Bring your FI8908W paperweight back to life

Dec 24, 2009

If you're part of the numerous people who bricked their ip camera at any stage, maybe you kept it (as a door stopper, a paperweight or a dummy camera). In that case, there is one last thing you can try to make your camera functional again. It requires a small investment of less than €15 so I think it's really worth trying.

I obtained some information recently, thanks to Foscam tech support for most part, on a serial upgrade method that would fix cameras for which the firmware upgrade went bad.

Dec 17, 2009

Foscam is primarily a OEM producer and therefore always left their products open to custom re-branding.
Over time, they acquired some popularity (probably due to both their firmware evolution and their present customer support) but it was nearly impossible to distinguish their products from others if you wanted to buy from them.

This is about to change finally as, starting with the December production, their product range will now carry a distinctive "Foscam" label.

Dec 7, 2009

I got myself the"gadget of the month" from the local hard-discount shop and started to play with Medion Digital Note Taker (MD 86149).

This 2nd generation model is similar to what appeared under the IOGear brand about 2 years ago but it became cheaper enough today to trigger an impulsive buy (€59.99).

Dec 5, 2009

The festive online shopping deadline is coming fast (taking into account the shipping delay necessary to get those items from eBay, DealExtreme, Iwoot, Firebox, DX and such...)

So here's my short list of gadgets of interest for this year. I hope it will help you finding the inspiration:

Idea #1: A Cassette MP3 Player
For some reason, many new cars are still coming with an cassette auto-radio, and at best, a CD player that doesn't play MP3's. The most popular solution was to plug one of those MP3 players with FM transmitter but the sound quality would be quite poor and depend on unoccupied frequencies available. 

Now you can put an MP3 player shaped as a cassette directly into your auto-radio. Much nicer! It also works as a standalone player.

Found at for €17.51 incl. 2GB SD card.

Audience: owners of old or French car.

Idea #2: A Digital USB Microscope
The interest of this gadget really depends on the price you'll pay for it.
At close to €70 (called "new low price"!) from Firebox, I'd say, forget it. But from €28 (shipping included) on eBay, you may think twice.

Audience: student, teacher, engineer, hobbyist...

Idea #3: An Atari joystick key chain

After the full size re-edition of the Atari VCS 2600 joystick a few years ago, there's now a tiny keychain version, and it's still playable on a TV screen!
My only regret is that it come with only 2 games when a hundred would have fit easily. This gadget is NTSC only.

Found at Firebox for  €17

Audience: nostalgic geeks, kids from 40 and over.

Idea #4: An USB Missile launcher

Probably the most useless usb gadget on the market. For real fun, couple this with a web/ip-camera and remotely control the host computer to fire at innocent people passing by...

Found on eBay, cheapest: item #390118120613 for €25.6 delivered.
Enhanced version with Webcam on Firebox for €45.

Target: any human or pet.

Idea #5: A Digital Note Taker

I didn't like those electronic pens that work only on special and expensive paper. A much nicer alternative consist of a wireless receiver that captures everything done with it's dedicated pen (using standard ink refill), then, the receiver memory is dumped to a PC where it can be archived or processed through the provided OCR program. It can also nicely replace a graphic tablet although the accuracy is probably not as high. It was found commonly at over €200 realier this year, but it now dropped to €59.99.

Found in Aldi stores @ €59.99 (Medion branded) and eBay, item #220506455598 at €59.59

Audience: student, professionals, kids,...

Idea #6: A Binary watch

Maybe you know someone so geek he's drifting toward being rather a neird ?
Well you'll have a gift for this person too:
While a binary watch is really for a selected audience, most of them found on eBay are just stylish enough to start and finish their life in a drawer.
But this particular Ovo binary watch found at IWOOT is far more elegant and reasonably sized.

Found on I Want One of Those at €22

Audience: hardcore geek and casual neirds

Idea #7: A Rollnet kit

If your garden is too windy and your house too small for a full size table, this simple idea let you play table tennis on any flat surface.
The Artengo Rollnet is also reasonably priced.

Found in Decathlon stores from €14.90 (€19.90 with 2 bats and 3 balls)

Audience: casual tennis table players

Idea #8: the ultimate tea and coffee travel mug
The Double Shot model from Planetary Design is the last mug you may ever need. It does everything and comes complete with the traditional coffee lid, but also the plunger, and, concealed in the base, a small storage box for a refill of coffee, tea or sugar...

Found from around €25 in various places:

Audience: Coffee and Tea lovers (with a geeky twist)