Entries Tagged as 'Gadgets'

Toshiba HD-A30 1080p HD DVD Player

Toshiba lost the next generation format wars.
Well, maybe lost wasn’t a great word for it. How about… sold out?
Regardless of the grumblings, it’s done now. Which really brings me to the device itself. What’s beautiful about the A30 is that it actually does do 1080p unlike it’s cousin the A3 which is 1080i. In fact, it can do 1080p/24 which is pretty impressive.
It plays CDs, DVDs, and HD-DVDs and upconverts those older DVDs in case you were wondering.
Has it be demoted to just an upconverting DVD player? Pretty much. There’s a few other great features like the audio playback modes which include Dolby Surround and DTS, but overall it’s just a media player. One little annoyance is that the remote to actual device is a bit slower on the draw. I’m not sure why the device takes its time to boot up and such along with shutdown, but the buttons on the front of the player are actually a lot quicker response time than trying to do it from the remote.
In any case, it’s still not a bad price for the Toshiba HD-A30 1080p HD DVD Player. Especially if you’re going to go bargain bin hunting for HD-DVDs.

Sigma DP1

I think I finally have found the DSLR camera that I want. While I’ll probably have to hold off on such an extravagant purchase, this would be one of the few cameras that I would stray from the powerhouse brand of Nikon. Not that Sigma is a bad brand by any means. Oh no. Sigma is in actuality very well known in the photography world but has always been a little bit outside the reach of amateur photographers.
The Sigma DP1 has a FOVEON X3 sensor that is also found in the SD14.
Unfortunately, with every great thing comes some caveats. This compact DSLR comes with a fixed 16.6-mm F4 lens. Hmm. Maybe I’ll hold out a little longer for Sigma to come out with something that allows you to change out the lens on the same body structure. In case you’re looking to get one of these 8.5 oz. beauties, be prepared to shell out about eight hundred dollars.

Apple releases new pink nano for Valentine’s Day


Apple Online Store
Look at that. Being one of the most requested colors, Apple has decided to release the pink nano for Valentine’s Day. Yes, the pink nano! This isn’t the hot pink one either….
At $199.00USD a pop, it’s no different than the rest of the pastel colored ones, with 8GB space, and a 2 inch screen that does 320×240 px. For up to 2,000 songs or 8 hours of video storage, it’s really just a handy dandy little portable multimedia device.
And it’s pink! You really can’t go wrong there with any gal.

The ISIS

Have a puzzle solver in your life? Not sure what to get them for Christmas?
Why not get them The ISIS [affiliate]. This is one of the most difficult puzzles currently with movable bands that have hieroglyphs on them. You are given ten clues to deciphering the puzzle itself. Just line up the right hieroglyphs to unlock it.
What’s crazy is that … while the price of it is pretty steep (two hundred dollars), when you unlock it, then you have a chance to win something that could actually be anywhere between $1000 to $2000 in worth. Either way, it’s definitely a fancy pants gift that the puzzle solver would forever appreciate.

iAXE393 USB Guitar by Behringer

I’ve always wanted to play guitar. Especially electric. Figured that it couldn’t be that hard, since you have frets and I was classically trained on the violin.
So when I saw the iAXE393 USB Guitar by Behringer [affiliate] come out, I was like… “oooooh.”
It comes with a carrying case, and a 10 watt amp and supports Mac or PC. And you just plug the sucker into your USB port and you can add tracks for backup or just record your music direct to the computer. Since you can do multitrack editing, I’m assuming that it also supports GarageBand, but I’m not definite. And for two hundred smackers, it’s actually not a terrible price. Not sure as far as the quality of the guitar and would probably have to defer to someone that would actually know.
Forget Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Give me the real thing to get my rock on!

Why e-book readers really haven’t taken off

The first time I heard of Kindle was actually through my buddy. Truthfully, I don’t find it worth the $399 price tag. In fact, it really doesn’t strike me as anything that different from the other ebook readers out there except for the service. Sure it seems like it’s e-ink operated. Big deal.
Here’s why I don’t think it’ll work. Let’s take a look at why most digital formats haven’t taken off and people still rather read books or magazines.
It’s human conditioning.
That’s it. Still don’t get it? I’ll explain. It’s all in the form factor. Current readers make the assumption that human beings are willing to read pages of documents like an LCD screen or monitor. But how many book readers actually do that? Not many. And if you’ve ever tried to page through War and Peace in a PDF, it’s no fun.
So how do you make it a better design? I would probably propose using a book-like display. Think about it. If people are more interested in reading a “book” then the best replacement would start out as a pseudo-book. It’s the same as hybrid cars. The funky designs didn’t really take except for early adopters and as you move towards an actual mainstream automobile body in existence, the more general consumers are adopting the technology. Similarly, if you created a “book-like” design with two displays connected at a hinge, then if you tap the corners to turn the page or what not, you could actually virtually turn pages. That would make the entire e-book two displays thick, but way more usable.
Not that I’m an expert by any means in modern anthropology, but I can tell you that there is a reason why Apple’s industrial designers do a great job. And it isn’t by designing things by going from one thing to another in one huge jump. Just take a look at the generations of iPods to watch the progression of a mp3 player to a media player that plays music. It took five gens. And it wasn’t because the technology wasn’t there.
Similarly the e-book readers will eventually take off. But you have to create something that people will take to currently rather than jump forward and assume that since tablet PCs exist, that everyone will like the whole 1-page format.
Interesting isn’t it, how this one little thing could be the reason why e-books just haven’t had the adoption that it’s been seeking.

