Entries tagged with: technology

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Inside Autodesk Pier 9


There’s a magical place hidden in plain sight in San Francisco right on the water… between the Ferry Building and the Exploratorium, you will find Autodesk Pier 9. You’d never guess that half of this pier is filled with the ultimate creative workshop for design & fabrication - a dreamy, lust-worthy space filled with designers, engineers, artists, fabricators, and every machine they could need - from rooms filled with huge CNCs and water jet machines to 3D printers of every variety, sewing machines, photo studios, welding setups, test kitchen, electronics, industrial robot arms, and much much more. It’s also no surprise that this is where the Instructables team lives. Launched in 2013, it was designed as a state-of-the-art digital fabrication work shop to dissolve the boundaries between software and hardware while inspiring Autodesk to develop tools for the future of making! If you are interested in making something (anything!) odds are good that they will have what you need to make it from start to finish - on the pier!

Shawn and I were invited to review projects from the current group of Autodesk Pier 9 Artists-in-Residence (AIR). (Thanks, Madeline and Vanessa!) What started in Instructables, grew and evolved once they became part of the world of Autodesk. Today, every 4 months, 1-2 dozen artists, designers, engineers, scientists, etc. come to Pier 9 to bring their ideas to life. They get 24/7 pier access, $2000 monthly stipends and project supply budgets, and retain IP and physical work created during the residency… in exchange they must publish their work on Instructables and make a presentation at the end of the program. Not a bad deal, right? The current group will be presenting on November 12th. If you’re in SF, they will definitely be worth a peek - they actually shut down the workshops and present the pieces throughout (Yes, possibly even on or near the machines that made them!)

While there, we had a chance to tour the facility before the reviews, and it is pretty mind blowing. So as we walked and talked, i snapped iPhone pictures along the way for all of you to get a peek inside this wondrous place. Ready? Dive in to the pictures on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Unboxing: Teenage Engineering PO-12


So far we’ve loved everything Teenage Engineering for years… from afar… or through the internet. The design, photography, and ideas are always incredible! But between getting in to SF and meeting friends for dinner, we managed to squeeze in a few stores in the Mission, one of them being the unmissable Dijitalfix. Drawn in by the Freitag pop up in front, and sucked further in by so many design brands we adore… before i knew it, i lost Shawn. Turns out he ended up in the backroom completely engrossed by all the Teenage Engineering toys. And while he was busy pushing buttons and learning how they all worked, i couldn’t stop staring at the products themselves… and the packaging… and the displays! So that was settled… we had to buy one! While it was tough decide, we’re starting with the PO-12 rhythm

And of course, in the small amount of time between procuring the PO-12 and meeting for dinner… we couldn’t resist buying batteries, parking, and unboxing it in the car so we could play with it! So here’s a first for me… an iphone camera unboxing in our car parked on the street at night. Ready to see how awesome it is? See the pics on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

Inspiration: LA-SF-LA Roadtrip


Just home from roadtripping since wednesday… and going through @NOTlabs instagram and the pictures on my phone, i can’t figure out where to start! So many different adventures from catching up with old friends and making new ones while reviewing Artist in Residency projects at Autodesk’s Pier 9 and running around to see whatever surprises we could find in between! Shawn and i drove from LA up the 5 (through the middle of CA) to SF, then worked our way back down the coast. We stayed in Potrero Hill, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Cambria. Played with 1 month old ostriches (and some beastly adults and emus too!)… unboxed Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator in the car… watched sunset over Sutro Baths… lusted after robot arms, CNCs, water jets, swing conference tables and so many more toys at Autodesk Pier 9… discovered the craziest central california glazed almond treats… have a CW&T Pen Type-B we’re putting through the paces (donut magnet!)… discovered Bravo Farms with the Flavor Farmer, Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream, BBQ, market and more as quite the pitstop… buying more rare succulents at Grow… and so much more. See why it’s near impossible to sum up quickly? But one thing is for sure - we’re home, we’re rested, and thoroughly inspired to make more awesome happen!

