Now that summer’s finally here, NATO straps are thick on the ground.
But they aren’t the be-all and end-all of summer watchery. In fact, there are a few more, arguably better, alternatives to that muggy crocodile or metal links your wrist will be shedding as the temps rise—and they range from denim-y to Saint-Tropez-y.
Rarely are all three of these things packed and ready to go when you are, thus the frantic scurrying, the mindless patting of pants that haven’t been worn since Easter, the “would you mind calling my phone,” followed by “I thought you said your phone was out of battery,” followed by blank stares as yet another movie night is ruined.
This iPhone 5 case/aged leather wallet from Portal may be just the type of all-or-nothing game changer your pocket organization system (dwindling movie date success rate) has been hoping for.
But so is the entirety of Sony’s 1984 audio/visual collection, like the Beta Hi-Fi video cassette player which, as advertised, “blows you away” with its better-than-movie-theater sound. You’ll be “engulfed in the power and action of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark... the pulsating rhythms of Flashdance... the dramatic intensity of An Officer and a Gentleman... the spectacular rock video of David Bowie.”
A couple days ago, the online gadget guide Gizmodo posted and masturbated to a photo of the contents of Steve Wozniak’s travel backpack. In the photo (taken and annotated by The Woz himself), an iSimCity of redundant -pads, -phones, -books, -pods and so on is neatly nestled together, row after row, much like Sol Rosenberg’s shoes and glasses (so he has them). The photo, while farcically lame, is not grounds for labeling Woz a PC—we imagine Justin Long travels with a comparable load.
We’re of the mind that if you’re going camping, you’ve committed to roughing it—you’re leaving the creature comforts of the indoors for a reason. But here’s one shortcut we’ll endorse: the BioLite.
Esquire tipped us off to the packable stove burner that runs on just about anything you can scrounge up from the woods (sticks, pinecones, etc.), and we’re mostly impressed by its ability to charge your USB device on the go. That means you’ve got extended range on your GPS or smartphone, should you feel like spending more time in the wild than one charge can handle.
As long as you’re using the phone only for emergencies and/or finding the nearest water source—not retweeting @Justin_Buber.
In this new weekly series, we’re peering into your summer weekend agenda and offering a few essential sundries to help you make the most of your upcoming escapade. And it appears that this weekend, you’re heading to the beach.
You enjoy the beach. Of course you do.
It’s just that you’ve been enjoying the beach for dozens of years now, and it’s become a bit predictable: the sand, the sun, the water that’s “freezing!” and then “actually not so bad!” and then “aren’t you gonna get in?!” and so on, and so on.
Let’s be honest—you’re not going to read the Steve Jobs biography. So don’t pack it. In its stead, may we recommend one or more of the following...
Brewing your own beer is like wearing shorts to work: it’s kind of gross and nobody takes you seriously. Which is why we were so pleased to see The Professional Microbrewery hit the market last month via the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer, who have been offering “the Best, the Only, and the Unexpected” for 164 years. Full disclosure: this will set you back $45,000. It is decidedly not a “kit.” Rather, it is a fully automated Heat Exchange Recycling Mash (HERM) system, complete with a 15-gallon hot liquor tank with built-in heat exchange, a mash/lauter tun that extracts sugar from ground grain, a 20-gallon boil kettle where the mash is converted into the final wort and a freestanding 14-gallon stainless-steel fermentation tank—and everything is controlled by a centralized computer system with level sensors, gauges and temperature detectors that provide accurate, real-time monitoring of the brewing process.
We’ve been jetpack aficionados since The Rocketeer, but for the most part, science has not obliged us. Great minds have been pushing against the idea since the ’60s, but the dream of a backpack-powered commute has yet to be realized.
But as of this week, we’ve got the next best thing: a jetpack racing a car.
It took place on 400 meters of the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, against a Renault Mégane RS. The pack in question only has 30 seconds of fuel, so it had to be a short race—but it’s still one of the coolest things we’ve seen all year.
You’ve seen the videos. You’ve heard the news. We’ve finally mastered the art of the phone-sized flying robot, and they’re doing everything from dancing to playing the James Bond theme. Naturally, you’ve got one question and one question alone: how do I get my hands on one?
The bad news is, the copters in question come from a university lab in Philadelphia, and they aren’t exactly in the retail business. But after a little digging, we’ve found a few ways to buy the next best thing.
Cameras have been getting more low-tech for a while (Holga, anyone?), but it looks like the Lomography crowd is finally making the leap to video. This is the Lomokino Super 35, a hand-cranked 35mm camera—and the state of the cinematic art circa 1925. To be fair, it’s also in color, but otherwise there’s not much to separate it from the kind of cameras Buster Keaton was using. You can crank slower for a sped-up silent movie feel or over-crank for evocative slow motion. They even include a device for watching dailies—that Lomoviewer box to the right. Hopefully you saved your Chaplin costume from Halloween.
Done right, the gadget gift can be a perfect cross-generational gambit—so as part of our ongoing gift coverage, we thought we’d tip you off to the the Roku XDS, our favorite gadget of the year.
The controls are about the same as your standard hotel pay-per-view set up: flip through a few titles with synopsis blurbs below, decide on one and click play. The difference is, you’ll be choosing from anything on Netflix, Hulu, or even Pandora if you need a jazz-funk mix for the post-holiday cleanup. And most importantly, it’s the kind of thing you can spend the morning hooking up—which is as honored a holiday tradition as we can think of.
Turning your phone off is a pretty strong signal in the modern age—especially if you make a point of it. But if your innate chivalry keeps you from being too obvious…we may have a handkerchief for you.
This one comes from myphoneisoff.com (hat tip), with a special lining to blog cell signals and a clear, silent declaration of your newly unwired state stitched on the outside. The idea is to leave it on the table as you sit down to eat, but we don’t see any reason why it should stop there. Sure it’s a bit aggressive, but desperate times call for desperate accessories. Consider us onboard.
Productivity tools have become something of an arms race lately but staying focused doesn’t have to be complicated. We’d start with a pen, a pocket notebook and a habit of writing things down…
A web version of that combo named Workflowy is currently changing lives in Silicon Valley with the tagline “a better way to think.”
The result looks like what you see to the left: a ranked, ordered list of whatever’s on your mind at the time. It’s not much to look at, but the right structure can do wonders for your thought process, and the folks behind the scenes claim to have built it up according to the structure of modern thoughts.
Of course, hawking a product with the pitch “it’ll change the way you think” is bound to be a little unsettling…but in this case, we’re pretty sure it’s an upgrade.
Here’s how it works: Instead of relying on simple sizing, you’ll input a tailor’s slate of measurements—including oft-overlooked numbers like neck circumference and the distance from the wrist to the back of the neck—and fit.me will adjust the mannequin accordingly.
So when you want to see that polo on a torso shaped exactly like yours, the eCommerce will have the perfect picture at the ready. (The curious can try it out on the site.) It hasn’t landed at any shops just yet, but we’d guess it’s only a matter of time.