CES: Trends, Fails, and the Unexpected (Part 3)

Part 3: The Unexpected

Now, for some of my favorite finds- the Unexpected Innovations. Don't get me wrong, there is some amazing technology here. But it's also a little... well... unexpected.

  
1. For the hypochondriac in your life:

Anti-Microbial Corning Gorilla Glass- “contains an ionic silver component which serves as an antimicrobial agent to keep the glass clean”
I wonder if you hold it against your cheek if it will also kill that pesky acne-causing bacteria? Clear skin and a clean phone? Count me in.

2. For the control-freak cook:
Belkin Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker- “adjust the cooker’s settings from anywhere giving you greater flexibility and control over life’s unexpected moments”
The crock-pot is basically the simplest item in the kitchen. It's also the slowest, by nature giving you ample time to deal with "life's unexpected moments". But if you can’t handle that type of ease or trust in your life, this is for you. 

 
3. For the extreme selfie hobbyist:

Panono the Panoramic Ball Camera- “With a traditional camera, you’d have to gather everyone together away from their fun, line everybody up, and take a picture that doesn’t even include you”
But now you can always be the center of attention when you literally throw your camera in the air and get a bird's-eye view of the top of everyone's head. Don't worry though, you'll stand out in the photo. You'll be the one with outstretched arms to try and catch the camera before it cracks someone's head open on its fall.

4. For those who think technology can replace talent:
Zepp Multi-Sport Sensor- “we use technology and insights to help the user discover perspectives of his or her game that cannot be revealed through conventional tools or coaching”
Screw conventional tools and coaching! This sensor will give you all the secrets to becoming the next sports superstar. Mark my words, this will be the athletic version of all the people who think owning a DSLR camera makes them a professional photographer.

  
5. For the "World's Most Dedicated Toothbrusher":

Kolibree Smart Toothbrush- "Kolibree helps you outsmart your dentist!"
You don't have to dread going to the dentist anymore, because apparently now the dentist should be afraid of you!

6. For the laziest party-host:
Goji Smart Lock- "you can securely send access to houseguests so they can access your home using their mobile phones."
Next time you have your friends over, you don't even have to go to all the trouble to answer the door! Make Goji do all that hard work. You've got more important things to do, like... not answering the door.

7. For the mischievous toy-lover:
Jumping Sumo- "the jumping capabilities only add depth to the trouble we can get into"
Do yourself a favor and watch the promotional video for the Jumping Sumo. By the time it is splashing around in popcorn, you'll know there are no words I could possibly offer to describe its joy.

Bonus Round!

Cnet has created a fun (and super weird) video as part of their CES 2014 revelry called the "CES Live Torture Test".

Watch the video and check out what happens when they boil a Samsung Active, drive over an Acer Chromebook with a bus, and much more! 

Didn't catch the first two parts?
Part 1
Part 2

CES: Trends, Fails, and the Unexpected (Part 2)

Part 2: Fails



The biggest tech fails at CES are apparent by their notable absences, and their even more notable replacements. Just a few years ago, 3D TV was one of the hottest trends, and for two consecutive years at CES it dominated. Last year strongly suggested it was dying, and this year's show has confirmed it. Next to go? External devices such as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and the like. Even though we see companies like Vizio experimenting with the concept of a 3D TV that doesn’t require the use of glasses, the technology has been largely left behind due to the rise of the 4K UHDTV, which has greater clarity than ever before and the ability to stream programming directly from the TV itself versus an external device. 

By now you’ve probably heard about director Michael Bay’s surprising exit from the Samsung stage. Apparently when the teleprompter failed and Bay was left to fend for himself, his (unbeknownst to many of us) intense stage fright set in, and he bolted. To put a laughable spin on an otherwise unfortunate event, Funny or Die offered this tweet:

Sure, it's a jab at Bay's movies, but considering the movies that have raked in over two billion dollars at the box office, I'd sure say the dude's still got it.

