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The MediaFlair: Returning to the Family Road Trip

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Before the recent boom in mobile electronics, whenever my family went on a road trip, we’d either bring a portable CD player in the car to listen to audiobooks, or we’d watch DVDs on my father’s laptop. This required a certain consistent family diplomacy, considering the fact that we all had to agree on what book we’d listen to or what movie we’d watch. There were no smartphones with Netflix and Audible apps at this point; if I didn’t like a movie and everyone else did, I had to watch it. But, for all the grumpiness that was the result of having your choice of movie voted out, there was always a certain family bonding on those trips that was important. Continue reading

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Ara: The Custom Smartphone

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Smartphones may have reached a stasis for the moment. Both the Apple app store and Google Play seem like well-curated markets for applications. Screen dimensions and resolutions, battery life, and new touchscreen technology all seem to be at there most upgradeable. So if there’s anything really new to add to the smartphone world, it would have to be something to do with the one feature about smartphones that keeps changing: the physical appearance. Continue reading

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Kevo by Kwikset: Using the Force to Unlock Your Front Door, Almost…

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It may be a first world problem, but I have to unlock three doors, one with two different locks, using four keys to get into my apartment. So I would love my building to be outfitted with the Kevo, a Bluetooth-enabled deadbolt that unlocks just by touching your finger to it with your iPhone in your pocket keeping track of the particular key password for that door. Kevo is only second to a world equipped with Star Trek-type sliding doors that open or stay locked based on your level of clearance. At this stage in technological advancement, Kevo is an impressive retrofit of your home lock as it is now. Continue reading

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Ranchero Radio: someone still loves you

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Described as “new-stalgic,” the Ranchero Radio by Crosley is a perfect homage to the style of radio that was full of Mid-Century ornamentation. While it’s arguable if analog, tunable radios are even necessary, or stand-alone radios for that matter, with the Ranchero, the point really isn’t purpose but style. Maybe it is the fogginess and idealism of nostalgia, but the Western style in which Ranchero is designed was something like perfect. The Ranchero designers didn’t get mired in style alone, though. Continue reading

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Denim Beats by Dre: The Canadian Tuxedo Amplified

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I am convinced that jeans, really denim, is something like the ideal material. I get very uncomfortable, physically and emotionally, when for some reason I wear slacks instead of my dark blue jeans that have been perfectly broken-in. It’s my ideal outfit to wear these perfectly-fitted jeans, well-worn black boots, and a rugged shirt underneath a black denim jacket. So it’d make sense for me to get the limited denim edition of the acclaimed Beats by Dre headphones. Continue reading

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Bridge USB Drive: For What You Don’t Want in the Cloud

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You can only attach a song or two to an eMail before you reach the data quota. And I’m sure few people pay every month for more storage with a cloud service like Dropbox. Most of us though, or at least I want to be able to quickly transfer files from my laptop to my best friends smartphone as quickly as I can without having to first synchronize a playlist to my Dropbox folder and send my friend the link so that he can then download the content.
Bridge, by Leef, a new kind of USB flash drive, aims to speed-up data sharing between devices. Continue reading

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Lexon Titanium Clock Radio and Bluetooth Speaker: As Little Design as Possible

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There’s little better than design that uses one type of material for its form. There’s also few materials better than metal for illustrating the explicit beauty of products designed with this single-substance technique. Manipulated by an expert designer, certain metals immediately push-away competing designs that go for excess as a theme. This explains a lot of Apple’s success: their habit of minimizing materials has allowed them to focus and avoid frill.

The Titanium Clock Radio and Bluetooth Speaker by Lexon are these minimal material designs that join the Jony Ive-ranks of attaining attractive products through simplifying. Continue reading

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The Skip: The end of four-digit unlock codes

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Motorola has broken down a rather overwhelming bit of data: we unlock our smartphones around 40 times per day. Do we do anything useful after unlock number 27? Maybe we do something quite productive. But either way, that is a lot of four-digit unlock codes typed to read an e-mail or scroll through our Twitter feeds. Continue reading

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Armour39: The Smart Workout

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Were I to be a little more disciplined with exercise, the Armour39 from Under Armour is what I would buy, or maybe it’s what I need to access some of that discipline. Even better, the Armour39 is the first product to measure something we might call “WILLpower.” The Armour39 breaks your workout down into a 0.0 to 10.0 scale that estimates how hard your body worked during your exercise regime. Continue reading

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Beolab 2 by Bang & Olufsen: Bug-like Bass

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As a guitar player, learning to love bass tones is like the slow-burn fulfillment of living as an adult. Everything to do with the word bass seems to get shoved into the background in most contexts. Solos are giving to so-called “lead” instruments like guitars. Stand-up bass players are confined to a corner of the stage near the drummer, both working in low-tone synchronization to make sure the song doesn’t fray because the trumpet and saxophone players are wandering around their instrument like they were the only musician playing. Perhaps as I get older though, I crave the security of bass tones. Continue reading