Is converting to Mac all that difficult?

Interesting that a good friend of mine has been wondering if she should go to a Mac. Apparently the difficulty lies in the software support and price.
Amusingly enough, I have to say that while my business partner, John (mentioned in her post) has told her she doesn’t need one, I’m more hesitant to make that call. I have to say that as a web designer, there are very many people out there that are in the same business that swear by Mac. While I haven’t been in the same business for a while, I do have all of the tools that I need. In fact, there really hasn’t been any need for me to boot up my Windows partition in Parallels except for Internet Explorer testing.
Have I ever looked back? Not a chance. Mac has the best of both a simplified interface and a useful integration. Coda has been my development tool for websites, and I’ve used all sorts of othere types of graphical programs instead of going to the normal Adobe suite. Office suite has been replaced by NeoOffice.
Would I miss Windows at all? I suppose years ago, when i still played around with PC gaming, that would have been my one drawback. But when my corporation bought my
MacBook Pro
, I was extremely overjoyed. And that’s the only system I use on a regular basis now.
I suppose need basis, there is a reason why I would stick with a PC rather than a Mac. But you do get what you pay for. Macs are very well built and their AppleCare warranty is pretty amazing. Along with the fact that soon there will be an Apple Store nearby, it just makes things a lot easier overall. Might be an expensive purchase, but I have yet to see someone regret buying one and regret a conversion from the PC.

Ion USB Turntable

It’s time for the holidays again and the Christmas music playing gently in the background…. but wait?!?!
What about those records from back in the day? Going for a bit of nostalgia?
Ion Audio USB Turntable can play at three different speeds (33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm), and can convert those vinyls to CD or mp3. It plugs into your computer’s USB port and supports Windows or Mac. It even includes the open source software, Audacity!
For two Benjamins, this could be yours. It might not be as pretty as other turntables, but from a usefulness perspective, it’s definitely one of the more capable record players.

Wacom Graphire Bluetooth tablet

It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a tablet. The last one was a Wacom Artpad II, and I can tell you that I don’t believe there’s much that supports serial ports anymore.
In any case, I needed something that worked with my Mac well and I could flow freely. Since the Wacom Graphire Bluetooth 6×8 Tablet was wireless, it was a perfect match. The price was a bit more hefty than I would have liked but for the size of the tablet, it was definitely worth every penny.
The package comes with a charger, the tablet, a Graphire pen, pen stand, Graphire mouse, and manuals and software. Software is both the Mac and PC edition so that was nice. The Graphire mouse, I hardly use mainly because I use my Macbook Pro for most things and only need the tablet for design work.
The one thing that I love about this tablet is the size and that it’s wireless. While there’s some range on the device, you really don’t need to be sitting too far away anyways unless you have such a massive monitor that you might as well be purchasing a Cintiq.
For those that are considering to buy a tablet but have never used one before, this is just some advice on how tablets work. When you draw, your screen is proportional to your tablet. So therefore, the top left corner of tablet is the top left of your screen and so on so forth. Thus, if you are getting a smaller tablet, you will be making a lot finer changes for details than a larger one. Obviously the best would be a Cintiq since it’s a 1:1 ratio of drawing to tablet since you’re using a monitor sized board, but outside of that, to each their own. I chose the Wacom Graphire BT because of both size and wireless and so far I have been extremely happy about it.

Wii Wireless Sensor Bar

When you’re on the go, a Wii Wireless Sensor Bar [affiliate] is important. So when you’re lugging your Wii around, you don’t want to be bothered with that sensor bar’s flimsy cord that could snap fairly easily. To be assured, that thing just isn’t as robust for those that are a bit more clumsy or just don’t want to mess with the hassle of a cord.
No problems. Nyko has you covered with this wireless wonder. It can sense controllers up to twenty feet and the four AA batteries provide many many hours of use. In fact, it claims around thirty hours of use! What’s more is that there’s an alarm system to turn off the wireless sensor if you’re the forgetful type.
For fifteen bucks, this was a steal.
One other thing… you would think that there’s a lot of configuration or something but from my experience, it was basically put in the batteries, and turn the thing on. Then turn on your Wii. Takes absolutely no thought what so ever. Things that are made easily enough to operate like that makes the portability even more desired.