Crumpler: Bags for Beer!

Thanks to senior editor Sean Carroll for this post!Got so much beer lying around that it’s just going to go bad if you don’t get rid of it by the end of this weekend? I can’t tell you how many times that hasn’t happened to me. But if you do have suds to spare and you live in or near Manhattan, you might lug some of it down to bag-maker Crumpler’s New York stores and barter it away, Aussie style. Crumpler is an Australian company with a bit of an attitude; they sponsor a variety of events like nude footraces, mountain bike races, road bike races, and concerts. The “beer for bags” event is a nod to the still thriving Australian reliance on barter as an informal, friendly medium of exchange, according to Crumpler.

Crumpler: Bags for Beer!

When I stopped in at the event, it was already in full swing, and the store was jammed with cases, sixpacks, loose bottles and cans of beer stacked nearly to the tops of the storefront windows. There were plenty of limes, too. Oh, and bags.I got a handsome Barney Rustle Blanket bag (shown here), which goes for one case of Coopers and two Fosters oil cans.

The Barney Rustle is a small, sturdy messenger bag with one main compartment with several smaller subpockets, a zippered pocket for documents, and one of those luxuriously padded and somewhat complicated (to those of us who aren’t professional bike messengers) shoulder straps with a variety of adjustments and straps hanging off it. (It’ll keep the bag firmly behind you and secured to your waist when you’re leaning low over your handlebars terrorizing pedestrians and disregarding traffic signals.) If you prefer to pay with boring old filthy lucre, the Barney Rustle, which comes in a variety of colors, will set you back $85.Otherwise, you can trade in your beer at 45 Spring Street or 49 8th Avenue in New York City, through June 11. Only certain combinations of given beers net you bags, so don’t plan on just showing up with a case of The Beast and hoping for the best. Check out the virtual beer spinner at Crumpler’s U.S. Web site for a list of what’ll get you what.

iPod Cases, Gadget Protection, Spy Gear for Kids

To continue from Jen DeLeo’s earlier report: It seemed a lot of the participating vendors at last night’s DigitalLife Press Preview were holding out until the show in October for product announcements; a lot of what we saw wasn’t brand new. Still, I did come across a few things that were new to me, at least, and had fun shmoozing with fellow press and vendor reps.

And the cheese was swell!I enjoyed checking out the spy gear for kids from new company Wild Planet; shown at left is a rep wearing the Digital Spy Camera sunglasses. The lens swings out from the side of the sunglasses, and you click a handheld remote to take a surreptitious shot (640 by 480, sadly). They also had a Spy Video Car, and RC care with a build in video camera and “infrared night vision,” along with a headset screen on which you watch the action; just guide the car into the room you want to spy in and hope no one pays attention to it. The Spy Camera will be around $29.99 and the Video Car will go for around $99; they’ll be available in time for the holidays.The iFrogz iPod case display was very eyecatching (at right, click to enlarge). You go to to the company’s site and choose from a huge variety of color combinations and screen covers to create your own case.

iPod Cases, Gadget Protection, Spy Gear for Kids

The case (called Wrapz) is $24; the band that goes around the edge is $4; and the screen cover kit is $6. Also for iPod protection, as well as for many other gadgets, is the InvisibleShield: It’s made of very tough, thin, transparent plastic that’s precut to fit your device and keep it free from dings and scratches. Parrot was there showing off several of its Bluetooth-enabled devices, including the Photo Viewer (shown at below left); you can beam photos to it from your cell phone (or laptop), and it holds around 100 shots; the high-res LCD looks great. These go for a hefty $274.80, but if you’ve got disposable income, they’re very gee-whiz.Finally, this isn’t a gadget, but it’s kinda cool: United Online, a “consumer Internet and media service,” is offering free Internet phone numbers; they recommend you use these numbers for those occasions when you don’t want to give out your home or cell number. You can check your voice mail from any phone or from a Web message center. If you want, you can get SMS alerts when a message comes in for you. Caller ID and call blocking are included. If there’s a catch, I couldn’t find one. I’m signing up!

MARVEL Avengers Academy Cheats: Top 6 Tips and Strategies

Here are the best MARVEL Avengers Academy cheats/tips/tricks/hints to get better at the game.

MARVEL Avengers Academy is a mobile game that enables you to enjoy an alternative variation of Marvel Universe. Play the new game if you’re bored of the universe that is frequently used and you’ll love an unique heroic adventure.

As the name suggests, the game is about running an academy. You should build a school with specific facilities subsequently recruit and train superheroes and supervillains. You should ensure the students develop superpowers and their abilities.

MARVEL Avengers Academy hack comes with features that is refurbished and the normal Marvel dialogue. You may miss lots of delight if you’re unfamiliar with its storyline, although it is an interesting game.

