Macworld's Best of the Rest

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Despite the furor around announcements from the Apple mothership, every Macworld is also a launch vehicle for hundreds of companies to introduce new products. Last week, Logan Kugler walked the show floor at Macworld 2008 for Boing Boing Gadgets and found ten products that may have overshadowed by the thin (but still opaque) Macbook Air.

Lapdome Collapsible Laptop Hut [Product Page | $30 | Availability: Now]

Outside? Trying to work on your laptop and the sun giving you too much love? Until screen technology develops to the point where you can boost your screen's brightness to match the sun (or OLPC-type reflective screens become more common), check out the LapDome Collapsible, a lightweight tent for your laptop that folds down flat and stores in your laptop bag. Pro tip: Cook s'mores on your heat sink.

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Futiro Solo [Product Page | $79 | Availability: Now]

The Solo from Futiro is the best example of the quintessential portable VoIP USB handset I've seen to date. It's both intuitive and elegant and feels good in your hand. Don't know about sound quality, but from what I saw it integrates flawlessly with Skype and iChat.

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iVolta Wireless Charger [Product Page | $25 for pad; $15 for each device adaptor (power receiver) | Availability: March]

Until Powercast comes into its own, iVolta is the next best thing. iVolta is a charging pad that can wirelessly charge as many electronic devices that can fit on the pad simultaneously, using short range inductive technology.

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S&D Dragon i Video & Music Station [$120 | Availability: by April]

Smart & Design's Dragon i is a music station for the iPod, but with a twist. Its four flexible speakers allow you to manipulate the satellites into almost any shape or around any object. (Presumably, your iPod.) The unit also boasts a 3.5mm mini-jack to connect a Mac or other audio device. They are currently looking for distributors.

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Dream Cheeky USB Missile Launcher [Product Page | $60 from ThinkGeek.com | Availability: March]

At a range of up to 15 feet and equipped with a camera and laser-guided missiles, the USB Missile Launcher will cause massive destruction to your buddy on the other side of MSN Messenger. The rep at Dream Cheeky's booth demonstrated the launcher's range capabilities and managed to repeatedly hit unsuspecting attendees at a competitor's booth across the hall.

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Nexsan Technologies 42TB "SATABeast X1" [Product Page | $50,000 (estimated) | Availability: March]

It may be out of the price range of any storage loving nerd, but it's still an incredible piece of technology—even just to look at. With 42 1TB platters, it sports a whopping 42TB of high density data storage. It's a huge amount now, but just imagine ten years from now when our 50 megapixel disposable cameras will be spitting out photos weighing more than 150MB each.

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Eye-Fi Wi-Fi SD Card [Product Page | $100 | Availability: Now]

Everything is going wireless—even gear that wasn't wireless before. The Eye-Fi Wi-Fi card acts just like a normal memory card, except it automatically uploads your photos to your home network the second you take them via Wi-Fi. You can even configure the card to upload straight to a photo sharing website like Flickr or Fotki (via a trip to your computer first, unfortunately).

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Belkin Conserve Surge Protector [Company Page | $50 | Availability: Summer]

Surge protectors and power strips are mighty convenient but it's far less convenient to reach down to the floor to turn them off when you're not using the devices that are plugged in. Belkin's Conserve surge protector comes with a slick remote that can magnetically dock to a wall like a light switch. Want to turn off six of the eight devices connected to Conserve? Flip the switch. Sadly, you can never, ever turn them back on. (Just kidding.)

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Lensbaby 3G [Product Page | $270 | Availability: Now]

Before Lensbaby, if you wanted to create a picture different from all others, you had two options: either set a really long exposure and do crazy things with your lenses, or use Photoshop. With Lensbaby 3G, a hybrid love child of an old fashioned bellows camera and an up-tight tilt-shift lens, you can create a gradually increasing blur around the subject of your photo and turn out some pretty stunning and unique pictures.

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Bluelounge Spacestation [Company Page | $80 | Availability: early February]

Looking for tricked-out laptop docks? The SpaceStation is not full-fledged laptop dock with all the ports, but it does feature a 4-port USB hub, internal wire management system, and rear accessory rail which can hold business cards on one side and keep a page or magazine standing upright on the other. The SpaceStation all works as a angled stand for your laptop and will be available next month in black or white.

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6 Comments

  1. That laptop tent…. don’t leave your laptop on it, lest your kitty get confused and think it’s a new covered litterbox. (Or, save yourself about sixty bucks, and get a new covered litterbox instead.)

  2. This statement about the Eye-Fi is incorrect: “You can even configure the card to upload straight to a photo sharing website like Flickr or Fotki (via a trip to your computer first, unfortunately)”. Mine uploads photos to my flickr account when my computer is sleeping. The Eye-Fi connects to the Eye-Fi server to do those uploads, not to your desktop. Of course, this also means that if the Eye-fi server goes down or they take down the server, the wifi capability of the card is essentially useless. Even in that case, it will still function as a normal 2GB SD card (albeit an incredibly power draining one). However, it doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon, as they’re well funded, the product looks like it’s getting good reviews, and Lexar is licensing the tech.

  3. I actually like the possibilities to commit civil disobedience the Eye-Fi creates. Imagine jailbreaking your iPhone, and sharing its EDGE connection over wifi with your camera (using something like srelay.) As long as you reduce the rez, the pics should upload pretty quickly and you don’t have to worry about them being confiscated.

  4. Adam,

    The Eye-Fi Card’s power management scheme is designed to optimize the use of the camera’s power, using power only when necessary. Whenever the Eye-Fi Card is not uploading photos, the power impact will be modest because the card will not be transmitting image data. If an Eye-Fi Card is functioning as a “normal 2GB SD card”, power consumption will be insignificant.

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