I gave in the day after xmas and finally went over to the Red Monkey store/workshop in West Hollywood, played with all their beautiful leather goods, and ordered one of their camera straps (i wrote about them before and featured them in the photography gift guide!)… what i didn’t know was how sweet the packaging was, with the strap in bubble pack, with sticker and warranty, in a black matte plastic chinese take out container with the logo pressed into it! Also the store itself is pretty sweet as well, if you’re anxious, jump ahead to the store pics here, with guitars hanging from the walls, chandeliers, mirrors, motorcycles and more. The quality of their workmanship is really high, and their service and really fast turnaround for custom jobs was quite impressive (they got this one ready for me in half the expected time)… Anyhow, browse the many pics below!
On upcoming things to look forward to at CES ~ Liquid Image ~ the ultimate underwater third eye cam? A new level of strap-on waterproof wearable tech? But this really would be pretty fun for everything from diving to playing in the pool, bathtub, hot tub, fish tank? And the images aren’t bad with the camera coming in a 3 and 5 megapixel option for pictures and videos! See examples below!
Another option? How about they have strap on bluetooth camera/headset in my mask/regulator? and then my phone can just come with in a drysack? With voice activated “email image to…”? And while we’re at it might as well add a heads up display in the mask? and google maps with gps and instead of traffic it could have current tracking? with a dot for where i am and where my boat is? Ok ok, so maybe getting a bit out of control here, since my favorite part of scuba diving was always that serene relatively tech/internet free peacefulness of the vast unknown under the surface.
For pen lovers, I just received this new alternative to space pens and INKA pens ~ that can write upside down, under water, in space, etc due to the pressurized ink cartridges! Tombow (whose markers and glues i’ve loved since childhood) have their own version, the Object XL that we found over at adorable Tortoise Life on Abbot Kinney last night. The although a little larger than my INKA Titanium that has been on my keychain for some time, i love that with one action you can extend the top which makes the pen tip appear, and makes it the perfect length to comfortably write with… no caps or little pieces to lose, or clickers to accidentally help a pen scribble in the innards of your purse/wallet. Apparently you can even put a Fischer PDA Stylus in. Full unboxing images below ~ it makes a gorgeous gift!
Gift Guide Day 1 ~ wow. can you believe we’ve made it through 31 one days of gift guides? Since it seems like those of you still shopping can’t be getting THAT much out of online shopping (not with completely certainty that your gifts will make it on time for xmas anyhow ~ some of my amazon gifts just got *lost* having somehow fallen off the back of a UPS truck)… and i’m sure you already know where you can go for gift certificates if you’re doing the last minute thing… lets start looking ahead… to the exciting new things to covet in 2008! So the final day of the gift guide is dedicated to some goodies we know about, and some rumors we’re hopeful for… and please share with us, what else are you dying to see in 2008?
A box full of RayD8s just showed up ~ they are the stocking stuffer of choice for my NOTCOT team this year… and i can’t stop playing with it… and watching the videos (great interviews with suckloard and poykpac right now!) in Mimozine 1 that comes loaded on him! Also really cool screensavers, icons packs, music, wallpapers… these little guys really are TOYS with some digital depth to them… and you can use them as the 4gig USB keys they are too. And more reasons why i’m obsessing on RayD8… he GLOWS in the dark and has a split personality… and he actually has FEET on the bottom! You can see all my favorite parts in his photoshoot below… the kids over at Mimobots even sent them over ready for this cold weather with their furry jump suits (different colors so we can keep track of who’s who).
As you know, i’ve played with Mimobots before (remember my ramona?) ~ and they were one of our gift guide sponsors (had SO much fun making that guide) ~ but somehow i hadn’t gotten the chance to fully explore the Mimozine till now… i wish all usb devices came with fun content/magazines to enjoy! It’s been an honor to have them as such strong supporters of NOTCOT!
Gift Guide Day 2 ~ the second to last of our 31 Days of Gift Guides! So today’s is all about Photography! Unexpected mounts, tripods, suction cups, lens distorters, look around corner adapters, sd-usb sd cards, rockstar guitar straps…. you know, the fun stuff your camera needs! Afterall, what fun are the holidays without lots of pictures to document it with?
