On things to look forward to at CES… i’m currently lusting after this Samsung Series 9 Monitor. Looking sleek and thin (and matching my favorite super thin Samsung TVs) ~ it’s actually pretty comprable to the Apple 27” Studio display (though definitely need to play with it in person in a few days!) Both tout resolution of 2560x1440, contrast ratio of 1000:1, and viewing angles of 178/178. The Samsung however has a 300cd/m^2 whereas the apple has 375, and the Samsung is priced at $1199 while the apple is $999… though the Samsung has 2x 7W speakers built in as well as this interesting feature: “By linking their Android MHL-compatible smartphone, users can enjoy content from their mobile devices directly on the much larger screen and with the benefit of rich, built-in stereo audio. Users can also keep an eye on their smartphone, seamlessly browse to it and even charge the device for added convenience.” See a few more pics on the next page!
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I’ve always had a fondness for the high gloss all in one audio boxes of Swiss Geneva Lab. They just look stunning! And the way the digital displays always illuminate from behind the speaker grill just makes me smile. So of course i couldn’t resist featuring the new tiny clamshell bluetooth, alarm clock, radio speaker ~ Geneva Sound System XS… and when they offered to send one over so i could check out the audio and packaging first hand ~ i couldn’t resist! So full unboxing on the next page… all the tiny design details in the packaging and design…
HA! That’s the first impression i just had unboxing this surprise from Intel that just arrived. Second impression was… wow, someone got to have a lot of fun laser etching! In a big box is tucked a laser etched Intel plastic box… which had what looked like a HUGE laptop in it. I’ll admit it, i was half awake, opened it, and thought, “WTF? I thought this was about super lights!” Then i opened the giant battery-less laptop and literally laughed. They hid the Acer S3 13” Ultrabook INSIDE it. Cute, silly, unexpected, and totally proved their point. Oh, and quickly back to the laser etching fun ~ they etched the screen of the “fake” big laptop… and also the whole cover of the ultrabook!
Anyhow, the 11” macbook air changed the way i work and travel a few years back ~ and i’m seldom far from it. I have loved that i can even pop it in my purse on the go. I never thought i’d convert from 15” macbook pro’s to it! So i’ve been intrigued by the windows machines that started going down the same path ~ and there’s been a lot of buzz floating around the “ultrabooks”, especially the prices sliding down this holiday season (this one actually slides under the 1k mark!)… There’s something fun about grabbing a laptop that feels like a magazine in size practically ~ and having barely touched a windows machine in a while, but needing it for the randomest of tasks lately (including playing with/installing Logitech security systems to monitor the crazy backyard creatures of the night), this is perfect to complement my macbook air… just playing around with it, it feels silly that carrying both of them together still feels lighter than my old macbook pros!
Anyhow ~ while i experiment with the world of Windows ~ take a peek on the next page at the fun unboxing of this Intel package ~ and side by sides between the giant faux laptop case it came in, the ultrabook itself, and my 11” air on the next page!
Of all things i’ve unboxed, the Jawbone UP (see the unboxing here) has lead to SO many questions over im, twitter, facebook, phone, in person lately… and i’ve been doing so much random research, compiling it and privately linking people to it ~ finally decided to just post it. As all the posts come out about people who love or hate their UPs ~ and after many discussions about how long it will take before someone (or everyone) makes the “croc charm” biz model happen accessorizing the UPs… even Brit wrapped her’s in brass wire… which i have to admit makes it feel far more tesla coil than fashion accessory… So what do i ACTUALLY think about the UP?
LOVE THE ALARM CLOCK. It vibrates to wake you (and just you ~ not your neighbors, whoever is in bed with you, etc.) ~ also meaning not jumping up to a jarring noise. It uses its approximation of your sleep cycles to wake you at the best time with in a half hour before your set alarm time. And in all honesty, i’d been sleeping terribly, and have been waking refreshed since i started trying it. Is it a coincidence? I’m not sure, but it’s been a noticeable enough difference that i’m intrigued enough to keep trying it.
