Around the start of every year I get hit with new planners and organizers promising to be just what the world needs to help them achieve their goals and dreams in the new year. Some of them last, some of them make just enough of a splash to get funded on Kickstarter and ship in time for people to have them by January. Most of them end up being cast aside by March in favor of peoples favorite apps on their phones or old standbys like Franklin Covey or good old Molskine notebooks.Read More
Most of us watched the introduction of the AirPods during the WWDC keynote this September and were surprised to see Apple miss their shipping date in October. They finally started getting retail production going before the end of the year but are still on substantial back order.
The AirPods are small. Very small. Easy to lose small. So easy to lose that Apple actually assumes that you will lose one of the pair and has listed the replacement cost ahead of time ($69 with AppleCare). The whole pod is the size of a roll of dental floss. Don't let size fool you though, there is some great tech inside that little pod.
At the opposite side of the spectrum are the BB Airs. Big hearty headphones optimized for EDM and featuring both on-ear and over-ear earpads to allow for comfort and flexibility. Custom manufactured in Europe for the German based company that has made a name for themselves sponsoring dance parties and FIFA matches. They didn't have the money to startup manufacturing of the new product line so they turned to Kickstarter and Indigogo for support.
There isn't a lot to say about the sound quality of the AirPods. They sound about the same as the EarPods that ship with every iPod and iPhone. That in itself is pretty remarkable in true wireless headphones at this point but from an audio standpoint these aren't going to blow anyone out of the water.
Blomm & Berger's BB Air's are another matter entirely when it comes to sound quality. Even with the smaller pads placing them on your ears instead of over them these things sound very good. When you increase the size of the soundstage by completely surrounding your ears with the larger ear pads you get one of the best wireless sound experiences we've encountered so far.
As we all have heard, the Air⋅Pods have the same size and fit as the standard earpods, which quite a few people find uncomfortable. I don't mind them usually for short to medium listening, but they aren't comfortable past the two hour mark for me. This is fine, because battery life is only rated at three hours at 50% volume, so getting past two hours without needing to take them out to charge will be rare for most of us.
In contrast, I found the BB Air with the over-ear pads to be comfortable throughout a five hour flight from Portland to Houston without any problems at all. Usually even if they are not putting pressure on my ears (a rarity even for headphones designed to be over the ear given the size of my auditory appendages) my ears are feeling hot and uncomfortable by the three hour mark but somehow this didn't happen.
Overall I think both of these headphone devices are going to make buyers very happy. Apple already is having a hard time keeping Air⋅Pods in stock and I don't see that changing until another true wireless competitors products catch up with marketing. We'll have to wait and see if Blomm & Berger get enough marketing behind their own line to gain any major market share with what is a great product almost no one has heard of yet.
In August of last year a group of former Holga camera employees from Hong Kong decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to launch a digital version of the beloved asian toy camera. The original Holga debuted in 1982, and has since become a favorite of many artists due to the lack of complexity and flexibility. Their goal was to get the $50,000 dollars needed to begin production, but demand was so great that they exceeded that goal in just 4 days. Ultimately the project exceeded $300,000 and more than 2500 backers during the 60 days it was active on Kickstarter and they continue to get orders via Indiegogo here.
The camera is as low tech as a digital camera can get, owing very much to its roots as a toy camera. With a manual shutter lever, exposure time is as flexible as possible and hard to gauge. In addition, the only selections possible are a switch on the bottom to toggle between BW and Color modes, and the power dial on top allowing you to select between simulating 135 or 120 film. You additionally have the option of attaching the flash or not via the hot shoe on top. Everything else is done by feel and experience alone. As you can see from the sample images below even with very little automatic control the camera provides decent quality and good dynamic range.
The second camera I received is the Lytro Illum, an extremely advanced camera using what is called Light Field imaging to capture all of the available light in each pixel. This not only provides superior dynamic range, but allows for what Lytro calls "living pictures" because by capturing all of the light in the lenses field of view you have the ability to change the depth of field and point of focus after acquiring the image data. In addition, the technology allows the camera to export 3D images. With manual focus, 8x optical zoom, and dynamic range equivalent to 80-3200ISO it is perhaps the most advanced still camera ever built with a single lens.
As you can see from the linked pictures below, you can share images that the viewer can choose a point of focus in on demand, a feature unique to Light Field technology. At an MSRP of $1300 this is an amazingly expensive camera, but incredibly fun to use. If it could shoot video as well it could be the perfect all around camera. Fortunately, Lytro has moved on to trying to change cinematography and as result the camera can be found on Amazon for $387 dollars from some vendors.
