O'Neil's H4 Campback - Integrated Video Camera in your Backpack!

There's no dirth of adventurous people in this world, and I'm sure all of them would be truly happy if there was a small device that captured all of their wonderful moments so they could revel in the glory later when they share those memories with family and friends! Well, it seems like with O'Neil's new product, this might not be a dream anymore, nor would you have to pay extra for getting a video while you are diving from a plane or engaged in paragliding or para-sailing. An external camera for video taping extreme sports is nothing new. But this new product takes it one level further by integrating it with a backack, yes, the one thing you usually would carry on such adventures, and also adding a whole lot of new features to their earlier version!

O’Neill, the sports manufacturer famous for wetsuits and clothing lines, have now upgraded it’s Campack (backpack) with a portable media player/recorder and external camera lens. Snowboarders, skier’s, and anyone who is addicted to getting the rush of extreme sports can use the H4 Campack to record their relentless pursuit of cheating death. What makes the H4 system so cool isn’t the external camera lens that attaches to a head or goggles, but the fact that recording is completely controllable through the backpack itself. Control buttons, large enough for ski gloves to press them, are located on the shoulder strap. Stop, start and record are easily accessible in this fashion. The drawback ? you lose the iPod and Bluetooth connectivity as well as a solar charging option which were a part of the H2 system.

The player sports a media 2.4-inch 240k color LCD, and stores video on either it’s 512MB of internal memory or up to 2GB in SD card storage. The camera allows for about 2 hours of 320 x 240 pixel @ 25fps recordings. A button panel on the shoulder strap controls the recordings which can be dumped back to the PC via the player's USB jack or SD card reader. However, you'll ahve to live with the fact that you will have to stop and change SD cards after only about 2 hours of YouTube quality PAL video. A bit uncomfortable, but not a show-stopper!

And now for the vital question. What's the cost of capturing your moments of thrill on a lens?? Well, it is estimated to be around $400 USD and would be available during the hoilday season, starting December. That seems to be comparable to a regular Handy cam or portable video recording device. but only time will tell whether this baby makes a mark or not...I do like the idea of providing easier control ad not being dependent on other to shoot you live in action, so maybe this just might find a place with some people. What do you think??

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Cars that Change Colors on the press of a button!!

My old car is going busted, and it's time for us to seriously start thinking about buying a new car. So as we were browsing through some models online, we saw that the sleek-looking blacks or graphites and the metallic blues added a dent of another 1000 dollars to our pockets which are already falling apart!! And unfortunately, those are the only colors that catch your eyes, not the stark whites, right?? So I sat there wondering how much fun it would be if we could make cars that changed colors on our whim?? Pop-press a button, and my car turns grey; come sweltering summer and I'd press the button again to turn it into a soothing white...or much better, I can have a modern double-colored car with streaks - such that I've seen and dreamt about in 2 fast 2 Furious!!!

Looks like God wanted me to revel my dream, and at least be happy with the thought that something like my crazy idea could actually exist. Yup, Nissan, the renowned car-maker who's trying hard to revamp it's image and restore it's lost glory is coming out with new ideas that would appeal to the nerdy and young crowd (like me and my readers!!) They were the ones who dreamed up the concept of "self-healing paint" some two years back, which was supposedly scratch-resistant, and they are now talking about "a paramagnetic concoction", which enables motorists to change the color of their ride at the press of a button.

Is this just an idea, because we all have a lot of ideas...or is it for real?? Well, looks like it is real and the secret behind this is a special polymer containing paramagnetic iron oxide particles, which is applied to the car's exterior. Then, by applying an electric current, the spacing of small crystals within the iron oxide particles can be adjusted, therefore affecting their ability to reflect light and change color. The catch (yeah, there's always a catch!) once your engine is turned off, and there's no current running, the charge is lost and the car turns to a default color (maybe white, maybe something else, it's for them to decide)

If all goes well, Nissan expects to roll out these vehicles by early 2010. Though the concept is fascinating, and truly an innovation, I wonder what would happen when all parked/turned off Nissan cars would turn to the same default color...how do you identify your car? especially for people like my husband who never bother to memorize the number plate?? well, it sure will be more work for cops chasing people, as the latter could keep flipping their car colors at the whim of a button and confuse the cops!!! sounds funny, huh?!! The case of the color-changing Chameleon Car - wow, I sure am a born writer:)

So what say you? Does this sound interesting, disturbing, rubbish, stylish or hoax??

