even the word compact sounded too big for this car featured here. i doubt the word ‘sub-compact’ is even suitable. Volkswagen Brazil has built a mini-Gol, a super-subcompact car based on the budget priced compact car Gol which has been sold in Brazil since 1980. the mini-Gol was built with little people in mind. by little people, we mean people who are 1.53m and below. Continue reading car built for little people: VW Brazil Mini-Gol
(image credit: FireBox) BigTrak Jr. Programmable Rover | £29.99 | /www.bigtrakjr.com
while automobiles of the yesteryear are making a come back with modern technologies, toys are not missing out the resurrection party either. now get ready for BigTrak Junior – a compact (almost) palm-size brother of the original BigTrak from the 80s. yes, there are more to 80s than just shoulder pads. when personal computer was just at its infancy (in the 80s), a toy with the ability to be programed was a big thing and i bet it still stands true today. take it as a budget alternative to LEGO Mindstorms.
the BigTrak Jr has inherited the programming ability of the senior BigTrak plus some functions from the 21st century thrown in for good measures. to operate, simply punched in the desired commands, hit ‘GO’ and witness the BigTrak executes the sequence autonomously. this six-wheeler space rover can travel forwards, backwards, turn left and right. you can even program it to fire its ‘photo’ cannon while its executing its tour of duty.
(image credit: FireBox)
there are a couple of 21st century technologies thrown in such as the memory save function which allows you to write and save the program for future use. there is also an unique ‘active’ accessory port allowing it to utilize a number of add-on accessories (coming soon in 2011) to carry out its mission. some of the planned accessories include webcam and foam rocket launcher. sounds like quite a load of fun. soon BigTrak can do more than just patrolling round the supplied ‘moon crater’ obstacles but ‘transform’ into either a reconnaissance vehicle or an mobile artillery unit.
i would love to see a BigTrak as Radio Control vehicle plus the webcam and foam rocket launching ability. how about a gyroscope built-in to enable firing on the move? nah… i am just kidding but it will be good to have, isn’t it?
(image credit: Apple) iOS 4.2 | US$free | www.apple.com
the wait is finally over. Apple has released the iOS 4.2 Software Update on the November 22nd. the OS finally sees its release after a short delay due to reported issue with WiFi on the iOS Software Update. prior to this, Apple has released the iOS 4.2 GM or the Gold Master edition which requires manual updating. no one will be more thrilled than iPad users. lets see a show of hands: which iPad users are not thrilled? please raise your hands…
iOS 4.2 brings features such as folders, multitasking, Game Center and unified inbox, features previously enjoyed by iPhone and iPod Touch users, to iPad. the iOS 4.2 Software Update also adds the much anticipated AirPrint and AirPlay to all compatible devices. well, maybe not as much anticipation for Air Play.
Air Print allows user to wirelessly print email, photos, web pages and documents directly from their iOS devices without the need for software download or drivers. Air Play lets user stream digital media wirelessly from their iOS devices to their AirPlay-enabled speakers. cool. finally i have some use for my AirPort Express, which has been lying around.
there’s another feature, dubbed “Find My iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch”, which enables users to locate their missing device and protect its data. Apple stated that this feature is “now free on any iPhone 4, iPad or fourth-generation iPod Touch running iOS 4.2.” this feature, once set-up, user can find their lost device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock and initiate a remote wipe to delete the data on the lost device. iPhone 4 was specifically singled out, therefore i suppose this feature won’t be available for 3G and 3GS users.
iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPhone 3G and above, second-generation to fourth-generation iPod Touch and of course, the iPad. as always, some of the features of iOS 4.2 may not be available to older generation devices. basic requirement for updating to iOS 4.2 is iTunes 10.1. i am super thrilled and i am making my updates as we speaks.
