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CES Party Report

ces coverage

Ok, we are now at CES bumping into the guys who run all the other cool gadget sites.

Last night's party was the CES Unvelied official press event: lots of companies and tons of journalists packed into a too small room. Food and drinks were good, nice sushi, crab cakes were cold, and my martini was just ok.

My pick for breakout technologies at the show: large LCDs and easier home automation/media center stuff.

Lots of posts to come today with all the new announcements, then off to tonights party which is the Digial Experiance press event at the Bellagio. Oh, and I'm up over $300 on the slots so far.... gotta love Vegas!

Posted January 5, 2005 in CES , Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Quiet Week

I hope you are all enjoying the week between Christmas and New Year.

This is a very quiet week for gadgets so no new posts, we are getting ready for the CES Consumer Electronics show in Vegas next week; we will be reporting from the show and attending all the fun launch parties that companies have planned.

Happy New Year!

Posted December 30, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

A Little Rant

Forgive me, but I feel a rant coming on.

I visit a lot of web sites every day looking for interesting news to post to ShinyPlastic and our other sites, I am pretty well protected against adware downloads and viruses etc, I don't block banner ads as they don't bother me, and I tolerate flash ads that popover a page I am looking at (as long as they have an obvious close or skip button) but you know what really bugs me?

Web sites that automatically resize your browser window.

I hate them.

I have my browser windows set to a size I like, it is just the right size to see a lot but not to take up my whole screen, so I can still see other windows underneath such as email, RSS feeds etc.

Who do these control freak site designers think they are when they tell me they know better than I do what size to make my browser window.

There are two extremes, the sites that automatically resize your browser to 800x600 because that is "optimal" for viewing their site, and those that resize the browser to the max size possible for your screen.

Excuse me, I have two screen and they are both 1600x1200 pixels, I don't want your crappy little site taking up my whole screen, especially when two-thirds of the broser is now blank space.

And what is the end result of these people messing up my browser window? I leave their site immediately and never return.

Posted December 8, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Gadget Prices Dropping

Cnet is reporting the biggest monthly drop in consumer electronic prices in 5 months.

Leading the way were 42 inch plasma screens which dropped almost 10% in price last month (to an average of $2500) and big drops were also seen in LCD prices (as we predicted months ago).

One thing I find silly though is that they track 128MB memory cards.... does anyone still buy 128MB memory cards when you can get a 1GB compactflash for under $50?

(if you do you can get a 128MB compachflash card from buy.com for a massive $3).

More from Cnet

Google Doubles Index Size

Google Doubles Index Size

Sometimes size is everything. Google has just announced it has doubled the size of it's index of web pages from 4 billion to 8 billion.

What this means is that for queries that only returned a few results before you should see a lot more relevant results now.

Here is a search box, try it out and see if you get better results:







Google














Posted November 11, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Digitial Focus Press Event

iriver pmp 120

So last night I headed over to the Digital Focus press event in New York. Digital Focus is basically a room with about 20 major consumer technology companies showing off their latest toys to a bunch of journalists ranging from ABC to PC Magazine to Consumer Reports to Playboy to me.

There was nothing there I hadn't heard of or seen (or posted here for you) before but it was a great opportunity to get my hands on some of the latest gadgets and try them out.

It was also a great opportunity to meet some of the people who help run other sites you may visit daily - Joel from Gizmodo, Ryan from Engadget, and Janak and Suhit from PocketPCThoughts and DigitalMediaThoughts.

Stay tuned to see what we found from iRiver, Archos, Gateway, HP, Tivo, Netgear, Belkin, and others.

Posted October 14, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Oct 9th Newsletter

ShinyPlastic.com and VGAPocketPC.com Newsletter

In this Issue:

  • VGAPocketPC.com launched
  • This week's reviews
  • Recent new gadgets
  • At the TechXNY show
  • Competitions
  • What's coming next from ShinyPlastic?

