Bright ideas

By Natalia Manzocco, Special to Postmedia Network

Remember when the first iMacs were unveiled? Before 1999, computers were available in a range of exciting shades: Beige, stucco, ecru, off-white, off-beige and off-off-beige. Suddenly, personal computers came in edible-sounding shades like blueberry, cherry and grape -- and tech products got a shove toward stylish, attention-grabbing, and increasingly tied into form alongside function. Since then, gadgets have achieved fashion item status -- and every two-bit flash drive and point-and-shoot camera on the market now automatically comes in a rainbow of flashy shades. Here's a couple of unusual -- and fun -- ways to colour your world.

I recently realized I needed to replace my office-issued Mac mouse, but what I didn't know -- until this mouse rolled into my life last week -- is that I needed to replace it with one covered in metallic cupcakes. HP's X4000 wireless mouse comes in several fun designs for those without a sweet tooth, but it's also a comfy, laser-accurate addition to your desktop. It plays well with both Mac and PC devices and boasts a 10-metre roaming range from its wireless USB port, as well as 30-month battery life. Perhaps most importantly, however, it's covered in cupcakes. Cupcakes, people. Grab one at Best Buy for $34.99.

Counter an overheating laptop with a portable riser in an equally hot shade. The Mini Riser is a lightweight, non-bulky way to prop up your computer, setting it at a more comfortable angle and letting air pass underneath. If you need to adjust your angle, just compress or stretch out the rubber-footed "legs". They work with tablets, 17-inch laptops and every size in between, up to a weight of 35 pounds. Best of all, they come in every colour of the rainbow, and they're just $8.95 US for a pair at

The cellphone market remains a tussle between BlackBerry, the iPhone and Android devices, but Windows seems to have unveiled a serious contender in the form of the Windows Phone 8 line, a collaboration with HTC. Capitalizing on Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 platform, the 8X and 8S phones will also feature the operating system's "live tiles" user interface. It's also got a few HTC-only extras, including Beats Audio with a built-in amplifier. The 8X, pictured here, has a 4.3-inch HD screen coated in scratch-resistant Gorilla glass. Cellphone photographers will love this one: The 8X pairs an 8MP low-light lens with a 2.1MP front-facing, wide-angle lens that can fit four people into your selfies. Both cameras can also shoot 1080p video. And the fashion factor from the phone's snappy cherry, grape and lemon hues definitely doesn't hurt its appeal. Case? Who needs a case? Pricing details aren't available just yet, but the 8X (and 8S) will be available through Bell and Rogers in early November.

Are you mad for the kind of wacky gadgets tech writers like myself love to make fun of? Prepare to shield your credit card from Gizmine, which not only boasts the widest slate of Japanese-produced tech oddities on the Internet -- it comes with a "shop by colour" function. Scattered among the creepy piggy banks that "eat" your coins and Power Rangers underwear are ingeniously designed pieces like the Middle Colors Humidifier, which could be easily mistaken for a cheerful, elegant vase. It can provide either cool or warm mist, and boasts an aromatherapy function that lets you add your own essential oils. They come in three sizes and a rainbow of hues for $119.99 to $179.99 at


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions