Our friends over at GetUSB.info stumbled upon this one while researching another product. ACP-EP Memory has teamed up with the best snowboard companies in the industry to create the first and only authentic USB Flash Drive Snowboards. They've combined the graphics from actual Forum Snowboards like X-Games Snowboarding Star Eddie Wall's Signature Series Board.
With a cool rubberized feel, these snow board shaped UFDs also have authentic graphics. At the head of the board there's even a LED light to indicate activity.
From our friends at How Stuff Works comes a great review of Panasonic's TH-50PX60U, a stylish 50-inch plasma HDTV that delivers great performance. This silver flat-panel set comes with a pedestal stand that can be removed for mounting the monitor on the wall, although a separately available bracket is required. The 16:9 screen is perfect for wide-format DVD movies and HDTV.
The native resolution is 1,366X768, and all images are displayed at 768p. A motion-adaptive 3-D Y/C digital comb filter eliminates dot crawl and rainbow effects, and the picture is further refined with several noise reduction and color management functions. The TH-50PX60U can display nearly 29 billion colors, so images appear very lifelike.
Stereo speakers are built into the area below the screen, and they deliver 20 total watts of audio output and can simulate surround sound. An SD memory card slot lets you view digital photos on the big screen. Convenience features on the TH-50PX60U are relatively standard for a large plasma HDTV, including an adjustable sleep timer, video input labeling, memory for the video settings for each input and closed captions.
Unlike some competing models, the TH-50PX60U does not offer any PIP functions such as split-screen or inset-window viewing, and it lacks a PC input. Another notable omission is a CableCARD slot. The TH-50PX60U does have an integrated QAM tuner, but you should check with your cable provider to ensure digital cable compatibility.
The front of the TH-50PX60U has quick-connect composite video and S-video inputs, while the rear panel has numerous additional inputs and outputs for use with associated components. The options include two more composite video inputs, two more S-video inputs, two component video inputs, two HDMI inputs, a composite video output and an optical digital audio output.
The TH-50PX60U comes with a universal remote control that includes DVD controls. As plasma HDTVs go, Panasonic's TH-50PX60U certainly delivers in the performance department, but it lacks some key features that are common in other models.
And if you want a kick-ass remote to run this and your entire system, check out this Harman Kardon remote.
Old-time audiophiles must be spinning in their soundproof graves. Thanks to hardware modifications and headphone amplifiers, the humble iPod is earning a place at the heart of the most expensive and exacting sound systems.
Are you into bird watching? Or maybe you like to snap pictures of topless celebrities at the beach? Regardless of your intentions, with the Pro Viewer BinoCam, you'll always take a crystal-clear shot no matter how far away you are from the action.
The Pro Viewer BinoCam is pair of binoculars and a digital camera all rolled into one. It features an 8X non-digital zoom with a 2.1 mega pixel camera capable of taking 1600 x 1200 pixel photos. After you snap the perfect picture, you can review it instantly with the BinoCam's built-in 1.5-inch full-color LCD screen. The BinoCam can also record 30 second AVI video clips.
Not interested in stalking celebrities? Of course, you can also take the BinoCam to the beach and watch the surfers ride the perfect wave. Prove to your friends you spotted whales on that last boat trip, or even assist the police by snapping Mel Gibson's license plate as he gets wasted and drives around California blaming the Jews for everything.
The Pro Viewer BinoCam combines powerful binoculars, a high-resolution camera and a camcorder all in one. It's all you need to catch the action... from a safe distance.
Like to smack penguins with baseball bats? Yes? Then here's a nice Christmas morning treat for the whole family. MethodShop has a series of Yeti winter games for your entertainment.
If you aren't yet familiar with Yeti Sports, then prepare yourself for one of the most humorous and addictive games on the Internet. Below you will find several variations of the Yeti game Pingu-Throw as well as some newer Yeti offerings. One of the more violent variants of Pingu-Throw, named "Bloody", features decapitation, spikes, a big spiky club and mines.
Should your Yeti catch the penguin at the right moment and angle, you might just hit one out of the park, or arctic continent. Good luck and Merry Christmas.
"Enjoy all of your movies, music, TV shows, video games, and even audio files stored on your computer's hard drive in enveloping 360º surround sound. JVC's RX-D702B sports 150 watts per channel of power and all the processing you'll need for dynamic home theater sound. And JVC packs this slimline receiver with advanced technologies that not only expand your entertainment options, but also make your system easier to set up and operate.
