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July 2004

Friday 30 July

  • Netgear WGR-101 802.11g Travel Router Review (12:49) - netgear WGR101 wireless 802.11g travel router
  • Creative Zen Touch Update (12:17) - The Creative Zen Touch 20gb MP3/WMA player with the cute scrollpad and claimed 32 hour battery life seems to be shipping soon from Amazon.com (currently showing as shipping in 1-2 weeks, which is better than iPod mini availability). In related news, a press release on the Asian Creative site mentions that a 40gb Zen Touch will be available soon. Buy the 20gb Zen Touch now through Amazon.com for $269.99 and get free shipping and a $50 gift certificate towards your next purchase....

Thursday 29 July

  • Logitech MX900 Bluetooth Optical Mouse Review (13:50) - logitech MX900 bluetooth Optical Mouse Review
  • $8.99 Batteries for Canon Cameras (07:31) - The Canon NB-1LH battery fits most Powershot Digital Elph Cameras: S100, S110, S200, S230, S300, S330, S400, S410, and S500. If, like me, you take a lot of photos you will have realized that after a few recharges the battery starts lasting for less and less time. Mine got so bad I looked around for a replacement Powershot battery and found a great deal: Batteries made by Canon cost $58.99, but Amazon has what looks like a good discount, 32% off making the price $39.94. However, there are non-Canon batteries available from as little as $4 a battery plus $4.99 shipping. "Brand new 14 days no-risk money back guarantee + warranty. Canon NB-1LH Equiv. made by 3rd party, NOT by Canon." You aren't buying direct from Amazon but the sellers have a lot of positive feedback, I ordered one and it arrived promptly and works well. Here's the link...
  • Free Gmail Giveaway: Ends 8/15 (07:06) - Gmail, the 1gb free email service from Google, has been updated with some new features: you can now import contacts from Outlook and other programs, you can have a signature on all your emails, and the Safari browser is now supported. We also have one more Gmail invite to giveaway: All you have to do is email (tips@shinyplastic.com) your first name, last name and email address (google needs those for the invite) before August 14th, we will then pick one winner at random on August 15th and send then the invite. Update: Congrats to Craig S who won the invite. We now have 6 more invites and other prizes to give away (new drawing ends September 30th). Click here for more information....

Wednesday 28 July

  • Axim X30 Review Finished (12:44) - The 2 week business trip/stress test review of the Axim X30, Netgear WGR-101 router, and iGo Juice power supply has been completed and posted. Axim X30 Review...

Tuesday 27 July

  • Dell Axim X30: New Coupon: $269 (14:41) - Dell has a new $30 off $300 coupon for today only: coupon code XS8$J1?XDFH94G (expires after 1500 uses). This combined with an automatic 15% discount brings the price of the 624mhz Dell X30 Pocket PC down to an all-time low of $269. Be careful entering the code, it doesn't work if you go though the configuration screen to add accessories. Here's how I got it to work: Click the link below, scroll down to "Hot Sellers" on the left side of the page, click on the hot sellers link for the Dell 624mhz Axim X30, and add to cart, then you can apply the coupon. If you end up on any screen that allows you to customize the X30 you have gone the wrong way and their system won't recognise the coupon! For more info and to order click here...
  • Tissot High-T Smartwatch (13:52) - Swiss watch company Tissot and Microsoft have announced the launch of a new Smartwatch: the Tissot High-T. The High-T joins the existing Smartwatches by Fossil, Suunto, and Abacus and is, in my opinion, the most stylish of the Smartwatches: more solid metal and less plastic than the others. Smartwatches use the FM radio band and a Microsoft technology called SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) to wirelessly transmit sports, weather, news, stocks, lottery results, etc to the watch (requires a subscription to MSN Direct, 6 months subscription included with the watch). Microsoft Press Release High-T Review at SpotStop.com...
  • Turn your iPod into a remote control (13:28) - Engadget's weekly how-to article this week is about how to turn your iPod (any flavor will do) into a universal infrared remote control. While this seems like a great idea here's what I don't get... you need an iPod, a Pocket PC, a PC or Mac with sound recording software, and a hardware IR device... so why not just use the Pocket PC as the remote control?? Many Pocket PC's these days are designed with a good IR range and there is software available to make your Pocket PC act as a universal remote control (some Pocket PC's (such as some iPaq's even ship with free versions of that software) Here are some programs for your pocket pc: Vito Remote (hmm, the name sounds a lot like Tivo, what a coincidence) TV Remote Controller (with voice activated commands) Novii Remote Alternatively if you have a media PC and want...

