Monday, November 28, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Gadgets like the Targus Coolpad, a turntable swivel for your laptop and the Tetran Headphone Holder are $12 smart accessories that just make sense. These problem solvers are cheap and smart - perfect for stocking stuffers or the guy or gal who has everything. Especially if you are on a budget.
So if you are still going to be shopping for the top gadget of the season, keep your eyes peeled for some gems that have no battery slots and that do not plug into the wall. Chances are your gift will be an unexpected suprize hit for the holidays.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Why congeal water you say? Because in a bath tub that you could soak in, it forms an insulating barrier to hold the heat of the water in longer. And that is way cool. The powder additive contains non-toxic elements to turn the water to jelly as it is absorbed into sodium polyacrylate. Additives that are good for your skin like vitamin C as well as black tea extract, L-menthol, coloring, and fragrance are also mixed within the powder.
The inventor from Kobe Japan filed the patent in February of 2000 (probably after taking a bath that quickly became cold) which was granted relatively quickly in August 2001. The patent #6,281,177 reads like a recipe until you get to the scary claim fifteen, a subordinate of number nine. It reads "gelatinous mixture draws water from human skin immersed in said gelatinous mixture." I may be reading into this, but wasn't something JUST like this a source of a horrifically scary movie from the late 1950's? That's right. Jellybath is The Blob.
I am not getting near this stuff, but if you do, be prepared for a "NOTICE" of the patent before you buy the product online. I guess at $24 dollars per bath they want to keep competition down so that you are the only one who is getting soaked. Just don't forget that you will still need to take a shower afterward. www.jellybath.com
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
The integration of GPS mapping and satellite delivered data can bring you real-time re-routing to our car navigation system, ala XM NavTraffic on some Acura and Cadillac vehicles, as long as the traffic data collection is supported in your city. Boaters and aftermarket GPS fans can use the GPSmap 376c from Garmin to display weather overlays on their current map. A 3.8" 480 X 320 256 color screen looks crisp and bright, a battery gives between 4 and 15 hours of use and this, of course, tunes in all 150 channels of XM satellite radio. Radio will cost you $12.95 a month, but weather data, a whopping $29.99 to $49.99 per month. Looks like weather needs a better service model from XM, like NavTraffic which is only an additional $3.99/month for existing radio subscribers. It does however look to be a nice convergence piece of satellite technologies. Plus you could even spill your boat drink on it as it is water restant. Now available at your favorite boat store or online retailer for $800 to $1000.
http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap376c/ - For boaters
If you are more of a driver than a boater, the 7" widescreen 16:9 480 x 234 pixel Street Pilot 7200 gives you traffic updates via ClearChannel's or XM NavTraffic service plus weather information albiet more limited than the marine version above. In addition to XM satellite radio, Audible book and MP3 playback adorne this in-vehicle GPS and an SD slot gives you the storage capacity for multimedia and map updates. An integrated FM modulator eliminates the wire between the display and your head unit for stereo audio playback. Look for this unit in December at streeet prices of $1000 to $1200.
http://www.garmin.com/products/sp7200/ - For drivers
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
The iPod won the war of the pocket music players against Sony, the inventor of the portable music category, from their Walkman and Discman players in the 1980's. Apple beat them from their 30 year monopoly because the iPod supported 7 different compressed media formats versus Sony's single ATRAC codec, a carry over from their MiniDisc technology they pushed into their "MP3" player lineup. It was not until Fall of 2004 that Sony announced MP3 support, well after the device game was lost. In 2005, they began shipping laptops with SD and Memory Stick ports - a further shift towards supporting standards other than their own.
Lets look at the specifications of the Sony PSP vs. the iPod 5th generation video player.
