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August 2004

Tuesday 31 August

  • Dell 26" LCD TV (13:20) - Dell has announced a new addition to their line of LCD TVs that is a leap forward for them in terms of good looks. The Dell W2600 is a 26" LCD TV that is HDTV (720p) ready, has a good 500:1 contrast ratio, 450 nits brightness, 25 ms response time, dual tuners, and works with a PC at 1280x768 pixel resolution. The Dell W2600 26" LCD TV is 32.7" x 16.6" x 4.2" and weighs 43lb (with stand). It is currently available from Dell.com for $1999 with free shipping and we think it may come down as low as $1699 later in the year. Dell Shopping Link (Dell are also expect to announce Plasma TVs later this fall)...
  • New Apple iMac G5 Details (11:18) - Apple has officially launched the new iMac G5. The design of the iMac G5 has all the computer components inside the monitor, kind of like a big thick tablet pc on a stand, or as a Apple puts it: "The entire computer, including a G5-based logic board, slot-loading optical drive, hard disk, speakers, and even the power supply — dwells inside the enchanting display". There are 3 models of iMac G5 available: 1.6GHz iMac G5 with 17" widescreen lcd monitor, 256mb DDR400 SDRAM, 80GB hard drive, 64mb GeForce FX 5200 graphics, and combo cd-writer/dvd drive, for $1299. 1.8GHz iMac G5 with 17" widescreen lcd monitor, 256mb DDR400 SDRAM, 80GB hard drive, 64mb GeForce FX 5200 graphics, and combo cd and dvd writer drive, for $1499. 1.8GHz iMac G5 with 20" widescreen lcd monitor, 256mb DDR400 SDRAM, 160GB hard drive, 64mb GeForce FX 5200 graphics, and combo cd and dvd...
  • Rio Carbon 5GB Limited Edition (10:09) - The Rio Carbon is a potential iPod mini killer - Rio carbon has more storage (5gb hard drive), Rio Carbon is smaller than the mini (2.5”W x 3.3”H x 0.6” D), Rio Carbon is lighter than the mini (3.2oz), and the battery life is longer than the mini (20hrs). The Rio Carbon is now available for pre-order for $249.99 and will ship September 3rd. Rio also has a cool limited edition of the Rio Carbon, just 500 available: The limited edition Rio Carbon is laser engraved and numbered on the back, has a limited edition collectors box, has free 2 day air shipping upgrade, and comes with 3 months of Napster music service and 20 free song downloads. I have pre-ordered one and will be reviewing it next to my iPod Mini when I return from my trip on September 14th. Pre-Order the Rio Carbon Now...
  • Apricorn EZ Bus Mini 20GB Review (09:28) - apricorn ez bus mini 20gb usb hard drive review
  • Dell Axim X50 Photo? (08:47) - Engadget found a pic on an Asian forum that is supposed to be the Axim X50 but it looks faked to me, too much like the old Axim X5. Here's what is known about the Dell Axim X50: Like the X30 there will be 3 models, presumably called High, Mid, and Low with different processors and/or memory to differentiate them. The X50 high will have a 3.7" VGA (640x480 pixel) screen, and all versions of the Dell Axim X50 Pocket PC will feature both a compactflash and a SD memory card slot. Dimensions are said to be similar to the Dell X3 and X30 but the design will be different. Expect other features of the Dell X50 Pocket PC to be similar to the X30: wireless and bluetooth in the high, lots of memory, removable battery etc. This has the potential to be a killer Pocket PC, correcting the...
  • Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 Review (08:36) - I didn't think much of the Sony Network Walkman when it was announced: a 20gb MP3 player for $399 ($100 more than the iPod), that mostly used Sony's own ATRAC3 music format. I've been waiting to see a review to see if it's worth looking at. Judie over at the gadgeteer got hold of a Sony Network Walkman and write a detailed review. Here's what she thought: Liked: great battery life, small, solid, easy to navigage Didn't Like: ARRAC format, high price, must use Sony SonicStage application to manage music. I still think I will give it a miss....
  • Mobile Site Updated (08:05) - The mobile version of ShinyPlastic.com has been updated: The mobile home page now shows just the last 10 items with details and 50 more with just the date and title. Individual pages have been created for every item. A seperate style sheet is being used. Take a look at http://shinyplastic.com/mobile/ on you pocket pc or other mobile device and let me know what you think....

Monday 30 August

  • Akimbo Internet Video Player (16:51) - Akimbo, the broadband internet based video on demand player is almost ready to launch. Through the Akimbo service you can download and watch any of the 20,000+ hours of programming from 50+ channels they have available. The Akimbo player is available for pre-order for $229 and is expected to ship in October. The player requires a subscription ($9.99/month or $199.99 lifetime) plus you will have to pay to watch some premium programming. The Akimbo player has a 80gb hard drive and an ethernet port but if you want to go wireless you will need a seperate 802.11b USB wireless adapter. (more from the associated press)...
  • Sony Cybershot V3 (10:18) - New digital camera #3 for today from Sony is the Cybershot V3. The Sony Cybershot V3 is more "prosumer" featuring a 7.2 megapixel sensor, 2.5" LCD screen, 4x optical zoom, MemoryStick and Compactflash (type 1 only) memory card slots, hot show for flash, some manual controls, and 640 x 480 pixel 30 frames/second video. The Sony Cybershot V3 is 4.7" x 2.2" x 2.7" and weighs 13.8oz. The Sony Cybershot V3 will be available in late october for around $700....
  • Sony Cybershot L1 (10:10) - Sony's second new camera for today is the ultra-compact Sony Cybershot L1. The Sony Cybershot L1 features a 4.1 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, 1.5" transreflective LCD screen and records video at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 frames/second onto a MemoryStick Pro memory card. The Sony Cybershot L1 manages to pack all of that into a body that is just 3.8" x 1.7" x 1" and weights just 4oz. The Sony Cybershot L1 will be available in October and will cost around $300....
  • Free Gmail and Gadget Giveaway (Ends Sept 30th) (10:00) - On September 30th we will hold a drawing of all newsletter subscribers for the following prizes: A 1GB Google Gmail Account (6 subscribers will win an account) An Audia-X FM Transmitter A Fossil Wrist Net Smartwatch A Ultra Products Ultraviolet light tube set and 18" rounded IDE cable For your chance to win a free Gmail account or one of the other gadgets on offer all you have to do is subscribe to the ShinyPlastic.com Mailing List - we send at most one email a week and promise never to give away or sell your email address or other information. More information and privacy policy...
  • Sony Cybershot T3 (09:58) - No, it isn't a new Arnie Terminator movie, it's the new slim digital camera from Sony. The Sony Cybershot T3 is a 5.1 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom and a 2.5" LCD screen that also shoots video at 640x480 30 frames/second (to a MemoryStick Pro memory card). The Cybershot T3 weighs just 5oz, and is very small and thin (3.6" x 2.4" x 0.7"), but cannot claim the world's smallest crown which stays with the Casio Exlim EX-S100. The Sony T3 will be available in October for around $500....
  • Creative Muvo2 FM 5GB (09:44) - Creative's Singapore site has some info on new Creative Muvo2 FM MP3 players. The new Creative Muvo2 players have a 5gb hard drive, FM radio tuner/recorder, and 14 hour battery life. The Muvo2 FM comes in 5 colors: white, black, pink, green, blue, and should sell for $200-230 when it comes out in the US. Creative Singapore...
  • NEC VersaPro VY11F/GL-R (09:19) - NEC has announced an interesting looking new Tablet PC: the VersaPro VY11F. The NEC VersaPro features a 1.1Ghz Pentium M low-voltage processor, Radeon Mobility 7500 graphics, 512mb of PC2100 SD-RAM, and a 20GB 1.8" hard drive. The NEC VersaPro also has a 10.4 inch XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) TFT LCD screen, ethernet, 802.11a/b/g wireless, and runs the new Windows(R) XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. The NEC VersaPro isn't available in the US yet, base price in Japan is 830,000 Yen, or about $2570. Product Information Page (Japanese)...
  • Creative Zen Touch now Shipping (08:27) - The Creative Zen Touch 20gb MP3/WMA player with the cute scrollpad and claimed 32 hour battery life is now shipping at Amazon.com. Other features of the Zen touch include USB 2.0 connectivity, 160 x 104 pixel blue screen, 4 band custom equalizer, and up to 97dB signal-to-noise ratio. Buy the 20gb Zen Touch now through Amazon.com for $269.99 and get free shipping, or alternatively follow the amazon link and buy from Office Depot for $253.95....
  • Dell Axim X50 Pocket PC Rumors (08:17) - Update 10/3: We have lots more info on the Dell Axim X50 on our new site: VGAPocketPC.com No photos yet but info is starting to leak about the next Dell Axim Pocket PC: the X50. Like the X30 there will be 3 models, presumably called High, Mid, and Low with different processors and/or memory to differentiate them. The X50 high will have a 3.7" VGA (640x480 pixel) screen, and all versions of the Dell Axim X50 Pocket PC will feature both a compactflash and a SD memory card slot. Dimensions are said to be similar to the Dell X3 and X30 but the design will be different. Expect other features of the Dell X50 Pocket PC to be similar to the X30: wireless and bluetooth in the high, lots of memory, removable battery etc. This has the potential to be a killer Pocket PC, correcting the only big drawback of...
  • HTC Vivida (08:03) - Info showed up on the FCC site for a new HTC built Smartphone OS powered phone codenamed Vivida. The HTC Vivida has a sliding front that reveals a numberpad, has 2-3 hrs talktime and 100hrs standby (short battery life), SD / MMC memory card slot, 640 x 480 pixel camera and 352 x 288 pixel video recorder, and will come with a charging cradle. The HTC Vivida is going to be offered by Verison in the US but there is no info yet on release date or price. (via msmobiles)...

