*notcot - 11.07.07 , 13:30 - 4 Notes

Oakley Split Thump Review

newoakleymain.jpgOakley’s line of wearable tech has evolved once again… and its certainly improving! If you recall, i reviewed their O ROKR and Thump 2 almost exactly a year ago, and i was pleasantly surprised when a white boxed beta of the Split Thump showed up today. They’ve really cleaned up the design quite a bit, and it is now possible to be far more 007 like with these… removable t-rex arm ear buds (with an adorable little classic oakley pouch for them, even with a divider in the middle to keep them from destroying each other) and the external buttons have been incorporated into the logo (which has been enlarged and aesthetically looks far better on the glasses)… and they are sounding better as well. Bottom line? These glasses can actually look like normal sporty sunglasses when you aren’t listening to music, giving you the flexibility the others lacked. Anyhow, take a look below for the unboxing, close ups, and a some photo comparisons between the Thump 2 and the and the Split Thump.

Oh, and if any of you are thinking ~ but wait some of the big tech blogs hated it… i just reread all those posts, and they have been following their predecessors who all hated the concept to start with - and its so sad that some of those sounded like whiny poor techy ipod lovers who probably aren’t huge fans of outdoor sports. But anyhow, i might be in a ranty mood… these are definitely making my potential gift list… although it says “coming soon”, i’ve heard that these will definitely be shipping in time for xmas.

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*notcot - 11.04.07 , 19:25 - 1 Notes

WiredTree Hosting

wiredtreehost.jpgRemember those days when our site would flicker up and down or get super slow? Somewhere between our overloads of traffic, unstable servers, and some pretty shoddy tech support? It even got bad to the point that i ended up posting to see if anyone had any better solutions… to be completely honest it feels like years ago (post was dated April 07)… but thanks to the advice, horror stories, and hosts that everyone submitted ~ we decided to go with WiredTree which Jonah shared with us.

So, as promised, now that we’ve found a new host, and tried them out for a few months, and i’ve actually been sleeping better (it’s nice not having the 4am sms “OMG your sites are down! Again.”)

The first things that come to mind ~ incredible uptime that its only beat by their great customer service. I have never had service where we have a problem regardless of size (server crash, out of HD space, or just a silly email question) answered in about 5 minutes when it is 2am (which would be 4am for them in Chicago)… and even if they did just wake up, they manage to respond with friendly, professional, intelligent, patient, efficient responses. From a technical perspective, it is refreshing that they give you full access to your box, yet guarantee complete management: software + hardware + network, and they deliver on it, which is no easy feat considering what some of us may try to do with our servers (other than NOTCOT.com being on movable type all the other sites are built by us from scratch).

Anyhow, if you’re still looking for a host ~ check out what WiredTree has to offer, the pricing and server options were extremely competitive when we shopped around, even before realizing how smart the team supporting it is. And feel free to mention you found them through NOTCOT!

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*notcot - 11.01.07 , 16:37 - 13 Notes

Ergonomic Computing

ergo1.jpgFor those who noticed i’ve been really slow on posts and editing the other sites today, i guess i’ve kind of found myself with the one problem that i can “call in sick” about… my right fingers have been doing crazy cramping up, and my hand has been killing me a bit. I guess those 10+ years of not so ergo laptop-in-bed-and-on-lap are catching up to me as i near 25. Figures that it is right now that i decide to have all these ideas for redesigns i’m dying to sit and code… Anyhow, whining aside, this carpal tunnel scare convinced me to finally look a little more closely at the ergonomic options out there and i just ran out and grabbed this crazy split Gold Touch keyboard by KeyOvation that Dan recommended… and i’m considering forcing my mouse usage lefty and trying one of their crazy Evoluent vertical mice as well (not to mention trying to work at a desk properly).

Anyhow, i just wanted to tell you all to BE CAREFUL! And i was also wondering if you’d had any experience, advice, ideas on the subject… and why oh why are these things all so ugly?!?!?! One of these days we will have to get some designers and engineers together and help clean some of these designs up. Oh, and i might be a little extra quiet/slow for the next few days with this physically induced “break”… sorry.

