Monday, September 29, 2008

Nintendo to Announce a Refresh of the DS Thursday

In 2004, Nintendo brought touch to portable gaming with the launch of its DS series. Since then, touch-controlled gaming has been adopted by the iPod Touch, with the additional benefit of enhanced gameplay through the Touch’s accelerometer.

With sales of DS systems falling, Nintendo is making plans to nip this possible market shift in the bud, and taking into account the fast-paced sales of games offered at Apple’s online store, Nintendo should be nervous.

Although, they aren’t quaking in their boots just yet, the fact remains that one in five Japanese own a Nintendo DS.

Nevertheless, the company is scheduled to present... an unnamed "new product" at a news conference in Tokyo, on Thursday, and the speculation is it will be a new version of the DS.

The Tokyo based Nikkei Business Daily, reports the refresh will included a camera, music player, and updated WiFi, hopefully with WAP support.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Slingbox Pro HD is Now Shipping

Are you experiencing an out-of-home HD deficiency? Wish you could watch streaming HD video anywhere you have high-speed Internet connection? If so, realizing your dream is only $299.99 away.

The "first of its kind, Sling Media Slingbox PRO-HD is capable of streaming both SDTV and HDTV"

At long last, months after the announcement at CES, Slingbox HD PRO is shipping… so, your fix imminent. "Slingbox Pro HD transforms laptops and a wide range of smartphones into personal, portable TVs.”

Supported Audio and Video Sources

  • Basic Cable TV, Set-top Box, or Digital Cable Set-top Box
  • Digital Video Recorder (DVR) such as DISH, TiVo, Comcast, ReplayTV, or one provided by your cable/satellite provider
  • DVD Player/Recorder
  • Satellite Receiver such as DISH or DIRECTV
  • Video/Security Camera
  • Apple TV
  • Windows Media Center
  • Digital Antenna
  • Digital Cable (clear QA)
  • HD component input support for 720p or 1080i
Streaming in HD-resolutions is only available for Windows.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fuji Real 3D Brings Lenticular Printing Home to Roost

Photokina has been overshadowed this week by T-Mobile/Android/HTC Dream news. Nevertheless, interesting news of advancements in photographic technology is what Photokina is all about, and the event never disappoints us photo dorks. Of the many press announcements floating to the surface, one I ran across really caught my eye.

Fujifilm has announced it’s proposed 3D digital camera system; the Finepix Real 3D system...
It's all a concept at the moment. So, I’ll try to restrain my excitement over this tech until I see it in action.
Real 3D is an inventive blend of old tech with new, it’s a stereographic twin lens camera, nothing too new about that, other than using a digital sensor instead of film. The real advancement with ‘Fuji Real 3D’ is in the camera’s LCD screen, corresponding digital frames, and the actual photos printed with the system’s lenticular printer.

No View-Master or Dorky Glasses Required

The camera’s LCD and the system’s digital photo frames have filters that effectively combine the images creating 3D illusions, without the glasses. So if you’re hoping you’ll look like the McFly hating goon from Back to the Future, Sorry.

Best of all is the printer, which uses a super fine pitch for lenticular printing, producing a 3D effect that will have more in-between images making the effect smoother and more seamless.

This whole system reminds me of these disposable 3D cameras that I used to sell. The prints from them were cool, but expensive (about $25 for 12 prints, in 1999). I’m very interested to see what price this system lands on, wherever it lands it won’t be cheap. And hey, you can always view the images on a new Panasonic 3D HDTV.

from dpreview

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Go From Rags to Riches (and back again) with Apple

Tired of seeing your hipster-savvy developer friends make fists full of cash off of the asinine game they developed for Apple’s iTunes App store? Now, you can stop complaining and learn how to do something about it.

To help encourage the admittance of more indie developer’s into this Apple beneficiary enclave, Qantm - a self-proclaimed global media college, is offering the first accredited coursework in iPhone development. The course is “specifically for designers who want to produce games and applications for the world’s most iconic instrument.”

Luckily for students, this particular college experience requires moving to some of the greatest cities in the world, outside of NYC. “Following the London launch, the iPhone course will be available in Qantm colleges throughout the world, including Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich.”