While not as high profile as the Michael Bay incident, Samsung had another "whoopsie" at CES. The rain machine designed to promote the curved UHDTV displayed a big typo, literally- EXPERIECE was projected across the mist. 2014 may not be Samsung's year for smooth marketing, but hey, at least they are getting some great press!


There was also a slight "clash of the (mobile) titans" at a CES party on Monday night, when T-Mobile CEO John Legere (he likes to publicly taunt AT&T) showed up in his company t-shirt to an AT&T event. When the event staff realized he was crashing the party, he was escorted out and threatened with trespassing charges if he returned. Allegedly he only wanted to see Macklemore perform at the event, and guess what wild and crazy behavior it was that got the staffers' attention? Attendees of the party were taking pictures with Legere and (gasp!) tweeting them.

Look out for Part 3: The Unexpected tomorrow!

Didn't catch Part 1: Trends? Read it here.

 

 

CES: Trends, Fails, and the Unexpected (Part 1 )

Part 1: Trends

We here at Curious Provisions always look forward to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year we weren’t able to make it out to the considerably warmer West, but we’ve been following it closely from the comfort of our Atlanta homes. In a three-part blog post, we're going to take a look at some of the trends, fails, and my personal favorite- the unexpected finds and oddities at CES 2014. 

Two of the biggest trends this year appear to center around wearables and the connected home. In fact, you could say that this year’s unveilings are in line with your New Year’s resolutions- get healthy and get organized!

WEARABLES
In the wearables category, we are seeing tons of devices that monitor health and fitness. While this trend has been around for a while, what makes these products so innovative is not only the design (these devices look like accessories you’d actually want to wear), but the sheer variety of capabilities and the ease with which it takes to use them. For example…

1. Netatmo’s June- This bracelet will give you detailed advice on UV protection based on your skin. June will notify you when it’s time to put on a hat, or wear sunscreen, or put on your sunglasses. It’s like having your mom on your wrist!

2. Wellograph- It's a smart watch with a heart monitor on the back. Wellograph tracks your steps, calories, heart rate, and connects via Bluetooth to the iPhone (Android version coming later) to give you feedback on not only what you do, but with how much intensity you do it.

3. Tao Wellshell- So the Wellshell isn’t exactly a wearable, but it’s a small, highly portable gym/personal trainer that connects wirelessly to your phone and monitors your progress through isometric exercises and rewards achievements as you improve.

CONNECTED HOME
The connected home trend is full of innovations that help make your life more organized, from devices that can remind you when to take your medicine to beds that you can talk to. Notable examples:

1. Allure Energy EverSense- This smart thermostat works based on your personal behavior- it connects to your phone and adjusts temperatures according to when the first person comes home and the last person leaves the house. You can create a personal profile of how you'd like the temperature to be when you come home, and once you set up a proximity zone (say, when you are 10 miles away from home) the EverSense starts working so you can come home to an environment that suits you.

2. Mother by Sen.se- Monitoring system that connects to trackers via WiFi to monitor any activities that have a tracker attached. See how often you open your fridge, whether or not you have taken your medicine, or any number of patterns or activities that you want to keep track of. Did you brush your teeth today? Have you watered the plants? Are you sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar? Mother knows.

3. Sleep Number x12 Smart Bed- Not only does this bed track your sleep patterns, caffeine intake, and adjust its mattress according to the data it's collected, but you can even ask it to make your partner stop snoring. No joke. It will gently lift the head of the other side of the bed 5 degrees upon your request. Whoa.

AUDIO
And of course, with us being the audio junkies that we are, we can’t leave out some of the trends we’ve noticed in the audio sector of CES. We’ve seen the continued improvements on creating a wireless Hi-Fi sound system for the home and beyond, and we've noticed the continued stylistic trend of small and sleek speakers that blend into the decor. 

