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Review: Wicked Lasers are truly wicked

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on August 3rd, 2008

Review of Wicked Lasers Elite 125Wicked Lasers recently gave us the opportunity to check out one of their popular laser pointers, which gave us quite a surprise. Actually, before we received it we called it a laser pointer but not any more. Wicked Lasers assured us that it is not a laser pointer – it truly is a wicked laser, and we can’t disagree.

The sample product we received was from the Elite Series of green lasers, specifically the Elite 125. This laser appears to be around the middle of the road for the different lasers offered by Wicked Lasers. The average output power according to the company runs from 125mW to 149mW. They also have lasers in their catalog with as little as 50mW and as much as 300mW. The Elite 125 for us had plenty of power and made it very clear why this is not a laser pointer for regular presentations. For starters it would be difficult to see anything on a presentation screen because the light from the laser is way too bright, even from across a large room. Also, the crowd would be so distracted by what you’re using to point with they’d never pay attention to anything else you’re trying to show them.

Nintendo working to fix its Wii bit of storage

Posted in Wii by Darrin Olson on July 24th, 2008

Nintendo creating storage solution for the Wii game console.When the Wii game console could only play media on external discs the issue of storage was not a problem, but now that owners can download, store and play games online the issue of storage, as with competitor consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox 360, has suddenly become an issue.

Sure you can store some data onto SD cards and swap things in and out of 512MB of internal Wii storage, but that capacity is quickly becoming inadequate and is putting a damper on those wanting to download a lot of games not to mention the ability for Nintendo to sell more games online.

Xbox 360 to stream Netflix movies and add Mii’s

Posted in Xbox 360 by Darrin Olson on July 14th, 2008

Xbox 360 to have Netflix movie streaming built inMicrosoft announced at E3 today that along with a complete UI update coming to the Xbox 360, they will also be offering streaming movies via Netflix through the game console and Xbox Live. We had heard Netflix express interest in this partnership earlier this year and Microsoft says it will come to fruition in “late fall”. The new feature will require users to be subscribers to Netflix and manage their queue from their computer much like they do now, but will add the ability to stream and view the movies through the Xbox 360 game console. To make this even better, any Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get the service for no additional charge.

Basically this means that owners of an Xbox 360 are getting a brand new interface and all the features of a Roku box (Netflix set-top box retailing for $100) for no additional charges, aside the Live subscription fee that any true Xbox fan is paying anyway.

Nintendo unveils Wii MotionPlus for the Wii Remote

Posted in Wii Accessories by Darrin Olson on July 14th, 2008

Nintendo Wii MotionPlus adapter for the Wiimote controllerNintendo today issued a press release to introduce an unexpected accessory to the Wii Remote controller, called Wii Motionplus. The new attachment is designed to give even more accurate responses to a players hand and arm motions and we hope will lead to a lightsaber game in the very near future. According to Nintendo, the new controller add-on connects to the bottom end of the Wii Remote and will do a better job of “reflecting motions in a 3-D space”.

The attachment works in conjunction with the existing accelerometer in the remote and the Wii Sensor bar to track the players hand and arm motions and give what Nintendo is calling a true 1:1 response, which is sure to be a welcome feature for those interested in first person shooter games or anything requiring a little more precision beyond shaking or waving the remote wildly. The Wii remote currently with the game console does a great job of sensing more general motions, twisting and waving but sometimes can be a little shaky with the direct pointing. The Wii MotionPlus is sure to be an improvement and open up the Wii to less frustrating times at games requiring more precision.

Microsoft confirms 60GB Xbox 360 and 20GB price cut

Posted in Xbox 360 by Darrin Olson on July 13th, 2008

60GB Microsoft Xbox 360Microsoft has now confirmed a couple of rumors we had heard last week about a new 60GB Xbox 360 and a price cut for the 20GB model. Today the company made an official announcement of the release of a new Xbox 360 with a 60GB hard drive coming in early August to take advantage of the increasing number and size of games, video and music for the game console.

