It’s the little things in life that make the world seem less dull. That’s why we keep reminders of things that make us happy around at work and home such pictures of loved ones or trinkets (mainly things with which you can prank your coworkers). If you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up, what sort of comfort items would you want to have around?
If you were going to say a giant smiling sunflower that lights up and hangs from your wall, then you are extremely specific. However, the Happy Sunflower Wall Lamp is just that! The lamp aspect is basically a giant smiling face that will let off a soft yellow glow. The included stickers is what makes it look so happy-go-lucky. The design for this is pretty adorable, as it was essentially thinking of a way to make the cord be a positive aspect of the lamp representing the stem of the flower rather than another dangling cable in your home.
While you will want to choose where you place this with care, you’ll also want to make sure whoever puts it up has at least somewhat steady hands. Off-centered stickers are not going to improve the aesthetics of a room. You will need to mount the lamp, and make sure it is hanging above an outlet. This cute idea will only cost you $26, and is probably aimed at kids, though that shouldn’t stop you if you think it’s cute.
Available for purchase on dinosaurlifestyle, found via redferret
[ The Happy Sunflower Wall Lamp will brighten your day with a smile copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
When it comes to smartphones, there are a few different tiers to choose from – starting with the entry level to the mid-range, and then there is the high end side of things. Needless to say, smartphones that reside in the high end hierarchy will more often than not cost more than half a grand unlocked, and is one of the more expensive ones even when it is bought on contract. The mid-range market is a highly competitive one, as it does deliver decent levels of performance without breaking the bank – functionally good, I would say, like the Motorola Moto G. Well, HTC is a company that did hit its heights some years back before dropping into the doldrums, but they did at last get back in the black recently, thanks to the strong showing by the HTC One M7 and M8 models. This time around, it is a mid-range device that will take centrestage, known as the HTC Desire 610.
The HTC Desire 610 will work on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, ensuring that you get to enjoy blazing fast speeds without missing a beat. When July 25 rolls around, one is able to place an order for the 4G LTE capable HTC Desire 610 online or in AT&T stores for $199.99 at no annual commitment pricing. The smartphone itself is also made available with AT&T Next 18 for as little as $8.34 each month, or you have the option to own one at only $10 per month thanks to Next 12. Not only that, there is yet another affordable option, where the AT&T GoPhone HTC Desire 610 is going for just $199.99, and the GoPhone prepaid packages are good for 30 days.
Just what kind of hardware does the HTC Desire 610 pack? Well, it boasts of a 4.7-inch display and front facing stereo speakers, delivering immersive audio, supports HTC BlinkFeed and Zoe, runs off a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, has 1GB RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera and the 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, 8GB of internal memory which could be enhanced thanks to a microSD memory card slot, all of it running on Android 4.4 KitKat.
Right now, the smartphone world is more or less split right down the middle with Apple’s iOS as well as Google’s Android mobile operating systems dominating the market. There is, of course, a third pillar that is supported by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 (I will leave BlackBerry OS out of the equation), which is growing slowly and steadily with Nokia being the main driver behind sales of Windows Phone-powered devices. This time around, the Microsoft-owned company has announced the Nokia Lumia 635 that runs on Windows Phone 8.1, which has been touted to be the most personal Windows Phone experience to date.
It will feature a 4.5” FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels) that can display up to 16 million colors, sporting Nokia’s ClearBlack technology accompanied by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to add a dimension of toughness to the mix. Not only that, it also boasts of a wide viewing angle, coming in handy whenever you show off your favorite photos to a bunch of family members and friends.
Running on a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, this makes the Nokia Lumia 635 a mid-range performer, which ought to be more than enough to handle all of the everyday tasks that one associates with smartphones. In fact, it will do everything “normal” that you ask it to with aplomb, as the 512MB RAM offers decent support. There is also 8GB of internal memory for you to work with – meaning power users might want to avoid it and settle for something more high end instead.
