On things i didn’t even know i needed, but now can’t imagine not having… TAD Gear’s Titanium Skeleton Key. But really, who doesn’t want a piece of thick solid 6AL-4V titanium billet that is machined locally in SF in a machine shop that does parts for the F22 Raptor?!?!?! They’ve already sold out of three editions of 100… it features TAD Gear Terminator Skull graphic, and has a laser engraved TAD gear logo on reverse… What does it have? Flathead screw driver tip, pry tip with nail puller, bottle cap lifter, and a spanner wrench tip fit all regular sized Strider Folders. Is it bad this makes me want a Strider now? See more images of it on the next page… and perhaps if there’s enough interest, they’ll do another run!
And to follow up on the last post about Lego’s new Digital Boxes by Metaio ~ here’s a roundup of Augmented Reality as collected up on NOTCOT.org! Most of these end up linking you to videos and picture where you can see augmented reality digital “pop up books” ~ and playful puppies who run to other card/markers that are water dishes, 3D graffiti painting in a warehouse, adorable monsters, xmas cards, and my favorite is the zoo ads you aim your cell phone at and see animals… So much potential with the technology, i’m super excited to see what people will come up with next to push the boundaries further!
Augmented Reality ~ its a quickly growing trend currently ~ and honestly, i’m thrilled! It was such an art/research buzzword about 5 years ago when i was in college studying technology in the arts, and sure it’s taken some time, but i’ve been absolutely fascinated how its been translating into commercial and more aesthetically interesting uses ~ particularly in the case where you have prints/objects you can hold up to webcams and cellphone cameras to see magicaly digital beings and objects appear which you can manipulate.
Metaio, out of Germany, seems to be leading some of the innovative commercial uses of this technology, and their latest project is a very fun one for LEGO! From the press release: “Munich, December 2008 - From November, the Danish toy manufacturer will test launch its “DIGITAL BOX” in selected toyshops and LEGOÂ® stores worldwide. This interactive terminal will utilize innovative technology supplied by metaio in the form of a software program specially-developed for the LEGO Group by the Munich-based experts in
augmented reality solutions. Together with a camera and display screen, the software lets LEGO packaging reveal its contents fully-assembled within live 3D animated scenes.” How much more fun does that make going to the toy store? Of course even cooler would be watching it build up in your hands piece by piece in full rotatable 3D when you hold it up ~ but i know, baby steps… See more preview pics of these new Digital Boxes on the next page!
Flexicord! On silly products that seem so simple ~ its amazing what some awesome packaging, clean simple product displays, and an instant “why didn’t i think of that” reaction can turn into! These Flexicord cables are your usual HDMI, Cat5, S-video, USB, etc… only you can bend them, and they’ll hold their shape! I love their “Clamshell-free” imagery ~ and the idea that it basically comes with a paper towel tube as a “coiling tube” feature… just crack me up. But really, i still want one, it could serve as the ethernet cable that doubles as a cable wrangler, coiling itself around it, or bending it into various shapes to hold/sort the mess behind my desk? Read more about Flexicord here… and I’ve included all my pics of their booth and product sheet on the next page!
Few can say they took packaging design cues from fast food burger containers… although Miniwiz’s Solarbulb has been making the rounds this week due to their CES presence, and the very interesting concept of a solar powered light that can screw on to your standard plastic water bottles, or on their POLLI-brick bottles that are interlockable to build larger structures… not nearly enough attention has been paid to their packaging prototypes and iconography on them! Basically these solar/wind powered portable device designers make incredible use of cardboard! Also noteworthy is their miniNOTE ~ a cardboard mailer/postcard with a solar panel and battery built in for your recipient to charge and use instantly! Such a beautiful gesture ~ can you imagine sending “power” to a bunch of your friends? Take a peek at close up pics of their designs and CES booth display on the next page!
