Retro Chic

Retro Chic

Blackbird, Fly TLR camera

Think your swanky digital camera is cool? Wait till you have taken a look at this. Lomographic cameras are cooler because film is far more fashionable. Shoot-from-the-hip lomography (, a photography technique that was born in the 1990s, involves the fine art of clicking great pictures not with a pricey DSLR, but with a 35mm, low-cost “toy" film camera such as the Diana+Edelweiss Edition or the Holga Fisheye. Or the hot new Blackbird, Fly.

Price: $201

Yubz Talk

Imagine lugging around a classic, clunky old Bakelite handset (of the rotary phone era) plugged into your iPhone or Nokia N96 to answer a phone call.

That’s what the Yubz Talk Mobile is all about. You can plug this old-world contrivance into your PC and use it for Skype, GTalk and all such VOIP (voice over internet protocol) machines. The Yubz Talk Mobile has a button that lets you answer and hang up calls, while a “push-volume" nub adjusts earpiece audio levels. If this appeals to you, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the colour front, with as many as six options, ranging from Russian Red to Florida Orange and Rock Gold metallics. If walnut wood and brass vintage finishes are your wish, lunge for the Hulger Pappa Phone (

Price: $45

Cassette Tape USB Hub

While we’re on the musical note, how about this classic cassette tape lookalike that is, in fact, a USB hub interface. So perfect is its realistic appearance and so immaculate is its retro-meets-techno-chic styling that the contraption needs to be accompanied by a warning note: “This is not a real cassette tape and attempts to play it in a cassette player could cause serious damage to your stereo and the hub." And oh, the 97x61cm USB 2.0 hub happens to offer four ports to enhance your ability to add on more gizmos and gear. Since the device’s design places all four of the ports right in front and adjacent to one another, stuffing fatter or bulkier USB devices that are also short may prove to be difficult.

Price: $24

Lasonic I931 iPod Ghetto Blaster

This audio system, which reminds you of clumsy, overweight tape recorders, allows you to listen to your iPod in a blink without headphones. Don’t be taken in by its deceptive appearance. It supports USB flash disks and SD/MMC cards to play MP3 files. Slide in a video iPod and you can watch the video feed on your preset TV. The blaster also features 20 FM stations, 20 AM presets, a real-time clock display, separate bass and treble controls, equalizer adjustments, volume level indicators and AUX /microphone/headphone in/out jacks. Apart from AC, it runs on battery power. With twin 12W speakers and a 10kg weight, that’s some portable audio power! No, it doesn’t come with an iPod. But yes, it has a full-function remote.

Price: $135

Wilkerson Flat Panel TV

Is that electronic gear or antique furniture? This overly outdated console houses a very state-of-the-art 42-inch high definition TV panel. The 1950s relic lookalike is made of solid walnut hardwood and available in cherry and black veneers. Going back to the future, the section below the screen—intended actually to ensconce the centre speaker of your audio system—is fabricated out of original Fender screen material. Deliveries for this distinctively styled, handcrafted, custom-finished contraption need a 12-week lead time. And the hi-definition TV bit? Well, that can be just about any idiot box that catches your fancy.

Price: On request

Write to us at




Audio manufacturer Alesis has introduced the ProTrack, which it bills as “the world’s first professional hand-held digital stereo recorder for iPod". The ProTrack lets users record live audio on their iPod (Classic or fifth Generation) or iPod Nano (second or third Generation) via an integrated recorder with two microphones. Other features include a universal dock and LED signal indicators. Four AAA batteries provide up to 5 hours of recording time. The ProTrack’s tripod mount can help enhance recording quality. It will cost around $200 and will be available in early January —just in time to start recording your 2009 holiday to-do list. ©2008/ The New York Times


Kensington’s $30 four-port charger is about as big as a standard USB charger, but it can charge multiple devices at once. It works with iPods, iPhones, BlackBerry smartphones and other devices, sends 5 DC volts and weighs about 4 ounces. It is compatible with overseas current, which means you need only a plug adapter rather than a full transformer. It is small enough to not block precious outlets in cybercafes or crowded offices. What’s next? Could there be a game-changing 11-port charger on the cards? ©2008/ The New York Times