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Posts from March, 2008

Realistic Projector Clock Disguised As A Kettle

Mar 30

projector clock.png This is first projection clock I’ve seen that has clearly nicked its design from the humble kitchen kettle. I don’t know why but the makers claim that this one is the ‘King’ of projector clocks, firing out a very bright analogue clock onto your chosen wall.

At £70 it would want to be bloody amazing.

The company says the clock is visible day or night and there’s a focus ring to make sure it’s clearly projected. For me though, the stand-out feature is the sound activation option that allows you to groggily turn it off and on by clapping your hands.

It uses a 12V 50W halogen bulb and measures 34.5 x 29 x 27cm, which makes it bloody big as clocks go. More here.-Martin Lynch

[Gadgetspy]

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Dell’s Budget Blu-ray Laptop

Mar 30

dell inspiron 1525.jpg Dell thinks people are the real winners now that the high-defintion (HD) war is over and to celebrate it’s launched a cheap Blu-ray laptop.

As the company says: “The high-definition format wars are over – and you won” – excluding the unfortunate HD DVD adopters, that is.

The new Inspiron 1525 with optional Blu-ray disc playback is now shipping in the US to start for $879, or £441. The notebook boasts a decent 15.4in HD widescreen display with 720p resolution and a HDMI port for hooking up to TVs. Dell’s press release seems to imply that the Blu-ray drive you’re geting is a burner too but it’s not – you’ll need to add an extra £100 for that one, taking the price to over £500.

That Blu-ray drive will also burn to blank 50GB Blu-ray discs as well as the usual line up of blank DVDs and CDs. Rather than the usual drab grey, Dell is offering the laptop in a number of exotically named colours including Chill, Blossom, Commotion, Sunshine Yellow, Midnight Blue and Ruby Red to fit in with your funky lifestyle.

It is coming to Europe but it may take a few weeks. I think the forthcoming Blu-ray equipped Acer Gemstones might give the Inspiron 1525 a run for their money.-Martin Lynch

[Dell]

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PDASmart Battery Extends Life Of Your iPod

Mar 30

pdasmart ipod battery.jpg A US company called PDASmart has launched a new battery for the iPod 5G 30GB player that promises to significantly extend your viewing and listening pleasure.

The company claims that initial tests for the battery have yielded 48 hours of continuous music playing and a whopping 24 hours of video playback. For anyone with a 5G player, or pretty much any other iPod video-capable device, you’ll know just how long that is.

According to the company:

“The battery kit comes with everything needed to do the transfer. It will require a larger rear casing which is included. Your iPod will still fit in your docking station as it makes the thickness about the same size as the 60gb version. THIS WILL ONLY WORK IN THE 30GB version iPod 5th gen. There are several parts to this kit so if you think you cannot handle the repair, send it to the experts.”

The battery kit costs around £38 and you can find some more details here.-Martin Lynch

[Slippery Brick]

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Turn Your Favourite Photos Into Wallpaper

Mar 30

myfotowall.jpg

The problem with digital cameras is that we all have too many damn photos that never get printed or even transferred to digital photo frames. And in that lot we sometimes – just sometimes – manage to capture a person or place perfectly and wish that we could make more off it.

As long as you have a spare wall then UK company, myfotowall, is offering you a chance to do just that. For a price, of course.

The company can take your piece of photographic art, blow it up to 16 times its largest printable size without messing up the resolution and then turn it into wallpaper. The company says:

“The inks used to produce your myfotowall, are UV cured, and are lightfast for up to 3 years. This means that a myfotowall, hung in an internal room within a house, will last for at least 3 years without any fading…The print quality is firstly determined by the quality of your original digital photograph. The enlargement will show no discernible loss in print quality, from that of the original printable quality, on a like for like printed resolution of 150dpi.”

At £45 per square metre though, you better really like that photo.-Martin Lynch

[Red Ferret]

myfotowall2.jpg

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Teeny Tiny Bluetooth USB Adapter

Mar 30

tiny usb adapter.jpg
Kensington’s tiny little Bluetooth USB Micro Adapter is now available in the UK, having been officially announced a couple of months back.

At six times smaller than your usual dongle-type products, it’s designed to live in a spare USB slot without getting in the way and without having to be detached every time you pack up your laptop.

It allows for the transfer of files and photos with your mobile phone, syncing and updating your phone’s calendar/contacts features or for connecting a keyboard and mouse wirelessly.

It will work with most Bluetooth-enabled devices, according to Kensington, and you can find it now for a wallet-friendly £17 on Amazon.-Martin Lynch

[EverythingUSB]

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Star Wars Golf Bags: Take Darth Vader For A Round

Mar 30

star wars golf bags.jpg

The very odd time I’ve played golf I have wished for something like The Force to help me out of the bunkers, lakes and undergrowth where I seemed to spend most of my time.