Sunday 29 August

  • Sunday Editorial (07:06) - A new feature of ShinyPlastic.com is the Sunday editorial, where I talk about new gadgets, what's happening with this site, the weather, and anything else that comes to mind. Carry on reading for my thoughts on too many gadgets too little money, a ShinyPlastic weekly email with giveaways, and a new ShinyPlastic gadget trip....
  • Palm Tungsten T5 (06:56) - Update 10/3: Lots of the rumors below seem to be false, the latest rumor is that the Tungsten T5 will be released tomorrow October 4th and will feature 256mb of memory and no wi-fi. Rumors are surfacing about a couple of new Palm OS handhelds: the Palm Tungsten T5 (photo on the right), and the Palm Tungsten E2. The Palm Tungsten T5 is rumored to be coming out in November and features a 520mhz processor, 128mb RAM, Palm OS6, hi-res screen, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a SD memory card slot. The Palm Tungsten T5 will be 4.7" x 3.0" x 0.66" and is expected to retail around $400. The Tungsten E2 won't be out until April 2005, will cost $250 and will be a lot less interesting than the Tungsten T5. (via 1src.com)...
  • Microsoft Starck Mouse (06:50) - The new Microsoft optical mouse created by the world-famous designer Philippe Starck is now available at amazon.com for $29.95. It is a good choice if you wanty a basic wired optical mouse, clean simple look, works equally well left or right handed, and has a good optical sensor. The Microsoft Starck Mouse comes with wither a blue or orange stripe....

Friday 27 August

  • HP LCD and Plasma Televisions (11:16) - PCWorld got the scoop on some of Hewlett-Packard's new consumer electronics: 2 LCD TVs, the 26" LC2640N ($2499) and the 30-inch LC3040N ($2999, listed incorrectly on PCWorld as 40-inch). Both have dual-tuners for picture in picture, 1280 by 768 pixel resolution, and can support HD-TV and DVD-D. 2 Plasma TVs, the PL4245N HD-Ready Plasma Television ($4999) supports 1080i HD (but needs a seperate set-top box) and the PE4240N Plasma Television ($2999) supporting regular 480p TV. Both also have dual-tuners and DVI-D. (via Engadget)...
  • iPod+hp (11:07) - Meet the new iPod, same as the old iPod. HP posted all the details of the new iPod+HP (aka Apple iPod from HP) on their website and its totally underwhelming. The iPod+HP appears to be identical to the 4th generation Apple iPod, same price same storage (20gb or 40gb). Only difference found so far is that HP is offering "HP Tattoos", sticker that go on the iPod related to various artists (Ashlee Simpson, The Cure, Gwen Stefani, Keane, Lloyd Banks, Sting, The Who, The Hives, and Vanessa Carlton). The tattoos come off easily so you wont be stuck with an embarassing tattoo in a few years..... Hmm, call me old but I might like a Who sticker for my iPod mini....
  • Gateway BTX Computer (08:25) - Gateway has announced the release of the first major desktop PC to use the new BTX architecture: The Gateway 700GR. BTX is a new specification for motherboards and computer design based upon reliable quiet cooling: major components are aligned in a central wind tunnel between two large fans, one at the front and one at the back. The gateway 700GR features a 3.4Ghz Pentium 4 550 processor, 1GB RAM, Radeon X300 128MB PCI-Express Video Card, 250GB hard drive, DVD Dual Layer Writer, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 8-in-1 Media Card Reader, 7 USB 2.0 ports and 2 Firewire ports. The Gateway 700GR will be available in stores this weekend for around $1200. Press release...
  • HP Consumer Electronics (including iPod) (07:30) - HP is expected to announce dozens of consumer electronics gadgets later today including: HP branded version of new 4th generation Apple iPod A digital projector 42" plasma TV 30" and 26" LCD TVs An entertainment hub Printers Cameras...
  • Treo 650 (07:11) - Pictures have leaked of the new Treo 650: a new smartphone using the Palm operating system rumored to be oming from Sprint this fall. The Treo 650 is rumored to have a 312mhz processor, 32mb R320 x 320 pixel screen, 1 megapixel camera, DS memory card slot, removable battery, built-in querty keyboard, and built-in bluetooth wireless. More pictures and info at treocentral.com (scroll down the discussion)...
  • Sharp Aquos 37" LCD TV under $3000 (06:52) - The price on high quality large screen LCD TVs keeps dropping. Onecall currently has the Sharp Aquos LC37HV4U 37" LCD TV on sale at $2997, including Free Shipping, after $200 rebate. (Price is for Onecall PASS members: join free on their home page, price expires 8/29 and is limited to stock in hand). Click here for more info or to buy, or keep reading for the specs....

Thursday 26 August

  • Nitro Pro Music Server Review (09:07) - DesignTechnica has reviewed the Request Multimedia Nitro Pro Music Server. The Nitro Pro is a 19 inch rack mountable high end hard drive based audio player. It has a Pentium III processor and 128mb RAM, a 40gb or 60gb hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive. The downside to the Nitro Pro is that it costs $2500 with 40gb drive or $3000 with 60gb drive, for that kind of money you can buy a good off-the-shelf Media PC that can do a whole lot more. My recommendation would be something similar to the discontinued Gateway 901 Media Center PC (available remanufactured for $1399) with 3Ghz Pentium 4, 512mb RAM, 250GB hard drive, DVD-RAM/DVD-R/CDRW drive, 128mb video card, media card reader, tv tuner etc....
  • hRiver h140 wins EISA award (07:49) - The EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) has chosen the iRiver H140 as the top Audio Player ("European New Media Audio 2004-2005 award"). The H140 is a 40gb hard drive based MP3 player, with USB 2.0 interface, and 16 hr battery life. The iRiver H140 supports MP3, WMA, ASF, WAV and OGG music files. The EISA liked the H140 because: "This very well made portable player has a built-in hard drive whose 40 gigabytes of memory make up to 10,000 MP3 titles available to mobile users. The USB 2.0 port facilitates very fast data transfer for all kinds of files. Besides MP3s, the device can also play WMA, WAV, ASF and OGG music files. Its feature set includes a rechargeable battery, a built-in VHF tuner and a microphone for the user's own live recordings. Users can operate the player either with the built-in controls or with a remote control...
  • Night Vision for Cars (07:38) - At the same time as announcing 3 green scooters Honda announced a new night vision system for cars that warn of pedestrians in the way. The system can only recognize people from the shape of a head and shoulders so it won't work for people with umbrellas, on bicycles, and presumably those with silly large hats. I guess if it is raining you have to choose between staying dry or not getting run over. Oh, and it only works when the temperature is below 86 degrees Fahrenheit. More from MSNBC...
  • Honda Green Scooters (06:35) - Honda has introduced 3 new environmentally friendly scooters, along with a photo of one of then painted green, witty huh? These are concept vehicles so it isn't know if any will actually be built. The all-electric version is really ugly and small, but the other two look ok. The hybrid is based on a 50cc scooter and contains the obvious statement "Honda says this gas-electric scooter gets better mileage than gas-only peers." The fuel cell version is based upon a 125cc scooter but they are having problems with wieght and no storage space. Definately a work in progress. More at MSNBC (via I4U)...

