Remember when LEGO toys were just primary colored hunks of plastic? Looks like LEGO is taking on the world of robotic toys. The Lego Mindstorms NXT is a fully-programmable robot with an “intelligent LEGO brick” for a brain…actually a 32-bit micro-processor.
The LEGO robot has multiple light, sound, and touch sensors for a full range of programming options. Users program the robot using drag and drop software which is compatible with both PC and MAC. This sophisticated, long lost cousin of WALL-E is also a Bluetooth compatible gadget. I found Lego Mindstorms NXT at KB Toys. Ages 10 & up. [Read more →]
Here’s a TomTom GPS system likely to find its way on to many Holiday wish lists. The TomTom GO 930 portable GPS receiver features MP3 playback for listening to your favorite music while traveling. This TomTom also comes preloaded with maps of the United States, Europe, and Canada, and gives audible turn-by-turn reminders.
As far as memory, the GPS unit includes a 4GB flash memory, and an SD card slot. I like that drivers can switch between 2D and 3D viewing on the 4.3 inch LCD touch screen. For me, 3D viewing is best for the city, and 2D on the highway.
This TomTom GPS receiver is Bluetooth compatible, and has a audio output for piping the sound through your car stereo system. A single charge of the built-in rechargeable battery powers the unit for 5 hours. I found the TomTom GO 930 at Best Buy.
Looks like digital voice recorders, right along with HD camcorders, are moving to hybrid storage systems for file handling. This Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo voice recorder gives you the option to store files on a built in 32MB flash memory, or Duo media cards.
The voice recorder also includes voice to print software, and is compatible with Dragon Naturally Speaking. Built-in microphones, and voice-operated recording for eliminating memory-guzzling pauses, are also included on this unit. The Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo voice recorder is available at Abt for $249. [Read more →]
What’s the deal with the rush on Black Friday and Holiday shopping? Judging by the barrage of holiday advertising, and rumors of shortages on some electronics and video games, you might think that Christmas is just a few days away, rather than several weeks away.
According to Yahoo! Tech, several video games, and electronics may be in short supply this year. Among them are the Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit, and Guitar Hero World Tour. I did a quick search just to see how online supplies of these items are faring. I had no problems finding a ready supply of each of these items, but will admit that’s subject to fast and furious change this time of year. [Read more →]
If you’ve ever heard the great quality of Bose speakers, you can understand the desire to capture that same sound when it comes to iPod accessories. Looks like Bose is marketing their iPod gear pretty heavily for the Holidays. I spotted several ads just this weekend.
The Bose SoundDock Portable Music System includes a dock with Bose’s waveguide technology speakers, in ear headphones, a remote control, and carrying case. The speakers are made from neodymium, and volume controls are hidden on the side of the unit. Ramping volume control gradually turns up sound when unit is powered up.
If you don’t want the entire package, you can also purchase each component separately. The Bose portable system is available at Frontgate.
Wireless Internet security is probably in for a makeover, because according to Yahoo! Tech, the WPA encryption commonly utilized on wireless routers has been cracked. Although it is still much safer than WEP encryption, researchers claim to be able to crack pass codes in 15 minutes, thanks to a recently discovered mathematical technique.
Not hip on the neighbors swiping your online banking passwords off your laptop computer? If you want to upgrade to the next level of WiFi security, you can still set your wireless router to WPA2 encryption. This setting is safe (for now), but there is one thing you need to know…a lot of WiFi gadgets such as phones, and Nintendo DS don’t work with this setting. I’ve tried WPA2 encryption a couple of times, but always end up switching back to WPA due to technical difficulties.
Here’s the original WPA encryption story as it appeared in PC World.
Panasonic cordless phones, among others, seem to be coming with more and more handsets. Are we getting lazier, or are homes getting bigger? This Panasonic cordless phone comes with 4 handsets, just in case 3 isn’t enough. The digital cordless phone also includes an answering machine, caller ID on all handsets, illuminated keypads, and speakerphone. The Panasonic cordless phone set is available at P.C. Richard & Son.
This Uniden cordless phone blows 4 handsets right out of the water. It’s expandable to 6 handsets. You’ll have to purchase the last 3 separately because the starter kit only comes with 3. The Uniden DECT3080 phone comes with 3 party conferencing capabilities, and it’s available at J&R.
According to Gizmodo, T-Mobile has stopped sales of the Nokia 5610 Xpress Music due to a defective part that is causing phone screens to go blank. Keep in mind this isn’t a recall, and the defect is not thought to be widespread. If you’re having problems with yours- T-Mobile says to take it to your nearest T-Mobile store. [Read more →]
If you’re looking to switch to HDTV before the U.S. shuts off analog TV signals in February, here are a couple to consider, especially if you’re looking for a no-frills bargain.
Vizio flat screen TVs are recognized for leaving out expensive and fancy details, in exchange for more affordable prices. The Vizio LCD HDTV above is a 22″ model with 1680 x 1050 resolution. 170 degree viewing angles accommodate viewing from many angles without distortion. The Vizio LCD HDTV is available refurbished for $299 at Geeks.Com, or new for around $385.
Here’s a Coby HDTV with a built-in side loading DVD player. The 15 inch LCD TV is wall-mountable, and includes V-Chip parental controls. I fount the Coby HDTV at 6th Avenue Electronics for $228.
Both XM and Sirius satellite radios are available in hand held versions that look a lot like two-way radios. But, until recently, I didn’t realize that some hand held satellite radios also include MP3 storage. So, now you can have access to satellite radio, and your personal music library on one gadget.
The Sirius MP3 radio above is the Sirius SL2PK1. In addition to pulling in regular Sirius stations, this radio will pick up Sirius Internet radio via any WiFi connection. As far as MP3 storage, there’s a 2GB internal memory, and a micro SD card slot for expansion. The Sirius Stiletto portable radio is available at Radio Shack for $329.99.
Here’s a similar XM satellite radio with MP3 storage options. The XM MP3 radio is expandable for up to 8 GB of MP3 storage. The radio plays WMA files, and comes with a remote control and USB port for scheduling recordings on your computer. I found the Pioneer XMp3 satellite radio at Crutchfield for $249.99.