Tokyo’s New “Eye” Phone is Nothing to Roll Your Eyes Over

This is some really interesting techonology from NTT Docomo that allows you to change your music on your ear buds by moving your eyes about. Here it is in video form. One of the most interesting aspects is learning that the cornea emits different electro-charges depending on how you move your eyes. The ear buds can measure those changes and will tell your mp3 player (okay fine, most likely your ipod or iphone . . . but maybe the new windows 7 phone?) to up the volume or flip the track ahead, etc. Evidently this is just a prototype though and NTT does not have any immediate plans to move them into production, but that can change . . .

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How to make a Potato Gun . . . Shoot Farther!

So several years ago, we were one of the first to talk about the phenomenon of making a coke and mentos rocket. That has gone on for it to become a pretty big part of pop culture — or at least to the point that many people have at least heard that combining the two creates quite a fizz (Willy Wonka might be interested for his Fizzy Lifting Drinks Version 2.0). In any case, we decided to check in on one of our other favorite toys, the potato gun. We were delighted to find that there is scientific research being conducted right now in North America (Canada of all places!) to find out the best propellant to fire your potato gun the farthest.

And the Winner is . . . Finesse Hairspray! Finesse beat out Pantene Hair Spray, Right Guard and Good Ole Ether (no breathing it in). I always liked Aqua Net Hairspray, but that wasn’t tested. Perhaps a re-match? Is someone can test Aqua Net Hairspray against Finesse Hairspray in their potato gun and post their results here, we would be forever indebted. In any case, you can check out the article and the experiment from the Pigeon Lake School in Alberta here. Have fun with your potato guns or spud guns or whatever they’re being called today (mine was first crafted maybe 8 years ago and has become inoperable unfortunately).

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New AMD Turion Notebooks

As we have covered in the past, the notebook turion processor’s development is something we keep a close eye on. Well there are some new ultraportable notebooks coming to market that sport the AMD Turion Neo X2 and are looking pretty attractive at the $600 to $700 price range.

We remember the days when you had to spend +$2000 to get this type of performance in an ultraportable notebook. These new generation netbooks are very attractive at this price point and they perform at or above expectations.

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Makedo Designs gives Kids the Creative Power

This is a pretty great idea. Your kids or nephews or nieces can make creative items from household items with these kits that try to keep things safe while inspiring creativity. This is a really important thing to do for young ones. The more they use their mind imaginatively at a young age, the more creative problem solvers they become later in life — a critical skill to success in the never linear real world. We like this idea a lot. Below is an example of what’s been done with the kit — but the options are truly endless.

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HTC Desire – Verizon

The guys over at phandroid have reported that the HTC Bravo will become the HTC Desire and will be announced in the next day or two officially. Given a solid history of these types I predictions, we tend to believe that this has a good probability of taking place. Given the stats listed (rumored), it looks like quite a device. Combine the device’s power with Verizon’s reliable network and you have a very attractive Google Nexus One entry to the Verizon platform. Let’s see what happens officially in the next few days, but it should be an interesting Spring for the smartphone marketplace with iphone’s enivitable update coming soon.

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Spy Gadgets – Video Camera Watch

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This watch caught our eye because it actually is quite smart looking with some pretty amazing features. It has an 8GB video camera that can also record voice. The applications here, as I am sure you can imagine, are quite broad. We also really like the fact that they blended in analog features such as keeping the watch runing on a traditional gear system. It is retailing for less than $100 USD so on all fronts in seems like a worthy consideration for you or your gadget loving compadres.

When you consider the cost of a flip video camera is higher and obviously more conspicuous, in the spy gear realm, this watch really caught our eye.

Twitter vs. Facebook for Business

Twitter vs. Facebook Image

A recent article at Bnet states that Twitter is somewhat less valuable for building lasting partnerships with customers than Facebook. However, the evidence provided is somewhat anecdotal. Both Twitter and Facebook are very good tools for business, but they may be best used as a complement to each other, rather than one or the other.

Certain businesses will do very well with Facebook and others with Twitter and many with no social networking strategy at all. The article appropriately points out that it is a significant time committment to manage these social resources, so taking a macro view and deciding where your finite time is most effectively spent is likely the best business decision you can make.

