Transform images into beautiful sketches with Etchings

The list of photo apps for the iPhone is very long, but Etchings stands out with an intuitive layout that can help any user turn their pictures into hand-drawn sketches. While we wish it offered a few more filters, Etchings does its job extremely well and the overall user experience is enhanced by the simple and intuitive interface.

At launch Etchings greets its user with two options: take a photo or use a picture available in their Camera roll or Photo Stream. After selecting or taking a picture, the fun begins as users can easily choose from the list of … Read more

Offbeat photo apps to make something unique on your iPhone

Photo taking apps are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but if you look a little deeper, you can make some really cool projects as long as you use some creativity.

Instead of simply giving your photos a retro look like many of the popular camera apps, there are a number of options that turn your images into a creative project in which you can use your imagination to come up with something unique.

This week's collection of apps are all about doing something different with your images on your iPhone. The first quickly turns your photos … Read more

'Etcher' turns iPad into Etch A Sketch -- real knobs and all

When we first landed on the Kickstarter page for "Etcher," a project that bills itself as "Etch A Sketch for iPad," we looked at the initial frame of the not-yet-playing promo video and thought, "OK, there's the Etch A Sketch, but what's Etcher? Just some silly app that pops a virtual Etch A Sketch onto your touch screen and lets you twiddle the dials with your fingertips? Show us the product."

D'oh (and wow): we were looking right at it.

Etcher's not some sort of digital-only re-creation. As you'll see once you hit Play on the video (embedded below), Etcher gobbles up the iPad and converts it into the classic Ohio Arts dial-and-draw toy, real knobs and all. But it also takes advantage of the iPad's 21st century technological magic to bring features to the Etch A Sketch that were pretty much unimaginable with the original toy.… Read more

Kitschy-fun case turns iPad into Etch A Sketch

From the "why didn't I think of this?" file comes the Etch A Sketch iPad case from Headcase. The iPad (like the iPhone) already has a shake-to-undo function, so it seems like a natural. It even has the little knobs found on the iconic toy, which, sadly, don't do anything here.

But it sure looks awesome. It's officially licensed, so it even has the same raised gold logo at the top and is made from red plastic that looks a lot like the original, which is celebrating its 50th year.

It's set up so … Read more

Hands-on with Zune Originals HD designs

You've held your tongue through all the Apple iPod propaganda. Resisted the temptation to put a stock, 32GB Zune HD on pre-order. You've scrimped and saved and patiently waited until the day when you could order your own unique blue, green, red, custom-etched, deluxe-packaged Zune Originals Zune HD.

Well, dear Zune-ster, that day has come. As of September 15, you can now log onto the Zune Originals online store and design your very own dream Zune HD. Beyond the two capacity options (16GB and 32GB), and five colors (black, platinum, green, blue, and red), you also get access … Read more

Cisco announces alternative to SOAP protocol

Cisco announced a new protocol called Etch, designed to take the place of SOAP in the Cisco Unified Application Environment (CUAE).

SOAP is a lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. For many use cases, for example, very high-volume transaction flow, it's not always the right answer.

While SOAP relies on a very complicated WSDL file to define the interface between the client and server, Etch uses a file in Cisco's own interface definition language that shares many similarities to a Java interface file.

In addition to a simplified configuration, Etch also promises less … Read more

Web marketing 101: Use lasers

While Microsoft, Nokia, and others paid untold sums of money to have the biggest and brightest booth at the Web 2.0 Expo, in a quiet part of the show floor, one of my favorite DIY sites essentially stole the show.

Ignoring boring pamphlets or forgettable swag, the company brought a laser etching machine and offered up free custom-designed laser etching to anyone who brought a laptop, iPhone, or other portable device that they were willing to have burned with warranty-voiding goodness.

Word spread like wildfire around' blogger lounge that this was going on downstairs, the … Read more

Etch-A-Sketch on the plasma

It's the perfect gift to address a Boomer's midlife crisis: an excuse to get a big-screen TV and to relive one's childhood.

The "Deluxe TV Etch-A-Sketch" has a handheld controller that plugs into the television so you can put your work on display for all to see--until someone wants to watch something, anyway. The knobs look a little different from those on the original, so purists might not allow it in any sort of competition.

But there is one feature that remains true to the original, according to Book of Joe: If you shake the controller, … Read more

Unboxing my custom Zune 80

As a longtime iPod loyalist, I had a lot of mixed emotions ordering a Zune 80 for myself last Sunday. Part of me felt like a traitor, honestly. I thought about my poor 5G video iPod, which had been ignored for weeks at the bottom of my messenger bag while I played with Microsoft's loaner for my review. Now, I'd never abandon my iPod completely, especially considering that part of my job is reviewing the seemingly endless parade of iPod accessories. Still, I figure there's room in my life for another MP3 player, right? I mean, I would be negligent as a digital audio journalist if I didn't order one.

Well, my Zune 80 arrived today, and I can honestly say I have no regrets (so far). I went the custom route and ordered the Zune 80 directly from Microsoft on its ZuneOriginals site, complete with custom artwork. Say what you want about the Zune, but the designers have definitely outdone themselves on packaging details. From the foil-embossed box, to the golden envelope, the entire package from ZuneOriginals felt like it should be holding Lil' Jon's diamond-encrusted Pimp Cup.… Read more