In the part of the world I live green space is at a premium. If you are fortunate to find a small bit of grass to sit on you risk sitting on dog poo. So the Wiesengluck astroturf blanket that folds up and hides around your messenger bag seems quite appealing, sad, and funny all at the same time. Any product that can instill all those emotions and be useful is a success.
Stitchories, by Katherine Wakid from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, “is a digital quilt—a cotton blanket with a built-in computer that can upload photos and record spoken narratives—combines high technology and cozy craft to encourage communication between teens and their elders.”
While I think people may be wrong in assuming that the “greatest generation” and young people wont coonect via the communication metaphors of today, just look at geriatric1927 on You Tube, I do appreciate people embedding these metaphors into different forms. Forms that may allow communication more comfortable and mobile! From ID Online.
From core77: “Aiptek’s My Note digi-notepad can be taken anywhere, to record notes, doodles or any other info that you need captured to upload onto your compy via USB. The device features an approximate 20-hour battery life and is predicted to retail around USD$150.” As might be expected, Windows only.
Aiptek is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of number of Hand Writing, Digital Video, Wireless Communication and Opto-Electronic technologies products. Based about a 5 minute drive from my studio, Aiptek was previously known to me as a low cost option in PocketDV cameras. Though the My Note digi-notepad looks great I would be weary of their software support. Software (drivers) tend to be one of the weakness’s of companies such as this.
The paperless office is still light years away. I regularly find myself having to carry to meetings paper documents of all sorts (as I am sure everyone does), documents most of which are important enough not to be folded, crimped, or frayed by carrying them in bags that treat paper as an afterthought. Though a bit feminine for my tastes the Audrey File Tote fills the need for a sturdy and protective case to lug around your papers. Looking more like a designer handbag, it carries and organizes your documents in five durable pockets. Available in black and white for $48.00US.
If you are tired of paying exorbitant prices for mp3 players with cheap tech. then (albeit with beautiful form factors) why not build your own with the ultimate in geekcore, the Sakura open source MP3 player kit.
For around $30 in parts and a good amount of patience, you can have a completely open source and hackable mp3 player ready to go. It can be modified to accept serial commands, be embedded in an art project, used as the voice of your next smart talking robo-sidekick, or filled with music and used as is. Put in whatever size card you want, up to the theoretical limit of the MMC format! All the source and schematics are here for free as part of the Creative Commons. I have kits available if you don’t feel like scavenging for the parts yourself.
Adesso recently introduced a new usb mouse which may offer a good combination of precision and size for you mobile workers. Not an earth shattering announcement for sure but I am always interested in new input devices for my Powerbook. The BlueIce USB Optical Mouse features 800 dot per inch resolution and a left and right button plus a clickable scrollwheel. If you like your tech. to light up you will be pleased to know that the scrollwheel features an internal LED that lights up blue. It comes with a 4.5-foot cable and measures 2.3 x 4 x 1.25 inches. Priced at $17.99US.
About.com has an informative guide for buying you child’s next school backpack. One commonsense tip is to remember to not overload your child’s bag. I’ve seen kids here carrying more books to school than I could handle comfortably.
Recent studies have shown that 64% of children suffer from back pain. Most cases can be traced to overloaded or ill fitting backpacks or other school bags. Learning to load, wear and use a backpack properly is important and so is making sure the backpack distributes the load efficiently. Here are the key features to look for in a child’s backpack.
This looks like a fun way to carry around your laptop. The Monster Laptop Laptop Sleeve are handmade and available in four different colors. Perhaps ideally suited for outside the boardroom these fun sleeve inject a bit of humour and colour into what is usually a fairly boring and functional case. As each one is individually made you can expect a 7-10 day wait prior to being shipped. $65.00US from Barry’s Farm.
While most of us would rather a nicely padded sleeve, ‘do-it-yourselfer’ Voxphoto sewed a laptop sleeve out of a soft pocket teeshirt.
End result: a soft pouch with three compartments, plus a pocket for the power brick. Keeps the dirt off your shiny white laptop and confuses potential thieves.
It’s time to get back to basics and get rid of the over abundance of features. Give us a mobile phone that acts just like a … phone. A mobile phone with amazing battery life, great voice quality and reception, good UI, and a decent form factor (I do like mp3 ringtones).
Motorola recently released the MOTOFONE as a way to reach customers who may have only just begun to “explore” mobile technology. “The need for communication is growing and the demand for cost-effective phones keeps increasing.” Kudos to Motorola for creating a phone that actually works as one might expect, and it’s not just a product for the developing world.
It features a high-contrast screen viewable in a variety of lighting conditions, a cleaned up UI with icon-based navigation and a high volume speaker. The basics that matter to us all.
It’s hard to keep track of all the great small specialty shops producing quality gear these days (thats why you might turn to sites like this). R.e.load messenger bags have a near cult like following in Japan and have some of the most unique set of bags available for those of us looking for gear that can handle the rigors of our mobile lifestyle. My favourite is the civilian messenger. Add a Philly Laptop Sleeve and you can take your laptop in safety. The Civilian is 13″H x 18″W x 7″D and the base material is durable cordura. While the stock bags look great what really sets these bags apart is the extensive customisation that they will do for you – colours and custom stitched designs (on the flap) included. If customising is too much for you they have a large gallery of custom stock designs that you can purchase. Prices start at $100US for the Civilian and go up up up.