The one accessory we wear to make a statement is a wristwatch. Sometimes flashy if dressed up, sometimes monolithic and durable if worn daily for work. We wear different types of bands to match clothing or environment. So I guess it isn't surprising that one of the biggest categories of new Kickstarter projects is companies trying to reinvent something that was invented in the 1800s.Read More
Sometimes a kickstarter project comes along and just makes you say "How the hell do people think of these things?". The SharkTooth was initially one of them for me, but now that I have it in hand it makes total sense. A simple laser cut pendant at first glance, upon closer inspection it is easy to see how useful this tiny tool could be. Besides the ten wrenches cut into the center it is easy to see the saw blade on one edge and knife edge opposite. Harder to see until you hold it is the shape of the point besides being able to sharpen into a spear or arrow point also has a diamond shape which makes it usable as a Phillips head screw driver.
Designed by the minds at Archwing LLC. in Madison, WI as part of what they are calling their Tactical Apparel venture, it really is a marvelous design. They will soon be available for order from this website.
The folks at Invincible Audio have less than 24 hours left to reach their funding goals for their B.R.O. Ball, and a project that I think deserves to get the green light. The basic concept is a 4th generation Bluetooth speaker inside a functional football suitable for outdoor play at the beach or the field.
Featuring not just the aerodynamics you would expect from a football but also sound, the ability to charge your phone from the internal battery and glowing lines that will let the game keep going after the sun goes down.
If you are interested, please jump in and help them reach their goals.
On July 15th, 2014 NudeAudio launched a Kickstarter project with a radical new design for a bluetooth wireless speaker. What set this new design apart was not only it's remarkable size, but the fact that this small form factor featured four 3" drivers, providing 360° sound instead of directing audio in only one direction.
hat no one knew then was whether the design would yield a speaker worthy of the price tag ($99) or really any different in quality from the thousands of other bluetooth speakers on the market. I've spent a couple of weeks with my Super M, follow the link to see the rest of the story...Read More
A few months ago I was contacted by a new Kickstarter project with a simple concept: to be a better and geekier box-a-month service than LootCrate. The project was successful, reaching their funding goal in less than a week, and GEEKFUEL was born.
I just received their first ever box, along with a Kickstarter exclusive bonus box, and so far their method seems to be at least partially focused on enlisting popular artists from the DeviantArt community to add exclusive artwork to the mix. Add exclusive comic books, limited edition Pop vinyl figures, caffeinated beverages and access codes for games and downloadable content on Steam and I think they have a chance to give the veterans a run for their money.
Instead of listing the contents I figured the best way to describe this product would be to take pictures as I was unpacking the box. So here we go. I give you GEEKFUEL:
All told a pretty impressive showing for a first issue. Subscriptions are available monthly, quarterly, every 6 months, or annually with price breaks and bonuses at each increased level. I've been a big fan of LootCrate for a long time but GEEKFUEL is definitely making a name for themselves in Fat Boy Heaven.
I came across a simple yet elegant Kickstarter project today that is going to save a lot of relationships if we can all get on board and support it and get orders placed.
Adam Raby was brushing his teeth one day when he stabbed himself in the gums with a stray beard trimming that had fallen into his toothbrush. It led him to launch this project. A specially coated cloth with suction cups at two corners which attach to your mirror to keep it above the items on your counter.
A simple easy solution and it will keep mama happy. Not a bad plan, and it will keep us all living in Fat Boy Heaven.
One of the coolest projects to come along in awhile on Kickstarter is The PopcornBall, a simple and elegant product that was designed to solve one of snackings oldest problems: How do you get butter and salt on ALL the popcorn?
A ball with finger holds on two ends to make spinning easier and a wide opening with a secure latch on the top to facilitate filling and snacking, a quick spin once butter and popcorn are added allows butter to easily and fairly equally distribute according to it's inventor.
Follow the link for video and more details, and consider backing this great product if you like popcorn. If this project succeeds you could see PopcornBalls at your local movie theater very soon.
In November of 2013 a design firm in New York called Pollen Designs launched a project on Kickstarter.com for a new type of storage container they called EVAK, which was designed to remove air from the container while the lid was put in place, creating a vacuum seal and helping to keep dry goods fresh longer.Read More
The JugLug looks like a pretty simple invention, but it actually solves an issue many owners of larger HydroFlask insulated bottles. The bottles are shipped with a large-mouthed screw-on lid that is tethered to the bottle, providing an easy way to carry it. Those of us who have added the optional flip-top lid to make it easier to drink from lose a convenient way to carry the large (and when full, heavy) bottles. The JugLug quickly and easily gives us back a convenient way to carry our bottles while on the go. Click below for more information on this great new product.Read More