Apart from that, the Nokia Lumia 635 embraces its existence with several electrifying phone shell colors that one can choose from, letting you switch according to your current mood. Not only that, the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant known as Cortana will hopefully prove to help you out throughout the day.
Just in case the 8GB of built-in memory is not enough, there is another 7GB of free cloud storage on OneDrive, giving you plenty of space to stash all of the other apps, photos, videos, and more that you love. A 5MP auto focus camera with 4x digital zoom that is capable of recording 720p video as well is located at the back, all of it packed into a chassis that measures 5.09” x 2.62” x 0.36”, where it tips the scales at 4.73 ounces.
So you have been working hard the whole day long, and cannot wait for the clock to strike five so that you can take off from the office and head to your favorite watering hole to spend some much needed time, unwinding with the rest of your colleagues and bar friends. If it is happy hour, so much the better for your wallet, although the bartender might be a wee bit too busy serving all of the customers at once when it is packed. Fret not – the next time a bucket of beer bottles head your way, just wave away the server so that other customers can be served faster. You do not even need to borrow a bottle opener, not when you have the $49.95 French Cuff Bottle Openers in your possession.
These cufflinks will be able to open up bottles as easily as they secure French button cuffs, and it does make me wonder just which of the two are they better at. Not only are they suitable for boardroom negotiations, they also do well when it comes to having off-the-cuff drinks with coworkers. The cufflinks themselves are made from polished stainless-steel, where they sport rigid teeth that will be able to quickly lift the cap from a bottle-conditioned Imperial Pale Ale. Perfect for the gentleman who believes form should always follow function, it is also the ideal conversation starter – especially with your new colleagues. Road warriors might want to check out the Wi-Fi cufflinks, too.
[ French Cuff Bottle Openers helps executives quench their thirst in a jiffy copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
When it comes to golf, opinions about the game is definitely polarized, or at least split right down the middle. After all, golf widows will tell you of the different kinds of reactions they have each time their husbands return home with a new set of golf clubs, and sharing just what their future timetable will be like when it comes to the week’s golfing sessions ahead. Since you yourself do not like the game of golf and yet would like to know his friends better, how about arriving at a compromise? This win-win situation will require the $49.99 Floating Golf Game to be part of your home – assuming you have a swimming pool in the first place, of course.
The Floating Golf Game is said to be a hit in or out of the pool, although it is a whole lot more fun in the pool. This fun game will definitely test your golf skills to the limit, since you can always try to chip your ball onto the floating green, or to practice your golf swing at the time of your choice. Either make use of that new club you just purchased, or the included plastic one that arrives with each purchase. Each Floating Golf Game will include a floating soft foam 3-hole pool green with golf flag and pole, a tee-off pad with storage slot for balls, a 27″ golf club with handle grip, and 8 soft foam balls.
[ Floating Golf Game – never play the same game twice copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
I’ve recently gotten my greasy hands on a Sphero 2.0 remote controlled robotic toy. Did it deliver the giggles promised in the advertisements?
The Sphero 2.0 is the latest evolution of the Sphero toy. Inherently comical, the tennis ball sized toy created a lot of buzz on the Internet when its first edition came out. Made possible mostly by the fact that they can sell it without a remote control since it requires a tablet or smartphone to control it which helped keep the costs down. The range if the original Sphero was limited at 50ft and the speed 3ft second, it did glow in millions of different colors and was waterproof.
Sphero 2.0 though, is supposed to whizz along at “breakneck” speed, performing stunts and “grabbing air.” It’s also waterproof but three times brighter than the original Sphero.
Form and function
Yes, the ball is white when it’s off, with some blue on it but mostly a glossy, pearly white. However, turning it on also lights it up, and with the remote iOS app it can display a staggering amount of colors, reportedly more than the human eye can distinguish! Sadly though, not simultaneously as it can only be one color at a time. OK, this is not exactly true, when calibrating the steering control it does have a fixed, blue spot.
