MSN Launches Soapbox to Compete with YouTube

Posted in Microsoft,Services by Paul Patterson on September 20th, 2006

MSN SoapBoxMSN announced the beta release of Soapbox on MSN Video. SoapBox is a user-uploaded video service that allows people to upload, discover and share personal videos with the Soapbox community. Soapbox will be available on MSN Video and will be integrated throughout Microsoft’s portfolio of online services, including Windows Live Spaces and Windows Live Messenger.

With Soapbox, Microsoft is hoping to capture some of the enormous successes of YouTube.

“Soapbox delivers on a critical component of the MSN growth strategy of deepening audience engagement by enabling people to participate in the content experience,” said Rob Bennett, general manager of Entertainment and Video Services for MSN. “By adding a user-uploaded video service, we are rounding out our existing investments in commercially produced and original content on MSN Video.”

Soapbox uses its own player for uploading, searching and sharing video. Users can rate, comment, and tag videos. …

Motorola Flattens Out with the Q

Posted in Mobile Phones,Motorola,PDAs,Smart Devices by Darrin Olson on September 20th, 2006

MOTO Q

Motorola has gone anorexic with the Moto Q SmartPhone. This is a super thin lightweight smart phone that was slightly spread out when it was flattened to allow for a full QWERTY keyboard and a thumb wheel for easy navigation.

The Moto Q runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 with full email integration to sync up all your messages. It has connectivity via Bluetooth and a mini USB connection and works with a variety of Motorola Bluetooth headsets. I also see infrared and 3G internet as wireless ports to the world, but I’m not seeing WiFi. If you are in a city I don’t think this will be a problem, but WiFi is nice to have. Hopefully you are not roaming too close to nowhere either, since analog roaming isn’t making the list.

The Motorola Moto Q has a 1.3 Megapixel camera, and …

Walkman Has Come a Long Way

Posted in Mobile Phones,Sony,Walkman by Darrin Olson on September 19th, 2006

Sony W950i Walkman with Original WalkmanThe Walkman really come a long way, and the contrast in neat to see with this new Sony W950i Walkman compared to the original Walkman of 1979.

The W950i Walkman is a mobile phone that will be released in the near future with an music player and a nice big touchscreen with big buttons to make navigation easy. (The original Walkman had big buttons, too.)

The W950i comes with 4 Gig of flash memory to store lots of music files, and uses 3G for fast web browsing with the Opera 8 browser. The new Walkman also supports streaming video, email, handwriting recognition, sound recorder, 3D games and picks up FM radio.

The W950i is one of a few phones that will be coming out from Sony Ericsson in the coming months. Other phones include the W850i which is a slider-design, the Z610i

Creative Zen to Rival Zune

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

Creative Zen W

Creative Technology recently launched the Zen Vision W video, photo and music player. This launch comes on the same day former partner and new rival Microsoft unveiled new information on the Zune player. Creative has positioned the Zen media player to compete directly against the Microsoft Zune and Apple iPod players. Creative also discussed its support for Amazon’s Unbox movie and video store.

The Zen line of players will run on Microsoft Windows Media and comes in two models: 30GB and 60GB, costing $300 and $400 respectively. The Zen Vision W also has a 4.3-inch color screen, which is slightly larger than the 3-inch screen on the Zune.

Creative Zen Vision W [Creative]

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 …