Wednesday 25 August

  • Logitech MX1000 Laser Mouse (17:25) - Logitech has announced a new mouse, the MX1000, that uses a laser instead of the usual optical sensor. The laser is said to be 20 times as accurate as a normal optical mouse. The MX1000 is wireless and has a cute little battery status monitor on the side. I reviewed the MX900 bluetooth mouse and was very impressed. Expect to see a bluetooth laser version of this mouse in the next few months....
  • Sony Playstation Portable Info (15:47) - Sony has revealed some of the specs for the Playstation Portable game console. The Playstation Portable will have a 333mhz CPU, a media processor (for handling audio and video), a 3D graphics engine (capable of 664 million pixels or 35 million polygons per second), a security processor and a power manager. The Playstation Portable will support both USB 2.0 and MemoryStick expansion, and it will have 32mb DDR SDRAM memory. The screen of the Playstation Portable will be a 4.3 inch 480 x 272 pixel widescreen LCD, and data will be stored on 1.8GB 2.4" optical discs. The Playstation Portable will be 6.7" x 2.9" x 0.9" and will weigh 9.2 ounces. It is rumored the release of the Playstation Portable will be delayed to the second quarter of 2005, and it is expected to cost around $400....
  • Sony's Big Stick (15:26) - Sony have announced a new range of Memory Stick Pro memory cards with a write speed of 15Mbps. Cards with capacities of up to 2GB will be available in November and the 2GB card will retail for around $700. All Sony needs to do now is persuade other manufacturers to use memory stick instead of CompactFlash or SD. Excuse me.... I think I just saw a flying pig....
  • I/O Magic GigaBank 2.2 USB Drive (12:35) - The GigaBank 2.2 from I/O Magic is a 2.2 gigabyte 4200rpm hard drive based USB 2.0 portable storage device. Dimensions of the GigaBank 2.2 are 2.5" x 2.0" x 0.5", it doesn't need a power supply (getting power through USB), and it has a USB 2 adapter built-in that folds out when needed. The GigaBank 2.2 will be available in September and will cost $190. (via designtechnica) I/O Magic Product Page...
  • Commenting Fixed (11:29) - The commenting system is now fixed (we hope). To leave comments on this site you must be registered with typepad.com. Typepad.com is run by the same company that makes the software we use to manage this site and a typepad.com registration will allow you to comment at this and many other blogs. Feel free to sign up at typepad.com and test out the comments system....
  • Casio Exlim EX-S100 - World's Smallest (10:02) - Casio has announced the Exlim EX-S100, which they claim is the world's smallest digital camera with an optical zoom - roughly the width and height of a business card and 0.66 inches thick. The Casio EX-S100 is a 3.2 megapixel camera and features a 2.8x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, 2" 354x240 pixel LCD screen, 9.3mb built-in memory and an SD / MMC memory card slot. Exact dimensions of the Casio EX-S100 are 3.49" x 2.26" x 0.66" and the weight is 3.98 ounces. (By comparison the Canon SD-110 is 3.2 megapixel, 2x optical zoom, 3.35" x 2.2" x 0.94" and 5.82oz). Press Release...
  • Casio Exlim EX-Z55 and EX-Z50 cameras (09:51) - Casio has announced the EX-Z50 and EX-Z55 digital cameras (replacing the existing EX-Z40 model. The Casio EX-Z50 and EX-Z55 are 5 megapixel slim body cameras with large LCDs. The Casio EX-Z50 has a 2" 354x240 pixel LCD, and the EX-Z55 has a 2.5" 480x240 pixel LCD. Both the EX-Z50 and the EX-Z55 feature a 3x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom, 9.3mb built-in flash memory, and a SD / MCC memory card slot. The dimensions of both the EX-Z50 and EX-Z55 are 3.5" x 2.3" x 0.9", and the EX-Z50 weighs 4.3 ounces (the EX-Z55 is lsightly heavier at 4.6 ounces). Press Release...
  • Casion QV-R61 6 Megapixel Camera (09:29) - Casio has announced the QV-R61 6 megapixel digital camera. The QV-R61 features a 3x optical zoom (plus 4x digital zoom), 2" 354x240 pixel LCD screen, and 3 photos in 1 second burst speed, all in a compact aluminium body. The QV-R61 has an internal 9.7mb flash memory as well as a SD / MMC memory card slot. The dimensions of the Casio QV-R61 are 3.5" x 2.4" x 1.3" and weight without batteries is 6 ounces. Press Release...
  • Casio Exlim Pro EX-P700 (09:07) - Casio has announced the Exlim Pro EX-P700 7 megapixel digital camera. The Exlim Pro EX-P700 features a 4x optical zoom (plus 4x digital zoom), 2" LCD screen, 3 photos per second burst speed (max 5 photos) and a lot of the usual high-end imaging features. The Exlim Pro EX-P700 has an internal 8.9mb memory and a SD / MMC card slot. Dimensions of the Casio P700 are 3.9" x 2.7" x 1.8" and weight without batteries is 8 ounces. Press Release...
  • iPod Mini: $230 (in stock 8/25) (07:21) - Crutchfield has the hard to find iPod Mini in stock. Yesterday they had all colors but today they only have gold. Check back daily to see if other colors are in stock. The price is $249.99 and you can save $20 for a final price of $229.99 with free shipping if you enter referral code pp3fx-8xejj-hsikh on the checkout page. Click here to check availability and to order....
  • 1 GB Compactflash or SD card: $100 (07:05) - Surplus Computers are a trustworthy supplier of surplus or reconditioned computers and accessories. The currently have two great deals on Brand New CompactFlash and SD (Secure Digital) cards suitable for Cameras, Pocket PCs, or MP3 players: PQI 1GB 26x Speed CompactFlash Card: $99.97 ($30 discount, condition: New, warrenty: 90 days) PQI 1GB SD Secure Digital Card: $99.97 ($70 discount, condition: New, warrenty: 90 days)...
  • Dell 2001fp 20" LCD: $689 Today Only (06:37) - 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 COUPONS VALID TODAY ONLY. Here's what you do: click the above link which should show the monitor at 20% off, apply coupon 7KQRRQJDWN974M (expires 8/26 6AM CST) to get 20% off, then apply coupon RNNGH2X7W40V3V (expires 8/25, or after 1500 uses) for $30 off $300, giving a price of $689 with free shipping....

