There’s a new type of furniture on the market that has a lot of geeks and media lovers talking – intelligent media furniture. Combining speakers, televisions, and gaming systems with everyday furniture like lounge chairs has brought a new meaning to multi-functional furniture.
But for those who feel lonely relaxing in a chair built for one can now make room for two, or three, on the Athena. Created by the good folks at Artanova out of Switzerland, the Athena is an upholstered sofa with an integrated computer built right in. Fully functional with all the capabilities you would expect from a computer, including the ability to connect with other media applications like your TV, the Athena is a sleek and sexy piece of furniture perfect for any high-tech, luxury loving homeowner.
And with a price tag of $15,436, you have to really love luxury.
Looking to add a bit of nature to your home? Do you prefer a natural, earthy look instead of a sleek, modern design?
Homeowners looking to decorate their home with elements of the outdoors can sometimes find it frustrating to find unique pieces that will reflect their creativity and style without looking too contemporary.
If you’re having trouble finding the right pieces, check out the amazing sculpted furniture by David Delthony. Meticulously crafted from wood, these beautiful and polished pieces of furniture will add an organic and breathtaking element to any room in your home. Check out his website for more information.
Of course you want to outfit your home with nice appliances – everyone wants that. But what if you want more than what Home Depot can offer? What if you want your appliances to look like they came straight from a science-fiction subgenre of post-gothic speculative fantasy?
Well, kind squires and ladies, allow our automaton butler to take your top hat and cashmere rag-cloak. Affix your mechanized monocles so you can more closely examine our list of the 7 awesome Steampunk appliances that we’ve found online.
7. The News Brews
Steaming hot java and the morning newspaper seem like the last refuge before starting the daily grind. However few get to partake in this domesticated bliss in today’s time-crunch culture.
What if you could combine the two luxuries in your travel-mug as you head out the door?
The News Brews percolates your coffee from beans grown in the regions that are mentioned in today’s news feeds and it adjusts the beans proportions based on the frequency of mentions. The news has never been so “infolicious”.
6. Victorian All-in-One PC
Made of new and old parts (including some from the dump), this fully-functional machine has everything you’d expect from a PC, but with more soldered copper, bronze, brass, and aluminum gears than may actually be necessary.
The keyboard was repainted and the keys were plucked out to accommodate vintage typewriter keys.
We’re guessing a shiny tangle of cogs wired to the machine was built in the same fashion. See more at the Steampunk Workshop.
5. Copper Pipe Fixtures Lamp
Professor Fzz is an Aethernet engineer and spends his free time doodling and dreaming about steam locomotives. He’s created several copper pipe lighting mechanisms, as well as, egg cannons and rockets. Ste-amazing!
4. Blood Transfusion Device
This odd contraption, looking like a sanguine-filled music box, was a prop blood transfusion device built by www.SteamGearLab.com for the cult classic Vampyr, produced by Red Scream. An ornate hand-crank moves the gears that pump blood through the tubes to the taps.
3. Trash Boiler
Built by inventor (and Flickr user) Boilermonster, this is the only garbage incinerator we’ve ever seen that wasn’t completely offensive. Here’s Boilermonster running down the specs: “This is a Lamont style boiler, having about 150′ of 3/8 tubing. I have hydro tested it to 125lbs and run it at about 50lb. This was designed to process grey water at B-man so we would have fresh water for our steam car and other uses.”
2. Concertina Adjustable Reading Lamp
These reading lamps, from The Antique Lighting Company, will add a Victorian veneer to any nightstand, ensuring sweet Steampunk dreams after the lights are switched off.
1. Edison-lit Vanity Mirror
Via the indispensable Steampunk Home, this sink/vanity mirror combo is the best way to apply your eyeliner in the morning. Note the eerily accurate Edison-bulb lighting to add a perfectly pasty burnt-orange glow to your skin.
We thought digital photo frames were brilliant when they first hit the market but we think the mini-me version, the Digital Photo Key Chains are a close second.
They make a perfect gift for your mom, dad, grandparent or anyone who is constantly showing off wallet pictures and they are pretty darn easy to use too. Simply upload your favorite photos using the USB and included software and you’ve got a portable way to brag about your kids, your pet, or that trip you took to Italy.
Plus they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors so they’re guaranteed to fit anyone’s style.
