Archive for September, 2009

CNET top 5 Products for September

Tom Merritt of CNET posted a video reviewing top 5 products. These are the most popular buys. Here is the CNET list.

  1. ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Notebook
  2. Apple iPhone 3GS
  3. Sony PS3 Slim
  4. Windows 7

  5. LG enV Touch

Watch the video.

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Kindle 2 eBook Reader

The second generation Kindle is quite an improvement over the first generation device. The first one was too clunky, it was too easy to turn the pages by accident. On the new device you need to push the inner edge of the buttons, not the outside, to turn the page. The buttons are located in more intuitive places.

The original Kindle was very unattractive. In my personal opinion, it is still not as sleek-looking as a Sony Reader. But the design improved significantly. And the navigation changed. Now you have a 5 positin joystick. Using the joystick, you can navigate the cursor to any word on the page and a dictionary definition will show at the bottom. But it still takes a while to get there. I wish they had a track ball or something similar.

I wish the screen had a better contrast, I wish it was in color. Some people wish it had a backlight. Lack of the backlight does not bother me in the least. If necessary, you can always attach a book light to your device. I wish the navigation was better for the periodicals – at least as good as for books.

The advantage over books is that you can make your text larger. It is cool that you can buy and download a book from Amazon store in seconds over Amazon’s wi-fi. It is not cool that they still use proprietary document format and you cannot just transfer a text or a PDF file from your computer to your Kindle. You still need to send a document to a Kindle email address to get converted. And it will cost you too. With Sony it is way easier to transfer a document to a Reader.

Now, Kindle added text-to-speech capability. After a huge debate with Writers Guild who did not like that, Amazon allows the writers to turn off that capability on their books, if they wish. Silly. The computer-generated voice is never going to run audio books out of business. But be aware, that not all the books will be read to you.

Another handy feature is that if you have an iPhone, there is a free Kindle app available which will allow you to read any book you purchased through a Kindle store. You don’t even need to have a Kindle. But if you do, iPhone will get synchronized with your Kindle. So, if you are in the middle of reading a book on your Kindle, and then switched to iPhone to continue to read it, the iPhone will move to the spot where you left off. There is also a way to make annotations on it and save them to your web Kindle account as notes. Sweet!

A bigger, more expensive Kindle is available: Kindle DX: Amazon’s 9.7″ Wireless Reading Device. But really, why get this one? I think, it is too much money for what you are getting.

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Jabra Halo Bluetooth Headset

Jabra Halo Headset is a pretty cool new gadget from Jabra. It is very modern-looking and folds to save space and to turn it off. When you unfold the headset, push on the hinge on each side to secure the headset and turn it on. The headset does not have on/off switch.
The headphones are over-the-ear and very comfortable. Some reviews mentioned that the base could be better. But if you do not care for a lot of base, you will like them because the sound quality is excellent. The best part is that they also have dual microphones on both sides. And you can pair the headset with 2 bluetooth devices at the same time. Listen to your music and when a call comes in, the music fades and you can take the call. There are controls on the sides of the headset – you can not only adjust the volume, but control forward/back functions. Yes, it supports both A2DP and AVRCP.
Buy Jabra Halo Headset. Price: $129.99.

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Moshi Voice-Activated Alarm Clock

Meet Moshi – the voice control digital alarm clock! Simply say “Hello Moshi,” followed by what you want. Moshi responds to 12 basic commands. Commands include “time,” “alarm,” “set time,” “set alarm,” “turn off alarm,” “sleep sound,” “night light” and more. Speak the commands exactly as directed or you will get errors.

Plus, you can choose from three different alarm sounds and three soothing sleep sound programs. Uses three AAA backup batteries (not included). AC adapter included. Alarm will shut off by touch or voice.

There are buttons on the back of the clock to change the volume. There are three settings.  The night light can be changed too.  Set it to single or to multi. There are only three sleep sounds lasting 15 minutes. Nightlight colors are bright. Customers mention that if you do not have the nightlight on in the dark, you cannot see the clock.

Get the Moshi Alarm Clock on Amazon.com

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-09-28

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New Ebook Readers from Sony

Sony unveiled 3 new ebook readers last month: Reader Touch Edition, Reader Pocket Edition, and Reader Daily Edition (available later this year). These products are considered to be direct competitors to Amazon Kindle – you will be able to buy books directly on the device from Sony Book Store. Daily Edition will have 3G from AT&T (available in the US only). All new ebook readers from Sony will be available for purchase worldwide.

