When Belkin killed its FlyWire, it also put a serious hurtin’ on the hopes of wireless HDTV ever truly taking off in the near term. Granted, the device was horrifically overpriced, but it was easily the most well-known product in the fledgling sector. Now, however, it seems that a few other players are sneaking into the limelight, with Philips recently introducing its sub-$1,000 Wireless HDTV Link and Sony pricing its DMX-WL1 for the everyman. Today, Best Buy’s own Rocketfish has introduced its WirelessHD Adapter, a two-piece set that enables a single HDMI device to be connected to an HDMI-enabled HDTV sans cabling. You simply plug your source into one box and your HDTV into another; so long as the two are within 33 feet of one another, 1080p content can be slung without wires. It’s up for order right now at $599.99, which — amazingly enough — is actually more expensive than that 30-foot Monster HDMI cable you were secretly eying.
For most people, the image of a portable voice recorder is typically associated with the idea of journalism, but also with those old, large-size cassette recorders that have been around for a very long period of time. However, as the audio cassette became obsolete, even voice recorders went digital, modern-age miniaturization rendering even these things extremely tiny.
In any case, the device you’ll read about as follows represents a very good example of the fact that, nowadays, voice recorders come in all shapes and sizes, since, at a first glance, the USB Voice Recorder presented by the brits over at ThumbsUp looks very similar to a USB flash drive, and a low-cost one, for that matter.
The device packs 2GB of flash memory, which, apparently, are enough for holding up to 40 hours of audio recording. And since we’re on this issue, we’ll also have to mention that the recording format is the pretty widespread WAV, the recording bit rate being set at 128KBPS, the audio sampling rate at 32Khz, while the frequency range is set between 20HZ—20KHZ.
The recording process is also a very simple one, since all the users have to do is just switch it on, and the device will immediately start recording audio to its internal memory. When one wants to play back the audio recordings, he/she will have to plug it into a USB port on a computer to copy and save the files and then play them like they’d play some music.
Also worth noting is the fact that, while connected to the USB port, the device also gets recharged, the built-in 100 mAh / 3.7V Lithium internal rechargeable battery providing around four hours of functioning life after a full charge.
The suggested retail price for the USB Voice Recorder from ThumbsUp has been set at around 30 pounds sterling (USD50), which is more or less OK, especially if you’re looking for a very simple-to-use device to employ occasionally for taking self-notes, mostly. If you’re a journalist, however, you might want to look for something a little more evolved.
Nintendo’s been doing a bit of digging and it turns out it’s already won the console wars. If we’re only talking about the ladies, that is. A whopping 80% of American female primary gamers (the person who primarily uses the console rather than the occasional dabblers) do their thing on the Wii, which we see as a clear indication to the graphics-obsessed Xbox 360 and PS3 developers that women prefer their games to be fun to play, rather than just look at. Maybe if we also stopped dressing female characters in swimsuits, they’d find non-Wii games relatable too — that’s just a guess though, probably wrong.
Don’t you find it ironic that, with so many storage solutions being made available for the public, users still need more storage? We’ve got flash drives, hard disk drives of all sizes, form factors, as well as capacities, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, solid state drives and a lot of other ways to store our files safely and securely. I don’t know if you remember but, some time ago (in May I think), I wrote about something that Germalto invented, namely the YuuWaa drive.
A device that combines a flash drive with an online service offering an increased size at quite a low price. Which is more than I can say about regular, physical-only flash drives such the ones coming from Kingston, for example. Back then, all they offered was a 12GB combination between a 4GB USB flash drive and an 8GB online capacity, and the YuuWaa Plus, a a storage device that offered 24GB of storage by combining an 8GB physical flash drive with 16GB of online storage.
Well, the YuuWaa has advanced, ladies and gentlemen, and the YuuWaa Go that previously offered 12GB of storage now offers 24 (aka the same size as the YuuWaa Plus), while the YuuWaa Plus now comes with a capacity of 58GB of combined storage thanks to an 8GB flash drive and 50GB of online storage capacity. Call me paranoid, but I, for one, have yet to trust an online storage service, no matter how private or secure it is said to be.
I don’t know about you, but storing my files online on somebody else’s server does not sound like such a safe thing, no matter how many safety precautions you take. They are both available for a price of 19.99 pounds and 29.99 pounds, respectively.
With LG predicting a 3D television market in excess of 30 million units by 2012 and Samsung busily promoting its related world’s firsts, you’d better believe that these powerful South Korean “chaebols” have their government’s full support when it comes to delivering 3D content. Just today the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) announced its drive to start beaming 3D broadcasts in Full HD quality sometime in 2010 — licensing begins in January with first broadcasts expected mid-year. Unlike those 3D satellite broadcasts tested in Japan and the UK, Korea will deliver its 3D content through its terrestrial networks. Of course, Korea’s pay-TV providers want in on the action too, with CJ HelloVision set to offer 3D content through its video-on-demand offerings in the next “week or two.” CJ HelloVision will initially target about 300 households with plans to extend the service to 1,000 homes by 2012. Viewers will need yet another set-top box to view 3D content likely limited to “cartoons” at first. Pricing has not been set and it’s entirely possible that 3D VoD titles will be free at first in order to build momentum and to ensure viewer lock-in of the all important child demographic.
No rest for the weary seems to be iBUYPOWER’s motto, because, yet again, it has announced not one, not two, but five new systems featuring Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II processors, as well as an ASETEK CPU liquid cooling solution. The five systems do not only have very interesting specifications, but also adequate pricing for most gamer categories and their pockets alike.
