A cool new device, and a great way to carry it

26 Sep

September 26, 2011

By Geoff Meeker

This week, a couple of interesting new products. One is a gizmo, the other a creative way of carrying it around. I’ve not had an opportunity yet to sample these for myself but it’s clear, from browsing online, that they are cool and different.

Rock-It 2.0

The Rock-It 2.0 is a compact speaker system about the size of a prescription pill bottle. And here’s the thing: it isn’t a speaker at all. The Rock-It has a detachable “sticky pad” that can be affixed to any object, turning that object into a speaker.

I kid you not. You can affix the pad to the back of your toilet, the side of your fridge, a box of cereal, a plastic juice carton, even a cardboard box – and turn those objects into speakers.

The principle behind this gadget is fairly self-evident. Sound waves are vibrations, after all, so the sticky pad must send a full spectrum of vibration through whatever its host may be.

I watched a video of the device in action, on YouTube, and the audio quality seemed to fall somewhere between acceptable and irritating – depending on where you attach the sticky pad. Cardboard boxes seem to make the best speakers, because the hollow interior beefs up the sound. That said, this device is not for audiophiles. It’s suitable as a portable speaker, when you really want to hear a few tunes and fidelity is not important. And it’s probably just fine for talk radio.

The Rock-It’s strongest point is its geeky, fun factor. You can attach it to the bottom of a plastic cup and wander around the party, trying to impress girls. At the campsite, you can stick it on the lid of the cooler for instant music.

But it can be useful, too. In a power failure, you can put it on the range hood over the stove for an acceptable source of emergency radio.

However, I already have a portable speaker system, so I’m taking a pass on this – cool or not.

To see the Rock-It in action, go to YouTube and search for it by product name. To order, go to ispeakers.ca and search for Rock-It. It costs just $40.

Scottevest

Do you travel often? If so, you probably have a carry-on bag devoted to technology alone – smartphone, iPad, earphones, netbook, and more. I typically store my devices in the front pocket of my soft-shell laptop bag, but finding what you’re looking for can be frustrating, with all the charger cords, adaptors, wires and other stuff in there.

How would you like to wear your technology, in a vest designed specifically for this purpose? It’s called the Scottevest, a lightweight vest with 22 pockets for carrying smartphones, charger cords, earphones, digital camera, wallet, passport, boarding pass, pens, change, keys, sunglasses, and, yes, an iPad. There’s even a pocket large enough to accommodate a MacBook Air 11”.

The vest is nicely tapered, with specially-tailored pockets that don’t bulge and are hidden inside, keeping all your devices tastefully and safely out of sight. There are numerous conduits, through which you can run wires from devices up to the collar area, for convenient earbud access. It’s machine washable, but make sure those pockets are empty before tossing it in the hamper!

In addition to keeping everything in its place, organized and always within easy reach, the Scottevest simplifies the airport security ritual. Just slip off the vest, rather than empty all your pockets.

The vest is the company’s first and most popular product, but they also manufacture shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants and shorts, all fitted with those handy-dandy pockets.

I don’t do a lot of travel, so a Scottevest is not in the cards for me. However, if you’re constantly racking up the air miles, you should look into getting one of these. (I hear they’re also popular with photographers, and anyone whose work requires them to tote a lot of gadgets and accessories.) The vest is priced at $100 and can be ordered online at www.scottevest.com.

Geoff Meeker is a communications consultant with a soft spot for technology. He also writes a blog about the local media scene, which is hosted at http://www.thetelegram.com.


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