So to get a taste of the most inspiring randomness, robots, packaging, views, creatures and more from LA to SF and back… see the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

LIGHT L16 Camera


Light launched the L16 Camera today - a “multi-aperture computational camera that packs DSLR quality and capability into a device that fits in your pocket.” I had the opportunity to get up close with the prototype a few weeks back, and peek at what is actually INSIDE this fascinating camera. The potential is awesome, but i’m definitely curiously skeptical about the “computational camera” aspect. Basically this camera is a collection of 16 cameras in one - all simultaneously shooting an image at multiple focal lengths then fusing the resulting images together for a single image (up to 52 megapixels) which means you have all the data to manipulate the depth of field, exposure, and more after the fact. What Light L16 promises may remind you a bit of Lytro, but what makes it immensely more intriguing to me is the form factor and peeking INSIDE of it! The 16 cameras are supposed to be exceptional for low light and give you the equivalent of 35-150mm true optical zoom.

Aesthetically it resembles something between a large touch screen cellphone and a bluetooth speaker/radio… with 16 eyes staring at you from the glossy face! The size is quite a bit larger than most big screen filled phones. Trading in my DSLR for this form would definitely be quite the adjustment… so the real trick will be seeing not only how it shoots, but how their software works into photographers work flows. To make the most of the Light L16, it’s all about taking advantage of the post processing that is possible in their proprietary file type that houses the immense amount of data captured with each press of the shutter. Of course for quick manipulations or exports you will also be able to send files like jpgs to your phone or laptop for quick sharing. The potential is huge, and i’m definitely excited! Chatting with the Light L16 team, future possibilities were easy to imagine - putting this technology into cars, cellphones, and beyond! The future of the technology side is a no brainer - the user experience of shooting with it, processing/developing images with it, and having it nestle its way into my workflow i’m dying to find out.

Take a peek at the details of what is inside the Light L16 as well as the intro video and how it’s made on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

Unboxing: Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S

rotest0a.jpg There’s a CNC mill in NOTlabs! While Shawn has been playing with (and missing) the full shop of 6-axis robots, huge CNCs, Objet 3D printers and more in his grad school days - i’ve been catching up and getting my hands dirty with it all through our NOTlabs projects! So when the awesome folks at Roland offered to lend us their Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S desktop mill, we were ecstatic! While we’ve been doing a lot of 3D printing (remember the Nescafe Alarm Caps and Free Universal Construction Kit?) - as crazy as you can get with additive processes, there’s a lot that subtractive can do (and in some cases, do better!)

We’ve been in the getting-to-know-you phase with this “desktop” beast of a CNC recently, but to catch you up - here’s the unboxing of what two shipping palettes in the driveway is like. We definitely needed to bring in an extra pair of hands to help move the machine itself. In addition to the Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S main mill, there is the case, the automatic tool changer, the rotary (4th axis!) and then a starter set of various bits… and of course, Roland’s software to get to know. Ooh and then there’s also various materials to try!

First impression? SO MESMERIZING! We’ve been spending hours and hours working alongside the machine to keep an eye on things, and experimenting with a few models to test out how it handles various types of curves, materials, and details. See the full unboxing and a peek at our experiments so far on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes


leef0.jpg The iBRIDGE from Leef just arrived! Mobile memory for your iphone/ipad! This little gadget ranges from 16-256GB, and has a USB 2.0 on one side and an Apple Lightning connector on the other. Think of it as a super USB key.

Just like the Mophie Space Pack we tried out before, you need to download an iOS app to be able to interface with iOS 8. This basically means you can transfer photos between the iBRIDGE and iOS device with ease, take photos straight to the iBRIDGE, and even play music and videos off the iBRIDGE!

