Archive for December, 2006

A Zune upgrade that makes sense: 80gb

A Zune upgrade that makes sense: 80gb

If the only reason you've held off buying a Zune is the 30gb hard drive and your lust for more and more space, then you're a shallow human being and should be roundly thrashed.  Still, since it's almost Christmas and I'm of a generous bent, I'll instead point you in the direction of the good folks at Zune Scene.  Yeah, they've taken their lovely Zune, still cavorting in its Microsoft warranty, and they've opened up its virginal chassis and swapped out the storage for an 80gb model.

Now, instead of 7000 tracks or a paltry 25 movies, you can store 70 full-length movies and almost 20,000 tracks.  All of a sudden the subscription-based Zune Pass starts making a whole lot of sense, as buying each track individually would get very, very expensive!

80gb Zune and 70 movies

The only downside is the removal of some metal shielding to accommodate the slightly thicker drive.  Zune Scene are careful to point out that doing so might make your DAP slightly less resilient to drops or being trodden on, but if you're that slapdash with your electronics you should maybe stick to a xylophone anyway.

80gb Zune Review [Zune Scene]

WowWee Dragonfly takes flight again

WowWee Dragonfly takes flight again

If the last video of the WowWee Dragonfly Robot got you salivating, how about another from the makers themselves? Taking off from a meeting table and then fluttering around a selection of their other robots, it's hard to believe that this is going to be a commercially-available toy.

It turns out that credit for the original design must go to a high-school student - and now part of the WowWee team - Sean Frawley, who will in fact sell you the plans for his elastic-band powered Ornithopter kit for a mere twenty bucks.

I can't wait to have a go of this myself!

Robots Rule [via Street Tech]

Is Cellulosic Ethanol the fuel of the future?

Is Cellulosic Ethanol the fuel of the future?

Now the Jaguar concept won't run on it, not without a little modification anyway, but there are plenty of other fuel analysts who are banking on vehicles of the future using Cellulosic Ethanol fuel.  It's not some pipe-dream, either; SunOpta Inc. have recently signed a joint venture with GreenField Ethanol Inc. to manufacture the fuel on a commercial scale, using wood chips as the source material.

The first plant is predicted to produce 10 million gallons of the stuff in its first year, with subsequent plants aiming for a 50 to 100 million gallon yield.  Already people are making claims about the woods used becoming the preferred crop for agricultural areas, as Cellulosic Ethanol overtakes traditional fossil fuels.

There’s a Jaguar loose on the net

There’s a Jaguar loose on the net

The people over at Car & Driver must be weeping right about now.  They had an exclusive article previewing the Jaguar C-XF Concept to be shown at the Detroit Auto Show, but Edmunds have stolen their scoop and posted all the juicy details online.  Is this another sign of print-media's gradually fading charm over the instantaneous gratuity of the internet?  I'm not going to even touch that one with a barge poll; instead let's drool a little over this stunning, Ian Callum-designed four-door coupé.

Powered by the XKR’s 4.2-litre supercharged V8 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the concept is said to have "in excess of" 420bhp and 368lb ft of torque, which would cosy up to a 180mph top speed or thereabouts.  But it's the appearance of the damn thing that's so pleasing - aggressive, obviously a Jag but not old-fashioned and tweedy.  Let's just hope that they carry the design on into the production model, eh?

Tatung another to merge UMPC and WM5

Tatung another to merge UMPC and WM5

The unstoppable force that is Steve over at The Carrypad UMPC Journal has posted some photos taken at Computex 2006 of yet another UMPC-wannabe that actually runs Windows Mobile 5.0 (like the HTC Athena).  Not much information beyond the manufacturer, Tatung, so the photos will have to satisfy us until CES.

They're causing some arguments in the blogosphere, these WM5 devices.  Yes, they're not officially Ultra-Mobile PCs in the Microsoft sense of the name, since they don't run the Tablet PC operating system, but while that limits their functionality in one sense it does mean that the extended battery life and "instant on" functionality is carried over from the Mobile OS.  Some road-warriors are saying that that's a reasonable compromise for them, while others see it as dilution of the brand.  I'd love to hear SlashGear's reader's opinions, so make yourself heard in the comments!

DosPara notebook looks distinctly Mac-ish

DosPara notebook looks distinctly Mac-ish

No prizes for guessing which style-conscious computer maker DosPara have been snatching glances at while designing their Prime Note Helios DN laptop.  Sadly not all the glossy sexiness has made it over - draw-loading optical media is passé compared to slot-loading, while the rest of the casing (particularly the keyboard) just reeks of parts-bin raiding.

Still, specs aren't too shabby: a Core 2 Duo T5500 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a 100GB SATA hard disk and a GeForce Go 7600 graphics card with 512MB of VRAM.  That uncool optical drive happens to be a dual-layer DVD burner, while a 17-inch, 1680x1050 screen, 2-megapixel integrated webcam, HDMI and eSATA ports round things out.  It'll retail in Japan either pre-loaded with XP Home or without OS, for 191,980 Yen ($1,625) and 179,980 Yen ($1,523) respectively.

eStarling Frame not so picture-perfect

eStarling Frame not so picture-perfect

I almost linked to this glowing review of the eStarling Digital Photo frame yesterday, but it slipped my mind.  Now I'm glad it did, since Gizmodo have taken a look at the display in the meantime and roundly trashed it.  In no particular order, the eStarling looks ugly, has an oddly-shaped and low-res display, is over-logo'd, relies on a protruding (and unreliable) wireless dongle, oh, and it's starting to smell funny.

This is a shame, because you might remember that I was quite impressed by the frame's specs back when Think Geek started selling it in November, and was looking forward to getting one in to review. 

Solar-equipped GPS Receivers tested

Solar-equipped GPS Receivers tested

The guys over at Pocket GPS World have taken a look at the latest range of solar-powered standalone GPS receivers to see whether you can rely on the awesome power of the sun to indirectly guide you from A to B.  Covering models from F-Tech and Transystem, as well as a separate solar panel charger, they look not only at GPS performance but ease of use and practicality in a moving vehicle and on foot.

It's a typically good review, and well worth a read if you're considering a new GPS receiver.  Although they conclude that we're still not at a point where solar panels can be used as sole power source, the ability to top-up and extend the battery life is undeniably handy.

A $750 Orange Zune? No Thanks!

A $750 Orange Zune?  No Thanks!

Just because you dress the Zune up in another color doesn’t necessary make it worth $750.  I recommend that you save your hard earned money for Apple’s new video iPod or maybe the Apple phone (should it come out soon).

The unlucky owner of this “very rare” ORANGE Zune (number 083 of 100) tried to auction off the player at a starting bid of $750 plus a shipping charge of $20 (through snailmail).

The auction ran on Ebay for 24 hours without a single bid, despite the note from the seller stating that it wont get re-listed if no buys it. Um…good lucky on this one bud.

Dump the call-centre headset

Dump the call-centre headset

They might have an odd name, but boynq also have some interesting looking products.  A bit of swish design on the desk is never a bad thing, and I don't reckon your climb up the career ladder would be at all damaged for having their Notone VOIP speakerphone/handset there.  With a slimline corded handset for those private calls to the mistress, plus a mono speakerphone for conference calling, it connects to your PC via USB and even gives you a place to store notepaper and a pen for jotting down the hotel number of your romantic assignations.

Look at that lovely glowing ring!  Textbook stuff.  The Notone is available now for £24.99 ($49.23) in black and white.

boynq [via MyMemory]