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*notcot - , 03:31 - 1 Notes

Moon Jars & Gift Guides

moonjar.jpgWe’ve all seen and loved the Sun Jar by Tobias Wong for Suck UK ~ in fact its won quite a few gift of the year awards even! But somehow i failed to notice it is also available in BLUE, until i saw it over at ThinkGeek labeled a MOON JAR! So i’m quite excited and craving one of these tonight ~ more images below for anyone who wants to catch up on how the Sun Jar works…

More excitingly… i found this because i just shopping, designing, coding, and hunting through archives to get ready for the holiday season gift guide! I’ve never really done one before, but since i need to do it anyhow to figure out holiday and birthday gifts (SO many december babies! Myself included), figured this year no harm rounding it all up. In fact we’ve got some great sponsors lined up to help make it possible as well! (And if you’d like to join in and sponsor the gift guide as well please drop our advertising manager, Jared, a line - jared at notcot.com) Also, if you have any ideas for great products that shouldn’t be left out, or think you know what will be THE “it” product of the season, leave me a note!

OH ~ and for those who are starting pre-thanksgiving and need some help ~ in my hunting today i’ve added more stores to last years post filled with stores for great gifts.

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*notcot - 10.31.07 , 13:08 - 0 Notes

Rabbids are Coming

newrabbid1.jpgThe Rabbids have returned! Almost… Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 coming in Nov! They are back and better than ever for wii ~ more mini games ~ and you can even customize not only rayman but the rabbids too with over 110 items! And the theme is world travel (makes sense since they’ve been launching all of the “around the world” videos on their blog)… also noteworthy and silly exciting thing for this strangely dreary halloween day ~ seeing my Rabbid toy on their faux desktop. And as always their desktops, screensavers, videos, and graphic design are top notch ~ so see below for screenshots, etc.

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*notcot - 10.27.07 , 19:14 - 3 Notes

Blackberry + Island

bbislandmain.jpgMy blackberry pearl just had a hardware failure last night. The volume increase button is broken… and i lasted a few hours before i had to go into the store and have it dealt with (don’t even talk to me about calling in… ugh. i tried.)… so a replacement is on its way… in a few DAYS. While further phone hunting (naturally in my frustration i turn to distracting myself with new options) ~ i discovered that you get a free personal ISLAND with the Blackberry 8830 over at Sprint.

Ok ok, so after you delve into all the small print, its just a crazy over exaggerated campaign microsite (privateislandoffer.com) ~ that reminds me quite a bit of the Nokia ones (Remember Great Pockets that was on .org?). So it turns out if you want to buy the $10.5 million phone with free island, you are actually paying the $199.99 and then $10,500,000.00 for the “exotic island with amenities” according to the fake checkout… since as soon as i tried to buy it ~ it pops up “Are you sure you’re a billionaire? There is no way we would sell a commodity as precious as an island on a site that just anyone could access. If you are in fact a billionaire and you’re still interested in purchasing an island, our broker would be happy to help you find one…”

Anyhow, the intro clip is cute ~ and their spammy sounding domain is amusing… privateislandoffer.com. Screenshots below as well.

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*notcot - 10.26.07 , 02:07 - 14 Notes

Keyport Production

keyportpro1.jpgWow. The Keyport sure is growing up quickly. Remember the Keyport renders i showed you back in April? Well time flies, and now you’re looking at actual images of real Limited Edition Keyports (granted they reserve the right to make some slight mods in the next week or so)… For those that need a refresher ~ the Keyport Slide is the “world’s first universal keyfob”… basically they are saying that you can have all your keys in one… from your house, car, office, locks, and even RFIDs. This first set is Limited Edition, and only 5000 will be made worldwide - available in silver, black, pink, and blue. It goes on sale early next week exclusively from the ‘reserve list.’ They will be sending out 1000 emails per hour to everyone in the world that has reserved the product on key-port.com since April.

So how is this all going to work? After ordering, you receive a Kit which includes a box for 6 keys. You send the 6 keys you want in the unit in the FedEx envelope provided and they do the rest. Scared? Well they have apparently worked out a “guaranteed secure delivery method with FedEx” so your keys and address are never on/in the same package. You can even opt to pick up the final order at your local FedEx depot to further ensure your security.