I CUT THE RUBBER OFF WITHIN 24 HOURS. I tried to wear it around, but it just didn’t feel good… rubber on the skin 24/7? It was even more comfortable with just its minimal tech guts. Experimented a bit ~ and in the end decided to pull out the old little kid string from friendship bracelets ~ and friendship bracelet-ed it. It’s SO much more comfortable to sleep with now, and far thinner/more discreet than the original (and yes, no longer shower proof, but working great.)
I ONLY USE IT WHILE SLEEPING. The truth is ~ the food part, i’m not really going to take pics of everything i eat. The activity monitoring feels more like INactivity monitoring ~ great to let you know if you need to move more (you can have it buzz to remind you to be more active). And unlikely i’m really going to do the group thing and team up against friends to work out more.
BEST SLEEP TRACKING/ALARM I FOUND. Going through all the other options with my priorities being size/comfort, optimal wake up alarm based on sleep cycle, and vibration alarm ~ even throwing in price… the Jawbone UP is the best option i’ve found. Chart and links to all the others (devices, apps, etc) i looked into on the next page.
Anyhow, i think that answers the questions everyone’s been asking a lot… check out the next page if you want to see the actual guts of it, my experiments, and the comparison chart of other sleep monitoring options on the next page.
It’s mail order season ~ new seasonal UPS/Fedex/USPS guys showing up daily ~ packages on every doorstep it seems ~ lines starting at the post office, and i can’t help but get curious about how people are packing things, how much waste we’re using to ensure our goods are protected to their destination. Well, the Kindle Fire just arrived ~ and i must say, i love how streamlined their packaging is ~ it just keeps getting cleaner and simpler, yet still creates a nice, satisfying unboxing experience ~ creating that perfect element of surprise even when you know what you’re getting as you pull the strip, and lift open the box ~ and the Fire is there presented to you! Take a peek at their nice, minimally designed box and reinforcements on the next page while i go check on whether the updates to it have downloaded so i can play with it.
p.s. Only criticism would be maybe it shouldn’t be SO obvious what’s inside on the outside of the box… the first Fire seems to have “disappeared” somewhere between delivery and ever making it here!
Magical tech filled bracelet that tracks my sleeping, eating, activeness? Who wouldn’t be curious? And with this trend of iOS app driven sleep trackers (see also Lark on your wrist and Zeo on your head) ~ with silent vibrating alarm clocks that dont wake neighbors/bedmates/etc (thinking of the Mute Watch?) ~ a sudden wealth of health data at your fingertips (think fitbit?) ~ this holiday season personal data overload/data visualizations are definitely the hot trend of the moment… and as always ~ when Jawbone jumps in to the game, you can count on gorgeously designed packaging, product design, and user experience…
The Jawbone UP made quite a splash ~ and tonight i couldn’t resist and had to give it a try ~ a week of terrible sleep seemed a good enough excuse to try out the new gizmo. And using MotionX sensor technology it tracks the slightest movements ~ and combined with some discipline on your part ~ you can switch between active, workout, and sleep modes… and the app will have you tracking meals (with pics!), calories, activities, setting vibration alarms and trying to meet various goals throughout the day… you can even compete/share/motivate your friends. Granted this isn’t an exact science by any means ~ it seems that just providing more data and creating more awareness of ones activities might help in ways you didn’t even imagine… or does it? I guess playing around with it for the next week or so will help me find out! For now though ~ take a peek at the initial unboxing and set up on the next page!
I’ve been lusting after the Parrot AR.Drone for years, (remember their amazing outdoor play area at CES in jan?) not sure why i never gave in to it till now, but NOTlabs definitely needs some fun toys… and running around Fry’s, there was one just there… calling to be brought home! So here’s a peek at the unboxing ~ and a few random images from test flights… but to be honest, it’s so fun to fly, it’s hard to remember to take pics of it at the same time, especially cell phone pics since you’re using iPhone/iPad and/or Android to control it! Touted as the first AR Flying Video Game, it’s gorgeous, amusing, surprisingly stable and even has two cameras mounted on it (front facing and downward facing)… so take a look at what’s inside the box on the next page…
p.s. i’m sure Shawn will be coming up with more NOTlabs projects to dronehack this one in to when we’re not busy flying it around the lab/yard. So more to come… and we might need another to properly play each other!
p.p.s. fun to see what other apps people have been developing for it!
