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Archive for July, 2010

Flipboard

July 21st, 2010 David No comments

moz screenshot 10 Flipboard

flipboard Flipboard

Another day, another new app that seems hellbent on proving once again why you dropped $500+ on that shiny new iPad. Flipboard (Free) is a new “social magazine” application that grabs info from your Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as from other sources around the web, and presents them in a magazine-like layout, complete with large images, clean typefaces, and a general panache that goes well beyond the average client — which is making our standalone social apps more than a little nervous. [Credit: Uncrate.com]

Categories: Apple, Apps, ipad Tags:

La Plancha Cast-Iron Griddle

July 21st, 2010 David No comments

plancha cast iron griddle La Plancha Cast Iron Griddle


Whether you’re baking, broiling, frying, or just generally skillet-ing, the La Plancha Cast-Iron Griddle ($80) can come in handy. Made from heavy-duty, evenly-heating cast iron, the La Plancha sports a raised back and sides to keep food from falling off, a 14 sq. in. cooking surface, enamel coating for easy cleanup, and the ability to be used on the grill, in the oven, and on the stovetop, or pretty much anywhere else you can warm the thing up.

Categories: food Tags:

Google Voice – 10 Cool Tips

July 20th, 2010 David No comments

500x google voice splash 05 Google Voice   10 Cool Tips

Earlier this week, Google Voice opened to everyone in the U.S.. The phone management app is great, but even cooler hacks exist just under the hood. Here are our favorite tricks every Google Voice user should know about.

If you’re just signing up for Google Voice, and wondering, in general, what it’s good for, we’ve previously offered our take on whether Google Voice makes sense for you, and how to ease your transition to your new number and system. Google Voice also offers the option to just use it for voicemail and keep your number, but you won’t get use of much of the SMS features touted here. Now, onto Voice’s lesser-known perks and features:

10. Manage Voicemail and Text Messages Through Email

sms over email Google Voice   10 Cool TipsIt’s not a “hidden” feature, per se, but it’s not made apparent that you can have Google Voice send you an email when you get a new voicemail message or a text message—and that you can reply, from your email client, to those text messages. Because they come from a standard txt.voice.google.com, they’re also easy to filter and set alerts for. If you’re a Gmail user, you can also play messages back right in Gmail, and they’ll be marked as listened to in your Voice account. (Original post)

9. Set as Your Skype Caller ID

340x gvoiceandskype 01 Google Voice   10 Cool TipsFree internet calling service Skype is a really cheap way to make phone calls to a landline from your computer. One big downside, though, is those you’re calling probably don’t recognize the caller, and your number might change every time you call. Google Voice set up their servers, though, to allow setting your Google Voice number as a Skype caller ID. Commenter downdb explains the step-by-step process, which generally involves confirming a text message code and waiting for Skype to change your number.

8. Use Your Location to Determine Which Phones Ring

google voice location Google Voice   10 Cool TipsYou can set up time-based rules for your phones in Google Voice—so, for example, your home phone doesn’t ring from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—but not everybody works a regular schedule. Chad Smith, a Wichita-based geek who loves him some Google Voice, set up a clever means of syncing Google Voice with your GPS location, using some PHP scripting and the Locale geo-location app. When you’re away from home, you can have only your cellphone ring. When you’re at home, you can have a VoIP line and your home line ring. If you’re not rocking your own PHP-friendly server space, there’s a somewhat beta-level app in the Market, Google Voice Locations (scan-able QR link here) that accomplishes much the same kind of GPS-aware phone management.