There’s a very specific use i’m most interested in the iBRIDGE for… transferring a few photos between my phone and laptop for posts! Currently my options are… Airdrop (it works once in a while, but not consistently enough not to be a pain), syncing all photos into iPhoto/iCloud (but i like Lightroom to manage photos - and if i plug in and import from lightroom, it takes forever to scan 10,000 photos), emailing myself (ugh), dropbox/google drive (slow), and ultimately i end up messaging myself (which still needs wifi/data! not always possible traveling or on a plane)… so ideally, i’d use the iBRIDGE to choose travel photos to transfer on to the stick to my laptop! So far for that - it is AWESOME. Also as a USB key to fill with movies/music for travel and sharing across iOS devices, it’s perfect!

My one problem so far… my phone had ~11,000 photos on it. So testing out their backup took quite some time! (Make sure your phone is fully charged, since you can’t charge and transfer simultaneously.) Also now when i try to load up the photos in their app to see the photos in the backup - it takes quite a bit of time (likewise to load up the photo preview of the ones on my iphone). The backup function doesn’t currently copy videos over, though select/transfer does move videos. I assume i need to either not use the backup function, or if i backup and move the file off the iBRIDGE, then it loads up pretty fast. It’s also nice that you can ‘move’ files from iOS to iBRIDGE and have it delete them… so maybe it’s really time for me to clear off a few years of photos from my iPhone?

Take a look at all the details on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

Unboxing: Formlabs Form 1+

formlabs0.jpg I’ve been curious to see a Formlabs desktop stereolithographic 3D printer in action since they blew up on Kickstarter back in 2012. Since that time they have now launched the second iteration, The Formlabs Form 1+, and i’ve been learning far more from Shawn with our NOTlabs experiments and projects about the trials and tribulations of consumer desktop 3D Printing - so it has been quite a treat to spend the last few weeks experimenting with the new Formlabs Form 1+!

Physically, the design of the Formlabs 3D printer is a stunning iconic object that you can’t help but be drawn in any studio. It’s a piece of art! That glowing orange acrylic cube, that opens and closes so nicely (I particularly love how precisely tiny the gap is between the cover and the build plate when you open it!) and there’s a single button on the front - all the details are so well thought out! And the quality of the prints - wow - the resin layers can get down to 25 microns now! So thin, they are nearly undetectably smooth. The prints are lovely!

Before we jump into the unboxing and look at the printing process and outcome - I just want to address a few key things i’ve learned as i’ve been playing with the consumer 3D printers and the questions that keep coming up. Yes things always go wrong, prints will fail, tweaking is always needed - be it in your file, the hardware, some tiny overlooked detail (from the tape you put down to the resin you poured in) - there is ALWAYS something. I’ve accepted that as just part of it at this stage in the maturity of consumer 3D Printers. But they are getting there! Every new machine we play with impresses me more and more - but for something to get plugged in and have everything consistently churn out perfection - I know that patience and learning with each print is key. We’ve played with a slew of printers for various projects - from Objets to Makerbots, Z Corp to Stratasys, and more… so just know that going into this review, i’m approaching it with patience and curiosity!

That being said - to the unboxing and test prints on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones

jblreflect0.jpg I’m a sucker for smart/fun uses of reflective materials… and often the are far more satisfying to play with in person than any picture. Such is the case with these JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that just showed up from the nice folks at JBL Audio! These work out headphones come in a Bluetooth and Wired version in iOS and Android versions - and while i loved the design, but was iffy about the sound quality of the JBL J46BTs - i’m curious whether the sound quality of the Synchros BTs will be better. As for the JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that are wired - i’m loving them! The design details - from the flat cables with double sided reflective coatings to magnetic earbuds, the way the remote buttons FEEL to the sound quality… to the thoughtfulness of a shorter cable for use with armbands, and an extension cable (also reflective!) for use in normal situations. And the nicest touch - even the packaging has a shimmering foil to denote the reflective nature of the cables. Oooh and i almost forgot, the earbuds! Surprisingly comfortable and they lock in nicely, so they aren’t going anywhere. Ready to see all the details? Head to the next page…

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

3D Weaver by Oluwaseyi Sosanya

woven1.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases. This post is from Show RCA 2014.