Continue reading "Oct 9th Newsletter"

Posted October 9, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

New Site: VGAPocketPC.com

vga pocket pc information news and reviews

We have just launched a new sister site to ShinyPlastic, and it's called VGAPocketPC.com.

With 6 VGA resolution Pocket PCs either launched or coming in the next 3 months, and with lots of new details on the Dell Axim X50 showing up every day, we thought it was time for a web site that focuses solely on the VGA resolution pocket pcs.

Highlights of the new site include links to lots of reviews, a detailed profile of each VGA Pocket PC, and a great comparison of all 6 VGA Pocket PCs.

Want to know which VGA Pocket PC is built like a brick?, which one syncs via the faster USB 2.0 instead of the usual USB 1.1?, which one doesn't have 802.11b Wi-Fi?, and which one has the 4mbps IrDA 1.3 infrared compared to the almost 40 times slower IrDA 1.2 of other pocket pcs?..... then read the comparison and check out the rest of VGAPocketPC.com to find out.

Posted October 1, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

British Telecom: Head in Sand

In the UK the main (formerly only) phone company British Telecom (BT) just doesn't get it.

According to BT's Graham Whitehead "The internet is dead, or dying; it's full of viruses, worms and porn, you have to wear a kevlar suit before you go online," he said. "BT is creating a private network, which will be joined to other private networks, to which we will add voice over IP."

He also thinks the low uptake of broadband in the UK is due to people not seeing a need for broadband in their daily lives.

I disagree: the low uptake of broadband in the UK is directly related to a certain company (BT) trying to control and overcharge for broadband connectivity, limiting competition and stifling innovation.

I am so glad I moved from the UK to the US and got away from that kind of attitude and inward thinking. The US is a lot bigger and therefore a lot more difficult to wire for broadband connectivity but over half of US internet users have broadband and personally I would never live in a house of apartment without it.

Posted September 28, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

No posts... apologies

Apologies for no posts yesterday or today.... I am away at an internet conference and get this: the high speed internet in the conference hotel isn't working!

Daily postings will resume Friday, until then check out Gizmodo or Engadget for you daily fix of new cool gadgets.

Posted September 22, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Back from Hurricane Ivan

hurricane ivan cancun

I'm back a day late from vacation thanks to Hurricane Ivan clipping Cancun where we were staying.

All my gadgets survived the strong winds and 25+ foot waves (they all got some good wind survival tests on our 11th floor hotel balcony at the height of the storm) and we survived a day stuck in our hotel with not much food and no alcohol! (alcohol sales were banned by the local government during the hurricane warning period).

One casulty of the vacation was my iPod mini, the difference in humidity between the hotel and the beach killed it.

There will be a gadget review every day for the next few days as well as all the regular gadget news.

Posted September 15, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Life is a Beach!

relaxing on the beach

There will be no posts to ShinyPlastic.com from September 3rd to 13th as my wife and I are away on vacation putting lots of great gadgets to the test. (This is our first long vacation with no work in 2 years, so no computers, no cell phones, just portable gadgets, sun, and margaritas.)

Continue reading to see photos of what we will be reviewing the week we return......

Also don't forget to join our free mailing list and be entered for a chance to win a Smart Watch, an FM Transmitter, or one of six Google Gmail accounts.

Continue reading "Life is a Beach!"

Posted September 2, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Mobile Site Updated

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.

Posted August 31, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Commenting Fixed

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.

Posted August 25, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Commenting Problems

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.

Posted August 16, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

ShinyPlastic Toolbar

gadget reviews

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

Posted August 4, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Shopping Directory

gadget reviews

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 I like and most of them have affiliate programs, so if you want to support this site without it costing you anything bookmark the shopping directory and anytime you go to buy something online please visit the directory and click on the link to get to the store.

Thanks!

Posted August 2, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Amazon: Last day for $50 Gift Certificate

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

Posted August 1, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Axim X30 Review Finished

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

On the Road with the X30 : Day 1

Dell Axim X30 Pocket PC

This report has now been consolidated into the main Dell Axim X30 Review.

Posted July 12, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (1) | Comments (0)

Buy.com Phone Number

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.