1. Cobra AirWave Bluetooth Speakers- Great for the outdoorsman, these guys can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. That way on your next canoe trip, you can tip the boat over to show your friend how much you hate that song they’re playing. "Row Row Row Your Boat" is not appropriate adventure music!

2. Philips M1X DJ Station- The M1X is a portable sound system to suit all DJ needs, designed in collaboration with DJ Armin van Buuren. At $400, it's a pretty solid deal for any aspiring or established DJ.

3. ClearView Clio- This sleek speaker that creates vibrations through its clear acrylic panel, blending seamlessly into the environment.

This year’s CES audio motto may seem to be “speakers should be heard, not seen”, but while we appreciate the incredible new audio technology and styles, we respectfully disagree. We will still continue to perfect the Hi-Fi vintage suitcase boombox, because here at Curious Provisions, we believe sound should be seen.

 

6 Reasons the Holidays are Better with a Thumper

The holidays are here, and along with them come family time, eating insane quantities of food, and of course stressing over buying the perfect gift. Let us help you out this season with a gift they're sure to love- a Thumper Boombox. Here's 6 Reasons the Holidays are Better with a Thumper!

1. Thumpers are great travelers- TSA friendly, and they only attract the good kind of attention. No crying, no whining, no snoring... just smooth tunes for the journey.

2. Unlike that one-upping cousin of yours, Thumpers never try to steal your thunder. Bring your Thumper to the party, and the spotlight is all on you.

3. Thumpers won't judge you or your lifestyle... if anything, they'll compliment you. You are fabulous, honey!

4. You'll never have to worry about bringing the same thing as everyone else. Each Thumper is completely one-of-a-kind. No one needs yet another pumpkin pie- bring the family something new to enjoy!

5. Thumpers are for everyone! You can take them home to meet Mom and Dad, they are great with kids, and even the family pet will love 'em. Look at you, winning everyone over!

6. This picture says it all. Who wouldn't want to see a Thumper under the tree? Exactly.

 

Happy Holidays!

Radio Resurrection

While we may specialize in making our Thumper Boomboxes out of vintage luggage, we love when someone comes around with a challenge that shakes things up around here. Enter Mr. Ali.

We met Mr. Ali at a local Atlanta festival. He is the kind of guy that after talking to him for a few minutes, it's clear that he is a lover of classic design and music, especially Jazz. 

Mr. Ali mentioned that he had an old radio inherited from his grandparents that had been sitting in his basement for the past twenty years. It was beautiful, but no longer functioning, and after seeing and hearing our Thumpers, he asked us if we could "thumperize" his old radio. We were eager to take on the challenge!

When Mr. Ali stopped by our office to bring us the radio, we were stunned by it's simple beauty. A true Art Deco piece from the 1920s, the form of the radio was a bold, geometric union of sphere and rectangle. Art Deco typically features heavy symmetry in its bold design, and this radio was no different. The curve of the left side is highlighted by two parallel rectilinear lines lead to the curves of the dial screen and four knobs that balance out the sharp edges of the rectangular right side of the radio. The layout with the opposing yet complimentary shapes showcase the classic style of its era.


For a roughly 90 year old radio, it was in great condition. The original electrical components were no longer in working order, and the speaker fabric was torn, but the integrity of the radio was still there. The wood was in perfect condition, and overall it was an impressive piece.

So here's what we did (click here for details):


By the time all was said and done, the radio was in working order with modern technological components hidden inside making it appear as if it was untouched. In making use of the original controls, we were able to get a hi-fi, audiophile quality sound, while maintaining the integrity of the design and history of the radio itself.

Interested in a custom piece? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Everyone loves a Thumper

By now you may have heard all the buzz surrounding the series of videos that Bruno Mars released on his Instagram account. Six video clips follow him as he takes a trip to the market to pick up some milk. During this excursion, he blasts his new hit single "Treasure" from a Curious Provisions Thumper Boombox. Never before have errands been so fun!