The 'D702B's digital video switching lets you hook up two high-resolution video components via HDMI connections for the best possible picture quality (HDMI is a digital output available on many HDTV tuners and high-end DVD players). And analog-to-HDMI video conversion allows you to send all of your video sources to an HDMI-capable TV using only a single digital cable. This greatly streamlines video switching and preserves maximum picture quality for every source in your system. And if your TV doesn't have an HDMI connection, component video conversion allows you to route all of your analog video sources to your TV using only one component video connection.
Here's a cool and unique feature for fans of computer audio. The 'D702B has the ability to receive music from your computer wirelessly. Just plug the included transmitter into a USB port on your PC or Mac®, and you can listen to your music library through the 'D702B and your best-sounding speakers, using iTunes, Windows Media Player, or almost any other music program.
A multibrand remote with glow-in-the-dark buttons makes it easy to operate your audio/video gear, even when the lights are low."
Have you walked past an Apple Store yet this month? If so, you might have noticed a 3D snowflake screen saver running in the display windows. The screen saver is called Snowfall and it was designed by Russell Warenboldt using the OS X Quartz Composer.
Here's a screenshot of Snowfall with a picture of my dog in the background. Snowfall is a beautiful screen saver. These pictures really don't do it justice. You'll just have to install Snowfall and see for yourself. Snowfall is free, but it requires....
On Friday afternoon I heard a rumor that the "iPhone" was coming out on Monday, December 18th. It was an interesting rumor because most people thought that Apple would announce their mobile phone product at the January 2007 Macworld conference.
Well, a new product called the iPhone did indeed come out today but not from the company that everyone thought. Linksys announced the iPhone in this press release, not Apple. So what the hell happened? For almost a year now people have been speculating about the possibility of Apple releasing a communication product called the iPhone. But apparently Linksys, a unit of networking equipment maker Cisco, already owns the "iPhone" trademark. According to BusinessWeek.com, a company called Infogear registered the "iPhone" name in 1996. Cisco then absorbed the "iPhone" trademark when it acquired Infogear in the year 2000. Oops. Score -1 for the bloggers. We really should have picked up on that little tidbit months ago.
So if Apple really has a mobile phone product in the works, they obviously can't call it the iPhone. What about a variation of a name they already own like iChat Mobile? While the name of this product may still be in question, a trail of clues about an Apple phone product have been popping up all over the Internet for over a year now:
Apple's CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, might have let the 'cat out of the bag' on an Apple analyst 2006 Q3 conference call when he said the following: "As regards cell phones, we don't think that the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time, that is likely to change. And [Apple is] not sitting around doing nothing."
According to analysts, Apple is rumored to be ready to release an Internet phone product at the January 2007 Macworld conference. "From a technical standpoint, the phone is pretty much done," said American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. "It's a big endeavor and we believe it's beyond speculation." Apparently the rumored existence of an Apple phone has morphed from a question of "If" to "When."
Who is the best-known hip-hop artist in the fictional land of Chub City? Chub C of course. At least that's what it says on the box. Just don't tell Hype. He's the white version of Chub C (a la Eminem). What the hell am I talking about? That's a good question.
Both Chub C (black) and Hype (white) are interactive toy characters called i-Playaz from a company called Jada Toys. i-Playaz connect to any music source including your iPod, CD player, computer or even an old school Sony Walkman. Just plug in an i-Playaz character and play some music. The i-Playaz characters will then dance to the beat and even play your music through a built-in speaker in their heads. There's also an audio output if you want to connect better speakers to your i-Playaz character.
When I first got Hype in the mail, I was already on my way out and brought the box along with me to a bar down the street. I figured I'd just test him out for this review when I got home. But while I was waiting for some friends to show up, the people at the bar kept asking me what was in the box. I was curious to see what my i-Playaz could do anyway so I took Hype out of his box and set him up on the bar. With his sideways hat and flashy bling, it's no wonder that everyone at the bar started calling him K-Fed, after Britney Spears wannabe hip-hop ex-husband. If you know someone who is trying to pull off the K-Fed white hip-hop thing, Hype will bring you and your friends hours of entertainment.
Want some positive blogger buzz about your product or service? Maybe you should just buy it like Bill Gates. To help promote the Zune and get some positive Microsoft buzz, Gates coughed up a dozen round trip plane tickets to Redmond, hotel rooms, and Zunes (of course) for a group of gadget and tech bloggers. He then hung out with the bloggers for an hour and answered one question from each of them. Once you factor in the total cost of this stunt, I wonder how much Gates paid per letter for a handful of blog posts?
