Archive for September, 2006

Amazon Unbox Movie and TV Download Service

Posted in Amazon,Digital Video by Paul Patterson on September 19th, 2006

Amazon Unbox

Amazon launched its movie and TV download service earlier this month. The new service is called Amazon Unbox and will allow users to discover thousands of movies and TV shows in the Amazon Unbox video store.

The system works by installing the Amazon Unbox video player on your PC. Once the player is installed you can download the titles of your choice and watch the videos on your PC, portable device, or TV (through an s-video connection).

Amazon Unbox

One hour of programming is roughly equal to 1GB of disk space. The common file sizes include: 30-minute TV episode=600MB, 1-hour TV episode=1.2GB, 2-hour movie=2.4GB. The Amazon Unbox player does allow you to watch the video while it is still downloading.

The price for downloading a movie is roughly the same as buying the DVD directly from Amazon. Movies can …

Hot Girl Robot vs PC BOT

Posted in PCs,Robots by Darrin Olson on September 18th, 2006

Hot Girl RobotWhite Box 914 PC BotAlthough I think that a robot shaped like the top one might have been a better choice for White Box Robotics to use for the injection moldings template for their robots, I think the 914 PC-Bot they ended up with is not too bad looking, in a Star Wars kind of way.

The 914 PC-BOT (the one in white) is a 21″ tall XP Home PC with a number of other features and an API to allow you to develop against it for a wide range of custom behaviors to make your bot a little more life-like, such as navigation, speech recognition and some artificial intelligence algorithms.

The White Box 914 runs on batteries to power the two wheel drive train and the Mini-ITX driven PC. IT comes with a Gig of RAM, 40 Gig hard drive, …

Motorola MOTOKRZR

Posted in Mobile Phones,Motorola by Darrin Olson on September 18th, 2006

MOTOKRZR No, this isn’t the RAZR, it’s the KRZR – the MOTOKRZR mobile phone from Motorola. This is the sleekest of the Motorola clam shell type phones, yet. It is definitely targeting those looking for the latest in style and design at only 16m thick and 3.6 ounces.

The Motorola KRZR has a 2MP camera with 8x zoom as well as video capture and playback right on the phone. You can also use the KRZR phone to play your MP3′s and listen to through your Bluetooth headset, and store extra pictures, songs and video on a removable MicroSD card that you can use in the phone.

The phone has Quad Band functionality for world use, EDGE for high speed web and Screen 3 technology to be able to get the latest in news and entertainment.

Of course the MOTOKRZR also comes with all of the familiar features …

Microsoft Zune Marketplace

Posted in Digital Audio,Digital Video,Microsoft,Zune by Paul Patterson on September 18th, 2006

ZuneMicrosoft recently announced the most information yet on its upcoming Zune digital music player and service. The latest information focused on the Zune’s capabilities that let users share music with friends. The Zune can store and display video and pictures, comes with a 3-inch liquid-crystal display screen, a 30-GB hard drive, FM tuner, and will be available in three different colors: black, white, and brown.

Microsoft also plans to debut the Zune Marketplace into the Zune ecosystem. The Zune Marketplace is an online music store where customers can import existing music, pictures and videos in many popular formats and purchase millions of songs. The service will offer the standard features such as genre browsing, top songs, albums, artists, new releases, and featured items. Microsoft will also offer Zune Pass, which is an online subscription that allows users to download …

JVC Everio G Series Camcorder

Posted in Camcorders,Digital Video,JVC by Darrin Olson on September 17th, 2006

JVC Everio G SeriesI think JVC has reached a mile marker here with the media for digital video recording. I remember my dad with a camcorder that took the full size VHS tapes (he still uses it), and then they went to the smaller tapes so the camera could have a smaller profile and you could still get a decent amount of recording time.

After tapes there was some time there were it could have went anywhere. The most popular seemed to be using flash memory or lately using small DVD’s that were burned inside the camcorder on the fly. Both of these options were good, but I think the JVC Everio G series camcorders (GZ-MG50 pictured) have gotten it figured out.

The Everio camcorders do not have a tape or a DVD disc spinning inside them. They have a hard drive that can be up to …

Archos 604 Portable Video Player

Posted in Archos,Digital Audio,Digital Video,Television by Darrin Olson on September 17th, 2006

Archos 604 Portable Video Player
The Archos 604 is a portable multimedia player for all standard video formats in a full DVD resolution, including MPEG-4 ASP, WMV (and protected WMV) as well as MPEG-2 and VOB with a software plug in.

The Archos 604 has a 30G hard drive to store up to 130 hours of encoded video. The screen is a 4.3″ wide screen, which gives quite a bit more view that most portable video players out there. You can view them right on the screen, or output them to a full size television and still view them in DVD quality. Once uploaded you can use features to play the video, video editing and video bookmarking right on the player.

There is an optional DVR station for the Archos 604 that seems to almost be must to get all the benefits from this super thin player. You …

Surf in Your Living Room with the iJoy Board

Posted in Exercise Gadgets,Home by Darrin Olson on September 17th, 2006

iJoy BoardThe iJoy board is a balance training gadget that you can use to simulate surfing, skate boarding or snow boarding inside your own living room.

The iJoy Board has a non-slip platform that you stand on and an infrared remote that allows you to control turning it on and the speed setting. Adjust it between 3 different speeds and practice maintaining your balance while it tips different directions to simulate different board sports.

The iJoy is about 30″ long, 10″ high and 14 ” wide, weighs just under 50 pounds and runs on electricity from a standard wall outlet.

Current suggested retail is just under $450 USD.

iJoy Board [InterHealth]

Canon Powershot SD40 ELPH

Posted in Canon,Digital Cameras,Digital Imaging by Darrin Olson on September 16th, 2006

PowerShot SD40 ELPH

The new Powershot SD40 ELPH is the fashion end of the new line of cameras that have recently come out from Canon. This version of the ELPH is upgraded to 7.1 megapixel from it’s 5.0 megapixel predecessor, the SD30.

It’s slim and handy at less than an inch thick, looks sleek in 4 available styles and is easy to use. It has a 1.8 inch backlit LCD monitor and comes with a handy station that is used to charge the SD40 ELPH camera as well as to upload pictures through a USB connection or direct printing. It also comes with a remote control to run the camera options remotely.

Did you know that Canon had a camera museum?

Press Release [Canon]

Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000

Posted in Keyboards,Microsoft,Mouse by Darrin Olson on September 16th, 2006

Wireless Desktop 8000Microsoft has come out with the their newest Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 to be available in time to have for the Microsoft Vista full release. Microsoft says the new keyboard and mouse have additional features to help have even more control over your computer from the keyboard and mouse. Of course, this raises a question in my head about how I was controlling my computer before? It seems like I was pretty much use the keyboard and mouse…

Well, there are a few nice accessories and shortcut buttons (some of which are specifically for Windows Vista) that I guess can add some more control from the general keyboard area, both through software and hardware.

The Entertainment Desktop 8000 is wireless and connects via Bluetooth which allows you to be up to 30 feet away.
These are rechargeable. This is nice because one of the bigger …

Nintendo Wii

Posted in Games,Nintendo,Wii by Darrin Olson on September 16th, 2006

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo is gearing up for the holiday seasons with this new Nintendo Wii (pronounced ‘we’). It is expected to be available in the US November 19th (right after Sony’s PS3 comes out) and available in Japan in early December.
In this version Nintendo seems to be targeting a little bit younger audience (which is line with it’s recent campaign to have Nintendo toys in Happy Meals). It sounds like it’s intention is to not compete directly with the PS3 or Xbox, but to less sophisticated gamers.
The controllers will connect through wireless Bluetooth and have a motion sensor along with the common unitive features. There is also a remote “Nunchuk” style remote that works with motion by waving it like a wand.
The Nintendo Wii is going to be a little different in that it is doing more to integrate gaming and the device with the …

TomTom GO 910

Posted in GPS,TomTom by Darrin Olson on September 16th, 2006

Tom Tom

The TomTom GO 910 is a gadget that has more features pound for pound than most other gadgets I have seen. By trade I would say that TomTom is a GPS but it has a surprisingly large number of features that you might not expect, but make perfect sense once you see it.

