On the Astro A40 Headset 
2009.04.07 11:09 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity, Toys, Gadgets
I don't yet know where the mic stacks up, but the cans sound lovely, the headband and earcups and comfy, and the cabling seems very nice.

The downside is that the QC seems a bit lacking, because one of the two mic jacks on the headset is kaput!

Long and short: I don't think I can recommend these in good conscience. Assuming they're not fragile, they really are superb, but I would hate for somebody to spend $200 on a headset to have the microphone not work at all.
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Can I Just Say That I Hate The Apple Store? 
2008.09.10 11:29 - Toys, Gadgets
Specifically, I do not enjoy going to the Apple Store at the local shopping mall. It's always got a million people milling around, blocking access to anything you want to buy, and it's all hard, shiny surfaces and bright, white lights. The first time I visited the one here I got a headache.

When I was last in Chicago, Herb and Karen were sufficiently longsuffering to visit the nearest one to them with me. We ran into some other RHIT grads and had a brief-ish conversation which I mostly missed because of my somewhat questionable hearing and the sheer amount and level of background noise in the place.

It's just not someplace I have any desire to go to browse at this point. If Apple wasn't using their store's presence as an excuse to not sell some items through other places around here, I probably wouldn't bother with it at all.
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Shiny! 
2007.11.21 16:00 - Entertainment, Movies, Toys, Actual Toys, Gadgets
I don't figure Matt wants to pay this much for a non-functional0 replica of a flux capacitor, but he may be interested, nonetheless.

Footnotes
0. At least, I assume that it doesn't actually allow one to travel through time, 1.21 gigawatt power supply notwithstanding.

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Overpriced Trinkets 
2007.05.06 20:47 - Toys, Gadgets, Pens
So, I spent a good chunk of the last week in Chicago, visiting Mr. and Mrs. Pikafoop0. I'm told that a fun time was had by all. It had been previously agreed that I needed to visit a pen shop in the nearby shopping mall, so that became a prime destination on Saturday.

While I was hemming and hawing over the purchase of a Parker 100, the 'foop was perusing their selection of clearanced items, wherein he found the Bettoni Graphica, which really is a hardcore geek/engineer/guy-who-works-with-his-hands sort of pen. So I had to have one, too. It's a sickness, really. I'm a little worried that one of my immediate family way appropriate while I'm not looking, so I'm keeping my eye out for it as gift fodder later this year.

The good news? Bettoni seems to be a brand made exclusively for promotional giveaways, so the pen is probably available if one knows where to look. The bad is that, so far, it doesn't look like anyone on the Internet accepts orders for fewer than twenty-five of them, which is just a few2 more than I need for gifts. So, uh, best of luck finding one, I guess, unless you happen to be near the Woodfield Mall in Chicago (in which case, give Executive Essentials a look).

I'll confess to paying a bit more than twenty dollars for one of those, though. I don't think that was a bad deal, except in light of the usual pricing on it.

Footnotes

0. Not their real name, but I can never recall what the policy is on real names and teh Intarweb this week.
1. It won; I am now contemplating sending it to Janesville3 for a nib swap before inking it and putting it to use.
2. Where few = twenty-two, in fact.
3. Janesville, WI is home to the US service center for Parker, Waterman, and Rotring pens. Engineers should really give Rotring's pens a look; you may find either the (discontinued/soon-to-be-discontinued) 600 or (new, replacing the 600) Newton series pleasing to your aesthetic sensibilities. I've mostly preferred Parker, though.

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Dude. 
2007.01.23 10:08 - Toys, Actual Toys, Gadgets
Dude.

Soundwave MP3 player. It transforms.
Optimus Prime iPod Dock (G1 figure with a nice, new head, actually--iOptimus?)

Man. I'm not buying either of those (too expensive, and I'm way over-invested in robots lately, anyhow), but neat, anyway. Well, Soundwave is neat. Prime is just continuing his long history of selling out.

First two links shamelessly stolen from Shortpacked! and Gizmodo, but I couldn't resist posting.

Addendum: As long as this is the most recent entry, an update: allegedly, there will be headphones shaped like Rumble and Frenzy to go with Soundwave. I'm still not buying, but dang. That's nuts.

Further Addendum: Okay, now it's just silly.
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