Overall device size: 6.7 x 2.9 x .9 inches
Video formats via "UMD": H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Main Profile Level3
Video formats via "Memory Stick": MPEG-4 SP,AAC
Output via 4.3" 16:9 TFT
480 x 272 pixel, 16.77 million colors (130,560 pixels)
Content via Sony Connect or retail UMD movies
Create your own via Image Converter 2 Plus for $14.99
Storage capacity: 2GB or 10 hours via Memory Stick Duo or unlimited via UMD media
Battery: 2-3 Hours
iPod 5th Gen:
Overall device size: 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.43 inches
Video formats: H.264 video: up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video: up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Simple Profile with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats
Output via 2.5" 4:3 TFT and RCA Composite output
320 x 240 pixel 16.7 million colors (76,800 pixels)
Content via iTunes Music (and Video) store
Create your own via Quicktime 7 Pro for $29.99
Storage capacity: 60GB or 150 Hours of video (max)
Battery: 2-3 Hours
The iPod is clearly smaller, but the screen is nearly half the resolution of the PSP. Remove its wide screen capabilities and you are going to need to get your eyes close to the iPod to see detail in videos. There is a psychological difference to these devices too. The iPod is known as a "passive" listening device where the PSP is an "active" engaging product. We have to engage to watch TV or play games so the iPod's video capabilities may go forgotten after the novelty wears off or the time to download content into iTunes then transfer it from your computer to the iPod makes us weary. If users have large music collections, the tradoffs between many songs being replaced by only a handful of TV programs may be another detriment.
Sony has their Connect download service and many UMD movies in retail stores while Apple has no movie program because of digital rights issues from the DMCA and only a few "formerly free" broadcast TV programs and some music videos available to purchase. I predict that it is only a matter of time before Pixar and Disney movies are available on the iTunes service, with the other studios to follow. Downloading a 2+ hour movie will be extremely time consuming and expensive for both a time and cost of bandwidth standpoint.
Both Sony and Apple offer software programs to convert home movies or TV programs that reside on your PC hard drive into MPEG4 formats compatible with their devices. Unfortunately, as easy as it is to rip your audio CDs to MP3 format, neither of these will allow you to "rip" a DVD that you own onto the devices although third-party "hacks" will let you achieve this with a few extra steps.
Now Apple does support a TV output and even an optional $39 remote control which makes this a neat "pocket PVR" for your television at home or on the road. Today, at the launch of the 5th gen iPod, I say the PSP wins at video and the iPod wins at music. These tables could change however, if Apple buys TiVo and enables their PC Home Media Option or rear USB ports to sync between the two formerly disparaged devices. An iPod that "talks" to a TiVo would be one of the few killer convergence devices. If you think about it, both Apple and TiVo have nailed the perfect consumer experience. Sony is playing catch-up.
The bottom connector stayed the same, so your speakers from Altec Lansing, JBL and even the new iHome iPod alarm clock (which sounds GREAT! for $99!) will work with this new portable player.
I was also suprized that they did not include the Bluetooth stereo profile (A2DP) for wireless headphones. This is also unfortunately disabled in the Motorola ROKR phone as well.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Most cats did not survive as they are not good swimmers; few made it out of homes and into trees. Many dogs were tied in their yards and perished in the rush of water. Those that were able to swim are missing patches of fur and have cuts from the debris.
If you are missing or have found a pet, you can send a description of the pet including its name and breed to the ASCPA at: [email protected]
One of the few AP stories shows a grim look at the state of animals in the region.
AP Story on Snowball and other pets with a more grim outlook.
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Saturday, August 20, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Before the Treo 650 my data phone solution required lots of cables.
Originally uploaded by gadget.
The Sidekick and Treo 600 were the first smart phones that you could really use data on without going insane and I replaced both of these in my pockets with a Treo 650. Since many of us in America have not used Bluetooth for dial up networking I put a little how-to together for Make to get you over the tricky parts.
This solution also works for GSM phones pending that you get the correct dial-up number and login information from your carrier. Before the 650, I used this setup with the very rare CDMA Sony Ericsson T608 which had the worst firmware (SLOW and buggy) that I have ever seen on a phone.
Enjoy the story. Let me know if you want a Mac version too. It's a little easier and almost self explanitory from the PC. Go figure eh?
Follow more at the link.
HowTo Treo 650 Bluetooth Dial-up Networking
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Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
With Google now behind blogger, the ability to Moblog and search integration, it may just be time to bring this site back from the grave.
Starting with Grey Matter on my site was cute, but I do not have the time to keep up with the comment spammers and deleting their rubbish. Ben and Mena's TypePad based on their Movable Type engine is cool, but I found myself not wanting to pay the $80 a year for that service. Maybe the $50 version would suit me well with the level of features that I would use.
In the mean time, I'll give this service from Blogger another go! Maybe it's worth being different from the rest of the MT crowd.