But you know, Bruno Mars isn't the only star to be repping a Thumper Boombox. It's hardly a surprise, what with the combination of audiophile sound quality and classic style, that it is something that everyone can love.

For instance, take Shaquille O'Neal. When he first saw (and heard) a Thumper Boombox in Los Angeles, he purchased it on the spot. Later, Shaq came by the Curious Provisions Atlanta office to pick out his second Thumper. What can we say, we pride ourselves on customer satisfaction.

Kaskade, a top American DJ, is another talented individual with a very special Thumper. He has the Dynasty Boombox, made in honor of his number one Billboard dance track by the same name. While each Thumper is already unique and one-of-a-kind, if there is opportunity for further customization, we are more than happy to comply.

We also have a great partnership with a truly great record store here in Atlanta, Criminal Records. Through Criminal Records, we have found more happy customers in Chuck Lightning (owner of Wondaland Productions) and CeeLo Green of Goodie Mob. In fact, check out Chuck's Thumper here, CeeLo's here, then do yourself a favor and watch this video of Goodie Mob's visit to Criminal Records.

In the case of the Thumper you see Bruno Mars sporting, it was one of our standard Thumpers. It's name was BuckShot, and as it was propelled into fame, it became known as The Bruno Mars Boombox. But while you see Bruno rocking out with the Thumper, it actually belongs to Cameron Duddy, an incredible director who has shot music videos for the likes of John Legend and Benny Benasi to name a couple. He reached out to us to procure a Thumper for the music video for Bruno Mars' song "Treasure". If you have already seen the music video, you'll notice that there is not a Thumper in sight. That is because the creative team decided to go in another direction with the video- but to our delight, we were able to get a peek of what the original concept was when Bruno uploaded some short clips to his Instagram account. If you haven't checked them out yet, see below and get to it!

"Out of milk. Off to the market."


"Bruno love the streets and the streets love Bruno"


"Bout dat dairy life #StayFirsty #BrunoLuhDaStreets"


"If I'm shinin too bright put yo shades on. Drive Smart. Drive Safe #Smafe #BrunoLuhDaStreets"


"One last jam out before I go home #BrunoLuhDaStreets"


"Today was a good day. #BrunoLuhDaStreets"

New Home History

So one of the most fun parts of working here at Curious Provisions is searching for the raddest pieces of vintage luggage we can get our grubby little paws on. When people hear about what I do here at CP, one of the first things they ask me is, "ohmygoshdoyougettoshopforoldsuitcases?"

 Did you have a hard time reading that? Don't worry, it's just as difficult for me to understand when people are gushing with excitement when they ask me that question. But what is it about this job that gets everyone so jazzed about the shopping aspect? I mean, no one was tripping over their tongue to ask me if I got to buy taco ingredients when I worked in the restaurant industry. 

The thing is, buying vintage suitcases, or anything vintage for that matter, is an entirely different experience. Each piece has a history, and it's fascinating to learn the stories behind them. Not to mention, when looking for cases, we get to sift through some other awesome relics of times gone by. Sadly, we haven't yet found a use for a 1930s circus wheel, but just like anyone else, we make impulse purchases. Luckily for us, our impulse purchases have so far been successful.

 

 

Take for example, CasaNueva. When we stumbled upon a New Home vintage sewing machine treadle hood, we fell in love with its ornate wooden design and purchased in on the spot. Impulse. It wasn't until after we bought it that we realized we couldn't bear to cut into the side paneling, and so we got creative. CasaNueva became a true surround sound beauty, when we reinforced the bottom, utilized the flat panels on the top and ends for our mid-range and bass, and added discreet tweeters to the main decorative panel. This unique setup allowed us to maintain our high quality sound, while keeping the integrity of the original design. 

