There is now a new way to charge your mobile devices on the go and keep you warm during the cold seasons. A company called Ardica has developed a civilian version of it’s versatile military battery pack. It’s called Ardica’s Moshi Power System.
Seven 2.75-inch lithium-ion batteries are linked inside a foam sleeve that can slip into the back of your jacket (the one pictured here is from Mountain Hardware but this power pack will work on any jacket wired for heat). The battery pack holds enough power to drive heat-creating yarn and send current to a USB cord in a jacket pocket. And it’s light enough and flexible enough that you probably won’t even notice you are wearing it.
You can get about 9 hours of heat or about 11 iPhone charges before you have to plug the battery pack back in.
The Ardica Moshi Power System is $145 (adapters are an additional $50).
Living in Texas I probably would never have a use for these, but anyone that lives north of us and has weather that actually provides snow and below freezing weather for longer than five minutes a year will probably appreciate these a whole lot. Just this past January I was reminded just how much suck can be brought to an otherwise awesome snowboarding adventure because your socks are wet and starting to freeze your toes.
As the blogger at Wired already noted, the name for these battery powered self heating boots is just awful. The Bugathermo, ugh! The women’s version, imo, is even worse. The Snow Hottie. But regardless, they look pretty awesome. I personally would prefer the men’s to the women’s just based on style alone (you’d be amazed how often that happens… sometimes I wonder just what exactly designers think women really like).
Made by Columbia Sportswear, the boots are powered by rechargeable lithium polymer batteries that will give you four to eight hours of heat depending on which level you pick. They have insulated soles, are waterproof and breathable so your feet will be both warm AND dry down to -25°F. And for around $250 I’d say it’s an excellent investment.
AT&T’s recently announced A-List plans on September 20, 2009. This calling feature lets customers talk with up to five people on any network for free, including landlines. The service is very similar to T-Mobile myFaves, which provides free and unlimited calling to customers’ five favorite people. The A-List feature is available on individual Nation plans that cost $59.99 or more. FamilyTalk customers with plans costing $89.99 or more can choose up to 10 people to talk with free of charge.
Want even more free calls beyond what AT&T offers? Add your Google Voice number to your A-list so now you can talk to anyone in North America without using your minutes. Google Voice acts like a conference call with the number you want to talk to (incoming or outgoing). The call with Google Voice is free which connects you to the number you want to talk to. When someone outside your network calls your Google Voice number, your Google Voice then redirects that call to you. So now the conversation is between your AT&T number and Google Voice. If you want to make a call outside your network, call your own Google number and sign into the Google voicemail system, you’ll have the option to place a call. Just press 2 and enter the number. You can also visit Google Voice mobile on your phone.
So what are you waiting for? Log into www.att.com/alist now and add your out of network numbers for free unlimited calls.
Novelty gadget accessories will continue to thrive as products for as long as companies continue to manufacture gadgets. One of the newest such novelties is actually finding itself to be quite useful.
Meet the Digidudes. Each Digidude is a tripod. The legs pull out of the body area to create the base, and the head of the character screws right off providing a convenient base for most compact digital cameras, Flip cameras, and other related gadgetry. (I wouldn’t trust the little thing to hold your DSLR with your super-zooming-large lens though…just a word to the wise out there).
Remember how high-tech hidden cameras were in action movies? These rogue tools are now accessible to almost everyone. Miniature cellphones come with video recording capabilities like the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 3G can also record video after it has been jailbroken with the Cycorder or Video Recorder app from the Cydia store. These devices are small enough to be hidden almost everywhere. ESPN Reporter Erin Andrews was recently a victim of a spy camera.
The Spy Camera Finder will help you find hidden spy cameras in your hotel, locker room, or next vacation. Just look through the view finder and scan your room to detect the location of hidden cameras (even if they are off). It works by using “optical” augmentation” to locate video cameras.
For $87, it is reasonable and affordable way to protect your privacy. It is also small and lightweight enough to be portable.
Anyone that has done even a little overseas traveling knows that the Lonely Planet guides are considered the best. Easy to use, nice design, full of great advice and excellent recommendations. The one drawback is they can get pretty heavy, especially if you are carrying everything on your back. But apparently Lonely Planet has figured out a way to keep all their great features and get rid of their one bad one. Lonely Planet for your iPhone!
In addition to it’s already excellent content, the iPhone (also iTouch) version includes interactive, personalised and fully searchable mobile access. You can mark your favorite locations for easy access or locate them by keywords (no address search function as of yet though). It also includes GPS so you can see your current location and any interesting spots near you. And it is completely stand alone so you don’t need a signal in order for the guide to work. Also (and this may be the best part), you don’t have to look like a tourist scouring your Lonely Planet book while on the street corner or in a coffee shop. For all anybody knows you are just checking your email.
There are a few limitations with the current version though. For instance you can’t access the restaurant and bar listings through the actual sections of the book. You have to use the map. Though hopefully that will change in the near future.
Also, you can’t leave your iPhone guide behind when you leave the country for someone else to use. But for all the paper and transportation energy that is not being wasted I think I can overlook this one.
The iPhone guide is $15.99 on the iTunes app store. There are currently 20 titles with more on the way, and the San Fransisco guide is free during the WWDC! That was nice of them:-)
Part two of my Star Trek inspired gadgets: The Klingon Language iPhone app.
I have not personally gone so far in my Star Trek geekiness as too try to learn the Klingon language. But I know a few people that have (they’re not fluent but they have a few key phrases memorized, which makes them hard-core Trekkers in my book).
This is the iPhone version of the Simon and Schuster paperback of the same name.
The app contains all the functionality of Ultralingua dictionaries in addition to the vocabulary and grammar developed by Marc Okrand, the linguist responsible for creating the Klingon language for Star Trek. It also has a suitably “Star Trekkie” GUI. So combine that with the fact that the iPhone already looks like a state of the art Tri-corder, you should feel like you really are a student at Star Fleet Academy (even if you are just sitting in your cubical at work on your break time).
And don’t worry about the pronunciation. It includes a listen-and-repeat function so you don’t cause a difficult situation when you accidentally say “Your mother has a smooth forehead” when you meant to say “Today is a good day to die!”.
-Interactive, two-way bi-lingual text from English to Klingon and back
-History of searched dictionary terms
-Number translation (critical for targeting)
-Listen-and-repeat audio format by author Marc Okrand teaches you basic grammar and pronunciation
-Text timed with the Conversational Kiingon audio for an added learning aid
-Searchable audio – find the exact portion of the lesson you want via standard playback tools, a handy scrollbar or complete text search
-Audio phrase pronunciation with volume control
In case you are worried about the dictionary’s credibility, rest assured it has been tested and approved by the Klingon Language Institute
For a sample check their site for some commonly used phrases and pronunciation guide!
You can get the app on the iTunes app store for only $11.99.