Tuesday 24 August

  • Samsung Yepp YP-T5 (10:59) - PC Mag has a review of the Samsung Yepp YP-T5, which used to be the world's smallest MP3 player. The YP-T5 is 2.1" x 0.9" x 0.9" (1.7 cubic inches volume), and weighs 1.3oz. The YP-T5 Yepp has 256mb memory and an FM radio tuner, battery life is 13 hrs, but connectivity is only USB 1.1 not the faster 2.0....
  • Tire Pressure Monitor (10:02) - Doran has released a Tire Pressure Monitoring system for trucks that tells you the pressure of up to 34 tires and warns you when there is a problem. Why don't car manufacturers have something like this built into new cars? over or under inflated tires lead to a lot of avoidable accidents, and slow leaks are a hassle that can be reduced by early warning of a small puncture....
  • Sanyo DMX-C4 (07:36) - Continuing this morning's theme of world smallest we have the Sanyo Xacti DMC-C4, the world's smallest camcorder, which looks remarkably like one of those gadgets for removing lint and fuzz from clothes. The Xacti C4 features a 1.8 lcd screen, VGA (640x480 pixel) video at 30 frames per second, video stabilizer, SD card slot, and a 4 megapixel still camera. press release (japanese)...
  • Oregon Scientific MP100 (07:05) - The Oregon Scientific MP100 is currently the world's smallest MP3 player at 1.6" x 1.1" x 0.7" (1.23 cubic inches volume) and just 1oz in weight. At the moment the MP100 only has 128mb of memory but a 256mb version is expected by Christmas. You can transfer WMA and MP3 files to it via USB 2.0 and it has a 10hr battery life. Pocket-lint in the UK has a brief review...
  • iRiver h340 review (06:39) - iRiver.us has a review of the iRiver H430 40gb hard drive audio player. The iRiver H340 has a 260,000 color 2" LCD screen, USB 2.0 connectivity (and can act as a host for storing pictures from digital cameras etc), and includes both text and image (jpg) viewers. Battery life is claimed to be 16 hrs (but the reviewer only got 10 hours), and other features include FM radio and voice recording. Unfortunately these aren't on sale in the US (only Asia/Europe) but you can get one imported from the UK for $635 (or get the 20gb version for $545) from AdvancedMP3players.co.uk. (via dapreview)...

Monday 23 August

  • Micro Solutions Lockbox 80GB Review (13:25) - micro solutions 80gb lockbox biometric fingerprint hard drive
  • Pedal-Powered Submarine (08:55) - Researchers at the Saint Petersburg State Marine Engineering University are looking for investors to help create "Blue Space", a new kind of submarine. Blue Space is "put in motion by means of a foot drive", which is marketing speak for pedal-powered, can stay underwater for 4 hours, and can be propelled at a speed 2-5mph on the surface and 2-3mph underwater. THe submarine will carry two people (who stay dry inside it) and price is listed at a maximum of $19,000. (more at Near Near Future via engadget)...
  • Sharp's Fat Busting Oven (07:47) - Sharp has created a new type of oven that uses 570 degree fahrenheit superheated steam to melt fat out of food being cooked. Sharp claims the AX-HC1 Electric Superheated Steam Oven removes 8 times as much fat from a steak than pan frying cutting calories by 13%. It is only planned to be sold in Japan at the moment, and will cost $1150. I just hope it doesn't take away the flavor with the fat! Press release and scientific mumbo-jumbo...
  • Tapwave Zodiac (04:58) - The Tapwave Zodiac games console, already available in the US and Asia, will finally land on European shores in the next few months. The Zodiac is an interesting use of the Palm OS: 128mb RAM, bluetooth wireless, 2 sd card slots, and 480x320 screen. Other news is that there will soon be a SD Wi-Fi card for the Tapwave as well as a PS2 style controller....
  • Canon Powershot G6 Details (04:06) - Of all the cameras announced by Canon last week the one we would most likely buy is the Canon Powershot G6. Naturally we would love an Eos 20D but at $1999 with the nice new image stablized lens it is difficult to justify the price unless we were using the camera daily. The Canon Powershot G6 however, at $699 (likely to be closer to $650 if you shop around), can do about 80% of what the 20D can at about a third of the price. Continue reading to see why we like the Canon Powershot G6. The G6 is available at Amazon.com for $699 with a ship date of September 15th....
  • Buck 760 Summit Knife (03:08) - Every guy (or gal) who spends time outdoors needs a great knife, and the buck 760 summit is a great knife. If you're into backpacking, hiking, camping, river rafting, diving, kayaking, climbing, or boating you should check out this knife: 3.5oz, aluminium overlay handle, lanyard loop, 4.12" closed, 2.5" blade, plus a couple of other little gadgets including a corkscrew (I never go anywhere outdoors without a corkscrew.... and a bottle of wine). The Buck 760 Summit costs around $70 and can be bought online direct from Buck....

Saturday 21 August

  • Sandisk Wi-Fi and 256mb SD Card (07:20) - Most Pocket PCs these days come with either built in Wi-Fi (802.11b) or a SDIO card slot. For those without built-in Wi-Fi here is a good solution that will get you wireless without giving up your storage options. Sandisk offers a SD card that has both the standard 802.11b wireless and 256mb of storage (currently $129 at Amazon.com). Our Dell Axim X30 has built-in wireless but our older iPAQ 2215 just has an SDIO slot so I think we will get one of these and try it out. (thanks TheTechZone)...
  • Maxtor DiamondMax 10 16mb Cache Hard Drives (07:02) - Maxtor have announced a new range of hard drives that offer up to 300gb storage with a 16mb cache. The new 16mb cache size should make these drives noticibly faster at loading programs and large files than other comparable hard drives. The DiamondMax 10 series has the standard 7,200RPM speed for desktop hard drives and comes in 6 sizes: 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, and 200GB (with 8mb cache), and 250GB and 300GB (with the new 16mb cache). The drives come in 2 versions: one with the new SATA (Serial ATA) interface (available now with the 300gb version costing around $250), and the other with the older ATA/133 interface (available by the end of September)....
  • Scramjet worked well (06:09) - The Industrial Physicist has a detailed review of last years successful test of a scramjet. Their description of "what is a scramjet" still left me wondering "what is a scramjet??" but basically its a conventional jet engine on steroids, where air at supersonic speeds is mixed with jet fuel and combusted. End result: very fast engine, reusable, much cheaper than the space shuttle. In the NASA test last year the scramjet worked for 10 seconds and zoomed to a speed of Mach 7, or 5,000mph. I know, you can't get far in 10 seconds, but the conclusion of the article is that this test proved the scramjet theories and that we should have scramjet missiles in 5 years, scramjet planes in 10 years, and scramjet spacecraft in 15 years. Personally I can't wait for it to take 3 hrs to fly to Australia instead of 24hrs....

Friday 20 August

  • Cheaper LCD monitors soon (13:07) - There is going to be a large excess of LCD screens in the next 3 months according to research firm iSuppli. They predict a 9.3% oversupply of 10 inch and larger LCDs. What does that mean to us?, it will likely result in further discounts in 15" to 20" LCD monitors in September and October. At the moment you can get a basic 17" screen for under $350 but personally I am looking for a good 17" screen with DVI input for under $450 and a 20" with DVI (such as the Dell 2001fp) for around $650....
  • Arlink PMP-400 (12:57) - Another day, another new Portable Media Player. Today's offering is the Arlink PMP-400, featuring a wide-screen 5.8" TFT LCD screen, 20gb hard drive, compactflash slot, and support for WMA, WMV, MPEG-4, and JPG. It's not clear if the PMP-400 will be picked up by a distributor and sold in the US....
  • iPod Mini Software Update (12:18) - There is a rumor that Apple will release an update to the iPod mini software as soon as today or tomorrow. Highlights of the update for the iPod mini are one-click shuffling, varying playback speed of audiobooks, and other enhancements already included on the new 4th generation iPod. If you are still trying to get hold of an iPod mini check out our First Impressions iPod Mini Review. (thanks Think Secret)...
  • Google Gmail Notifier (10:48) - Google has released the Gmail Notifier: a little software gizmo that runs on your PC (Windows 2000 or XP only). You install it, tell it your gmail username and password, and then it runs in the background popping up a little email summary in your screen whenever a new message arrives in your Gmail account. You can get the Gmail Notifier at http://toolbar.google.com/gmail-helper/ (p.s. congrats to Craig S who won our gmail giveaway competition. Check back on September 1st for another giveaway of 4 gmail accounts.)...
  • Fossil Wrist Net SPOT Watch Review (07:59) - fossil wrist net SPOT smart watch MSN direct
  • Sony Qualia 005 (07:40) - Sony have announced a number of new TV's including the Qualia 005, a 46" LCD TV that uses LEDs (light emitting diodes) as a backlight (Sony claim this improves the color reproduction of the TV). Other features include Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer, regular TV to HDTV upscaler (makes regular TV look better), and cross media bar GUI. The price is around $10,000. A very nice product but again Sony are unwilling to be price competitive. I can get the 45" Sharp Aquos (which looks amazing!) for $7300 from Onecall (onecall price valid until 8/23) so I am not convinced why I would want to spend 40% more for Sony....
  • Canon makes it all official (07:20) - Canon has made a lot of the recent digital camera rumors official with a slew of press releases announcing: Canon Eos 20D: Digital SLR Camera, 8.2 megapixel, DIGIC II Image processor, 9-Point autofocus and up to 23 consecutive frames at five frames per second. Estimated street price of the Canon Eos 20D is $1,499 without a lens, $1,599 with the EF-S 18-55mm zoom lens, and $1,999 with the new EF-S 17-85mm image stablized wide angle zoom lens. Available in September. Canon G6: 7.1 megapixel, 4x zoom lens, 2" lcd, available September for $699 price tag. Canon Powershot S70: 7.1 megapixel, 3.6x zoom, available September for $599. Canon Powershot A95: 5 megapixel, 3x zoom, available September for $399. Canon Powershot A85: 4 megapixel, 3x zoom, available September for $299. Canon Powershot A400: 3.2 megapixel, 2.2 zoom, 4 different colors, entry level, available September for $179....

