February 21, 2007

Are you up to your ears in USB devices? Between my printer, mouse, PDA, digital camera, cell phone and external hard drive, I’ve got more devices than ports. Most of the time I’m playing musical USB ports, unplugging one to plug in another. Give yourself a little breathing room and pick up the Belkin USB 2.0 7-Port Economy Hub. It contains two top loading and five horizontally mounted 480Mbps USB 2.0 ports. Belkin has also made it easier to monitor your device activity by including LEDs for master power status and all port activity. Buy.com is currently featuring this unit for the low price of $24.99 with free shipping. That’s nearly half the price at Amazon.
I love this thing. Philips has developed a compact lighting system that allows you to produce up to 16 million colors with just the touch of a button. The LivingColors lighting system utilizes a bank of LEDs to deliver its vast array of colors. To control your mood, Philips includes an incredibly intuitive remote control that consists of an iPod-like color wheel for the hue and a dimmer switch to control the intensity. Think of what you would have to do with traditional luminaria to reproduce this type of functionality. Even Greg Brady would be envious (you know the episode where he moves into his own room). After the link, there is a video showing it in action. It’s a little Silence of the Lambs, but you get a good idea of its capabilities.
Ever since Apple’s announcement of the iPhone, the clones have been coming out faster than poo through a goose. However, the new T59 from Teclast looks to be pretty sweet. Besides all of the normal giblets and gravy most of the new hot phones have, Teclast has upped the ante by adding built-in GPS and WiFi. In addition, this 3G Windows-based device will feature a 3.5 inch touch-sensitive VGA screen, document viewer, video support, FM radio and 16GB of capacity. Despite all of its purported style and features, I must remind you that this is currently in the concept phase, so I won’t get my hopes up… just yet. Make sure you page down and click the images for full size.
Got a room that’s got you feelin’ S.A.D.? Maybe Solatube is the remedy for that Seasonal Affective Disorder. Solatube is a simple solution that can put sunlight where it ain’t! It’s actually quite simple. On one end is a dome which contains solar powered reflective mirrors that track the sun, regardless of its position. The light then travels down a shaft that is coated with a reflective material that “has the highest reflectivity of any material in the world” (that’s quite a claim!). This light is then sent through a diffuser which is then delivered to the light-deprived area. I have checked the prices and they seem quite reasonable. There’s an animation after the link that explains it all, complete with lots of action arrows and Dr. Evil diagrams. Make sure you turn down the volume a bit before clicking the link, the animation has sound.
The 16th was a sad day for us gadget-loving folks. Robert Adler, inventor of the TV remote and creator of many large asses, passed away at the ripe old age of 93. Dr. Adler was a real gadget pioneer, earning more than 180 U.S. patents with a new application as recent as February 1st of this year. Besides being credited with the invention of the Zenith Space Command remote control, he also made huge contributions to the aerospace and defense industries. This included the development of high frequency amplifiers for ultra high frequency signals utilized by radio astronomers and the U.S. Air Force for long-range missile detection. Ironically, he didn’t watch much television. According to his wife Ingrid, “He was more of a reader, he was a man who would dream in the night and wake up and say, ‘I just solved a problem.’ He was always thinking science.”