The Bar10der. One of the Few Times Alcohol and Technology Should Mix

Bartender is a job that still carries some mystique to the common drinker, as the person behind the bar still exists as a figurehead to many patrons. There’s something striking about even a standard server of spirits, and something downright mythical about the one who can create that perfect drink, or control a crowded room like they’re dangling strings over the masses.

It’s not an easy life though, as a truly great bartender must have an eye on every little aspect of the bar, a head full of drink recipes and orders, and the quick hands that put it all together. So while everyone may not be cut out to be a bartender, thanks to a tool called the bar10der, everyone can make mixing drinks a little easier. It’s basically the drinker’s Swiss army knife (the Irish army knife perhaps?), and features 10 tools essential for any good bartender:

-          A jigger to measure ½ ounce and ounce pours

-          Stirrer

-          Corkscrew

-          Muddler for crushing

-          Reamer for squeezed juice mixtures

-          A bottle opener

-          Strainer

-          A zester for citrus

-          A channel knife for fruit twists

-          And of course a basic 4” blade

All of the tools are neatly packaged into a less than 9 inch long rubber handle, that comes in multiple colors, and though it is a bit pricey at $49.99, it is really just a fantastic all around device, especially if you’ll soon be hosting a new years eve party.

New Virtual Simulator Allows For Complete Sensory Experience

Considering that the average person can pull out a device smaller than their hand and access the collective general knowledge of the world, and that a group of above average people managed to shoot a remotely operated vehicle on a planet hundreds of millions of miles away, it takes a lot for a new technological idea to make you take notice.

But that is the case with Ikei Laboratory’s Virtual Body Technology, as it explores that age old fascinating concept of virtual reality in an exciting and new way, where the user is allowed to see, hear, smell, and feel what another person would be seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in a completely different part of the world.

It’s not quite stepping into someone else’s shoes, especially as the avatar isn’t real and the experience is predetermined, but what’s impressive is the sheer set up of the device, which revolves around a motion capable chair facing a 3D monitor, surrounded by fans that simulate smells and sensations (like the wind), while the user wears a pair of high quality headphones and fits themselves into a foot rig that’s motion and vibration can simulate walking and running. It’s extremely comprehensive in recreating genuine physical experiences.

Honestly, this kind of thing has been around for a while, and is even used in high-tech movie theaters and theme parks as an attraction. This design is slightly different though in how many sensations and experiences it can recreate and, more importantly, how accurately it can recreate them. Even with all of our technological advancements, virtual reality is still an idea that eludes us in the classic sense of the term, but this device is a practical step forward in closing in on the idea.

Right now the main motivation behind the device is to allow elderly people who may be unable to do so traditionally the chance to explore new places in the most complete way possible. However, it is also capable of scenarios like recreating the sensation of running like world champion Usain Bolt. In other words, it has the potential to provide a uniquely entertaining experience for anyone who straps themselves in.

Well, unless they choose the Jay Cutler simulator.

Shown Here in his Natural State

Thanks to 3D Printing, There is Now a Vinyl Record for the Digital Age

As the success of companies like Instagram (well, recent terms of service controversy notwithstanding) is proving, even an increasingly hi-tech world will grow nostalgic for the simpler, sometimes uglier, tech of days gone by. One consistent example of this has been the love for the classic design of the vinyl record, which some still insist just sounds better, even as the much more diverse, convenient, and technically higher quality world of digital audio becomes the undisputed music listening method.

However, programmer and inventor Amanda Ghassaei, a user on the site Instructables, has found a new and exciting way for the two to coexist. By using the consistently awesome technology of 3D printing, she has been able to convert an audio file into a 3D printed record that can be played on any traditional record player. The process of creating one is very complex (requiring some serious programming skills and, of course, a 3D printer), and the sound quality is even less than that of a traditional record, but as you can see in the video below, it does truly work.

To anyone with the set up and know how, the instructions can be found via video and text over at Instructables. As someone that can only admire the work and thought put into this process though, I find myself wanting to see this idea grow into a consumer good (with maybe a little higher quality on the final product) as with the addition of some custom artwork, and the right personal set up, this is an awesome idea that provides the opportunity to turn the best of your all-encompassing digital music library into a stylish, and classic, physical record collection.

Choosing the right tablet when doing your holiday shopping

Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to much fanfare and the product took off and started a whole new product category, the market has been flooded with competing products as the country has basically gone tablet crazy. Even young kids basically expect some sort of tablet these days, making things very tough on parents trying to monitor what they do online. People of all ages enjoy these devices as they can be used for so many different purposes, and computer companies like HP that didn’t come up with a good competing product are getting crushed as PC and laptop sales have struggled.

With all of this in mind, here’s a great article from the NY Times that lays out many of the different options. For starters, you should simply avoid the ultra-cheap knockoff options. It’s tempting to go that way, but in many ways you’ll be wasting money.

After that you really need to consider who will be using the tablet. Kids are obsessed with games and texting. Many women and adults like to read books. Others like to surf the web for funny videos, interact with others in social media, play casino games at sites like partycasino.com, or just read the sports page. Some on your gift list may not use computers much, so you sometimes need to think about how they would love to use these devices once you point out uses for them.

E-readers have become more popular and frankly more articles, so the article linked about deals with those options as well. Consider traditional e-readers versus the new color options. Then you have the most basic choice between Apple and Android. Microsoft has also entered the debate though it remains to be seen if they can get beyond a sliver of the market.

There are tons of choices, so do your research online before you hit the stores.

Bladeless Ceiling Fan To Redefine Home Comfort

The Nest may be cornering the market on the future of central air conditioning, but even with such a great innovation, there will always be room for the classic ceiling fan set up. It’s not only the preference of many home owners, but still the necessity in some regions when it comes to cooling down a room. Yet unlike central air’s revolution with the Nest, the ceiling fan has not really had the privilege of new age influence creating a fresh design.

Until the bladeless fan from Exhale Fans that is. Supposedly inspired by the works of Nikola Tesla, the bladeless ceiling fan works much in the same manner as a tradition fan, as it redistributes the existing air in a room and converts it to a cooling flow. The difference is that it’s more discreet, more stylish (available in several colors in fact), extremely quiet, cheaper, and most importantly can provide cool (or warm depending on the need) air evenly throughout a room instead of in select spots like the usual ceiling fan. A great example of this can be found in the demonstration video that shows the fan’s capabilities of complete air flow coverage with the help of a smoke machine.

If you’d like to support the bladeless fan…you’re too late. It’s already achieved its funding goal on the site indiegogo, and will soon go into production and be available via the manufacturer’s website. Should you buy it when available then? Well, it’s not often that you see a device which can improve upon the classic design of a necessary object, and vastly improve the functionality of it as well, so unless you’re aiming for a classic Havana kingpin inspired design for your home, it’s hard not to recommend jumping on the biggest improvement to come to the ceiling fan since…well the ceiling fan.

3 Unusual Betting Sports

Mobile technology makes it virtually hassle-free to follow professional sports from your fingertips, as access to the latest scores and important sports news has become nearly instantaneous from any location. Sports fans have cashed in on mainstream professional sports like football and basketball for ages now; however, there are lesser-watched sports out there that are deserving of big-stakes bets. With the increasing advancement in mobile devices, following these sports on your handheld device is easier than ever before. If you’re looking to cash in on some non-traditional betting sports, take a look at a few of these favorites.

1. Ice Hockey

This popular sport is fast-paced and high-scoring, making it an excellent alternative for American football fans. Place a bet for the underdog, or choose a straight bet on who you think will win. Of course, do your research on the teams first so that you can make an intelligent bet, but generally favor teams with a better goalie and a stronger team. As this eHow article explains, a team with finesse may be more entertaining, but a bigger and more powerful team can usually wear down their opponents faster.

2. Boxing

This sport has been a favorite for wagers for over a hundred years. Unlike soccer, baseball, and other sports, boxing has a wildcard element that can throw off even the most accurate predictions—the knockout. One fighter can dominate all 12 rounds of a fight only to be caught off-guard and knocked out in the final round by a strong right hook.