Thursday 19 August

  • Archos AV400 (18:34) - The Archos AV400 is one of the first personal/portable video players available in the US and Extremetech has one they have reviewed. The Archos AV400 comes with a variety of hard drive sizes, from 20gb to 100gb (allowing the storage of up to 400 hours of programs on the largest model). Size, weight and battery life vary but the largest model is 4.9 x 3.1 x 1 inches and weighs 11 ounces with a battery life of 16 hours of music or 4.5 hours of video. The Archos AV400 has a 3.8" LCD screen, connects via USB2, accepts compactflash storage cards, and comes with a cradle/charger that you can connect to your TV/VCD or cable/satellite receiver to record programs. The cradle records in MPEG-4 format, and other formats supported by the Archos AV400 are XviD and DivX for video, MP3, WMA and WAV for audio, and JPEG/BMP for pictures....
  • JVC e228 Cellphone (16:13) - GadgetryBlog found a new cellphone in the UK, the JVC e228, that has a feature I find difficult to understand: It has two digital cameras, one in the front and one in the back. My phone has a digital camera but I've only used it a couple of times and only then for the "new toy" factor. If I want to take a photo I will use a digital camera that produces a nice photo, not a cellphone that produces a photo as bad as my Casio QV-11 did 5+ years ago....
  • Toshiba e830 Pocket PC (15:20) - BargainPDA found the FCC docs on the Toshiba e830 Pocket PC. It is still unsure if Toshiba will ever release this Pocket PC (lots of rumors about them leaving the market), but if they do this looks to be a great Pocket PC. 4" VGA 640x480 screen, Bluetooth and 802.11b, 520mhz processor, 128mb RAM 32mb ROM, SDIO and CompactFlash expansion slots, 5.3 x 3.0 x 0.6 inches. What looks really interesting about the Toshiba e830 Pocket PC is that is has an optional "presentation pack" accessory that connects to the bottom of the Pocket PC and adds a VGA monitor port and a USB port. This accessory would make it simple to connect the pocket pc to a larger monitor or a projector for powerpoint presentations, and to add on a USB keyboard and/or mouse. Look for there to be seperate versions with and without wireless and for the...
  • T-Mobile Customer Service (15:07) - Joel Johnson over at Gizmodo set out to review the Sidekick II (available only with T-Mobile service agreement) and ended up so frustrated he cancelled his service agreement with T-Mobile for all his phones. At the end of the day it came down to customer support people lying to him, and I can relate to that... When I wanted to buy a new phone through Sprint I was lied to by their telephone customer support (hello? I want to give you people every month for a minimum of two years and you still lie to me!). So, what is it with all cellular service providers having such bad customer support? Oh, by the way, Joel really liked the Sidekick II. Joel's T-Mobile Problems...
  • Canon Eos 20D Full Specs (11:01) - The full specs of the Canon Eos 20D SLR Digital Camera have started appearing on a number of websites. The Canon Eos 20D will feature and 8.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, support for Canon's EF-S lenses, fast burst mode, 9 selectable focus points, DIGIC2 chip, and a cute little joystick on the pack!. You can't buy the Canon Eos 20d yet (as of 8/20) but we will tell you as soon as you can. The official price will be $1499 for the body only, $1599 for the body with 18-55mm EF-S lens, or $1999 for the body with a new 17-85mm EF-S image stablized lens....

Wednesday 18 August

  • Pentium 4 Price Cuts (11:11) - The Inquirer reports that intel are having a big round of price cuts on Pentuim 4 processors. The cuts will happen August 22nd. The prices listed are the bulk prices (the price paid for batches of 1000+ by computer manufacturers). All Pentium 4 processors below 3ghz are phased out, and prices on other Pentium 4's are cut. What the price cut really means is that if you are looking to buy a new PC you should wait. A computer with a 2.8ghz processor should come with a 3ghz, one with a 3ghz should come with a 3.2ghz etc, for the same price after August 22nd....
  • HP iPAQ 6315 (10:17) - We think the iPAQ 6315 is underpowered for what it costs, but if you still want one they are available for pre-order direct from HP (for $599, you can only connect with a T-Mobile Service Agreement) with a ship date currently of September 9th. Specs of the iPAQ 6315 are 168mhz processor, 4.6 x 2.9 x 0.7 inches, 6.5 ounces, upto 5 hrs talktime, 64mb ROM/64mb RAM, Quad-band GSM/GPRS phone, 802.11b and bluetooth 1.1 wireless, 640x480 camera, SDIO card slot, removable keyboard....
  • Canon Eos 20D (08:50) - PhotographyBlog seems to have found photos of the often-rumored Canon Eos 20D accidentally placed on the Canon USA Press Room ahead of schedule. The main rumor they confirm is that the Eos 20D will support the same EF-S lenses as the Digital Rebel 300D. It also appears that there will be new EF-S image-stabilized 17-85mm F4-5.6 and EF-S wide-angle 10-22mm F3.5-4.5 lenses. more from PhotographyBlog...
  • rimax HDDivX Player (08:39) - The rimax HDDivX is an interesting twist on the portable video player concept. The HDDivX is a small box (5.2 x 3.1 x 0.7 inches and 7.5 ounces) that contains a 20gb hard drive (user upgradable to 40, 60 or 80gb). It doesn't have a screen, and this is the twist, instead it has a audio/video output allowing you to connect to any TV with standard component (3 cable) inputs or to a PC with USB2. It comes with a small remote control so all you do is connect it to the tv and use the remote control to choose the movie to watch (supported format are MPEG4 (DivX), DVD (MPEG2), VCD (MPEG1), MP3 and JPEG. The rimax HDDivX is currently only available in Europe....