So what did Microsoft get in return for all of this? Were the bloggers wooed by Bill's big wallet? Yep.
Check out the tech-news search engine Techmeme.com. Today their homepage was practically a mural to anything related to Bill Gates, the Zune or Microsoft in general.
While most reviewers are panning the Zune, blogs like TechCrunch [see post], Micro Persuasion [see post], and GigaOm [see post], are restricting their Zune coverage to DRM issues or posting "feel good" pieces about Microsoft.
Honestly, my criticalness against these other blogs is probably part jealously. Why wasn't MethodShop.com invited out to Redmond? Oh well, I'm an iPod guy anyway and we're too small of a blog to make much of a dent for M$. But I do give some of these bloggers credit. Most of them (not Ryan) were upfront and disclosed that Gates gave them free Zunes and paid for their flights out to Microsoft headquarters.
But on the other hand, should corporate blogs like Micro Persuasion and GigaOm, who have venture-capital financing and/or big name PR firms, really be accepting free stuff and sacrificing their objectivity?
Want a good laugh? This video clip from a local cable show has a rare demonstration of Apple's 1984 Lisa computer as well as some sexy 1980s hair styles. In the video, some guy named Alfred takes the $10,000 Lisa computer for a test drive. Yep the Lisa sold for $10,000. Pretty expensive for a clunky word processor. In case you are wondering, the Lisa would cost about $19,500 in 2006 dollars. Another funny thing about the video is the TV host. For some reason she talks like a robot. She's also wearing a pair of over-sized 1980s eye glasses that probably have more glass than an automobile windshield.
Warning: There is a very long 5 minute introduction before the Lisa demo clip. Alfred, the guy giving the demonstration in the video, is now a YouTube director and loves to suck up to his subscribers. He also apologizes for his 1984 haircut, suit and a recent nose surgery. But once the actual demonstration clip starts to play, you will probably enjoy it.
Most of us simply accept that when we go on vacation, the TV programming we watch in our living room is inaccessible. Most of us understand that when we're not at home, we can't watch the premium channels we pay for. Apparently, most of us are lacking in imagination.
It's not a new concept, but Sling Media has packaged it up real nice, simplified it and given it a name: "Placeshifting" technology grabs your television signal and sends it anywhere in the world. Find out how the Slingbox lets you "take your TV with you."
Slingbox is a set-top box that connects to your TV (or any other video-output device) and streams the signal to another machine in real-time -- there's no recording involved. This machine might be your computer in your home, in which case Slingbox streams the signal via your home network. It might be your Web-connected laptop or cell phone located anywhere in the world, in which case Slingbox streams the data via the Web. You can control the video that appears on your screen just like you were watching from home.
Slingbox works in conjunction with the SlingPlayer software you install on your computer. Together, they "sling" NTSC video data to another location. It works with regular TV, satellite TV, cable TV, a DVD player, DVR or camcorder. If it's NTSC (the video broadcast standard in the United States), you can sling it. Sling Media will release a PAL/SECAM-standard Slingbox in 2006 (PAL and SECAM are the dominant standards outside the United States). See How Video Formatting Works to learn about NTSC, PAL and SECAM formats.
The coolest part of the Slingbox setup is that you can fully control the video source from your computer. The SlingPlayer has thousands of remote-control codes built in, and you can chose a virtual remote that looks just like the remote sitting on your coffee table.
Sitting in your office or in a WiFi coffee shop on the other side of the world, you can change the channel on your TV, fast forward through programs on your TiVo and adjust the contrast of your TV picture. There are no subscription fees, just a one-time purchase price for the hardware and software. You can install the SlingPlayer software on as many devices as you want, but only one device can access the Slingbox at a time.
To sling your TV programming, you need the following equipment in addition to the Slingbox:
A video source
A computer running Windows 2000/XP/MCE (no Mac or Linux support yet) or a Web-enabled cell phone running Windows Mobile Platform 4.0 or 5.0
A broadband router
A high-speed Internet connection (for watching your TV away from home)
For those who just can't get enough TV, this is basically one of the coolest gadgets in the world.
Know someone who needs to spend a little more time outside and away from their computer? Maybe a techie gift for the outdoors might do the trick. The Arbordale Solar Birdfeeder is just your average run-of-the-mill birdfeeder by day. But at night, this birdfeeder provides a soft, warm amber glow to its surroundings.