This surprising element means the underdog always has a chance to win, even if every round has been against him. As the fight takes place over several rounds, you can bet on many different things, including how many rounds the fight will last, if it will be won by a knockout, and how many times a fighter will be knocked down.

3. Golf

A slow-paced game, golf is easy to liven up with a bet with sportsbook.com. Golf is also a prime sport for betting because so many people already play it. Whenever you begin betting on a sport, you must be very knowledgeable about it so that you can make the right picks and predictions. Not only does this mean knowing the players’ style and records, it also means having an intimate knowledge of the game itself. Since many people already play golf regularly, betting on it can come more intuitively than betting on a new sport.

Betting on a new sport can be exciting and interesting, but just make sure you are very knowledgeable about the sport before you start placing bets. As thesportsgeek.com says, if you know the sport, bet under five percent of your bankroll, and make bets while sober and unemotional, you can enjoy the energy of a great sport and a great wager.

Is Your Information Safe Online?


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Do you know all the ways that you’re being tracked through the Internet and your smartphone? Data aggregators, including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and more, are tracking everything you do. Are you okay with that?

Privacy Online

When we post things online, perform web searches, and write emails, many of us assume that that information is private. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The information that is found through this mining is stored on a database and with the right resources, this information can be pulled together and given to those interested.

Reported in the New York Times article, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting,” such a thing happened to Stacy Snyder, a 25-year-old student teacher who in 2008 posted a picture of herself drunk on her MySpace page. Because of that photo, the university denied her degree just weeks before her impending graduation. She’s not the only one. Others have lost jobs for posting negative things on Facebook about their jobs. Some companies even require you to login to Facebook before they will hire you. Suddenly, there’s no disconnect between your personal life and your professional life; the Internet is bridging the gap.

Apps Tracking What You Do

But it’s not just the Internet that is tracking what you do. Apps that you put on your phone can track you as well. For example, Pandora reportedly asks you to give it permission to track your location. Many apps ask for this; it makes sense for a map app or for one that helps you find cheap gas near where you’re at. But why would Pandora need to know where you are?

Other apps are doing even worse. Researchers analyzed 10,000 apps for Android cell phones and found that 8 percent of them ask users for access to the International Mobile Equipment Identity number, a unique code given to each cell phone. There is no reason these apps would need this unique identifier.

Is It Possible to Be Private Online?

In an interview with Tom Ashbrook on Boston’s NPR station, Michael Fertik privacy advocate and CEO of Reputation.com, shared the idea that there needs to be a barrier between us and the companies that we interact with.

So if you want to go on Netflix and indicate which movies you like and what you don’t like, it’s anonymous. Instead of connecting these preferences to our real names, it would be connected to something like user10537. So it is possible, but will it happen?

For now, be careful about what you post online and check the privacy settings on all social media websites.

There’s a gadget for everything


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Or at least that’s what it seems like. Everywhere you look there are cool and interesting gadgets that didn’t exist several years ago, and many of them are now on your holiday shopping list.

But some gadgets are truly unique. For years smokers didn’t have many choices when trying to quit. Then the patch came along and at least there was a way to get nicotine while trying to kick the habit. But it was still difficult not having something in your hand to puff on. Now that problem has been solved.

E-cigarettes are the new thing, and they just may be something you’ll want to add as a stocking stuffer for that person on your list who wants (or needs) to kick his smoking habit. The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, vaporizes a liquid nicotine, food grade solution that is inhaled and exhaled, just like a regular cigarette. This vapor is free from tar, carbon monoxide and hundreds of carcinogens that are found in regular cigarettes. The vapor that is exhaled actually looks like the smoke from regular cigarettes but is simply an odorless vapor.

Think about the person on your list who might want to try this. E-cigs from Ecigarette Direct are becoming more popular and this would definitely be a gift to remember. It’s frankly a lot better than an ugly sweater or a tie!