Monday 26 July

  • Dell 2001fp 20" LCD: $709 (or $659) (09:07) - I originally recommended this LCD at $800, then at $750, saying it may go as low as $700 this summer, well that time is now here. It is a great monitor, comparable to a 23" CRT monitor but only a few inches thick. It has both analog and DVI (digital) connectors for your computer and you can connect your cable/satellive tv box via S-Vodeo or composite connectors (no built in tuner, but works with your cable box's built in tuner and remote. Max resolution is 1600x1200 which is easily readable. 2001FP 20" Monitor at Dell Home COUPON VALID TODAY ONLY. Here's what you do: click the above link which should show the monitor at 20% off, apply coupon 9TQTSRPK$JCDST (expires 7/30) to get 25% off instead of 20%, apply coupon ?322?H2ST5?V4V (expires 7/26, or after 1500 uses) for $40 off $400, giving a price of $709 with free shipping....

Wednesday 21 July

  • How the iPod Came To Be (06:45) - Wired has an interesting interview with Ben Knauss, part of the team that designed and built the original iPod for Apple... lots of good behind the scenes info. Here's my favorite part of the story: Knauss stayed on until near the end of the iPod's development, but quit shortly before it was released because he had no confidence it would be a success. "It was probably a mistake, but then you have to go with what you think at the time," he said. Wired Article...

Tuesday 20 July

  • Faster Broadband From Verizon "Fios" (22:10) - Verizon has begun installing high-speed fiber optic cables to homes in Texas, California and Florida as a faster alternative to DSL or Cable Broadband high-speed Internet services. The service, called Fios, offers 5 megabits per second download speed for $39.95 per month or 15 megabits for $49.95. There will also be a 30 megabits offering that isn't priced yet. Verizon hopes to have this service in a million homes in 9 states by the end of the year. Press Release (thanks extremetech)...

Sunday 18 July

  • VGA Pocket PC Information (22:27) - Firstloox.org has a comparison of what's known about the three upcoming VGA resolution Pocket PCs: the HP iPAQ hx4705, the Asus a730 (BT/Wifi), and the Loox 720. The 4700 series ipaq (here listed as 4705) seems to be setting the pace with 128mb RAM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 1.2 and a 4" display. If you dont mind the high price tag, the touchpad, and the lack of a camera (really, who needs a crappy camera built into your pocket pc and your phone when you can just carry a 5mp Canon S500) this could be a great Pocket PC. Here is the comparison...
  • New iPod Details & Photo (21:19) - Details are leaking out about the new iPods which are rumored to be launched later today. A picture is available from the cover of this weeks Newsweek magazine, amd msnbc reports that the new iPod is a little (1mm or 1/25th of an inch) thinner, has about 50% more battery life, and will be $100 cheaper than the old iPods for the same size hard drive (20gb or 40gb). Predicted features that are missing are a 60gb hard drive (maybe later this year), color screen, and colors other than white for the case. Large version of the Newsweek cover Update: The new iPods have been released as predicted, no surprises in what the look like and what their specifications are....