For the GPS part of it, this model of the TomTom comes with door to door navigation in the US, Canada and Europe, a graphical bright color display of the maps in different views, and it speaks to you with direction instructions with it’s text to speech feature (can read your text for other items too, not just the directions). Also, it can speak 36 different languages and it has 50 different voices to choose from. You interact with the device using the large touch screen to make it easy …

Virtual Keyboard the Size of a Lighter

Posted in Keyboards by Darrin Olson on September 15th, 2006

Virtual KeyboardHow could something the size of a lighter work as a keyboard? When the gadget has an infrared light and a laser built in of course. The Virtual Keyboard uses infrared and laser technology to produce the keyboard and view what’s being clicked on by your fingers to make a circuit and work like a regular keyboard.

The infrared, full qwerty keyboard can be projected onto any surface and can work with desktop PC’s, notebooks, PDA’s or smartphones. It even goes so far as to produce the clicking sound when you hit the key to make it seem less virtual and to let you know that you are indeed hitting the keys.

The infrared virtual keyboard comes with either a Bluetooth version or USB, and has a number of accessories including an extra battery, charger, international adapter and serial to USB converter.

Compact Impact, the makers …

More features added to new Google Earth

Posted in Google by Paul Patterson on September 15th, 2006

Google EarthThe latest version of Google Earth has been released in beta. This new version adds several new features that will make your Earth searching even more enjoyable.

Some of the key changes include:

A new and simpler user interface.
Textured 3D buildings are supported. This means that features on the building suck as bricks and glass will look more realistic.
The data layers have been reengineered to make it easier to find layers and turn them on and off.
The nav panel at the bottom of the screen is gone which will free up some much-needed real estate.
With Google SketchUp, you can now create your own textured 3D models.
The ability to create and share geographic information with KML.
Google Earth has been released in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
Improvements to GPS support for Google Earth Plus.
Improvements to the terrain, making peaks and valleys more …

Doberman Bag Protector – 100 Decibels

Posted in Security by Darrin Olson on September 14th, 2006

Doberman Bag Protector This security gadget is called the Doberman Bag Protector and is used as a security alarm to protect items from theft, such as a computer bag, backpack or anything else you hook it to.

The Doberman Bag Protector was recently featured on HGTV and is a small lightweight security device weighing only 105 grams, is only 9″ long, water resistant and comes in blue or orange.

The Bag Protector works by a dual triggered alarm. You set the alarm or deactivate it using the keypad on the front with a special code that you set. The Bag Protector alarm has a motion sensor that will sound if it is moved in any way for a predetermined number of seconds. The alarm will also occur if the pin is pulled that connects the alarm to the bag attachment.

The Doberman Bag Protector emits it’s security …

Zune the iPod Killer

Posted in Digital Audio,Digital Video,Microsoft,Zune by Paul Patterson on September 14th, 2006

Microsoft ZuneMicrosoft has released new information on its Zune wireless MP3 player on Thursday. The release included more details which describe how the business model will work. Microsoft has previously confirmed that the player will be manufactured by Toshiba and will contain a 30GB hard drive with wireless capabilities, a 3-inch screen, and a FM tuner.

The release did not divulge the Zune’s price only saying that it will ship during the holiday season 2006.

Microsoft has positioned Zune as a direct competitor to the iPod. Apple’s recent launch of upgraded iPods and the new iTV product make this an interesting battle.

Zune Release [ABC News]