Thanks to several solar panels that capture energy during daylight hours, three amber LED lights illuminate your outdoor space while not adding a single cent to your power bill.
Constructed of durable aluminum with clear glass panels, the feeder holds a generous 3-1/2 pounds of seed. A removable top ensures easy filling and the Arbordale Solar Birdfeeder hangs easily on the nearest tree branch or shepherd's hook from a steel chain.
This birdfeeder is a fun way to add a touch of tech to your outdoor space and give the birds something to ponder during their next free meal.
Is a weak arm or physical stamina keeping you from taking your Nintendo Wii gaming experience to the next level? Perhaps you should look into getting the Nintendo Wii Nunchuk Controller. This accessory adds even more innovation to the next generation of gaming and does it all with less physical movement.
Contoured to perfectly fit a players hand, the Nunchuck controller builds on the simplicity of the Nintendo Wii Remote controller. The Nunchuck contains the same motion-sensing technology enabled in the Wii Remote but also includes an analog stick to help assist in character movement. This analog stick can be a godsend if you feel like physical motion is keeping you from your optimum gaming performance (see video called Crazy Girl on Wii).
Many games will allow you to control your character's movement with the Nunchuck in your left hand, while your right hand is free to execute the action movements with the Wii Remote. For example, the Nunchuck comes in extremely handy for games like Wii Boxing. You can use the Nunchuck to hit with your off or weaker hand, while you use the Wii remote to punch and jab with your primary hand. Hardcore gamers may even want to use two Nunchuck controllers to gain a competitive edge.
Rather use the Nunchuck in your right hand? No problem. Because the Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers are only relatively dependent on each other, players are free to hold them in whichever hand is most comfortable. The ambidextrous nature of the Wii controllers grants accessibility seldom seen in previous game controllers.
Also, the Nunchuck controller doesn't need its own power - it plugs into the Wii Remote controller when it's in use. So there's no worry about charging up or expensive batteries.
Looking for a creative way to wind up and manage your headphone cables? The Tetran is a cable wrap for iPods and other portable media players that allows users to wind an earphone cable around Tetran's body and use her mouth as an earbud holder. Spikes prevent Tetran from rolling away, and a removable ball-bearing style chain is included for attaching Tetran to a belt loop, cell phone strap, or key ring.
According to Tunewear, the product's manufacturer, Tetran's 23 rubber spikes can also massage neck, hands, and feet. Really? Sounds like fun but I think I might pass on that idea. Call me crazy but I don't really want people massaging their feet with the thing that's used for holding my earphones.
The Tetran Headphone Cable Winder is a cute and colorful way to manage your earbud cables and accent your lifestyle. It's available for $9 from Amazon.com. If the Tetran is a little too cute for you, there's always the cheaper and simpler SmartWrap ($5). The SmartWrap works just like the Tetran, just without the cute spikes. Snap your earphone cord through the top fastener and wrap the length of your cord around the midsection, until you have the desired length.
Still wondering if all the iPhone rumors are true? There has been a trail of clues about the iPhone's existence all over the Internet for over a year now. But many people still remain skeptical. Perhaps the discovery of the iPhone patent application and a recent quote from Kevin Rose will make the skeptics iPhone believers.
First things first... the iPhone patent pictures. If you go to this page on the US Patent & Trademark Office website, you will find a patent filed by Apple Computer for a "portable computing device capable of wireless communications." The mystery device is also defined as a "cell phone" and "media player." Apple filed for the patent on August 7th of this year.
Now let's talk about Kevin Rose. Apparently Mr. Rose, the mastermind behind the mega-popular website Digg.com, has his own "deep throat" informer at Apple HQ. This is what Rose had to say after a couple beers in his Diggnation video podcast.
"I don't know if I should talk about this or not... I have a little bit of inside information on the Apple phone."
Despite his initial reluctance, he did go on to talk about the iPhone. According to Rose, the iPhone will come in 4GB and 8GB versions and will feature a touch screen and a slide-out keyboard. This seems to support the credibility of the patent images from MYiPhone.com. Rose also said the iPhone will be 'carrier independent' and support both GSM and CDMA phone standards. This means just about anyone can use an iPhone. To quote Borat, "Very nice.."