Tuesday 17 August

  • Pentax Optio 750Z (15:05) - Pentax has introduced a new high-end digital camera - the Pentax Optio 750Z. The Optio 750Z looks like a leftover from the 1960's but packs a 7 megapixel sensor and a 5x digital zoom into it's 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.7 inch, 9oz body. Other features of the Pentax Optio 750Z include a 1.8" LCD, 10 shooting modes, super macro mode, digital exposure metering, hybrid autofocus, SD card slot, and a 640x480 30fps video mode. Price will probably be in the $600-700 range and the Pentax Optio 750Z should be available in October Press Release...
  • Digiana Audia-X FM Transmitter Review (12:45) - digiana audiax audia-x fm transmitter for mp3 players cds and pocket pcs
  • iPAQ hx4700 FCC Docs (06:59) - The FCC has released certification documents for the HP iPAQ hx4700 Pocket PC, including internal pictures etc if you're into that sort of thing. The iPAQ hx4700 should be released in the next few months and will set the new standard for a high-end Pocket PC. The hx4700 features a 4" VGA (640x480 pixel) screen, 128mb ROM and 64mb RAM (with 135mb of that available for user storage), 624mhz processor (same as my favorite Dell X30), wireless 802.11b and bluetooth 1.2, and both SDIO and compactflash expansion slots. The iPAQ hx4700 is big: 5.2 x 3.0 x0.6 inches and 6.6 ounces but that is to be expected considering the large screen. Price of the iPAQ hx4700 is expected to be $649.00. (thanks PocketPCThoughts)...
  • iRiver PMP-120 (06:46) - The iRiver PMP-120 portable video player will be available from August 23rd for $499. The iRiver PMP-120 has a 3.5" LCD screen and a 20gb hard drive. Video and audio formats supported include MP3, WMA, ASF, Ogg Vorbis, JPEG, BMP, AVI, MP4, DivX, XviD, MPEG4 SP, Advanced SP and, MPEG1. Battery life is supposed to be 5hrs for video and 16hrs for audio, and a 40gb version is expected to follow later this year....
  • Canon Powershot Pro1 (06:34) - The Canon Powershot Pro1 is the top end camera in Canon's Powershot range of consumer digital cameras. The Pro1 is an 8 megapixel digital camera that works well at "point and click" but also has a lot more manual settings than most powershot cameras including focus bracketing, exposure bracketing, aperture and shutter priority, and a self-timer. Trusted Reviews reviewed the Canon Powershot Pro1 and liked it but concluded that for a similar price you might be better off going for the Canon Eos Digital Rebel instead. Review at Trusted Reviews...

Monday 16 August

  • MobiNote DVX-POD 7010 (12:56) - The MobiNote DVX-POD 7010 is now on sale in Taiwan for just under $600, expect to see it in the stores in the US soon (we hope). The MobiNote DVX-POD 7010 is a great looking portable media player. Especially interesting is the clean front with all the controls on the sides. It features a 7-inch color LCD (720x480), 20gb 1.8" hard drive (expect to see 60gb hard drives in media players next year), and weighs 21oz. Battery life playing Mpeg-4 movies is expected to be around 3 hours. The Mobinote supports most standard formats: MPEG-4, DivX, Quicktime and WMV for video, WMA and MP3 for audio....
  • Commenting Problems (10:46) - The commenting feature of this site is temporarily broken. We were getting too many junk comments from spammers so we are working to implement the Typekey solution for user registration. Unfortunately there is a bug with Typekey and this site that we are working to resolve....
  • Archos Gmini 400 (07:04) - We mentioned the Archos Gmini 400 a while ago. Archos has now released the full specs for the device and it is interesting: A good solution if you want a combination portable MP3 player, video player, and photo viewer and don't mind a small screen. Full specs below....

Sunday 15 August

  • 6gb iPod Mini (14:01) - This is just at the pure speculation stage, but DigiTimes interviewed Hitachi Asia-Pacific President Pete Andreyev and he mentioned that Hitachi will be unveiling (in Oct-Dec 2004) a 6gb slim drive that could be used in devices that would currently use a 4gb Compactflash compatible Microdrive. This could easily appear in the next generation of iPod mini if Apple decides to increase the hard drive size. We also think these 6gb drives will definately appear as part of 6gb iPod mini clones in the first half of next year....
  • iPaq h6315 is slow (13:50) - It turns out the iPAQ 6315 that had seemed so promising is in fact really really slow, with the processor operating at a paltry 168mhz (around a quarter the speed of the 624mhz Dell Axim X30). Other specs for the version of the iPAQ 6315 offered in the US by T-Mobile for $499 with service agreement are: 4.6 x 2.9 x 0.7 inches, 6.5 ounces, upto 5 hrs talktime, 64mb ROM/64mb RAM, Quad-band GSM/GPRS phone, 802.11b and bluetooth 1.1 wireless, 640x480 camera, SDIO card slot, removable keyboard....
  • Hush ATX Silent PC (08:58) - TrustedReviews has a review of the new Hush ATX "Silent PC" from Hush Technologies. The Hush ATX uses standard PC components such as Intel Pentium 4 Processors, up to 160gb hard drives, TV tuners, DVD drive, up to 2gb RAM etc but cuts out all the noise by not using a single fan. Instead of fans the Hush ATX uses a custom built case that acts as a massive solid aluminium heatsink. Does it work?, check out the review at TrustedReviews to find out....

Friday 13 August

  • Apple Tablet Speculation (16:56) - The Register has found an interesting European design trademark filing by Apple. It is for a "handheld computer" that look like a mini ibook screen. The rumormongers are talking about a touch sensitive tablet with an 8" screen running Mac OS X that can act as the control pad for your home network, viewing video, controlling itunes, etc....
  • D-Link Wireless Travel Router (16:10) - Looks like wireless travel routers are the flavor of the month. The first was the Netgear WGR-101 that we reviewed a couple of weeks ago, then Apple came out with their Airport Express, followed by SMC with their SMCWTK-G. Now D-Link has announced the DWL-G730AP, an 802.11g mini router with a nice little travel case. Should be out now for $100 or less....
  • Rio Chroma (08:12) - More leaks about the Rio Chroma 20gb Hard Drive based MP3 player. Will it be an updated version of the Rio Karma (shown left) or will it be a new design?. Will it look like a shiny chrome car exhaust?. No pictures have leaked yet so no-one knows. What is known about the Rio Chroma: Color screen (16 bit) Supports the 2 big formats MP3 and WMA, as well as FLAC, OFF, WAV and Audible 20GB hard drive SDIO expansion slot Drag and drop audio files onto the Chroma in windows 12 hour battery life Price $320-350 Full specs from the leak below: (thanks engadget)...
  • Nintendo DS (07:58) - Rumors abound that the Nintendo DS will be available before Thanksgiving (November 25th). The Nintendo DS is a big step forward in terms of features on a portable game system: it has two 3 inch LCD screens and the bottom screen is touch sensitive like a PDA. The Nintendo DS also has a port for connecting a microphone, wireless connectivity (both 802.11 and a proprietary Nintendo system), 16 channel sound, and two processors. It also features 2 slots for games, one for Gameboy Advance games, and a new one for DS games which can be over 1GB in size....

Thursday 12 August

  • Telly MC1200 Home Entertainment Server (20:01) - The Telly MC1200 is the third generation of Interact-TV's home entertainment server: basically a cross between a Tivo and a Media PC. The Telly MC1200 is 16.5 x 4.6 x 12.2 inches, runs Linux, and is controlled with a wireless keyboard and remote control. It comes with a 80gb hard drive, 1.2ghz Via C3 processor, 256mb RAM, ethernet connection, and a DVD-CDRW drive but can be upgraded to 3 250gb drives, a DVD writer and 1gb RAM. The Telly MC1200 has a software interface allowing you to choose and record tv programs as well as watch movies, listen to music, and view pictures. press release...
  • Packard Bell Pocket M@estro (09:03) - Packard Bell, the British PC manufacturer, has announced a new iPod mini competitor: the Pocket M@estro. It has a 5gb hard drive (more breakable than the 4gb flash drive in the mini), supports MP3 and WMA, and has a FM radio and voice recorder built in. No information on size but judging by the photo I expect it to be a little wider and thicker than the ipod mini. Battery life will be 7hrs, and it will be available in September. Priding is likely to be around 200 pounds ($350)....
  • Great Deals on LCD TVs (08:07) - Onecall has a great deal starting today on LCD TVs, Plasma TVs, and projection TVs: at least 10% off, free shipping (usually $200 for a big TV), and gift certificates for up to $300 off your next purchase. Sharp Aquos 45" LCD TV: $7299 (was $8999) Sharp Aquos 37" LCD TV: $3586 (was $5499) Sharp Aquos 20" LCD TV: $799 (was $1099) Panasonic 47" Rear Projection HDTV: $1259 Prices may change daily on these and the coupon for free shipping and gift certs expires August 23rd. Use coupon code: TRIPLEPLAY...

