All posts by Harry Marks

Urban Quiver Camera Bag

Urban Quiver Camera Bag

Ready to go all “Green Arrow” on your daily shoots? Looking for a slick way to pack your DSLR and assortment of lenses? The Urban Quiver Camera Bag from Blackstone Bags is a long backback designed to not only protect your gear from the elements, but also from theft.

The ingenious design puts the opening of the bag against your back, so it’s unable to be opened while you’re wearing it and the chest buckle keeps things secure on the train or a bike. The shoulder straps can be swapped out for a single chest strap (Robin Hood-style), while still retaining the same even balance as the dual shoulder strap orientation.

The Urban Quiver is carry-on approved for most major airlines and takes up little space, making it the perfect camera bag for both the hobbyist and the professional photographer alike. Optional tripod loops will be available soon to hold tripods of various sizes, though there’s no word as to whether you can also carry arrows in them.

PiCycle Electric Bike

PiCycle Electric Bike

Cue the commercial where one person exclaims, “You got your bike in my moped!” and another person yells, “You got your moped in my bike!” The PiCycle Electric Bike is a human-powered/electric bicycle hybrid that gives you the best of both worlds, depending on your ride.

Do you bike to work in nice clothes and don’t want to get all sweaty before the big meeting? Kick over to the electric side and the PiCycle does the work for you. Are you headed out on a weekend tour of your neighborhood and you want to get some exercise in? The PiCycle can function as a regular bike without any motor assistance required.

The PiCycle takes between 3.5 – 5 hours to charge, depending on the model purchased, which means you can take it to work, plug it in and it’ll be ready for the ride home. There’s also an iPhone app that monitors your travels and the condition of your bike.

PiMobility has developed quite a robust (and expensive) biking platform for both the novice and the professional rider.

The Internet is a Playground

The Internet is a Playground

There are a lot of stupid people on the Internet, most of whom exhibit their incompetence in the comment sections of YouTube videos. Then there’s David Thorne, a man whose passion is exploiting that stupidity for the benefit of millions of readers worldwide.

Thorne’s new book, the Internet is a Playground, is a compilation of his funniest and most famous Web-based comedy. You probably got an email from a buddy that contained a hilarious story of a guy who tried to pay a bill with a drawing of a spider? Or maybe you heard the one about the logo design request that went horribly awry? They’re all here, as well as dozens of other tales from a man who seems to get his jollies from flustering other people on the Internet…and we absolutely love him for it.

You can pick up the Internet is a Playground for $8 on Amazon today.

Ketterer Custom Motorhome

Ketterer Custom Motorhome

Who said the economy has negatively affected the summer travel season? No more week-long excursions to the Grand Canyon, or to grandma’s house in Fresno? The Ketterer Custom Motorhome may change that.

Custom-fitted with modern appliances and enough room for a family of five, this RV looks better than most college apartments. It includes a full kitchen, a master bedroom with a king- (yes, you read that correctly – king-) sized bed, full bathroom with shower and tub, and a garage big enough for a SMART car. The pop-out model offers even more room when you finally decide to pull over for the night.

However, something tells me you’ll end up making this your only home thanks to the “Inquire” price on this page.

GOAB | iPad App

GOAB | iPad App

Syzygy Lab’s new GOAB iPad app puts a TV-addicted JARVIS right in your lap, combining television shows with online shopping and social networking.

The app allows you to browse shows by dragging genres into the center of a circle, flipping through a guide or searching directly. Are you a fan of CNBC or Bloomberg, but hate all the ticker info and charts that clutter up the screen? GOAB puts all that “extra stuff” on the iPad so you can interact with it directly. In the example video on the website, a timelapse “Mountain of Debts” chart can be manipulated while a news story about the debt crisis plays in the background.

What about a great suit you see on Mad Men, or a watch 007 is wearing in the new James Bond film? GOAB can access the purchase information for those items and take you to the store’s website so you can buy it while you’re still watching the program. You can even share it with friends via an ingenious tile grid of animated faces.