Black & Decker PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor | US$60.00 | www.blackanddecker.com
(photo credit: Black&Decker)
home gardening gets a boost from technology with this nifty little gadget from Black & Decker. dubbed the PlantSmart, it looks like a cross between a flower (as in a fake flower) and a clinical thermometer. this gadget will tell you what you can grow in your garden, and it will also tell you what’s wrong with your existing plants or how to further improve the conditions, if any.
the sensor has three modes of operations: Recommend Mode, Monitor Mode and Water Mode. in Recommend Mode, the sensor picks up key environmental information and recommends the prefect plant for the environment. the Monitor Mode analyzed current growing conditions and gives advice on how to improve the conditions so that your plants will flourish. in the last mode, the Water Mode, the sensor measures the soil moisture instantly so that you know know exactly went to water the plants.
(photo credit: Black&Decker)
the process is simple. just place PlantSmart sensor at any soil area that you want the data to be collected. once placed, the sensor of the PlantSmart will collect data on soil conditions, sunlight, temperature et cetera. after 24 hours, the PlantSmart will be ready for analysis. remove the PlantSmart sensor, and plug it into a web-enabled PC or Mac (with the include USB cable) and you will be taken to a webpage with recommendations. from there, avid gardeners can select the idea plant or plants from PlantSmart database of over 6000 species.
the PlantSmart uses advanced technology as used by NASA on Mars Phoenix Mission and it will work with both Windows and Mac OS X. however, the PlantSmart only works in the USA.
The LOMO LC-A+ White Japan Special Edition | US$409.90 | www.lomography.com
(photo credit: lomography.com)
new from Lomography is the latest incarnation of the LOMO LC-A+, in the form of White Japan Special Edition. as the name suggests, this Special Edition LC-A+ is in white, instead of the usual black body. aside from the obvious color difference, the Special Edition LC-A+ gets some artistic treatment in the form of fine leather embossed with the image of “Karesansui” and “25” (on the back of the camera) in honor of the Lomo LC-A+’s 25th anniversary. Continue reading Lomography – The LOMO LC-A+ White Japan Special Edition
(graphic credit: mikeshouts.com)
gadgets are not restricted to just IT related domain. it is in fact, everywhere in our life, including the kitchen. kitchen is a place where we often take for granted and it is the place in the house that we think of only when we are hungry or thirsty. unless you are the chef of your household, else you wouldn’t even give a second thought to it. not wanting to leave those wonderful creations out in the cold, we have compiled a Top Ten most desirable (and our favorite) kitchen gadgets & accessories list – to remind us the wonders of kitchen. am i getting nonsensical? well, let’s get the list going…
1. Sunbeam Designer Series™ Glass Kettle
Sunbeam Designer Series™ Glass Kettle | AU$139.95 | www.sunbeam.com.au
(photo credit: Sunbeam)
you didn’t think a transparent kettle would look this good. didn’t you? this 1.3 liter glass kettle from Sunbeam is, well, made of glass so that you can see what’s going on within while it is boiling. not that there’s anything to see.
the vessel is not just any glass but its a SCHOTT DURAN Germany glass vessel. with a history of 125 years, you can’t go wrong with SCHOTT’s glass products. the Sunbeam Designer Series Glass Kettle features sensor-touch button operation with illumination, removable lid with mesh filter, 360 degree cordless power base and a 2400 watt concealed element.
2. KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor
(photo credit: KitchenAid) KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor | £315.00 | www.kitchenaid.co.uk
constructed of die-cast metal construction (for the base), this food processor from KitchenAid‘s Artisan series provide serious food processing power with the eye-pleasing look. the KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor features integrated touch control, dual feed tubes with extra-wide and narrow food pushers, and ultra wide mouth feed tube which accommodates larger food easily, therefore less of the slicing and dicing.
the Artisan Food Processor also comes with a slew of accessories, ensuring you will have the necessary tools to whip up a fancy (and complete) meal. it comes in a choice of 7 different hues: empire red, brushed nickel, almond cream, onyx black, white, pearl metallic and cocoa silver. i’d say go with the brushed nickel finish for a more space-age look and feel. though i am not sure if the ‘space age’ beings still cooks.
