All posts by Michael Bock

Lazerwood Keys for MacBook Pro

Lazerwood Keys for MacBook Pro

Like the clean, sleek look of your MacBook Pro, but feel that its keypad is, um, well, a little dull and/or lacking something? Do you appreciate all things retro-looking?

Check out this slightly one-off (but really neat!) invention from Seattle-based Lazerwood Industries. Lazerwood Keys are thin, adhesive-based chips fashioned from timelessly beautiful walnut. Lazerwood assures that the keys are of the highest possible quality, with precisely cut squares and ‘laser cut’ characters. And even though the company itself admits that lining up every key just right will take time and concentration, if you fumble, they’re removable without damage to the base keyboard. A couple of caveats, however: Backlit keys aren’t visible through wood, and the system isn’t compatible with the MacBook Air. Soooo, yeah.

The manufacturer of Lazerwood Keys claims an assembly time of 30-40 minutes. Depending on your individual dexterity and poise, though, we’re guessing more like 1-2 hours.

BISTRO Electric Coffee Dripper

Making coffee – that’s actually good – is a real pain in the behind, right? Well with the BISTRO it is decidedly less so.

The people behind the BISTRO Electric Coffee Dripper, or basically your own personal Starbucks machine, claim that bitter, shit-tasting coffee is a thing of the past with one of their newest incarnations. The BISTRO coffee dripper boasts several advantages over your garden variety Mr. Coffee, like the high quality, removable (for cleaning) water tank linked to the filter via a glass-constructed pipe. Its filter, a titanium-plated and silicone work of art itself, needs no paper lining; from there your coffee is transported to a stainless steel, double-walled thermos that keeps it at the perfect temperature. The jug handles are constructed of heat-resistant silicone, too. And despite its relatively compact appearance, the BISTRO holds up to 40oz of coffee.

Technically and (especially) aesthetically speaking, the BISTRO coffee dripper blows every other system out of the filtered water.

Blink Steady Bike Light

Here’s one for all of you avid cyclists out there, especially you “night” riders.

The ‘Blink/Steady’ bike light is a simple, yet crafty (and probably life-saving!) little gadget. Not only is its all-aluminum construction classy and durable (not to mention waterproof), the B/S bike light automatically starts up at night when motion is detected – and kills itself after 30 seconds of motionlessness and/or upon sensing adequate light. No BS! And its dual .5W LED lights project a brighter, more distributed beam than regular bike lights.

“Well, what about those sticky finger thieves?” you might ask. It installs under your seat, on the seat post and – according to the manufacturer – is pretty low-profile, not really advertising itself to would-be thieves. (So, you know, if they jack your bike then you’re kind of screwed, but at least your fancy bike light is safe if they’re too lazy to nab your ride.)

Nest 2

Nest 2 Learning Thermostat

A while back, we told you about the Nest Learning Thermostat. Well, here’s Nest part deux in all of its sleeker, Apple-esque beauty.

The Nest 2 Learning Thermostat is actually a pretty incredible piece of technology. For one thing, this new unit is thinner and more streamlined. Another, Nest 2 is more compatible with existing air-conditioning systems than previously (95% vs. 75%, respectively), thanks to revamped connectors and a clever “*” slot – the latter that accepts four of the most common connector types in North America – DEHUM, HUM, W3, and E. Systems such as dual fuel, 2nd-stage cooling, and 3rd-stage heating (and more) are now supported, too.

And when they say ‘learning’, they aren’t kidding: Nest 2, like its predecessor, actively learns its users’ preferences, general schedule and habits, and adjusts itself accordingly. Working in tandem with the one-of-its-kind, included Nest 3.0 software (connectable via WiFi), it has and does all sorts of nifty things, like ‘Enhanced Auto-Away’ (turns the system off upon detecting no human presence in the residence), Auto-Schedule, and iOS/Android tablet remote control via the Nest app.

In sum, not only does Nest truly make life less worrisome, it can also “persuade” your HVAC system to finally become ‘less energy hog, more $$ saver’, and in this economy who wouldn’t want that?