Here’s what i love about vegas ~ you just never know what or where you’ll end up ~ tonight led us on an adventure into the vegas off-strip suburbs where we ended up tossing the latest ioSafe Solo external hard drive into the color changing rock fountain pool… pulled it out by a cord… then set it on fire! Only to cool it (with clouds of steam) with a hose… and take it all apart to show off the pristine hard drive contained with in… and of course we also cooked a standard hard drive as well, which didn’t fare quite as nicely…
Beyond the obvious fascination and amusement from the demo itself ~ it all lent it self perfectly for some fun photographing and video too! Luckily dan came with ~ so we have full video of all the excitement for you to see on the next page, and i’ve summarized the whole scene in a gallery of pics as usual! Fire in the dark is SO fun with the my new 5D ~ and as for the ioSafe Solo external hard drive, i think i’m sold. In this line of “work” i can’t imagine losing all my files… lifetime of photos… design work… the websites!… you name it! Granted its one of those problems you hope you never have to worry about, but if there *were* to be a flood or fire, i’d certainly feel better knowing my data would most likely survive it! While ioSafe is primarily known for their enterprise level products (massive, hefty “disaster proof hardware”) ~ this is their first introduction into the consumer space, and the pricing is impressive ~ the 500GB ioSafe Solo external hard drive is only $149, and the 1TB is $199 and 1.5TB is $299!
Go see the pics and videos as well as more details on how they work on the next page! (The first video shows the destruction of it… the second one shows you how to get the hard drive out of it after!)
Wordlocks! “Use words, not numbers” is their slogan ~ and honestly when i was first playing with them and chatting with their PR, it really brought out the inner child in me… they said you shouldn’t be able to make bad words with them, so of course for days they became my desk fidget toy as i’d work on things and try to find some… i did find quite a few strange ones even! (anyone on my facebook probably saw pics of these) BUT, that’s not the point… I’m not sure about you, but i’ve always been TERRIBLE with combination locks, not just remembering the numbers but trying to open them even! These pad locks, luggage locks, bike locks, and more make it a bit easier if you come up with a word that works… or better yet, an acronym? I can just imagine coming back to your gym locker watching people playing games trying to guess the word on your lock!
But to geek out for a moment, what i found most interesting is the background behind the Wordlocks… “After 20 years in the technology business as an engineer, most recently at Apple, Todd Basche and his wife Rahn (a Clinical Social Worker) quit their jobs and started Wordlock Inc. They expanded the family of products and created bike locks, TSA-approved luggage locks and recently launched the industry’s first Spanish-language padlock. Not only is the design of the lock patented, the algorithm that Wordlock created that allows for 100,000 word and letter combos on the padlock is as well. Wordlock has patented a number of software algorithms that maximize the number of words the lock can spell on its five dials (note each dial has 10 letters or 9 letters and a blank space on it).” Apparently the apple engineer and his wife have spent ridiculous amounts of time on algorithms to figure out the best letters to put on those wheels for the optimal number of possible “real” words in both english and spanish! The locks remind me of old physical word puzzles i had as a kid where you’d spin the rings to make the words… now if only i could rearrange the rings on these Wordlocks and invent MORE word options! But lets be honest, its not like we don’t have enough passwords to remember from everything online to root passwords to voicemail passwords to…. well maybe having words for bike locks and gym lockers and mysterious storage containers would help? See more pics of them all on the next page, as well as scanned in pages of possible combinations they recommend.
Eep! It’s here! I’m so so giddy right now that you’ll have to excuse these sloppy pics, but i’ve been bouncing up and down (despite the ridiculously dreary, rainy, weather) ~ but fedex came by with the best xmas/bday present ~ Canon 5D Mark II!!! And EF 16-35mm f/2.8 lens!!! Basically i’m writing this post to buy myself more time while anxiously waiting for the battery to charge… So check out unboxing pics, and side by side comparison pics with my 40D (and since these are IN the shot, they are taken with the TX1)!