What makes these little gadgets even more appealing is the fact you don’t have to drop a car payment on them – they start at just $19.99.
Big beautiful windows are perfect for letting in lots of natural light, but windows that are old and drafty can be a major source of heat loss in the middle of winter.
Replacing those drafty, leaky windows with new energy efficient windows is the ideal way to stop wasting your home heating dollars. The savings in your heating bills should pay for the cost of the new windows within a few years. So not only will you reduce the amount of energy you use, you’ll save money too.
Choosing energy efficient windows can be a confusing task. Do some research to learn how to choose the right window for you.
If new energy efficient windows are not in your budget, then consider some less expensive options to keep your small leak from becoming a wind tunnel.
- Install quality storm windows to reduce heat loss.
- Apply low-e window film to your windows. Low-e window film reflects infrared rays and keeps heat in during the winter and keeps heat out during the summer.
- Caulk around your window to reduce drafts.
- Purchase window shades with insulating qualities. Suitable window coverings can drastically reduce the amount of energy you use in your home.
Are your lamps looking outdated and worn? Have they gone from a once stark white to a dark, butter cream? Give those tired looking lamps a mini makeover and a new lease on life with just a few craft supplies and a little creativity.
For a funky look, use beads and string to create a fun fringe around your lampshade.
Or use scrapbooking appliqués to create your own unique pattern.
You could also opt to purchase your own fabric like this animal print to cover the shade entirely and then paint the base for a total 360 makeover.
Get creative with ribbon, jewels, buttons, stamps, stencils, paper, seashells, bows, fur, paint and more.
You can also get the kids involved in creating special lamps for their bedrooms!
Your lamps will never be the same again! This is a great idea for old lamps picked up at yard sales or an inexpensive way to update your lamps after redecorating a room.
Americans are known to work hard and play even harder. That’s why when they’re exhausted from their 9-5’s, they like to relax, kick up their feet and take a vacation to get away from the daily stresses.
What if Americans could jet off to some place that offers an exotic twist but still maintains the familiar comforts of the American lifestyle? What if they could spend the day hiking through the rainforest but still grab a Big Mac for supper, all while feeling safe, comfortable, and welcome? Here are the 7 most ‘American’ places outside the US, places where Americans will feel right at home.
Population: 2.5 million
Approximate Distance: 60 miles
Peter Ustinov famously described Toronto as “New York run by the Swiss”, and it is one of the top vacationing spots for Americans looking for fast and easy international travel. Toronto comes without the dreaded culture shock or 10 flights.
Only a 90 minute drive from the US border, Toronto’s climate is similar to any of the northern states complete with hot, humid summers.
Since the US is Canada’s leading trading partner, it’s pretty easy to understand why Toronto would share many of the same restaurants, shopping centers, products, customs and amenities that are present in the US.
Toronto may make Americans feel like they’ve never left home but the city definitely has great tourist attractions to keep tourists busy.
The CN Tower which held the world record of tallest free-standing structure for 30 years, one of the largest zoos in the world, the Toronto Zoo, as well as several famous art galleries, museums and sporting events – just to name a few.
Overall, Canada isn’t that different from the US. While staying there, Americans can still watch their favorite television shows, rent the same movies, eat many of the same foods, read about the same celebrities and communicate fluently. And despite some sibling rivalry between the two countries, Americans are overwhelmingly welcome to cross the border.
Population: 4.28 million
Approximate Distance: 9400 miles
Considering Australia is predominantly of British origin, it makes sense that this is another country that will provide a safe and homey tourist destination for Americans. The two countries share a very long and deep relationship spanning back many years and have subsequently developed a tight bond.
Both countries share similar outlooks, cultures and values and both have a strong commitment to democracy and human rights.
From evolution to linguist similarities, Americans share much common ground with the Aussies down under.
The climate is temperate with warm summers making for easy adjustment for southern or northern Americans. Australia is also one of the top ten most tourist friendly countries in the world so Americans don’t have to worry about feeling unwelcomed.
Sydney provides an ‘American’ feel while still offering incredibly unique experiences. From the wild outback to fascinating wildlife, Sydney is known for its spectacular beauty and famous landscapes. Check out Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach, take a tour of Taronga Zoo, visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship or taste a bit of culture at the famous Sydney Opera House.
Sydney will gladly open her arms and take tourists on a journey of a lifetime, all while still providing the basic comforts and luxuries Americans are used too.
