October 30, 2006

Halloween costumes - from scary to sexy

The recent trend for halloween costumes isn't so much the scary, it's the sexy. Check out all the links to various newspapers in this story from USA Today. Apparently, the main culprit is buycostumes, and they've struck a nerve.

More info on LCD price declines

I'm seeing more indications of price declines in LCD television sets by the end of this year. Sony's indicating 20-25% price declines during the Christmas sales season. Very nice indeed for consumers.

October 27, 2006

First Black Friday ads out

Not that I was really looking, after all it is awefully early to be thinking about such things, but I was on a digg page and there it was. A post about the 2006 Black Friday ads. How cool is that? So far only Ace Hardware and Kmart have ads available. But more will follow. More will surely follow. Make sure you also check that site's main page for the latest rumours, etc. I especially like the talk about the LCD TVs. Mmmm....

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

October 26, 2006

Happy birthday to iPod, great swag tips, and create your own flamethrower

It's the fifth birthday of the iPod. Here's some things we hate about it. OK, these aren't really my opinions, but they do make a good point. I'm totally on-board with the FM radio idea. Seems like a pretty cheap thing to include. I'm also not totally happy with the battery life. I've got one that's all but dead right now, throwing up an error message sending me to http://www.apple.com/ipod/support. Even after following the repair and recover tips on the site, it's still not working. Ugh. Must try more this weekend.

Since I recently went to the DigitalLife trade show in New York City, this story caught my eye: how to get the really good swag at trade shows. Wow, if only I'd known.

We'll round out this post with a listing of some of the worst digital cameras (I've heard so many horror stories about that Pentax Optio E10) and how to make your own flamethrower out of Legos. yes, that's right...Legos. The very same toys some of you let your children play with. Toss that parent of the year award right out the window.

PS3 in all it's unboxed glory

Sure, the story lists it as PS3 Porn, and they may be right. The way they describe taking this thing home, unburdening it of it's outer facade, and then standing back in awe as they gaze at it's naked beauty -- really guys, it's a game system!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need some alone time.

The origin of Boba Fett

When did Boba Fett first debut in the Star Wars universe? If you say Empire Strikes Back, you'd be wrong. The Star Wars Holiday Special? Closer, but still wrong. It all happened during a parade outside of San Francisco, two months before the holiday special.

More next-gen console news

So much interesting stuff, so little time. We're really getting close now to the new consoles debuting, and you can tell by the amount of news that's coming out every day. For instance, Best Buy employees are forbidden from using their insider status for purchasing Playstation 3's. Similarly, EB employees are being told they'll be fired if they flip a PS3 or Wii on Ebay (flipping is buying something and then immediately selling it for profit). Apparently, they're not restricted from purchasing the items, but once they do, the serial numbers will be recorded and EB authorities (do such job titles even exist for EB?) will be monitoring the Ebay auctions.

There's also some information on Target issuing Wii and PS3 gift cards, with specific glow in the dark LED light facades, similar to what Circuit City did about a year or so ago with the iPod Shuffle gift cards.

Finally, if you're lucky enough to get a PS3, check out exactly what you'll be walking out the door of the mall with: one freakin' huge box.

October 24, 2006

More Techno-goodness

In the words of Mr. T in Rocky III: "I got a lot more for ya"!

After all, I did promise.

With that in mind, there's more techno-goodness today. With the holiday season fast approaching (I know, it seems a little early to be mentioning it, but the retailers are heating up already) these stories are just popping up all over the place. Here's a great story about the upcoming console wars and what might happen...I like how they're projecting what happens now and who emerges the winner will affect and almost predetermine what happens in 2011. 2011? Man, that's a pretty far-reaching scope of impact, but OK.

There's also speculation about Apple producing it's own iPhone in January, and even talk about what it will be like. This is all highly speculative, but you've gotta admit, for a company that never releases information before their big worldwide announcements, the rumors are usually pretty dead-on (all except for those rumors about a Newton resurgence -- those you can disregard). Let's just hope this phone, if it is real, is better than the Motorola ROKR.

While we're talking tech, WalMart looks to up the ante this holiday season. They want to aggressively push products, and you know for WalMart that means cutting prices. So, for all of you that like the gadgets, keep you eye on WalMart from now until Christmas, particularly Black Friday. If they make good on their promise, you might be swimming in deals.

Finally, Microsoft's upcoming OS Vista, aims to make your life easier by handling your digital photo responsibilities for you. The only problem? Some testers are saying it does too much, and not all of it the way you'd want. "That's OK, Artoo...I'd like to keep it on manual control for awhile..."

October 20, 2006

Tons of tech stuff

One small note that I haven't mentioned from the DigitalLLife show. I saw a service called ibloks, which allows user to upload videos, music, and gobs of other stuff and then create a video out of it. While the service looks pretty cool, and is probably easier than doing it manually on your PC or Mac, I have to say it was frustratingly slow. The videos it creates must be huge, since I waited and waited for not one, but a few different ones to download so I could see them in their entirety -- but not one ever finished, because either the site was slow or the videos too fat. Bah. I'd rather create it myself using Apple's movie maker or Windows Movie Maker. Probably the same results, but smaller filesize.

OK, that's the old stuff. There's a ton of new stuff that's come in. Let's start with Sony finally talking about the online capabilities of the PS3. It's nice for them to finally give us some info since the device is only a few weeks away from ending up in stores.

Google's getting into the political action, with a tie-in to Google Earth that shows you Congressional races for whatever area you choose. The service will then show you the candidate's positions and give you a quick way to compare. Nice.

Finally, there's a new Blog out from CNET called Crave. It's kindof half-blog and half CNET web site. Think Engadget and you've pretty much got it. Still, it's a nice addition, especially when you're tech-hungry and rabid for the latest news.