3. Taylor’s Eye Witness Wall Mounted Wooden Magnetic Knife Rack
Taylors Eye Witness Magnetic Knife Rack | £20.00 | taylors-eye-witness.co.uk
(photo credit: Taylors Eye Witness)
common method of stowing away knives is by the way of knife block but the problem is, you don’t know what’s lurking within the slits that hold the knives. the solution? stuck it up on a magnetic board. the Taylor’s Eye Witness Wall Mounted Wooden Magnetic Knife Rack (wow… that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?) holds up your knives by the means of magnetic attraction.
the wood, with a choice of Bamboo or Beech, measures 45 cm long is embedded with magnets and it comes with template and screws for you to mount to the wall. this minimalist block will holds six to ten knives which also allow easier reach and no doubt, more hygienic. as an added bonus, you get to show off your expensive collection of Hattori kitchen knives in its full glory.
4. DUALIT Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine
(photo credit: Dualit) Dualit Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine | £149 | www.dualit.com
a kitchen isn’t complete without either a coffee machine or a tea set. with so many coffee machine in the market, consumers are spoilt for choice. here’s one to add to the list and it looks pretty damn nice too. the Dualit Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine offers a unique twin pressure system for making expressos or at low pressure, a longer drink.
if you’re a milk kind of guy, this machine also works with Latteccino Milk Frother to create frothed or heated milk. however, you will need to purchase the Latteccino (Latte + Cappuccino?) Milk Frother separately.
good look aside, some other features include integral drawer for used capsules, auto shut-off, quick heat-up with coffee dispensed in under two minutes, preset functions, removable 1.2 liter water tank, adjustable spout height and temperature and auto de-scale program.
The Dualit Piccolina is a John Lewis exclusive and it retails for £149.
5. SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster
(photo credit: SunBeam) SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster | AU$139 | www.sunbeam.com.au
among the other must have for a kitchen is the toaster. like the oven, it is there even if you hardly use it. why? a toaster is to a kitchen as a coffee to a cafe. you’re looking at the SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster and no, the image above is not an external hard drive, though it looks like one that iOmega would produce.
this two slice in-line electronic toaster has a nifty feature: a toasting progress indicator (much like a MacBook battery status indicator but in white LED), and it beeps when your toast is crisp and ready. everything is electronically controlled in this toaster, well, including the touch-sensitive lever.
other features include self-centering extra wide and deep slots, electronic browning control (yippee! no analog knobs!), defrost setting, specialized crumpet setting, removable crumb tray and a cord storage to tuck away your cord when not in use. i love the attention to detail.
best part we like about the Pure Elements Toaster? the white LED progress bar. that part really oozes with futuristic-statement.
6. Alessi Tea Matter, Melodic Tea-strainer by Alan Chan
(photo credit: Alessi) Alessi Melodic Tea-strainer by Alan Chan | from £21 | www.alessi.com
if you’re not a coffee drinker, chances are you’re a tea person. just drinking tea alone could be rather mundane sometimes. so how about adding some melodies into your tea session? not literally though.
Tea Matter, melodic tea-strainer is designed by graphic designer Alan Chan and is constructed of 18/10 stainless steel and PMMA. it certainly look more like a showpiece rather than something we would use it every other day.
i presume that the decorative birdcage that holds the strainer was derived out of the relation between tea-drinking and bird appreciation in the early years of Hong Kong. regardless, it looks awesome and like i mentioned earlier – like a showpiece.
7. DUALIT Kitchen Scales
(photo credit: Dualit) Dualit Kitchen Scales | £tbc | www.dualit.com
not everything must move along with technology, take for example, the kitchen weighting scales. what it really does is to measure the the weight of the ingredients during food preparation, giving you the precise quantity required. or maybe an occasional weighing of some outgoing mails…
so we shall stick to traditional analog scales with Kg and Lbs, and since it will be idle most of time, it gathered that it should look nice too. this retro-looking item from Dualit features a oversized stainless steel bowl, a calibration wheel and a large easy-on-the-eyes dial. it has a maximum capacity of 5kg/11lbs which is enough for most home cooking use – unless you’re cooking for an army.
constructed of stainless steel outer casing (including the bowl) which is an excellent idea as stainless steel is less prone to bacteria cultivation and top of that, it looks good too. the fascia of the scale is shatterproof too. i have no idea why a weighing scale needs a shatterproof fascia but i guess it is a good to have thing.