MARVEL Avengers Academy

1. Understand The Quests To Enhance On Your Improvement.
Begin with the quests that require little time to finish. Intend to complete the time consuming endeavors in the last phases of the game.

2. Know What Quests At Special Time to Action.
Some quests come with benefits and when you’re in need of credit you might want to complete them. The benefits are in the kind of shards (game currency) and pym particles.

Check the board to see the available quests and their details. You’ll have the ability to assign the right resources to the jobs when you understand their requirements.

3. Make Use Of Shards To Complete Additional Quests.
Speeding up things in the gaming world is always required, and you can do it in MARVEL Avengers Academy by using shards. Invest your earnings in finishing quests and you’ll definitely get rewarded when landmarks are achieved by you.

Assess for a meter that counts finished endeavors in order to prepare you for free shards and a new degree. It’s possible for you to use the shards to upgrade buildings and other structures.

4. Unlock New Characters, Activities And Bonuses.
You have to finish certain quests in order to get new characters. Some of the quests which will come with new characters include: Mean Girl, Max’s S.H.I.E.L.D, Freak Out, Task at Hand, Anti-Plan, Student of S.H.I.E.L.D and Academy Level 57.

Means to unlock new activities include ranking upward superheroes and upgrading heroes.

Hint: Click on the blue handbag and select upgradable heroes to be seen by “Character”.

When it comes to bonuses, you need to level up to earn them. You can also earn them through rating upward superheroes.

5.Find your heroes other endeavors if you do’t have quests to finish. You stand a chance to earn experience points and coins when you finish tasks that are of little value.

6.You can do this when you reach academy degree 6. The Van Dyne store is available in this amount and supplies your characters with outfits. You will need to spend credits to get new clothing for your heroes.

If you provide the most recent costumes to your heroes, you’ll have an opportunity to unlock new actions and additionally speed up some actions.

3D Controllers, Entertainment Systems, and More

Every year, Ziff Davis Media holds the DigitalLife consumer event in NYC in the fall. To get a head start, DigitalLife held a press preview at the Roosevelt Hotel tonight, where companies gathered to showcase their latest products. Here’s what I noticed there. Novint Technologies, a developer of commercial touch applications, has created a new kind of 3D touch controller for the consumer market.

The Novint Falcon 3D Controller is basically a robot that provides gamers with interactive touch while playing a video game. I tried out a couple of demos and my fingers could feel the weight of a basketball and the force it took to throw it toward the hoop. It was a bit difficult for me to get the hang of the controller to shoot the ball though. The Falcon’s handle moves left and right and forwards and backwards. Look for it in 2007 with a mass market price of under $100.Polk Audio was also there showcasing its brand new I-Sonic entertainment system. It’s the first audio product to include a digital HD radio tuner, a DVD/CD changer, and XM Satellite Radio capability–all in one. The company explained to me that although it resembles the Bose system, they feel that the I-Sonic is better in that it offers controls at the top in case you lose the wireless remote control.

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It also features 2 auxiliary inputs for an iPod or PC, 30 radio presets, and headphone jack. It will ship in the U.S. in August for $599.I particularly liked the inMotion iM9 portable audio system. It’s powered by an AC adapter or batteries and comes with a retractable dock and a cute backpack to take it along with you. It was a bit heavy when I picked it up though. It charges all iPods and has a composite video outlet for viewing videos from your iPod with video on your TV screen. It retails for $199.95 and is available now. And for all you tech chicas out there, you’ll be interested in LimeLife: a publisher of mobile phone content, games, and applications targeted toward women. LimeLife is working with Time Inc. to deliver women-centric content, such as makeup tips delivered via your cell phone. Some of their products include Word Heaven, a word jumble game and Girls Night Out Solitaire. You can also get a daily dose of horoscope fun or Fashion Graphix: a mobile makeover for your phone with funky wallpapers to match your style. Once you buy and download these applications, they’re yours to keep. Be on the lookout for more applications to be offered soon.Stay tuned for more cool products from my fellow Gearloggers at the DL Press Preview.

Targus Catalog Travel Roller and Molded Attaché

Thanks to senior editor Sean Carroll and lead analyst Oliver Kaven for these writeups!With its hefty size (18.1″ x 10.3″ x 14″), the Targus Catalog Travel Roller notebook case (left) can be considered the Suburban of notebook bags. But I like spacious bags, and even though I might look like a traveling salesman or an off-duty pilot, this bag lets me fit a notebook of up to 15.4 inches and plenty of folders or books. Be careful though: the Travel Roller’s roomy interior comes at a price; the bag weighs in at a heavy 10 pounds. You will appreciate the beefy handle but probably resort to rolling the case on its inline skate wheels most of the time. I found the scrape guards on the back of the bag especially nice when pulling it up the stairs in the subway.

