Monday, January 31, 2011

TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) Video Review Macworld 2011: BulletTrain offers Unique Accessories For Keyboard & iPad...

...TUAW Macworld 2011: Review & Video...

BulletTrain Offers Unique Accessories For Keyboard & iPad

"Some of the more interesting folks we saw at Macworld Expo weren't standing behind booths. We ran into the guys from BulletTrain who had two interesting pieces of hardware.

First, the Express Keyboard Platform holds Apple's Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad in a portable and supremely useful configuration, while the MagicStand for iPad offers multiple viewing angles, durability and good looks. Here's a quick look at each.

The Express Keyboard Platform is for anyone who has a Mac connected to a TV or large LCD display, as well as those who'd rather not sit at a desk to work. It's a big piece of machined aluminum (see above) that first locks the Magic Trackpad into place and then holds the keyboard just above it. In fact, it looks like the bottom half of a 17" MacBook Pro, only with a larger trackpad. The two units are held snugly in place and can't be dislodged by your legs. It's a heck of a lot better than the keyboard balancing act that so many of us endure, and feels just right.

Note: TUAW said:

"It looks like the bottom half of a 17" Macbook Pro, only with a larger trackpad."

Note from Jake:

If you didn't have the BulletTrain Express next to a Macbook it could look like a 17", but the truth is the BulletTrain Express is actually smaller than a 15" inch Macbook keyboard. It is really just a tad bit larger than a 13" Macbook keyboard and weights less than a 13" Macbook Air!!!! In the photo below you see the BulletTrain Express next to a 15" Macbook for comparison:

The guys also showed us the MagicStand for iPad, which again is a piece of aluminum that adheres to the back of the iPad with the help of a removable adhesive. What's nice about the MagicStand is that, thanks to some Velcro and a cleverly-placed kickstand, it offers a huge number of viewing angles. Plus, you can easily hang it on a wall or move from portrait to landscape orientation without having to remove your iPad or reseat anything.

Both devices are made in San Francisco and can be had for US$129 each. You can watch a demo video:

Hangin' Out With Sinbad At MacWorld 2011 in San Francisco...

Hangin' Out With Sinbad
MacWorld 2011 in San Francisco

We attended Macworld 2011, and on the fist day we ran into Sinbad the Comedian/Actor. Sinbad delivered the 2011 Macworld Keynote this year. When we ran into Sinbad we gave him a demo on the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform and MagicStand. Sinbad was extremely impressed with both products and he really freaked out on how cool the BulletTrain Express was.

Sinbad has attended every Macworld for the last 20 years since 2011, and he was such a nice guy!!! I really enjoyed Macworld this year and thought is was a big hit!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

First BulletTrain Express Video

First BulletTrain Express Video

This is the first video I have seen from somebody made who purchased a BulletTrain Express and I think it is really neat. I have never even thought about putting the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform on a coffee table with a laptop, but as you kinda see in this video, it makes it look even more like it is floating. Of course, the BulletTrain Express in this video is a production model so it has the graphics on the bottom and the new auto-leveleing round feet.

I had to watch this video a few times to realize, that the user was showing how he can use the BulletTrain Express with his Macbook on his coffee table, and then rest the BulletTrain Express on his lap and use it as a remote control to play a Youtube video, which is just far enough a way to simulate an LCD TV. Neato...if you ask me...

As soon as we can shoot new videos we will put them up on the website. I am really excited to see and share more peoples videos and photos of the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform which acts as a tray for the Apple Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard.

Sunday, January 23, 2011 Review of The BulletTrain Express... Review
1st Formal Review of BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform

"The BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform; Thankfully Someone Was Listening." –

The obvious question, is since the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform has been selling for almost 90 days, how is it there have been no formal reviews? The answer is simple, many publications have contacted us and asked us to send them a review unit, and we have not sent out one single review unit, because we have not been able to keep up with the demand.

I realize many people would say I should send out review units to increase sales even more, but my customers come first. As soon as we get caught up, which will be soon, we will send out the review units.