 

 

When we first purchased the New Home treadle hood, we knew it was beautiful, but we didn't know much about its history. Based off the information given to us by the seller, we believe it to have been from the 1930s; however, upon further research, this piece could have been from as early as 1890, like this woman's model

 

I never though sewing machines and their accessories could be a history that interested me, but I have to say, it is pretty iconic of the American Dream. The man who started New Home was a chair manufacturer with $350 to his name, and in 1860 he took a risk and started making sewing machines. Can you believe that by 1937, there were roughly 7,000,000 New Home sewing machines in use? Dang.

 

I wonder what that man would think of CasaNueva...

 

A Little Boombox History 101

"Mommy, where do boomboxes come from?"

Well, Darling, when the people of the Netherlands love music very very much, they come up with the brilliant idea of a portable cassette player. Then the Japanese add an AM/FM tuner and improve it's sound and portability, and finally adolescents in the USA integrate it into pop culture!

So maybe that was the most compact history lesson in... history... but that is the true and pretty cool international trajectory that the development of the boombox followed.

 

Back in the 70s and 80s, bigger was better. Curvy supermodels, muscle cars, big hair, boomboxes, all of it! So when the boombox was introduced to the young urban communities of NYC, LA, and DC in the 70s, it was a hit. The size of the boomboxes gave them a great bass sound that surpassed everything else on the market. Add in the fact that it was portable, and you have yourself a winner. 

And then they got bigger... and Bigger... and BIGGER. Not just literally, but culturally as well. As they grew in popularity, more hi-tech features were added, such as input and output jacks for microphones, turntables, and mp3 players (just kidding, this was the 70s-80s). As the capabilities of the boomboxes increased, they became instrumental to many musicians- from music/b-boy battles in the streets to the Beastie Boys having a signature boombox. Not to mention, LL Cool J wrote a love song for the boombox!

Boombox sales began to decrease in the 90s with the popularity of car audio systems and the advent of the Walkman. Furthermore, the Walkman soothed insecurities that other people in the listener's presence might not enjoy the same music. WEIRD. Since there was a panacea for that insecurity, it further enabled it and created an atmosphere of needing a truly personal and portable listening experience.

Whatever, I have no insecurities of blasting this on my boombox in public. You know you like it.

Let's Be Friends

Hey, do you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Vine? No way, we do too! Very cool.

I'm here today to tell you that following us on any or all of those sites is a rewarding experience, to be likened to winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Okay, so maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but in all seriousness, whenever I update our social media sites, I feel like I'm posting something people (like you) want to see. I try to think, "would I 'like' this?" and if the answer is "meh" then I just keep on going until I find something that makes me think, "hell yea!"

Sometimes, I get a wild idea and work ridiculously hard at making it happen. In that case, you should simply be involved to celebrate the fruits of my labor. You don't even want to know how long I spent trying to get a cat to do what I wanted in order to create this Vine vid. Painful, yet rewarding.

So, since today is a dreary Monday, you know that you just want to goof around on the internet. Let us help you with that.

 

THUMPER GONE GATSBY: Hawkeye swings by the 1920s

Those Gatsby parties! They were something else, with their champagne fountains, wild dancing, and overall opulence and decadence. Fiction or not, that man (Gatsby or Fitzgerald, take your pick) knew the ingredients to a raging party.

Of course, a Thumper was nothing more than a piece of luggage in the 1920s... but can you imagine if they did exist? Those parties certainly would have featured at least one Thumper... or five hundred. You know Gatsby never did anything small scale. 

Well, last week, I decided to find out. I was invited to a Gatsby themed party, and so I chose to bring along Thumper Hawkeye to help get the party started. 

Hawkeye was a hit. The party guests absolutely swooned, Old Sport.

Next thing you know, jazz and big band were streaming out of Hawkeye, ladies were dancing, and the booze was flowing. After a while, when the party moved to the patio, so did Hawkeye. That is part of the beauty of the Thumper- it can easily follow the party, wherever that may be

By the end of the night, Hawkeye was draped in pearls and pin wheels, and left with many promising prospects. 

The life of a playboy... it ain't easy, but it sure is glamorous.

 

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