Now, executive geeks are getting their very own Star Wars Golf Bags from Bridgestone Sports so that they too can become Tiger Vader on the fairway.

The bags come in Stormtrooper White and Darth Vader Black and are about to go on sale now in Japan for around £250 a pop. Also on sale are three golf club covers sporting Vader, TIE fighter and Stormtrooper artwork, alongside Star Wars-themed ball markers.

Would anyone really show up on a UK golf course with one of these bags? I suspect The Force would be weak in this one.-Martin Lynch

[Starwars.com]

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Humax Dabbles With TV Beamed In From The Jetsons

Mar 30

chauhan_tv_humax.jpg

I like retro gadgets and this TV concept design by UK industrial designer, Tej Chauhan, for Humax is certainly striking. Love those curves.

Known for making pocket-friendly LCD TVs and models with HDDs inside, this would be a real departure for the French TV maker. I thought HANNSpree had the market cornered in odd TVs, what with its Handbag TV and the sexy Pop Art TV, but obviously not.

This is a concept for the moment, combining that 1950s flair for trying to imagine the future with modern LCD technology.

The working TV is expected to go on show next month at the Zona Tortona design show in Milan – if you’re passing – but whether Humax has the balls to produce something so distinctive is another matter altogether.-Martin Lynch

[Technabob]

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Videogame Ratings Set For Overhaul

Mar 30

kid games.jpg TV psychologist, Dr. Tanya Byron, has turned in her report for the government and is recommending a new ‘easy-to-use’ rating system for videogames.

Of course, many feel that the big red ‘18’ on certain games should be warning enough for the dumb parents that buy them for their 10-year olds.

Byron has suggested in her ‘Safer Children in a Digital World’ report that the BBFC lower the barrier for the type of games it classifies to ‘12’. At the moment it only classifies games that contain sexual content or violence. Wow, I bet the BBFC are delighted by what will be a massive jump in its workload.

Key changes:

Reforming the classification system for rating video games with one set of symbols on the front of all boxes which are the same as those for film.

Lowering the statutory requirement to classify video games to 12+, so that it is the same as film classification and easier for parents to understand.

Clear and consistent guidance for industry on how games should be advertised.

Challenging industry to provide sustained and high profile efforts to increase parents understanding of age ratings and improved parental controls.

Byron said: “This is also about overcoming the generational ‘digital divide’ where parents do not feel equipped to help their children because they didn’t grow up with these sophisticated technologies themselves and therefore don’t understand them; this can lead to fear and a sense of helplessness. This is compounded by children and young people’s greater skill and confidence in using new technology.”

Personally, I think the problem lies with crap parents, not the ratings system, since most games clearly state the age rating on the front, back and sides.-Martin Lynch

[Full Report]

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Buffalo’s First External Blu-ray/HD DVD Drive

Mar 30

buffalo player.jpg
What’s going on this week? First we had Plextor unveiling its new internal Blu-ray/HD DVD drives for PCs and now Buffalo has launched its own external combo drive.

This Blu-ray & HD DVD Combo Drive is the company’s first external optical disk drive and it supports both read/write Blu-ray and read HD DVD formats. The drive offers single and double layer Blu-ray read/write speeds of up to 6x, HD DVD read speed of up to 3x and DVD read/write speeds of up to 16x.

I can’t help but think these drives would have been more useful to us all last year when the HD DVD format wasn’t so, um, dead.

The drive is Plug & Play via any USB interface and comes with Buffalo’s TurboUSB technology and a copy of Nero 8 – with HD support – for burning and editing video files.

Gerardine Lynch, Product Marketing Manager at Buffalo Technology, comments, “In 2007, over 2.5 million units of high definition DVDs were sold in Europe, highlighting the rapid rate at which consumers are adopting this new format.”

The Blu-ray & HD DVD Combo Drive will ship next month from Amazon, Dabs.com, Misco and Play.com at an estimated street price of £284, excluding VAT.-Martin Lynch

[Buffalo]

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Mobiles On Planes Get Green Light From Ofcom

Mar 30

Using mobile phones on planes could become a reality for many travellers following a decision by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to allow for mobile communications on UK registered aircraft.

air passenger.jpg The decision is great for travellers but flies in the face of current restrictions that seem to imply that using electronic devices on planes could interfere with the plane’s own electronics. Ofcom previously announced that it was planning to do this.

The system works by passengers’ mobiles connecting to an on-board base station, just not during take-off and landing when the station and phones will be off. Once at 3,000-feet though the system will be switched on and flyers will be able to make and take calls routed through a satellite link to a network on the ground.

To start, the system will support 2G services only for data, voice and texts. It may, if successful, be extended to 3G.

To start, the services will work in European airspace but don’t get too excited yet since it still has to be approved by the relevant UK and European aviation authorities – the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK.

Just how much you will be charged for making calls from 30,000-feet is still unclear.-Martin Lynch

[Ofcom]

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