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

A Soap That, as Rocky Balboa Promised, Will Make You “Smeel Mainly”

If you’re like me, the rare occasion you have to buy bar soap is met without much enthusiasm or an extended thought process. Usually it’s the first one you see that says soap or, in a moment of misunderstood hesitation, the one I relate with the most recent/most humorous commercial I saw.

There’s at least one soap out there though that wants to remove the image of femininity from hand soap and make it a more exciting buying process for the average man.

That soap is called Man Hands, and they have a variety of uniquely scented soap bars available aimed at the average red-blooded male, offering a testosterone influenced alternative from the coconut and ocean breeze flooded market. While some scents are just bewildering (Republican and Democrat? Cash? Urinal Mint?), some are potentially appealing to more markets (Cannabis, Buttered Popcorn, and Incense), some are indeed right on target (Muscle Rub, Cedar Log Cabin, Topsoil, Baseball Glove, and of course Bacon). Each bar retails for $6.95 and can be found here.

Is this just a really stupid idea? Probably, yeah. But it’s pretty obvious by the product, and their descriptions, that this is an idea having a lot of fun with itself and asking the same of its consumers. Plus, who knows? In the mix might just be one or two winning scents that beat the hell out of Lavender,and you can never be in short supply of novelty gift ideas, which might just be the best use of this product.

How Would You Like to Tell Your Boss Anything Without Consequence?

It’s hard to find someone that has a boss they like (unless they work at Valve of course). While there is, of course, the “Breakfast Club” theory that states that there is always more than meets the eye to a person, and that your superior’s unpleasantness is most likely due to outside greater stresses (i.e. their boss), there are still occasions when they truly are being a horrible boss, and generally a bad person to boot.

At times like that you really want to live out the ultimate employee fantasy and tell your boss what you really think. Of course the prospect of the verbal thrashing of a lifetime followed by a stint on the unemployment line is enough to ward off most, but occasionally the urge is too great to resist.

The new website Tell Your Boss Anything knows this and wants to do something about it. For a $20 a month fee, you can subscribe to the service which allows you to send a secure message to your boss from your personal e-mail (and hopefully receive a reply back). The point of the service is to send actual constructive messages to your employers, and as such the site reserves the right to refuse your message if it is exceedingly vulgar (though these cases are apparently surprisingly rare). Even more encouraging are the results, as the site’s creator say that they are getting a high number of cases coming back marked as either “improved” or “resolved”, although exact numbers are not available.

So what do you think? Do you dare live out the American dream and tell off your boss even under a supposed airtight veil of secrecy?

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.

A Non-Violent Solution to Ending Headphone Tangles

In the world of headphone problems, somewhere behind having one ear go out and the other not (I believe they design these things like that to sell more) and straight up losing them, lies the burden of tangled cords.

It seems that taking even the most surefire methods to avoid this problem, like neatly folding them and securing them with a twisty-tie, yield no solution to this issue as somehow those cords always find a way to become this jumbled mess that makes the Griswold family Christmas lights seem like a simple knot.

I’ve long resigned myself to the fact that much like the two socks go in, one sock comes out dryer conundrum, tangled headphones are just one of those issues you have to deal with once in a while even if there is sometimes no valid reason for its occurrence.

Luckily, more innovative people than myself have not given up the good fight, and there does now exists what looks like a cheap, practical solution to this dilemma.

That’s the Nest Earbud Protector, and the idea behind it couldn’t be simpler or more welcome. It’s a silicone case you pop up, and put your earbuds in. From there you just wrap the cords around the spindle, pop it back into place, and your headphones are now stored in a neat package that keeps them safe from damage, and of course tangles. The best part is a simple yank of the headphones will free them without hassle.

Actually, the best part may be that the Nest only costs $10. Now sure, I could just buy a Bluetooth headset, but I’m still fundamentally against spending over $50 on a pair of headphones that aren’t for anything more than everyday commute use, and I feel like most Bluetooth headsets make me look more ridiculous than I care to admit.

If you’re incredibly stuck in your ways like me then, it’s hard to not recommend giving something so affordable and useful as The Nest Earbud Protector a look.

The CruxSKUNK Might Provide the Perfect iPad Keyboard

For a company all about upselling (just try to leave an Apple Store without being sold a case for your iPhone) Apple themselves haven’t done a great job of providing an accessory to fix the iPad keyboard dilemma.

See as beautiful a device as the iPad is, its on screen keyboard doesn’t exactly lend itself to any use more urgent than internet browsing. This severely hinders many of the features the wonder tablet can offer. Apple, along with several other companies, offer Bluetooth keyboard accessories, but the results of trying to use one are often awkward and make enjoying using your iPad more burdensome than need be. Some companies like Belkin, Zagg, and Kensington have tried to get around this problem with keyboard/case hybrids that turns your iPad into something that closer resembles a laptop. Reactions and results are mixed on those hybrids, with many of them still coming off as awkward, causing severe limitations in mobility, or worse just plain cheap.

Where others have failed in resolving this problem, though, an unlikely savior, with an unlikely name for a savior, may have emerged from the funding fields of Kickstarter.

It’s called the CruxSKUNK (what?) and it may succeed where other, similar products have failed by using some of the same product synergy Apple is so fond of themselves. That’s because, when you put your iPad into the case, the entire unit is made to resemble a Macbook Air in weight, looks, and feel. The metamorphosis is genuinely impressive, as is the keyboard itself which features nice large type-face, full keyboard set-up and range, and a nicely thin base (6mm). Aesthetically, it is the most immediately pleasing case of its kind on the market.

But the CruxSKUNK isn’t trying to get by on its looks. Instead the real beauty of this case is its hinge that lets the user place their iPad in a variety of positions to suit their needs. The idea is to provide the perfect set up for watching movies, working on documents, or playing games all without having to remove the case. After seeing the video of the CruxSKUNK in action, its hard to believe that they haven’t achieved just that. If you do need to remove your iPad, however, the Crux also allows you to do so without much in the way of hindrance.

Currently the CruxSKUNK has already well exceeded its revamped $90,000 goal, with over $191,000 dollars earned and 20 days still left to go for funding.  The only available backing options left range from $155 for a CruxSKUNK and nice leather carrying sleeve, to $1500 plus for 10 cases and 10 sleeves. Obviously, that’s not cheap when compared to some of the competitors on the market. However, since the main complaint of those competitors is how cheap their actual products are, you ultimately have to ask yourself if your need for an iPad keyboard case is truly great enough to warrant going for the top of the line. If it is, even in its pre-production phase, the CruxSKUNk appears to be just that.