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X-Ray Handbag - Cool or Spooky??!!

Many a times you've seen women carrying fashionable handbags and purses that catches your eye and you crave to have something similar. A typical example of "Neighbor's Envy, Owner's Pride". But then again, how many times have you looked at a handbag and tried to imagine what's inside it? Would be a fun game to guess the stuff that lies inside an opaque bag, and I know many of us would have played such games as kids! But suddenly, something that I am about to tell you might not make this idea a fun game anymore! In fact, I felt it was downright spooky to imagine what would happen if we could really see inside a handbag!!

Think Geek, the creators of stuff for geeks is out with something intriguing yet cool for some and spooky for the others, an X-Ray Bag that shows the contents inside your bag! Right in time for Halloween, huh?! These X-Ray tote and shoulder bags made of a space-age woven plastic fiber appear to have been bombarded by X-rays and magically make your eyes sensitive to their reflection. So now, what you carry inside is no longer a secret! Whether its something interesting like a wad of cash, credit cards, i-phone or diamonds, or something as fickle as sunglasses or a pair of clothes, you choose what to show, and even when it is only a hoax, it is one cool trick that will leave people agape! Just buy a bag with neutral stuff on it and a thief will never even think of trying to steal something from that tote-bag...After all, what use is a pair of clothes to him:)

For those who wish to carry real precious stuff, but sadly don't actually get to buy it, you can live your whims by buying a bag with fancy article images...Be bold and daring, and pick one that suits you! If you are interested in buying one, click here.

I don't think I'd like to carry one myself personally, but I have seen someone else carrying it, and I was intrigued enough to stop and give her bag a hard look! The x-ray effect is tantalizing, and this would be a cool gift for a teen!

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Nutri-weight Food Scale - For all your Food and Nutrition Needs

Gadgets and innovations have always fascinated me, as you might have guessed by the Tech Blog that I write. But as a chef who loves to cook, and yet likes to live a healthy life with a balanced diet so I don't put on all that extra weight, I keep looking for ways in which I could keep a tab on what I eat so that I never go overboard. One such cool and neat kitchen gadget that I came across on the web was this ultra-sleek, retro Nutrition Food-Scale. Yes, just like a regular weighing scale, except that it looks like a laptop, this one is for the foods you eat, and it tells you clearly what's the nutrition content of your meal so you don't need to go by the rough estimates that you get from calorie and nutrition counters on the web!!

A look at this super-functional Nutriscale and you'll know I'm not kidding. It analyses the nutritional content of your food by portion size, calculates the calories, protein, carbohydrates, total sugars, total fat, fiber, sodium, cholesterol, net carbohydrates and GI value of your food and then displays all this invaluable information in an easy-to-read format on a large LCD screen. This product that is sold by Salter Nutrition, has the advantage of a large data base that stores the nutritional values for over 1,440 foods and liquids, plus memorizes an additional 100 foods/recipes of your choice. And, it's constantly growing, so you can be sure most of your foods are going to be on their list!!

It also comes with automatic predictive-text feature for quick and easy on-screen food search. You can even place all your raw food in a bowl and it'll give you the combined results, minus the weight of the bowl. Find it too good to be true??!! I sure did, especially when I saw that it comes with a 10-year warranty, and is bundled at an affordable price of just $99.00 - that's less than the consultation fee for most nutritionists!!

It even allows you to record daily food intake and set dietary goals, then review progress so you never lose focus on your goal. It's like your own personal trainer, right in the convenience of your home!! And it is battery-operated making it a portable device. It is easy to clean and maintain, and looks really sleek. The only drawback I found in it is that it would only work for raw ingredients, not if you used it for a prepared dish, but then it's easier to just weigh all your ingredients first so you know ahead of time how many calories you are eating and can adjust the amount that goes into making your dish accordingly, right? This device sure would work for me to keep a tab on my food intake. So if you are looking for gift ideas, this is one thing you should strongly consider. I am really inclined to buy one of these myself! If you'd like to order one too, here's one place I found on the web - MetroKitchen

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Touchscreen Coffee Table and Furniture!

With the advent of mobile devices, remote PC's, laptops and seamless mobility, humans rarely have to sit at their desks to complete their work, and people hardly find time to sit through sitcoms at home. The traditional model of advertising is hence undergoing a major transformation. Advertisers are now targetting users on the cell phones, or IPTV or Interactive TV ads, and one new player in this ever-booming market is the Touchscreen Coffee Table.