Shopboss 9″ Hardware Snip

Take a guess as to what that is. A fancy pair of scissors? A pocket knife + scissors, maybe? Well, that and a few other things.

The Shopboss 9″ Hardware Snip is – surprise! – a titanium-coated, multipurpose hand tool that’s good for all sorts of tasks. In addition to its specially designed, spring-loaded handles, the S-Boss Hardware Snip also sports such general badass-ery as a serrated-edge blade, wire cutter/stripper, twine cutter, and bottle opener. Also thrown-in with the Knife-a-nator (corny? probably) is a protective sheath/holster; the latter (most appropriately) multitasks, too! It boasts a tape cutter, pencil holder, deburring file, and belt clip.

What’s the Hardware Snip good for? Oh, jobs like slicing through sheet metal, 18-gauage wire, aluminum siding, and more. Beat that, Swiss Army knife!

Admittedly, though, we still have no clue what ‘deburring’ is.

Apophis drive

Apophis USB Drive by Zana Design

This one’s for all of you gentlemen that have more money than God himself and can afford to spend absolutely crazy shitloads on products that could otherwise be had on the cheap. Or for those who simply daydream about ridiculously overpriced goods. Whatever.

This is the 64-Gig Apophis USB drive by Polish design house Zana Design – because with a price like this, it damn well should boast a fancy name. Anyhow, it’s not the amount of memory this svelte little gadget has, it’s what it is made of: Silver, gold, exotic wood, and a chunk of an actual 4billion-year old meteorite. So, maybe the price seems a bit more justified. Or maybe not. It comes in ‘silver’ for a ‘mere’ $1,130, or you can pick up the Bugatti-of-all flash drives, the ‘gold’, for $1,990.

In case you’re wondering where the name ‘Apophis’ came from, it refers to an asteroid that had a slim chance of smashing into Earth back in 2009. How appropriately named!

Blackmagic cinema cmra

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

While optic technology on camera phones has advanced tenfold, you still can’t go about filming with an iPhone and expect respect as a ‘serious photographer’. For that, you’ll have to look to the likes of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Although the features and benefits list on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is impossibly long – possibly rivaling that of the freakin’ Space Shuttle’s manual or the Internal Revenue Code – certain things about this compact, semi-pro/pro (depending on whom you ask) camera stand out to us. First, its 2.5K image sensor with 13 dynamic range (DR) stops allows the operator to easily manipulate high quality stills from digital video. Second, the built-in SSD recorder lets the photographer (or cinematographer) capture video in RAW 12-bit, Avid DNxHD, and/or ProRes (Apple) formats. Afterwards, plug the SSD right into a computer and edit shots right from the disk drive. Third, the metadata entry function (essentially making the insertion of metadata [e.g. tags, time codes, shot nos., etc.] onto slides a breeze once the user acclimates to it) is something you just won’t find on any old DSLR.

Comes in two flavors: EF, for flexibility of lens swapping among Cannon EF and Zeiss ZE series, and MFT, for four-thirds, manual lenses, and lens adapters. Oh, and either camera comes with Davinci Resolve software, which is basically any photographers wet dream in terms of color manipulation.


BioLite CampStove

Hip, forward-thinking people know that dirty fossil fuels are the past and that green, clean, renewable forms of energy – e.g. solar, wind, turbine, hydroelectric – must start to come mainstream to preserve our beautiful, yet now-fragile planet. The BioLite CampStove stands out as a shining example toward those ends.

Outdoor adventurers will likely find it incredibly useful and innovative. Food is cooked with nothing more than a charge and a few twigs (or pine cones, wood chips, etc.), eliminating the need for dingy containers of gas. Think that’s the only benefit? Nope. CampStove transforms the heat produced by fire into viable energy, enabling charging of myriad gadgets like iPhones and digital cameras via a USB jack.

And as you could expect, the 33oz CampStove will also prove damn-handy around the house in a power outage.