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April 2004

Friday 23 April

  • 17" LCD Monitor for $325 (15:12) - NewEgg has a basic 17" LCD Monitor for $325 with free Fedex shipping. Full Specs Below. Click here to view/order...
  • iPod Mini: Perfect Size Storage (14:34) - Jupiter Research has come out with a survey that indicates 90 of consumers have no more than 1000 songs on their PC... which would all fit perfectly on the 4bg drive of the iPod Mini. Full story at news.com...

Thursday 22 April

  • Good Price on Tivo (12:50) - Amazon currently has a great price on Series 2 Tivo's that let you record, pause, fast forward and playback live TV (requires either a monthly or lifetime subscription ot the Tivo service to work fully): TiVo Series2 40-Hour Digital Video Recorder for $129.94 (after $50 mail-in rebate): Great Price! TiVo Series2 80-Hour Digital Video Recorder for $269.87: ok price TiVo Series2 140-Hour Digital Video Recorder for $349.99 (after $50 mail-in rebate). Good Price!...

Wednesday 21 April

  • Tivo is good for the TV Networks (11:40) - TelevisionWeek reports that TV network execs are starting to admit that Tivo is actually increasing viewership... exactly the opposite of their fears. (thanks PVRBlog)...

Friday 16 April

  • Read RSS feeds on your iPod (16:49) - engadget has a great article on how to get the RSS feed from a blog/website on your iPod. You can get our RSS feed from the right hand column of any page on our site....

Thursday 15 April

  • Ipod Quality Problems (18:54) - Apple's Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations has replied to the reports of problems with the audio jack of the iPod mini coming loose causing sound quality problems. He mostly dismissed the reports and said he was confident of the quality of the iPod minis. Methinks he is going to end up with egg on his face. (more from The Mac Observer)...

Wednesday 14 April

  • Wireless G Router (16:07) - Amazon.com has the Microsoft MN-700 Wireless 802.11g Base Station Router for $46.44 (no rebates needed)....
  • Eye Jewelry Bad (15:55) - Various news organizations and gadget sites reported recently on the new procedure developed in the Netherlands for implanting jewelry into your eyeball. We told you the BBC reported that this can be very dangerous and could cause bleeding and scarring, and now the American Academy of Ophthalmology has come out against the procedure: "My concern would be that it might cause foreign body granuloma or scar tissue," said Academy spokesperson, Wayne Bizer, D.O., a comprehensive ophthalmologist from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "The implant could also allow bacteria to get beneath the conjunctiva causing a serious vision-threatening infection or possibly erode the sclera, the white part of the eye." Dr. Bizer added removing the implant may prove difficult if any of these problems are present. Full Press Release...
  • Dell 20" LCD Monitor $749 again (15:50) - I recommended this LCD at $800 a couple of weeks ago: comparable to a 23" CRT monitor but only a few inches thick. It has both analog and DVI (digital) connectors for your computer and you can connect your cable/satellive tv box via S-Vodeo or composite connectors (no built in tuner, but works with your cable box's built in tuner and remote. Max resolution is 1600x1200 which is easily readable. Dell Small Business has this at 25% off: $749.25 (plus tax/shipping). UPDATE: ENDS TODAY. Best price so far this year, may go another $50 lower by the summer. No coupon code needed, should be on the left of the page when you click the above link....

Tuesday 13 April

  • Chip Head (09:37) - NYTimes reports that the FDA has given approval for a company (Cyberkinetics Inc) to implant a computer chip into the brains of 5 paralyzed people that will hopefully enable them to operate a computer by thought alone. Maybe in 5-10 years we will all be controlling embedded processors in everything we use by thought alone. Update Slashdot is reporting on this now....
  • Google Gmail legal challenge (08:56) - BBC News is reporting that California Democratic Senator Liz Figueroa is drawing up legislation to stop gmail over privacy issues: that Google will read all your private email sent/received through the gmail service and use the contents of your messages for targetted ads. Bad Scenario: you are at work sending a quick private email to let your wife know that your sister called to let you know that your neice got a cold sore on her face: Up pops a big advert on your computer screen asking if you need medicine for Herpes and Cold Sores... co-workers see this! The way I look at it is: why do people need 1gb of email storage... that's what your PC/Laptop/Pocket PC etc is for, set your email client to leaves messages on the server for a few days (in case you accidentally delete something you need) and 10mb of email storage...

Monday 12 April

  • 512MB CF $65 (12:50) - One day deal only: Buy.com's deal of the day is a Viking 512MB Compact Flash card for $65 (after $25 mail-in rebate)....