Wednesday 11 August

  • Blu-Ray Getting Closer (17:46) - Blu-ray is one of the two competing formats for next generation optical disks that use blue lasers (= DVD disks on steroids). Today they announced that had reached agreement on a standard for the read-only version of the disks that will store 2 hours of HD-TV (27GB) on one single-sided disk. This means that the 13 members of the Blu-ray group (such as Dell, HP, Hitachi, Sharp, Sony) can begin building Blu-ray players. Expect to see them in the stores in 2005....
  • Wi-Fi Blocking Wallpaper (15:32) - A British defense contractor has developed a new type of wallpaper that blocks Wi-Fi signals while still letting through cellphone signals. The wallpaper is designed as a security method for stopping people outside a building connecting to Wi-Fi routers within the building. The wallpaper contains a very thin sheet of kapton plastic coated in copper and costs about $100 per square foot. What I want to know is... if they put this on the walls how do they stop the Wi-Fi leaking out through the doors and windows?? More from the New Scientist...
  • Mugen 2000mAh Battery for Axim X30/X3 Review (12:40) - mugen 2000mAh extended battery for Dell Axim X30 and X3 pocket PC
  • Hi-Res Screen for Pocket PC and Phones (10:11) - Samsung have released a picture of their new 2.6 inch, 300 dot per inch, 640 by 480 pixel VGA screen (by comparison a PC screen usually has 72 dots per inch, which means this screen can display a lot more in a small space, or make the same amount of information a lot clearer/smoother). The screen also has a 200:1 contrast ratio and 150cd/m2 brightness which means it should look better than current small screens in direct sunlight. This will be going into full production in December of this year and should show up next year in small Pocket PCs (current VGA Pocket PCs have a much larger and poorer quality 4 inch screen), smart phones, and high end mobile phones. Also interesting but not announced yet is that the same 300 dots per inch would allow a 4.2 inch 1024x768 screen on a larger pocket pc or a...

Tuesday 10 August

  • iPod Mini First Impressions Review (16:59) - ipod mini storage
  • iMmini Speakers for iPod Mini (16:31) - Altec Lansing have announced a new speaker solution for the iPod Mini based upon (but smaller than) their existing inMotion speakers. The iMmini is just 7" x 4.4" x 1", has 4 watts output, and a 24 hr battery life (on 4 AA batteries) but supposedly still manages to put out good quality sound thanks to Altec's MaxxBass technology. It has a built in docking station for the iPod Mini and folds up for easy transportation. The iMmini will be available this summer for $129.95. I could have used this on my recent two week business trip. Press Release...
  • Verizon XDA3 Pocket PC Phone (10:23) - The FCC has approved a version of the XDA3 Pocket PC phone and the photos show a Verison logo, so guess who will be offering this CDMA phone to their US customers (probably for $600+). Some specs are as follows:...
  • Pioneer 16x DVD Burner (06:56) - Pioneer has started selling the DVR-A08-J: the first DVD writer capable of writing DVD-R and +R at 16x speed and dual layer (DL) discs at 4x speed. This means that 8.5GB of data can be written to a DL disk in about 25 minutes. The DVR-A08-J is available in white, black, and silver colors. (thanks BIOS)...
  • Tivo Rollercoaster Continues (06:23) - In what looks like a sign of despiration Tivo halved the price of their 40 hour model by offering a $100 mail-in rebate bringing the price down to $99. The rebate is valid for other Tivo digital video recorders from Toshiba, Pioneer, and Humax. In addition they are switching to cheaper packaging, starting to sell Tivo in a wider range of retail stores, and kicking off a national advertising campaign in non-tech related magazines. Press Release...
  • iRiver N10 (06:06) - Information is starting to come out about the iRiver N10 mini necklace/pendant MP3 player. It goes on sale in Korea this weekend priced at $173 for 128mb storage, $235 for 256mb, $303 for 512mb, and $438 for 1GB. Expensive! The screen of the iRiver N10 is a 16 shade OLED (organic light emitting display, it wight 22 grams (under an ounce, connects via USB1.1 only, battery life is 7 hours with LCD on, 11 hours with LCS off, and is is tiny: just 2" x 1" x 0.5" Korean Product Page (thanks DigitalMediaThoughts)...

Monday 9 August

  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (10:22) - After a few false starts the latest upgrade to Windows XP is available... but you will be lucky to get it today. Service Pack 2 is a major update to Windows XP focusing on security issues: providing a better firewall that is switched on by default, and cutting off a number of features that are potentially unsafe. It is only going out to 2.5 million people a day via the Windows Update feature of Windows and starting tomorrow (Tuesday Aug 10th) it will start going out to some people via the Automatic Updates feature of Windows. Note that some software that didn't do things securely enough is broken by this update. If your favorite piece of software behaves funny after the update check with the software manufacturer for an update. Update 8/9: I have this installed now, the install went very smoothly: very few problems. For some reason it...
  • Power-ful Ultra X-Connect Power Supply (09:05) - My main PC is home built and a couple of years old, it has been regularly upgraded from the motherboard up except for the power supply. With graphics cards needing more and more power, I think the next thing I need to upgrade is my old 350w power supply, which is why I was pleased to find a review of the Ultra X-Connect 500w Power Supply. The thing I like most about this power supply is the individual power leads: much better than the tangle of messy interconnected power leads in the average PC. Review at Viperlair.com...
  • New kind of memory card - μcard (08:50) - A new kind of memory card is going to be revealed in early October at a trade show in Taiwan, and mass produced in 2005. The specifications seem amazing, so I have to wonder if it will be so expensive that no-one can afford it: 2 Terabytes storage capacity (2048 gigabytes) 120 megabits/second transfer rate (10x that of SD, 8x that of CompactFlash) Lower power consumption than CompactFlash I have to wonder why they chose a name that can't be typed on a regular English keyboard: that will severely hinder their marketing efforts. Note also that the 2 terabytes storage is the maximum technically possible, CompactFlash has a possible maximum of 128GB, but only 1GB CF cards are affordable and the highest currently available is 8GB (for about $4500). Personally I would expect to see μcard starting out in the 256mb - 2GB range, at over $100 for the cheapest...
  • Make Doom 3 Run Faster (07:44) - A lot of people are surprised at how slowly Doom 3 runs, even with a good computer. Here is a simple tweak to a text file that will make things much faster and allow you to use a high graphics resolution and detail level: My games system isn't the fastest or newest, Athlon XP 2500+, 1gb PC2700 RAM, Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb. With that system Doom 3 defaulted to medium detail and 800x600 resolution (in comparison every other game runs well at 1800x1600 max graphics). I upped the graphics to 1280x1024 and high graphics but got massive slowdowns and jerkiness (from 10 frames/second down to under 1 frame per second) whenever there was a lot of movement on screen. Then I found this simple trick that made my Doom 3 run faster:...

Friday 6 August

  • Canon Prosumer Digital Cameras (12:25) - A lot of people think that Canon's prosumer (high-end consumer as opposed to full-time professional photographer) digital cameras are the best around. Currently you have a choice between the Canon Eos 300D Digital Rebel (for around $900 with 18-55mm lens, $800 without lens) or the Canon Eos-10D (for around $1300). The main differences between them are that the 10D is built more solidly and has more manual configuration options and a slightly better user interface, the 300D however supports a newer type of lens - EF-S. Now there are rumors of a 20D to be announced in September, current thinking is an 8 megapixel camera that supports EF-S lenses, to be available in November for $1400-$1600....
  • Free Software (08:02) - No, I'm not talking illegal copies of programs here. Roger Ramsey at Sudhian has written a great article about using Freeware (free software, with no limiting of features, no hidden spyware downloads etc) to replace all paid software on a PC (except the operating system). The best thing about the article is a full list (with links to the author's website to download) of almost 50 free software programs (divided into core, audio, video, graphics, DVD mastering, internet and productivity categories). Personally I won't be making a PC with all this software but it will save me buying two copies of some software to use on my laptop, and I will be able to replace some shareware software I need to pay for soon with free software. Thanks Roger! (link to Sudhian article)...

Thursday 5 August

  • BenQ M310 Wireless Optical Mouse (19:43) - On our recent 2 week business trip we were missing a few things to make ou lives even easier. One of those things was a good usable travel mouse, and now it looks like PC Mag has found one. The BenQ M310 Wireless Optical Mouse is a small (but not too small) wireless optical mouse, it has a wireless USB connecter that plugs into the mouse when not in use for easy portability and less chance of getting lost. More fromn PCMag (thanks engadget)...