The social networking aspect is more than just “Like on Facebook” and “Post to Twitter” – it’s an entire ecosystem of sharing and conversing with friends who are watching the same thing simultaneously.

While it’s just a concept now, expect the GOAB app to redefine the television-watching experience.

Style Guide: Men's Suits

Style Guide: Men’s Suits

If you want to be taken seriously in the real world, you need to ditch those torn jeans and t-shirts and opt for some higher-end threads.

You don’t have to look like a banker to be treated as an adult, however. Adding a dash of color to your wardrobe can help you maintain a youthful style fit for a mature man.

We’re going to attack different sections of your closet in future articles, but for now let’s stick with the crux of a “big-boy” look – the suit.

Never Wear It “Off the Rack”

Most men believe they can pull a suit off the rack and buy it as long as the arms are long enough. Don’t be that guy. A suit purchased “as-is” will look boxy and bulky, giving you a stout, “kid playing dress-up in his dad’s closet” appearance.

The key to a great suit, regardless of color or style, is tailoring – and you don’t have to drop $1000+ on custom work-wear to get a tailored look.

Simple things, like taking the sleeves up or the waist in can make you appear like you were born in that suit. And most alterations don’t cost more than $10-$15 a piece. Trust me, that Polo Ralph Lauren you bought on sale at Macy’s can look (and feel) like a hand-crafted work of art with a few nips and tucks.

A few tips:

  • A cinched waist will give you a tapered look and a better silouhette.
  • Don’t be afraid to show some cuff (or socks). People should be able to see roughly 1/4 – 1/2-inch of your shirt cuffs peeking out your sleeves. The cuffs of your pants should fall just at the top of the shoe for a nice medium break.
  • The jacket’s shoulders should not make you look boxy – you want a clean, natural line all the way down the length of your arms.

So Many Colors

Never think gray and black are your only options. You’ve got blue, brown, plaid, white, off-white – a rainbow of options. Whether you can pull some of those colors off is another story, but the fact remains: you are not beholden to one or two colors.

And even if you do choose a reliable color like gray, it’s what you do with it that counts. Pair it with a bright shirt and bright socks, or go for the Don Draper look with a pure white shirt and skinny tie (as long as the lapels match – more on that later).

Any plain suit can be spruced up with the right color and pattern matching, just make sure you don’t clash. Also, a pocket square that complements your tie (without matching entirely) not only adds a flair of style and class to your outfit, but also draws attention away from your gut and back to your chest.

Yes, gents, you want the ladies looking at your chests.

A few tips:

  • Rock some funky socks to break up an otherwise monotonous color palette from the waist down.
  • Black isn’t the only acceptable shoe color available. Brown kicks go great with gray and blue suits.
  • Tiny shirt patterns (like small checkered plaids or thin stripes) should be paired with bolder, wider patterened ties and vice versa.
  • Invest in some pocket squares – they’re a cheap way to make you look like a million bucks.

It’s All in the Details

Looking good is about noticing the little things. For example, when it comes to ties and jackets, your lapels should coincide with the width of your ties. A skinny tie should be worn with a thinner lapel, a wider tie with a wider lapel, et al. Skinny ties with wide lapels look awkward and unproportional.

The same philosophy goes for knots and collars. A wider-spread color looks great with a fatter tie knot – not so much with a dinky small one. A small knot would get lost and accentuate the larger size of the collar. A fat tie knot with a tighter collar makes the collar look too small. Remember: it’s all about proportions.

If you want a truly classic, timeless look, go for a three-piece. The addition of the vest gives you the flexibility to walk around without a jacket, yet still look complete. Want to change things up? Ditch the vest entirely – it’s like a whole new suit!