The Structure of Protection by Oluwaseyi Sosanya from the Innovation Design Engineering program. The project is a beautiful loom specially designed for weaving in three dimensions. Using a single thread, the loom can create complex structures that are incredibly strong, essentially becoming a 3D printer of weaving. We love the way the project combines modern techniques with the traditional. Sosanya even visited fabric mills in the North of England to research mechanical weaving practices. See the machine and its outputs on the next page.

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Streettoolbox by Pierre Paslier

streettoolbox1.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases. This post is from Show RCA 2014.

The very first exhibit that caught my eye at Show RCA 2014 was Streettoolbox from Pierre Paslier from the Innovation Design Engineering program. All about open-source “advanced activitsm”, Paslier’s projects empower activists to create interesting temporary street art displays. His toolbox includes a sticker-applying drone, a programmable car that can draw with salt, stamps for your bicycle tires and magic-pen style graffiti that is revealed by a portable projector. More on the next page and at the project wiki.

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

Inside the Twelve24 ClockONE

clockone0.jpg The Twelve24 ClockONE is a meter wide, 4mm thin, around 3lbs and will magnetically hang from your wall! Well, we had the chance to peek INSIDE these super thin wall clocks at NOTlabs, and the real magic being shown off in this monstrous clock is what’s possible with E Ink displays. As thick as a laminated piece of paper, the screens just need a mere 15V to power flipping each section between black and white ink. And the most interesting design detail is the magnetic wall mount system! Currently available for pre-order and slated to start shipping in September, the Twelve24 ClockONE’s are making the design week rounds and popping up this week all over Dwell on Design in LA. Take a peek on the next page at all the tiny details and inside - they even let us cut open some E Ink!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Motorhead

dyson0.jpg If there’s one cleaning tool i’ve recommended over and over again, it is the Dyson Cordless Vacuums. I’ve used these for everything - from tiny apartments to larger houses, cleaning up messes in the woodshop to keeping up with puppy shedding! While to some people, it’s annoying that the batteries don’t last that long (though on the new DC59 it can do 24 minutes full charge, and 6 minutes in MAX mode) - I secretly loved the timing, since it would limit the amount of time i’d be running around cleaning, then I could take a break and recharge it for a bit. I’m still using my original DC16 (from 2006!) in NOTlabs, and the DC35 Multifloor (unboxed in 2011) has been a regular fixture in my kitchen, but i think it’s about to be demoted by the new DC59 Motorhead that they were kind enough to send over!

I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical when the box read “Sucks up as much dust as a conventional vacuum.” As much as I try to keep up with the dust and puppy shed, when Dyson was kind enough to send over the DC41 Animal upright, ball vacuum with the arrival of Bucky - I quickly learned HOW MUCH DUST it magically finds compared to anything else (including the Dyson handhelds!) There’s something disgustingly satisfying about watching that clear canister fill up with the guck around your house as you vacuum… usually my handheld canister is filled with dog hair and chunkier items, this time the DC59 canister was filled with dog hair and super fine powdery dust! Just powering it up, you can feel how much stronger the suction is compared to the previous models… and this is all before i actually tried the Motorhead attachment. Honestly, I usually bust out the DC41 Animal for the carpeted rooms, because the handhelds just don’t pull enough out… well I just tried it out and i’m amazed how much the motorhead managed to get out of the carpet! I know how absurd it sounds to be gushing over a vacuum - but I have been using these Dyson handhelds daily for years, and i really didn’t expect to be this impressed with the latest iteration. Anyhow, take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page - and don’t worry there’s no picture of my dusty mess!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

JBL J46BT Bluetooth Headphones

jblbt9.jpg JBL was kind enough to surprise me with some JBL J46BT Bluetooth Headphones. I’ve been curious about Bluetooth earbuds for some time, but this is the first time test driving some in real life… perfect for workouts, running around the house/yard/after the dog untethered, and probably for airplanes so i don’t trip over the cord when getting in and out of the seat! First impressions ~ sound quality isn’t the greatest, it certainly lacks range. BUT i’m fascinated by some of their design details - especially the way it charges with a little clip to two contacts to the ear buds. See the full unboxing and details on the next page…

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*notcot in tech - 7 Notes

Unboxing: MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen

makerbot0.jpg UPDATE: Eep! Bad news ~ though a NOTCOT first? I’ve never had to do a REboxing! Just heard from MakerBot that we’ve got to box the machine up and send it back to get it sorted…and thank you so much to the super nice guys over at MakerBot support for being so patient with us while working on this!

SO excited to get our hands on the MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen Desktop 3D Printer ~ it’s amazing to see how far things have come since the Cupcake, Thing-O-Matic, and even the early replicators! (You can see our Replicator 1 unbox here.) We are definitely getting closer to having 3D printers feel closer to the inkjet (2D printers?) of today… unfortunately, it’s still a bit more complex than popping it out of the box and popping out objects! New features we’re excited about include the optimized setup for PLA printing, camera (to keep an eye on your progress via app/mobile), magnetic extruder head, spring loaded nozzles, easier build plate leveling and more! And luckily, the arrival of this new machine is perfect for one of our big NOTlabs project deadlines!!! Take a peek on the next page for a full unboxing and some of our first experiments with it…

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Dyson Cool Desk Fan

dysoncool00.jpg Excited to try out the new and improved Dyson Cool Desk Fan. Favorite details ~ it is far quieter than it’s predecessor! And there’s a remote (that magnetically attaches to the top of the desk fan like the floor models always had) - and a new super subtle digital display in the fan base, as well as a sleep timer! They also say it’s 75% quieter, and consumes 30% less power! Take a peek at the full unboxing on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

NOTlabs Instagram: Electronics Overdosing

making0.jpg I have to admit, it’s been terribly difficult (and also weirdly freeing) to be working on so many projects and doing so many things i CAN’T share on NOTCOT… yet! So of course, where i can, peeks at the process and inspiration and randomness encountered along the way sneak on to the NOTlabs Instagram. I’m currently sitting in the lab surrounded by excessive amounts of electronics parts and awaiting the arrival of more before it’s time to become our own little assembly line to build the ______ i can’t wait to share with you! Soon! I hope! It’s getting there…

I have been learning SO much the last few weeks. Random things like, outsourced 3D printing lead times are insanely slow (relative to my love of instant gratification). Chinese New Year WILL interfere with electronics orders coming from China - a few days turns into a few weeks. Some stores can’t ship more than 2 (if it has to fly - 12 if shipping ground) lithium ion batteries per package. And UPS will put your mountain of small boxes in a tied up plastic bag for delivery. Super tiny limit switches are hard to find. As are tiny, stumpy 4 way joystick buttons - especially if you want a click button in the center too. Just because there are 14,000 of something in stock, doesn’t mean it will stay there till the next day… and restocking may take weeks. Companies that use only paypal are not the best setup when international clients need to make massive payments on a credit card… so many limits and complications! Sparkfun’s red boxes make me smile every time they show up. And so much more i’m sure i’m not even remembering right now!

None the less, the craziness has barely begun ~ prototyping done, ordering in progress, awaiting all the parts, then comes days of soldering, assembly, etc… so take a peek at what we’ve got so far on the next page

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Mophie Space Pack

spacepak0.jpg On fun surprises, the nice folks at Mophie just sent over their new Mophie Space Pack! And honestly, it’s kind of magical! As is expected from Mophie, it boosts your battery life ~ but now it’s also adding an additional 16GB to 32GB of storage! And by storage, i mean that more like an external harddrive or flash drive that both your computer and a compatible iPhone can read. It isn’t exactly letting your iPhone fill up and then automatically use the space on the Space Pack. Their Space App enable you to browse files, take photos straight to the Space Pack, listen to music and watch videos (with airplay!), airdrop files to other iphones, and more. It’s definitely an easy way to transfer photos from your computer to iPhone to then open in Instagram, etc.

In the past we shared our unboxing of the rugged Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro, which we still carry around to events, on trips, etc and use regularly. What i love about that one is that you can charge anything via USB and it’s easy to share. Similarly with the new Mophie Space Pack, as long as your friend/colleague/etc has a compatible iPhone and grabs the Space App, you can share both power and storage easily. In fact, i love that this sample came preloaded with all of the press photos and documents, far more efficient than additional print outs or another USB key! Take a peek at the unboxing and details of the Mophie Space Pack on the next page!

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*notcot in home+decor - 1 Notes

Inside Philips SlimStyle LED Bulb

slim0.jpg I’ve been so intrigued by the Philips LED SlimStyle A Shape since we first posted it on NOTCOT.org, so when i saw them in person at Home Depot, i couldn’t resist! While they are certainly slim, they are far thicker than i imagined ~ but the plastic and lighting (both color and brightness) feel great. But my curiosity didn’t stop there, after testing it out in a few lights, i had to see what was inside! What allows for this unique design is the brilliant move of eliminating the large heat sink for this LED Bulb by spreading out the LEDs on the disk (and giving each its own tiny flat copper heat sink) ~ less weight, less space, less energy, and as far as i could tell, the lighting was comparable to the other incandescent bulbs around. All in all, i’m definitely tempted to replace more bulbs around the house with these ~ and they even work with dimmers! Take a peek on the next page for a closer look at the packaging and dissection.

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Microduino Up Close

microduino0.jpg Happy Chinese New Year! As we celebrate the new year ~ and also start working on some hardware projects… fun fact i learned this week is that Chinese New Year not only shuts down a lot of businesses in asia, but if you’re trying to get things shipped or manufactured, this is a bad week to do it! So long story short, our order of Microduinos should have been made 24 hours before… and we could have had them NOW instead of a few weeks from now. Luckily, thanks to the power of the internet, the very nice folks at Microduino met up with us in person yesterday to get us a few modules to get the project going!

THEY ARE SO SMALL! Impressively small in fact… and stackable! While i can’t tell you what we’re working on (yet!) i had to share how adorably tiny they are! They are even open source and Arduino compatible. Microduino started on Kickstarter and were successfully funded back in October, and are steadily growing their module capabilities. Take a peek at them up close on the next page!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Bare Conductive Flashing Cards

Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw ~ in addition to her other Top Drawer finds, we LOVE these semi DIY cards that use Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint.

topdrawer5.jpg Bare Conductive’s Flashing Card Sets are a fun use of their Electric Paint. We Draw our own circuits and light up the Conductive Encounters!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Printstagr.am Tinybooks

*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Ram Trucks Rambox

*notcot in sponsored - 0 Notes

Homesickness Fighting Tech

sheratontech.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club.

It’s amazing what you can do at home… while away from home these days! In fact, it feels like it gets harder and harder to get homesick even while bouncing around the globe. With internet available while flying, even that oasis is a tough one to claim being completely disconnected. With cell phone roaming getting cheaper and simpler, you don’t even have to worry about changing phone numbers or gasp being completely out of touch. In our first post in this travel series sponsored by Sheraton, I shared ways that internet resources can help you explore new cities like a local. This time, let’s take a peek at the little things you can use that keep you grounded and feeling like home no matter what time it is wherever you are or how many planes you just hopped around on… see the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

Motorola Moto X Pop Up Box

*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

Equil JOT Smartpen

equil.jpg Hands on and unboxing of the new Equil JOT Smartpen! We get an up close look at the gorgeous packaging and design details, as well as checking out how you can take notes and sketch on just about ANYTHING and have it immediately viewable/editable/shareable on your iPhone/iPad and more!

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