Wow. The Mercedes-AMG SLS and SLS Roadster have internet browsing built in… and turn into WLAN hotspots… and runs Android… and someday you can even have apps… since it’s on android does that mean we can write our own?
I’ve never seen NOTCOT flanked in carbon fiber… or navigated to on an in car dashboard after we just hopped across the french/italian border and ended up on the top of some hilly lush greenery… granted, they don’t allow you to browse the internet while driving (so i guess no posting while racing around in the Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadster!) ~ this is only one of a series of fascinating options in the “AMG Performance Media” section. But on the internet related side first ~ “AMG Performance Media provides fully-fledged, mobile high-speed internet access: when the car is stationary, the driver and passenger are able to surf the web and install apps.” YES. Your car is a smartphone. Running on Android. You can even scroll through the websites with the usual COMAND Controller (the big dial). This all even turns into a WLAN hotspot! (Which passengers CAN access with their phones, laptops, etc while you’re driving.) Amazing, right? I want my car to come to life with internet! Oh, and in addition, you can also enter Race Mode, have dials showing engine outputs and torque in real time, output your stats to USB, record lap times, and more… It’s 3am sleep time before playing with it all a bit more tomorrow before ending up in Munich, so see some screenshots as well as full details on the next page!
Continuing our exploration of Mini HD Action Cameras (So far there’s the roundup, unboxing the GoPro, and unboxing the Contour+) ~ so here’s an unboxing of the germany based, GoBandit. The packaging is good fun, and they have super playful branding that tells you to Shoot Your Adrenaline! what’s most unique about the GoBandit seems to be its software side ~ tracking GPS, speed, and altitude, there are a variety of skins (perhaps someday customizable?) that can overlay your videos to show the data as well as a map alongside to see where you’ve gone. As far as tech specs, it isn’t the most powerful on the market ~ shooting only 720p video, 5mp camera, 135 degree angle of view ~ but is waterproof up to 1m for 30 min without additional housing, and you can embed your videos complete with navigable maps/altitude/speed graphs! And their GoBandit Community is definitely going for the competitive angle on action cam videos sorting videos by FASTEST and HIGHEST! We’re still playing around with it at the moment ~ but check out the unboxing and details of the camera on the next page!
By far the coolest display i found after trekking out to the farthest hall of all at Frankfurt Auto Show, was BMW’s 7 robot arm displays. Think apple like glossy white and wood and plexi displays with the blue led glow… housing 7 robotic arms and touch screens waiting for you to poke and prod and stare in wonder as they demonstrated their various technologies. Granted, most were being poked by everyone from kids to adults and few had any idea what was being demonstrated, but everyone was trying to see what they could do to get the arms moving… SO beautiful, i have lots of pics and videos of them in action for you on the next page!
There are so many approaches one could take to a mashup ~ for whatever reason mine tends to be start with an evil mwuahahaha kind of mad scientist kind of laugh in my head, followed by trying to figure out what fun items around me might fit together. In this case, 2 of the new Plumen bulbs arrived - “the world’s first designer light bulbs” (So gorgeous! But simply hanging them from a regular light to show off their fun shape didn’t seem like enough!) ~ and i’d been playing with lightbulb fixture connectors/splitter/plugs (and wondering how big of a tree of them i could make with lots of bulbs at the ends!) ~ and there was the Blue Lounge Mini Dock that allows your iphone/ipad/ipod to stay off the ground when charging… and when you put them all together ~ along with a simple ikea lamp base… i ended up with this fun iPhone Charging Lamp! Where the bulbs are as much a part of the lamp as the rest! Something almost antler like about the bulbs viewed this way ~ and rather mesmerizing as it lights up a room ~ perfect little stand to charge the iPhone, light the room, and control my music from it as the phone streams to speakers over airplay… so iphone charging DJ lamp? Take a peek at more of the silliness on the next page!
