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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Philips SA9200 2GB Flash Audio Player

Philips is celebrating "Holidays in June" (since it's now unfashionable to celebrate Christmas, in July or otherwise) by announcing a slew of digital goodies for us to salivate over. The latest is the GoGear Flash Audio Player, also known by its model number, the SA9200. Fully compliant with PlaysForSure (anyone? Bueller?) from Microsoft, this 2GB flash-based audio player looks strikingly similar to the Creative's Zen Micro, but we're sure that's just a coincidence. It'll fit about 1,000 songs or 500 pictures.

The included FM tuner lets you tune into FCC-regulated terrestrial radio and the battery should last about 14 hours, which is more than generous. Also of note, especially for all those kids heading off to college in the next few months, is that the Philips includes a built-in voice recorder. Just give it to your buddy so he can record lecture—no need to fight off that hangover in class!
Thursday, June 01, 2006

USB Car & Computer Air Purifier

I love a nice USB gadget as much as the next guy, but I have to draw the line when it comes to USB gadgets for the car. Understood, it can "[circulate] millions of negative ions inside your car or open area", and it can "remove many types of particles & pollutant [sic]", but where the hell are you going to plug this into? Are you going to take your laptop into your car just for this? Well, maybe you can make yourself a portable USB charger.

The upside is this also "works" in the office. So I suppose you can just keep it indoors.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oregon Scientific Handheld Weather Forecaster

In what be described as something that looks like a MyFi but without the XM, Oregon Scientific's Handheld Weather Forecaster and Alarm clock makes going outside to see if it's raining a thing of the past (as if people did that anymore anyway). For about $40 you get a handheld device that displays numerous weather-related facts on the unit's HiGlo illuminated LCD. Need to know the humidity so your hair doesn't look like Larry Fine's? What about the phase of the moon, so you don't accidently go outside and have the whole town running after you with silver bullets?

The Handheld Weather Forecaster sniffs out forecasts up to 24 hours in advance, while its animated icons will put a smile on your face even if the skies are gray. For those living in areas where severe weather is a problem, the severe weather alert indicator may prove to be a useful well beyond the $40 price tag. At only 2.25 x .5 x 3.5 inches, Oregon Scientific may have developed a portable weather forecaster that will become the hot fashion accessory for campers. Well, at least the techie ones.
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sony Vaio XL2 Media Center Reviewed

Okay, so this isn't actually a "Media Center," Sony likes to call it a Digital Living System featuring MCE. But that is just fancy talk for a media center. This machine packs quite a punch. It is powered by a Viiv-compatible dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive, GeForce 6600GT, wireless keyboard w/ touchpad, wireless networking, 200 disc changer, optical burner, HD tuner and—gasp!—an HDMI port! The price on this machine starts at a hefty $2,500.

PCMag took a hands-on look of the XL2 and they seem to be thoroughly impressed. The XL2 is described as another step to media center nirvana by Sony. It surpasses its competitors in power and features and with the addition of a HDMI port this one of the better media centers out there, as long as you can afford it and your TV supports HDMI. Oh, and did we mention that it looks pretty? Oooooo, so shiny.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bluedelta Smart-Scart-Plus peripheral

With all the interesting A/V gadgets out there, it's easy to build up a rats nest of cables and leads behind your TV.

Then there's all the fun of re-plugging and re-switching, each time you want to watch a DVD, watch satellite television or play a games console.

Thankfully Bluedelta's Smart-Scart-Plus will help to make sense of the clutter.
It looks simple enough, a black plastic block with seven scart sockets and assorted coaxial and S-Video ones. Plug-in its little mains power supply, though, and a lot of your home cinema problems will be over.

The first socket is the output to your TV, and the others are various inputs, ranked from one to eight – that's six Scart and two S-Video.

The clever thing is the ranking: plug a Freeview, satellite ore cable receiver into socket 1, a DVD player or PVR into sockets two and three, with a video recorder and other gadgetry taking the higher numbered connectors.

The two S-Video connections are designed for a games console and a video camera.
The Smart-Scart-Plus defaults to the lowest number input socket with a signal on it, automatically blanking any lower-numbered sockets.

So by default you will be connected to your Freeview, satellite or cable receiver. However, if you start a DVD movie or play a VHS tape, this will automatically take precedence, without having to switch off or disable devices connected to lower-numbered sockets.

Not only this, but a technology called Smart-Record enables you to record from any scart input to any recorder plugged into a scart output from the block, at the same time as playing a video game connected to one of the S-Video co nnectors.

There are twin audio outputs, to so you can feed out to a stereo or multi-channel (up to 5.1) sound system. It all works pretty transparently, making it a real good send to use.

The only snags we could see were the price - even though there's a good deal of switching design gone into this device - and there's no high-definition (HD) support - which won't please owners of the latest games consoles or receivers like Sky HD.
Friday, May 19, 2006

iPodweek - The Best of iLounge

This week on iLounge: It's been a crazy week for iPod speakers. Reviews of Monitor Audio's i-Deck component system and iH30 boom box from clock radio maker iHome topped the site, while new First Looks at speakers from Memorex (iWake clock, iMove boom box), Emerson (iTone audio system) and Logiix (GX4 Pro) captured a lot of our attention. But what really grabbed us was something else.

You've seen them on CD players and just about every other MP3 player out there. Now the iPod has its own wired LCD remote, from Logic3. A little blue screen provides track, artist, volume, and other info whenever you want to hide your iPod away while maintaining control. We've been pairing them with new Sports headphones from Sennheiser and loving the results.
In the news this week, Creative Technology sued Apple for patent infringement, and Apple sued Creative Technology for patent infringement. Yeah, really. Shows from the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel and Discovery Kids were all added to the iTunes Music Store. An analyst said that a true video iPod and possibly other new Apple products will be launched later this year. It was also reported that Apple’s music business could more than double the size of the company in the next five years.

In this week's Ask iLounge Q+A column: Organizing song compilations on your iPod, using the iPod Notes feature, transferring photos to an iPod via Apple's iPod Camera Connector, removing extra album art from songs, and date-based iPod smart playlists.
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