Y Lighting Miss K Table Lamp

Slim, black and smooth, the Miss K Table Lamp by Y Lighting brings a subtle touch of eroticism to your desk or nightstand.  While the diffusor on the Miss K lamp appears black, the outer shade becomes nearly transparent, giving off a soft glow.  The stand itself shines when illuminated by its bulb, giving this lamp two distinct personalities when either on or off.  Even though its name might be feminine, we think our office could use just a touch of that kind of sexiness to get us through the day.

Buy: $288

MPC Drum Machine Ring

MF Doom once referred to himself as a “keen drum machine buff who fiends for more green stuff”. Too Chez, Mr. Dumile, your humble GearCrave editor could be described as the same. Doom and other hip hop greats like Kanye West, DJ Premier, Just Blaze and Hi Tek owe a lot of their sound to that drum machine above, the MPC 2000 and its family. The MPC, or MIDI Production Center, could be considered the heart of hip hop. It took the torch from the classic SP1200 sampler as the beatmaker of choice of hip hop’s greatest producers. If you’ve heard a hip hop beat in the last 20 years, chances are it was made with this machine…

Designer Bill McMullen has immortalized the MPC in rings of sterling silver (above) and gold. This run of silver is sold out, but the gold-plated era edition remains in stock. For those who wish to rock their street cred on their fingers, get this MPC drum machine ring while its hot… [hipyoungthing]

Buy: $225

GearCrave Interview: Jake Nickell, CEO of ThreadLess.com

(Jake Nickell, bottom right, and the Threadless/SkinnyCorp Crew)

Arguably the biggest name in T-Shirts, ThreadLess.com has gone from a forum-based t-shirt design contest to a multi-million dollar t-shirt empire. By fostering community interaction and embracing the work of talented designers from around the world, they’ve built a strong business and an impressive catalog of tees. GearCrave sat down with the founder and CEO of ThreadLess to discuss t-shirts, cravings, and the ever popular lightning round.


For the uninitiated describe what is the wonderment that is Threadless.com.

Threadless is an ongoing call for tee shirt designs. Anyone can submit a design, they are voted on by the public and the best designs are selected for print and sold from the website. Designers of selected designs receive $2,500 in cash and prizes with the chance to receive another $10,000 at the end -of-the-year Bestee awards.

We’ve seen Threadless change a lot over the years. What started with selling t-shirts on the web has progressed to a brick and mortar store along with the introduction of new products like hoodies, wall decals, etc. What’s next for Threadless?

Right now we’re really interested in advancing our kid’s line and setting up better distribution around the world. We have 2 new notable additions to our product line in the works as well that should be announced in 2008.

Where and when do you see the next store opening?

Probably a kid’s store in Chicago and another store in Boulder, CO – hopefully by end of 2008.

Threadless’ corporate umbrella also hosts some other fun projects. Can you share anything about some other skinnyCorp projects you’re currently excited about?

We’ve been putting a lot of work into Naked and Angry (nakedandangry.com) the past year and starting this spring we plan to release a new product every month through that project.

In the nearly 8 years that Threadless has been in business, you’ve likely seen countless t-shirts go to print. To date, what is your personal favorite Threadless tee?

My favorite changes pretty much every 2 weeks. Right now this tee with this crazy UV ink rules.

jake nickell one

GearCrave’s focus is to showcase the coolest gadgets, gear, entertainment, design and style on the web. Beyond style, we’d like to talk more about what you’re craving on the web right now. In short, this is our chance to get to know you, Jake Nickell, the “guy behind the guy”.

What is the must-have gadget in your life that you can’t live without?

I’m addicted to my iPhone… checking email and bloglines and such, taking pictures, etc. It’s becoming a problem! Ha!

What car do you wish you had in your garage right now?

I have a 1970 International Scout 800A SR-2 that I need to put a new engine in and fix up – I wish it was done and in the garage!

What was your favorite movie of 2007?

I like almost every movie. I have a 5-month old baby at home so it was hard to go see movies last year but I really enjoyed 300. I’m a sucker for a good action 🙂

Apart from Threadless where is your favorite place to buy clothes?

I’m really into Nau (nau.com) – they have a good thing going on. I also like outdoorsy brands like Helly Hansen, the North Face, Patagonia.

Which gadget can you not travel without?