7. Use “Do Not Disturb” to Get Work Done

340x google voice dnd Google Voice   10 Cool TipsIf you’ve managed to make Google Voice your one number that rings all your phones, you can enact a cloak of silence when you really need to get things done by enabling “Do Not Disturb” for a certain amount of time. All your calls go straight to voicemail, and nothing buzzes or plays a ringtone. It would be even nicer if Google could delay your SMS for the same time—that’s often just as deadly a distraction. (Original post)

6. Send Yourself Advanced Voice Memos

True, you could use a digital recorder, or just call your own voicemail, to leave yourself a voice memo about something you need to remember later. But using Google Voice, you can have that voice memo transcribed to text, sent to your Outlook inbox at work, backed up forever in Gmail, and smartly delivered just where you need it. Drew Vogel’s setup sets up his system so that all his other phones don’t ring when he calls himself from one of them, and also gets his note-to-selfs into his Outlook box. Mark Stout’s method sets up a special greeting for when he calls (“Record note now”), then has that message sent first to Gmail, then forwarded to cloud-based memory service Evernote. Mix and match settings from the two, and you’ll feel like you’ve got your own personal assistant that lives in the cloud and only wants to help you remember things. (Original posts: Stout, Vogel).

5google voice thought Google Voice   10 Cool Tips. Upgrade Your Cellphone Voice Plan to Unlimited

Every major U.S. cellular carrier offers some kind of “pick a few numbers, talk with them for free” plan. You know what happens when you make your Google Voice number one of your “friends”? Yep—unlimited free calls on your cellphone. Since everyone gets a unique Google Voice number, it would be hard for AT&SprintRizon-Mobile to start universally blocking Google Voice from your picks. So, for the time being, enjoy living beyond your cellular talk time means through the magic of whatever business plan Google has for Voice.

4. Send Text Messages Through Your IM Client

sms over im Google Voice   10 Cool TipsGoogle Voice’s web site is pretty fast and easy to grasp, and there are a few nifty desktop clients, like the Google Voice AIR app, that make it easy to send messages with a click or two. But you’ve already got an instant communication system set up—instant messaging, in fact—and you can receive, reply, and send SMS through it. GVXMPP hooks together your Google Voice text messaging, your email address, and your IM client, so that when a friend texts you, it shows up as a kind of IM, and when you reply, it goes back to their phone—no extra thought, web tab, or phone reach needed. (Original post)

3. Use Voice on an iPhone, Despite Apple’s Block

google voice iphone Google Voice   10 Cool TipsApple generated a good bit of criticism when it blocked the Google Voice app from its iPhone app store, but doesn’t seem to be backing down any time soon. In the meantime, Google has created a pretty powerful webapp as a partial work-around (that also works on Palm WebOS phones). For even tighter iPhone integration with Google Voice, you can use GVMax. The free app can send Google Voice SMS messages to your IM client or email address, and then notify you through a push message that you’ve got a new message. (Original post)

2. Use Google Voice SMS and Call Shortcuts from Any Phone

340x sms from any phone Google Voice   10 Cool Tips

Google Voice has crafted pretty neat mobile apps for Android and BlackBerry phones that integrate Google’s free SMS messaging. If you’re not on one of those platforms, or don’t have any kind of data plan, you can still hide your “real” number behind Voice and benefit from its inbox. Gina explained how to do it with a standard phone. It unfortunately involves saving a kind of “alternate” number for each contact, but most modern phones make that fairly easy. Luckily, you can also use that alternate number to call your contact through Google Voice.

1. Make and Receive Free VoIP Calls with Your Google Voice Number

340x sipgate mac Google Voice   10 Cool TipsGoogle Voice once integrated nicely with the free, Skype-like Gizmo5 service. Then Google bought Gizmo5 and closed down new registrations. They might come back—heck, Google might offer its own desktop client someday. In the meantime, we’ve detailed how to make free computer calls to any phone with Google Voice, using the free Sipgate service, which gives you your own actual phone number that you can feed to Google Voice as just another phone you can have ring whenever you want.


We’re pretty enchanted with Voice, as you can tell, but there have to be other clever set-ups, third-party tools, and quirky uses we haven’t encountered or written about yet. Know of one? Tell us about it in the comments. [Thanks Kevin]

Categories: Apple, Cool, iPhone, Other, Tech Tags:

Korg Digital Recorder

July 19th, 2010 David No comments

mr2 tripod Korg Digital Recorder

KORG MR-2 DIGITAL RECORDER

Korg has added a new handheld recorder to its MR Series of DSD digital recorders—the MR-2 High Resolution Mobile Recorder. With many new and requested features, the MR-2 is a true workhorse.

As with all of Korg’s MR recorders, the MR-2 records in the ultra-high fidelity DSD format, using a 2.8MHz sampling rate, which captures every sonic detail while preserving the ambience of the original recording location. Using the included AudioGate software, this original datastream recording can be re-purposed into nearly any audio format with minimal fidelity loss. For job-specific recording, the MR-2 can also record in any of the popular multi-bit formats, from MP2 and MP3 up to 24-bit/192kHz.

The MR-2 features a built-in, professional-grade, electret stereo condenser microphone. The mic housing can be rotated toward the front, top or rear of the MR-2 in eight 30-degree steps, offering the freedom to point the mic directly at the target recording source. Two screw mounts allow the MR-2 to be attached to a general-purpose camera tripod for flexible mic-ing and positioning. An additional jack enables connection to a favorite external mic.

An on-board analog limiter, low-cut filter and bass EQ are available to enhance the quality of recordings made on the go. This high-performance analog circuitry remains under accurate digital control, just as in the sophisticated consoles used in professional recording studios.

The MR-2 includes 40 easily-selectable Recording Setups. Each contains its own settings for mic sensitivity, input level, analog limiter, low-cut-filter, and bass EQ. These setups offer optimized settings for a range of recording tasks and environments, such as ensemble performances, solo vocal or piano performance, as well as settings suitable for field recording or documenting meetings. Ten custom user settings can be memorized.

Data recorded on the MR-2 is stored directly to an SD/SDHC card. There is no motor—as would be required for a hard drive—which eliminates any chance of unwanted drive noise being captured and recorded. Over 11 hours of top quality DSD recording is possible using a 32GB card. The USB 2.0 connector (Mini-B connector) allows the recorded data to be transferred to a computer at a high rate of speed.

Portable and easy to operate, the MR-2 features a highly visible 128 x 128 pixel liquid crystal display. The backlight provides great visibility, even in dim locations. Dedicated buttons and switches allow quick adjustments to the input level, Hold on/off, etc. When capturing a musical performance, a convenient multi-mode chromatic tuner is built in. Both battery (AA x 2) and USB power sources allow the MR-2 to be used almost anywhere.

The MR-2 is bundled with Korg’s AudioGate audio format conversion software. In addition to converting files from DSD to multi-bit PCM (or vice versa), this software is an ideal way to edit the recorded material or to manage archival masters. Two different types of dithering are offered, including Korg’s “Noise Shaped Dither (KORG AQUA),” which matches the perceptual response of human hearing.

The highest fidelity recording, right in the palm of your hand

We live in a “point and shoot” world. Every day, people are using their phones and flip cams to take pictures and videos and share them with their friends and fans around the world. As video fidelity improves exponentially, the form factor continues to shrink. The new Korg MR-2 provides the same benefits to the audio enthusiast or recording professional; impeccable fidelity in a hand-held unit that is completely self-contained. Imagine the flexibility of being able to record anywhere at any time with superb audio quality. This – and more – is what the MR-2 can offer.

The MR-2 is an unsurpassed capture device; your audio “butterfly net.” With it, you’ll never miss a musical moment, whether it’s a band rehearsal, performance, concert, your own personal practice – or any event, for that matter. While no other hand held recorder can match the MR-2′s DSD fidelity, recordings made on the MR-2 can be converted into nearly any multi-bit format for use on any project and within any DAW software/hardware platform.

Categories: DJ Tags:

Gilt – The best internet deals!

July 18th, 2010 David No comments

tumblr l57ujhBaGt1qbtirj Gilt   The best internet deals!

Gilt mastered the flash sales model on the internet. But they also mastered selling clothing online. I think the second has as much to do with their success as the first.

No one in online clothing retail has a better user experience: Gorgeous, high resolution photos that show even a shirt’s weave. Descriptive, objective-sounding reviews. Awesome visual design with beautiful fonts, buttons, and interface imagery. Killer zooming. Fit advice — “This style fits true to size” — with the pictured model’s size and measurements. Free, fast shipping, free returns.

Items are actually more appealing than they are in stores. The company takes full advantage of the web’s powers, with convenience, scale, efficiency, information, and interactivity galore.

It’s a really fantastic experience overall, and it’s expanded into all of their properties – Gilt Man, Jetsetter, and now Gilt City. And taken further, the Gilt experience on the iPad is even better: drag to add to cart, zoom into photos with a pinch, etc. It’s the future of shopping.

I think it’s a competitive advantage. With online retailers, the focus hasn’t been on interface, as it is been with other web 2.0 startups. But Gilt realizes that a slick design can change consumer behavior. The combination of low prices and a really thought-out experience made shopping diehards buy exclusively online.

The shopping experience is a major focus at Gilt. Yesterday, I was at July’s NY Tech Meetup. It was a great show. Joshua Schwadron from the startup I worked at last summer, Betterfly, demoed, as did the founders of Jetsetter.

Jetsetter was “incubated” at Gilt. It looks and feels the same. But it’s not a flash sales site. The founders made it clear that the true value proposition that Jetsetter provides to customers is a way to browse travel destinations in a photo-centric, “seductive” way. It’s Gilt for travel, minus the timed-sale hoopla. Hotels and destinations are willing to cut prices because their product isn’t cheapened (in fact, it looks better than ever) and because they’re reaching new customers. Jetsetter’s not meant to be a Hotels.com replacement. It’s meant to be a place to get good travel ideas, to pick from an immersive, interactive catalog of sorts.

It makes so much sense. Web design is completely scalable. It’s totally a fixed cost, and a relatively small one. Gilt is able to simulate the upscale feel of Barney’s — the interior design, the product framing, shelving, and display — on the internet, for a fraction of the cost, while offering prices up to 30% less. Brilliant.

Key to this is a fundamental shift in shopping online. The current leaders of e-commerce are companies like Amazon and Staples (surprisingly the web’s second largest retailer by sales dollars). They focus on search-driven sales. People type in what they’re looking for and checkout. Customers are looking for convenience, free shipping, and low costs.

Slow to pickup, however, have been browse-driven sales. These are the items people don’t know they want. They’re the items that people go to Bloomingdales for. These customers leaf through items and make irrational decisions on a whim. Gilt has been able to replicate that experience. They solved the internet’s browse problem.

More fundamentally, they figured out how to sell non-attribute items online. An attribute item is one that’s easily characterized on paper; in other words, cameras, books, computers, office supplies. Non-attribute items are the physical things that people like to feel before they purchase: apparel, accessories, sunglasses. Gilt realized that to sell non-attribute things there needs to be an initial lure (the prices) combined with an awesome browsing experience.

The result is gold. Gilt’s exploding. It’s branching into new products everyday. They just went into local attractions with Gilt City, which I think is leagues ahead of Groupon’s site.

Gilt wants to be the place for all indulgence purchases. I could see them going into jewelry, handbags, cosmetics, furniture, watches, and other web-neglected verticals.

For some reason, no one’s knocking them off. Do they not see the secret sauce? [Thanks http://bitsofgenius.net/]

Categories: Style, web Tags:

Misty Mate

July 16th, 2010 David No comments

mist2 Misty Mate

Ok now hold up a second i know what your thinking and whatever it is don’t go there! The misty mate is exactly what you need. Most of you have been living under oppressive heat for the past few weeks, with sadly, no end in sight. We refuse to sacrifice our outdoor time just because Mother Nature won’t cooperate with our needs – so we’re taking matters into our own hands and installing the Misty Mate Patio Mister ($35). As it releases a continuous stream of mist that evaporates on contact, you and your guests will be instantly cooled and comfortable. Simply clip the line to your roof or gutter, with the included brackets, and connect to your garden hose. Voila, an answer to our sweaty prayers!

