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Paul Ridden

The travel-friendly Fender VA acoustic guitars

Taking an acoustic guitar with you when you travel can be a lesson in compromises. You may have to make do with an odd-shaped instrument, a short necked model, or a cheap throw-away that produces poor sound. Wouldn't it be great if you could strap a full-sized Fender to your back, but still be able to meet commercial airline carry on luggage size restrictions? The iconic guitar maker has released two travel dreadnoughts with a Voyage-Air hinge mechanism that allows the instruments to fold in half.  Read More

A LivePicture frame bursting with color

Huge green walls like the installation at Edmonton Airport are certainly more visually arresting than a succession of dreary old framed prints, and are claimed to improve air quality, too. LivePicture from New York-based Suite Plants takes this living wall idea and downsizes it to fit in a frame that hangs on a wall like a painting.  Read More

The all-titanium Gittler Guitar

Back in January, the beautifully minimalist Gittler Guitar made its public debut at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. Little more than a long rod topped by 31 rounded frets with built-in electronics, the all-titanium guitar has now launched on Kickstarter ahead of its first production run in December.  Read More

Sony has launched the world's first 35 mm full-frame interchangeable lens cameras

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras offer consumers DSLR-like performance in a much less bulky package, but prothusiasts looking for something bigger than an APS-C sensor may still have to lug around a larger and heavier camera. The playing field is changing though. Panasonic has managed to squeeze a Micro Four Thirds sensor into a body that's smaller than many compact cameras for its new GM1, and now Sony's upped the ante even further. The Alpha 7 and 7R are claimed to be the world's first 35 mm full-frame mirrorless cameras.  Read More

The Sonos Play:1 compact wireless speaker

I think it's fair to say that not all wireless music systems are created equal. One of the best streaming speakers I've heard is the Play:5 from Sonos (formerly the Zoneplayer S5), but at US$400 a pop, a multi-room setup can get very expensive, very quickly. Sonos is now offering a cheaper way to enter its world of Hi-Fi audio streaming with the introduction of the Play:1 compact wireless speaker.  Read More

The Miix2 8-inch tablet from Lenovo Lenovo's Miix multi-mode tablet is about to be joined by a baby brother. The new Miix2 is the company's first 8-inch tablet, and features a latest generation Intel quad-core processor, runs Windows 8.1 and is available with an optional stylus.  Read More

The iRig BlueBoard wireless MID pedalboard from IK Multimedia

When I reviewed the OPC Musician's Computer in March 2012, I also got the opportunity to sample a full-featured version of IK Multimedia's equally impressive AmpliTube 3 guitar effects and amp simulation suite. I did note, however, that one downside was having to activate virtual pedals and tweak settings via the mouse (or in the case of iOS versions, by touching the virtual controls on the screen). The latest addition to the company's iRig family puts parameter control at your feet, in a wireless pedalboard called the BlueBoard.  Read More

Shawn Steen with his ergonomically-designed guitars

Guitars like Gibson's iconic Flying V, just about any BC Rich model, or Bob Wiley's Ministar travel guitars may well stand out in any crowd, but they're not exactly built for comfort. Guitar maker Shawn Steen has spent the last two years tweaking and testing an instrument designed to comfortably fit the shape of a player's body, while looking good and sounding great. The final adjustments have been made, all the choice components selected, and the first show models created. Now it's launch time for the new line of hand-made ergonomic guitars.  Read More

The SEIL LED grid signaling system installed in a bag

Cyclists wanting to notify other road users of stopping or turning intentions can use their arms, but it's not always convenient or safe to do so. Bike-based blinking technology like the Spooklight system is a good way to go, but having to detach and carry your lights between rides to keep them out of the hands of opportunist thieves can be a bit of a pain. A sleeker idea would be to integrate a wirelessly-controlled lighting system into your backpack? That's precisely what SEIL from Myung Su Lee does. Bright directional arrows, stopping signals or custom animated text messages shine through the fabric at the back of the bag at the press of a button on a bar-mounted wireless controller.  Read More

The new Moog Minifooger analog stomp family

Moog Music has announced a new range of versatile and expressive analog effects stomps for electric guitar and bass. Each of the five affordable and compact Minifoogers features an expression pedal input that can be CV-controlled (just like an old Moog synth), and gives the player control of one predetermined parameter for the chosen unit, expanding the stomp's sound beyond what's available via the knobs up top.  Read More

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