Don’t forget to mention Steve Demeter’s story when you pitch this idea to your financer.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Memorex intros $269 MVBD-2510 Blu-ray Player

High priced Blu-ray technology may have just bought the farm. Finally, Blu-ray players are beginning to drop to a reasonable price. Memorex has just announced their entry into the Blu-ray arena, the Memorex MVBD-2510.

Sporting a price tag of $269.95, this new offering falls in the very sparsely populated category of players under $300. Not quite the bleeding edge tech you get with a profile 2.0 player, but of those who can enjoy a movie without watching every possible extra, this will totally work out just fine.

Product Features

  • Progressive scan Blu-ray Disc player 1080p capability for higher definition video content
  • Full HD 1080p, DVD up-conversion up to 1080p (480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p), 24p, 60p video frame rate
  • Multi-channel audio content (supports more advanced Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD)
  • 16:9 / 4:3 picture select
  • On-screen graphical user interface
  • Slow motion function (2x - 4x - 8x)
  • RW/FF play function (2x - 4x - 8x - 16x)
  • VFD display


  • HDMI v1.3 digital output
  • Component video output
  • S-video output
  • Composite video output
  • Optical audio output
  • Analog 5.1 channel audio output
  • USB 2.0 input

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review of Yamaha YSP-4000 Digital Sound Projector

Today, at one of our distributor's trade shows, I got to see Yamaha's exclusive sound projection technology in action. Admittedly, I was surprised. Their beam technology, present in the YSP-4000, is truly astonishing firsthand. I, like you, was skeptical that a sound "bar" could really give you the surround sound experience that you get with separate speakers. I found out that this technology is much better than I initially thought.

As soon as I stood in the middle of the 5-beam feed from the YSP-4000, I thought for sure they had connected some rear speakers. I turned around; only to find...

it was merely an upright sign that the sound beam was bouncing off of. This was incredible enough on it's own, but then I asked about the tech behind this sound focuser's tricks, and things got really interesting.

Rocking built-in digital amplifiers, which power 40-2W directional speakers and 2-40W stationary ones, this bar servers ups more variety than you local pub ever will. A variety of beam settings means the sound can be directed in a myriad of ways. The most useful of which is the YSP-4000’s directional mode; with this mode the sound can be directed to one area while the other areas of the room receive very little of the sound. If you love loud, but your companion would rather have quiet this Yamaha is a perfect solution. Best of all, you don’t have speaker placement and wires to contend with.

You have to get a Subwoofer to get the full home theater experience, but if you’re looking for the perfect partner for your new HD flat panel television, this is the one.

Other specs include: XM Satellite Radio Ready including XMHD surround, analog video to HDMI Upconversion, HDMI Upscaling (up to 1080i), Dolby Digital, DTS, Neural, and proprietary surround processing.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Interesting New Looks for Sony iPod Docks

iPod-mania hasn’t eased up much since Tuesday’s “Let’s Rock” event got everyone all worked up. Sony is riding this wave of excitement, hopefully all the way to the bank (they’ve been in a bit of a slump, fiscally). But, if they keep pumping out sweet iPod accessories, like these two shiny new jewels, their stockholders should see a tidy sum on their next dividend check.

First up is the latest entry into the Dream Machine line. Donning an interesting circular fa├žade, the ICF-CD3iP will accommodate CDs, iPods, and iPhones of all descriptions. Along with an iPod dock, which charges the device, this dream of a machine will allow other MP3 player to jack in through the line in. Maybe, Sony had their line of player in mind. Other niceties included alarm time exchange between the iPods alarm and the clocks alarm, comprehensive remote, and 30 presets for your AM/FM channel surfing needs. Price is rumored to be hovering around $100, with availability reported to be some time in October.
More iPod alarm clocks

Next, from Sony, is the ZS-S4iP...