Categories: Cool, Home Tags:

Cables Organizer

July 15th, 2010 David No comments

bluelounge Cables Organizer

Any gadget carrying traveler or commuter already knows how necessary accessories like this can be. Bluelounge’s Cable Clips ($10) keep earbuds and cables organized in your bag and even when in use. Link

Ballpark Classic Game

July 14th, 2010 David No comments

ballpark classics Ballpark Classic Game

Create your own league or just reenact past fall classics with the Ballpark Classics MLB Baseball Game ($250). This challenging tabletop game is made from quality materials like wood and a turf-like felt playing field, and comes with over 30 MLB mini-felt pennants to allow for stadium customization. Players simply assume the normal positions of hitter and pitcher, with the pitcher sliding the ball down a slick tube and onto the authentically-scaled field, where the batter — or bat, as it were — awaits. Hit it into one of the openings in the fence to advance your runners, or perish. Sure, you could pick up a console gaming system and an MLB-licensed game for the same price, but then you’d miss out on the joys of pre-1980s era gaming.

Categories: Cool, Design, Gaming, Home Tags:

Swimming on the edge of Singapore

July 13th, 2010 David No comments

500x marinabay8 01 Swimming on the edge of Singapore Michael Phelps better slow down on this one because at 55 storeys up, this infinity pool could glide you straight over the edge of Singapore, if not the world. It’s part of the $6 billion Marina Bay Sands Skypark hotel, which just opened this week.

Ok, so if you were really to propel yourself over the edge, you’d fall into a catchment-area which sends the excess water straight back into the pool. But where’s the fun in that? The pool itself is three times the length of an Olympic-sized pool, and is the largest pool in the world at that height reportedly.

Another world record has been broken, with the hotel also becoming the most expensive hotel—knocking Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel off it pedestal, which cost a measly $3 billion to build back in 2004.

The pool runs across three of the hotel’s towers, which feature indoor canals, casinos, shops, theaters and a museum. As well as the hotel rooms you’d expect. Don’t expect to be staying here on your next visit to Singapore though, as entrance to the casino alone costs $70.

Apparently the casino charge is only to residents of Singapore, whose government wishes to deter them from gambling. Foreigners can enter the casino for free—though to look off the observation deck, that’ll cost $20. [La Repubblica via DesignBoom]

Categories: Cool, Hotels, Style, Travel Tags:

Video Screen – Odyssey

July 12th, 2010 David No comments

ltmvss1014 L0 Video Screen   Odyssey

ltmvss1014 L1 Video Screen   Odyssey

ODYSSEY LTMVSS1014 MOBILE VIDEO SCREEN

Description:
Whether your next gig is big or small, you want your video show to be as dramatic and memorable as possible. The best way to enhance the “total experience” of your video display is with our new Mobile VSS video screen system. Our Mobile VSS boasts maximum image quality and luminosity indoors or outdoors.

Features and specs:

VSS Tripod Fame:
• Max Height is 14′
• Min Height is 6′
• Max Width 10’5″
• Min Width is 8′

VSS Screen:
• Front or Rear Projection
• At the Maximum Stretched Point the Viewing Field is 88″ x 60″
• At the Minimum Stretched Point the Viewing Field is 80″ x 52″

• Includes Tripod Frame, Video Screen, & Carrying bag
• Weights 41 lbs. with bag

Literally maintenance free, our flame retardant screen system sets up and breaks down in less than five minutes from start to finish.

The entire Mobile VSS system, including the screen, fits into its durable heavy duty bag, ready for travel or storage, freeing you up to focus on what is really important … your performance.

*Stelo is featured easily carrying the complete LTMVSS1014 “VSS” Mobile Video System.

Weight:
42 lbs

Shipping dimensions (exterior):
57″W x 11″H x 10″D

Shipping weight:
46 lbs

Categories: DJ Tags:
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