Sunday 11 April

  • CompUSA Easter Deals (17:45) - CompUSA has 10-20% off lots of things in their Easter sale (exp 4/12): 10% all Cameras* with code bunnyhop 10% all Games with code egghunts 15% all Movies with code cottontail 15% all Accessories with code easteregg 15% all MP3 Players with code basket 20% all Graphic Software with code bunnytrail...

Saturday 10 April

  • Kitchen PC's (11:35) - Techreport.com has an article about building your own PC for the kitchen, I think in a couple of years I will build something similar but will probably fix the SFF case out of sight under a counter and have a LCD attached to the wall....
  • New Compactflash Deals (07:38) - A new set of rebates on Viking Compact Flash cards have shown up. Here are the current best prices at amazon.com: 256mb Viking Compact Flash for $30.84 after $15.00 mail-in rebate. 512mb Viking Compact Flash for $89.49 after $25 mail-in rebate. 1gb Viking Compact Flash for $163.64 after $45 mail-in rebate. If you're looking for a faster card try the SanDisk Ultra II 256 MB Compact Flash Memory Card for $42.94 after $15 mail-in rebate. (9mb/sec transfer rate)...

Friday 9 April

  • Promising new battery technology (09:40) - NE Asia Online reports that NEC has developed a new type of battery called an organic radical battery that holds the same amount of power as your typical digital camera battery but can be recharged in 30 seconds (presumably only if you are connected directly to a power station as I doubt that much power can come out of a household electrical socket in 30 seconds). Battery power is (in my opinion) the main thing holding back miniturization of gadgets at the moment... computing power is increasing in leaps and bounds but what is the use of a tiny MP3 player if the battery only lasts a couple of hours. (thanks Gadget Madness)...

Thursday 8 April

  • Swiss Army Memory Stick (11:47) - Coming May... but does the Swiss Army really need a USB memory stick built into a penknife (with light and pen)???, also don't put anything confidential into it as it will be confiscated the first time you try taking it through airport security in your carry-on bag....
  • Cheap UPS (11:30) - ComputerGeeks.com has a basic 650VA two outlet 110V AC UPS (uninterruptible power supply for just $30 with $10 off promotional code GEEK650. It basically gives you time to save files and close down your PC when there is a power failure. I got a more powerful UPS than this to keep my work PCs and wireless network alive whenever my dog decides to run under the table and sit on the cables or power switches....
  • Eye Jewelry Bad? (11:18) - Various news organizations and gadget sites reported yesterday on the new procedure developed in the Netherlands for implanting jewelry into your eyeball. The BBC is now reporting that this can be very dangerous and could cause bleeding and scarring. Dont think I will be getting this done yet!...
  • Smallest 512mb USB Flash Drive (11:04) - Pretec have just announced the world's smallest 512mb USB flash drive, just 18mm by 40mm by 9mm (0.72 by 1.6 by 0.36 inches). Pretec drives arent the cheapest around but they have some great gadgets on their web site including an 8gb compact flash drive, a 80x speed compact flash drive, and a 1gb MMC card! (thanks engadget)...
  • A Few Gateway Deals (10:55) - Go to any Gateway store before they close tomorrow for great bargains, reportedly everything is reduced 15%+ to clear stock. (go to the Gateway home page and click on "Find A Store". Other Gateway Deals: $25 off any $500+ Gateway purchase with code SAVE25GTW (Exp 4/14) Free Shipping on all Pentium Desktop PCs and Pentium & Centrino Notebooks with code NOSHIP (Exp 4/14) Free 128MB Memory Card with Gateway Digital Cameras & Accessory Kits (exp 4/14) Gateway 310T Pentium 4 Desktop PC w/ 17" monitor for $499 after rebate $400 off Gateway 46" Plasma TV, now $3160 shipped (Exp 4/28)...

Wednesday 7 April

  • Canon S410 Digital Elph (07:46) - Dell Home has a great price on the replacement for the S400. I think this is by far the best small digital camera around: 4 megapixel, 3x optical zoom, records small movies, only 3.43" x 1.09" x 2.24": easily fits in a pocket. This deal ends today!, the price is $399 - automatic 15% off - $30 off $400 coupon code $WKX0D6S40QPCV = $309. (you will need to add something small to your cart to get the total to $400 before applying the coupon)....
  • Talking to God? (07:32) - Cnet reports that Verison Wireless cell phone customers will soon be able to get the Pope's daily message: "To use the service, Verizon Wireless subscribers address a text message to "24444." Within a few seconds, a message returns containing that day's "nondenominational...inspirational message of prayers and guidance," according to a description of the service circulated Tuesday by Acotel."...