With coffee shops providing free Wi-fi internet, you see a lot of youngsters and professional spending quite a bit of time in these cafes sipping lattes while surfing the web. But now you don't even need to have a laptop to surf the web. A San Francisco-based startup called TableTouch has come out with a coffee table with a built-in Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen and a software that allows you to browse the internet using your fingers. Customers can now choose and select to read the news and stories on their table while they have their cup of caffeine, and advertisers have found an innovative way to pop their products amidst these stories. So if a user finds something he likes, he can click on it and get more details, or disregard it and move on! Also featuring a built-in Bluetooth connection, the tables can send audio to your headset, so you can listen to the news without opening your eyes!! Now, that's living like a prince, right?!! Apparently, the company also plans to extend this concept to regular furniture, TV consoles and more.

Trials with the first batch of these machines is live in Tully's Coffee shops in the Bay Area, and the company's founder and CTO John Calder is all set to install these smart and cute Coffe Tables in other cafes, airports, and bars in the coming year. This 5-year old startup is now competing with Microsoft, who is ready to launch its own brand called "Surface", which is based on a similar concept. But is John afraid of the giant? No, because apparently, this market is growing so rapidly there's room for a couple more players too!

So, may the best man win! I for one surely love this concept! No more carrying around a laptop on loong plane flights just to kill time during intermediate halts! Find your nearest Coffee Shop and you'd probably find a TouchTable already installed!! To read more about the company tableTouch, click here.

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Smart Web Printing from HP

With the growth of Web 2.0, most of the research is done online, and people turn to the web to find answers to simple questions or confounding conundrums. Gone are the days people referred to books for planning a vacation or for solving a math quiz. These are revolutionary days of Google, where you can find all your answers online. And what's the first thing you need when you've found what you are looking for? Yes, a Printer, to store the vast amount of information that the web provides you with. But don't you think you waste a lot of paper while juggling and printing material from different sites?? If you answer YES, read on to discover a new alternative- the Smart Printer from HP.

HP (Hewlett-Packard) has come out with the perfect solution that is much more convenient and so very eco-friendly. HP's Smart Web Printing enables simple, predictable web printing and also provides control over what you want and how you want it printed. This is the first software of its kind which allows you to select, store and organize text and graphics from multiple web pages and then edit and print exactly what you see onscreen. So surf the net all that you want, keep all your web pages open, then choose the content/graphics/images you want and place them in your custom document creator. Now you can choose to store it as a PDF file, edit it or print what you see. So isn't it the same as copying everything to a Word document and printing it?? well, here's what sets it apart....The software automatically scales web page output to fit the width of your paper. This helps ensure that your print copy contains all the information you see onscreen, without you taking the trouble of resizing images and text (which you might have to do in MS Word). Neat, huh??

I agree this is not a new concept, and people have already used document editors to do this. But you have to agree with me that this for sure is a cleaner way to do it, as the software that you install takes care of everything. Pretty handy when you don't have MS Word installed on your PC, right? And most important, the Smart Web printing software is FREE!! Visit this site for a brief demo and free software download!

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The Traditional Parking Meter - Redesigned!!

The one thing I hate about driving a car is when i have to spend hours trying to find a parking spot. And finally, when I get one, it is a paid spot with a parking meter that gobbles up my quarters, and as luck would have it, I dig into my purse to find that I'm out of quarters!! Oh, how I'd love if these meters would start accepting credit cards!! That's a thought that crosses many minds several times a day, and one such mind belonged to Fred Mitschele, who figured out how to make money out of this simple thought.

In cities like New York and San Francisco, where parking is really hard to find, you see patrol cars taking rounds to find a car parked against an expired meter so they can immediately make money by issuing you a fine or a ticket. But in smaller cities, lots of such fines go unpaid, denting the pockets of such governments. On the other hand, customers are looking for an alternative form of payment for such meters, so they don't have to finish their dinner in a hurry before the 1-hour parking window expires.

Photo Violation Technologies, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has found the perfect solution. The newly re-invented parking meter allows you to swipe a credit card rather than hunt for coins, and what's great is that you can leave your cell phone number with it, and it'll call you when your time is up, and also provide you with an option of putting additional time on the meter, without returning to your car!! And for those who take the law lightly, the PVM will take a photo of your car's license plate if you fail to pay your dues! Amazing and Perfect!! Just the way you need it. Now only if they figured out a way to park your cars too!!