Monday 12 July

Friday 9 July

  • Buy.com Phone Number (11:50) - Buy.com's phone number is pretty difficult to find. They don't list the phone number anywhere on the buy.com web site. I needed the buy.com phone number to call their customer support to see if my wireless router (with next day shipping) would be shipping in time for my business trip, after some sleuthing online I found the number: 1-877-780-2464 If you find this buy.com phone number helpful please consider bookmarking my Store Directory and starting from there when you buy something online. Using those links helps pay my hosting costs etc. Thanks! Warning: Don't expect the customer support people on the buy.com phone number to be all that helpful, they cant tell any more than what's listed on the web site, in my case they thought my order was still in the warehouse even though I found at later that it had been shipped 3 hours before I called them....
  • Dell Axim X30: New Coupon: $294 (07:20) - Dell has a new $20 off $300 coupon for today only: coupon code TWPXKZKZK21W2? (expires after 1500 uses). This brings the price of the 624mhz Dell X30 Pocket PC down to a all-time low of $294. Be careful entering the code, you need to make sure you have the ? on the end. Also hearing reports that it doesnt work if you go though the configuration screen to add accessories. Here's how I got it to work: Click the link below, scroll down to "Hot Sellers" on the left side of the page, click on the hot sellers link for the Dell 624 Axim X30, and add to cart, then you can apply the coupon. If you end up on any screen that allows you to customize the X30 you have gone the wrong way and their system wont recognise the coupon! (thanks Janak at pocketpcthoughts.com for linking to...
  • Netgear WGR101 802.11g Travel Router part 2 (06:00) - Last week I mentioned the WGR101 802.11g wireless travel router, but didn't have a good link for you to buy it. I am going to be traveling a lot in the next 3 weeks (San Francisco, Hong Kong, and China) and thought it would be an idea to get one of these gadgets and try it out on the road. Buy.com has a good price on the WGR101 at the moment: $58.88 after $20 mail-in rebate so I just bought one and will let you know how it works.... Update 7/9: See extended entry below. Update 7/27: Lots more on the Netgear WGR-101 in my Axim X30 Review...

Thursday 8 July

  • Mobile Version (14:49) - Just put together a basic mobile version of the site. If you are viewing this site on a pocket pc you can access shinyplastic.com/mobile for the top headlines without the sidebars, comments, trackbacks, etc. Feedback is appreciated, you can always email tips@shinyplastic.com...
  • Audiovox PM-8920 (11:58) - Sprint has just released the first 1 megapixel cellphone in the US. The Audiovox PM-8902 has a 1.3 megapixel camera, capable of taking pictures at 1280 by 960 pixels (much better than the 640 x 480 on most camera phones. Price will be $300, or $150 after the usual new subscriber rebates. Sprint Press Release (Thanks SprintPCS Info)...

Wednesday 7 July

Tuesday 6 July

  • Canon Powershot SD10 Camera (15:55) - Drool!, Amazon has a great deal on the tiny Canon Powershot SD10 Digital Elph 4 megapixel digital camera. It comes in 4 colors (black, bronze, silver, and white), weighs 3.5 ounces and measures just 3.6 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches. It has a SD slot and comes with a 32mb SD card (512mb SD cards are under $100 and would store about 400+ of the best size/quality pictures, perfect for printing at 8.5x11 or 600+ 7x5 photos). Only downside is to keep it thin it doesn't have an optical zoom (but does have a 5.7x digital zoom). Other features include: 1.5-inch LCD monitor (no viewfinder) Built-in flash with Auto, Red-eye Reduction On/Off, Slow-sync modes Shooting modes: Auto, Manual, Slow Shutter, Quick Shot, Stitch Assist, Movie Photo effects: Vivid Color, Neutral Color, Low Sharpening, Sepia, Black & White Metering: evaluative, spot, center weighted average Continuous shooting of 1.6 frames per...
  • Apple giving away iPods (12:28) - Apple are having a competition for users of their music store/software itunes: Every song purchased gets you one entry and they are giving away an ipod every 100,000 entries (plus the 100,000,000th download gets a 10000 song certificate and a laptop as well - they are currently at 97,000,000 downloads). Sounds expensive and not worth it right?..... wrong: you can also enter for free (apparently any number of times as long as you dont have an automatic program entering for you) by using the "tell a friend" feature in itunes to send an email to tunes100@apple.com. engadget has a "how-to tuesday" feature on how to enter the contest for free and maybe win a 20gb ipod. How-To Tuesday: How to enter the iTunes contest for free...
  • Gmail winners (12:04) - Congrats to the winners of the Google Gmail accounts, invites have been sent. Thanks also to everyone that entered and gave us your thoughts on what we should report on on this site....

