I've never heard of those. Do you just put a rope through the opening of a kettlebell and then do an upright row? Sounds brutal!
We talking these (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwEkO7_0sYU) things Jim does at 1:51? If so, these seem interesting. Don't know what benefit they'd have over other upright row variations other than just to add another exercise in your bag of "shit to do in a small session" though, but maybe that's reason enough.
That'd be them. They def feel a little bit different than with the bar. Stronger contraction if I had to say anything about em.