Population: 7.55 million
Approximate Distance: 3000 miles
London, England may be on the other side of the world, but it is another great place for a comfortable American vacation. The US was founded by 13 British colonies but the two share much more than just history and lineage.
The predominant language used in London is English (though the British certainly have their own unique slang) so the learning curve is small. London is also influenced by the familiar Anglo-Saxon culture Americans are accustomed too.
From music and art to fashion, sports and media, the similarities between the US and London are great. London is also a European hub for business, finance, politics and more so Americans will recognize many of the brands and companies while travelling through the city.
However, London is still rich with historic treasures, containing four of the World Heritage Sites and for those looking for a bit of fun and adventure, there are many worthwhile tourist attractions including beautiful parks and gardens, theaters, galleries, museums, and many famous landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace.
Tourists can enjoy London all while still feeling the ease of being at home in “the States” England is also one of the top ten countries that love America, so Americans can expect a warm and friendly welcome - just remember to drive on the other side of the road!
Population: 1.3 million
Approximate Distance: 280 miles
143 miles south of the US border lies another top destination spot for Americans looking to balance familiarity with the exotic. As one of Mexico’s largest cities, Monterrey looks and feels much like Phoenix but with a more pronounced Spanish flavor.
Sharing a border and being large trading partners has had a huge impact on Monterrey life, blending mariachis and tacos with Wal-Marts and Applebee’s.
Monterrey is a fast growing metropolis full of ‘americanizados’ (Americanization) as well as rich culture. Although some of the more southern areas of Mexico have shown concern regarding the growing American influence, in Monterrey, residents welcome it with open arms.
The great thing about travelling to Monterrey is while you can still experience things like American-style football, fast-food restaurants, American television and the latest US fashions, there is still a very strong commitment to keeping Mexican tradition and culture alive.
There are hundreds of landmarks and cultural sites such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey or Museo de Historia Mexicana and breath taking scenery full of waterfalls, mountains, caves and wildlife.
Monterrey has also been ranked as one of the most secure cities in Latin America and Mexico, so Americans thinking of making Monterrey their getaway of choice, will find themselves in a safe home away from home.
Approximate Distance: 5400 miles
With the unique location of being built on 14 different islands, Stockholm, Sweden is certainly a rare sight to behold for any tourist. It is considered one of the most beautiful capital cities on the planet, but it’s also one of the most Americanized cities in Europe.
The Swedes have always been early adopters of American products and trends, and this has created a melting pot of western and European culture that is prevalent in Stockholm.
Stockholm is also a very ‘English-friendly’ European city. Since the late 1940’s, English has been a compulsory subject in school for Swedes and despite its northerly location; Stockholm’s weather is much like Seattle but with a slightly colder winter.
The beauty of Stockholm for American tourists is not just its minimal learning curve, but also the extraordinary location, preserved mediaeval city Gamla Stan with fairy tale towers, renowned museums, distinguished theaters, World Heritage Sites and how easy it is to see it all – most attractions are found in the inner city. There is even an amusement park complete with a tunnel of love, roller coaster, and funhouse.
Stockholm is known for its superb and diverse food thanks to immigration, but Americans can still enjoy an all-American chain like TGI Friday’s.
Approximate Distance: 4000 miles
Frankfurt, Germany seems an unlikely place for those looking to vacation in an ‘American’ city, but it’s the most US-influenced city in Germany. After World War II, Frankfurt was left in ruins and the city turned to innovation rather than restoration and constructed a city skyline that would give New York a run for its money.
Another surprising fact about Frankfurt is that one in three people living there do not hold a German passport. That means it’s easy to find someone who speaks your language and serves your favorite food. Frankfurt has long developed a reputation as being a liberal and hospitable haven stemming from centuries of being a trading center.
Frankfurt has already secured itself as a major economic and business hub for Germany and Europe, but it is working to distinguish itself as an attraction for literature and art connoisseurs.
The city has an energetic nightlife, an array of museums and festivals and one of the most important zoos in Europe, the Frankfurt Zoological Garden – almost all of which lie inside the old city walls.
Frankfurt offers the frills of home surrounded by historic wonders spanning back 1200 years.
