Friday, November 16, 2007

Maintaining An Election

As the presidential election draws closer, the pressure to learn about each candidate and figure out who might be the best choice grows. A new site, Glassbooth, is aiming to make this task a little bit easier by doing all the research for you. The first step in the process is a quiz, in which users have 20 points to assign to major issues (e.g. the environment, Iraq, immigration and healthcare) in accordance to their importance to the user. Once the point values are assigned, a set of questions based on those issues most important to the user appear. Users rate each question on a scale ranging from “strongly opposed” to “strongly support.” Additionally, certain phrases or terms in each question link to explanations on Wikipedia, which in turn offer more information on concepts such as "privatized social security", "guest worker program" and "unilateral", which help users to make more informed decisions. Once these questions are answered, Glassbooth presents the three candidates whose campaigns most closely embody the user’s thoughts and opinions, broken down by the issues they selected in the beginning. A click on each issue reveals the candidate's position on that issue, as well as links to quotes and videos depicting the particular candidate’s stance on the issue. Users curious to know where other candidates in the running stand in terms of their views can choose from a fourth candidate drop down menu to see the results. With so much information out there, the task of learning about every candidate and where they stand on important issues can be overwhelming. Often times, the issues themselves are confusing and make the decision of who to vote for even more difficult. By aggregating information, and harnessing the educational power of the Internet, Glassbooth acts as an efficient, unbiased filter. I expect this site to generate major buzz among people young and old.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He's Just Not That India

You know the drill: A quick call to customer service gets you some guy with a thick foreign accent living across the International Date Line. But answering your warranty question isn’t the only thing that’s being handled overseas these days. Allow me to introduce you to TajTunes, an over-the-phone singing telegram service straight from India. It’s the brainchild of a Cambridge guy who once had to visit the country to study — you guessed it — outsourcing. Here’s how it works: Pick the song (birthday, get well, I heart you) and the recipient (mom, S.O., fave trend forcaster), and a lyrical stylist will call on the selected day (except weekends) and belt out the quirky tune. They’ll even send the call in an e-mail, so the performance can be saved for all posterity. Which may make the $5 price tag hard to believe. But that’s what happens when you go straight to the outsource.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dish Water

Designer Erdem Selek came up with this smart design, called the Planter Dish Drip, which waters a houseplant with water from hand-washed dishes. The plastic dishrack can hold several dishes at once, though obviously not as many as your everyday dishrack. Still, it's a smart design that lends a whimsical, green touch to an everyday chore, which is something I can definitely support. While this design is still just that—a design—I'll let you know if and when it hits stores.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knock Your Socks Off

While speculation about Sex and the City movie plot lines continue to run hot, one thing is for certain - Carrie Bradshaw's fashion sense remains as eccentric as ever. If I were a betting man I would say that thigh high socks are set to become the next big fashion trend, especially once everyone sees Sarah Jessica Parker wearing them in multiple looks in the new Sex and the City movie. Are thigh high socks the new leggings? I think its only a matter of time before UrbanOutfitters and American Apparel start knocking off this look...

Poster Service

No room for a lamp on your cluttered desk? Hang a picture of one on the wall that actually shines light, instead. Irish designer Finn Magee has created a pair of posters that not only depict everyday objects, but retain their functionality. Embedded LEDs in his "Flat Light" poster lets light shine from an image of a desk lamp, while a seven-segment LED display displays the time on the image of an alarm clock in "Flat Time". More interesting than most other clocks I've seen, and a definite conversation starter. (Note: there is no purchase info on Magee's site, but there is a Contact page in case you're interested.)

Edible Cocktails

Looks like the days of doing jello shots from small paper cups could be going the way of rotary phones and palm pilots. The newest things hitting the club and bar scene are edible cocktails - gelled "drinks" made into miniature works of art you eat like hors d'oeuvres. Buzz inducing hors d'oeuvres.According to a recent LA Times article, the inspiration for these jiggly, solid cocktails came from the Bar du Plaza Athénée on Avenue Montaigne in Paris, where "slices of layered jelly shots are served on clear glass plates along with long wooden skewers" used to eat them. Chefs and bartenders took notice, and are busy inventing new and creative ways to serve classic drinks. And the possibilities are endless.If you've ever been on a college campus you remember making jello shots by adding gelatin to vodka (or grain alcohol for those of you who really wanted to get the party rolling), pouring the mix into a cup or mold, and setting in the fridge overnight. But really creative mixologists are going a step further. In the LA Times piece they mention a jellied gin and tonic served at Tailor in NYC by bartender Eben Freeman. He serves it with frozen lime chips, sprinkled with "'tonic' powder, a concoction of baking soda, citric acid and powdered sugar, for a fizzy-on-the-tongue effect." A kind of mad scientist of the drink world, he's also working on marshmallow and cereal based cocktails. Other bartenders are experimenting with layered drinks and suspending marinated fruit in the mixture.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Human LCD

