As any fan of the Tom Hanks film Cast Away knows, blowing on a slow-burning flame can create a serious fire. But no blowing is required with the VitalGrill Barbecue from SolHuma ($170; www.vitalgrill.com), which utilizes a small battery-powered fan to supercharge the flames and produce 20,000 BTUs of heat. It can burn whatever combustible material can be loaded inside, and with the 13.5-inch circular grill, it can challenge any propane grill to a real cookoff—even if it’s manned by an Academy Award-winning actor and his volleyball pal.
While most heart rate monitors can work in the pool, using them underwater is kind of like wearing running shorts as swim trunks. The Garmin Swim ($149.99; www.garmin.com/swim) is the first truly dedicated wearable swim-training computer, and it can automatically detect track length, stroke count, distance, pace, which stroke a swimmer is using, and more. The Swim also has a watertight seal (obviously) and a streamlined profile that will cut through the water and not cause drag—unlike, say, wearing running shorts in a pool.
I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT MY RADIO
While boomboxes may have gone the way of cassettes and music videos, iHome is bringing them back. Plug your iPod or iPhone into the iP4 Portable FM Stereo Boombox ($199.99; www.ihomeaudio.com), and you can crank your Run-DMC, Kool Moe Dee and Kurtis Blow MP3s loud enough for everyone on your harvest crew to enjoy. Available in dark gray, light blue or “holy crap, that’s bright” pink, the iP4 also features a built-in FM radio tuner, a five-band equalizer, 4-inch carbon-composite woofers, 1-inch ferrofluid-cooled tweeters, and a handle and strap so you can take your music with you.
Riding a bike instead of driving is good for the environment, unless you toss your busted inner tubes into the garbage every time you get a flat. There’s no excuse now that Alchemy Goods of Seattle is taking those tubes—the company has reclaimed more than 300,000 to date—along with used seatbelts and transforming them into all-weather messenger bags. The “upcycled” Haversack bag ($98; www.alchemygoods.com) is durable and waterproof, and it boasts a distressed look that gets better with age. And unlike many other bags, these are made in local sewing shops rather than Chinese sweatshops.
GIVE IN… TO THE LIGHT SIDE
So how’s this for ironic: The toy and collectible company Funko has released a trio of 12-inch Star Wars desk lamps/alarm clocks ($49.99 each; www.funko.com) shaped like characters from the films, so that Darth Vader can let you know when it’s time to start the dark cycle for your plants. All three characters, Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper, come with MP3 input, so your wake up call doesn’t have to be set to The Imperial March. The ironic part? The three characters they have turned into lamps are all bad guys. You know, the whole “dark side” thing. Very clever, Funko. Very clever indeed.
While iPhone, iPad and iPod users already have a wide selection of headphones to choose from, Logitech’s new UE 9000 ($399.99; www.logitech.com) lets you cut the cord with Bluetooth connectivity, a crucial feature for growers whose headphone cables are always getting tangled in their plants. They also feature active noise-cancelling technology, so you hear nothing but music, even with noisy fans and blowers running in your grow room. The plush memory-foam ear pads have been engineered for lengthy listening sessions, which means you can tune out the world and turn up the music.
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Friday, 11 January 2013