Other ways to complement your look:

  • Shine your shoes. Keep ‘em bright, keep ‘em clean. If you can’t do it yourself, learn how or find a place that will do it for you. Most major metropolitan areas are chock-full of cheap shine places where you can get your shoes polished and read the paper.
  • Pick up a cheap tie bar. The tie bar will both keep your neckwear from flopping around during the day and it adds a dash of class to the whole ensemble.
  • Buy a great watch. People will judge you by what you wear on your wrist (especially if you normally don’t wear anything there), so invest in a solid, attractive timepiece to complement your look.
  • French cuffs are in – that is, cuffs requiring cuff links. While sometimes more expensive than their button cuff counterparts, they add “one more thing” to your arsenal of elegance and, when paired with a pair of stylish links, you really can’t go wrong.

For some excellent suit styles at various price points, check out:

  • Indochino Ultimate Gray Suit: (Indochino.com – $369). This is possibly the best gray suit around for the price and can be ordered completely customized. Versatile and stunning, don’t be surprised if you’re cast in the upcoming season of Mad Men just for wearing it.
  • Jones New York Navy Wool Suit: (Macy’s – $525 (usually on sale for much less, though)). Every guy should have at least one navy suit in his closet, so why not start with something like this?
  • Brooks Brothers Madison 1818 Two-Button Suit: (Brooks Brothers – $898). Solid build, great lines and surprisingly affordable.
Top 10: iPad (2) Alternatives

Top 10: iPad (2) Alternatives

They’ve been a long time coming, but we finally have some true iPad competitors out there. Not everyone wants an Apple device, so we’ve put together a list of the top 10 options available from various manufacturers, all at different sizes and price points. There has to be at least one tablet to suit your needs out of the bunch.

Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

  • $799.99 w/out contract
  • $599.99 w/2-year contract on Verizon

Arguably the first true competitor to the iPad, the Motorla Xoom features a 10.1-inch HD widescreen display, perfect for watching movies and playing games. Running the latest tablet-specific version of Google’s Android operating system, Honeycomb, the Xoom boasts a variety of specs sure to make the geekiest of geeks giggle with glee, including:

  • 2MP front-facing camera for video chat
  • 5MP rear-facing camera with flash
  • 1GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 32GB of storage
  • Full Google suite of applications, including native GMail and Google Maps
  • Flash 10.1
  • 720p HD video capture and playback
  • Free 4G LTE upgrade coming soon

Buy Now

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9

Samsung Galaxy

10.1 Wi-Fi Only Pricing:

  • 16GB – $499
  • 32GB – $599

8.9 Wi-Fi Only Pricing:

  • 16GB – $469
  • 32GB – $569

Samsung’s first Galaxy Tab was a 7-inch “mini-tablet” (or “uber-phone” depending on how you looked at it). The new models coming out are a bit bigger at 10.1-inches and 8.9-inches. Both will run Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” when they come out, offering Android fans a slew of features and specs to make anyone lacking a tablet seriously jealous.

In each Tab, you’ll find:

  • 3MP rear-facing camera
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • 1GHz Dual-Core processor
  • HSPA+ network access
  • 16GB/32GB of storage
  • Full Google suite of applications, including native GMail and Google Maps
  • 720p HD video capture
  • 1080p HD video playback
  • Music Hub and Readers Hub give access to 1.3 million songs and 22,000 books
  • Gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light sensor

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

  • 16GB – $499.99
  • 32GB – $599.99
  • 64GB – $699.99

RIM developed the PlayBook to compete with the iPad in the enterprise. Chances are, if you work in a normal corporate environment, your office probably issued you a company BlackBerry. Well, get ready for some solid device interoperability (as long as you’re not on AT&T), as the PlayBook was designed to integrate with your existing BlackBerry for real-time access to your calendar, email, contact list and BBM.

If you throw in BlackBerry App World, a BlackBerry music store, the ability to run Android apps, a Kobo eBook reader/store and a full office application suite, the PlayBook has the potential to kick some serious arse in the workplace, as long as RIM works out the kinks first.