Using color-coordinated clothing rather than cards, soccer fans in South Korea have been creating amazing synchronized routines in stadium stands. Apparently, they borrowed the technique from their northern neighbor, only without all the socialist propaganda. One assumes they eventually find time to watch the games. Watch another cool video here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Get "Sets" - Go!

Just in case shopping online looking at lots and lots of stuff you desperately want but can't afford isn't fun enough, I have news for you. A new application called Polyvore enables users to grab images from around the web (and any images others have uploaded) and create "sets" -- ensembles of individual items, arranged, for instance, to be a complete outfit. The sets can be viewed by others, commented on, rated, shared, embedded, etc. Clicking on any item brings up information about it and a link back to the original page on which it appeared. It's basically a social network for shoppers. And if a user buys shoes from a linked source, say, Amazon, Polyvore gets a revenue share. Also, the application can be used on Facebook, so everyone can see how cool your dream wardrobe is. (Your dream wardrobe that you can't ever really own, because it costs so damn much.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Weigh Too Funny

For the weight conscious with a sense of humor along comes the hilarious Celebrity Weighing Scales ($50). You'll no longer weigh in pounds and inches, rather you'll compare your weight with the names of celebrities, historical figures and a few calorifically-challenged fictional characters. From Mr. Ed to Goldie Hawn, dieting has never been this much fun.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

High-Techno Club

A new nightclub in London, twentyfour: london, is designed to appeal to the high-tech "wouldn't it be great if holodecks were real" side of the population: it has walls that can change and morph into whatever you want them to be, via projection technology. A canyon? You got it. A beautiful beach at midnight? You got that too. Want to ogle models strutting the catwalk? No problem. You can even bring in your own videos and pictures, so it really is "whatever you want." Other features the high-tech nightclub offer include drinks that notify the bartender when they're empty and interactive experiences like a virtual koi pond.

Turning Out Hits

Music boxes came to prominence in the 19th Century, but their history dates back a few hundred more years. You see, there was this bell ringing dude who got tired of all the hard work. So, he decided to engineer a device to make his life a little more hip. It was a cylinder with metal studs. Each stud (as the cylinder rotated) operated cams which rang the bells. Further research determined that the first song played on this new system was the theme to Super Mario Brothers!
There are no pins, but a strip of paper, which you punch yourself. That's right, you punch all your own songs! No more listening to "Memory" - it's time for Koji Kondo's greatest hits (the genius behind many of Mario's and Link's most memorable themes). I'd love to chat more, but it's time for me to compose a lullaby for Princess Peach. Click here to download a PDF blueprint of the Super Mario Brothers theme. Cause sharing is caring...

Stirrup A New Look

So there's been buzz that the stirrup is back, but I'm still convinced that it's all coming from the denim companies, trying to get us to buy another new pair of jeans. Take a good, hard look at these 7 for All Mankind Stirrup Jeans, $168, and ask yourself: is the stirrup jean really, truly going to make a comeback? I sure hope not, but I wanted to give you a leg up, I mean stirrup!

Oh and apparently Prada thinks men will be wearing stirrup pants too this season. All together now.. WTF!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

About Time

No one ever says, "It's 11:43" when you ask for the time. They'll say, "It's quarter till", or "Almost noon". (Or in this office, "lunchtime" as they walk out the door.) The designers over at InsightOutsight in the UK thought it was about time someone designed a clock that tells time the way we do. Not with exact numbers, but with "rough time". So they designed one. The clock rounds off the time and gives you a phrase instead of a number. Any time from :41 to :49 is considered "quarter to", :50 to :59 is considered "nearly", etc. They called it, fittingly enough, About Time.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Weigh To Go

The Ricardo Beverly Hills Solutions Travel Luggage Collection has recently won the Product Innovation Award, an award that recognizes excellence in design, development, and function. This luggage collection features a built-in digital scale to weigh itself and its contents. This new luggage collection directly addresses one of the major problems faced by today's travelers: costly airline overweight luggage penalties and the related inconvenience of unnecessary delays. Travelers can pack their bags and know that they have not exceeded the standard airline weight limitation. All together now: Why didn't I think of that?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Smoke Out