Yes, I know I said TONS of tech stuff...but I'm leaving more for tommorrow. Stay tuned.

October 16, 2006

DigitalLife Show

Last week was a busy one, both for work and play. Thursday I attended the DigitalLife show in New York City. Lots of interesting things were on exhibit there, but I have to say that I wasn't exactly blown away by all that many things. Hmm... anything? I did see one of the nicest HD televisons, a 72" Toshiba (I think). They were showing trailers from the last Harry Potter movie, and it wasn't anything like what they showed in the theaters, much less our homes. It was just awesome. The scene where Harry's underwater, the scenes with him fighting the dragon in the arena with all the rocks around -- just amazing.

I was totally baffled as to Palm's "announcement" and presence at the show. For starters, I went on opening day, Thursday, so that I could be there for Palm's press conference where they would announce new products. I was informed by a friend on the train that they were doing that before the show opened and it was only available to the media. Great. Strike one and it's only 8 am.

I then made it into the city, got to the trade show, and started walking around. My whole focus was on getting to Palm's booth to see whatever it was they had announced. I knew they'd have it displayed there--after all, why announce it and then not show it? I admit I was hoping for a new handheld, maybe a Palm TX2 with more memory and an integrated voice recorder, but I digress. After walking around the show many many times and seeing everything the show had to offer, there was no Palm booth. I asked people. They hadn't seen it. I went to the information booths. They did not know. They remembered Palm was supposed to be there, but they had not seen the booth. I asked other representatives, of other companies (which is usually bad form, but I was desperate) and they were stumped as well. If Palm had a booth at the show, you could have fooled me. They hid it very well. I never did see one. I only found out about the announcement of the new Treo 680 when I came back home.

Some things I did see, and I'll add more to this list later, were the following:

- A nice photo sharing and saving site called Sharpcast. It keeps your photos in sync across all your devices. Make a change to a photo on your laptop, it syncs it to the one on your PC and phone. Make a change to it on your phone, and it's synced to the laptop and PC. Nice. There's free 2GB accounts to be had if you're interested.

- An interesting site called iBloks, where you upload your photos and other media and the service makes a movie out of it for you. Looked neat, and it was heavily advertised at the show, with blue-haired booth babes and all, but when I got home and actually tried it it was disapointing. The videos it created, and I tried many of them, were pretty huge and took forever to load. Plus, the kinds of things it was doing, like adding fade in and fade outs, transitions, etc, can easily be done using either Windows Movie Maker or one of Apple's newish products. I'm sure they're both much better and produce smaller filesize output.

- A movie downloading service called Vongo. What sets this apart, at least for now, is that it allows you to watch it on your computer and take it with you on select portable devices. Nice. Hopefully the list of devices will get bigger, and hopefully other services will offer the same feature too. Portable media already is the hot thing, and this will only continue in the future.

- A game called "Mobile or No Mobile", modeled after "Deal or No Deal", complete with a Howie Mandel lookalike. I didn't get picked to play, but I saw a guy turn down a brand new Toshiba Gigabeat media player for what turned out to be a cheap wireless mouse. Ouch! You've gotta be careful when you choose the contents of a suitcase. I would have went with the Gigabeat.

- Napster had a stripper's booth at the show, with a curtained off area and everything. Not sure how that fit in with their music service, but I didn't go in.

Go here to check out all kinds of pictures from the show. I can honestly say that I saw every one of these things, which means I didn't miss much at all--just Palm.

Star Wars flash drives

Some new flash drives on the market, this time catering to the inner geek in you. Oh, who's kidding who? They're all for the inner geek. But these are a bit different, taking the highly-coveted route of Star Wars. Oh yes, you can stuff 1, 2, and 4GB versions of Darth Vader in your pocket and stick his head into your USB slot whenever you want. "And now Lord Vader, you will upload the blueprints of the Death Star." Exactly. Only Vader's available now, but others will follow.

October 07, 2006

Bionic Arm

OK, Christmas is sort of around the corner (78 days away) but just in case you want to get a head start on getting a great gift for that special person, how about a wearable robotic arm? Panasonic's created one, and it's integrated into a jacket.

Yes -- I want one too.

Bad emails and good workspaces

So we all know now from Mark Foley how dangerous it is to say and do inappropriate things online, don't we? Oh, yeah, I guess we all knew that before -- everyone except Mark Foley himself, that is. But, it seems that over time there have been others that haven't really gotten this hint or learned the lesson. Until they got caught. Here's some emails and instant messages that their authors wish they'd never sent.

So, that's the bad and now we'll serve up the good. There's got to be a balance, right? For those that work in an office environment, check out these offices. Put in your request to your boss Monday morning and see how much laughter ensues.

Star Trek lives in new devices

Been really busy this week, and although posting has been on my mind, I just couldn't get to it. Fortunately, there's been plenty of cool stuff going on web- and world-wise, so now I'll take the time to dish it up.

First off, it's pretty cool and obvious, if I must say so, how science fiction influences our daily life and how things that were thought up decades ago eventually (way too slow for my tastes) come into being. Case in point: take a look at some Star Trek paraphanelia and the real-life products that bear an uncanny resemblance to them. The cell phone is the most obvious; the captain's chair... not really a dead ringer if you ask me. Thanks for trying though.

While I'm on the subject of Star Trek itself, check out this collection of links. Seems like there's a bit of a resurgance in this franchise. Phasers on stun, people.

October 01, 2006

For fun, try Google Earth

Yeah, the net is full of fun things to do, and voyeuristic activities are certainly at the top of the list. Try Google Earth if you're bored or just trying to avoid something at work. Here's the ten best ways to use it, and the top ten things people found.