In the same announcement Microsoft announced that the 20GB Xbox 360 model is on its way out with a price drop to $299 while supplies last, which is $50 less than before. The Arcade version and the Elite will remain at $279 and $449 respectively.

Apple Application Store now live!

Posted in Apple by Darrin Olson on July 10th, 2008

Apple iTunes Application Store main pageThe Apple Application store for the iPhone and for the iPod Touch is finally now live and you can check it out here. The store is loaded with applications for use the the mobile devices that are both for sale and for free.

Topping the list of “Free Apps” early on today include Remote which lets you control iTunes on your computer through Wi-Fi with your iPod Touch or iPhone, an AIM application and applications for use with Facebook, Google Mobile, eBay and Twitter. Some of the top applications in general include Super Monkey Ball (big surprise), MLB, Texas Hold’em and Cro-Mag Rally.

Hitachi expands “Tera Era” with a more efficient 1TB drive

Posted in Hard Drives by Darrin Olson on July 9th, 2008

Hitachi launches more energy efficient 1Tb internal hard drive with the Deskstar 7K1000.BIf you were excited when Hitachi came out with the first 1TB internal hard drive early last year then be prepared to be just slightly more excited. Hitachi today introduced that same 1TB Deskstar drive but now using 43% less power consumption, naming it the Deskstar 7K1000.B.

The “.B” means that you can buy this whopping internal hard drive with less concern that it’s going to sit there and suck loads more power than your old 80GB drive, which it will, but not as much as it used to according to Hitachi. The drive is actually available in sizes from 160GB up to the largest 1TB capacity.

Xbox 360 rumors flying; 60GB in, 20GB out and more

Posted in Xbox 360 by Darrin Olson on July 9th, 2008

Xbox 360 rumors of new 60GB console coming, and 20GB console being phased outThe rumors are flying today about changes to the availability of hardware configurations for the Xbox 360. These rumors are due to a “leaked” company memo sent out to a few retailers making some statements and implications of changes to come.

For starters, we’ve seen fairly impressive evidence that the Xbox 360 Pro will see a price drop to $299 starting this Sunday. In addition, an email spells out some plans for later this year starting with an 60GB Xbox 360 Pro game console being introduced yet this month, and later on implying that the 20GB console will reach its “end of life” yet this year, likely replaced by this 60GB to accommodate more and bigger Xbox Live games.

Hasselblad intros H3DII-50 camera at 50 megapixels

Posted in Digital Cameras by Darrin Olson on July 8th, 2008

Hasselblad H3DII-50 50 megapixel digital cameraHasselblad is known for making some high-end photography equipment and it appears that they are not going to disappoint today with the introduction of the 50-megapixel H3DII-50 camera. The company is boasting the world’s largest sensor with this latest product. It’s made by Kodak and measures 36x48mm, which is twice the size of the largest 35mm DSLR sensors.

The H3DII is capable of capturing images at 1fps while creating 300 MB files with an ISO range of 50 to 400. The camera has a laundry list of other features and accessories as you might expect including a wide range of lens choices, 3″ display, CCD cooling sink for noise reduction, GPS accessory and choices for file output and media cards.

Sony PS3 Firmware 2.41 available now

Posted in PS3 by Darrin Olson on July 8th, 2008

Sony PS3 2.41 firmware now availableAccording to the Sony Playstation blog, the company has released firmware version 2.41 for the Playstation 3 which is expected to be a smoother update than the 2.40 version they released last week and had to pull shortly after. Apparently some folks who installed the 2.40 version experienced problems getting to the XMB when booting up and were stuck with a bricked console, at least temporarily.

We had heard that Sony would get a fix for the 2.40 firmware out sometime this week and their blog entry late last night said it would be available shortly. According to a number of reports the 2.41 version is available now with much, much fewer problems.