There are a lot of places people are prohibited from smoking these days. Trains, planes, elevators, restaurants, offices, and so on and so forth — the list is much shorter if you look at where you can smoke than where you can't. Crown7's electric cigarettes, according to the company, will let you ignore those no smoking signs. Coming in cigarettes, cigars and fancy pipes, Crown7's products use cartridges sold by the company to deliver you a little nicotine love absolutely anywhere you like. No fire, no offensive smoke — only harmless vapor. Good luck trying to explain that to the bouncer, though. The cigar is the cheapest at $65, the cigarette is $100 and the pipe's $150. You'll have to buy cartridges at $10 for five, but at least the devices use rechargeable batteries. Sure, a pack of smokes costs quite a bit these days, but really all it sounds like you're saving is the time it takes you to get outside. That is, if you really could get away with smoking one of these where you're not supposed to...

Money Changes Everything

The five-dollar bill is getting a face lift! Uncle Sam is unveiling a new design for the $5 bill, to make it harder to counterfeit. Click here to read all about this new bill...

No Strings Attached

JumpSnap is the first computerized ropeless jump rope. Great for those with low ceilings, the JumpSnap electronically tallies calories burned and number of jumps based on your age, weight and height. The user can increase the difficulty by adding weights to increase the difficulty. Look for these to be popping up at Gyms and Retailers very soon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jump On The Soundwagon

Soundwagon is a tiny VW bus that will play all your records. Just set down Soundwagon on a record and it plays your music as it drives - it's got a needle on the bottom and a battery-powered speaker in the back. Probably not a great idea to use with your more precious vinyl, but very cool nonetheless.

Uber Cool

Things are running uber-smoothly for, the sophisticated new social networking and media sharing community that I clicked through several months ago. The sleekly designed, user-friendly site offers innovative functions and features currently unrivaled by other popular social networking sites. Not only can users discover, publish, collect, store and share all forms of content (e.g. art, photos, videos, blogs and bookmarks) all in one place but the site also provides them with capabilities to consolidate, manage and store profiles, pages and media from YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, and Facebook all in one place. In other words, Uber is a virtual library where users can store their digital footprints.

R S (He) P

ManVite is a new Guy's night invation for men service where guys can invite friends over to any occasion of their choice with a few simple clicks. ManVite lets you enter in all of your friends’ eMale addresses, choose an event such as "Drink Beer", "Pickup Basketball", "Hunting" or "Cougar" -- for the man as adroit at picking up mature women as he is bandying about outmoded bro-jargon and then send off the invitations. Once received, your buddies can respond to your 'vite with In/Out/MIA, enter their nickname (already accepted, or vainly hopeful) and tell you whether they thought your attempt passed muster or was "Not Manly: Sack Up and Redo It" which is a totally uncool thing to say, considering how much work you've put into it...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's Worth A Shot

Because everyone needs ice-cold Jägermeister on hand, at all times. Okay, maybe that's stretching it a bit, but the Chilled Shot Machine is a sure-fire way to take your home bar to the next level. It features a simple tap system for less mess, LED illumination to make your liquor shine, and colder-than-ice 15 degree output, to make that bomb go down as smooth as silk. Red Bull not included.

Don't Tase Me, Bro!

A tasing leads to a new slogan. The video of Andrew Meyer's stunt/police tasing during a John Kerry lecture in Florida is ubitquitous, but his screaming "Don't tase me, bro!" will live on long past the newscycle. It's already being called the catchphrase of our time, and here I thought it was "hug it out bitch". You can buy your very own shirt here or here. Also this site just popped up as well. I think this new saying is fanTASEtic!

Turn The Tables

Furniture design’s favorite couple, Form and Function is at it again. The power duo that makes and breaks the barriers of space, has taken on an Umbra face: meet the Magtable coffee table, a sweet little piece that lets you prop up those feet while storing your fashion zines…or any old paper publication, really. This $158 solid wood coffee table is stunning in its simplicity: a slotted surface for spine-up storage of your circulars; its natural coloring makes it all the more unassuming. It’s a table/storage/ottoman thing! Umbra called it exactly what it means. Form and Function agree.

Acoustic(e) Guitars

What’s a proper party without the right accoutrements? Be picky with the invites. Nix those tacky crepe umbrellas. And don’t even think about serving deli ice-in-a-bag. Polish the glasses and slice some limes: You’re serving up cubes made in Fred’s guitar ice trays. Just fill ’em and freeze ’em, and in a few hours, you’ll have ice to entice even the coldest guest.

