End the Tyrannous Reign of Wet Socks…For a Price

There is nothing worse in the world than wet socks.

Well except for genocide, starvation, holocaust, nuclear warfare, poverty, orphaned children, animal abuse…

Actually, properly put into perspective, there are quite a few things worse than wet socks. But they’re still pretty horrible, and with slush season creeping up on the north (when it can still snow, but quickly melt creating an inhospitable mess), and water park and swimming trips on the horizon, the peak of wet sock fear is upon us.

While you can write this off as an inevitable nuisance of the season, if you truly dread the feeling of wet socks and want to proactively handle the issue, there do exist commercially available military grade waterproof socks, that not only prevent against leaks, and soaking up liquid, but can keep your feet comfortably warm in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. This is achieved through a mix of nylon and lycra, along with additional layers of double velour fleece, that combine to create the toughest, most versatile socks available.

As with a lot of must have technology though, there is a catch and once again it’s the price. A pair of these socks will run you $54.95, which would buy you roughly a ton of otherwise perfectly good socks. Alas then, but these are going to have to go into my ever growing unreasonable wants wishlist, along with a 3D printer, and a fully decked out Alienware M18x laptop. But for serious outdoorsmen, or anyone consistently active in bad weather conditions, you might be able to write off the Superman of socks as an actual investment.

Oh and the filthy rich. The filthy rich will probably eat these up.

Because They’ve Got to Do Something With the Money Besides Money Fights

In the Game of Phones, You Dock, or You Die

There can never be enough “Game of Thrones” in the world (or “Song of Ice and Fire” if you’re a purist), but with the HBO show on hiatus until its third season debut, and author George RR Martin taking his usual sweet time in finishing the 6th novel in the series, fans have had to look from the top of The Wall to the bottom of the Sea of Dorne (that’s high and low for you normal folk) to find ways to fill the widening void in their hearts for more of that wonderful world.

But even outside of that spirit of desperation, this “Game of Thrones” inspired phone dock would still be pretty cool.

It was created with a 3D printer by Instructables user mstyle183, who modeled it after the much sought after Iron Throne of Westeros that half the characters in the source material kill each other for the chance to sit on (as if you didn’t already know). The dock itself is sure to be equally sought after by iPhone 5 users, who rely on a third party docks since Apple doesn’t have an official one for the iPhone 5 available yet, and this one is slightly more bad ass than the rest. The dock also works for android phones, and the instructions for its creation can be found via the inventor’s Instructables page, or it can be pre-ordered commercially here for $69.99. It is compatible with most charging connections.

The world of geek inspired tech is a tricky one as something that looks cool at first can lose its novelty, and value, later on. Have no such fear with this dock though, as it is a genuine piece of inspired nerdery that given both the continuing excellence of the source material, and basic cool design of a throne shaped dock, isn’t likely to wear out its welcome anytime soon.

Unlike the Throne’s Current Occupant Of Course…

Worx’s New Power Screwdriver Won’t be Passing Through Security Anytime Soon

I’m not a handy person in the traditional sense. I mean, I can work a hammer or screwdriver but prefer to only do so in the event of a zombie invasion (and I don’t mean hanging up boards).

You know…like this

So usually when an incredible new power tool comes out, it tends to fly under my radar. However, by its basic design, the new SD Power Screwdriver by Worx is pretty hard to ignore.

First of all, yes it does look an awful lot like a really cool sci-fi gun. It’s certainly a design decision that makes the drill immediately visually appealing, but that’s only a skin deep observation of the hand cannon influences on this tool. The real pistol influenced feature of this semi-automatic screwdriver lies in the chamber function, which allows you to automatically swap and load six different drill bits without the hassle of having to change them out manually.

Outside of that, the drill boasts some other useful abilities such as its lightweight design and compact size allowing for ease of use in just about every situation, as well as a second cartridge so you can keep 12 different bits handy at any time. Plus you get a nice LED light right under the chamber for further ease of use in tight, dark areas (your probably not supposed to treat it as a laser sight but no one can stop you from doing so either).

As I mentioned, I’m not handy, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to be. Little tasks of home improvement come up all the time, and many of the basic ones involve needing a good screwdriver. The new Worx looks to provide just that, and whether you’re looking to actually start filling up your own toolbox, or you know a handyman in the family who needs a gift come the holidays, the Worx is more than just a fun design, and looks to be one of the more versatile power screwdrivers on the market for its price.

Plus, there’s nothing technically stopping you from posing with it when no one is around and saying “Your move creep!”

You know…like this

Fuzz Wants to be Online Radio by the People, for the People

You know somewhere between Pandora’s steady, old reliable model, Spotify’s have it all, take it anywhere incredible features, and various other stations like SHOUTcast covering some of the most obscure music out there, I guess I once felt content saying that the world of internet radio is pretty well covered.

And yet it seems like there is at least one more site out there that thinks that there is still fresh ground to tread in that particular field by catering to this wild idea that instead of a computer algorithm generating music selection, perhaps it would be preferable for human beings to take a stab at it.