The Mutewatch is here! Well the first batch coming in to the US landed at A+R, and during Fashion’s Night Out, Andy had me over to do the honors of unboxing with him! I’m sure you’ve seen the video by now of this magical swedish watch that is MUTE ~ visually and audibly. A flick of the wrist or the slightest caress and it will show you the time. Swipe with the finger to start changing modes. Pinch to delete an alarm… an alarm which is ALSO mute ~ and will vibrate to wake you… Beautiful packaging, it will definitely make for a fun and unexpected gift! Take a peek at the details on the next page ~ and the video to catch you up on how it all works too!
If you recall, i’ve been a bit research obsessed with mini-HD-action cams ~ and while i have a GoPro, the Contour+ was the one i was waiting for… First impression, i’m impressed with the Contour+ ~ nice packaging, solid chunk of hardware, and the 1080p video quality with GPS and bluetooth connection to both iphone and android devices as monitors are great (though a bit finicky to get connected at times) ~ while this and a few other toys just got acquired for some more playful projects coming up this week, wanted to take a moment to share the unboxing with you to get a first look at what’s included (and you know i’m a sucker for simple matte black boxes with crisp graphics) ~ so check it out on the next page, and more soon as i start playing with it more and comparing it to my GoPro… so far it already has me wishing my GoPro was more aerodynamic and had apps to let my phones be the preview monitor… anyhow, to the unbox on the next page!
p.s. Unboxing occurred while famished at lunch at Father’s Office.
When i wake up to an email that is like “Charging Glass? USB? I kind of want it.” and the link goes to a TOOTHBRUSH. I pop up in bed to pay attention. Sonicare’s new DiamondClean USB 5 mode rechargeable sonic toothbrush… beyond on the minor tweaks here and there that improve on my brushing… let’s talk accessories. How will any normal CUP compare to this magical charging GLASS? That yes, you can also use like a glass to rinse with. But more importantly, it looks nicer on your sink than having that charger for it to dock in to! More natural. What a nice user experience shift… also while on the go (or at your desk, or in your car, or when you forget your charger and just let it share with your ipad, etc) USB charging travel case! So its the accessories, and the laughable product shots with models that have me half awake and curious about this new toothbrush… or dreaming about how to convert my charger into a glass… see more pics on the next page!
Just launched today ~ Bluelounge MiniDock! This magical little contraption means you can now charge your Apple gadgets directly from the wall socket, saving counter/floor space and cables. Perfect for hotels, sitting in airport lounges, bedside charging… you name it! As usual with Bluelounge the product feels great in your hands, the details are perfectly simple ~ as the press kit cover says “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler,” quoting Albert Einstein. Take a peek at the unboxing as well as examples of it in use (and video!) on the next page!
Love this Robo Mimicry from Shawn Sims + Karl Willis at CMU. There’s something magical about those huge robotic arms we always run into in manufacturing plants ~ big bright colors, mesmerizing to watch them assemble, paint, and do just about anything more powerful and precise than a human can… consistently… but there’s a lack of the fluidity and possibility within them… and since Shawn Sims showed me what initially looked like lightwriting pics on his iphone that were already visually mesmerizing… i was even more pulled in upon realizing they were 1) created by those awesome robotic arms 2) they were mimicking in z-space what a human had initially shown it through moving a hand around naturally… and using a Kinect as it’s eye…
The playful potential of taking the precise, programmable motions and actions of these robotic arms ~ and exploring their artistic and more “human” or organic motions ~ opens up a whole world of robotic lightwriting graffiti, painting, or a synchronized visual display (whether multiple robotic arms in one location, or across the globe) ~ the ability to explore ways that others may interact or control these robotic arms and have beautiful visual/motion captured results just send my head spinning with ideas… and perhaps that’s exactly why Shawn and i are teaming up for NOTlabs to see where else we can go with this space where art, technology, and culture are constantly overlapping… (While NOTlabs is in quiet incubation mode at the moment ~ feel free to follow us on Twitter as we figure out where we’re headed!) But for now… take a peek at the videos and images of the beautifully organic movements of the awesomely orange ABB4400 robot that is tucked away in CMU’s Digital Fabrication Lab as it fluidly dances and mimics with light on the next page!