"The BulletTrain Express is the perfect configuration for anyone who prefers the large screen of an iMac but the keying surface they are used to from their favorite Macbook. In all honesty, this is the keyboard that Apple should have offered for sale in the first place...but for whatever reason, Steve and company just didn't feel the need. Thankfully Jake Ehrlich of BulletTrain saw the need, and he decided to create a device that would satisfy people like me."

"The BulletTrain Express is the exact keyboard configuration that I wanted and didn't think I would ever be able to find; it's beautiful, functional, and it is an absolute must for anyone who loves their Macbook, but also uses an iMac. As an added bonus, it is also the perfect solution for anyone who is using a Mac computer to drive their large screen TV. You can sit on the couch and rest the platform in your lap, and you can flip it upside down or sideways without worrying that the keyboard or Trackpad might fall out."

"If you are thinking this is exactly what you've been looking for, then I suggest you place your order and not think twice about the price; I did, and I have NO REGRETS.

Judie Stanford of

So how did get a review unit? They bought one!!! It turns out Judie Lipsett Stanford, who is the Editor and Publisher of was looking for a solution just like the BulletTrain Express, so when she found the BulletTrain Express she simply bought one.

By the way, if you own a BulletTrain Express, you will recognize the photo below of the bottom of the BulletTrain Express, but if you visit you will not see any photos of this update design with the half-dome rubber feet or the BulletTrain graphics.

This is because we are in the process of completely overhauling, which will include all-new photographs and videos, but we have been so overwhelmed with production and delivery, that we have not updated anything since launch.

BulletTrain Express Jumping Cursor Challenge Update

BulletTrain Express Jumping Cursor Challenge Update

Update: February 14, 2011: Better Touch Tool just released the solution to overcoming this challenge and you can learn all about it by clicking here.

Challenge: A very small percentage of people who purchased the BulletTrain Express contacted us to let us know they have been experiencing a challenge where the cursor randomly jumps around their screen when they use the BulletTrain Express.

Despite the fact that less than 2% of people have reported this issue, it is something I take very seriously. The challenge, is that as hard as I tried, I was not able to duplicate the challenge. I kept experimenting and studying the challenge and we finally figured it out!!!

The challenge is there are many variables that contribute to this. Apparently it has to do with the unique geometry of peoples hands and how they sit and how they type. The culprit is that if your wrest your palm or thumb on the MagicTrackpad when it is in the keyboard it will NOT cause the cursor to randomly jump around.

However, if your palm bounces up-and-down very-lightly when you type, the MagicTrackpad can mistake this as you trying to execute a "Tap to Click" gesture, and it will move the cursor. Once again, this occurs if your palm very lightly keeps bouncing up and down on the left or right edge of the Magic Trackpad while you are typing quickly.

Solution 1: This method is guaranteed to overcome the challenge:

1. Click on the Apple icon located at the left edge of your menu bar located at the top of your screen.

2. Select "System Preferences."

3. On the Hardware section, click on "Trackpad."

4. Notice the first option under "One Finger" is "Tap to Click." Simply uncheck this option and your cursor will NEVER jump around.

Solution 2: It appears many people prefer to keep "Tap to Click" turned on, and the other half seem to prefer it off. I like to use "Tap to Click" and if I had to keep it turned off in order to benefit from all the great features the BulletTrain Express provides, I would, but I would miss it.

A few day ago I spoke with Andreas who is the owner and programmer of an amazing software tool named "Better Touch Tool." If you are not familiar with Better Touch Tool, it will blow your mind!!!! Better Touch Tool allows you to go far, far beyond the standard Apple System Preference options for the Magic Trackpad, and Better Touch Tool allows you to create your own gestures and swipes and assign them to do just about anything you can imagine on the Mac.