Panama City, Panama
Approximate Distance: 2600 miles
Panama and the US have had close historical ties dating back decades. The US has assisted Panamanians in promoting economic, political, security and social development through out the country and many Americans are now making Panama their retirement destination of choice because Panama is such a welcoming and friendly place for Americans to travel to, particularly Panama City.
Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama and has previously been chosen to be the American Capital of Culture. Panama uses the American dollar and most Panamanians are bilingual in English as well.
However, even with such a strong American presence, Panama City still offers many stunning attractions and historical sights to see that are exclusive to Panama culture.
Stroll along beautiful beaches, hike through tropical rain forests, relax in world-class hotels (Panama City has the 2nd highest hotel occupancy rate in the world behind Perth, Australia), and get a taste of Panamanian culture by visiting the Old Quarter.Panama City offers a safe and beautiful vacationing spot where Americans can easily fit in.
Whether Americans want to travel to the other side of the world or take a 90 minute road trip to the neighboring country, they can easily find a warm, welcoming tourist destination where they can relax and explore something new, all while feeling like they’ve never left home.
Cure your fear of bears by pretending you are the mighty hunter and have slayed the terrifying bear. Then strut around the room wearing the huge bearskin to show off your prowess. OR take the sleeping bag camping and you can scare the be-jezuz out of your friends when they wake up next to you.
Both are possible with this incredible new sleeping bag by artist Eiko Ishizawa. This fun design is so cool (and a little creepy looking) that we just had to share it with all of our readers.
In tough economic times everyone is feeling the financial pinch and for some it is no longer a pinch but an all out squeeze. Times like this call for squeezing back and turning lemons into lemonade.
Instead of crying over your empty wallet, maybe you can find a new use for it. Get resourceful, creative and think outside of the box, maybe there’s a bright side to being broke.
- Since you’ve canceled your magazine subscriptions, your mail carrier is much happier and smiles more often.
- You get to meet your local librarian. She can show you where to find all of the newest books and magazines for Free.
- Now you’ll finally learn how to cook since you can’t afford to go out to eat anymore.
- No more line-ups at the drive through or waiting at the restaurant. Service at home is as quick as you can make it.
- No more fast food means healthier eating.
- No more wrong-number cell phone calls in the middle of the night since you canceled your service.
- No more studying the markets to figure out where to invest your hard earned cash. There’s none to invest.
- You’ll get more exercise now that you’re biking to work.
- There is no more stress caused by searching for the perfect babysitter or juggling all of your social engagements. Staying home means no worries!
- Watch all of those old movies you bought years ago and laugh all over again now that you’ve canceled your cable or satellite service.
- No more spoiling your children by buying them everything they want. You are now teaching them the value of a dollar.
- You can spend the week-end in your pjs since you don’t have to take the kids to basketball practice or skating lessons.
- Teach your kids creativity by making your own playdoh or potato stamps. New homemade toys are still new toys.
- Shop at the local thrift store. You can get a whole new outfit for under $10. Even designer labels are a bargain so you can spend less but still look like you spent a fortune.
- Repairing your broken fridge or patching torn jeans instead of replacing them is helping the environment by keeping stuff out of the landfills.
The original deadline to switch off analog TV signals is today, Feb 17, 2009. And some broadcasters are switching to all-digital broadcasts today despite the fact that the government has delayed the mandatory shut-down of analog TV signals by 4 months.
Americans who rely on analog TV signals need a digital converter box or a new TV with a digital tuner or cable or satellite service in order to receive digital broadcasts once the changeover has been made.
More than 5.8 million US households are not ready for the analog shutdown. This is partially due to the fact that the government ran out of funds for the $40 coupons that subsidize the digital converter boxes. Presently, there is a waiting list of approximately 4 million coupons.
“In San Diego, the nation’s eighth-largest city, the ABC, CBS, Fox and CW affiliates plan to end analog broadcasts Tuesday.”
“They’ve had two years to get ready is our feeling,” said Larry Patton, general manager of KSWO-TV, an ABC affiliate in Lawton, Okla. “We feel there’s always going to be a few people who are going to wake up on the morning of Feb. 17, or June 17, or whenever it is, and not be ready.”
What will the fall out be tomorrow?
Michael Copps, the acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is expecting consumer confusion. Hopefully he is mistaken and the changeover will cause little disruption in the lives of people already feeling monetary pressures. Denying anyone basic TV is a little much when people are unable to afford any other type of entertainment in these harsh economic times.