Warning: This is totally mesmerizing and addictive, and in screenshotting for this post i lost more time than i’d like to admit exploring the world through their lens.
That being said - check out Rorschmap by James Bridle ~ a playful use of the Google Maps API, creating kaleidescopic views of the world… you can flip from satellite to street map view, type in any location you desire, spin it around, zoom in and out… or just press GO! in the top right corner and let it do it’s thing… or be your screensaver. And trust me, it is a time suck! So fascinating seeing how places you know and love or want to visit are… see some screenshots (and see if you can recognize some of the spots i picked) on the next page!
On surprising Comic-con discoveries, i had a great chat with the LA based, PenGo. Their latest tablet apps for painting/drawing and their new Brush Pen with three swappable tips (thick, thin, and brush!) were available to demo before launch, and they are more impressive than any others i’ve played with! As you can see in the pic above, they’ve managed to create Wacom-like pressure based sensitivity in their latest version of their app which hasn’t been released yet. It was such a tease to get to play with their app and brush without being able to buy it yet! The ability to draw and doodle was incredibly fun! Take a peek at their newest product the Brush Pen on the next page… and keep an eye on their site for the official product launch!
On awesome tech + hotel collaborations, latest one i’m loving is the Ace Hotel NY and Google teaming up to put Chromebooks in EVERY room and in the hands of lobby folks to experience them throughout their visits. Sure it’s great that they provide them for use both in and out of the hotel throughout your stay, but even cooler? The custom felt cases designed by Ace x Google that they come in! AND the Superfuture powered “Ace Hotel New York Field Guide” they’ve created as well! And bonus? “For guests, we’re laying out an extra gift: an Ace x Google designed notebook - with real paper - wearing a John Milton quote from 1634.” So whether you’re a guest staying at the Ace, or just hanging out for some Stumptown in the lobby - feel free to ask to borrow a Chromebook next time you’re in there! And take a peek at all the fun little details of this collab ~ all the details from the case to the guide are on the next page as experienced in one of the lovely Ace Hotel NY lofts!
The latest intervention by Kyle McDonald is causing quite a stir… with the Secret Service (and Apple?) - People Staring at Computers. It’s exactly what it sounds like ~ and not so different from what i’m seeing (and looking like) now as i co-work over vidchat. All of those moments when he or i are lost in our work or other windows, there’s that fixated stare that glazes over us all as the screens suck us in… As for Kyle’s project ~ the most interesting aspect is HOW and WHERE he got the images.
So if you happened to wander into an Apple store in NY last week, odds are you may have stumbled right into his exhibition. As you played with one of the machines, you might have a moment where the computer took your picture, showed it to you by fading your image in full screen, and the proceeded to show you those others than came before you. A selection of the pics were published to the People Staring at Computers tumblr, as well as a little video documenting the intervention/exhibition. While it clearly brings up issues of privacy and legality ~ i love the way it shifts our perspectives to see how computers see US ~ and it ain’t pretty. Are all our screens making us zombies? Apparently… So flip that camera on and perhaps start capturing what YOU look like when working/staring away unknowingly at your screens, it may surprise you! Check out the video and more info on the next page!
Almost exactly a month ago ~ i shared a peek into my insane days in Pittsburgh with the Toyota Ideas for Good teams ~ a combo of Toyota, Saatchi & Saatchi, Deeplocal, and CMU folks to name a few ~ making the ideas of winners to apply Toyota technologies to other purposes ~ all in the name of GOOD! The ambitious weekend of going from ideation to fully functioning prototypes was one of the most inspiring whirlwind trips i’ve had the pleasure of being pulled into.
