Tips and tricks: Convert anything to just about anything

February 5th, 2007
convertor

Converting files from one format to another is a necessity and you don’t need me to tell you that. A few years ago, software programs that were converting WAVs to MP3s, AVIs to MPEGs,were pretty much popular, although their abilities were limited to just a few features and not to mention the low format support.

Today, they do have some serious competition, and I am going to present you the most reliable options. The main advantage of what I’m going to present is that you do not need to download nor buy any software. They’re mostly free and accessible via your web browser. Some projects may be still in the beta stage of development, but I can assure you that everything goes safe and sound. Try them out yourself, and feel free to share opinions.
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World’s smallest printers

February 2nd, 2007

They’re powerful, they’re cool and they are the smallest printers ever made. The perfect choice for traveling, these little gadgets are not expensive as it may seem. In fact, they’re quite affordable, and they will definitely match your portable notebook. They’re all developed by PrintDreams along with their patented technologies, RMPT lite and RMPT full.
Feel free to check them out. I can fully guarantee they’ll make great presents.


printer3

The Xyron Design Runner is probably world’s coolest creative tool. The first printer from the series, running their RMPT lite technology, the little printer is is a cordless, battery operated, handheld device that allows creative users to print a large variety of letters, shapes, icons, WordArt, borders and phrases directly into their projects. Creative users appreciate the fact that it is possible to print directly in media types that would never fit into a conventional printer device, thus allowing exceptional flexibility. There’s no need of a computer, wires or complicated download processes. The Xyron Design Runner retails somewhere around $160.


printer2

The Whooosh is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2007 and it’s expected to be the coolest printer device. Using PrintDreams’ RMPT full technology, this will be the ideal tool to complement common drawing activities and make them even more fun and creative than ever. Users will be able to print out their favorite movie characters, figures, animals and much more directly in drawing books or other surfaces no matter format or size. Kids can also create their own art and uploaded to empty memory cards through an optional USB memory card burner accessory. The expected price will be around $150.


printer1

The PrintBrush is the smallest printer ever made that can print full size format (A4 or letter size). Featuring the RMPT full technology, this gadget is expected to launch within one year from now. It will retail around $200 and in many ways, it will be even better than stationary printers or other so called “mobile” printers. For example, it will be possible to print directly in notebooks or other media that would never fit into a conventional printer device. It will also be completely silent allowing you to print during ongoing meetings, etc. On top of all that, no wires, no cables, no mess.

I’m looking forward to try and closely review at least one of these little gadgets.


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The Eclipse Phone – The phone that can be cool without gadgets.

January 28th, 2007
eclipse-small.JPG

Yes, it is cool, despite the fact that it doesn’t rely on gadgets, and stuff that we seem to rely on nowadays. The only bad thing is that it’s not real, yet. It is the product of an ingenious designer called Rune Larsen. If the name rings a bell, he is the same person that designed the Tiny phone – the one not much larger than a toothpick. But, despite the earlier version, this is much more realistic when it comes to building it. There’s much more room for the battery, microphone, antenna, and the other essential stuff you can find inside a phone.

According to the inventor, the phone is equipped like a 1996 one (I wish I had one of these back in 1996). It is 5.5 centimeters tall closed, and 9 centimeters open.

In a world dominated by the arrival of the iPhone, I must say that, given the choice, I’d buy one of these in a heartbeat, just for the fun of having it. Here are some other photos of the older phone (Tiny Phone), and the Eclipse Phone. (click to enlarge).

tiny.jpg tiny2.jpg eclipse1.jpg eclipse2.jpg


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The $25,000 computer mouse

January 24th, 2007
diamondflower

Now here’s a little gadget that aims directly to those that really have money to spend. However, that doesn’t keep us, mortals, to have a look. What you can see in the picture is the world’s most expensive mouse, that costs ~$25,000. The retail price is set at 18,600 Euro.


The product is called the Diamond Flower and is being produced by Pat Says Now. You might be wondering why a simple concept as a computer mouse can be so expensive. Well, 59 brilliants are scattered all over the mouse’s surface. Also the main surface is made out of 18-K white gold. Out of the 59 stones I mentioned, one is about 4mm in diameter, practically doubling the others.

After reading a few details on the producer’s website, I noticed that technically speaking, the gadget is just a plain old computer mouse. Has 3 buttons, a scrolling wheel, PS/2-USB connectivity PC or MAC. What I’m showing you in the picture is the scattered version of the mouse, but its name (Diamond Flower) comes from another designed version of the product, one whose brilliants are arranged to form a flower silhouette.

Personally, even if I’d have that much money to practically throw away, I wouldn’t spend them on this kind of a gadget. What about you?


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Keyboard that glows in the dark

January 21st, 2007
glowinthedark

Now you can light up your Quake sessions between friends. I’m going to review the Zippy EL-610 USB keyboard. In its essence, it’s a notebook style keyboard, with a low keystroke and with a special feature. The buttons will glow in the dark, lightening up your keyboard when it’s dark in the room. As you can see in the picture, the light has a blue nuance.

Behind the 88-translucent keys is a flat sheet of electro-luminescent material – the same stuff that puts the glow in “Indiglo” which lights up watch faces around the world.

Like I mentioned, the keyboard should be connected to your USB plug, to receive power, and its main purpose is usage in environments where there is insufficient light. Being only 18mm thick and weighting less than 500g, it would be a great asset to any travel bag. No software is required for this keyboard to work on Windows 2000 or WindowsXP platforms which have at least one USB port free.

The electro-luminescent light generates no heat, but it creates a little imperceptible buzz sound that you hear when you’re a first time users. By using it everyday on a regular basis you finally get to automatically ignore the sound.

Despite my thinking, they’re not expensive. The cheapest I’ve found goes up to ~$45 and the most expensive retails around $60.


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Crazy USB devices

November 30th, 2006

I have to admit that the idea for this post came from this article by kNox. I knew that there’s a really wide range of devices that can use USB but I wanted to find out just how crazy can they get, so here goes:

I know you’re going to hate me because this article is going to be all pictures and no text but you HAVE to see for yourself in order to believe. First we’ll talk about USB drives for they are the most common Usb device that people tend to enhance.

Take for example this ‘Barbie’, all you have to do is pop her head off and there you go, instant USB drive.

usb1.jpg

Or the iDuck from Solid Alliance:

usb4.jpg
A quite realistic thumb:
usb3.jpg

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