Pleo’s two week stint here at NOTCOT is up, so just packaged him back up to ship him home… its been an interesting experience having a baby robodino wandering around as i work. So what’s my final conclusion about the user experience of having him around? Honestly, its a really cool robot. An extremely unique experience for people of all ages, but i’m not sure that he has what it takes to hold your attention after he captures it with his inexplicably adorable sounds and behaviors that tug on your heartstrings. I found he’s most amusing when treated like a lap cat… he sits and whines and basically purrs and howls happily if you just pet him constantly, tickle his feet, etc. When left to his own devices he kept wandering *very very slowly* around the room, finding objects, rubbing up against them, eating the air, calling out for more attention or else falling asleep. The hardest part about any robotics right now, is throughout your playtime with him, it is impossible to forget that he’s a robot. As cute as he is batting his deep blue eyes at you, the sounds of the gears grind on constantly ~ although more quiet than most, its still hard to ignore. Also impressive is that he really is one robust little guy, he can probably survive some of the worst of kids and still keep doing his thing (with the exception of his skin perhaps which doesn’t seem to be on quite the same level as his robotics). I wasn’t able to yet play with programming my own behaviors and personalities for him, but when that happens i can certainly see the amount of time you’d spend futzing with him increase dramatically, but for now i did check out his *guard dog* mode which was pretty hilarious… pop the personality on an SD card and into his slot… and suddenly he barks at anything that moves!
Bottom line? I’m glad he’s wandered through my life for these few weeks, and i’ve had friends and family all amused by playing with him, its fascinating to see how far the tech has come for this… and with a $350 price tag, he’s certainly an *it* toy worth owning for the kids and gadget lovers who have it all… especially when the ability to really hack him up and give him personalities and behaviors of your choosing is ready! And are you curious about seeing what’s beneath Pleo’s rubbery exterior? More below…
Guitar + Vox + OhMiBod = Vibrator responding to the sounds of the guitar. Ever have those days where it you’re holding two objects and it suddenly *clicks* that they’re meant to be put together? Well a box of toys showed up from OhMiBod and the VOX AmPlug came on the same day, and it suddenly dawned on me that together they could be the perfect combo gift and only ~$100! [There’s a quick video if below if you don’t know what i mean.]
Ok ok, hear me out. The VOX AmPlug is perfect for electric guitarists who want to hear that beautiful full bodied sound through headphones. The OhMiBod and the more attractive and enticing new Gspot vibrate to the music connected through a headphone cable… Connect the two together ~ and its an interesting way to seriously touch someone through the music you PLAY.
We all know girls can’t resist a musician (yes, yes, protest if you must, but we all know its pretty hard?) ~ this would take that love of musician and his music to a whole new level. Also, if he is the worst guitar player ever maybe this would be a nice gift for his poor girlfriend. And for all those groupies you can even plug in more than one… Come to think of it… this *could* work out nicely for those gamer guys too, hook it up to the output of your XBOX/PC/etc and every shot you take (or when you get shot) in a shooter game will have a whole new effect?
“Digital meets analog” is the tagline for 45 iPod Cases and it carries through even to their posters (which you can earn rebates on their cases by postering for them) ~ which are very cool illustrated posters! We’ve been seeing a lot of USB/Cassette Tape integrations this season, and records and record sleeves as purses, notebook covers, fruit bowls, ash trays, etc are inevitable at every crafty/recycled/found goods store these days… but i haven’t seen the records cut and remolded for musical reasons before this! (and i do hope that the music on those records was digitized to go with the ipod before they folded and cut them up!) ~ also instead of adding the usb factor to the mix tape, its a cute idea to make it into a nano case… of course it’d be even more fun if i could somehow just stick that in my cassette player in my car? Fun designs, fun cases ~ see more images below!
UPDATE: Hey Kotaku people - these ARE 5 min doodles that got scanned and vectorized and printed just to see what the vinyl cutter could do… the wiimote was next to me, so just stuck them on there ~ (and our resident engineer made the tree) ~ this whole post is really just about a girl playing with her new toy.
Sorry i’ve been pretty quiet… big proposals, meetings, and i’ve been happily forced to take a little breather the last two days… and today i’m old. Quarter of a century old. It just doesn’t feel right quite yet… but i must say, its far easier to deal with when i have the best present ever in front of me…
Funny thing is, the more i write about products and review and critique, the less i had on the wishlist this year… in fact i have actually been more obsessed with what to gift others! When some of the other bloggers hit me up for the “what’s on YOUR wishlist?” i came up BLANK (sorry josh spear and design*sponge! I tried!). But Dan apparently managed to go beyond reading my mind, and found me the perfect gift ~ an industrial 24” vinyl cutter, with all the tools, a few rolls of vinyl stickering (enough to cover every wall i can find at the moment), and some transfer paper… it hooks up via usb, and illustrator just prints right to it… combine it with the magic of Live Trace and… WOW. This truly is the most fun i’ve had in a long time… we’ve been printing so many random illustrator files all night, and a few of the crazy experiments shown below (jeez this thing can print super thin lines!) - from some wiimote decorating, pirate brontos on the mac apple, and just crazy stickering… expect some more amusing projects/art installations/street art/event signage/stickers…. soon. But for now, i’m taking a little break! Gift guide update for the day coming later on after i get some shut eye!