This is a Boom-box dock that completely integrates you iPod into the design of the boomer, making for a seamless look that is quite striking after always seeing iPods set apart in their companion devices. The mechanism works much like a cassette deck with an eject button giving you access to the dock. Two 2W speakers provide the aural experience, and the box takes a myriad of CD formats, in addition to the radio tuner. Look for this to be available around October as well with a selling price around $140.
More iPod Boom boxes

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apple's New iPods are Rumors No More

Below are the new iPod ads that are already making the rounds. If you haven't heard, the freshly announced 4th gen Nanos use the accelerometer technology found in the Touch and iPhone, and Apple has ditched the 'stocky like Rocky' look, to ventured back into coveted tall, thin and skinny territory (much like Steve himself). Additionally, new colors match the artsy players to primary and secondary colors, while silver and graphite round out the newly available Nano array.

The iPod Touch got a much needed...
volume control rocker switch, but no GPS. Price cuts did happen, much to my chagrin, and range from minimal to substantial. The updated 2.1 firmware adds a playlist genius, so if you're a mix master skills aren't up to snuff, the device intervenes and helps you fill in the blanks. The Touch has always been more than a media player and Apple's marketing plan reflects their new aspirations for the device, a portable gaming system. This new ad leans toward adding gamers to the loyal music lover demographic.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

iRobot Pet Proves: You Can Teach an Old Robot New Tricks

As much as we love them, our pets tend put us into hairy situations. And, I’m not talking about getting caught not scooping the poop, either. It’s a sad fact that we humans are far too content with constantly cleaning up their hair, dander, and all the other ungodly things our pets get themselves into.

We don’t have to take it anymore. iRobot’s Roomba 530/560 just got an upgrade for those pet parents who have had enough of the endless cleanup...
The 532 and 562 (dubbed the pet series) feature beefed up sweepers and large sweeper bins that hold three and a half times the fur of the previous models.

Priced $349 and $399 respectively, the pricier 562 is clearly the better bot. For a mere $50 bucks more you’re given the option of programming the vacuum to clean on a schedule that works for you. Also, instead of the three rooms you get with one full charge of the 532, you can get one more clean room out of the mechanical maid before it saunters back to it’s charging station.

The Roomba Pet series effortlessly cleans your home’s floors, giving you more time to enjoy the fun part of being a pet owner. These should arrive on our warehouse shelves very shortly.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500, 10MP Digital Still Camera with High Def Video Capture

With the announcement of the Sony Cybershot DSC-T500, Sony’s popular T-series gets a big boost this season. High Definition (720p @ 30fps) video capture has, at last, reached this ultra-compact series. Along with the higher resolution, you’ll have: a choice between wide and full screen recording, up to 10 minutes of recording time per clip, and MPEG4 formatted files with AVC/H.264 codec for video compression and stereo audio files (this keeps files surprising small). In addition, to HD video recording, the Cyber-shot can also capture up to three stills during your youtube uploadable ten minute video shoot.

Most other features are pretty run-of-the-mill (for a t-series model), face detection, large LCD touchscreen, and an ISO of up to 3200. Couple all these features with a newer Carl Ziess 5x optical zoom lens (33-165mm) sporting optical image stabilization, and you’ve got a unique and formidable photo producer that you’ll be proud to brandish.

Press Release

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Apple Event is On

Apple's invite...
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Google Chrome: a Fair, Smart, Safe, and Different Web Browser

Later today, for us on the east coast, Google will launch a completely different type of browser. Chrome is an open source browser that takes a fresh approach to dealing with web page content. Based on the web as it exists today with all the apps, and interactiveity that wasn't there 10 years ago.

Google's supposed internal document explaining the product, a 38 page comic, was first leaked and is now linked to on Google's blog.

With chrome everything is confined and processes execute in their own environment, meaning any JavaScript will load externally in it's own space. Your browser will continue to load anything after the script. Even if the JavaScript process fails the page won't.

And since processes are confined they can also be easily quarantined, thus improving machine security.

The folks at Google use the web just as much, if not more, than we do. So the underlying concern here is an overall improvement in its functionality. To that end, the Gears team built its API into Chrome.

The Gears API's goal, is to improve all browsers. This means, anything that works well will be adopted by Chrome. At the same time, if deemed worthy by others, these native apps developed over web apps will become standards available for all browsers, because it's open source.

Update: it's live!
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