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!
Gift Guide Day 23 is more Mimobots than i’ve ever tried putting on one page, and it was far too fun to make this sponsored day! (Especially with the new second series of Star Wars Mimobots that just launched yesterday!)… Anyhow take a look at the new guide… my Ramona still hangs out below my monitor, and honestly these little guys are one of my fun stocking stuffer backup gifts - not just toys - not just usb keys - but filled with digital goodies that correspond to your character of choice.
Latest gadget to make it across my desk (and on my many road trips this last week) ~ the Happy Ear Flamingo. Ok get over the name, and moving along… while i’ve tried my share of bluetooth ear pieces, i was intrigued by this one because they decided to try something new with the way it actually stays in place… instead of inserting something directly into your ear canal, this one has two nubs that hook into the space above and below (look at the diagrams below to make more sense of it), and testing it on road trips from la-sd-sf its been working great. On silly features that won me over, the charging base is magnetic, so it just snaps right into where it needs to be to charge. Also sound quality has been great, and it really doesn’t get tangled in your hair, etc ~ it was quite comfortable having that straight part hang straight against my face, i guess making it look like a flamingo with one leg up next to my head? Anyhow, the blister packaging didn’t do much for me, but the comfort, stability, and sound quality of the headset impressed me.
Woohoo! We’re at Gift Guide Day 24 (gotta motivate myself, 31 feels like a lot of days) - and today i’m excited to share my picks from our sponsor Audiocubes, who you’ve seen a bit in our tags the last few months ~ they’ve been very kind in supporting what we do! And they are our go to store for audio goods and crazy japanese gadgetry (in fact we were shopping there before they even approached us!). And just to get you started on all the goodies in today’s gift guide, for anyone who hasn’t seen how this freaky Facebank works… check out the video below!
As much as i’m not a snow person, when i saw this incredible fold up sled with shock absorbers on Born Rich, i suddenly wanted to be bouncing and sliding down a snow covered hillside… Some great quotes from their site “Only 6 1/3” flat when folded. Take it from the boot to the piste in a jiffy.” - “Corrosion-resistant aluminium andbreak-proof polycarbonate.” - “No longer miss out on high-speed sledging fun, just because there is no space for bulky sledges in your car.”
“Give Good Food to your Mac” time… basically a series of developers met up at WWDC and have teamed up to offer you discounts on bundles up to 70% off for about 12 days… “While San Francisco was getting ready for the grand opening of Pixar’s new movie Ratatouille, with a smell of French Cuisine in the air, we had the idea of organizing a great Mac feast with Mac apps made by the top European developers. ‘Give Good Food to your Mac’ was born. ‘Give Good Food to your Mac’ is a community action where independent Mac developers come together and build this exciting project : for about 12 days, every Mac users are able to download and taste more than 25 great Mac applications and enjoy discounts ranging from 30 to 70%.”
What’s on the menu? Remote Buddy, Personal Trader, CoverScout, Magnet, Morphage, iDive, Expert Wine Cellar, iStopMotion, Cheetah 3D, Banner Zest, VideoPier, PulpMotion, CSSEdit, Contactizer Pro/Express, GeoPhoto, Merlin, RapidWeaver, Freeway 4 Express/Pro, Money, Art Text, FotoMagico, Feeder, Together, Pixelmator, Tables, and Unity Indie.