Solar Powered Bonsai Tree Can Charge Your iPod and Mobile Phone

Recharge your cellphone, iPod, iPhone and camera with this USB solar powered bonsai tree by French designer Vivien Muller.

Thanks to 54 tiny photovoltaic panels, the iBonsai (we just made that name up) will store energy in a hidden battery during the day, allowing you to recharge your gadgets even at night.

Hate wire clutter? Who doesn’t. The bonsai charging tree cleverly hides all wires and plugs under the tray.

Need to slim down the tree’s berth so you can fit it on your desk? No problem. You can rotate each part individually and produce an endless number of different shapes. It’s like metal adult LEGOS.

The iBonsai Tree is decorative, good for the environment and sexy. It’s also just still a concept, so sorry. You can’t buy this yet. Hopefully Vivien will sell his concept and get the tree mass produced soon.

[Via methodshop]

Kevin Rose says New iPods Coming Soon

Is Digg.com founder and Diggnation star Kevin Rose abusing his Apple contacts? This past weekend Kevin blogged about some new stuff being released by Apple next month including new iPods and an iTunes update.

According to Kevin, Apple will announce the following within the next few weeks:

  • the iPod nano will take on a slimmer, more rounded look
  • the iPod Touch will get an update with a new 2.1 operating system
  • Prices of the iPod line will drop to differentiate the product from the iPhone
  • iTunes 8.0 will be a major new release with several additional features
  • Further out Apple is planning to add Blu-ray support to Mac OS X

Why would Rose risk exposing his Apple contacts by announcing this information? And why now? Rose mentions his Twitter account multiple times in his blog post and urges people to “follow” him on Twitter to get more information. Perhaps Rose is bitter that Barack Obama took the top slot away from him on Twitter earlier this month.

methodshop

Obama Out Twits McCain

While John McCain is still learning how to use email (we’re not kidding), his U.S. Presidential competition has completely mastered the micro-blogging service Twitter.

This month, American presidential candidate Barack Obama dethroned Kevin Rose from Digg.com and became the most popular person on Twitter. According to Twitterholic, a website that measures the “followers” of Twitter accounts, Barack Obama has over 58,000 followers.

Obama’s closest Twitter competitor is Kevin Rose with 56k followers. Robert Scoble, CNN Breaking News and Leo Laporte help round out the top 10.

Someone not in the Twitterholic top 10… John McCain. In fact McCain isn’t even in the top 100. The only serious McCain Twitter account we found has a little over 1,000 followers. A truly pitiful showing for someone who is running for president.

Here’s a 101 primer on Twitter and tips on how to explain it. If someone who personally knows John McCain is reading this, please print the article out for him (because you can’t email it to him yet).

Tutorial: How to Explain Twitter to Your Grandma

And if you are feeling wild, you can follow @methodshop on Twitter here.

methodshop

ROCKETON MMOG Interview

Steve Hoffman and Eric Hayashi are certainly well-rounded interactive entertainment executives. Their bios are full of so many impressive entertainment and gaming companies that it will make your head spin. Combined, Steve and Eric have worked at Vivendi Universal Games, Virgin Interactive, Infospace, Hasbro Interactive, Sega and Atari.

So what did Steve and Eric do with all that experience? What was the culmination of this vast interactive knowledge? In 2007, Steve and Eric joined forces with Naomi Kokubo and co-founded ROCKETON, a new type of multiplayer social experience that spans the entire web.

Instead of having to go to a separate site or use a specific application like Second Life, ROCKETON turns the entire Internet into a virtual world for browser based avatars. Think of ROCKETON like Second Life + PMOG with a twist of Facebook and a dash of StumbleUpon. It’s a Web 2.0 evolutional twist on virtual reality.

MethodShop was lucky enough to get some time with Steve and Eric and grilled them pretty hard about ROCKETON. A link to the full interview is below. Enjoy.

Interview: ROCKETON’s Steve Hoffman and Eric Hayashi


methodshop

iPhone 3G Launch Problems

The long awaited iPhone 3G was released on Friday, July 11th. But what should have been a happy and joyous day for iPhone fans, ended up being an exercise in frustration for many.