Mitschele has partnered with IBM to finanace a $1 million trial, installing 300 PVM's in Niagara Falls, SFo and Vancouver. When the trial ends in July 2008, Mitschele hopes to make upto $200 million in 5 years. Not bad at all!!

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Extreme thrills - Zorbing

New Zealand has given birth to adventurous stuuf like bungee-jumping, flying-by-wire and jet skiing. The first person to conquer Mount Everest was a Kiwi too; so its no wonder that in their craving for thrills, the 2 natives Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis come out with yet another bizarre activity called "Zorbing" which is sure to send an adrenaline rush!!

"Zorb" is basically a huge 3.2 meter inflatable transparent sphere made from PVC. The inside of the original zorb has 9 straps to keep the rider in place. So you are wearing a harness, and are tied to the periphery while you yourself experience as if you are floating. For the more adventurous people out there, you could also try the Hydro Zorbing, in which instead of a harness, you are cushioned by water. Once you're in, the fun really starts as the Zorb is launched down a hill and reaches speeds of up to 50km per hour, while you roll and bounce around inside. The clever bit is that there is an air cushion of two feet between you and the ground, so you are completely safe! And priced at about 30 dollars for 15-20 second ride, its a reasonably-priced thrill. If you are too chickened to go alone, the zorb has 2 compartments to take your 2 friends with you!

In the words of the founder (Akers) himself - "The experience is bizarre, funny and exhilarating. The most common reaction inside the Zorb is to be screaming with laughter - people exit from the Zorb with a massive smile on their faces and tears of laughter in their eyes."

There are permanent Zorb sites in Europe, Asia, Australia and of course New Zealand. its a sport that is picking up as it affords a new set of thrills. So if you aim to be an astronaut, but that seems too far-fetched, I bet being a zorbonaut would come close!!

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A Software that converts your thoughts to code??!!

21st century has seen many developments and advances in the way things are done, and the amount of gadgets and innovations flooding the markets everyday is amazing! And till now, people used to bow in respect to the software developers who created this magic, generating software programs that go into these revolutionary "objects" and make our life simpler and fascinating. But I was seriously shocked, (surprised, astonished, wide-eyed, etc etc) when I read about this product - a software that writes by itself!!

The famous inventor of Microsoft Word and Excel, Charles Simonyi, has come out with his new innovation, the "Intentional Software", slated to be released probably by this fall, is a software so smart that you can simply tell it what you want and it'll write the code for you. Hurray!! everyone does not need to be a programmer anymore!! Simonyi and his startup have been working on this for 7 years. it centers on Domain Workbench, a human-language graphically friendly representation of the software as it is built.. Users can write clear instructions in text, spreadsheet or flowchart describing what they want the software to do (basic logic), which is then sent to a code-generator, and the latter spews out lines of code to build the application. f course, human engineers are still needed to help set up the programming language and tweak for some changes. But still, the major load is taken care of. For further details, visit http://www.intentionalsoftware.com/

This could prove to be the next generation of software programming, and a boon to solve business problems, but will it be successful? People are skeptical about Simonyi's ideas, and yet you'll also find strong supporters who believe this could change the standards of technology by removing human errors or "bugs".

What happens, is for you and me to see, but till then, I think we'll just revel in this fantastic tech innovation!

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Do you suffer from Jet Lag?? Then FlyRight is for you!!

As technology makes the world a smaller place and global revolution extends your business beyond the borders of your city, country or continent, we see more and more people travelling around the world for work or pleasure trips. Tourism and technology cannot function without air travel, and though planes are being converted into more luxurious ways to travel, the cross-overs from one time zone to another is always a pain. A 10-hr or longer flight induces jet Lag, no matter whether you travel in economy or business class. And if you are expected to attend 3 conferences in 3 countries within a span of a week to 10 days, imagine what that would do to your body and mind!!??

But if you have tried all the over-the-counter drugs and concoctions and have still not found something to alleviate this problem, you have probably not tried "FlyRight"(patent pending). People who have used it say that one teaspoon of this tonic with half a cup of water, repeated several times a day, can act as a fool-proof remedy against Jet-Lag. And as it is a herbal tonic in an alcohol tincture, it comes with absolutely NO Side effects!! It is also affordably priced at $20 per 1-oz bottle, and if this keeps you energetic and running on your hectic schedule so that you don't sleep in your meetings or don't waste 3 days of your precious vacation, I think the price is worth it!! For more information visit http://www.jetlagformula.com/

I'm going to try this on my next trip to India. How about you???

