A blog about likeable gadgets and electronic products such as GPS, MP3 players, digital cameras, cell phones, music equipment, computers or other geek-worthy toys.

Category — Electronic Instruments

Talk..Talk..Talk w/ Multi Handset Phones

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.

November 8, 2008   No Comments

Blu-ray Going the Way of Betamax?

Still haven’t picked up that Blu-ray disc player?  You might want to hurry (or not), because according to Robin Harris over at ZDNet, “Blu-ray is in a death spiral“, and will be little more than a “videophile niche in 12 months”. Here’s some of the interesting evidence Harris cites for the eventual demise of Blu-ray discs.

Upconversion DVD players:  With DVD players that up-play standard quality DVDs to near HD quality, the hype surrounding the viewing quality of Blu-ray discs is lost.

Licensing Fees:  There are whopping Blu-ray licensing fees implemented by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) for producers who want their productions available on Blu-ray.  $3K per project, plus additional annual fees.  That might be okay for a multi-million dollar film budget, but it’s not likely to be affordable for others.

Time Lost:  The HD DVD/ Blu-ray war took a couple of years to sort out…so all the while, technology was advancing, leaving Blu-ray a little outdated.

What do you think…is it the beginning of the end for Blu-ray discs, camcorders, and other gadgets? Hitachi doesn’t appear to think so.  They just released a new line of Blu-ray/DVD hybrid camcorders.

November 1, 2008   No Comments

iKit: Tiny Sub-Notebook Computer

According to Yahoo! Tech, IMOVIO’s iKit computer is being called a “pocket mobile companion” by the company, but really it has opened up a whole new line of verbage to describe smaller than small gadgets-  it’s a sub-sub-notebook computer.   Count them- 2 “subs”.

With a 2.8 inch screen, the iKit features a full QWERTY keyboard, a webcam, Linux OS, and a mini USB port.  A full size SD card slot supports cards up to 8GB, and there are 64 MB of RAM. You can surf the Internet with this mini notebook computer via WiFi, or hook up via Bluetooth technology, but don’t confuse it with a cell phone or you’re in for a disconnect.

Reportedly, IMOVIO’s iKits will be sold as optional add-ons ($161) for laptop computers and as a high-end cell phone accessories…so no purchasing this one separately for now. And that’s just too,too bad.

October 28, 2008   No Comments

DVD/VCR Combo with Upconversion

I’m just going to be honest here…I’m not ready to part with my old VCR tapes.  As I was sorting through some old things in preparation to switch to a new media cabinet, I decided to keep almost all of them.  And, since my old VCR is broken, I’m going to have to come up with something for playing them or converting them to DVD.

I like this Toshiba DVD Recorder/VCR combo because it comes with upconversion to play my old media in near HD quality.  It also has bi-directional dubbing capabilities which means I can transfer my old VCR tapes to DVD…and then, just maybe, get rid of the old stuff.

The DVD/VCR combo also includes camcorder controls with front DVD input for easily transfering home movies to DVD.  Expecially handy if some of your home movies are on those old compact VHS tapes that require an adapter for inserting into your VCR. You can find the Toshiba D-VR660 DVD Recorder at U.S. Appliance for $209.

If you’re ready to get rid of some of your old media, here are some quick tips for recycling old electronics, CDs, video tapes, and cassette tapes.

October 24, 2008   No Comments

High-Tech Home Weather Stations

Seems as if weather watchers and home weather stations have evolved with the rest of us in the wireless age.  Now you can check the weather with this sleek gadget that looks more like an iPhone than a rain gauge or a thermometer.

The Color Forecast Station is made by LaCrosse Technology. It includes a wireless sensor, for placing outdoors, and offers a host of weather-related information including indoor/outdoor heat index, barometric pressure, humidity, etc.  The Forecast Station also features a full-color animated display, atomic time, an alarm and perpetual calendar.