As you can probably tell, Rose was very forthcoming with iPhone details. But in my opinion, the coolest thing Rose said in his video podcast was about the iPhone battery. According to Rose, the iPhone will have two batteries - one for the MP3 player and one for the phone. Personally I've left my iPod on before and killed the battery. I absolutely wouldn't want that to happen to my cell phone. The two battery system should prevent such an occurrence. Excellent idea and kudos to Apple for such a smart and useful feature.
The phone is to (supposedly) be released in January.
In a world of boring shelf speakers that are as fascinating as the wires that connect them, the JBL Encounter draws people towards it with its innovative tongue-in-cheek design and then lavishes them with deep warm sound. JBL proves once again that they know how to box up a brilliant set of speakers. They appear as though they were intended to be fine decor while at the same time hold nothing back when it comes to pure crisp sound. Where most speakers seem to be designed to be hidden, the Encounter defies you to ignore them.
Space Monkeys, prepare for blast off. We took JBL Encounter into orbit and although we didn't reach Warp 11, the volume at least went that high.
Can 5 little speakers and a sub woofer deliver superior audio for under 2k? These little speakers may not deliver the acoustic quality of George Lucus' living room, but they come pretty close for a fraction of the price.
Need a reason to switch? Last week there was an article in the Washington Post that highlighted some of the advantages of the Macintosh over the PC.
1. Macs just work. How much time have you spent troubleshooting your PC? Imagine a computer designed by people who hate to waste time as much as you do. Where all the hardware and software just works, and works well together. Plus, Macs don't crash (that often). The Mac is designed to let you spend more time doing the things you love, and less time doing the things you hate. Like restarting. Get a Mac and get your life back.
2. You can make amazing stuff. Every Mac comes with iLife ’06, a suite of software that transforms your photos, music, and video into all kinds of projects. Make high-quality websites, photo books, DVDs, songs, slideshows, music CDs, calendars, cards, prints, podcasts, music videos, documentaries, and more.
3. Design that turns heads. You won’t want to hide your Mac in a corner of the den. You’ll want it front and center in your life. The Apple style shows in every detail, from its sculpted surfaces to its gorgeous Mac OS X graphics.
4. 114,000 Viruses? Not on a Mac. Mac OS X was designed with security in mind. Windows just wasn’t built to bear the onslaught of attacks it suffers every day. A Mac offers a built-in firewall, doesn’t advertise its existence on the Net, and isn’t compromised within an hour of being turned on.
5. Next year’s OS today. Since Mac OS X engineers aren’t busy damming a flood of viruses, they have the time to think up amazing new technology. Like Dashboard widgets, mini-applications offering a world of capabilities just a keystroke away. Or a built-in RSS news reader.
6. The latest Intel chips. Intel Core Duo processors put you on the cutting edge. In fact, a Mac with an Intel chip is so fast it surprises even longtime Windows pundits, who keep running benchmarks again and again. Results? Fast. Fast. Yup, still fast.
7. Instant video chats. Setting up a video chat with the people next door — or across the globe — should be as simple as picking up the phone. On a Mac, you just click an icon to have a four-way video chat in a full-screen window with amazing clarity and special effects.
8. More fun with photos. On a Mac, you don’t need any extra software to make a photo book. You don’t have to leave your photo software to visit a separate website and wait for forms to load. All you need is a camera and a Mac.
9. One-click websites. How long does it take to post a photo or video to your blog on a PC? On a Mac, you can shoot a picture or a movie with the built-in camera, then post it on the web in a few clicks. Pontificate, preachify, and publish. The hardest part is coming up with something to say.
10. Amazing podcasts. Want to get your message out to the world? Podcast it. A Mac makes it simple to create professional podcasts, complete with artwork. Add sound effects and jingles, even use the built-in radio engineer to make it perfect. So you can be a talk star in seconds.
11. Rock star tunemaking. Musicians get all the girls (or guys). And a Mac has the software to turn you into the musician of your dreams. Choose from hundreds of cool riffs and instruments to create your own songs. Get good enough and you could be on iTunes.
12. Hollywood-style movies. Connect your DV camera and turn your movies into spectaculars. Add graphics, titles, and sound effects in minutes. Then use your Mac to burn a DVD or post to your website.
13. No hunting for drivers. Just plug in your stuff. A Mac includes USB drivers for mass storage, digital cameras, input devices, iPod, and more. It can see Bluetooth cell phones and headsets, as well as FireWire cameras. No rebooting.
14. Awesome out of the box. Other computers include software, it’s true. But once you start using that software, you find that you’re hobbled in some way or another. Software included with the Mac, on the other hand, is critically acclaimed as best in class.