Pop Your Top

Coca Cola is reportedly working on a self-chilling beverage. The beverage is nothing new, good old Sprite. The insta-cool, though, is cutting edge. Supposedly, once the drink is opened, a mechanism creates ice from the drink and therefore, doesn’t dilute it. Insiders have hinted that the technology will be featured in a new drink called Sprite Super Chilled, which could reach the UK by next year. I think its only a matter of time before all our beverages will have this new technology. Beer fans everywhere rejoice!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Story Of My Quarterlife

MySpaceTV will distribute this new online series called Quarterlife which is about six young adults in a big city who all long for careers as artists. It's like My So-Called Life, except Jordan Catalano happens to be a video blogger. You won't see the first episode until November 11th, but the site should be up next month, serving as a portal for viewers in their 20s trying to find points of entry in creative and professional worlds. Click here to watch a very Zach Braff-ish trailer.

You're A Life Saver

The Life Saver water bottle is a military grade water sanitizer that can make the dirtiest of water drinkable in seconds. The bottle not only filters out bacteria, but also takes care of viruses and water that has been contaminated by fecal matter. The creator, Michael Pritchard, initially came up with the idea after watching victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami in Asia go for days without receiving clean water. There are others, however, that are interested in Pritchard's invention. After showing the bottle off at a defense conference in the UK, Pritchard sold all 1,000 of his $385 bottles in under four hours. Defense experts were impressed with the fact that it could filter 4,000 or 6,000 liters before the filter had to be replaced. An innovation such as this could have a significant impact if it ever reached the consumer market, not only being used as emergency gear, but for camping and travel as well.

Doctor Feel Good

Dr. Whippy is a machine that offers soft scoop ice cream according to the perceived unhappiness level of the customer. By asking you a series of informal questions, the Doctor measures just how sad or stressed or you are by your tone of voice. Based on how unhappy you are, the machine prescribes (er, dispenses) the appropriate amount of your favorite soft serve. This voice/stress analysis system comes courtesy of developer Demitrios Karg but sadly, it's not available for purchase just yet, and there's no word on how much it will cost.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Persol Null

The work of actually designing clothes deservedly gets most of the attention during fashion week, but, in terms of what people will actually be wearing, runway stylists can sometimes have as much impact. While fashion fans debate the relative merits of the fuchsia drop crotch pant or the rosette-laden suit, it appears that the Persol 649 has already been crowned the season's go-to sunglass style, thanks to its appearance on models in several collections, including Rag & Bone (pictured to the left) Yigal Azrouël, and Obedient Sons. Inevitably, some are even calling the model the new Wayfarers. The Italian-made specs boast a timeless Euro panache that recalls a bygone era—and, as with any good pair of shades, they're aspirational. You can get your pair here.

Sale Phone

If you love shopping, and you own a phone, you’ll flip for this trend! Forget going to stores or even shopping online, now you can shop straight from the billboards thanks to a hi-tech new campaign. Just snap a photo of the Semacode on the latest H&M ads, and you’ll have full access to their fashion catalog. The items can be bought from your phone and charged to your mobile’s account.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

'Spokes' Models

Bicycles are quickly becoming a major fashion accessory. This trend is not only for exceptionally good looking women (like Chloe Sevigny pictured above) but for men too. I have seen a lot of pictures of models riding their bikes to and from the tents at New York Fashion Week. To see what I am talking about, scroll through some of Scott's photos on the Satorialist. Also you can read a recent feature about stylish Manhattanites who go around New York shopping on their bikes.

The Neck's Big Thing

Smart. Sexy. Stylish. Enough about me. Meet the newest collection of neckwear from Alexander Olch, Manhattan’s hottest tie maker. Olch started making ties a the grand ol’ age of 18. Inspiration was sourced from his preppy, Upper West Side high school, Collegiate School (the oldest independent school in the United States) and four years at Harvard. For his latest collection, Olch stitches classic good looks with unexpected details. Sure, each piece is handmade with only the finest fabrics (Superfine English Wool). But to set it apart from the competition, Olch introduces materials like soft corduroy, Belgian cashmere, and embellishments such as raised decorative stitching, and patterns just slightly larger than the norm. The result is a refined masterpiece that complements your power suit. Somewhere, Ralph Lauren (who started out as a tie designer) is smiling.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Drink To Your Health