News of this magical new battery doubling sleek iPhone case has been circulating, but only tonight (or i guess now its 4am… so morning?) did i really sit down and go through the press release and high res images ~ Not surprising, it’s Incase, so it’s gorgeous… and it’s available in 2 days! (Nov 28!) Actually what brought the Power Slider up was talking to dan about his super early flight to Pennsylvania this morning, and how there is the possibility there will be no internet (*gasp*) and hopefully some cell reception where he’s going… and how badly he wished he has the Incase Power Slider to magically double the battery life on the go!
So upon further inspection, the Power Slider deserved a full post ~ have you looked closely at it? like REALLY closely? To notice the mac inspired details like “A five-light LED battery status indicator gauges battery life and also denotes sync mode and charging.” Or the subtle single leaf logo on the front bottom left? How about the deepness of the camera hole on the back? And it has my favorite matte black soft-touch coating! Also love that its converted the charging to a more standard mini-USB, much more friendly when roaming in random non-iPhone friend cars without your own charger! I am curious how the 0.86” thickness feels in my hand relative to a normal iphone… So anyhow, check out the super closeups on the next page, i think this is definitely making the list of good gifting options for the holidays…
The new VDC Mimobot series is too cute. So cute and incredibly detailed, it’s creating quite a dilemma for me… while i have a few in my purse, on my desk, etc ~ there’s usually been a standout one that love and need to have, this time there are a few! Argh! Hehe…
Ok anyhow, i’m a little delirious from massive gift guide planning, inhaling the smokey smell from fires all over socal (our wishes go out to everyone who is dealing with the fires first hand - be safe!), and shopping like crazy online right now… I’ve been meaning to post these, and only after getting far too distracted by them a few times, here we go! As the press release says, “Boston-based design studio Mimoco releases Vimobot Design Contest MIMOBOT Series, the company’s first community-designed collection of MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives, preloaded with all-new mimoZine Digital Magazine Issue 4.” And the new goodies are so tempting, i love the new wallpapers and icons! You have to check out the close up images of the new designs on the next page ~ details like the mushrooms, hidden spiders and skulls in the tiki, squid in the tattoos, cherry blossoms down the backs, so much to see in these little guys! I’m currently tortured picking between the Mimoshroom by Bananafromcanada, Golden Panda by Shandurrah, and Yakuza by Eetteekers… check out the MANY pics on the next page!
From those pics my first thought would be some new modern ambient lighting… not the latest line of external hard drives. Always being on the go, and totally paranoid about losing photos/design files, i never travel without external hard drives… and i have some bigger boring ones from back in the day, and some sleeker new ones, but often the pretty ones worked terribly, the ugly simple ones were more reliable… and i’m so excited to see that brands like Seagate have really stepped up their design, realizing that its not even about accessorizing, so much as having more elegant solutions in the ext HD space. Especially with the prices dropping so much these days, aren’t external HDs like the new mix CD? Why bother with burning DVDs or filling tiny USB keys, when you can give someone a gift worthy ext HD filled with a lifetime of pictures and videos?
Anyhow, i’m ranting again - as you can tell, i’m pretty excited about the new era of external HD design… and i’m even MORE giddy to announce that Seagate has stepped up and sponsored this years NOTCOT Gift Guide 2008 (remember 2007’s?)! Which will be officially kicking off Monday! (Yes, yes, that’s why things have been a little quiet ~ my amazing winter intern, Alyssa, has been organizing some incredible discounts and giveaways for all of you ~ and i’m still madly scouring the net for fun products!) So you’ve been warned, gift guide madness starts Monday! (And while i’m trying not to do 31 days straight this year, it may get even crazier than last year!)
But for now… in our quiet before the gifting storm… How gorgeous are these new Seagate FreeAgent drives? So take a look at the details and unboxing on the next page ~ i had a lot of fun with this one!
