Somebody tell ThinkGeek to get their sweet gadgety asses over to the UK and set up a store here; honestly, I could spend all of my milk money on playthings from their catalogue, if international shipping didn't put me off. Latest to tempt my VISA card is this DIY RFID kit, intended to take short-range radio identification tagging out of the hands of Big Brother and put it into those of Big Geek.
Tired of peddling reasonable hi-fi separates, partially-crippled versions of the PS3 and iPod-eclipsed DAPs, Sony has turned its sights on the lucrative home installation market. For anything from $10k to $50k, including installation, you can choose from the company's high-end range of rack-mounted sources and multi-room distributed audio and video. Seemingly the pinnacle of the range is the NHS-3030, which aside from being named after the British health service looks to be pretty good: an ES A/V receiver manages six sources and ferries them round to up to six different rooms in your house.
Coming as standard with a 400-disc DVD changer, you can also choose from XM satellite radio receivers, additional DVD players (perhaps SACD if you've actually bought an SACD disc). A further three spaces in the rack leaves room for later expansion.
Control is handled by on-screen menus displayed on whichever TV or HD flatpanel you've got hooked up, as well as a combination of handheld LCD remotes and in-wall touchscreens. Authorised engineers will come to your house, wire everything up and leave it all neat'n'tidy, allowing you to get on with the arduous task of being indecently confused by all your new entertainment options.
With weapon-toting robots and steampunk keyboards, it's easy to forget that sometimes the most useful hacks are the ones which let you actually use your tech to the fullness of its capability. Case in point is the Sony Reader, which although having scored quite well in reviews nonetheless has patchy official Mac and Linux support. Quentin Stafford-Fraser bought one of the monochrome e-books with his holiday money, only to discover that the workaround solution for getting it up and running with his Macbook - using an SD card to transfer files from laptop to Reader - was pretty poor. Thankfully he knows people who know better!
There used to be a time when the only commanding voices you'd hear in your car were those of your ageing parents attempting to steer from the rear seats or the snide ones in your head; now more and more people are taking back their self-determination and choosing to obey GPS systems instead. Problem is, as we've all heard anecdotally before that can lead to our natural wariness and common sense being overruled by some vaguely Freudian compliance issues when faced with a stern tone, with the end result being your car landing in a river.
The beautiful village of Exton in Hampshire, UK, has decided to take motorists to task; they're tired of wagons attempting to fit down a road merely six feet wide. And what better way to do it than put up a great big yellow sign!
A scientist (who asked to remain nameless) called me up yesterday and told me that in the next few years cellphones are going to get so thin that they'll actually evaporate when you try to pick them up. Apparently the manufacturers know there's a problem, but design decisions are planned so far in advance that all they can do is promise to change things come 2012. Until then, I guess we'll have to find some way to fatten up our handsets; Vaja has kindly got the ball rolling by adding some extra millimetres to Samsung's Blackjack.
Remember those chunky red 3D scene viewers back in the eighties? I had one with scenes of Postman Pat going about his daily mail delivery duties, obviously this was before email made him redundant and whiskey made him belligerent. Anyway, Patrick Amaru's Neochroma stereoscopic cellphone display viewer reminds me of that, albeit slightly more useful than showing photos of a big-nosed mailman.
We've seen that you'll be able to use certain WM6 handhelds as Vista SideShow displays, but what if you're wanting to take some of that shiny new OS hotness away with you? Well, it's just a proof of concept at the moment, but Mel Sampat of the Windows Mobile team has managed to bring entirely untweaked Vista Gadgets onto his handheld.