MonaVie is a new berry elixir that's receiving rave reviews from Vogue, Oprah (so it must be amazing) and Playboy for its health benefits. I first heard of MonaVie on New York Magazine's Fashion Week Food Diaries piece. Now I hear Sumner Redstone, at his ripe-old age of 84, practically gets high on this stuff. Redstone is such a fan that he's shared his super-juice with friends such as Bill Clinton, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and Michael Milken. MonaVie, available only online, is a nutritional drink that blends 19 fruits, including the rare Acai berry from the Amazon. It comes packaged in a sultry bottle. MonaVie's patented process preserves the acai berries' live enzymes packed with anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. MonaVie enthusiasts say the anti-oxidant rich juice offers better health and joint pain relief. For skeptics, if nothing else, it's a simple way to consume the USDA daily recommended servings of fruit. One bottle costs $39 to $45, depending on the variety. A box of 28 gel packs costs $90.

A Fish Out Of Water

Unless you're throwing a surprise party for Heathcliff, I personally don't see the appeal of Fishbone Ice Cubes in the shape of fish skeletons but I have been seeing them everywhere. Then again, for only about $10 per tray, I guess I don't have to.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Map Quest

I'm not sure if Miss South Carolina had anything to do with this new trend but I have been seeing a lot of map themed gifts popping up lately. My favorite so far is the Zip Code Puzzle from Firebox. They are unique map-style jigsaws centered on a place of your choice. You send the company the house number, street name and zip code of the area you'd like at the center of your puzzle and they send you a personalized puzzle. Or I suppose you could just opt for one of the Upton inspired shirts like this one or this one with her now infamous speech: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”

Customer Service

An inventor in Nuremberg, Germany has just opened a fully-automated restaurant, Baggers that delivers meals to diners via a gravity-powered rail system. No surly waiters or snobby sommelier, and you don't need to leave a tip for the machine. The kitchen is intalled directly beneath the roof of the multi-story restaurant. Customers order their meals using a touch-screen system that is placed at each table, and the entire restaurant is networked via a computer system. Customers' orders are registered upstairs in the kitchen and a computer in the cellar keeps track of supply stocks. The system also calculates the likely delivery times for drinks and meals at every table and keeps customers informed.

Bookcase In Point

It's rare to see a bookshelf with enough moxie to become the focal point of a room, but that's certainly the case with the Quad Bookshelf. The 47-inch squared bookshelf features a bevy of differently-sized shelves, sized for all different types of media and several colored back panels to add to the awesome asymmetrical design. For even more storage space, separate units can be joined together.

Up To No Good

No Good TV is a new internet television portal making a lot of buzz with its funny, sexy programming that appeals to the young male demographic. Think of it as the E! channel for intelligent fratboys. I say let the No Good times roll...

Virtual Insanity

My Second Life is a new documentary filmed entirely in the online world of Second Life just got bought by HBO; will head to Sundance and possibly the Oscars. The video diary captures the life of Second Life resident Molotov Alva and it created a stir when it debuted earlier this year. The HBO sale marks the first time a movie has gone from Second Life to a mainstream TV channel (first via YouTube, of course). Watch the first episode here. If you are not familiar with Second Life, you've got some catching up to do!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What A Croc

Love them or hate them, the brightly colored foamy clogs lauded for their comfort, anti-microbial properties and amphibious nature is making a move into the clothing category. Croslite, the material which gives Crocs their light, durable, and breathable feel, has been blended with natural fibers to create a breathable, sweat and heat resistant yarn, promising a long life filled with UV exposure and sweat-inducing activity. Dubbed Croslite rt (relaxed technology), the upcoming line will feature men’s and children’s items such as tops, pants, skirts and shorts, with future plans to expand into womenswear. The line is scheduled to hit stores this October.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not So Easy On The Eyes

Now here’s a jewel hot enough to make grown men weep. Literally. This little piece of finger bling doubles as a weapon. The Stunning Ring is not only nice to look it but it is filled with pepper spray (400 times stronger than the average jalapeno) for self protection! This blinged out ring could easliy become your new best friend, particularly if you are out in about in the wee hours of the morning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

House Everything?

Cool concept: a billboard-based house by Polish architecture firm Front Architects. Single-mast design means you can place the domicile just about anywhere and maybe even subsidize it with an ad for Rush Hour 3 on the back.