Always need my laptop and cell, but that’s about it. It’s nice to have a camera. And diapers.

What has been your most indulgent purchase?

Electric go-karts for the office.

What album is hopelessly stuck in your head right now?

The acoustic Against Me album… I could listen to it forever.

jake, jacob, jeremy

Alright, Jake– are you up to it? Time for the GearCrave Lightning Round!

Mac, PC, or Linux?

Mac and PC, must have both!

Sports car or Hybrid?

Hybrid

Blondes or Brunettes?

Brunettes

Video games or the Great outdoors?

Great outdoors

Elvis or the Beatles?

Elvis

The Office UK or The Office US?

US

Novels or Biographies?

Novels

Myspace or Facebook?

Facebook

MacGyver or Chuck Norris?

MACGYVER!!!!

Ninja’s or Pirates?

Pirates please.

Thanks for chatting with us, Jake. For those of you unfamiliar with ThreadLess, be sure to give them a visit. Also don’t miss out on NakedAndAngry, whose products we’ve covered a few timeshere on GearCrave. Also, keep your eyes on GearCrave for more interviews– and be sure to subscribe to the GearCrave RSS feed!

Alfa Romeo 8c Spider

 

Continuing on with more rare foreign convertibles (see yesterday’s Yes! Roadster 3.2), take a look at the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider.  Like the Yes! models, this Alfa Romeo hasn’t been for sale in the U.S.– yet.  In the coming months, the first 50 Alfa Romeos will return to the U.S. market.  As you’d expect, all 50 are already spoken for… but Fiat-owned Alfa Romeo will be rolling out more models in times to come.  This puppy, the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider is a luxury two-seater convertible powered by a 450hp V8.  The classic front grill features the Alfa Romeo signature, loved by we Americans since Mr. Dustin Hoffman helped popularize the Alfa Romeo brand in the classic film “The Graduate”.  Once more of these new Alfa Romeo’s hit the US market, we’ll be sure to let you know here on GearCrave.

Buy: $250,000

The Ultimate Outdoors 2.0: Five Essential Technologies

Update– Welcome our StumbleUpon friends! If you enjoy this article, be sure to sign up for the GearCrave RSS feed. Also, if you like the camping gadgets below, be sure to check out our product shot on the new Leatherman Skeletool CX!

GearCrave has the ultimate five technologies available now that will turn your camping adventure into a high-tech retreat. From solar power storing tents to water-purifying water bottles and more, check out our ultimate Outdoors 2.0 gear guide.

Solar Tent

The Eureka! solar tent absorbs sunlight by day so you can see at night. The bright LED gives a full eight hours of night-time illumination great for reading, treating your poison ivy, or sizing up your fellow campers for a Donner party-style midnight snack. This tent sleeps six, and the supports are made of ultra-light fiberglass.

Buy for $239.99

Continue reading the Ultimate Outdoors 2.0!!

Katadyn Water Purifier bottle

Leave it to the Swiss to create a water bottle that can save your life. What’s the problem with drinking right out of that stream, pond, or river? All the microbes and other invisible nasties, that’s what. With the Katadyn Extream water purifying bottle, you get all the living organisms filtered out. Just fill it, and drink it.

Buy for $42.70

Brunton Helios Lighter

After the water, you are probably going to want some fire. Go for broke with the Brunton Helios stormproof lighter, which is made to withstand 70mph winds, and gives a whopping 30 thousand lights. You could build campfires for years with one of these. Never mind those matches, this is the flame for you.

Buy for $52.11

Solar Backpack

The great outdoors does not mean “cut off from civilization” anymore, thanks to theVoltaic solar powered-backpack. The solar panels store up the sun’s energy so you can charge up laptops, the iPhone, and any other rechargable device you carry. The Voltaic comes with eleven different adapters including a cigarette lighter-type adapter, so none of your gadgets are left out in the cold. If you can get a mobile broadband or cell phone signal out there, you can stay connected even when you’re rouging it with the same pair of underwear over and over again.

Buy for $244.95

Jetboil

Jetboil is an ultra-compact butane cooking system that boils two cups of water in two minutes. It’s extremely fuel-efficient, lightweight (15 ounces!), and the burner and cookware are in a single package. It holds a full liter and can cook pre-packaged camping meals, that roadkill you found, or canned food. Not to mention the obvious morning pick-me-up; if you remembered to pack a box of those teabag-style coffee singles, get the Jetboil running and you will be wide awake in no time.