First of all, the Gamer Supreme 979 SLC. It comes with an Intel Core i7 975 running at 3.33GHz, with 12GB of DDR3 memory, two NVIDIA GTX295 graphics cards, 128GB of SSD storage and also a 1.5TB hard drive. Add a Blu-ray HD DVDRW Combo Drive and the 240mm ASETEK liquid cooling solution and I think you will understand why the system costs… USD3,999. What a bummer, right?
If you’re on a budget but also want something that is good enough to run every game on the market at the highest of settings, you could opt for the 922SLC, which offers an NVIDIA GeForce GT220 graphics card, as well as an Intel Core i7 860 processor running at 2.8GHz and 4GB of DDR3 system memory. Regarding storage, there’s a 500GB hard drive just waiting to be filled.
Or, of course, you could go for the Gamer Supreme 919SLC, which comes with 8GB of DDR3, 1GB of storage, a Core i7 870 (2.93 GHz) processor and the ATI Radeon HD4890 graphics card. Along the same line is the 559 Gamer Supreme that comes with a Phenom II X4 965, running at a speed of 3.4GHz and uses NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX295 GPU. Memory and storage are the same as in the case of the 919 Supreme.
Last but not least is the Gamer Supreme 929 SLC that costs 2,499.99 dollars and sports dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 graphics cards, an Intel Core i7 975 processor and 8GB of DDR3 memory. Don’t you hate not saving some extra cash just about now?
Surveys are really like a bad reality show or a train wreak, we just can’t help but read them and this latest one from Frank N. Magid Associates is really something. Beyond the usual suspects, like only 63 percent of HD owners believing they are watching HD, is the fact that 13 percent of the respondents said they’d never heard of Hi-Def. We’d just love to hear how this question was phrased, because even the most introvert technophobes that we know have heard of HD. In fact we just can’t think of a scenario where someone who lives on the grid wouldn’t know what HD is.
If you happened to have had a go at Amazon’s Kindle portable eBook reader, you might have noticed a few “nagging” aspects about it, including not a particularly huge battery life, and, worst of all, absolutely “no love” for the PDF format (there are other things to be said as well, but we promise to tell you more in the near future, when we’ll publish a full hands-on review of Amazon’s reader). However, it seems that Amazon’s team of engineers was keen on solving these pending issues quite quickly and recently released an update especially for this purpose.
So, by updating to this new firmware version via Whispernet, users will be able to enjoy 85 percent more battery life and a native PDF reader (the last improvement only available in the case of certain, older Kindle models). This translates into a battery life of up to seven days even with wireless turned on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of four days. Battery life with wireless turned off remains at the previous level of up to two weeks.
Amazon also announced today that the 6-inch Kindle now had a built-in native PDF reader that enabled Kindle customers to read professional and personal documents in their original PDF format without conversion. To read the documents in PDF format, users will have to either email them to their Kindle email address or move them over using a USB connection. Customers that prefer having their PDF documents converted to the Kindle format simply type “Convert” in the subject of the e-mail when sending documents to their “@kindle.com” address.
“Kindle, already the #1 bestselling, most wished for, and most gifted product on all of Amazon.com, is now even better—with 85 percent more battery life and a built-in PDF reader,” Ian Freed, vice president, Amazon Kindle, said. “These two significant enhancements are available now.”
As mentioned above, users who already own a kindle will be able to download and install the firmware update via Whispernet, while all new Kindle devices sold from now on will automatically provide this enhanced level of functionality.
Considering the proliferation of 3G, WiFi, in-home broadband, and front-facing cameras on phones, you’d think that there’d be far more obvious ways to bridge video calls between phones and PCs — but alas, it’s virtually impossible, particularly in the States where carriers have a complete aversion to the topic. Enter Fring — one of the mobile industry’s VoIP pioneers that has spread its love from Symbian to almost every smartphone platform worth mentioning over the years — which is stepping out today with a new build for S60 handsets that offers video support through Skype. The way we see it, this is great news for a couple of reasons: one, Skype is one of the few videoconferencing systems with widespread traction, and two, this suddenly makes front-facing cams useful to a whole swath of Nokia users on networks (ahem, AT&T and T-Mobile) that don’t offer video calling themselves. Whether we actually use it is another story altogether, but hey, it’s cool to have it if we absolutely must see your beautiful face face right now in stunning low fidelity.
Nowadays, it seems there’s an adapter for anything. Whether you need an eSATA port, more USB ports or God knows what unheard of type of connection, there is an adapter that will make that happen even if your computer cannot theoretically handle it. And they keep getting better and better. Speaking of upgraded devices, the Atlona HDAiR wireless USB-to-VGA slash HDMI adapter now comes with audio support as well.
The new HDAiR now comes with the ability of outputting audio in 3.5mm analog form, but it is also embedded on the HDMI output itself. It is compatible with any projector or HD TV and can output images at resolutions of 1440 x 1050 (VESA) or 720p (PC). As far as the actual range is concerned, the computer can be accessed from as much as 30 feet (that’s ten meters, if you’d rather have the metric measurement). As far as aspect ratios are concerned, images will be shown in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.
It is able to mirror or extend the display and comes with the VGA and HDMI connectivity, both of which are active at the same time. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows XP, with drivers offering Windows 7 compatibility being made available in early December. Seeing how, without the addition of audio, the device was quite useless, the Atlona HDAiR has now become quite the interesting gadget.
With the holiday season coming, you probably want to get it for yourself or make it a gift to your Gears of War-playing grandma. Well, it is available for purchase at a suggested price of 219 USD. Whether you get it to show off your character’s might in World of Warcraft or stream media from HULU or YouTube, the HDAiR will help you do it.