PLEO! Just got dropped off by the FedEx girl ~ and i remember wondering when i first met Bob Christopher and Pleo for drinks at the Peninsula Hotel what the packaging/unboxing/hatching experience was going to be like. Well, here’s the answer… lots of packaging and unboxing images below, and a few shots of him waking up to the world (much whining and moaning and slow eye opening as he went into exploration stages…) I even introduced him to my Roboraptor. First impression? Strangely adorable, definitely far more emotional than my now seemingly mentally handicapped roboraptor (who is currently running into the pleo box and pushing it around while pleo begs and purrs from petting)… and it is rather bizarre having this Littlefoot (come on, don’t you remember Land Before Time… movies 1-infinity?) looking dino wandering the halls. Loving the DNA details in the box graphics… and the shot on the bottom of the box is brilliant… more to come on my adventures with pleo over the next 2 weeks probably…
Oh, and looking back compared to the prototype pics ~ he sure has gotten more color in his skin! And its so bizarrely skin/rubbery like to the touch…
Ooooooh. Ok, to be honest, when i first say the Griffin Evolve Speaker images i thought it had floating speakers… they are in fact ~ “wireless rechargable digital speakers”, and it’s also you’re all in one ipod dock ~ with audio out channels, video out, s-video, etc… And you can even add more speakers - they have a cute little Multicast flash piece that shows you various members pairing their speakers then taking them to various rooms! They say “So have your friends bring their Evolve speakers next time they come over”… but doesn’t that seem a bit silly? I mean we’re already supposed to be carrying our wiimotes around, but our speakers too?
Is Vogue advocating lockpicking and hacking? So i was half awakenly flipping through the december issue of Vogue (the penelope cruz one) ~ Staring at this image, i was initially surprised that they don’t mention the word ‘lockpick’ in the post - focusing on the “hacksaw blades, a paperclip, and keychains” in the caption… the torn page sat next to me as i read up on Claire Fontaine and the Passe-Partout pieces… and these most definitely ARE lockpicks… cut from hacksaw blades (brilliant, it might be one of my new favorite pieces!) And then i looked closely at the ridiculously small print that was tucked into the spine of the magazine which only became apparent once torn out… and i see the following links…
Is it terrible that i find it highly amusing that Vogue is showing people where to go to learn to pick locks and the hacker ethic (the hackerethic.org seems to be squatted on… don’t they check links?) - See image of the full page and a close up of the tiny print in the spine below…
Also ~ take a look at Claire Fontaine - which few know as the “Paris-based collective founded in 2004, but the French brand of school supplies it is named after, whose logo is everywhere stamped on the tools of their trade.” Frieze magazine has a great article on them by Vivian Rehberg. “Appropriation is an artistic strategy laden with precedents, and one of the ways Claire Fontaine distances herself from those is by advocating theft. 371 Grand (2006) copies of keys to Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York made using the same process the FBI employs, and Passe-partout (Paris 10ème) (2006), a set of lock picks, hacksaw blades and a small flashlight hung on an ‘I Love Paris’ key-chain, are wryly subversive little sculptures, especially when accompanied by the lock-picking demonstration in the video Instructions for the sharing of private property (2006). As an extension to these works, Claire Fontaine has offered to duplicate keys to galleries that show her art, and to sell them titled with the gallery’s address, therefore granting the purchaser access to the valuable objects held there. In two recent Paris exhibitions, versions of Passe-partout were hung nonchalantly on a hook, ready for the taking. But, just as she expected, nobody walked off with them.”
UPDATE - figured out where they got their links from… as well as some images of the FBI piece and more keyring sets…
Gift Guide Day 22! our sponsor is Balmuda ~ we showed you their X-Base laptop stand a while back, and since then they have launched their new Highrise desk lamp that is worth taking a look at for those on your gift list that live at their monitor(s)… an ultra bright led lamp, with this interesting details i have yet to try myself - “The color emitted by Highwire matches the color of a computer display therefore, the display is not distorted. The light coming from Highwire does not include infrared rays and so emits less heat.” Also check out some of their sweet cable organizing pieces available in japan in the guide… and as with all of them, click the products to find out more!