Put Your Best Faceball Forward

Faceball is the newest sport to come out of the cubicle jungle. The game involves hitting your opponents in the face with a ball. That’s right, Cubicle Connie—it’s time to show your colleagues the stuff you’re really made of! Beyond that, there only a few rules: Players that are seated 10ft (3m) apart take turns hitting each other in the face. You are not allowed to move. Only direct hits count. The official website discourages using medicine or other heavy, hard balls. You can actually buy an “official” Faceball, which is really just a plastic beach ball.

Feathered Hair

Feathers are set to be a huge trend for fall fashions for women. Actually you can find some feather silk screened shirts out there for men if you look hard enough. I have noticed a lot of feathers in women hair lately and think this could be an interesting way to wear the trend. Kate Hudson is pictured sporting the look in the new issue of Harper's Bizarre and Urban Outfitters recently debuted their Feather Hair Combs. What do you think about this approaching trend? Does it ruffle your feathers?

Pownce On It

Just launched at the end of June 2007, Pownce is a microblogging/social networking site created by Digg founder Kevin Rose that has become one of the most talked about new services among the Silicon Alley set. Invitation only at present, invites are being auctioned off on eBay and are highly coveted much in the same way as Gmail invites were upon its initial launch. Users set up a buddy list which they can then send not only short messages (similar to Twitter), but also invitations, photos, music and other files, making it a more exclusive P2P network. Content can be sent to one friend, a custom group of friends, or even the whole list. I imagine that once the service becomes open to anyone, you’ll be hearing even more about it.

Message In The Bottle

There is a huge trend in Alcoholic drinks being geared towards women: there is Karla beer from Germany and Karmi from Poland, and wine from the Netherlands called Sophie & Sophie. Continuing the theme, Heineken is about to soft launch a sparkling cider brew for the fair sex. Christened Charli, the drink combines cider, barley malt and fruit flavors. Although barley malt is one of Heineken beer's main ingredients, Charli is marketed to the 63% of women who, according to Heineken, don't like its main product. The brew is also being presented as an alternative to white wine, the quality of which varies widely at Dutch bars. Charli contains 5% alcohol, has a fresh, fruity flavor and will be sold both bottled and on tap. Like its aforementioned sister sips, the drink is packaged in attractive bottles. Heineken has also gone one step further by creating a svelte and sexy tap for Charli, which should help draw attention to the new brand in bars. Charli will be trialled in 17 bars in Amsterdam and Deventer from this Friday until the end of October, followed by a nationwide launch next summer.

Screen Your Calls

Even more so than in the US, people in Japan are overwhelmingly addicted to text messaging, mainly because making cell phone calls in public is considered extremely rude. However, overcrowded public spaces such as the subway are not always the most private, so it has become common practice to use stick-on cell phone privacy screens which are thin, tinted plastic screens (similar to iPod protectors) that make it impossible to read a cell phone screen from any angle but straight on. While you can currently find a screen for almost every model online with a little searching, I am sure these screens will become standard accessories here in the States very soon. For all you blackberry users out there, here is a screen I found on ebay for under a buck!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Corkscrew With A Twist

A thrilling victory deserves a thrilling wine. So, when the occasion arrives to celebrate and you order that bottle of Veuve Clicquot insist on a temperature check before you uncork. From the brains behind Prologix International comes the VinTemp Infrared Corkscrew, the only patented infrared thermometer capable of telling you the precise temperature of your fave wine or Champagne without popping the cork. Simply hold the tip of the VinTemp against the center of the bottle, press the button, and voilà, the temperature revealed. There’s even a recommended serving temperature chart printed on the side with temperature readings in Fahrenheit or Celsius (for your French girlfriend). Technology 1, Humans 0.

Works Like A Dog

What do you call an electronic toy puppy that grows to full size and learns your name, its own name, and various activities? Why, Puppy Grows & Knows Your Name, of course! Despite the shortage of creativity in the naming department, this plush pooch by Fisher-Price honestly grows (from unknown to unknown dimensions) within a week and can be personalized using the supplied software. What's even freakier is that once the dog is full grown, it can be "reset" to puppyhood over and over again. Not the best toy to teach a child the natural cycle of life, but pretty nifty for just $50.

A Whole New Ball Game

If you’re a frequent live sports or concert attendee, the site of a beach ball bobbing around the crowd is a common vision of community playfulness. The Zygote is a design concept that hopes to improve on the old typical tradition of the non-interactive beach ball. The Zygote is a pressure sensitive community ball that has reactive LEDs that change colors instantaneously when pressure is applied. Throw it in the air, squeeze it, poke it, and the LEDs will make it an interesting experience all its own. Watch a video about it here.