I shared the challenge with Andreas and he told me he will build a new feature into Better Touch Tool that allows you to choose to turn-off "Tap to Click" on the left and right edges of your MagicTrackpad. This will make it impossible to have the cursor, randomly jump around. Ironically, Apple used to offer this feature on Macbooks, then they apparently decided to just turn it on all Macbooks, but they did not add it to the Magic Trackpad since they did not foresee the Magic Trackpad being used in the BulletTrain Express.

The image below is a mock-up of how I foresee the Better Touch Tool feature working. On the left side of the image below, we see Better Touch Tool the way it is now. When Andreas adds the new feature it will appear like the image on the right side. You will be able to turn on the blue strips which will turn off the "Tap To Click" for the first Centimeter (3/8 inch), and there will be a second option to turn off the green strip as a "Tap to Click" area for the next centimeter or 3/8 inch.

Turning off the "Tap to Click" feature will not impede the use of the Magic Trackpad in any way. As a matter of fact, those of us who use "Tap to Click" typically never activate it by clicking near the right or left edges of the trackpad, since we typically use it toward the center of the trackpad.

Andreas told me he plans to add this feature in less than a week. In the not so distant future, I plan to do a video-cast that will show you many amazing benefits when you use Better Touch Tool with a BulletTrain Express!!!

BulletTrain Express Velcro Challenge Update...

BulletTrain Express Velcro Challenge Update

When I designed the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform for Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, took a belt and suspenders approach, and as a result, over-engineered the Velcro.

Velcro Challenge #1: Keyboard Rocking
Status: Challenge Overcome

Challenge 1: Some customers have reported that the Apple Keyboard rocks back and forth from the left bottom corner to the right bottom corner. This is because in the first production run, we shipped them with long strips of velcro as seen in the photo below on the top image.

Solution 1: The second keyboard in the photo below, has much shorter velcro strips in the velcro channels, and this is the way we have been shipping the BulletTrain Express since the second production run. If you experience this challenge:

1. Remove the strip of velcro from the back of the keyboard.

2. Smile because you are one of the first people on earth to have a BulletTrain Express ;-)

3. Take the removed piece, and trim off a piece that is approximately 1/2 of the original length.

4. Attach it upside down at the top of the keyboard velcro channel (as seen in the second photo of the BulletTrain Express below).

5. This should work, and if it does not, remove it again and trim it down to 1/3 of the original length.

Velcro Challenge #2: Spongy Trackpad
Status: Challenge Overcome

Challenge 2: Some customers reported that when they depress the Apple Trackpad that is feels spongy and has too much resistance. They say "The Magic Trackpad does not press as easily when it is in the BulletTrain Express as when it is on a desktop by itself."

Solution 2: This is really easy to fix:

1. Remove the Magic Trackpad from the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform

2. Remove the velcro from the back of the Magic Trackpad

3. Trim off a piece that is approximately 1/2 the original size

4. Place the piece of velcro upside down in the velcro channel at the top (as seen in the photo above) and this will overcome the challenge.

Designer Note: As I mentioned, I over-engineered the velcro. The sole purpose of the velcro is to keep the keyboard and trackpad from falling-off when somebody picks up the keyboard and does not realize it is made from three pieces.

If you have any question, please contact me and I will answer your questions, and or help you overcome your challenge.


Designer and CEO

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Konstantinos Computer BulletTrain Express In The Wild

Konstantinos' Computer
BulletTrain Express In The Wild

"The BulletTrain Express makes a LCD TV with a Mac Mini hooked up to it like a laptop without the monitor being attached." –Konstantinos

Konstantinos is a full-time student and he purchased a BulletTrain Express for his Mac Pro. We were talking about some design elements of the BulletTrain Express and he took a photo of his setup with his iPhone and sent it to me.

We currently in the process of completely overhauling the website and for each product we will have a new micro-site that contains everything about that product, including a gallery, so people will be able to take photos of their rig to show how they use it. I don't know why, but I am TOTALLY fascinated with seeing how other people setup their computer desks, and I thought this image looks cool, so I thought I would share it with you.

