Check These Alien Carry-Ons

These Alienware bags are kinda cool, I guess. I’m not so sure though that, if I were in high school, or college, or on my way to a LAN party, I’d want to be carrying an expensive bag that screamed: “Look, I have a tricked-out fragtop in here!”

In case you’re interested in taking the risk, the backpack costs US$99, the Messenger Bag is $79.

USB Meets Dr. Strangelove

Oh, now THIS I need to have. If you’re gonna go wacky with the useless USB widgetry, why not bring office security and Federal law enforcement down on your ass in the process? This official-looking Big Red Button has the…ah… necessary security key and safety toggle switches you’d expect, and a protective cover over The Button so that you don’t let the missiles fly (hallelujah, hallelujah) until you’re ready. If the need to go “nucular” does arise, the unit counts out a four-minute beep sequence so you have time to get to the Executive Bomb Shelter. As The Reg points out: “The unit… conveniently doubles as a four-port USB hub during peacetime.” It’s expected to go on sale later this month in Japan and cost around US$45.

Thanks, Jay!

RFID: Move Over for Your Small But Mighty Competition

Yesterday, HP shone the ol’ passive memory chip reader onto its forthcoming Memory Spot chip, its answer to the RFID tag. The Memory Spot is pretty amazing. It’s very tiny, having an antenna built right into its wee package. It can hold 4 megabits of data and has a 10 Mbps data transfer rate. HP sees a future in which these slivery chips are in and on everything, from products that will come with catalogs of other products built into them to medicine bottles that’ll lecture you about contraindications, to greeting and business cards that will have audio and video built into them. HP sees PDAs and phones eventually being turned into Memory Spot readers.

It’ll be interesting to see how this technology shakes out and if we’ll end up in a drawn out standards battle between this tech and conventional RFID.

Unique USB Hub Design

We’re always on the lookout for unique solutions to cable management, be it power or data cables. This Rota-Rota USB Hub offers four female USB2.0 connectors stacked on top of each other and on a swiveling axis, so they can point in any direction (in a 180-degree arc). Not having tried it out, we don’t know how much of an improvement this is over the typical horizontally-oriented, fixed hubs, but it seems like something of a design improvement. And, they only cost US$16 a pop.

[Via Ubergizmo]

Another Sega MP3 Toy Character Robot Thingy

Sega Toys was showing off another one of those weirdo robot toy music companions, this one called the Mu-Bot, at last week’s Tokyo Toy Show. Not sure what else it does, except stand there and look a lot like Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide, and its arms reel out and you stuff his little hands into your ears (they’re headphone earbuds). Gee, that’s not in any way strange.

[Via New Launches]

MS Zune and New Pods Turn the Rumor Mill

Think Secret has some dish on both the MS Zune media player and Apple’s near-future iPods. Skimming off the heavy stuff, we get:

* We’re not likely to see a full-screen video iPod until January’s MacWorld.
* 5GB iPods may show up before then.
* The iPhone project is on hold for the forseeable future.
* When the 6GB iPod comes around, it will not likely have WiFi and the “talking iPod” features that have been rumored.
* The Zune player may have WiFi and sport a 400Mhz processor, enough power for gaming.
* The Zune may also have a satellite radio tuner in it.
* As Engadget opines, IF the Zune has wireless, free “transfer” of your iTunes music purchases, sat radio, and gaming, it might have a chance against the iPod.

‘Invisible’ Rootkit Heralds Trouble Ahead

Uh-oh. And I quote:

“Security researchers have discovered a new type of rootkit they believe will greatly increase the difficulty of detecting and removing malicious code.

“The rootkit in question, called Backdoor.Rustock.A by Symantec and Mailbot.AZ by F-Secure, uses advanced techniques to avoid detection by most rootkit detectors.

“The rootkit is “unique given the techniques it uses,” Symantec’s Elia Florio wrote in a recent analysis. “It can be considered the first-born of the next generation of rootkits.”

“Rustock.A uses a mixture of old techniques and new ideas to make it “totally invisible on a compromised computer when installed,” including a beta version of Windows Vista, Florio wrote.”

[via CIO Tech Informer]

Yet Another Extreme Mod Extreme Off

I don’t know… It looks sort of like a Sears backyard toolshed, from hell. See it and other casing curiosities at ExtrremeTech’s Week 3 Case Mod contest.

And, is it just me, or has “extreme modding” kind of “jumped the shark?” (Not that I, in any way, want to stop people from putting computers where they don’t belong, I’m just sayin’…)

Hand-Carved Flash Drives

Core77 has an interesting few bits on their design blog about SEED 2006, a Design and Development Project of the Portuguese Cooperation, created to connect developing world craftspeople with the high tech marketplace. In one West African country, Sao Tome e Principe, woodworkers developed hand carved USB flash drives — okay, not the electronics, just the drive casings. They’d never seen such crazy machinery before, but they sure could see the economic benefits of attaching their artisanship to this “foreign” technology. They’re currrently seeking large orders so they can move into large scale production. Unfortunately, the piece doesn’t have any contact information and I couldn’t find any other info online.