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!
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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...
Oakley's Minute Machine Watches have left us intrigued as to the thickness and how fun they really are in person ~ while having grown up in a house of Rolexes and Tag Heuers , i went through phases from swatches to giant crazy dive watches and for the last few years i have settled on a pretty simple steel tag for all occasions (waterproof and scratchproof faces are a necessity!). There has always been something so appealing about finding unique quality time pieces that have that rugged yet designy/unexpected edge to them... and the titanium bracelet on this Oakley is pretty sweet!
They sent over the Oakley Minute Machine Titanium Edition and i'm quite in love with all their boxes (ahhhh, gorgeous matte black packaging)... so images below of all the packaging as well as close ups of the watch to get a feel for the thickness and how it wears. On the detail i can't get over... the carbon fiber self lubricating rings on the titanium bracelet are something you must play with if you get near one of these in person... i love the feeling of rolling your fingers over them... and the shapes of the pieces in the bracelet i find mesmerizing. (What can i say, i get inspired by the strangest littlest curves and details?)
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...
Creature by Andrew Zuckerman... i've been pretty obsessed with this book since the post, but been so slow and busy i hadn't gotten around to ordering it until making the gift guides (it showed up on Day 28 and Day 21)... at which point my mom apparently took the hint and ordered it. Well good news + bad news. The book is BREATHTAKING, even more so in person with the large coffee table format. I wish i could have ordered a copy for everyone i know... truly incredible. The bad news is... she happened to order it from Powell's (the largest independent bookstore!) instead of our usual Amazon since she had some credit to use up... and unfortunately the packing wasn't quite up to par and being the book/product junkie that i am, its driving me absolutely mad that the corners were all bashed up, and the bottom right corner of all of the pages are buckling a bit... enough to notice when flipping through such pristine white pages... oh, and somehow this copy has it looking like the cat on the cover is crying green... So, as my random Saturday night post, just wanted to vent slightly, and let you know i'm suddenly reminded why its more satisfying to buy things in person sometimes... in brick and mortar stores... or sticking to super huge giants who take too much care in packaging for survival during the holiday season! more images of some of the awesomeness within, as well as what's driving me crazy.
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.
Oakley'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.
Weeks ago I ordered the Paperclip desk by Blu Dot. It has everything I want.. simple and clean design, that plywood and steel wire aesthetic, and a keyboard tray. I finally received the desk and well... I wish this post could be about me enthusiastically gushing about the desk, but sadly it's not. And before I go any further, I just want to say that this is not something we really do on NOTCOT. As you know by now, we're all about talking about the things we love. But it didn't sit well with us that we had given Blu Dot's Bonnie and Clyde sofa such a nice posting, and yet I have this pretty terrible experience with their desk... or rather, their packing methods. So I just have to share.
Full story after the jump...
Ready for possibly one of my most ridiculous posts ever? (And my excuse of the moment is, i'm having some personal issues, so i'm coping by doing silly things like this). So remember the Staples Easy Button? I posted it about it back in December 2005... and i'm assuming that thanks to unintentional SEO, all those crazy comments of people discussing how to hack it (to become a garage door opener, make circus noises, etc) came from random searches. Well i never knew there were Staples Boton Facils too! But what really kicked this whole thing off was i was wandering around Yahoo Campus after the Company Store had already closed, and upon peering in the window i saw these INSTA-YODEL buttons, and HAD to have one. So i went back this morning to get one of those, and naturally needed to go grab the Staples one too (i had no idea there were facil buttons until i showed up).
Anyhow, more pictures below, and i even made a silly little VIDEO (because these buttons, as cool as they are, are meaningless without hearing them all)... and a mini rant on the design of these button options.
New wallets and website from db clay! (Not to mention an exclusive 25% off discount b/c they love us! Code: notcot25 - i think you get 2 weeks, so hurry it up.) New wallets are made out of eco-friendly TOPE (their first batches were out of gaffer's tape)... which is "a synthetic fabric similar (in texture) to a vinyl canvas. However, Tope does not contain certain hazardous chemicals typically found in most vinyl-based products. In particular, Tope contains NO PVC, Tope is made from non-toxic raw materials (it causes no dioxin, heavy metal or phthalate pollution), Tope decomposes when buried, Tope is chlorine chemicals free and Tope is fabricated through a pollutant free process. Additionally, we have engineered a tremendously technical printing process whereby we print high resolution and full photographic images using environmentally friendly inks. To top it off, Tope is also vegan and animal free."