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*notcot - 10.25.07 , 14:03 - 9 Notes

Vers 2x Review

versunbox3.jpgReady to get up close and personal with the Vers 2x wood ipod speaker system i wrote about earlier? Well they sent a sample over, and i had the pleasure of playing with it, and as a product i’m smitten with their attention to details… things you don’t see in their product shots? The gorgeous circular designs on the speaker cover ~ the way they run their wires under the unit ~ just how beautiful it really is to have a nice woody speaker amongst all the plastic and metal tech that surrounds us… It’s currently on sale at places like Target and Amazon for $179. Anyhow take a look below for a slew of close ups.

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*notcot - 10.24.07 , 19:21 -

Working Class Heroes

wchmain.jpgWorking Class Heroes ~ this Viennese duo, Monie & James ~ have me giddy over their gorgeously functional grey felt and brown leather combinations… from laptop wallets to passport cases, moleskine pouches to glasses cases. I mentioned these in a roundup where i had mentioned finding these on .org and ordering two laptop wallets! Well they arrived in LA while i’ve been in SF the last few weeks… and they were the first thing i headed for when i got home. First impression? Beautiful presentation, all hand tied with red/white ribbon, and the products are even nicer in person than online ~ and they were even nice enough to add one of their keyholders as well.

I purchased their Girls Only Laptop Wallet as well as the Laptop Wallet Tidy ~ and actually i ordered two simply because i couldn’t decide if i wanted it to horizontal or vertical, and at such a reasonable 49$ pricetag ~ no reason not to get both for use in various bags. The three things about these that impress me most are… 1. no zippers! (i’m extremely particular about avoiding zippers in my laptop cases, because i had some macbooks get very sliced up on the sides from quick ins and outs… and also no velcro! so its silent) 2. the simplicity of the styles using a nice heavy “3mm grey german felt” combined with adorable graphic branding imprinted leather accents ~ as well nice cotton herringbone reinforcements 3. the genius of having laptop sleeves where you can easily PUSH the laptop out. Honestly, i’ve gone through MANY laptops, laptop sleeves, and laptop bags ~ and its been a long time since i’ve gotten excited about one… but these have surpassed my expectations in both form and function.

MANY pictures below, both from their site of their line, as well as some quick snapshots of mine when i just got home. Having these to play with may actually get me off my laptop a bit more since i need to close it to slip it into the laptop wallets!

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*notcot - 09.21.07 , 10:41 - 2 Notes

Canon 40d and Red Monkey

camera.jpgMy camera situation has evolved quite a bit the last two months… first there was the addition of the 10-22mm lens to my ancient (2+ yr old) Digital Rebel. And with that i needed a better bag to carry it in (enter, Botkier Satchel), which was perfect running around Paris. But the day i got back, i couldn’t resist and picked up the new Canon 40d, and that coupled with the 10-22 has been my baby i’ve been carrying everywhere. The reviews are just starting to roll in, but overall, i’m smitten. And as much as people seem to hate having to manual focus on live view (and there are some work arounds) ~ i’m just thrilled to be able to see it live at all! And the fact that you can zoom in so ridiculously close while in live view, actually makes the focusing far better than i could have ever done on my slr… combined with a 3” screen this is really fun for my “put camera on floor to shoot” tendencies - and it’s SO much faster! And feels more solid than the newer rebels.

Anyhow, next phase of camera evolution… i need a good strap. My old camo neoprene one from high school is reaching the end of its lifespan (it used to be on my AE-1). So when i saw these Red Monkey straps at Acquire, i think it was love at first site. Rockstar strap for my camera? I can pick any leather i want? Distressed, dyed, painted… And these guys are the real deal (their press archives are full of rockstars who have been wearing their guitar straps, and their watches seem big with the celeb set too… very cool story behind them as well)!