The impact of Ebook readers


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The way in which we read is changing, as is the way we consume most media. The introduction of Ebook readers and tablets has of course changed the book market. But is it for the better or for the worse? There are of course arguments for both sides, but either way the world and market is becoming more digital. To embrace it is to thrive.

Negative effects

There is of course some negative impact on the sales of printed books with the introduction of new technology. Fewer people are buying print copies, and even with soaring sales of Ebooks there are differences in the way people buy, and the way the book industry makes a profit. For example hardback copies are in decline, meaning a decline in the higher profit margin publishers receive. Though of course there will always be consumers who resist the new technology in favour of the emotive experience of a printed copy. Over time Ebook readers are becoming more authentic though and increasing numbers of traditionalists are embracing the digital future of books.

People also consume books in a different way, whilst multibuys were highly valued by consumers in sales of printed books, the same techniques would not be so profitable when it comes to digital.

Positive changes

The reason for the difference in buyer behavior is that books are now more convenient. It’s far easier to purchase that new title, and it takes just moments whereas previously consumers liked to stockpile either whilst buying online (fewer deliveries and lower cost) or in the shop.

This also means that if a particular author, or book crosses a consumers mind they can buy it there and then. This drastically reduces basket abandonment and will obviously lead to higher sales overall. Impulse buying is a real advantage of our new instant book culture. As we all know, consumers want their purchases delivered yesterday.

The costs of producing digital versions is also far lower, eliminating print costs, packaging and postage means that profit margins are higher. Despite the slightly lower cost to the customer.

Ebook readers and tablets have brought reading back up to date, and in line with the digital age. A development that long term will see the continuation of reading as a popular pastime, as opposed to it being left behind.

The future of books

Leaps in technology now also mean that children are becoming more and more familiar with the Ebook format, especially with the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other color Ebook readers. For the first time children can enjoy picture books in all their glory on a digital device. This will encourage a younger generation to read, and enjoy reading whilst keeping up to date with the latest technology.

Of course there’s the risk of consumers being distracted from their book by all the other apps that are available on these multifunctional devices, but in time publishers will adapt and find new ways to keep customer “in” their app rather than distracted by others.

The best gadget gifts for Christmas 2012

If you’re choosing a last minute Christmas gift for your gadget enthusiast (or a present for yourself) then you could well be weighing up the options. Whatever kind of gadget they’re into from consoles to tablets here’s the rundown of our favorite gadget gifts of the year, but you better get your order in quickly!

Tablets

There are tons of tablets on the market, but how do you choose the right one for you? This year it’s all about the mini tablet. Our favorite of the moment is the iPad Mini. It gives you access to all the apps available on iTunes for a fraction of the price of a full size iPad. It has the same feel previous incarnation, with the same smooth interface. What’s more it’s more practical as its smaller, but still big enough to run apps, watch videos and listen to music. It’s definitely on our list!

Smartphones

When it comes to smartphones there’s just too much choice available at the minute. After a lot of road testing we’ve finally picked the Nexus 4 as one of our favorites. The new smartphone from Google packs a serious punch with all the features you’d expect from a top of the range smartphone and more. Even better it comes with all Google’s apps preloaded, so it’s ready to go when you are! Add to that the amazing photo sphere camera (capable of taking 360° panoramic shots) and you’re on to a winner! Especially when you consider that it also offers wireless charging. The Nexus 4 is an insight into the future of smartphones.

Games consoles

If the person you’re shopping for is into gaming (or even is they’re not) the new Wii U console would be a sure fire hit this Christmas. The innovative tab game-pad is an entirely new way to play and adds a whole new dimension to the gaming experience. Coupled with HD graphics we think the Nintendo Wii U is the console to have this festive season! Plus you can get it in either the standard edition, or premium that offers 32gb of memory.

So, those are our top tips for gadget gifts this Christmas. Whichever one you choose it’s sure to be their favorite Christmas gift. Now you just need to figure out which you’re buying for them, and which you want yourself. For even more gadget gift ideas have a browse at Misco.