Tuesday 6 April

  • Athlon 2600+ PC under $400 (13:53) - ComputerGeeks.com has a Compaq Presarion Athlon XP 2600+ PC with 512mb RAM, 80gb hard drive, and a CDRW/DVD combo drive for just $399 with $50 off promotional code GEEK5000....
  • 250GB HDTV Tivo (13:35) - Photos posted over on the Tivo Community site of the DirectTV High Definition Tivo due to be release sometime this month. If you own a TV you should visit the Tivo Community site, they have all the latest news on Tivo as well as hints and tips on how to "enhance" your TV (just like mine is enhanced with a much bigger second hard drive :)...
  • Future of Flat Panels (13:24) - Extremetech has a report from the DisplaySearch Conference: 50" LCD screens and OLEDs... very interesting. I cant wait until a 50" LCD is a reasonable price. (Thanks Gizmodo)...
  • Buy.com 48 HR Sale (13:20) - It's time for another Buy.com 48 hour sale. (ends 4/7) Some good deals are: Trendware 5-port ethernet switch: $8 after rebate Viking 512mb Compact Flash card: $80 after rebate Viking 256mb Compact Flash card: $35 after rebate Viking 256mb Secure Digital card: $45 after rebate...

Monday 5 April

  • Gateway Laptop Deal (15:59) - Gateway have an extra $150 off their M305X Laptop with coupon code SAVE150NB (expires 4/7) for a final price of $849. Its a fairly basic Laptop: 2.5Ghz celeron, 512mb ram, 30gb hard drive, CD-RW/DVD combo drive, 15" XGA screen. (no 802.11 wireless)....
  • Current Compact Flash Deals (15:49) - The rebates we told you about last month expired but a new set have shown up. Her are the current best prices at amazon.com: 256mb Viking Compact Flash for $40.94 after $15.00 mail-in rebate. 512mb Viking Compact Flash for $114.49 (I recommend waiting for a new rebate on this one). 1gb Viking Compact Flash for $218.14 (I recommend waiting for a new rebate on this one). If you're looking for a faster card try the SanDisk Ultra II 256 MB Compact Flash Memory Card for $57.94. (9mb/sec transfer rate)...
  • CreativeLabs Audigy ZS Gamer PCI Soundcard (15:39) - Looking for a new soundcard? Amazon has the CreativeLabs Audigy 2 ZS Gamer PCI Soundcard for $98.99 after $35 mail-in rebate. This comes bundled with 5 full version games: Halo Combat Evolved, Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (Includes 3 additional missions). If you value each game at $20 you are basically getting the card for free. The card was reviewed by Gamersdepot who gave it a score of 5 and a half out of 5 and a "drool award", and Cnet gives it 8.3 out of 10....

Friday 2 April

  • Quiet Weekend (12:02) - No posts over the weekend: My Mum is visiting from England and we are off to DC to see the sights..... I could take my laptop with me and do updates but I think I would have my priorities messed up if I did!...
  • Gateway Closing Stores (11:56) - Gateway have announced they are closing all their 188 remaining retail stores on April 9th. This is all tied into their acquisition of eMachines and the replacing of gateway founder Ted Wyatt at Gateway CEO with eMachines CEO Wayne Inouye. Expect to see a change of strategy for Gateway over the next few months with less home gadgets and monitors and more cheap PCs....
  • Wireless Media Players (11:50) - Cnet has a review of 4 different wireless media players, devices that wirelessly stream music (and in some cases pictures and video) from your PC to your TV. They review the Slim Devices Squuzebox, the Icube Play@TV NMP-4000, the Prismiq MediaPlayer and the Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music. The Prismiq Media Player got the highest rating and can be found at Amazon for $199.99 with Free Shipping...

Thursday 1 April

  • Xbox price cut (15:58) - Gamestop has the Xbox in stock at the new reduced prices: New Xbox - $149.99, Refurbished Xbox $129.99, Preowned Xbox $119.99. They also have free 2 day shipping with code XBX2DAY (exp 4/14)...
  • April Fools? (10:06) - Tech companies have a history of April Fools Jokes, here are the ones we have spotted so far: Google's new email service with 1 gigabyte of space for everyone Windows Mobile based Smartphone from Sony Ericsson Left-Handed Cellphone Update: Google insists that gmail isn't a joke: I will wait and see if it works out, people are complaining about privacy concerns already....
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ShinyPlastic is brought to you by Search Network and operated by Mark:

Mark is a thirty-something guy living in New York who loves to own the latest tech gadgets but also loves a positive bank balance.

Mark visited gadget sites that list every upcoming gadget but dont let you buy them, and coupon sites that list great deals but don't tell you what is hot; hence Shiny Plastic, how to get the nice Shiny Plastic tech gadgets without ruining your credit.

Mark reviews every fun gadget that he buys, searches other technology sites for interesting items, and regularly searches all the online stores for the best deals.
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