February 24, 2014

Stuff We Liked This Month: February 2014

Mobile Outfitters

Stuff we like this month

At Clear-Coat, we’re pretty wild about well-designed products. It’s a bit of an obsession, actually. As such, we’re always on the hunt for the latest and greatest toys to test out, tech to try and eyebrow-raising products to get our hands on.

And then we thought, why not share this obsession with our readers? After all, you guys can surely appreciate a hands-free umbrella or an “anti-loneliness” bowl, too! Without further ado, here are eight awesome things we came across on the web this month.

1. PhoneSoap Charger

Phone Soap
We tend to take our smartphones with us everywhere – the office, lunch break, the gym – and if a lot of us are honest, the bathroom. Needless to say, you don’t have to be a germaphobe to appreciate that your phone is probably among the dirtiest things you own. That’s where the PhoneSoap shines. It’s the only phone charger that can clean your phone while charging it up at the same time.

The large, clamshell-style charger has an internal USB port, enabling it to charge any phone that fits inside – including that extra-large Galaxy you just bought. The entire process doesn’t use an ounce of liquid, instead using two UV-C lamps to kill all the bacteria lingering around your phone’s surfaces in four minutes flat. Thanks to acoustic outlets on the charger’s top and sides, you won’t have to worry about missing notifications or sleeping through your alarm.

2. USB-controlled “Tiny” Scrolling Message Board

Tiny scrolling LED message board

You know those marquee messages that you see flashing around on Wall Street, Times Square and …the airport? Well, now you can have one on your desk.

This USB-adapted, Windows/Mac OS 10.7+ compatible scrolling LED message board can store up to eight different messages. Using your computer, you can customize and edit them to your heart’s content. Want to tell Larry your boss that you didn’t actually file your TPS reports, without making him walk all the way to your cubicle? No problem. Need a little private time? Just program your message board to scroll “Leave Me Alone!” – ahhh, nothing like tech that brings people together.

But the features don’t end there. The board supports graphic messaging, has three brightness levels, five scrolling modes (left, right, up, down, freeze and the ever-so-popular “flash”) speed settings, and a diminutive 2″ tall frame that fits easily on any gear-lover’s desktop.

It’s a pretty neat way to send a message – whatever yours might be. You can find it at ThinkGeek.

3. The Trezor Bitcoin Safe

Trezor Bitcoin Safe

If you haven’t heard of “Bitcoin”, it’s a brand new digital currency that stands to change the way the world’s economy works (no, really!). But there’s a problem: the crypto-currency has an Achilles heel; it’s both valuable – and easy to steal when you know how. In fact, just a few months ago Bitcoin made headlines when a thief stole over $100 million worth in real-time.

Trezor is looking to make Bitcoin a safer currency to own. The idea is simple: a thumb drive, isolated from your computer, that allows you to access your Bitcoins through a USB in a protected environment without risking it getting yoinked. Fully Windows, MacOS and Linux compatible, the Trezor works intuitively with most major Bitcoin clients to bring an unprecedented level of security. What’s more, using Trezor makes Bitcoin a bit more intuitive – which is something that will be important if the general public is ever going to get on board with the currency.

The Trezor code is also completely open-source, allowing for a high degree of customizability and developers are leaving open the possibility for a future full of new and innovative methods of encryption and access. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

4. The Impossible Instant Lab

This one left us scratching our heads and wondering, “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?”

When Polaroid announced the end of their instant film in 2008, hipsters all across the planet cried into their organic beers. It was the end of an era; the ability to print a photo within seconds of having taken it. But cry no more – Impossible’s Instant Lab has brought instant photo printing back to the world in an incredibly stylish package!

Compatible with iPhone 4/4S/5/5S and iPod Touch 4th and 5th Generation, the Impossible Instant Lab is a smartphone accessory that turns the photos you shoot into beautiful, glossy photos – right then and there. It uses a micro-processer-controlled film processing unit and a 4-element wide-angle glass lens to create and print the photos.

You’ve really got to see it for yourself:

With a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and a free iOS app to control exposure, this app may just be the best thing to happen to iOS since Instagram took the digital photography world by storm.

5. The Pivot Power Strip

The Pivoting Powerstrip

We know what you’re thinking – a power strip? Really? But trust us, this is one worth paying attention to. Everyone needs a creative outlet, but the Pivot Power Strip has taken this phrase to a whole different level with their innovative approach to an infuriating problem of fitting lots of different-sized adapters together in a limited space.

With up to six adjustable outlets, one Pivot Power strip can accommodate a multitude of different plug-ins, from unwieldy bricks to your good ol’ two-prong cords. You’ll never have to juggle adapters again, or compromise delicate connectors by smashing things together in a line.

What’s awesome about this is its ability to fit in just about any space or angle – from wrapping it around a couch leg to curling it up against a desk lamp. And with a full 672 joules of protection, this strip will seamlessly replace your old surge protectors and leave you wondering how you ever managed without it. It’s always nice when innovation is actually useful.

6. The BioLite Camp Stove


Camping is usually about getting away from it all; leaving that pesky tech behind and enjoying nature. Of course, even while you’re out enjoying nature, you’ve gotta eat.

Enter the BioLite Camp Stove. The stove is charged with a USB. When activated, a fan on the BioLite module pumps air through the fire inside the stove to increase or decrease the flame, recycling excess heat to create a portable stove that stokes itself and making for a hotter, longer-burning fire that is focused directly where you want it.

And, if you did bring along your phone or laptop (presumably only to look up the names of wild flowers and play some tunes around the campfire – right?), you can use the energy created by the fire inside the stove to charge up your gear. Just pop in your USB cable, and you’re on your way to 100%, baby!

But the importance of BioLite goes beyond juiced up batteries; BioLite is helping to shape a carbon-neutral future all over the world. The technology is also being used to bring clean, inexpensive, and safe energy access to families in developing countries.

7. The Anti-Loneliness Bowl

The Anti-Lonliness Bowl

Does the thought of being without your phone send shivers up your spine? Are you worried that you might have to put your tech away for such annoyances as eating a meal? Then the “Anti-Loneliness Bowl” is for you!

This ingenious all-purpose bowl from MisoSoupDesign is a sleek take on a common problem: trying to keep your handheld tech close at hand while enjoying a meal. Sure, you could hold your phone in one hand and your fork in the other – but that seems a bit cumbersome, doesn’t it?

The bowl features a built-in iPhone dock to give you a hands-free viewing experience at the breakfast table, when dining alone, or watching an impromptu video in the break-room. Resting a solid inch and a half above the lip of the bowl, your iPhone is ideally positioned to give you a user experience that eliminates the awkward balancing act of navigating Facebook while trying to avoid spilling milk on your pants – just don’t dump your soup all over your phone.

This product is so new that the company is currently only taking pre-orders – so you’ll have to wait if you want to help usher in a brave new world of cereal, ramen, and ice cream sundaes ablaze in the flickering digital glow of your phone.

8. The Floyd Leg

The Floyd Leg

With a name like “The Floyd Leg”, you know this has to be good. And it is. The utter simplicity of the design of the Floyd Leg made us question the very foundations of furniture and maybe the universe.

How could this have never existed before? It seems impossible, but then again, here we are. The Floyd leg is basically a rounded strip of metal with a clamp system. Not so sexy, right? But get this: its clean, minimal design can effectively turn any flat square into a table. Got an old door? No problem – it’s a table now. Not sure what to do with all that scrap wood mom stashed behind the barn? BOOM – new living room furniture.

It allows you to customize your space without hassle. Just pack up the legs and pair them with your own resourcefulness, and you’ve got a home office practically out of thin air in minutes. Awesome.

What’s your mention on our list? Got a neat product you think we should pay attention to? Let us know in the comments!

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