I like that you can receive information from up to 3 wireless sensors with this weather station.  Put one outside, and one in the house, and maybe track the weather in your neighbor’s yard??  Just throw in MP3 playback and GPS capabilities, and this thing would have it all.  The La Crosse Color Forecast Station is available at Wireless Weather Stations for $59.95.

October 22, 2008   1 Comment

Sony Snap Lab Digital Photo Printer

Digital photo printers are evolving from mediocre plug and play gadgets to full blown home photo labs.  Check out the Sony Snap Lab home photo system. It uses thermal transfer printing to create “lab quality” digital photo prints. Many digital photo printers limit you to 4X6 prints or smaller, but this one allows you to print 5X7s and 3X5s too.

The Sony Snap Lab features an 8-inch LCD touch screen for on-screen editing, and you can use it with or without a computer.  A 4X6 takes about 15 seconds to print, and you can print in black and white as well as sepia tones.

The photo lab includes software, a paper tray, a paper holder, and other items. It’s big too-measures 10-7/8″W x 11-7/8″H x 14-15/16″D and weighs 24 lbs. Since it’s priced at more than $1400, you’ll be wise to take advantage of the built in security slot for using a security cable with this new gadget.  I found the Sony Snap Lab at B&H Photo.

September 29, 2008   No Comments

Digital Photo to DVD Converter

If you’re like me, you’ve got a digital camera and multiple SD cards, each full of 900 digital photos, waiting to go somewhere–but where?  Here’s a cool gadget for getting all those digital pictures on to DVDs that you can play and enjoy.

The Digital Photo to DVD Converter takes the files from your digital camera memory card and transfers them to CDs.  You can choose to save the files as JPGs or in a DVD slideshow format.  The converter works without a computer, but you can also use it with your computer as an external CD burner.  It also comes with the necessary cables for hooking up directly to your television.  The converter accepts several types of photo storage devices, including compact flash, smart media, memory stick, secure digital, and multi media cards.  I found the Digital Photo to DVD Converter at Hammacher Schlemmer for $199.

September 23, 2008   2 Comments

ScoreCast Football Tracker

Stop getting busted by your boss while checking NFL scores and standings. Here’s a wireless gadget for tracking your favorite NFL team without a computer or TV. The Ambient ScoreCast lets you check game scores, see the schedules of your favorite NFL teams, and view current standings. It works for post season games too. ScoreCast gets it’s football stats via the InfoCast wireless network.

The Football ScoreCast takes 4AA batteries, and it retails for $99-$125. Not a football fan? ScoreCast is available in a baseball version too.

September 15, 2008   No Comments

Amazon Kindle Getting a Revamp

Amazon’s digital reader, Kindle, is getting a makeover which will be revealed in the next month or two.  According to Business Week, the new version of the Amazon Kindle is reported to be smaller, thinner, and sporting a bigger screen.  Amazon’s been pushing the Kindle pretty hard for awhile now with seemingly lukewarm response.

However, there are those who think that Amazon’s Kindle going to revolutionize the way we look at print media.  According to this Kindle article, one Citigroup analyst thinks that Amazon might sell enough Kindles to match the first year of iPod sales…380,000 units.  What do you think?  Will we ever give up paper in favor of digital readers or any other gadget?

September 5, 2008   2 Comments

HP H470 Mobile Printer

H470 Mobile PrinterAnyone who’s ever used a mobile printer with their notebook computer probably understands just how much abuse one of these things endures while bouncing around in the backseat of your car. That’s why I like the rugged look of the HP Office Jet H470 mobile printer-looks like it might be able to take a moderate amount of mistreatment.

The H470 portable printer weighs 5 pounds and it’s compatible with all your portable devices, including digital cameras, memory sticks, and PDAs. It holds up to 50 sheets of paper, and can print up to 22 pages a minute depending on the print quality you select.

Oh- and in case you like to work or study while sipping a latte at Starbucks, there’s an anti-vibration feature to prevent annoying the people around you. Optional features on the HP Office Jet H470 include a wireless printer adapter, a 12v adapter for using it in your car, and a travel holder for HP ink cartridges.

August 29, 2008   No Comments