Lowepro_LP36265_PAM_Pro_Roller_Attache_X50_736057

The Travel Roller comes with a telescoping handle and two locks for security. The case is made of ballistic nylon, a material which can take a serious beating and may just last you forever.The roller case has plenty of convenient features. I really like the built-in rack that lets you drop hanging files straight into the case and the front organizer that zips down to unveil a fan file compartment and pen holders.The notebook pouch felt a bit like an afterthought. It is relatively loose, not padded enough and not adjustable. If your notebook is not as big as your bag, it is likely to bounce around. And with a bag of this size, I would have liked an option to store a second laptop.What really amazed me, however, was the price! This big two-wheeler will set you back only $89.00.

Not bad at all.–OKI have to admit I was dubious about switching to the sleek Targus Molded Attaché (right) as my primary means of shlepping all my junk into the city. I’m more used to backpacks and oversized messenger bags. Unfortunately, that also means that I’m more used to carrying everything but the kitchen sink in a bulging, unsightly bag that gives me back pains and one shoulder that’s significantly lower than the other. So I decided to give the Targus bag a try. And I wasn’t sorry.The slim Attaché is definitely made for those who are disciplined in their everyday packing. I pared down my stuff to just a laptop (an IBM ThinkPad T40), power brick, magazine, MP3 player, and a few papers, and that seemed about right for this bag. I tried to squeeze in a paperback, too, but that caused the bag to bulge. It might have worked better with a book smaller than Stephen King’s “Wizard and Glass,” but that’s what I was reading at the time.

My back thanked me, and I looked considerably more professional carrying this attractive case.The Molded black EVA (a type of rubber-like plastic) case is  stylish and tough, and held up well against the slings and arrows of commuter life. The plastic handle and padded shoulder strap are both well constructed and comfortable to use. Inside the bag is adequately padded and has a single interior slip pocket, on the face of which are pockets for business cards, ID holders, cell phones, MP3 players, and pens, as well as a zippered mesh pouch. The case is 14.33″ X 11.81″ X 1.69″ and it weighs just 3.87 pounds. It costs $69.99 and comes in any color–as long as it’s black.

Save The Ringtone!

Ringtones are so popular these days there’s even a Billboard chart, where, curiously, the Super Mario Brothers Theme currently rules. With ringtones selling for about the same or more than the full length song (although that short snippet of 50 Cent’s Candy Shop might be enough for you), you should be able to hold on to your purchases even if you lose or replace your cellphone. I know most people upgrade every year or two–why should you have to repurchase your ringtones, wallpaper and other goodies?Oasys Mobile makes it possible (at least if you’re with Cingular, T-Mobile or Sprint) to store everything in a password-protected online locker. All you need is a phone with Internet access and text messaging capabilities.

free-tamil-ringtones-26The catch? You must purchase the content from Oasys. The company does have a wide selection from Kelly Clarkson to Death Cab For Cutie, as well as loads of wallpaper designs and games. But it would be nice to have a place to store all of your media, no matter where it was purchased. Another great feature available on certain cell phone models, including the Motorola RAZR V3 and the Nokia 6682, is the ability to wirelessly your contacts into your locker and export them if needed. That’s definitely useful. I always end up wasting time, re-entering my contacts everytime I upgrade my phone. You can check their Web site to see if your phone is compatible with this feature.This is a great service for teenagers and anyone who’s really into customizing their phone. Buying content is easy–you can have it sent right to your phone and get billed through your wireless carrier.

You can also use Paypal or a credit card, but I found it easiest to use my phone. I tested this service using a borrowed Motorola V400–my own cell phone, the LG VX8100 (Verizon) is not compatible. After you place your order with just a few clicks, you’ll get a text message asking you to confirm the purchase. Once you do, you can find your content in your locker and in your phone within minutes. If you’re away from your computer, you can purchase content and access your locker  by  visiting the company’s WAP site (wap.oasysmobile.com) using your cellphone’s browser. It’s simple to adjust your profile if you replace or upgrade your phone, and it takes just one click to send the content to your new phone. Oasys offers two plans, one free, and one with a monthly charge of $7.99. With the paid plan, you get three ringtones and three wallpapers each month, plus three free TrueTones when you register, and a locker with unlimited space. The free plan gives you space for 25 pieces of content. With both plans you get an online profile and the ability to rate the site’s content and see what other members think. The company has recently added another cool feature–you can upload and save your camera phone pictures, text messages and blog entries in your Oasys locker.Overall, I found the service easy to use and hope they continue to add more–and newer–phones like the Motorola Q or the Helio Hero to their list. It would also be cool if they added a plan that would include storage of non-Oasys ringtones and wallpaper. In addition, I would like to see an application in which you could create and share your own ringtones.

The New Game Purchase Gateway?

