January 16, 2008

Looking to pickup a decent pair of headphones? How about the Maximo iM-490S iMetal Stereo Earphones? Okay, so they aren’t Shures, but not everybody has a spare $300 lying around to spend on headphones. They’re well reviewed and should satisfy most of us. The Maximos feature 9mm neodymium drivers, 18Hz – 22kHz Frequency Response and come bundled with 3 sizes of ear tips, a carrying case and a lifetime warranty. Today’s Woot is featuring these for the low price of $14.99. Amazon currently has them listed for $43.24!
To me, this was the real standout from Macworld 2008 this week. I know it’s not all that sexy, like say a skinny little laptop or high definition iTunes, but it does something way cooler. Imagine a little white box that sits in your house, continuously and tirelessly backing up your raggedy old data. An important but unglamorous job. That is the nature of this type of work. It’s like an offensive lineman; you only notice them when they’re not there. The new Time Capsule from Apple is an innovative new backup device that will back up all of the Macs or PCs on your network automatically, either wired or wirelessly. So if you lose your hard drive or have deleted a file that you need, you can simply restore it from the Time Capsule. Additionally, it has a built-in power supply (no brick), one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, three Gigabit LAN ports, one USB port, utilizes Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA-2), 128-bit WEP encryption and has a built-in NAT firewall supporting NAT-PMP. Zonks! And the best part? The new Time Capsule has a suggested retail price of just $299 for the 500GB model and $499 for 1TB worth of storage.
This isn’t your smelly old uncle’s VW Westfalia. You remember the Westfalias, don’t you? They were those VW buses built out as campers with that familiar pop-up top, sought after by so many hippies and surfers. I know what you’re thinking, practical and clever maybe, but gorgeous, nah. Well, you could not be more wrong. Designed by Alexandre Verdier, the newly redesigned Westfalia received the Special Prize from the Jury at the Caravaning Design Award 2006/2007 for new mobility. In addition to its fabulous design, the Verdier has some other hidden talents that nearly put it into THE GREEN this week. You see, it’s powered by a 200hp hybrid powerplant and has a 40 Watt-12 Volt Solar Panel affixed to its roof. Furthermore, this “SUN TRACKER” solar panel uses an on-board computer and a GPS (Global Positioning System) to calculate the optimal position. Here’s a great video highlighting all the sacchariny goodness (sorry about the music).
It’s all the buzz at Macworld 2008. The new MacBook Air looking sleek and trim, like Posh Spice on Atkins. So why not THE GIZMO or THE GORGEOUS? I’m just not feelin’ it. That thing is so damn skinny and fragile; it’s like a communion wafer. I don’t know about you, but I’m always hauling around my laptop and it takes quite a beating. I think the Air may be more of a lover than a fighter. I know it’s all shiny and pretty with its LED backlit screen, ambient-light sensor, magnetic latch and multitouch trackpad (ala iPhone), but to me the real strength is in its eco-friendly side. The Air consumes the least amount of power of any Mac, has a highly recyclable, mercury-free aluminum enclosure, a Mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass, uses PVC-free internal cables, utilizes largely recyclable, low-volume packaging, meets ENERGY STAR requirements and received a Silver rating from EPEAT. All that beauty done up nice and green. That’s quite an accomplishment. The new Air will retail for $1799 and is available now for pre-order.
Albert Einstein said “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” If that’s the case, the cat is out of the bag for Jonathon Ive. As many of you know, Jonathan has headed up the industrial design team at Apple since 1997 and is responsible for most of the company’s significant hardware products. This includes the iMac, iPod and iPhone. Well if you would like to see the inspiration for many of his ideas, look no further than Dieter Rams, the brilliant principal designer at Braun during the ’50s and ’60s. The similarities are remarkable. Gizmodo has a nice piece they boiled down from this article, complete with some great comparisons. I have to agree with Diaz regarding his comments about it being more about design evolution rather than “rip-offs”. But I have to admit, there is also something about it that bothers me. I’m just not sure what it is yet.