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A wrist watch or a video player?

Hi guys, I might be a bit late in posting this, and maybe some of you must have already read about this cool-looking watch on other famous blogs like engadget or gizmodo. But for those of you who are not so geeky as the others (lucky for me, or you wouldn't be reading my post here), I am talking about the Brando MP4 wrist watch, which is not just a digital watch, but also an MP4 player.

Yup, it supports videos for both MPEG and Windows Media formats. You can use it to record and listen audio, play video clips and store files. From what I have found, the quality of the MPEG4 recordings is very high, an hour takes about 60 megabytes of storage. It also boasts an FM tuner, voice recorder, photo viewer, "eBook reader," a 1.8-inch 160 x 128 resolution display, five preset equalizer modes, USB 2.0 connectivity, and yes, even a built-in speaker if you're not down with headphones. For pictures and detailed reviews, visit here. They have a nice write-up on all the feeatures alongwith user reviews.

It comes in a bold orange and a more conventional black color. I actually like the black one with the red dial. Looks sleek! Its available in 1GB and 2GB version (just like the iPod). And it's attractively priced at $98 and $139 respectively.

Though I'd give Brando credit for being different and coming up with a product much better than their competitors, I am a bit skeptical about how much people would connect to it....After all, some things are best kept simple, right?!

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What if your office had mid-day nap stations?

With the increasing toll of work-related stress, more and more companies are waking up to embrace the concept of bringing home into the workplace. Google tops the list with on-site laundry, clinic and dental care, hair salon, 3 free meals a day and new T-shirts twice a week!! Please forgive me if I'm forgetting something here! But more and more offices are moving to no-cubicle designs, resembling kitchens and living rooms. There are media lounges, entertainment and game rooms, WII stations and now enters the Nap Station!!

Yes, a New-York based company called MetroNaps has invented the EnergyPod (photo courtesy of MetroNaps), a plush reclining chair that lulls users to sleep and can gently wake them up at pre-defined intervals using vibrations and lights!! Arshad Chowdhury, an investment analyst by profession, was struck by this brainwave when he saw a lot of his colleagues sneeking into the restrooms to take powernaps. And the benefits of powernaps are known to us all. 10 mins of stress-free sleep can re-energise and organize your thoughts, increasing the flow of creative juices and overall well-being.

EnergyPod is a classic design, resembling a dome-shaped egg-like cubicle that provides a perfect reclining postion, soothing music, sound-proof interior and gentle lighting-everything to make those 10 mins of sleep truly worth it. Check out the design here. Priced at around $12,000 it is proving to be an attractive investment for many companies like Proctor and Gamble and Cisco Systems.

So what are you waiitng for?? Ask your company to check this out today, or if you are an employer, maybe this might help increasing the well-being and productivity of your employee, huh?!!

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Drive your hotel with you - Hotel Movil

Man has already soared heights by inventing private jets and charter planes that are as luxurious as one can imagine. The seas are brimming with Yachts that host spectacular parties and huge Cruise ships which can treat you like royalty. What you saw in Titanic is probably 1/10th of what is out there.

And now, replacing RV's, which till today were the best in terms of comfort and luxury on the road, comes the Spanish giant called Hotel Movil(photo courtesy of hotelmovil.com). Please welcome the first of its kind, a luxurious pop-up hotel
which is like a large truck trailer that can be dragged to any location and turned into a two level hotel within 30 minutes!! Yes, sounds too goo to be true, but not when you see this video. (Select fabrication, then video) A few clicks with your finger-tips, and this giant truck transforms into one of the most beautiful and lavish portable homes that you would have ever seen. After its 11 rooms are unfolded, the hotel on wheels can sleep up to forty people, making it roomy enough for wedding parties, family reunions or luxury camping trips with a large group of friends.

It is made of steel, but the interiors will leave you dumbfounded. Hotel Movil isn't short on luxury: every room has a bathroom, plasma screen TV, DVD, internet access and more. Depending on the trailer's configuration, a bar and movie screening room can also be included. You can have your private patio and balcony. The Price for a weekend rental is EUR 7,000. Alternatively, you can buy a hotel of your own for EUR 400,000. This sure is competitive with the cost of the RV's at present, considering the functionality and luxury it offers. Now, is that an interesting innnovation or not??!!

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