Just got back from the midnight showing of Quantum of Solace… and as a total bond junkie… i still stand by my opinion that the last one was one of the worst… and this one… well, it was off to a good start! Decent intro graphics ~ like the color palette and sandy look ~ awesome techy glass wall and table touch UIs (details like having him spell out “G R Double E N” over the phone, and as he says “double” a W shows up and changes to EE) ~ the aston martin DBS chase scene in the intro ~ tom ford did an incredible job dressing him… The prada dress she wears through the desert is awesome… but seriously, no gadgets? at all? Painfully annoying semi background integrated text telling us when we were in russia, etc? (wtf was up with some of those fonts?) Range Rover was one thing, but Ford? The fight scenes were so badly chopped up, you couldn’t follow what was going on… And could sony’s product placement have been more blatant? I think the sony phones and terrible microPC must have been his only “gadgets”… and the villains weren’t nearly amusingly villainous enough either! Ok ok, anyhow, i think i just needed to vent! BUT… seeing it was a nice excuse for me to post more of Justine’s pictures (she seriously sent me TONS from her National Geographic night out in London).
Here are some quick snap shots of the fun Harrod’s Brompton store windows as they closed up the Bollinger champagne bar… as well as the Aston Martin DBS, the Sunseeker speedboat, Tom Ford suit and black Prada dress worn by Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko and the latest Omega. Front and center of the bar you can also see the limited-edition Champagne cooler in the shape of a Walther PPK bullet that was featured on Liqurious. Perhaps better than the gadgetry in the film is the motion activated display at Harrods, where upon walking by you trigger clips from the film to play… Anyhow, check out more pics and info on the next page!
Today’s the last chance to send me your info if you’re interested in visiting the Aston Martin Gaydon Factory for NOTCOT!
And i just got another semi-exclusive (well, they said 5 sites get access?) video about the design and history behind this handmade, gorgeous Aston Martin One-77… see the video and more stills on the next page!
Now, back to the gift that Justine received at the National Geographic first ever retail store opening… Firstly, from a design perspective, i love that NatGeo takes their yellow so seriously, from the magazine, to the bags, to the wrapping paper… and i’m impressed that they pleated their wrapping paper! (See the pic on the next page!)…
As for what’s inside, it might be one of the coolest gifts you could give someone this holiday season! The Genographic Project Public Participation Kit!
Quick description of The Genographic Project: “The Genographic Project is a global research partnership of National Geographic and IBM. With support for field research from the Waitt Family Foundation, Dr. Spencer Wells and a group of the world’s leading scientists will attempt to collect and analyze more than 100,000 DNA samples from indigenous people all over the world. The goal of The Genographic Project is to learn about the migratory paths our ancestors took and how humankind populated the planet.”
In this very CSI looking kit, you get a DVD about the project, a map of the migratory history of man, buccal swab kit, and a confidential ID# to access your results! See more pics of the kit on the next page, and i guess we’ll see if Justine chooses to share her results with us!
Aston Martin has just launched its One-77 ~ only 77 in the production run… they are saying over 100 buyers had already signed up and put down a Â£200,000 deposit without even SEEING this Â£1.2m beauty… Everyone was teased with the appropriately referenced upskirt shots coming out of the Paris Auto Show, where they only revealed a portion of the car under a cover! Where are they ending up? Only six in the U.S. to be exact, with just five destined to stay in the UK out of the total production run of 77 (says autoblog). You must admit its mesmerizingly beautiful, the curves are absolutely stunning…
“One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world’s most desirable automotive art form. Based on a sophisticated carbon fibre chassis with a handcrafted aluminium body, this 7.3 litre V12 super car will deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers.” Take a look at more sneak peeks of this luscious new design on the next page, and check out the video of what it’s all about.
So here’s where it gets really interesting ~ especially for our UK readers (or anyone who can be in the UK first week of Dec) ~ Aston Martin invited me to come out and tour their factory and see the car itself ~ unfortunately the timing is terrible and far too last minute as much as i’m dying to get out there! So, i thought i’d invite a reader to help cover it for me! SO, WHO WANTS TO VISIT ASTON MARTIN’S GAYDON FACTORY? Think you’re a perfect fit? Know a car lover with mad photography skills? More details on the next page after the pics and videos of this beautiful work of art. (I could stare at these for ages, i’m already jealous of whoever gets to go!)