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*notcot - 09.20.07 , 20:38 - 5 Notes

Vers Speakers

vers1.jpgJust noticed these woody ipod speakers over at Acquire, and i can’t stop staring. There is something about clean sleek wood and tech that just gets me every time. This is the Vers 2x - Hand-crafted cherry veneer cabinet - no two alike - 2 3” custom-engineered 15 watt speakers - Dual port design for deeper bass - Advanced 14 function remote control with 25’ range (I wish there was a pic of this!) - 3.5mm audio cable for use with other MP3 players (i’m SO glad people are not locking you in to ONLY use it for your ipod these days). Its MSRP is $179… and they are even listing Target as one of the places to go find it in mid-Oct.

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*notcot - , 19:46 - 2 Notes

Fashion Sidekicks

sidekickinmain.jpgWow, what happens when you give 15 fashion designers sidekicks to do what they want with? Some pretty crazy fashion/artsy looking phones. My favorites are below, and the stand out is definitely this Justin Giunta for Subversive one… gold bees, everywhere. Also interesting were the cool bags that some of the designers made to go with these… like betsey johnson, coach, tommy hilfiger, diane von furstenberg, and more… (even philip lim and j. lo did phones ~ crazy group they arranged) These are all being auctioned on eBay, and you have 4 days left! 100% Benefiting Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.

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*notcot - 09.01.07 , 22:42 - 9 Notes

Balmuda’s X-Base

balmuda1.jpgThis heatwave in California needs to stop. It’s seriously hot out ~ although gorgeous beach weather for sure… but one thing that is unnecessary is having my macbook pro function as a space heater in this weather while i work. Not sure about you, but nearly everyone i know and work with has a 15” macbook pro ~ and it is HOT, literally will burn your precious lap after an hour or so of serious working… which is where this overdue product review comes in.

So, i’ve had this Balmuda X-Base the last few weeks and we’ve all hovered around this gorgeous slab of aluminum with a giant heatsink, and really just weren’t sure what to say about it exactly. But tonight i just realized, it is PERFECT for moments like this. It is far too hot to let my laptop overheat my room right now, and that heatsink works its magic the moment you set the laptop down on it. “X-Base is composed of parts machined from blocks of aluminum and stainless steel (except for the heat sink) bolted together.” See more pictures and i’ll continue my review below.

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*notcot - 08.30.07 , 16:02 - 22 Notes

Camera Bag?

Question of the day i’m posing to all readers: What camera bag do you use for your dSLR? The reason i ask? I got a new lens for my “much overdue for an upgrade to the 40d” digi-rebel, and it got me hunting again for camera bags. What IS the nicest, most elegantly designed camera bag? I couldn’t find any. I went through every camera store online, and then the brands official sites from there, and even trailed around through all the randomness on amazon. The nicest looking options really are going the messenger bag route which moves you away from screaming “there’s a camera in here” slightly. But the issue i’m having is, i want the protection for the body and lens, but i dont want to have to sacrifice needing to schlep yet another bulky thing around (usually i’ve just been sticking it in whatever purses i have that it barely fits in). So i’m curious what you use or recommend?

My solution of the moment is my Botkier Bryant “Camera bag” Satchel. just wide enough to fit it nicely (as well as all the other contents of my purse, which usually include my smaller digicam and huge wallet, etc)… and i’m thinking of making a light foam insert for the bottom and around the lens. So i’m just curious, am i the only one who doesn’t treat my dslr with the loving care i know it deserves and just sticks it in my purses? Isn’t it about time someone designs some bags for those of us who take our camera everywhere with us, but don’t want the hardcore photographer look? (I’m no photographer, but i do love taking the random snapshots at gallery openings and such for here) Ok i’m done griping… time for solutions!

*notcot - 08.29.07 , 18:54 - 0 Notes


mainframe.jpgThis might be exactly why i stick with a flat panel and laptops… Mainframe ~ the brain child of Dean Bradley seems like something fresh out of my nightmares… an axe and keyboard wielding COMPUTER coming to get you. Luckily there is also something kind of cute about these little guys. See him in action (if animated gifs count as action) and some of the paintings this awesome character started out as. Now available over at our favorite purveyors of peculiar ~ StrangeCo.

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