Sony claims that it will have better book selection. They are partnering with libraries and allow library members to borrow books directly from their ebook reader. These library partnerships can make every single book available for download to the device in the partner libraries.

Sony is also partnering with Google to get public domain books. Those books are already available on the internet free of charge, but the convenience factor is huge.

The main question, however, remains – can you get the books you want? It does not matter, how many books are available as long as you can bet best sellers and popular titles.

Currently, the Sony Book Store is impressive. The prices are quite reasonable. Borrowing books is definitely a great feature that would differentiate Sony Reader from Kindle. Another Reader feature that is not available on Kindle, is touch screen. Sony uses it to change pages with a flick.

Of course, true to the tradition, Sony is unveiling their new proprietary epub format. It would be interesting to see if Amazon will start selling epub ebooks in their store.

Sony® Reader Pocket Edition Digital Book
E Ink® Vizplex paper-like screen technology makes reading easy, even in direct sunlight. Reader Pocket has elegant, lightweight design with 5″ display. Carry up to 350 of your favorite books at a time.
This model does not have touch screen. Comes in blue, grey, and pink.

Price: $199.99
Sony® Reader Touch Edition Digital Book
Reader Touch Edition™ lets you access up to 350 (or more with memory expansion card slots) of your favorite books from anywhere. It has 6″ display with touch screen navigation, freehand highlighting and annotation.
Get books from Sony eBook Store and over one million free public domain titles from Google Books.
This model comes in black, grey, and red.

Price: $299.99
Kindle: Amazon’s 6″ Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation)
Thin and light, Kindle is as easy to hold and use as a book. Kindles page-turning buttons are located on both sides, allowing you to read and turn pages comfortably with one hand. Kindle has a new easy-to-use 5-way controller, enabling precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words. Kindle is completely wireless and ready to use right out of the box–no setup, no cables, no computer required. You can read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. Whispernet utilizes Amazons optimized technology plus Sprints national high-speed (3G) data network to enable you to wirelessly search, discover, and download content on the go. Your books and periodicals are delivered via Whispernet in less than 60 seconds. And unlike WiFi, you never have to hunt for a hotspot.

Price: $299.00
Kindle DX: Amazon’s 9.7″ Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation)
Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages.
Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.

Price: $489.00
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Top 5 Cell Phones from CNet

Tom Merritt of CNET posted a video reviewing top 5 cell phones reviewed by customers. Here is the CNET list.

  1. Palm Pre (Sprint)
    Despite of a crammed keyboard and bad battery life, Palm Pre makes up in style, solid web browsing, and excellent touch interface.

    Price: $99.99 from Amazon with new service plan.

  2. RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 (T-Mobile or AT&T)

    According to consumers, Blackberry Curve 8900 is the best BlackBerry phone going. It has great design, faster performance and feature rich. The only thing missing is 3G.

    Price: $0.01 from Amazon with new service plan. When the deal is off, it is $399.99

  3. Apple iPhone 3GS

    The usual complaints are about call quality and signal reception. However, iPhone 3GS has fantastic design, intuitive and friendly interface and amount of features like no other phone.

    Price: $299

  4. Samsung Memoir T929
    This is an ultimate camera phone boasting 8.0 megapixel camera. Navigation is a breeze. Performance and features are excellent. The phone’s web browser, howerver, is lacking.

    Price: $149.99 with $200 LetsTalk instant discount

  5. LG enV Touch

    This phone has great design, multitude of features and 2 displays of QWERTY keyboard. It has 3.2 megapixel camera as well. Wi-Fi is missing, but if you have good EVDO coverage with Verizon in your area, you will not miss it.

    Price: $99

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Razer DeathAdder 3G Infrared Gaming Mouse

Razer DeathAdder 3G Infrared Gaming Mouse is a great gift for a gamer. It is a simple, modern-looking gaming mouse. This mouse has a 3G 1800dpi infrared sensor 5 programmable buttons. On-The-Fly sensitivity drivers let you switch dpi settings in the midst of a battle.
Most customers comment on the very comfortable ergonomic shape of the mouse. The left and right buttons have an up-and-out curve that is very comfortable to rest your fingers on. The mouse is fast and allows extreme control. Oh, did I mention that it glows in the dark? Well, you can turn that off, actually.
You need to upgrade the firmware to use the mouse.

Price: $45.18

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Qosmio X505 by Toshiba: awesome look, great for gaming

credit CNet

credit CNet

Dan Ackerman from CNet reviewed the new Toshiba Qosmio X505. This new laptop is a good candidate for a desktop replacement. It has 18.4-inch display and Intel Core i7-720QM. It will cost around $1,500, and will be available on October 22 with Windows 7 installed.

