Grado Gets Groovy?

We’ve always been fans of Grado Labs’s headphones. We reviewed the Grado SR60s ALL the way back in 1998. A pair that I bought after that review, by Andrew Sasaki, still sits on my stereo system and still gets used on a regular basis. If I had to get a new set of phones, I’d probably go out and buy the same damn pair. That’s pretty astounding, when you think about it: a piece of personal electronics that’s remained unchanged for over eight years and is still worth buying today.

But this item isn’t about Grado’s perennial faves, its about their latest edition, the iGrados, Grado Labs’s attempt at joining the 21st century by creating a set of cans for the iPod generation. The iGrado phones come in either black or white and are behind-the-head style, so you don’t mess up that anime hair that you spent 45 minutes and a small fortune in sculpting putty on. The good news in all this comestic “i” surgery is that the iGrados only cost US$49 and they have the same drivers in them as the venerable SR60s.

Oh, BTW, the SR60s cost $69, the same price they did in 1998. Some things never change, and sometimes, that’s a very good thing…

The iGrado phones are expected to go on sale in September.

How-to: Hacing the Nokia 770

LinuxDevCenter has a nice intro piece on hacking a Nokia 770 with Linux. As you may know, the Nokia 770 is that Internet tablet thing that Nokia put out that’s kinda too small to be a thoroughly useful tablet PC and it isn’t a phone. This piece discusses the uses and abuses of the 770 and shows some entry-level hacks.

The 770 is showing up increasingly on eBay. If I could get one of these for a few hundred bucks, I’d love to have email and Web, always within reach, no matter where I room in the house and yard.

Uni-D Wi-Fi Range Booster from Kitchen Steamer

C’mon, you know you’ve thought about it — no, not what you’d do if Natalie Portman actually answered your fanboy emails — building a Wi-Fi antenna from one of those in-pot steamer/strainers (a Hollywood favorite when depicting junk-built robots and various McGuyver hacks). A builder on Instructables has done just that, creating a signal booster for a thumb-drive-type USB Wi-Fi Adaptor. Making such a uni-directional booster is actually very easy, and at least according to the builder, significantly boosts signal strength.

How-To: Talk to Your Roomba for $24

On his hardware hacking blog, Tod Kurt of TodBot has instructions on how to build a USB-to-serial (mini-DIN 8) cable for connecting a Roomba to a laptop (or other computer). As Tod points out in the piece, the PL2303 USB-to-serial adapter chip, built into the cable you use (the Nokia USB data cable), has support for all the major OSes.

[Via Make]

World’s First Wi-Fi/Cellular Phone

I can’t believe it’s taken this long to happen, but Samsung has released the SGH-P200, the first mobile that can switch “seemlessly” between cellular phone services and IP network services over Wi-Fi, so-called Generic Access Network technology or UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access).

The P200, which is first being released in Italy, can switch between GSM, GPRS, EDGE mobile services, and wireless LAN networks (Wi-Fi). Roll-out to other European countries soon. No word on when we can expect to see GAN phones here in the US.

LED Number Generator Electronics Kit

We’re always on the lookout for fun and relatively easy electronics kits to recommend to those learning how to solder. This LED Shaking Dice kit (US$14.99) being sold at Think Geek looks like it fits the bill. And it meets one of our other criteria: it’s cheap! When you’re done with the build, you have a cool-looking random number generator that’s triggered when you shake it. It flashes away through its random number sequence, finally displaying a number of lit LEDs like the dots on an analog die.

[Via OhGizmo!]

More Fun with Ted Stevens!

Personally, I wasn’t very impressed with that folk ditty a MySpacer did in response to Ted Stevens’s bizarre explanation for how the Internet works (which one blogger aptly described as “Flinstonian”). This techno video remix, using a lot of vintage tech imagery, is more like it.

If you really want to short your circuits (and raise your panic level over this guy being in a position of power concerning the internets), check out this longer Senate floor babaloney from Stevens, laid over swirly graphics and trip-hoppy beats.

Boston AI Conference in Images

CNet News has a nice photo gallery with deep captions round-up of events at this week’s jointly held 2006 National Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence, which is taking place this week in Boston.

The caption for this image reads:

“Woofie” is used to teach speech and language impaired preschoolers in New Orleans vocabulary, sequence and memory skills. Woofie makes an animal noise, says the name of the animal, and then asks children to step on the corresponding square. The robot dog responds positively when the answer is correct, and continues the game, adding an additional animal to the list upon each turn.

Some “Green Hair Thinking” on Cable Management

While we’re on the subject of cable management, let’s look at some “green hair concepts” (as I once heard a suit call “out there” ideas). Gernot Kunzel, an industrial design student from Stuttgard National School of Fine Arts, created the Wired Connection project. He studied how he and his fellow students used power cables in their lives and then designed a number of solutions that address common problems. I like the cable bucket and the power bar/grappling hook thingy. [Via The Cool Hunter]

Setting Up a Nokia E70 Smartphone

Josh Rubin of Cool Hunting gets all handsy with his new Nokia E70. He wasn’t so enamored with the Nokia S60 software (“…out of the box, the new software felt as convoluted as Windows”), but after some menu tweaking, the downloading of several third-party apps (such as the Nova Media iSync plugin and Google Local Mobile), and finally getting the E70 to sync with his MacBook Pro, Josh is pretty pleased. He does report a few nagging problems, he… well, here, I’ll let him tell you all about it…

BTW: The E70 is not available here in the US yet, but like Josh, you can get them directly from Hong Kong via eBay.