  • 1GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Tethering to your existing BlackBerry for access to email, contacts, calendar, BBM and tasks
  • Music store and BlackBerry App World
  • Ability to run Android Apps
  • Flash 10.1 enabled
  • HTML 5 support
  • 3MP HD front-facing camera
  • 5MP HD front-facing camera
  • 1080p HD video playback
  • Micro USB and micro HDMI port
  • Pairs with BlackBerry Enterprise Server out of the box

Buy Now

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad

Available this summer – price TBA

Remember when HP acquired Palm? Yeah, well they took Palm’s slick webOS from the Pre and blew it up. Now it sits on the TouchPad tablet coming this summer.

The TouchPad features a stunning 9.7-inch XGA display at 1024×768 resolution. Powering the device is a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor (dual-core CPUs seem to be pretty standard fare, don’t you think?) and video calls will be made using the 1.3MP front-facing camera.

However, where the TouchPad truly excels is in its accessories and interaction with the Pre. If you do buy a TouchPad, make sure to pick up the Touchstone charging dock with it. You just place the tablet into the stand (no “docking” required) and the interface changes from a standard lock screen to a dashboard displaying your upcoming appointments, recent texts, emails and tasks. Do you plan on buying a Pre3 when it comes out? Good, because if you tap the two devices together, you can swap open Web pages, texts, emails, etc. For example, if you start browsing a site on your phone and you want to see it bigger, tap your TouchPad and the page will open on the tablet automatically. Man, it feels good to live in the future.

  • 1GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • 9.7-inch XGA display, 1024×768 resolution
  • HP Synergy for accomplishing certain tasks more quickly
  • Wireless printing to certain HP Wi-Fi-enabled printers
  • Beats audio speakers built-in
  • Touchstone wireless charging cradle
  • Tap-to-share functionality
  • Microsoft Exchange email support with push

T-Mobile G-Slate

T-Mobile G-Slate

$529 w/2-year contract from T-Mobile

Yet another Honeycomb tablet for the masses, but this one comes with 4G already built in. The G-Slate comes with all thes standard trimmings: 1GHz dual-core processor, 8.9-inch HD display, 32GB of memory, Adobe Flash player support and a front-facing camera for video chatting.

What sets the G-Slate apart from the other dozens of Android tablets coming out are two 5MP cameras on the back of the device. “Why two cameras?” you ask? Why, for 3D photos and videos, of course.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 32GB of storage
  • Front-facing video camera for video chat/checking your hair throughout the day
  • 8.9-inch HD display
  • Dual 5MP cameras on the back for 3D HD video and pictures
  • Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”
  • Adobe Flash player support

Buy Now

Asus Eee Slate EP121

Asus Eee Slate EP121

$1,099

Weighing in at a hefty 2.5 pounds and towering over the crowd at 12.1-inches, the Asus Eee Slate EP121 is really just a touchscreen laptop without the keyboard half.

The device runs Windows 7 Home Premium on a Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM. You have your choice of SSDs in 32GB or 64GB capacities, but you don’t have a choice of batteries. The one downside to the EP121 gets (on a good day) about 4.5 hours of battery life, even shorter if all you do is watch HD movies.

However, you do get a stylus, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port and Bluetooth 3.0 support. All in all, if you’re looking for a PC-style experience in a tablet form factor, you could do a lot worse than this.

  • 12.1-inch screen
  • Dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
  • 2GB/4GB of RAM
  • 32GB/64GB SSD
  • 2MP camera
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Stylus digitizer pen
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • Mini HDMI port
  • SD card reader
  • Bluetooth 3.0

Buy Now

Acer Iconia

Acer Iconia

$1,199

I’ll keep things simple: Why do you want this tablet? Two screens. Use it as a laptop, use it as a slate, use it as a book, hell – use it to crack walnuts (though I’m not sure how healthy that is for the screen).

The Acer Iconia rocks two 14.4-inch multitouch Gorilla Glass LCD displays, as well as a full Windows 7 experience. Powering this beast is an Intel Core i5 processor – like the ones found in the new MacBook Pros, 4GB of RAM and 640 GB hard drive. The Iconia also features custom UI elements overlayed the standard Windows interface, bringing the user a new multitouch experience that truly utilizes the dual-screen form factor. Surf the Web on one screen while you tweet and update Facebook on the other. Place all five fingers on the one screen to access the “Acer Ring”, which gives you full access to favorite applications and specific features. This is the tablet for people who want to do more than just fling birds at pigs.

