £60

Visual Sound Is A Phone Concept For The Deaf With Transparent Touchscreen

We don't give much thought to deaf users of phones, but Pratt Institute student Suhyun Kimhas worked hard on this stunning Visual Sound concept, which converts voice to text and vice versa.

The scroll-like device has a touchscreen for text to be typed in, which then gets converted to voice for the other person on the line, whose audio then turns into text for the deaf user of the phone to read. If the Visual Sound concept ever got put into production, I'll be one of the first to snag one—not only does it look great, but it might help when phoning from noisy locations.

Roly Poly Iron Prefers Not to Burn Down Your House

I can't speak for everyone here, but who hasn't burned down 2, 3 even 4 dwellings with a rogue iron? The Roly Poly, an iron concept by Wonkook Lee, may be our last hope.

The Roly Poly Iron is loaded with an extra set of weights. When you hold it, these weights shift inside the handle, making the horizontal positioning natural. But as soon as you let go, sensors note your recklessness and shift the weights properly to actually stand the iron back up on its hind legs.

Dec 8, 2010

Minimalist SD Reader Also Looks Like a Toaster

There's usually nothing very interesting about transferring files off an SD card. But! Elecom's newest, adorable little reader lets you pop in four of your cards (SD, microSD, and miniSD) at once. Then, sit back and stare at them.

I dig the plain cube look (who wants their SD reader to stand out?) that makes the cards themselves part of the visual charm. And for $48, sucking down data off four cards at once (up to 64 GB at once) ain't such a bad deal.

Samsung Nexus S: The New Official Google Phone

The new Google phone has 16GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM, as well as a gyroscope and VoIP support. It's got a 1GHz Cortex A8-based Hummingbird and 4-inch 800x480 Super AMOLED screen, just like the Samsung's Galaxy Seseseses, which are available on every carrier. So it's not a tremendous leap forward in terms of specs, but it's still an attractive option for those looking for a pure, Google-approved Android experience. It'll be available unlocked or on T-Mobile, though according to Google's product page it doesn't support T-Mo's 4G-ish HSPA+ network.

There's a 5MP camera on its back and a VGA camera on the front, and, maybe most uniquely, its 4-inch "Contour Display" is curved to better cradle your face when you're chatting someone up,

But they also noted that "the case also feels somewhat cheap, unlike the solid feel of the iPhone and some previous Android phones."

You'll be able to get your hands on a Nexus S on December 16, unlocked for $529 or with a 2 year T-Mobile plan for $199, at Best Buy locations or directly through Google.