Posted July 9, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (12)

Mobile Version

gadget reviews

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

Posted July 8, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Gmail winners

5 free gmail invites

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.

Posted July 6, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Layout Changing

gadget reviews

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.

Posted July 1, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

New Feature: Reviews

gadget reviews

A goal of this site is not just to tell you about the latest gadgets and where to get the best price on them, but to review them for you and tell you where to buy them.

For sites like Cnet, Wired and New York Times that is easy, they get sent the gadget for free and they write a review, but we have to actually buy the gadgets we want to review.

The plan therefore is to do longer term reviews of products, most sites use a product once or twice then move onto the next one, we however are going to use each gadget for at least a couple of months before telling you all about it.

Yes, it wont be a review the day the product comes out but it will potentially show up more negatives and flaw than the typical cursory inspection by a major site.

Here's some of what we have bought with our hard earned pennies and will be reviewing once we have used them enough to develop strong opinions:

  • Norelco 9984XL (James Bond Shaver)
  • Firefly PC Remote Control
  • iPod Mini
  • Dell X30 624mhz Pocket PC
  • Audible.com Subscription
  • Plantronics DSP-500 USB Stereo Headset (and Skype voice over IP)
Posted June 30, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Free Wired Subscription

free wired subscription

Discountmags.com is offering a free one year subscription to Wired magazine (while supplies last, apparently no strings attached, just ask for name and address, no email or phone).

Click here for the subscription form

(thanks Gary Leff)

Posted June 29, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Going to CEBIT

CEBIT America

CEBIT America is this coming week in NY, last year wasn't very good so heres hoping my Camera and I see some interesting things to post here.

Posted May 22, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Thoughts of Movable Type Licensing

gadget reviews

Sixapart, the creators of the software I use to create this blog recently changed their licensing requirements, before the change it was free software and if you liked it you could donate through PayPal (I donated $50 after creating this site and liking the software).

Now they have introduced a number of different licensing options and are asking the community how they use the movable type software.

The kind of license that I would pay for would allow me to operate 3-5 blogs with a single author, each blog would be made up of a number of sub-blogs, i.e. the main page, a sidebar with coupons, a sidebar with links.

That license would be non-commercial but would allow me to upgrade to a reasonably priced commercial version if my site becomes a profitable business.

For such a license I would be willing to pay $50-$100 (assuming it gave access to most software updates, and there is no repeating annual fee).

I wouldn't object to a $20-$30 upgrade fee every couple of years to upgrade to a new version with substantial new functionality.

Update: 6/17: Sixapart have tweaked their licensing model and it is now perfect for me. Thanks Sixapart!

(edit 7/2: forgot to trackback to the original sixapart post, linking now)

Posted May 20, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Site Problems

site problems

Lots of site problems the past two weeks... working to restore as many of the old posts as possible.

My apologies to the site visitors who were unable to see the recent updates.

Posted May 10, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Read RSS feeds on your iPod

ipod rss feeds

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.

Posted April 16, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Eye Jewelry Bad?

eye jewelry bad for you

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!

Posted April 8, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

Quiet Weekend

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!

Posted April 2, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

April Fools?

april fools 2004 jokes

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.

Posted April 1, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (1)

Race for the Cure

Off topic for this blog but a good friend of mine is taking part in the Connecticut Race for the Cure on Saturday June 12th 2004.

The race raises money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and funds research to finds a cure for breast cancer.

I have donated $100 and ask that if you have saved money by using my site please go and donate something $1, $5, whatever you can spare.

Thank you!.

Posted March 15, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

First Post - Welcome

Welcome to Shiny Plastic, the aim here is to be a cross between gadget sites like Gizmodo and engadget and coupon sites.

Continue reading "First Post - Welcome"

Posted March 11, 2004 in Misc | Comments (0)

Site Coming Soon

Stay tuned for a new blog thats all about convergence between hot new gadgets and cheap prices.

Posted February 29, 2004 in Misc | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)
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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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