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T-Pack Laptop Case

credit Timbuk2

credit Timbuk2

credit Timbuk2

credit Timbuk2

Timbuk2 T-Pack Laptop Case is pretty nice if you want to carry just your netbook around. It is small, will fit in any bag, and has backpack straps. Zip pocket at the bottom can be used for your power adapter. The bag will fit notebooks up to 10″ and sells for $30.

Reviews mention cons: not enough pockets, too small for some notebooks, fits only essentials (usb sticks, power cable). Pros: small, practical, great for travel.

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MSI’s Wind U110 ECO

MSI Wind U110 Eco

(credit Engadget)

MSI Wind U100-641US is a beautiful 10 inch notebook. 9 cell battery promises 15 hours of life on a single charge. Quick specs: Intel Atom 1.6 GHz Processor, 160 GB SATA Hard Drive, Windows XP Home Edition, etc. Weighs 4.3 pounds.

3 cell notebook available from Amazon.com for under $300. 5 cell version will be shipping from NewEgg for $399.99 on October 22, 2009.

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Top 30 must-have Blu-ray Discs – from CNet

For some who appreciate new technology and high quality video, Blu-ray players became a reality. CNet editors report that the fastest players they’ve tested are the LG BD390, Sony PlayStation 3, and the Samsung BD-P3600. And the CNet award for the fastest Blu-ray player went to the Samsung BDP-1600.

Unfortunately, the video selection is still not great. But if you are already looking for Christmas ideas, check out CNet Top 30 must-have Blu-ray Discs list. Below are the top 5.

Baraka
This movie was filmed in 24 countries and in high definition which is suited so well for Blu-ray. The soundtrack encompasses the cultures of those countries and creates the feel of belonging. The movie connects various peoples and the spaces they inhabit, drawing unexpected parallels.

Black Hawk Down
Perfect movie for a Blu-ray showcase. The detail is so much more vivid. Like other war movies, you are put in the middle of events and high-def video intensifies the experience. Great soundtrack too.
Blade RunnerBlade Runner
Remastered from the original, this disc has bonus features and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Five DVDs are included in the box set. The low light scenes have better details.
Braveheart
1080p High Definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Epic soundtrack compliments the grand scoping shots of Scottish highlands. Watching this movie in high-def is a breathtaking experience.
Bolt
Great family entertainment now available in high-def. It looks 3D. With better video quality this movie becomes somehow more engaging. The disc is packed with bonus features.

View the rest of the list.

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Elgato Turbo: working with HD video make easy

Elgato Turbo.264

Elgato Turbo.264

High definition video is hard to work with if you do not have the right equipment. Transferring high def video to a computer or a web site or your iPod can be time-consuming. Elgato Turbo.264 HD is a great solution to speed up the process. Convert any video into all popular formats and play it on your iPhone or share on the web. The result is a high-quality H.264 file in standard or HD resolution in a small file size. Beware, however, that the quality is not as good as you can achieve using QuickTime Pro or iMovie applications.

You can process your footage as well: preview, crop, and combine clips into one movie, or batch process multiple videos. It allows you to upload video into your YouTube account. Unfortunately, it works only on a MAC. Price: $129.95.

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Pinnacle Video Transfer: press, transfer, go

PVT

PVT


 

Pinnacle Video Transfer Gadget (PVT) offers an easy way to put video on your iPod, PSP, or a USB device. Copy analog video from any source in MPEG-4 quality to any USB 2.0 storage device without using a PC at a touch of a button. Or use a PC to store your recordings.

Here is how to use PVT. Power it up, connect a USB device on one end, connect your video source on the other end.  PVT supports RSA, composite and s-video input.  Use S-video input for better quality. Press REC button to record.  Press REC button again to stop recording. That simple.  PVT can record directly to most iPods and PSP.

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Travelon Sheets: compact soap away from home

If you are planning to go on a short trip, check out Travelon Sheets.  These sheets dissolve in water and become an instant shampoo, conditioner , body wash, laundry soap, hand soap, etc.

All sheets are TSA (Transportation Security Administration) compliant. You can put them in your carry-on: slide through airport security checkpoints because you are not carrying liquid.  The sheets are compact – half the size of a cell phone. Safe for the environment (biodegradable), the sheets are under $3 for a pack of 50 sheets. You can use them as soap for camping or any other adventure where resources are limited.

I suggest you try the sheets before you take them on your trip.  Customers who used them indicate that if you have long hair, the product does not work as well: it clumps up and hard to rinse off.

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