That site is called Fuzz and, if you let them, they’d very much like to rock/rap/alternative/classical your world.

How? Well the entire site is made up of user created stations. Members can upload their personal music and create a radio station set to a theme of the music selection, with the built in system mixing the music together for you. Examples include the standards like classic rock or 90’s hip hop, but a quick search reveals more specific stations like classical dinner music or trendy sushi bar.  A band search option is available to get you started, but the general idea is to start with music you are familiar with, and expand your interests, and favorite playlists, based on people who like those same bands or songs other available selections. It’s an idea that is automatically handled by computers on other sites, but Fuzz treats it much more like each user is the DJ to their own mix, complete with custom station names, backdrops, and comment and feedback features.

The creator of the site, Jeff Yasuda, has tooled around the internet radio scene for a while, and he and his team simply feel that it is more fun, and rewarding, for people to share music with people and not machines. It’s an idea that was encouraged by Yasuda’s other music app Blip.Fm, which allows people to play the music they’re listening to via Twitter and Facebook. The quiet success of that app has instilled Yasuda with the belief that a site that expands that idea into a full radio station could be a hit. Although, he is certainly aware of the long shot that any internet station is, as he reveals via a cryptic quote in an interview with Bloomberg.com when speaking of the internet radio industry:

“The space is crowded and the graveyard is long, deep and wide,”

So how is the site? While I’m personally still inclined to default to Spotify or Pandora for a kickback and let it play listening experience, Fuzz is infinitely more entertaining to just explore, whether it be for new music, or just to see what obscure and awesome stations people dream up. Though the battle for success, much less supremacy, is one that hasn’t even begun, to me it is indisputable that the basic idea behind Fuzz is a winner. Yasuda and co. are right in their idea that it is much more fun to put people in charge of a music selection, and the difference give Fuzz a personality in its beta stage that even the larger, and more established, stations don’t share.

In fact, even if Fuzz doesn’t take off, it’s that idea that I love, and which I hope ultimately influences other stations to implement something similar. Although, as so many other things in the tech business have proven, sometimes all it really does take is a good idea, and the proper amount of momentum to make it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I may have to make a station featuring the music of Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, and the soundtrack to the video game “Earthbound.

Could a Realistic Smartphone/Tablet Hybrid be in the Works?

I remember foolishly thinking at the time of the iPad release that Apple had finally gone off the deep end in terms of design. I mean, as far as I could tell they were basically trying to push what appeared to me to be a big iPhone. Of course what I didn’t anticipate was its uses as a superior e-reader, gaming platform, business and education super tool, video player, practical laptop replacement, and…well let’s just say I didn’t give the iPad and the tablet market as a whole a fair chance at first.

Still, I believe that much like that awkward time period where people still carried their MP3 players, portable gaming devices, and their new smartphones before realizing the latter’s amazing all-in-one potential, that the tablet and current smartphone technologies are sill similar enough that one day another all-in-one device is bound to come along that provides the best of both worlds for a price none of us can reasonably afford.

I’m not alone in this way of thinking either. There is even a terrible, must be changed now word for these devices. Phablets (the only word in existence that is scientifically proven to make you roll your eyes upon hearing it). One popular example of a phablet (*roll*) is the Samsung Galaxy Note. While it’s hybrid design of both devices fits the bill, it’s bulky shape doesn’t really seem to fit easily anywhere else, and it ends up coming off as a bulbous smartphone, or an undersized, underpowered tablet, depending on if you’re a glass half empty or glass half full type.

Despite the lack of overtly successful phablets (*roll*) thus far, designers still aren’t giving up on the idea. One of particular note out there is Patrick Eriksson’s flexible OLED concept design.

The idea is so simple it could have been a popular cartoon in the 80’s created to sell toys. The device starts off in its native phone format, but thanks to an ingenious flippable hideaway screen, it can be transformed, if you will, into a tablet size device in an instant. There aren’t many further details about the device at this time, other than Patrick’s partnership with Sony on the model, who would be handling manufacturing and distribution duties should the concept see its way to completion. That’s something they are no doubt hoping for, as the company could use a big win in light of their financial troubles, and weak market share across many divisions

Sony has also released a similar device before in the Tablet P, but that model, along with the similar, Kyocera Echo, suffered from some serious design flaws that made them come off as gimmicky and unpractical. This new model, however, is the first of its kind I’ve ever seen that looks like it could compently complete the bridge that spans the current tech gap between smartphone and tablet. While time and public reaction will of course ultimately tell the tale, there is no doubt that from a strict concept standpoint, this new device does finally bring into the limelight the almost inevitable conclusion that tablets and smartphones will not always co-exist as separate, economically viable entities.

Only please, somebody needs to invent a better name for these devices. Phablets (*roll*) sounds like a fan group name for high school girls who were way into “The Beatles.”

Pictured: The original line of “Phablets”