Quick Hits – July 23, 2004

Lighting up the dreary days

In cities where rain clouds can darken summer days, an illuminated umbrella from Bright Night not only lights up dull spirits but also makes an onlooker’s jaw drop. The umbrella keeps you dry, lights up your way home with a white krypton bulb under its canopy that lights up to reflect its colourful design. According to the company, the “durable” umbrella is constructed of denier nylon, Teflon, chrome, silver, polycarbonate and other “space-age” materials. It provides three hours of light on four AA batteries. The US$38 umbrellas are available in different designs, including red stripe, green wave, blue ripple, black droplet and blue-brown geo, from Wishing Fish’s Web site at www.wishingfish.com/.

Emulate guitar amps, sound effects

Germany-based music software developer Native Instruments GmBH recently started shipping Guitar Rig, a software application combined with a foot controller. Originally announced in March, Guitar Rig offers three tube amplifier emulations, 20 sound effects including delays, reverbs and EQs, and a “Cabinets and Mics” module that includes 10 speaker types and five microphone types, each with four different positions.

Mice show true colours

Microsoft Corp. has introduced a trio of special-edition mice that users can personalize with original designs. The colourful new series are dubbed “Groovy,” “Immersion,” and “Night Vision.” The “Groovy,” apparently crafted for users nostalgic for the ’60s, has a bright orange, pink, and red pattern, and is priced at $44.95. It is an ambidextrous mouse and has several recent features of other Microsoft mice, including Tilt Wheel Technology for smoother scrolling and Microsoft Optical Technology for longer battery life. The other two mice use the firm’s Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer technology, and both of them are priced at US$54.95. The “Immersion” mouse is painted blue and purple, while the “Night Vision” mouse is green and black.

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