The Retrospective

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Acura’s ZDX Is Late To The Party But Well Worth The Wait

April 23rd, 2010 by

Acura ZDX
Photo Courtesy of Acura

April in New York City means many things, among them unexpected rainstorms, crowded brunch patios, and large crowds at the annual New York International Auto Show. Many auto manufacturers choose the NY show as a venue at which to debut new production models and innovative concept vehicles, so it came as no surprise when Acura held a private demonstration of its new ZDX crossover vehicle. With the auto expo taking place at the Chelsea Art Museum, the ZDX was fittingly nestled amongst photography displays, video projections and sculptures with a fluid, mobile aesthetic. Eric Madigan Heck’s striking photography complimented the original ZDX design from Michelle Christensen, Acura’s first female designer.

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Tags: Art · New York · TechnologyNo Comments.

Artifical Sweetness: Augmented Reality Is Coming To an IRL Near You

April 1st, 2010 by


Madison Avenue has unleashed an onslaught of Augmented Reality products and services, notably Virtual Sean and Virtual Mirror. As with any new technology, it all comes down to execution, and so far almost all of my experiences have felt gimmicky. There are, however, some notable exceptions on which I’m keeping my eye: video gaming and mobile devices.

Nintendo’s Wii console proved to consumers that gaming can be experienced with natural gestures, escaping the shackles of traditional handheld controllers once and for all. Now, Sony’s Playstation Move and Microsoft’s Project Natal push the experience even farther with camera and motion-based systems that mimic a user’s every move. Stunning the game industry at the 2009 E3 conference, Microsoft’s Project Natal was demonstrated through games in which the user can interact with his environment using nothing more than natural body gestures. It uses an infrared sensor attached to the Xbox 360 console to track 48 skeletal points on a human body. This level of detail not only allows for tracking arm and leg motions, but even individual fingers and facial expressions, prospectively bringing to an end the era of stiff mugs that are part and parcel to ordinary gaming.

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Western Digital, LaCie Hard Drives Merge Form and Function

March 16th, 2010 by

Western Digital Hard Drive
Photo Credit: Western Digital

The days of clumsy, oversized external hard drives have come to an end. Once nothing more than desktop drives packed into office-standard casings, portable drives have matured into quiet, sleek and (dare I say?) sexy accessories. A necessary storage device in today’s information overload/hoarder culture, manufacturers know there’s nothing inherently cool about portable drives; this underlying fact presses them to offer innovative features, enhanced functionalities and improved aesthetics to entice consumers who are looking to protect their data. Of all of the companies in the portable drive game, Western Digital is the one to beat.

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Blackberry 9700: Worthy Heir or Pretender to the Throne?

March 5th, 2010 by

BlackBerry 9700
Photo Courtsey of RIM

A significant departure from previous Blackberry devices, the Bold 9000 proved that Research In Motion could make stylish smartphones on par with those of Apple or Nokia. After three years of committed iPhone use, I bought the Bold 9000 in December 2009 and spent a month learning the intricacies, strengths and weaknesses of the Blackberry OS. After using the 9000 for a month I upgraded to the Bold 9700, a newer model designed to address lingering consumer complaints of earlier phones and become the flagship Blackberry model. While there are definitely scads of advantages to this new iteration of Blackberry device, a long run at the front of the pack is probably not in its future.

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Evernote Streamlines, Syncs and Gets All Lazarus With Your Data

February 9th, 2010 by

Photo Courtsey of Evernote Corp

After a thorough exploration of Apple’s controversial new darling, the iPad, I started imagining a list of applications that would be a perfect fit for the device. At the head of the pack was Evernote, my go-to application for securely storing important thoughts, documents and web pages. Evernote is a freemium (free with a paid option) service that bridges the online/offline divide; the offline services let you create and save notes, while the online features sync your notes and changes back to Evernote. And unlike other note applications, your files can include text, images, audio, web page clippings and even PDF files. A premium account, which runs just $44 a year, allows you to sync and remotely store files, eliminating the need to email yourself works-in-progress.

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iPad: A Mild Mannered Device or God Save The Media?

February 1st, 2010 by

Apple iPad
Photo Courtsey of Apple Inc

Typical of introductions to Apple’s new products, reaction to the unveiling of the iPad has been swift and polarized. The last few months have brought countless news stories, blog posts and general punditry, and when combined with Apple’s penchant for extreme secrecy, the wide and complicated range of emotions was almost inevitable. Apple is both extremely innovative and very cautious with its product launches. Watching the live blog updates was like reliving the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, and as with that historic event, I’ve found myself once again looking at an awesome device with a limited, almost crippled functionality.

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Tags: gadget · Technology1 Comment