Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

April 18, 2008

Lazyweb request: gadgets I would like to have

Last night I thought of a few gadgets which I’d like to have, and although I’m pretty sure you should be able to get hold of them, I had trouble finding anything that looked quite right:

  • Alarm clock which makes coffee: I can’t be the only one who finds it hard to bootstrap my days because I have to get out of bed and make the first coffee of the day before I’ve had any coffee. My parents had a machine which was an alarm clock which made tea (very noisily) at the appropriate time in the morning. Surely there should be a similar device which can display the time and make (at least passable) coffee instead? Be it an alarm clock with a sideline in making coffee, or a coffee machine with a built in timer. I’ve noticed some of Gaggia’s bean-to-cup machines claim to have 24-hour clocks, but does that mean they have a timer function? We just don’t know.
  • Decent watch with USB storage: I found some watches online last night which had USB storage built in, some with a little USB connector that folded out, some with a mini/micro USB connector on the side, with the idea I could store (maybe parts of) my GPG and SSH keys on it, and maybe a bootable Debian installer/rescue system. The thing is, I have a reasonably nice Timex Expedition watch at the moment which I quite like: it has an electro-luminescent analog display for the middle of the night, and a digital bit for the date, alarms and multiple time-zones. The USB-enabled watches I saw didn’t look that great as watches, but I might be wrong. Does anyone have a watch that features USB storage that doesn’t compromise too much on the watch functionality? Maybe I should just give up on this one and go for the rugged USB stick on the keyring approach.
  • Video output over USB: I have a reasonably new HP 2510P laptop which I also use as my main machine at work with a docking station, TFT, keyboard, mouse, etc. However, as a machine for watching DVDs or other videos on at home, it’s a bit on the small side. I have an olde-worlde big flatscreen TV at home (which is not as good as Christian‘s flat-screen blueray surround sound movie set-up, but I think I retain the moral high ground on taste in films), but my laptop doesn’t have any video out. Is there a USB 2.0 widget which produces composite or S-Video output which I can feed to my TV, that will work with Linux, or should I just get a scan converter of some sort so I can use the VGA output?

So, answers on a postcard…

posted by Robert McQueen @ 11:42 am
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