Saturday 3 July

  • Free Gmail Invites (08:44) - I have 5 free gmail invites to give away, gmail is google's new email service that gives 1000mb of storage. All you need to do is email me (tips@shinyplastic.com) your first name, last name and email address (google needs those for the invite), and tell me what gadgets you want to see me talking about and finding deals on. I will pick 5 winners at random from all the emails received by 11.59pm on Sunday the 4th of July. UPDATE: Contest Ended July 4th. I have a new contest for free Gmail running until August 15th: http://www.shinyplastic.com/archives/07-29-04-email-new_gmail_features_and_free_gmail_giveaway.php...

Friday 2 July

  • $50 Gift Cert with iPod mini (13:36) - Amazon has a great dealat the moment on the Ipod mini 4gb in all 5 colors (silver, blue, pink, green, gold). The price is $249.00 with FREE shipping. All you need to do is add a cheap item ($1+) and you will qualify for the gift certificate. Click here for more info and to buy the ipod mini They are currently out of stock but typically fill orders in 2-4 weeks. If you don't want to wait you can get a 15gb regular iPod or any other $250+ electronics items and get the $50 gift certificate. (Purchase before 8/1 to get the gift certificate)...
  • Sony taking on the iPod (05:55) - Sony have announced their supposed "iPod killer", a 20gb hard drive based player, it is the smallest 20gb player around (a little bigger than a credit card and under half an inch thick. Price is expected to be under $400 when it is released in the US, and battery life is supposed to be 30 hours (3 times that of a comparable iPod). One downside to the device is that it only plays Sony's proprietary ATRAK format.... when will device manufacturer's accept that people who own legitimately purchased music want to be able to play it in the CD Player, PC, and "Walkman" without buying a song 3 times. More from CNN...

Thursday 1 July

  • New iMacs on the way (22:09) - Apple has posted on their web site that they screwed up have run out of current iMac models before the long rumored replacement models were ready.... new ones are due in September: "Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac as we begin the transition from the current iMac line to an all-new iMac line which will be announced and available in September. We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers." In related news, reliable online discount tech store Computers4Sure (owned by Office Depot) is now an official Apple retailer so hopefully we will see some good deals combined with their long-time free shipping on $50 promo when their Apple store goes live July 7th....
  • Layout Changing (13:55) - Lots of work being done today to update the layout of the site, expect it to look ugly until everything is finished. Update: Main page is mostly finished, lots of work still to go on sub-pages....
  • Philips Outlet Deals (08:35) - Philips has an outlet store where you can get discontinued and/or refurbished products massively discounted. They also offer free UPS shipping on most orders. Some current (7/1) deals include: 60in Digital Widescreen HDTV Monitor $1899.99 ($900 off) 55in Digital Widescreen HDTV Monitor $1699.99 ($800 off) 5 disc Super Audio CD DVD Player $189.99 ($90 off) 6 Channel Dolby DTS DVD Player $95.00 ($304.99 off) Lots of Progressive Scan DVD Players $49.00-$60.00 ($20-30 off) Progressive Scan Dolby Digital DVD Recorder $229.00 ($221 off) 300w Digital Home Cinema Package, 5 speakers, receiver, DVD, MP3, $129.00 Pronto Pro Home Theater Control Panel $539.00 ($411 off) Click here for the outlet store...
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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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