Every once in a while you run into a gimmicky, cheap product that’s still a bit of fun. For instance, I wanted a laser pointer (for me and my cat) and was in Walmart one day. On that day I found the “Hot Concepts Illumix 4 in 1 Stylus”. It’s a funky little pen with a light, laser, and touch-screen stylus. And it’s only a couple bucks! Let’s see how it works:
The light is really just a white LED that’s stuck in the end of the pen. There’s no focus, so it dissipates rather quickly. You could get an idea about the shape of a small room, find a key, or perhaps locate something stuck behind some furniture, but that’s about it. Nothing far away can be seen, and nothing in great detail. But it still works alright. Interestingly enough, both the light and laser can be turned on at the same time. The laser is dimmed significantly by this, but the light seems unaffected.
The laser pointer works fine. It’s one of the standard cheap ones that can be found almost anywhere. It will hurt your eyes, but isn’t very bright on anything else. It isn’t very well focused and will spread out over long distances. But inside a regular sized room, it is very functional as both a people and cat toy.
The stylus works with modern touch screens, and it’s fine. It’s so easy to make a stylus that works with these screens now it’s unremarkable. It’s a bit cheaper than the norm and seems like it might wear out, but I’d say the worst thing about it is that you have to watch out and not hit the buttons and blind yourself when using it.
Finally, the pen part. It works, actually quite well. The tip is very fine, but despite that, it writes quite smoothly with little pressure. The inks a standard, almost-black ballpoint ink that’s water-resistant. The cartridge can’t be replaced as far as I can tell, though the batteries can be. So when you run out of ink you’re out and just left with the other features. That would seem to indicate the pen is not a primary function. The sleeve with the stylus has to be removed to access the pen, and this is not held on very well. It slips and can come off with a bit of a shake. There’s also nowhere to put the sleeve when using the pen, meaning it’s a two-handed operation.
A couple of other things: the clip works well, there’s a warning under the laser but otherwise no information printed on the pen, and the white smooth color with “chrome” trim looks nice, but not very professional, and it’s quite slippery.
Overall, every action it performs is done passably, but not well. It’s a fun device to mess around with or have if you want any or all of the 4 uses, but won’t use any of them that much. The batteries don’t last that long, the ink cartridge is small and not replaceable, and the overall tolerances aren’t very tight. The metal construction is nice, but the product seems to be made with disposability in mind. It’s fun, and good for the money. Just don’t expect much out of it.
1. How many chairs are in your living room?
2. Do you like to draw?
3. Do you like orange juice?
4. Do you have trouble sleeping in total darkness?
5. Would you like a foot long hot dog for lunch?
ANSWERS By: Austin Smith
1. Depends on which living room 4 or 6.
2. Yes, I draw a lot.
3. Yes, I have it every morning.
4. No, the light doesn’t affect when I sleep.
5. No, I;m nut sure how keen I am on hot dogs.
Two days ago Jukebox the Ghost released their new album, “Safe Travels”. I’ve been pumped, not that the internet world could tell. Since I heard that they were recording a new album I’ve been pumped. In fact I’ve been prematurely pumped ever since I bought the second album (on release date). Jukebox the Ghost is amazing and I couldn’t wait to hear the new album.
Not that I had to as I got it about a week early when I pre-ordered it. I even got the CD early, and the shirt and poster, which are awesome. There’s nothing else to really say about those things, it’s a good poster and a good shirt. The other thing that came in the pre-order pack is a passport, which is cool, if only a novelty, and of no real use to me as I live so far away from the world that it is unlikely that I’ll see Jukebox the Ghost live very often.
Getting to the album itself: man it’s amazing. I’m listening to it right now. I’ve listened to it since I got it. I’d listen more if my CD player was easier to get to. What JTG has lost in the power of overall songs they have more then made up for in making the entire album and “experience”. Getting to my point quick, for me it’s not nearly as good as the earnest, almost childlike Hold It In, or the powerful, haunting Static; at least for the songs individually. But if the entire album was to be judged it is far superior. The problem with earlier JTG, like the first album, is that their were a few beautiful songs and then the rest. They weren’t bad songs, but they didn’t keep up. With the second album they worked on this and made the entire album a more even experience, but it still dropped off in the end in my opinion. They’ve perfected the flow with this new release. No ups and downs, a continuous ride of some of the best and happiest music that one can hear.
The records themselves have about the same amount of amazing, with this one maybe getting a bonus just for how it is maintained, it’s just how the amazing is spread. Like if you put cream cheese on a bagel, do you not spread it very well and enjoy a few spots a lot, or spread it around and enjoy the whole thing. I guess it depends on one’s mood. I’ll never pass up the chance to listen to old JTG, unless I have the time to listen to this album all the way through.
It’s that all the way through that’s important. JTG makes me so happy when I listen. And having that feeling for a full half hour instead of six or so minutes is great. There is no bass to drag the music down, and the drums, guitar, and piano are amazing. It just makes me so happy to listen to. It’s like Johnny Cash, even the sad songs make me happy. It’s not afraid to be cheesy or bubble-gum-esque. It is almost perfect music.
I would never tell you to pass up earlier JTG albums, or songs, but if you like longer, fuller enjoyment of an album, and what I’ve said peaks your interest, try this one out.