8. JCK Original KAGAYAKI CarboNext (ES) Series Kitchen Knives
JCK Original KAGAYAKI CarboNext (ES) Series | US$88.00 | www.japanesechefsknife.com
(photo credit: Japanese Chefs Knife)
kitchen knives has come a long way, from contemporary day stainless steel blade, it has moved to carbon stainless steel, ceramic blade and now we have the full carbon steel blades. chef and cooking enthusiasts will be thrilled because carbon steel has several advantage over standard stainless steel blades.
carbon steel has better sharpness, longer edge retention and easier resharpening. however carbon steel tends to be susceptible to rust and discoloration and often requires extra care and maintenance. the KAGAYAKI CarboNext, as the name suggests, uses the next generation of Carbon Tool Steel for its blade. this steel, also known as “Honko”, unlike the standard carbon steel, has a much better rust resistance property but still carries the advantage of a standard carbon blade.
we have listed this as one of the top ten kitchen gadgets/accessories because kitchen knives are essential part of a working kitchen. most magazine wouldn’t have bothered to feature knives, however we noted that the material developments for kitchen knives do deserve our attention.
9. GROHE Veris Faucet for Kitchen
(photo credit: GROHE) GROHE Veris Faucet for Kitchen | US$tbc | www.grohe.com
why am i listing this? maybe because i am a fan of (beautifully designed) faucet. faucet is something that virtually requires no technology intervention to work at this point. it is more of a design stand point then a gadget or technology innovation.
i like the minimalist design of the Veris range. although i would prefer a more vintage look but i though the Top Ten list should embody something more to the future. so here it is – the GROHE Veris Faucet for kitchen. don’t read. just look at the picture, that’s all what i want to express.
10. La Cucina Alessi Kitchen by Alessandro Mendini and Garbriele Centazzo
a beautiful piece of kitchen furniture to wrap up the Top Ten list: the La Cucina Alessi Kitchen expelled the tradition that kitchen furniture need be at the walls. this curvey kitchen island has the basics you will need to cook up a storm. the low shelving provides easy access to your necessities such as spices and the round corner is not only aesthetically pleasing but also prevents accident.
what can i say? its simply beautiful. kind of space-age looking too. i like.
well, there you have it. out Top Ten most desirable kitchen gadgets & accessories. we certainly hope you have enjoyed reading this article (that we have spent hours prepping). do drop your comments. yah?
(photo credit: nvidia.com) NVIDIA Quadro 4000 Graphics Card | US$1,199.95 | www.nvidia.com
if you’re looking to give your Mac Pro a boost in the graphics department, here’s a piece of good news: NVIDIA Quadro 4000 graphics processing unit with Fermi technology will be available for Mac Pro later this month.
the Quadro 4000 card features the 256 NVIDIA CUDA processing cores with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and a 3D stereo bracket. connectivity will be in the form of DisplayPort and a Dual Link DVI-I port.
for a grand price of US$1,199.95, graphic and video professionals on Mac Pro can stop envying their Windows counterpart. wow. if only i have a Mac Pro…
GoBagger One Man Sandbag System | US$59.95 | www.gobagger.com
(photo credit: gobagger.com)
sometime, the simplest things should also deserve some form of innovation. hence, even the simplest chores should deserve an update in the way it has always been done. this is what GoBagger aims to do: change the way how we bag our sands. traditionally, filling of sandbag requires at least two person – one person holds the empty sandbag, and the other shovels the sand into the bag. sounds simple enough but what if we could speed up the process by, say, five times?
GoBagger does exactly that and all it takes is one man to do the job that quickly. the concept is simple: a scoop-like device with a handle upfront, a mouth (entrance), a back handle and an exit. the user use one hand to hold the front handle, while the other hand holds the back handle with the sandbag tucked in place. with a scooping down action, the mouth of the device receives the sands and the upward swing action, throws the sands back through the exit and into the sandbag. simple and quick action.
depending the size of the sandbag, and the user’s scooping action, one scoop with the GoBagger could be enough to fill a single bag. well, why we didn’t think of that? constructed out of low-density polyethylene, the GoBagger weighs in at just 1.9 kg which makes it easy to transport around. on top of that, the nature of its design enables several of the GoBagger to be “stacked” together for easy storage and transportation.
according to GoBagger, the traditional way of sandbag-filling can produced 85-90 bags an hour, but with the GoBagger, the same two person can churn out 480 bags in an hour. this is THE model for efficiency. we simply love innovation.
Blue Microphones Mikey 2.0 iPod Recording Microphone | US$79.95 | www.bluemic.com
(photo credit: bluemic.com)
what else an iPhone can’t do? it has a potential to become a POS machine (Point-of-Sale), a field microscope and now even journalists can use their iPhone to record interviews – in professional-quality. Blue Microphones‘ new Mikey is a professional-grade, pocket-size microphone that lets you record anything from concerts to lectures to interviews.
the Mikey 2.0 features three different gain settings which allows it to record in a variety of environment. the official website have several recording samples (recorded with different gain setting) which sounded promising. while microphone is important, software also plays a part in the final recording. the Mikey 2.0 features two custom-tuned Blue capsules for stereo recording and there’s a line-input which allows direct recording from other audio sources such as another iPod.
(photo credit: bluemic.com)
the Mikey 2.0 also can be used in conjunction with your video recording on your iPod or iPhone, enabling you to capture a much better audio. it also comes with a free Blue FiRe recording app to aid you in your recording tasks. other features include seven angle of adjustments of the microphone and a soft carrying pouch to store your Mikey 2.0 while on the go. the Mikey 2.0 works with iPod Touch 1G, 2G, 3G; iPod Nano 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G; iPod Classic; iPod 5G and also works with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.
sounds good. especially now that iPhone 4 is capable of HD recording, it certainly deserves a good sound recording to go with those HD videos.
(photo credit: bluemic.com)
(photo credit: viewsonic.com) ViewSonic 3DV5 HD Camcorder | US$180 | www.viewsonic.com
looks like consumer 3D recording/imaging is being realized faster then we thought. recently, ViewSonic announced the ViewSonic 3DV5 3D HD Camcorder capable of taking 3D HD videos and 3D still images which you can preview instantly (in 3D) on its 2.4 inch 3D TFT LCD screen, without the need for special 3D glasses.
this palm-size camcorder has a pair of lenses with 5 Megapixel sensors (CMOS) built-in. the 3DV5 comes embedded with ArcSoft Wizard and a pair of red/cyan 3D glasses, which allows you to enjoy 3D videos and images on a standard PC or notebook. the 3DV5 is also capable of 2D recordings/images and HD is the form of 720p videos at 30 frames per second (fps).
the 3DV5 has an internal 10MB storage and an SD/SDHC card slot that supports 256MB up to 32GB SDHC, which should give you ample storage for your HD recordings/shots. the lenses are fixed focus lens but comes with 4X digital zoom. powering the camcorder is a NP60 1200mA Li-ion rechargeable battery. there’s no formal indication of it’s battery expected performance though.
other features include mini HDMI and a USB 2.0 port for connectivity, a standard tripod mount socket, built-in stereo microphone and one 0.5W speaker built-in. the camcorder measures 71mm x 120mm x 29mm and weighs in at 120 grams. given the size which is much larger than an iPhone 4, the 3DV5 is consider pretty light (just give you a rough idea, iPhone 4 weighs about 140 grams).
with all the hype about 3D, sometimes i wonder if we really need 3D at all? but then again, at US$180, its certainly a budget way to take a dip into the world of 3D and once there, if you find that 3D isn’t your cup of tea, the 3DV5 can always take 2D videos and images.