AT&T’s insistence on trying to activate the phones in store taxed Apple’s authentication server (more info) and caused lines to move at a snail’s pace or sent buyers home with a phone only good for making emergency calls. During last year’s iPhone 1.0 launch Apple had everyone activate their own phone at home through iTunes.

Worse yet, AT&T outlets were allowed to sell far fewer phones that Apple Stores, forcing them to turn away customers who waited hours to get their hands on one.


The iPhone 3G line outside the Manhattan Apple Store on 14th Street at 12:52PM. Estimated wait time was ~4 hours. (Photo credit: MethodShop.com)

Earlier this week, Apple also had problems with the relaunch of their data service now called MobileMe (it was previously called iTools and .Mac). The MobileMe service is designed to synchronize a user’s personal data across devices, including the iPhone, but many users were denied access to their accounts this week, including Frank Accarrino.

“I’ve been trying to upload pictures from iPhoto to my .Mac website for the past few days but it’s offline. I can’t even get to my Mac mail. I bet Steve Jobs is pissed right now,” Frank told MethodShop.com.

Apple is usually known for flawless product launch events. Let’s hope Apple solves these network issues for next time. It’s estimated that 1 million iPhone 3G models were sold in the U.S. this weekend.

methodshop

Digg.com Launches New “Recommendation Engine” Feature

Digg is rolling out a new recommendation engine this week. The new feature’s goal is to help users discover content from like-minded individuals amid the clutter of the 16k+ stories submitted to Digg.com each day.

You know how when you are browsing Amazon.com and the site suggests related products based on what you are viewing and what you’ve already purchased? This new Digg feature works kind of the same way. It analyzes your previous “diggs,” or stories you’ve voted for, then lets you know what other users with similar tastes have recommended.

If you want to know more, Digg execs Kevin Rose and Anton Kast go into detail about how it works on the Digg blog.

Rose will also probably explain the new feature during his next Diggnation podcast.

methodshop

Loopt Coming Soon to the iPhone 3G

Wish you knew where your friends and family were at all times? Have you heard of Loopt yet?

Loopt is a mobile phone application that enables users to spy on see the location of their friends on an interactive map (see image below). The application also allows you to message friends in your general area and setup automatic alerts to notify you when friends are nearby.

In the last few months, Loopt has published several BlackBerry versions of its software for all major American cellphone carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, Alltel and Sprint. Loopt also demonstrated an Alpha version of their software for the 3G iPhone at the 2008 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). You can sign up to be notified when the full iPhone version of Loopt is released here.

If you have a Jailbroken iPhone, then the function and features of Loopt might sound similar to Twinkle. Twinkle is a native Twitter client for the iPhone that pairs your GPS location with your Twitter posts. Twinkle also gives you the ability to add images to your Twitter Tweets.

But whether or not you use Loopt, Twinkle or Twitter.. it’s not any fun unless all your friends are also using the service.

methodshop

Developers and Consumers Get Ready for Apple’s iPhone App Store

A massive new online business is scheduled to launch on July 11: Apple’s App Store – an online hub for third party iPhone and iPod Touch applications.

Beginning later this month, developers will begin to upload apps to the store accessible by iPhone users or to a new section of the iTunes Store, sharing revenue from app sales with Apple in a 70/30 split. These apps will be in addition to the 1,700-odd apps already developed for the iPhone’s Safari web browser.

One of the games people are looking forward to playing is Super Monkey Ball. Sega’s Ethan Einhorn showed off Super Monkey Ball on stage at the WWDC. According to Einhorn, after 8 weeks of development, the developers have created 110 stages.


The new 3G, GPS-enabled iPhone should open up a world of possibilities for clever developers in the realms of gaming, entertainment and enterprise applications.

In related news, the AOL Radio app for the iPhone won for Best Entertainment Application at the 2008 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), providing users free access to over 350 online radio stations (including 150 local CBS radio stations) and more than 200 AOL Radio channels.

Other WWDC iPhone App winners:

Best iPhone Game:
Enigmo by Pangea Software

Best iPhone Social Networking App:
Twitterrific by the Icon Factory

Best iPhone Productivity App:
OmniFocus by the Omni Group

Best iPhone Healthcare & Fitness App:
MIM from MIMVista

methodshop