The following is an opinion post, the views and opinions expressed within are not those of bestlemongrass, its staff, or anyone else.  They belong solely to the author.
What makes a game good enough to be purchased on its release date? Is it trailers, video of the gameplay or demos? How about total game integration in PS Home? Killzone 3: Defender started this trend last year by turning the Central Plaza in Home into a war zone, with gamers having to defend the area and its citizens. This didn’t interest me because I haven’t been into first person shooters since Rainbow Six on the Playstation 2. I know it was a big game. I know the graphics are incredible, but that still didn’t do it for me.
The Uncharted 3 space seems like it fits perfectly with the game. Not only the environment, but the mini-game “Fortune Hunter” gives a great idea of how the Uncharted series is played. The use of total game integration in this instance would definitely interest me in purchasing “Uncharted 3.” Others who haven’t had a chance to play it and have only seen trailers, after visiting this space, I suspect they’ll be emptying their wallets.

gatewayThe usage of total game integration with “Dead Island” and “Street Fighter X Tekken” didn’t persuade me to buy them. There wasn’t a problem with either of those spaces in Home, but because of the first person aspect in Dead Island, and I have never been a Street Fighter fan. I loved “Tekken”, the gameplay style of “Street Fighter” doesn’t interest me. My favorite fighting games are the first “Mortal Kombat” for Sega Genesis, “Bloody Roar”, “Tekken 3″ from the original Playstation console, and the “Soul Caliber” series.
Let’s not forget pre-order bonuses. Along with the total game integration they help games to sell. Now that Home offers these bonuses, it helps gamers to not have to drive around town to GameStop. Especially if they don’t have one near them. Another marketing tool is the extra rewards you get in Home. Extra weapons, skins, codes for secret levels, it’s endless. Killzone 3 couldn’t have done it better in Home with the offering of a Helghast Jetpack, with flying action, for your avatar. They did it again for Street Fighter x Tekken where you received the “Boost Gem Trial Pack” once the game was shipped. The Home rewards we received within the other total game integrations were awesome as well. However, if you’re like me, no matter how good they are, most games you just can’t get on the release date because of financial reasons. Although, there are those that are worth it. One upcoming title I would sell my soul for starts with three letters and ends with a Roman numeral. I believe the total game integrations along with pre-orders through Home, will bring more consumers to purchase those specific titles. I Am Alive will be released on all platforms at the end of the month. Killzone 3 already created an apocalyptic feel with Central Plaza, so a dedicated space and a pre-order bonus would be nice. Maybe you have to kill a certain amount of the hostile survivors from the game within a limited amount of time to receive Home rewards. Max Payne 3 will be released in May. A space dedicated to that title with TGI and pre-order bonuses?! Need I say more?

Avengers vs X-men – 1,2 Spoiler Alert

Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr working on the same project almost guarantees unparalleled awesomeness. Brian Bendis is responsible for fleshing out some of the hottest stories in the Marvel Universe, and JRJR, much like his namesource is one of the best sequential story tellers that’s ever put a pencil to paper.

avengers vs xmenHere’s the story so far, Nova one of the members of the Intergalactic Nova Corps crash lands in NewYork city, when the Avengers arrive on the scene he says “Its coming” and then lapses into a coma. Thor and Iron Man are dispatched into deep space on a recon mission to find out exactly what the is coming is. Mean while  the X-men have a student that goes by the name of Hope. In a training session with Cyclop’s, a familiar power mysteriously emerges from her, it’s the Phoenix Force! DaDaDAAAAA…
As it turned out, the Phoenix Force is on it’s way to earth and the closer it gets the more powerful Hope becomes. If you’re unfamiliar with The Phoenix, this is the symbiotic entity that took control of Jean Gray and almost destroyed the planet. And this is where the line is drawn in the sand. Cyclops, current leader of the X-men see’s the return of the Phoenix Force as sort of the second coming, believing he can harness the power by training Hope to control the entity (go figure). Captain America and the Avengers think this is the worst idea ever conceived and attempt to take the girl by force. It was about that time that all hell broke loose.
Spiderman and Wolverine (Yeah Wolvie’s fighting as an Avenger on this one) break away from the action sneaking behind enemy lines attempting to covertly kidnap the girl, but when they find her they realize that the Phoenix force has a firmer hold on her than they thought. She puts Spidey and Wolvie down without breaking a sweat and makes a run for it. So there, now you’re up to speed.
Brian Bendis does a great job fleshing out the story and allowing each character to breath. For example when all of the action kicks off Luke Cage delivers a one liner that was hilarious (to me anywayz). “How come nobody told me Cyclops was this Damn crazy?”. That is, crazy enough to use his optic blast to blow the crap out of Cap! Brilliant panel hats off to JRJR.John Romita JR, in my opinion has never been the greatest pin-up artist, but the way he delivers the story on a panel to panel basis is immaculate!