Ok well green innovation aside ~ they sent over two wallets and i've been playing with them a bit, and making guys test them out of course. It's a nice leather alternative, the subtle texturing on the two i liked is a nice touch ~ i'm in love with the black on black particularly. Ready to go as the perfect gift in its tissue paper lined boxes ~ and in case you're wondering, it doesn't at all feel like tape of any sort, in fact i'm quite impressed with how nice the quality feels, the only thing we're waiting to see is how it softens up to shape to your pockets, etc. Afterall, how a wallet wears over time is how it ends up gaining some character. My one complaint? If you frequent europe ~ don't bother trying to carrying anything over a 20 euro bill... the poor 50 euro bills stick out about a mm and were driving me absolutely crazy. Anyhow, more images below from every which angle!
This 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.
The Alembic ~ sister bar to the Magnolia Pub and Brewery down the street on Haight. Haight Street Fair (30th anniversary!) was yesterday, and everyone was out in full force indulging their many vices. At The Alembic i found Good Friends & Great Enemies - and got really sucked in with its incredible branding/graphic design and great ambiance and interiors... oh and also its vast amount of scotches and fine liquors and brilliantly insightful bartenders... OH and i can't forget the delicious gourmet treats (you MUST try the Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut Honey Vinaigrette and the Herb Gnocchi with Serrano Ham, Arrugula Pesto, and Saffron. Mmmm.)
BUT, back to why i'm sharing this with you ~ the design. I sat there fawning over the menus, and bar details, as i sipped my drinks... and now that i'm back, checking out the pictures, and their great website as well, the work that Williamsburg based Nothing Something did on their identity and environment i'm completely taken by. So, more images below, of their design, and ambiance, and even another quick 5 second video of the bar scene.
Fun Friday post ~ i'm typing this on my couch sitting cross legged with laptop on the Offi Overlap, and i don't know if i'll be doing much work anywhere other than here for a while! I'm a softy for bent plywood furniture, esp Offi + Eric Pfiffer (of Pfiffer Lab)... so when Matt Sanocki over at Design Public emailed about their outlet sale, stating "I should also note that if we clear out enough space we hope to put in an espresso bar and/or video game area so it's *crucial* we move everything." how could i resist this Offi Overlap and Offi Scando Coffee Table?
Cow in a Box... how DO they get that moo in there? These have been around since my childhood, and are nearly extinct if nearly fruitless internet searches show that only one manufacturer seems to be left. So when i wandered into Stumasa today, i had to buy a few... and sacrificed one to be dissected and shared with you all... step by step walk through and video below! And no, discovering the simplicity of this old school toy's innards does not make it any less fun, and its still much better than its technologically driven counterparts. And for under 5$, who wouldn't want one on their desks.
I think i'm sold on going green... especially when it comes to my vodka - Reyka Vodka is the world's first green vodka- made from glacial water and distilled using sustainable and clean energy from geothermal heat, not to mention it's the first vodka distilled and bottled in Iceland (land of puffins, volcanoes and a female president)... (showed you their brilliant ads and the bottle designs previously)... This time i've got a hands on review for you. Close ups of the gorgeous bottle, and a few fun little videos (still experimenting with my Canon TX1). I'm smitten by how deliciously clean and smooth this vodka is and it's great straight as well as mixed (was delicious with orange and cranberry juice as well as with tonic)...
Here are some interesting tidbits on why else Reyka is incredible: Reyka (pronounced Ray kuh) is derived from the ancient Icelandic word for steam or smoke. The spirit sources naturally demineralized glacial water from the Grabrok Spring situated in a 4,000 year-old lava field. Reykas distillery is located in the smallvillage of Borgarnes in Western Iceland where atmospheric CO2 levels are actually falling. This is due in part to the towns remote location far from sources of industrial pollution. It retails for little over $20, but certainly tastes like it would have cost more.
