Friday, December 29, 2006

MindManager and FastTrack

Here's a sweet little thing I just noticed: interoperability between FastTrack, the cross-platform project management program, and MindManager, the mind-mapping program. So GANTT charts can become mindmaps and visa versa.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

JawBone is the best Bluetooth earpiece

I've used a few Bluetooth earpieces. Either they're too bulky, can't product enough sound volume, don't fit right or all three. But the just released and beautifully designed JawBone is IT.

JawBone used to make a wired earpiece that made use of their bone induction technology that senses the vibrations of your voice through your jaw and uses that to improve the noise canceling features of the microphone, all but eliminating background sounds. But it only worked with a limited number of phones, none of which I had or wanted. Now they've dropped that product and just a few days ago launched a Bluetooth earpiece making use of the same technology. It's right now sold exclusively through Cingular stores, but soon on the JawBone website as well. (Only a pewter color through Cingular. Soon a black one and the red one shown through their one site.)

This thing is the best. First, sound quality is great. Volume great. Very small and light. And, contrary to Walt Mossberg's mostly glowing review, it fits my ear like no other earpiece I've ever worn before. Should fit your ear too because it ships with two different sizes of ear clips (actually four of these in total because they're shaped differently depending upon what ear you use). And included are five different earbuds to fit the size and shape of your ear. This is a device that is intends to sit deep in the ear and hug the side of your face.

There are a few other earpieces that make use of bone induction, including the cool one pictured above, intended for SWAT teams. But they're much more expensive that this new JawBone. The JawBone is $120 at Cingular--not too much when you think of all the crummy earpieces you've had to trash because they haven't worked. And this one is the nicest looking of them all.

UPDATE: Go here for my latest links to JawBone2: LINK

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Recent trip photos

Here are some photos of my recent trip to Vancouver. Click the photo to launch the photostream.

Great headset for Skype

This is a wonderful headset made by Logitech. Great for Skype as well as music. Relatively portable.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More on the personal blimp

Dan Nachbar's personal blimp is profiled in yesterday's Sunday NYT Magazine. I mentioned the blimp earlier on my blog, here. It tickles me that this is being developed in my backyard, literally a block away from my house.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Toyota pedal car

Here's a hopeful little thing, a Toyota pedal concept car from the recent L.A. show. (via various places including AutoCult)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Displays of environmental conservation in Vancouver

Two shots from my evening run in Vancouver. On the left is a bicycle parked next to a natural foods store. It's got electric assist. On the right is the little four door hatchback version of the Toyota Yaris. In the US we just get a sedan. And I could have shot any of many two seater SMART cars. And the Prius taxis. The point? It's just a little easier here to spot a conscious connection between transportation and conservation. These two images illustrate the visual prop you receive in Vancouver for the city's image as especially environmentally conscious. But of course these images represent a tiny seed compared to overall consumption, even here in "Lotus Land". Downtown Vancouver, and especially West Vancouver, are wealthy cities, and there's a generous and obvious share of V12 Mercedes and fast Ferrari's flying around. In reality the tipping point seems far far off. What products are needed to shift overall consumption more significantly? In terms of vehicles, will those few that produce even modest reductions in fuel consumption ever be more than niche sops to vague feelings of concern for the environment? And will any fuel efficient cars ever substitute for the display of power that cars provide? Because that's a large part of what fast and luxury cars are, the biggest, most obvious way that we can display our feathers for all the world to see. Strangely, though I've been looking, I haven't spotted here any of the Lexus hybrids (450h or 400h) that I often see in Massachusetts. But I would expect my first sighting of the new ultraluxury 600h to be here.

New cool bike briefcase

Here's a very cool new bike briefcase for the hip commuter bike geek, the Ortlieb Office Bag 2. I have the original Office Bag but this one is hard sided and instead of hanging like a pannier, clips horizontally across a rear rack. Unlike my Office Bag, this one has recessed fasteners so it can function more effectively off the bike. Available here, with more information here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Starbucks and Home Depot Make a Village

This is probably where "Main Street" is headed.

The combi- nation of Home Depot/ Starbucks/ Main Street is a new addition to Park Royal, an upscale shopping mall at the entrance to West Vancouver, Canada. The small picture shows the "Village" in which this Home Depot and Starbucks are located, looking down Main Street into the mall. Note the faux lighthouse, done in what looks to me like a New England style . . . though this is on the other coast, 3,000 miles away, and though near the ocean, still at least several hundred meters away and blocked from the ocean by those trees you see in the background.

Prior to this "Main Street" being created, I don't think there was a street named such in this town. The real main street is Marine Drive which runs all along the coastal part of this Vancouver suburb. Marine Drive begins with Park Royal, which opened in 1950 as Canada's first covered mall. With this new "village" addition, it reverts to an outdoor concept, supposedly modeled on the Whistler ski resort shopping experience, according to the Wikipedia entry. The commercial section of Marine Drive beyond Park Royal, into the heart of wealthy West Vancouver, consists of small, independent shops plus the usual chain gas stations and banks.

Nissan Snail

Here's the Nissan Escargot ("S-Cargo") for sale (used) for $10,000 in West Vancouver, British Columbia. Cute thing.