Wednesday 4 August

  • Good News for Tivo (15:37) - On the tail of yesterday's bad news for Tivo there is some good news: The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has ruled in favor of Tivo's plans to allow subscribers to share digital TV shows over the internet with up to 10 other Tivo units. More from News.com...
  • Archos Gmini 400 (15:17) - Update 8/15: More on the Archos Gmini 400 here. Archos is planning to release a new MP3 player that will also play video. I am classing this mostly as a MP3 player as the screen is 2.2". The Archos Gmini 400 could be just what you need if you are looking for a MP3 player the same size as a regular ipod, with a color screen, a 20gb hard drive, CF slot, MP3 and WMA support. (thanks PVP4U)...
  • Canon Powershot G6 (14:52) - Information and specs on the rumored Canon Powershot G6 digital camera were accidentally posted on the web by French retailer FNAC. It seems to be a slightly modified 7.1 megapixel version of the current bestselling Canon Powershot G5: supports CF cards, 4x optical zoom, 640x480 video etc. (thanks PhotographyBlog) More stats on the Canon Powershot G6 below....
  • ShinyPlastic Toolbar (14:35) - Toolbars improve the functionality of your web browser by adding extra buttons and information at the top of the window near the site address and links etc. ShinyPlastic now has a toolbar you can use. It contains a link to ShinyPlastic, a Google search box, a link to Amazon.com, and site information from Alexa.com. Just as important: The toolbar doesn't pop-up advertisements on your computer, it doesn't track where you go, and you don't get sent spam email. download the toolbar here...

Tuesday 3 August

  • Sharp Aquos 45" LCD TV (08:45) - The Sharp Aquos 45" LCD TV is now available in stores. I saw this in Hong Kong and the picture quality is amazing! It is the largest LCD TV currently available and the only one to deliver a 1080p progressive image (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution). The Sharp Aquas 45 inch LCD Television features a built-in tuner for HDTV reception, so you can enjoy high-resolution over-the-air broadcasts. It also is compatible with the newest Digital Cable Ready requirements. Consumers can simply connect this LCD television to a cable output and discard the old-school outboard box. Onecall will be one of the first site to have these in stock at $8,999: click here to see if they have it yet If $9k is a little much, Onecall has the almost as massive 37" Aquos LCD TV on sale at $3397.56 including delivery (price expires 8/5)...
  • Bad news for Tivo (08:22) - PVRblog reports that Tivo might be in deep doo-doo! Half of Tivo's customers come from their partnership with DirecTV, but recently DirecTV got bought by News Corp, DirecTV sold their Tivo stock, DirecTV honcho resigned from Tico's board, and now DirecTV is going to start selling the (vastly inferior to Tivo) NDS digital video recorders (also owned by News Corp). (thanks PVRBlog)...
  • Bigger Laptop Hard Drives (06:50) - Laptops/notebooks typically have hard drives a lot smaller than desktop pcs which can be a pain if you are traveling on business and also want to watch movies and listen to music on your laptop. A typical laptop with a 30gb hard drive doesn't have a lot of space left after installing XP, office and a host of other business applications. This situation should be improving soon as Fujitsu have just started shipping a 100gb 2.5 inch 4200rpm hard drive for laptops/notebooks. Expect to see these appearing in high-end hard-drives by the end of the month and for cheaper prices to allow more 40gb and 60gb drives in lower priced laptops. press release...
  • Rio Forge 128mb-512mb MP3 Player (06:27) - At the same time as Rio announced the Carbon iPod competitor they announced a range of new flash drive based MP3 players with 128mb, 256mb, and 512mb capacity. These are designed for sporty people, looking like a stopwatch and offering lap timer and stopwatch features as well as just playing music. Battery life is 20 hours, they connect via USB 2.0, and they can be expanded with SD/MMC cards (which are coming down in price, 512mb SD can be found for $50-60 after rebates). One thing I'm not sure of: with only a $50 price difference between the 512mb Forge and the 5GB Carbon (20 times the storage) I have to wonder how many of these they are going to sell. press release...

Monday 2 August

  • Shopping Directory (22:36) - People always wonder how the operators of sites such as ShinyPlastic, Gizmodo, Engadget, coupon sites etc can afford the time and hosting fees to operate the sites. Most of the time they try to cover the costs via using an affiliate link whenever they recommend or refer to a product. The way this works is that if you click on an affiliate link and buy the product the site owner gets a small percentage of the purchase price. For example: If I find a great price on 1gb compactflash cards on Amazon... say $100 a card, I post on ShinyPlastic with a link to Amazon, and you click on the link and buy the card: you still pay $100 (it doesn't cost you any more) and I get about 5% or 5 bucks. What is the point of this post: I am putting together a directory of online stores...
  • Rio Carbon 5GB MP3 Player (12:14) - Rio has announced their new iPod mini competitor: the Rio Carbon. It sports a 5GB 1-inch harddrive, connects via USB, and offers a claimed battery life of 20hrs: 2.5 times that of the mini. Oh, and it looks like the shiny plastic remote door/alarm thing for my car. Positives seems to be the longer battery life, 5 band graphic equalizer, voice recorder, and more storage, a negative seems to be using a hard drive instead of a CF card: more moving parts might equal more ways to break. The Rio Carbon is now available for $249.99 (same price as the iPod mini) and will ship September 3rd. Limited Edition of 500 with custom engraving currently available. More information press release...
  • Sony Network Walkman (08:53) - Sony's supposed "iPod killer", the network walkman - a 20gb hard drive based player, is now available in the US for $399.95. It is the smallest 20gb player around (a little bigger than a credit card and under half an inch thick. Battery life is supposed to be 3 times that of the (3rd generation) iPod but it is $100 more than a 20gb 4th generation iPod and the Sony Network Walkman only plays Sony's proprietary ATRAC3 format. Personally I will be giving this a miss....
  • Dell Axim X5 Pocket PC: $100 (06:07) - Dell has a new coupon for their Dell Outlet store, offering refurbished Axim Pocket PCs for as low as $100 with free shipping, after $25 off coupon code D$HV2W2NBLV$93 (coupon expires 8/10, offer subject to change without notice). Click on the link below, and sort by price to get the lowest priced Axim X5 Pocket PC. If you dont see the really cheap ones check back again later, they are added throughout the day. They also have the newer X3 for as low as $145. Check the Dell Outlet site now to see what is available...

Sunday 1 August

  • Storage Card Abuse (18:29) - Digital Camera Shopper magazine tested 6 storage cards (CompactFlash, Secure Digital, xD, Memory Stick and Smartmedia) to the extreme: "They were dipped into cola, put through a washing machine, dunked in coffee, trampled by a skateboard, run over by a child's toy car and given to a six-year-old boy to destroy." Surprisingly they all survived those tests... but failed these two: "being smashed by a sledgehammer and being nailed to a tree" This is good news... cameras can be replaced but photos you haven't downloaded yet are irreplacible. (bbc news story)...
  • Amazon: Last day for $50 Gift Certificate (12:32) - Today is the last day to get a $50 gift certificate from Amazon.com with any purchase of $250 or more in thier Electronics and Software stores. Some well priced items that qualify for this are: 15gb iPod (generation 3): $250 iPod Mini: $250 20gb iPod (new 4th generation): $300 Canon Powershot A80 camera: $280 iPAQ 1945: $280 (Dell Axim X30 is a better deal though) Aylvania 17" LCD monitor: $320 Here's the link...
  • Toshiba e830 Pocket PC Rumors (10:55) - Toshiba appears to be getting closer to releasing a new e830 Pocket PC even though there are repeated rumors that they want to get out of the PDA marketspace. PocketPCThoughts.com have found some FCC documents hat show the label for the e830 but with a picture of the e805 (suggesting that the e830 will look the same as the e805). Other rumored specs are 128 MB Memory, 520 MHz Processor, SD & CF slot, 4 inch VGA screen, and Bluetooth and 802.11b Wi-Fi. Release date is rumored to be September....
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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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