Wii Strap Ons... there's the Sports Pack" and the Combat Pack, and we've posted about them both (on com and .org)... well, its hard to tell what the quality, packaging, amusingly slightly altered logos (Wii or Wu?), materials, details, etc were like ~ so Jermacide bought them for our amusement... unboxing and close ups below.
Introducing my latest tech impulse buy - welcome the Canon TX1 to my pile of purse gadgets. Still in NY for Design Week, but to be honest i've been completely spent mentally and physically... so today has been incessant posting and enjoying the hotel room, with a minor excursion - where on the way back i stopped by the legendary B&H which happens to be across the street. I've never been! And i was amazed and horrified with the crammed amount of technology and lines... it was like disneyland, with a line for EVERYTHING (to check in my bag, to talk to the digicam guys, then to pay, then to pick up the products, then to pick up my bag...) it felt like a super dense overly efficient fry's like technowonderland. And i've been quietly stalking and hoping to find a Canon TX1, which were supposed to be out this month, but no one has them! Even amazon is saying 1-3 weeks before shipping. So imagine my surprise when the guy behind the counter tells me he hasn't seen them yet, but will check. And they have 3! The clerk next to him says he just checked this morning and there are none... but NOW there are three. So i couldn't resist. (and yes, even the most serious of the B&H clerks were ready to drool over this incredible little piece of tech)
I don't think you understand till you play with this hybrid digital camera/video TX1... its about the size of the tiny elph cameras. It is 7.1 mgp for stills with 10x OPTICAL ZOOM... and it shoots HD video. and its new physical UI is a pleasure to use, and the automatic lens cap is brilliant. And rotating lcd (so no more purse scratches for me). Not to mention image stabilization, and up to ISO 1600. Now - if only i had managed to get this a few days ago, my purse would have been much lighter (been shooting with the Digital Rebel) - and there might have been some videos... well, there's still part of tomorrow left!
Although this may look like an alien face hugger... and it *could* suck your face off... This is the new Dyson DC21 Stowaway. I know you can't possibly be Dyson'd out by now (seeing as i recently posted the extensive Slim review and my visual rant on why all Dyson's are giant sucking guns)... so below is another gratuitous mass of imagery showing you all those intimate details of why a Dyson is unlike any other designer vacuum to date.
Granted i'm not a huge sneaker girl (although i do love my share of shoes)... i DO love packaging, and while i didn't know what to think when i first got emailed by Jason Markk... i'm quite impressed with their gorgeous packaging. Premium sneaker cleaner - in a quality mini sneaker box, with playful labeling and what resembles paint splatter and koi. And within the box... 8 oz. Premium Sneaker Solution and Sneaker Cleaning Brush. Gorgeous - see my hands on pics below - nice attention to detail.
The Dyson DC18 "Slim" - there are so many design details that don't get done justice in the usual pics... so here's an overdose to get you up close and personal with the designer vacuum has changed the way i clean (disclaimer: i hate cleaning, dyson's gone and made it FUN). And read this last post for why Dysons are THE vacuums for the FPS gamers, gadget geeks, ghostbusters' fans, and sci-fi lovers.
Those are vacuums. Not screenshots from half life 2 gravity guns, etc. BUT, they COULD be. And better than real guns, these suck. Harder than any vacuum i've ever tried, but more to come on that on the proper unboxing and review.
Dysons are the gamer's guns for cleaning... housework suddenly became a war on dirt (or anything that fits into its tubes) with their latest Slim and Stowaway, joining the ranks of the Root 6... together it is quite the arsenal... not to mention the clear canister that removes like the Ghostbusters' Ghost Trap (you know, that thing that the proton guns zapped the ghosts into before transfer to the ecto containment unit in the basement).
Don't believe me? See the pics (and token video at the way bottom) below... i may have may have gone slightly overboard, but it was too fun not to share (also, as bad as it is, and b/c i can't resist - FPS = first person shooter? or in this case first person sucker?) Bottom line: how can you NOT have one of these in your house?