  • Two 14.4-inch Gorilla Glass LED-backlit LCD displays
  • Intel 2.66 GHz Core i5 processor
  • 4GB of RAM and 640 GB hard drive
  • Windows 7
  • “Acer Ring” to provide quick access to favorite apps and features
  • Customizable gestures
  • Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • HDMI output
  • Two USB ports
  • 1.3MP webcam
  • Unique, custom-built touch interface with virtual keyboard

Buy Now

Sony S1

Sony S1

Due Fall 2011

While other tablet makers are trying to mimic Apple’s hardware and software designs, Sony has taken a drastically different approach with two new tablets due this fall.

The S1 is a 9.4-inch “magazine-style” slate PC running Android 3.0. By “magazine-style”, I mean the back of the device curves into the front and is reminiscent of a magazine folded over at the spine. The UI has been heavily modified and relies on a series of tiles to navigate (a la Windows Phone 7), but the insides of the S1 are pretty familiar: Tegra 2 processor, WiFi, 3G/4G connectivity, etc.

However, Sony understands people want an “ecosystem” with their tablets – not just a sandboxed experienced, so the S1 (and S2) will incorporate the Sony Reader book store, PlayStation Suite for mobile gaming, Qriocity music and video services, as well as home entertainment support. Users will be able to utilize their tablets as universal remotes for Bravia televisions and with the built-in DLNA functionality, they can throw their music and movies right to the television from the tablets in their laps.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core processor
  • “Magazine-style” design allows for comfortable holding for long periods of time
  • Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”
  • 3G/4G connectivity
  • Wifi
  • Custom UI
  • DLNA support
  • Sony Reader eBook store, Qriocity music and video service
  • PlayStation Suite
  • Universal remote capabilities for Sony home entertainment hardware

Sony S2

Sony S2

Due Fall 2011

The S2 takes a much more Kyocera Echo approach to tablet computing with its two 5.5-inch screens that fold into a compact and portable pod.

Like its sibling, the S2 runs a custom-skinned version of Honeycomb, but the dual-screens mean you can watch a movie on one screen and have the video controls on another – no more tapping the middle of your movie to bring up play/pause. While specific apps haven’t been announced, expect to see some programs make great use of the two screens for increased productivity or more involved gaming experiences.

The S2 is almost exactly like the S1, with the same processor and connectivity options and software capabilities. It looks like Sony is covering its bases with two very distinct tablets this fall.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core processor
  • Dual-screens, 1024×480 resolution
  • Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”
  • 3G/4G connectivity
  • Wifi
  • Custom UI
  • DLNA support
  • Sony Reader eBook store, Qriocity music and video service
  • PlayStation Suite
  • Universal remote capabilities for Sony home entertainment hardware

You don’t need an iPad to get a solid tablet experience – you just need to do your research. Some run Windows, most run Android, but all of them have their ups and downs.

Even though tablets have been around since 2002, the devices we have now are part of an ever-expanding market. No one is quite sure yet what the tablet is supposed to offer users – Is it a laptop replacement? Is it an accessory? Is it a toy for playing with on trains and airplanes? The only thing we do know about them is that they’re hot and we all want them.

Whaletone Piano

Whaletone Piano

You’d think a whale-shaped piano would be better suited for a children’s choir class, but the Whaletone Piano is anything but a toy.

Combining the striking look of a whale breaching the waves with an electrically controlled lid that rises with the push of a button, the Whaletone isn’t just a music maker – it’s a statement maker, too. The instrument also features SuperNATURAL Piano technology, which gives this electric piano a truly grand sound, whether you’re in your living room or in a concert hall. Plus, the classic black-and-white glossy color combination will fit the decor of any room. Looking for something with a bit more…panache? The piano does come in a variety of colors, including navy, lime green and brown.

Stay tuned to the Whaletone website for future details on how to build and price one of your own.