It comes with a charger base which is blue to match the Sphero badge. Sadly when the ball is on its charger, the base emits a blinding blue light which is almost enough to read by. At first, this prompted me to remove it from its base whenever I was trying to sleep. The makers of Sphero might not realize it but a lot of people charge these in their bedrooms, and an option to at least dim the charging light would’ve been nice. I’ve since solved it on mine with a piece of dark electric tape.
The Sphero feels heavier than expected when you first pick it up but it makes a hollow plastic sound whenever it knocks against the floor, rolling it around doesn’t improve the sound, and frankly the noise it makes is not reassuring. Things improve slightly when the knobby envelope, aptly named Nubby -bought separately for 15$!- is used. This however slows it down, prevents it from drifting (see below) and blocks out the colors which well, sucks.
Why not make a transparent Nubby?
The ball moves about by using a counterweight that you steer with one of many apps from your smartphone or tablet.
Fun and SPEED!
Yes, it’s very fast. So fast indeed that it easily drifts across the floor, which is probably among the coolest things it can do other than float, did I mention it’s waterproof? Initially, it was too quick to control but the app developers have built in a handy governor for the maximum speed available so scaling that down to a more manageable 25% max was necessary in order to come to grips with the way the device reacts. There’s little or no lag in controlling it although the range is somewhat limited by the fact that it’s Blutooth.
It should be noted that all our family pets, and we have a myriad of them, are terrorized by Sphero. It could probably be used to help control a pesky dog, I know I got ours to stop fussing about with its teddy bear whenever Cookie got home from errands. The bird didn’t care much for it, and the guinea-pig reacted to it by trying to break out of the opposite end of its cage with a comical chattering of teeth.
I’ve not tested it on the rabbit yet, failing to obtain permission from my daughter for me to go bug it with Sphero.
Yeah, that’s pretty much the most fun I’ve had with Sphero so far, annoy the crap out of everyone around me who aren’t actually playing with it. I’ve since learned to control it better and can now use the ramps -included!- to jump it from the living room onto the dining room floor, a height of about 1/2 inch because of different flooring materials, and back. I’ve also switched it back to full speed, it is indeed quick at a reported 7 feet per second.
I’ve tried most of the apps including the pay ones, nothing really innovative about them. They have two attempts at Augmented Reality (AR) with the first being a game where you control Sphero around your living room, disguised as what seems to be a beaver, navigating it to gobble up some gold pieces and candy to earn points. Another AR game is a weird Zombie bowling, fire throwing game I’m still not sure what to make of because the controls are about as obvious as programming a BetaMax VCR was in 1979.
Then there are the apps that aren’t really AR, for example a misleadingly named Sphero Cam which doesn’t actually use a camera that would be on the Sphero to take covert pictures, but instead allows you to use the tablet or smartphone camera to take a picture of the Sphero while you control it.
The Sphero 2.0 doesn’t have a camera built into it. Too bad but at the same time I can see how difficult it would’ve been to implement in a spherical object like that.
Another app changes the Sphero color, cycling it through about a dozen shades until it hits the color assigned to you by the computer, then prompting you to pick up the Sphero as fast as you can to earn points in what is essentially a 130$ twist on reflex games. Actually make that a 130$ + .99$ app twist on reflex games, the app is .99$…
On the box it says the Sphero has “over 25 apps” but I could only find about a dozen on iOS. I didn’t check Android but they probably have the other 13…
Yeah, it’s fun to play with Sphero 2.0. Until it becomes boring which is way too quickly, within three days it found its place atop its charger where it remained ever since, as it is now I might just move it to the living room where it will look great on a library shelf and might make a great conversation piece when we have people over.
Most of the apps are okay at best, the only good being the simple remote control app which includes a few “missions” but no real challenge. As you’ll have probably noticed my main quarrel with Sphero is not so much the use you can make of it, which is obvious: None other than playing. The issue I have with it is the cost. I imagine it’s expensive to build and I understand that whoever makes it wants to make some money, hey we all do, but I find that 130$ for a Blutooth receiver in a ball that has a counterweight and probably some kind of gyroscope built into it is much more than what it should cost if you consider that you could probably reuse most of the hardware inside a 40$ WiiMote.