So as a recap ~ what have you seen so far? The ROLLERCOASTER Deeplocal made from prius parts! Day 1 chaos! Adventures with the Firetruck! And if you recall ~ throughout the amazing experience, i found myself dancing around the various film crews doing their thing, constantly shuffling to stay out of shots while sneaking a few of my own, till i realized my shots were ultimately documenting their process! So finally, here it is… the awesome recap video to tie that weekend together that Slim Pictures did a great job on. And for a bit more silliness? More sneak peeks at the inspiring weekend… See it all on the next page…
Technology is AWESOME. I love that moment where it becomes SO easy for just about anyone to capture things we couldn’t even fathom/experience fully without it… like all these tiny everything-proofed action cams that are becoming more and more easily available and create incredible imagery/video ultimately reminding us how amazing humans are… or mounted to things like RC flying magines to create incredible aerial flyover vids of Venice Beach. Why tradeoff between living the action and capturing it on camera? With these Mini HD action cams, you can capture and even stream your activities live and in HD. There’s something for surfers, divers, cyclists, drivers, and just about any other use if you get creative! Whatever your activity, they make a mount for it and a housing tough enough to withstand it. So grab a cam, a mount and get out there! See some of our most enticing finds on the next page!
It has definitely been a car themed month? But what more can i expect when i put a one month travel ban on myself? Inspiration comes through finding other toys to keep me running around a bit… more locally! I played with the Acura MDX recently, and after that i couldn’t help noticing EVERY time an Acura came through a shot while watching Thor! Perfectly timed with all of this fun ~ the Acura/Thor press kit designed by Dead As We Know It (also behind Kraken, NotVentures and more!) arrived! Beautiful, playful designs for everything from branded Pulse Smartpen to sugar cube and scorpion in jars, keys, switches, Rorschach test, and more… all disguised as a playful S.H.I.E.L.D. Assessment Kit. The Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division - you know, that marvel government agency that deals with superheroes?) Being a perfect excuse for yet another Car Unboxing, take a peek at the kit, the components, and Acura MDX details on the next page!
One can’t deny that delicious room service is a fantastic luxury to wake up to in a hotel. Well, with our new Tasteologie features, i sent our editor, Jackson, to the newly opened Mondrian SoHo in New York for their press staycation… and we found they do breakfast deliciously! You can take a peek at the sketches and initial looks at the Mondrian Soho in our previous post. One feature takes a look into breakfast in the green garden like space of their Imperial No. Nine restaurant… the second feature takes you inside the room - and the in-room first gen iPad, on which you can do everything, including order breakfast! Delicious and gorgeous, check them out here.
Amazing. Justine has has me laughing so hard with this latest London discovery of hers at Selfridges! Check out part one of her adventures below!
A WHALE RODEO! and a black light lit aquarium of confiscated coral! It’s hard not to love the new campaign, Project Ocean at Selfridges a huge collaboration between the renowned department store, the Zoological Society of London and more than 20 environmental and conservation groups “to celebrate the beauty of the ocean, highlight the issue of over-fishing, help us all understand the threats to the ocean and make positive choices about the right fish to buy and eat.” This is one of a series of posts on the exhibition, which runs from 11 May - 12 June 2011.
Both the Whale Rodeo and Ultralounge are located downstairs in the home section of the store. The Ultralounge houses a large quiet, cinema room with a large screen showing video footage of the ocean. It’s dark walls are filled with small aquaria containing beautiful corals on loan from the aquarium at ZSL and are specimens which have been confiscated from traffickers at Heathrow airport. So pretty! It is also home to a cute shop selling goods whose proceeds support ocean conservation.
The Whale Rodeo is located just opposite the Ultralounge and yes you can give it a ride. More pics and a video of its operators who very obliging demonstrated for you on the next page! Seriously, you have to see this robotic beast in action…