Buy for $71.96.

This fresh example of table lamp origami is ready to liven up your office. A busy work space is calmed by this design– and a dull den is brought to life by its geometric form. The West Elm Faceted Table Lamp is a lesson in modern geometric design. While its color scheme is minimal, its base is is angular and reflective.  A lamp like this is designed to be the centerpiece of your room.  So if you’re looking for that one design element that really ties the room together?  If the rug ain’t doing it, you need a good lamp.  Start here, GearCravers…

Buy: $149.99

GearCrave Giveaway: 25 Free T-shirts from DesignByHumans!

Here it is, ladies and gents, act three of GearCrave’s spring t-shirt giveaway. This week, we’re partnering with one of the freshest, most successful new t-shirt companies on the web: DesignByHumans. We’ve been big fans of DesignByHumans and its community since their launch nearly a year ago. Hundreds of shirts later, DesignByHumans has grown to be one of the top t-shirt destinations on the web. We were thrilled when we spoke to DesignByHumans recently, who offered to give free t-shirts to 25 GearCrave readers. Will you be one of those 25 winners? Continue reading below to learn how to get involved!

To qualify for a free t-shirt from DesignByHumans, you must sign upchoose, and comment. Here’s how:

  • Sign up for the GearCrave email newsletter. (you can do so here)
  • Choose the shirt you want to win at DesignByHumans.com.
  • Comment on this page and include a link to the shirt you want to win.

It’s that simple. We’ll leave the first comment as an example, just to clarify. Best of luck GearCravers, and thanks to DesignByHumans for joining GearCrave in this great giveaway. This contest will end on Sunday, April 27th 2008 at 11:59p.m.  Winners will be announced the next day. Be sure to check back each day, as we’ll be featuring one t-shirt pick per day, plus an interview with DesignByHumans’ founder later this week. Best of luck, GearCravers, 25 of you are going to look damn good this summer!

Brass Knuckle Mug by Thabto

Your coworkers will think twice about stealing this one… The Brass knuckle mug by Thabto, otherwise known as “MUG!”, brings street violence to your early morning coffee fix. When we’re in line at the GearCrave office in the morning, we want a mug that says “kiss off” to our happy co-workers. I think this one will do the trick. While Thabto’s MUG! is currently out of stock, we’re going to bomb their email form repeatedly until they start producing these again. Otherwise, we’ll introduce them to a real knuckle duster…

Buy: $TBA

iStick Concept Puts Apple Minimalism to Shame

As if the new iPod Shuffle isn’t tiny enough, designer Alexei Mikhailov has some ideas of his own for the iPod’s future. The appropriately-named iStick folds the aesthetic of the iPhone and iPod Touch into a finger-sized dongle. All four sides of this conceptual gadget are touchable, allowing for plenty of interface tinkering in a tiny package, at the expense of a little carpal tunnel from all the wrist-twisting. The silver cube on the end is a scroll wheel, which would presumably allow for easy volume adjustment without a glance at the interface, but I keep envisioning a USB cover instead. To complete the dream device, the earbuds are wireless — and just like the Shuffle, it would probably cost extra to buy compatible third-party headphones. [via Industrial Design Served]

How To Buy Your Own Private Island

The private island is more than just a status symbol for the Richard Bransons and Larry Pages of the world, it is the ultimate retreat from the stresses and demands of today’s 9-5 rat race. Surprisingly, owning your own tropical island paradise isn’t reserved for dot com moguls and skinny heiresses– prices start in the low six figures. From there, the sky (and the ocean) is the limit. Start saving now, Cravers– and continue reading below on how you can buy your own little piece of paradise…

The Money

Purchasing a private island is not unlike buying any other piece of real estate– and there are plenty of websites which list only island-related properties. Private Islands Online is just one of them, but this site offers a complete list of price ranges for the moguls and middle managers alike. Would you believe that some of these islands go for as little as $200 thousand? And we aren’t talking about some sort of cannibal-filled hellhole, either. Consider Paradise Cay, off the coast of Nicaragua for sale at $225K. This 2.5 acre island is accessible by speedboat via river or sea, and is about 60 miles north of a town called Bluefields. Two and a half acres in Chicago would cost literally millions. This sunny paradise goes for under a quarter mil.

There are a few things you need to do when sorting out the funds for a private island:

  • Get pre-approval for the projected purchase price. This makes you a competetive bidder instead of a window shopper. You won’t be taken as seriously otherwise.
  • Before you apply for that pre-approval, clean up your credit. Get rid of credit rating liabilities you may have such as a big potential debt ratio on unused credit cards and contest any blemish on your credit report.
  • Negotiate terms–many island purchases require between a modest 10 percent and outrageous 50 percent down.
  • Investigate the company you are purchasing from. Ask your lender about the reputation of the company you are about to deal with and get a real estate lawyer involved who understands the issues.

Your expenses for buying a private island will also include paying appraisal fees, property taxes, docking fees for boats, and any development needed to make the island livable. You may need to pay for wells, construction or repair of a boat dock, installation of generators and fuel, and supplies to make the first month’s stay comfortable.

your own island 2
(all photos courtesy of Ahmed Zahid)

The Island

Any serious real estate purchase requires a look at the property. What’s the condition of the island? Is it developed? In a pristine natural state? Somewhere in between? No seller will take you seriously unless you are prepared to come out and take a look, so even if you haven’t gotten your travel budget sorted out, tell the agent you’d like to arrange a viewing as soon as it’s convenient for both of you. Ask some important questions before you take the trip and you could save yourself some serious headaches:

  • What is the property’s history of tropical storms, natural disasters, or other problems?
  • Is the property near any military test ranges for aircraft, missiles, Navy ships, or other vehicles?
  • Is the island on a flight path for private or commercial aircraft?
  • How far away is the nearest airport? Hospital? Helipad?
  • What is the water situation on the island itself? Will I need to dig wells?
  • Who lives nearby?
  • Is the property subject to mining, oil drilling, or other mineral rights issues? What about the waterway adjacent to the property?
  • Are there tribal or indigenous claims to any part of the island or its natural resources?

Asking these questions will give you an excellent idea of whether or not you still want to fly all the way out to have a look. If buying the property means becoming embroiled in some local struggle over rights and natural resources, or if your island is right next door to the Navy’s missile test firing range, you know you’ll be taking a pass. For those that get acceptable answers to your quesiotns, do some additional homework on the lifestyle in the area you’re buying in. EscapeArtist.com has a wide range of articles on just about every getaway known to man–a good starting place for research on the area you might soon be calling your home or home away from home.

your own island 3

The Lifestyle

Island life isn’t for everyone. If you’ve got a strong independent streak, can deal with problems and unforseen issues and still keep your head glued on straight, a private island could be for you. Being handy with a toolkit helps, and so does knowing your own limitations. Private islands are often a long way from the nearest hospital, so if you don’t have your own medical staff, being on good physical condition is definitely part of the game plan.

  • Fully developed islands are more expensive, but require less personal time and energy on your part.
  • A partially-developed island with the necessities is a good mid-priced option, but prepare to use your handyman skills
  • An island in its natural state will take a lot of time and development to make livable unless you want to play out your Gilligan’s Island fantasies.
  • If you are not a loner, don’t sequester yourself on a secluded island. You’ll go bonkers.

If you are tempted to buy an island, but aren’t sure you can handle it, the best thing you can do is to rent a private island and give that experience a chance to sink in. Renting is the closest you can get to ownership without actually taking the plunge, and there are many reputable agencies offering gorgeous getaways. Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson’s Necker Island starts about about $33,000 per night and comes with a staff member for every guest. The Spanish Isla de sa Ferradur has salons, a spa, Turkish bath, and other amenities; your’re not exactly forced to rough it under these conditions. UnusualVillaRentals.com is a great place to begin searching for your own private island getaway rental property. Rent or buy? Try it on for size and see.

Your private island paradise awaits. Scrape up some petty cash, make a few arrangements, and you’re well on your way to a whole new adventure. Just be sure to invite us out for a nice weekend after you’ve taken our advice.

(For more great articles and reviews on how to live like the ultimate playboy, subscribe to the GearCrave RSS feed and check back here for up to 8 articles per weekday. Also, be sure to check out Ahmed Zahid’s flickr stream for breathtaking photos of the Maldives, where we would love to own our private island!)