As such, it’s going to be reserved for children who are tired of their ponies…
Until they realize that’s all the Sphero is: A one trick pony.
Hey, at least you don’t have to feed it or clean up after it!
-Doesn’t require a remote control as long as you already have a tablet or smartphone
-Comes with ramps in case you absolutely want to make sure it breaks
-Fun to bug pets with
-Makes a cheap breaking plastic sound
-Not enough useful applications
-Waaaay to expensive to be justifiable by mortals
-Should really come bundled with a Nubby
The pan that you use can make a tremendous difference to its heating efficiency and cooking quality. Flare Pans, which use FIN-X technology are the work of Oxford engineering professor Thomas Povey and his team of masters students. They claim that their pots will reduce the amount of energy required to reach temperature parity by 44%.
These more efficient pots unfortunately come with pretty hefty price tags. A small 20 cm saucepan will set you back a hefty GBP 49.99 (~USD 85.00) – prices get significantly more expensive for bigger pots and pans. Then there is the other little issue of the team’s use of aluminum – which they use for its excellent heat conduction. The problem with aluminum (or aluminium if you prefer) is that it is not ferrous – which renders it useless on IH stoves. It would likely make a good buy if you have a gas, electric or halogen cook-top, but will be rendered an expensive souvenir if you ever decide to switch over to induction cooking.
The remote, which works with a wide range of infra-red compatible electronics, can store up to 36 commands, some of which can be activated by flick and tilt gestures. On top of that, it also includes a TV-B-Gone-esque TV killer. Mix all of that together with flashing colors, phaser and Enterprise sound effects and vibration feedback – and you have a remote that is probably a lot more interesting than the stuff it controls. As for build quality, it is a 1:1 scale model that was designed using 3D laser scans of Original Series Prop phasers and is built from nickel and brass-plated die cast metal. It comes with a magnetic stand and an Enterprise screwdriver for assembly.
I must admit that this has me tempted. I have separate remotes for my lights, air conditioner, TV and media player – and would love to handle everything by phaser.
To the growing contingent of Game of Thrones fans who are concerned that he might not make it to the end of his series, George R. R. Martin has two words to say – and one of them isn’t pretty. But are the worried fans really that far out of line? All men, as the saying goes, must die (or Valar Morghulis if you prefer).
Martin is a husky man in his mid-sixties, which makes him a prime candidate for heart attack and stroke. He has been well-compensated for the many thousands of hours that he has no doubt spent writing the series, and many more hours have been collectively spent reading them than he did writing them – so while he is right to be offended, some might say that he has something of an obligation to uphold. Others would say that nobody has an obligation to create and that people who suggest otherwise are acting like entitled children.
In case you didn’t know, Martin has clued in the folks at HBO about how the series will end, should the unthinkable happen – fans will still be able to get some closure on the small screen. Fans of his books, however, would likely be left high and dry. That kind of sucks, but people die all the time, and when they do they often leave behind plenty of unfinished business. Death can be a major inconvenience and as sad as it all is – it is often a letdown. A year or two before my grandfather’s untimely death (at the same age that George R. R. Martin is now) from a major heart attack, he told me that when I was old enough, he would let me drive his tractor. As sad as his death was, I still remember that pang of disappointment, that the he was never able to fulfill his promise. Life, you will find, is full of such trivial disappointments that come about when people who are close to us shuffle of their mortal coil. If you haven’t learned that the hard way yet, you should have at least learned it from Game of Thrones.
If George R. R. Martin doesn’t make it through, I will be disappointed, but I won’t hold it against him. It has been a long time between books and I would be devastated to have to watch the rest of the television series without an all-knowing, self-satisfied smirk.
Long live George R. R. Martin.