Konstantinos and I were having a fascinating conversation about how successful the BulletTrain Express in its role as a keyboard and mouse replacement for a living room LCD TV with a Mac Mini hooked-up to it, and Konstantinos said "It makes a LCD with a Mac Mini hooked up to it like a laptop without the monitor being attached." When Konstantions brilliantly make this observation, I had an "A-Ha" moment, in the sense he succinctly and articulately summed it up!!!

The BulletTrain Express is more that just a keyboard tray for the Apple Magic Trackpad and Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for desktop computers. It really does re-invent the entire Living Room/Family Room/Den LCD/Plasma with a computer hooked up to it experience by giving you’re a perfect solution that does make it like a laptop without monitor being attached!!!!

Of course, I realize Konstantinos BulletTrain Express is being used to control his desktop Mac Pro with two monitors hooked, up but I thought his observation was brilliant!!!

Update: Konstantinos just saw this post and sent in this update image so we could get a better idea of his setup.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tim Cook: COO of Apple

Tim Cook: COO of Apple

It was announced today that Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for heath reasons, and Time Cook will be running Apple and this video offers insight into his personality, and he offers some great advice.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Your Next Car Could Be Electric All-Electric Mercedes AMG SLS-E-Cell Demo

Your Next Car Could Be Electric
All-Electric Mercedes AMG SLS-E-Cell Demo

Mercedes Benz announced yesterday they wear going to manufacture the SLS AMG E-CELL and they showed it off at the North American Auto Show. In this video we David Coulthard takes us for a spin in the amazing new Mercedes!!!

I would not be surprised, if in the next 10 years, all new cars will be electric–and there are so many advantages to electric!!! First, of course, is the lack of carbon emission, second, the engine is silent so there is no toxic noise pollution. Next is fuel cost savings. It costs much less to run a car on electricity than on gasoline or diesel. Also, you can charge your car in your garage every night or any time you wish, so no more trips to gas stations.

Also, electric cars have way fewer parts, and they require far less maintenance, so there is much more in cost savings, not to mention parts last longer. All in all, comparing a gasoline powered car to an electric car is like comparing an old-fashioned Black and White 19inch Tube Television to a modern Color 55 LCD TV–absolute night and day!!!

The Electric Mercedes SLS uses lithium-ion batteries for power which take advantage of the regenerative braking that actually recharge the battery when the car brakes. Apparently the SLS does 0-60mph in less than 4 seconds.

Mercedes Benz is a partial owner in California based, Tesla Motors, as is Toyota, so you have to wonder what Tesla's input, if any, was in this car?

The Cockpit Of The Mercedes Electric Gullwing
A Perfect Marriage of Sophistication with Simplicity

The Cockpit of the Electric SLS Gullwing is a true minimalist masterpiece as we see from this photo of the extremely simple dashboard.

In this next photo we get a good view of the minimalist interior. Notice the unusually large LCD panel. Very, very cool...especially if it is easy to use and works well. It almost looks like an iPad...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amazing Video Of The Night Sky Joshua Tree National Park, California

Amazing Video Of The Night Sky
Joshua Tree National Park, California

Gizmodo just had a competition for best time lapse video and this amazing video won. I had no idea you could see anything like this from earth. I have got to go to Joshua Tree to check out this amazing splendor!!!! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The BulletTrain Brand Inspiration...

The BulletTrain Brand Inspiration

Many people have been asking me lately how and why I came up with the name "BulletTrain" brand name?

When I was a small child, I used to play with old metal model train sets from the 1950s. As I grew older and became aware of the original Japanese bullet trains, I was in awe of their technological innovation and prowess. In particular, I was fascinated with how a bullet train differs from a standard locomotive.

Essentially a locomotive uses coal-burning for fuel and has metal wheels that run over two metal tracks that the wheels ride upon, and when you have metal constantly grinding against metal, you develop a great deal of friction which negatively impacts the speed at which a train can travel.

