June 27, 2007

Looking to get that mug of yours out on the web? Get yourself a webcam. With the ubiquitous high speed broadband these days, why not? This week I’m featuring the USB Creative Live! Cam Notebook Pro Webcam from Creative Labs. TheĀ Notebook Pro features a max resolution of 1280×960 for stills,Ā 640×480 for video, 270 degree adjustable camera angle, a 1.3-megapixel sensor, intelligent auto exposure, and a high quality glass lens. In addition, it has a sleek streamline design with a spring-loaded clip for easy mounting. Staples is offering up this great little webcam for $9.99 after a $40 rebate. $9.99… hello… hello… is this thing on?
Tired of hearing that old ho-hum doorbell chime? How much better would your life be if you could hear the theme from Sanford and Son every time someone rings your doorbell? Okay, so maybe you would eventually tire of it. No worries, the new doorbell unit from ReBell has got you covered. Not only can you record your own chime via USB, you can also change it anytime your little heart desires. Just hook it up to your computer via USB and download your favorite sound effects, music, audio clips or movie quotes. Better yet, installation is a snap. It hooks into your existing low-voltage doorbell wiring system and to facilitate the inevitable chime changes, it comes with a handy-dandy mounting loop for worry-free mounting. Check out the video at the bottom of the page. It certainly lives up to the ThinkGeek name. A bargain at $99!
Just last week in these very pages we lamented the existence of gadgets that we Americans can’t get our grubby little hands on. Well, here we go again. This week iRiver created a teaser site featuring the Life Unit, their new all-in-one home media solution. The site doesn’t give us much in the area of details but does have some great shots of this beauty and some general features. The new Life Unit, designed by Niro Nakamichi, merges hifi audio, DVD, TV tuner, Access Point, charging station, speakers with mid woofer and HDD into a single portable unit. In addition, the unit features a very Bang & Olufsen-like sliding door that conceals a touch screen and all the other goodies like an SD card slot and slot loading DVD/CD deck. To sweeten the deal, the Life Unit also comes with a beautiful steely remote control that features a full 78-key QWERTY keyboard. No word yet on pricing or availability, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. Be patient with the link, it is a Korean site, Googly translated.
Build a better ceiling fan and the world will beat a path to your door. Well, maybe not, but they may at least pay attention. Borrowing a bit from nature, in a bout of biomimicry, the Sycamore Ceiling Fan was born. Inspired by the shape of those familiar Sycamore seeds that spin to the ground, the designers have created a single, balanced blade that outperforms conventional 3 or 4 blade ceiling fans. The shape of the blade allows it to create the same airflow but operate at much lower speeds. Conventional ceiling fans spin at around 140-200 rpm and can be quite noisy with the high operating rpm and engine speed. On the other hand, the Sycamore operates at 70-130 rpm which creates a low degree of turbulence and low energy consumption. This translates into a more natural breeze effect and much quieter operation. Great design and energy efficient? What are you waiting for?
In their bid for world domination, Google has now entered the realm of philanthropy. With a focus on poverty, disease and global warming, Google.org is a for-profit organization that can grant monies to start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists, and can lobby in D.C. What a bunch of suck-ups. What’s worse is that they are starting out with a paltry $1 billion in seed money. Of course I’m kidding. In fact, one of their new projects is giving it up to the green and you know here at the Hit List, I love me some green. It is called RechargeIT and will focus on the development of new plug-in hybrids. The program is awarding $1 million in grants for the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles capable of getting 70 to 100 miles per gallon. Here is a video from RechargeIT outlining the advantages of plug-in hybrids with commentary from all sorts of talking heads. It’s a bit long, but very informative.