Both the 2.40 and the 2.41 firmware updates for the Playstation 3 game console bring some new features including in-game access to the XMB and a new Trophy system …

Firefox 3 gets official Guinness world record

Posted in Browsers by Darrin Olson on July 3rd, 2008

Firefox 3 gets official Guinness World Record for most downloads in 24 hour periodIt’s now official. Firefox 3 has been officially entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most downloaded software in a 24-hour period. Last month on the first day of its release Firefox 3 was downloaded over 8 million times; 8,002,530 to be exact.

Of course, Firefox3 didn’t exactly have any competition since this was a new world record category that they just made up, but we can’t deny that over 8 million downloads in a day is an impressive feat in any case.

“The notion of going for a world record, as gooky and nutty as it may have sounded, was a really sticky idea. It was an idea that translated really well across national borders and to all different kinds of people around the world.”, said Mozilla Marketing head Paul Kim.

Firefox …

Latest PS3 udpate causing problems, pulled by Sony

Posted in PS3 by Darrin Olson on July 3rd, 2008

Sony pulls Playstation 3 version 2.40 upateThe latest firmware 2.40 put out just Tuesday for the Sony Playstation 3 was apparently pulled shortly after its release due to multiple reported problems caused by the update. If you’ve already gotten the update and things are working fine you are one of the lucky ones, otherwise if you seem to be faced with a bricked console you’ll need to be getting in touch with Sony support or possibly trying to fix it yourself.

Sony confirmed Wednesday that they had official pulled the available update within an hour after its release due to the reported problems, which they say were experienced by a “limited” number of PS3 gamers. The most common problem appears to be that the console gets “stuck” when booting and doesn’t get past that “wave” background display, never reaching the XMB. Some argue that formatting the PS3 hard disk will fix the problem which you can attempt, but at your own risk.

Dell launches line of Studio laptops for creative types

Posted in Notebooks by Darrin Olson on June 26th, 2008

Dell Studio Line laptopsDell today launched the new “Studio” line of laptops following the trend of more consumers who would like a little more style and customization available for their portable computers. Kicking off the Studio laptops Dell launched the Dell Studio 15 and Dell Studio 17, which come with a 15.4″ and 17.1″ display, respectively.

Both notebooks carry the drop hinge and “wedge” shape seen in the XPS laptops from Dell and both come in a range of vibrant and loud colors, capacitve touchpad and multimedia buttons that light-up when pressed, and an optional backlit keyboard. They also have the option of built-in broadband connections through Sprint or Verizon, Blu-ray drive, slot-loading drives and you can even get a mercury-free LED display if you ask. Dell has put some thought to your laptop accessories as well, offering mice, backpacks, sleeves and earbuds that are colored to match.

JVC launches Dual iPod Docking Station

Posted in iPod Accessories by Darrin Olson on June 23rd, 2008

JVC NX-PN7 dual iPod docking station clock radioToday JVC finally officially launched that dual iPod docking station we saw earlier this year at CES which has the ability to dock two iPods at the same time. The NX-PN7 stands out from the crowd of endless iPod accessories since it can hold not one but two iPods, or an iPod and an iPhone, charging and playing from either of them.

The dual iPod dock also features an AM/FM clock radio and video out to output your video media to a television. And don’t forget that bit of “flare” they added to the device with the illuminated strips that can show one of nine colors. JVC appropriately has set the retail price of the NX-PN7 to about double the price of a single iPod dock, at $149.95.

Motozine ZN5 from Motorola and Kodak

Posted in Mobile Phones by Darrin Olson on June 23rd, 2008

Motorola MOTOZINE ZN5 from Motorola and KodakRumors of the Motozine from Motorola have been floating around for quite a while and the company today has finally made an official announcement for the new cameraphone. The Motozine ZN5 was created with a partnership with Motorola and Kodak to create a device that contains high-quality features of both a phone and a camera.

Kodak included a number of features on the camera-side of the mobile handset including a 5 mega-pixel sensor behind a sliding lens cover, Xenon flash, built-in integration with Kodak Gallery, on-phone image stitching capabilities to create large panoramic shots and an option 4GB of external storage.