Shinkansen Zero from 1954 pictured on far left is the inspiration for the BulletTrain logo

Conversely, a bullet trains run on electricity and are much lighter in weight so they actually float more above the track so there is far less friction, which allows bullet trains, also known as high-speed railway lines, to travel up to 300 MPH!!!

The very first bullet train ever made was designed and manufactured in Japan in 1954 and it was named the "Shinkansen Zero." Shinkansen translated into English from Japanese literally means "New Trunk Line."

The name "Bullet Train" was translated from the Japanese term "Danagan Ressha," which was a nickname for the original concept that was originally contemplated in the art-deco era in the late 1920s though the 1930s. The name "BulletTrain" was adopted since the original Shinkansen Zero looked like a bullet traveling at high speed.

The most modern for of BulletTrains are named "Maglev" trains which is a conjunction of "Magnetic" and "Levitation." Maglev transport trains are super-cool since they literally float above the track using magnets (electromagnetic suspension systems) to levitate the train above the track so there is zero friction. This is how I came up with the BulletTrain slogan of "Friction-Free Computing" back in 2000.

Maglev Bullet Trains use a regenerative energy process which was the inspiration for created "Hybrid" automobiles. In other words, Maglev Bullet Trains take energy required to propel the train and regains the energy while the train slows down. This process is know as "regenerative braking."

Disneyland Monorail

As I mentioned, when I was a small child, I was fascinated with trains and I remember the first time I visited Disneyland's World Of Tomorrow and rode on the Disneyland Monorail, which also blew my mind. It is amazing how powerful Walt Disney's vision of the future was!!!

BulletTrain Design Language

So just how inspired are my BulletTrain designs, by actual bullet trains? Tremendously!!! When I designed and made the first prototypes of the Aluminum BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform for the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, I set out to make it look like like an actual Maglev BulletTrain which appears to be floating above the tracks.

When you look at a BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform sitting by itself on a desktop, it literally looks like it is hovering above the table, almost like a UFO, as you see in the photos below of one of my original prototypes.

This prototype had brushed aluminum, but the final product has an anodized finish designed so make the all three parts that make up the BulletTrain Express look like they are one single piece. I literally began designing the BulletTrain Express the day the Apple Magic Trackpad went on sale, and I had my first functioning prototype 4 days later.

Not one day has gone by since then where I have not looked at the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform in awe of its beauty, but if you own one, you know it is not just another pretty face, and that it works even better than it looks, which is hard to imagine, but true, nonetheless.

Of course, when I designed the BulletTrain for MagicStand for iPad I had the same objective–to not only give the iPad a leg to stand on, but to also make it look like the iPad is just hovering on the table or surface it is standing on.

In the photo below of the iPad which has a BulletTrain Express attached to it, notice it not only looks like it is hovering in the air, but also notice the iPad is literally floating an inch out in front of the edge of the desk. Once again, inspired by a Bullet Train floating above its track.

Friday, January 7, 2011

BulletTrain Hotness: Carleigh W: First Civilian To Own A BulletTrain Express!!!

BulletTrain Hotness: Carleigh W
First Civilian To Own A BulletTrain Express!!!
Christmas 2010 Thank You

Tyson is a member of the BulletTrain team and he did much of the foundational work on the all-new web site and he also did a lot of work on the upcoming 2.0 version of which will go live some time in the next month.

When I first mentioned the idea of the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform to Tyson, he said "That is stupid. I would never want anything like that," but then when he saw the first generation prototype he fell in love with it.

For those of you old enough to remember, Tyson is like the kid in the old LIFE Cereal commercials named Mikey. In the LIFE Cereal commercials, they said "Let's get Mikey. He hates everything." Then Mikey likes it and the other kids are surprised. Tyson is basically Mikey. In other words, for me as a designer, Tyson is the ultimate litmus test, becasuse I know Tyson is really picky, and if he likes it, everybody else will ;-)

To make a short story long, since Tyson setup the shopping cart, he was the very first person to buy a BulletTrain Express on the first day they were available. Actually, he bought two. The second one was a gift for his friend Carleigh who is pictured above hugging her BulletTrain Express giving the "Two Thumbs Up!!!"

