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Cycleops Fluid2 Trainer July 17, 2007

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So the Tour de France has you all fired up to go biking, but you just don’t want to miss the TV coverage. What to do? Bring your bike indoors and hook it up to the Cycleops Fluid2 Trainer. After replacing the rear wheel’s skewer with the one provided, you can quickly lock the rear wheel onto the treadmill spindle. The tyre spins a flywheel which is in turn damped by a liquid filled chamber, like a viscous-coupled car transmission, only in reverse.cycleops.jpg

The manufacturers, Saris Cycling Group, claim that the flywheel resistance setup gives a more road-like feel. We just like it because you get to train on your own bike, although for $330, plus another $20 for the Climbing Block to support the front wheel, you could pick up a cheap fixie and take a cruise, you know, outside.

Product page [Cycleops via Uncrate]

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Microsoft Entertainment Desktop 8000 Keyboard January 17, 2007

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The Bluetooth keyboard itself is quite nice. With a gentle ergonomic curve, its scissor-keys give you a pleasant tactile feel that’s not too sensitive, yet not too heavy. The usual bevy of multimedia buttons appear in the peripheral of the peripheral, and can be programmed to work with whichever media player the user prefers (not Windows Media Player 11 for us).

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The backlit keys dim in reaction to the ambient light. In addition, Microsoft has built in a proximity-sensing function that turns the backlight off after you’ve removed your hands from the keyboard, and turns it back on as your hands approach. This uses a static electricity sensor not unlike those used in laptop touchpads. We had heard of the proximity feature, and were hoping it would do magic, such as setting our instant messengers to “Away” status for us when we went to get another beer, but its range is only about six inches, so that’s impractical.

Besides sensors across the bottom of the unit, the keyboard sports what we’ll call a “clickpad” in the upper right-hand corner. Much like an iPod’s Clickwheel, it’s a touchpad with reactive corners. This can be used to navigate the mouse around the screen. There are also a left-click and right-click buttons on the left hand side.

Other notable controls include touch-sensitive function keys, a Call button to activate Windows Live for full-motion web meetings (with the right hardware), a Media Center button on the right, and a Windows Start button. Microsoft keyboards currently include a Start-menu button, but this one is centrally-located under the spacebar, and pulses when the backlight is off. By clicking it, the Start menu comes up. Start typing, and Vista starts searching. A cool feature, since Search is the buzzword with Vista. Also, holding down the button and hitting the tab-key will reorganize your windows into Flip 3D, allowing the user to cycle through them until they find what they want.

There are other pieces to the keyboard, but all typical, such as battery indicator and self-destruct, you know, the usual stuff found on wireless keyboards.

All of this interfac-inating is done via the one part that actually plugs into your PC: the dock. It also does duty as a Bluetooth dongle, a charging cradle for the keyboard and mouse, and a 2-port USB hub. It’s finely designed and easy enough to be thought of as out of the way until you need it, and isn’t distracting at all. The keyboard slides in neatly, while the mouse can be docked for lefties or righties equally.

All in all, it’s a fully-functional, fun-to-use, high-end interface package that is efficient and pleasing to the eyes and hands. The $250 price tag might be a little much for most users, but for power users or those with special needs, it’s not a bad way to go. It should appear on shelves soon, and it signals the start of many new Vista-themed accessories to come.

Photo Credit: Michael Ragen_mg_7733-thumb.jpg

charge your cell phone by placing on pad January 9, 2007

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wild_charge1.jpgWe’ve heard tell of the Wild Charge system that replenishes power in cellphones, PSPs, notebooks and iPods, and now we can confirm: It really works.

We played with the system for a while tonight, putting the special cases on cellphones and attachments on iPods, and then suddenly those devices begin charging as soon as you place them on the metallic strip.

How the heck does this thing work?

It uses non-inductive technology to pass the current from strip to device without all that falderal you usually have to go through to charge it.
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The company says we’ll be seeing the first charging strips for sale in March, and the larger laptop-sized charger will be shipping in June.

This is the real deal, folks—get your $49 ready, and that includes one “enablement case.” Additional cases are $10 – $20, depending on the device.

Check out on GIZMODO.com .

Distribute wireless signals over standard coaxial cables December 18, 2006

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  • Distribute 802.11b/g wireless signals over standard coaxial cables
  • No more wireless dead spots or interference
  • All antennas include pass-through outlets, so no TV connections will be lost
  • (more…)

    Charlie Brown’s Pathetic Christmas Tree December 12, 2006

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    Now here’s a Christmas tree I can relate to: a 21″ exact replica of Charlie Brown’s pathetic tree before it was magically turned into something completely different by some energetic arm-waving.

    It’s yours for $24. Good grief. But I like it. And no, the psychiatrist is not in.

    Product Page [Urban Outfitters, via OhGizmo]

    I draw pictures all day December 4, 2006

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    Nice watch from Nooka December 4, 2006

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    his watch has major wrist appeal, with a mirrored face housed in a stainless steel body (35 x 35 x 9mm) and a luxuriously weighty metal mesh band with steel buckle. A large digital display shows hours and a 59-increment horizontal bar shows minutes, while a smaller digital readout displays both seconds and the day of the month. Features chronograph, alarm, LCD display, and electroluminescent backlight. Waterproof to 5 ATM, which is 132 feet in salt water.

    Nooka offers a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty on the Zoo.

    Created by designer/artist/creative director/teacher Matthew Waldman.

    Dell 20-inch Wide LCD Display, $246 November 21, 2006

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    Dell Home has $43 of instant savings on this very nice 20-inch wide LCD display. It also includes free shipping that would likely knock off another 20 bucks or so. The technical specs for this display are not-too-shabby with a 1680×1050 native resolution, 5ms response time, 800:1 contrast ratio, HDCP support, and DVI and VGA inputs. It also includes a three-year warranty from Dell.

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    http://www.gizmodo.com/

    When is a good time to buy Tickets? November 20, 2006

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    With its mind-numbing fluctuations, the airfare market is a whole lot like the stock market, and around the holidays, the last thing you need is more volatility in your life. Good thing your stockbroker, Farecast.com, just pulled up in his import. Hatched three years ago by a fed-up computer science professor, Farecast is currently expanding to most national hubs. It provides the usual price rundown, comparing fares from all the travel sites like Orbitz and Travelocity.

    But Farecast then goes one step further and provides you a forecast of how the ticket price will pan out over the coming week. You get a recommendation to either “Buy Now” or “Wait” based on an aggregate of information your poor human brain could never fully process, mainly involving price history and market climate. Each decision comes with a confidence level expressed as a percentage—because nothing beats an honest algorithm. So far the company’s accuracy is at 75 percent and climbing. That’s a number you only wish your broker could hit.

    Farecast is still in beta mode, though, so be prepared for some error messages and limited options (no one-way international flights). Also, there are plans to add more cities, but for now many main hubs have gotten the snub. You can, however, vote for cities to be added.

    You may have your day yet, Boise.

    $1,000 42-inch Plasma November 17, 2006

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    Vizio is getting a jump start on Black Friday by unleashing a legion of new HDTVs. Delivering the best HD bang for your buck is the new Vizio VP42, a 42-inch plasma that’ll go for $1,000 at Costco stores starting next Friday. It’ll have the same features as its P42 predecessor like HDMI inputs, 720p/1080i video support, and a built-in ATSC tuner, so it’s a well-invested $1k. Click through for pics and details on the rest of the Vizio line up.