On the Eve of PC Gaming’s March to the Living Room, An Interesting New Gaming PC Emerges

Jetpack

When famed game company Valve announced the introduction of the open source linux based “Steam OS” earlier this year to compliment their new line of Steam Machines, they made it clear that they have every intention of bringing PC gaming to the living room in a way never thought possible.

While nobody who’s ever glanced at their success record would ever doubt Valve’s ability to accomplish this goal, the lack of specifics on the subject at the time of announcement left some questioning just how they’d accomplish such a herculean effort within the industry.

Since then, however, the unveiling of a few Steam Machine prototypes to go along with some additional details regarding the OS, have cleared up the picture somewhat and rightfully raised expectations.

However no prototype has personally intrigued me more than the recently announced Jetpack PC from PiixL.

Described as a slimline PC, the Jetpack is capable of sliding into your TV frame whether it is mounted or propped up on a stand. Once installed it allows you to instantly start using your TV as a PC that can support either Windows or Steam OS. While the specs are not currently available, PiixL has said the Jetpack has universal GPU compatibility and looks to be more or less as customizable as a standard desktop (though some parts like power supplies are likely not interchangeable).

Starting at a $1,000, the practicality of the Jetpack as a gaming PC solution is going to depend largely on whether or not on the built in specs and exactly how customizable and accessible it is.

Regardless of the specifics though, the Jetpack is an amazing example of the creativity inspired by Valve’s big move into the living room. If this is only an early example of the technology that will be fueling that move, then the coming years should be very interesting for the PC gaming revolution.

  

Convert Your Loose Items Into Video Game Treasure With This 8-Bit Chest

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Whether you find them behind suspiciously hollow walls, buried in suspiciously placed staircases, or at the end of a suspiciously long corridor filled with more enemies from hell with the capability to rip your throat out through your feet than you knew could ever exist, it has always been a constant joy to discover video game treasure chests.

Unfortunately treasure chests in the real world tend to be far more rare, meaning the joy of discovering one doesn’t really enter your day to day life. You can let this fact bum you out, or you can do something about it by picking up one of the 8-bit treasure chests available from Think Geek.

This 4” wide box painted in a pixelated art style runs off of two AA batteries, and stores the various items you can fit into it. Adding to the video game motif is a “Pulp Fiction” style glow that emits when you open it, along with an 8-Bit style tune that plays when you do the same (though it sadly isn’t the “Legend of Zelda” secret discovery tune).

Sure it’s not exactly discreet, but many things that are bad ass rarely are. At $29.99 this is the perfect gift for the gamer in your life, even if it does just serve as a desk decoration.

  

The Cinema One is a Pricey, but Incredibly Interesting, Alternative to Video Streaming

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I love Netflix and Hulu. Hell, I think most of us do.

If I had to make a complaint about those services, though, it’s that they both have an incredible tendency to not have the exact movie I want to watch at that time. This isn’t so much a fault of their massive libraries, as it is the result of the impossible task that is acquiring every film and TV shows that have ever been made, along with being able to anticipate the exact whim of every user.

The Cinema One from Kaleidescape proposes an interesting solution to this dilemma. It allows you to store up to 600 DVD quality titles or 100 Blu-Ray quality titles within the player to be accessed at your leisure. The movies themselves can either be downloaded from the Kaleidescape store, or ripped straight from the DVD and Blu-Ray source.

Think of it then as your own personal steaming service then that is catered entirely to your tastes. Even better, it offers services that Netflix and Hulu can not such as custom DVD like scene skips for every title, and video and sound quality that is simply not possible with the traditional streaming methods.

As absolutely incredible as the concept and actual product is, the price is a real buzz kill. Coming in just shy of $4000, this is already a big ticket item before you even consider the additional costs of purchasing movies to add to it (though it does come with 50 free movies upon purchase). While the whole “no subscription fee” thing helps somewhat, even then that’s a price tag that limits the market considerably.

Based on concept and design alone, though, this is one of the most notable devices released this year, and will certainly serve well as the centerpiece of any true film buffs entertainment center.

  

This World Noise Cancelling Prototype Is Well Worth Your Attention

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Perhaps I’m just odd (I’ve been accused of it before), but I really enjoy the sounds of the city in my apartment. Much like staying inside and listening to the rain, there is a certain joy that comes from absorbing yourself in the world outside while also enjoying the comforts of your home.

However there are times when the hustle and bustle of the city is not the optimal soundtrack for your relaxation. Sure you can play some music or ambient noises to drown them out, but the effect can be quite harsh and serve as a poor substitute or combatant to the ambience of the outside world.

Designer Rudolph Stefanich apparently felt the same, which may explain what led him to design a world noise canceller prototype of sorts called the Dial it Down.

Featuring a touch controlled dial and affixing to the inside of your window, the Dial it Down acts much like a pair of noise cancelling headphones and can either tone down, or completely block the noise of the outside based on your settings. More impressive, though, may be its ability to filter and replace the exterior noise and turn it into something more docile like the sounds of nature or even just isolate certain noises until you’re hearing exactly what you want to in your home.

While still in the prototype stage, it’s clear that the complex design of the Dial it Down is more than just a whimsical notion and is realized enough to actually come to fruition. Let’s hope that is the case too, as its ability to allow the user to control the noise of their home in a more organic and natural way not reliant on blasting as many decibels as possible is a very desirable luxury.

  

Tired of “Accidentally” Running Over Bicyclists With Your Car? These New Gloves May Help

Originally this was going to be something about Black Friday sales, but whilst browsing the interweb I came to two conclusions.

  1. Nearly every site on the internet advertises Black Friday sales right on their front page.
  2. The sites which do directly feature sales, collect the best Black Friday sales from said sites.

So, with approximately 100% of the internet already on top of this Black Friday thing, I thought I’d focus on something that traditionally goes completely ignored on Black Friday.

Safety.

Yes, since today is the day millions of shoppers will be packing stores and attacking their wares without a single regard towards basic decency and safety, why not highlight a product aimed at providing just that?

The turn signal gloves from Zackees are aimed at providing bicyclists and skateboarders a much needed alternative in making their intentions known to pedestrians and motorists around them. It gives the non-motorized street travelers of the world an electronic turn signal of their own, and requires little more than a hand movement in the appropriate direction to activate.

Even better, knowing their product will primarily be bought by hipsters, Zackees paid special attention to the style of the gloves, so wearing a turn signal on your hands looks as un-nerdy as humanly possible.

There’s no guarantee for success in the gadget market, but when you create something that is practical, useful, stylish, clever, and innovative it’s usually a good sign that your product will find an eager market. We’ll see if that holds true when the turn signal gloves start crowdfunding on December 9th through Kickstarter.