Tyson picked up her keyboard and I mentioned we had not shipped out any BulletTrain Expresses yet, and that Carleigh would be the first person, not related to BulletTrain to own and use a BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform, and I mentioned to Tyson he should let her know she was the first to receive a BulletTrain Express.

Carleigh took this photo of herself recently and sent it in an email to Tyon and said:

"Cheesy sales man smile, but quality product. Two Thumbs Up! Thankkkk You Tyson!"

I mentioned to Tyson that Carliegh has an amazing smile and I wish she would hug me like the BulletTrain Express while giving the Two Thumbs Up!!!! ;-P

There are a few other things that come to mind when I look at this image. First is how fascinating it is for me as the designer to see peoples emotional response to the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform. In other words, when was the last time you saw a photo of somebody hugging or posing with a keyboard!?!

Secondly, it is also amazing for me to notice the emotional response females are having to the BulletTrain Express Keyboard!!! Women in general seem to really like it, and one girlfriend of mine mentioned she thought it was so cute, clean and sexy, and she continued "In many ways, The BulletTrain Express is like a piece of jewelry. It is metal and beautifully shaped, but when you walk in a room and see the BulletTrain Express on a desk or coffee table, it really makes a powerful fashion statement!!!"

Note: By the way, it is an urban legend and not true that Mikey died from eating too many Pop Rocks ;-))) If you are enough to remember Pop Rocks, smile, and if you have no idea what Pop Rocks are, you can also smile :-)))

Thursday, January 6, 2011

History Repeats Itself: The 20th Anniversary Mac

History Repeats Itself
The 20th Anniversary Mac

"History does not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme." –Mark Twain

I was talking with Andy Runton today, who recently purchase a BulletTrain Express. Andy is an amazing comic book artist and he does the amazing OWLY comic book. Andy mentioned to me that the BulletTrain Express reminded him of the keyboard that came with the special Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Macintosh (1997) as seen below.

It is remarkable, upon reflection and investigation, how similar the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform for the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad is to the 20th Anniversary Mac keyboard. Even the 20th Anniversary Mac keyboard had a trackpad that was removable!!!!

Below is a 20th Anniversary Mac Video overview by Jonathan Ive:

The 20th Anniversary Mac appears to be the first desktop computer that came with a keyboard that had a laptop keyboard form factor, which lacked the numeric keyboard and had a built in wrist wrest.

Of course, I would prefer the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform with the 27inch iMac, but it is fascinating as Andy pointed out, how remarkably similar they are.

1995 Monorail Computer
The First All-In-One Flat-Screen Computer

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." –Albert Einstein

Barbara Everett once said "Irony is only hypocrisy with style," and I must must admit it seems ironic to me that the now icon 20th anniversary Mac was not the first commercial desktop computer with a built in flat LCD screen. In 1995 a computer company named Monorail introduced The Monorail computer as seen above and it ran Windows 95.

It was pretty innovative for its time and it was not only a flat screen desktop computer, but it also had a built-in CD ROM drive that popped out its left side. When Apple introduced the second generations white iMac, it brought back memories of the Monorail. I always remembered the Monorail brand, because the name monorails, always remind me of Bullet Trains ;-) I imagine the point of this, is that it's all derivative–in one way or another.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

BulletTrain Express Keyboard with Black Keys?

BulletTrain Express Keyboard with Black Keys?

I am thinking about developing a silicon overlay for the standard apple keyboard that would not only protect the keys and make the keyboard more impervious to liquid, but it would also give the BulletTrain Express black keys. Of course I wish Apple would just offer their Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard with black keys, since white keys don't really match the iMac and they are hard to keep clean.

The photo below is of an actual prototype silicon overlay, which would be easily cleanable and would retail for around $30. What do you think? Looks pretty cool to me!!!

If You Enjoy The BulletBlog by JAKEe Be Certain To Check Out Jake's Other Blogs: