Archive for May 20, 2008

Netflix Player by Roku launched: reviews overwhelmingly positive

Netflix Player by Roku launched: reviews overwhelmingly positive

Netflix are pretty much synonymous with mail-delivery films in the US, and the company is now trying to do the same for internet-streamed media.  The Netflix Player by Roku is the first piece of hardware promising to bring download movies to your TV, and going by the launch-day reviews it sounds like they've got a winner on their hands.  $99.99 gets you a compact set-top box that, when linked to your online Netflix account, lets you play from the company's 10,000 strong catalogue of titles, automatically selecting the highest resolution your broadband can support.

Guitar Hero MIDI Controller hack

Guitar Hero MIDI Controller hack

Guitar Hero has spawned a large number of mods, hacks and general tweakery, with gamers often looking to use proper instruments in place of the normal controllers.  However this is the first time I've seen a Guitar Hero controller converted in the opposite direction; it now works as a MIDI guitar, compatible with any synth with the necessary port.  Best of all, there's actually no damage to the controller's original functionality, so you can switch between gaming and music making to your heart's content.

MSI Wind PC with Intel Atom CPU benchmarked

MSI Wind PC with Intel Atom CPU benchmarked

ASUS aren't the only manufacturer planning a desktop version of their budget ultraportable; MSI too have been looking at alternative form factors for their Wind notebook.  The Wind PC is the result, powered by Intel's power-thrifty 1.33Ghz Atom (Z250) Silverthorne processor with passive cooling.  In this prototype they're using a standard 3.5-inch hard-drive and desktop DVD burner, as well as a generic case.

Canon DSLR fuel-cell patent; is MTI Micro their hardware partner?

Canon DSLR fuel-cell patent; is MTI Micro their hardware partner?

Canon have filed a patent that describes a compact fuel-cell system primarily intended for DSLR cameras but that has potential for inclusion in other portable electronics.  The filing details the company's solution to dealing with variances in load currents, an issue in applications such as DSLRs where sudden surges in power draw are frequent.  It uses a number of individual fuel cells combined, with a DC-DC converter that combines the voltages as required.

JVC Everio GZ-MS100 camcorder with YouTube mode

JVC Everio GZ-MS100 camcorder with YouTube mode

JVC have recognised the truth: nobody wants to film touching memories of their children in high-definition, to keep for all time, but instead short clips of their friends falling over and swilling beer from shoes and uploading them to YouTube. That's why their Everio S Series memory camcorder, the GZ-MS100, has a dedicated YouTube mode, which is intended to make uploading short clips to the internet straightforward. It records directly to a SD card, has a 2.7-inch LCD and 35x optical zoom.

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uControl home security system with media streaming & automation

uControl home security system with media streaming & automation

You don't have to be as paranoid as I am about security to see the sense in fitting a decent alarm system.  However, definitions of "decent" vary; it strikes me that all the sensors, sirens and flashing lights in the world aren't much use if you're out of hearing distance (how many neighbours actually check out your home when the alarm goes off, and how many just curse it as noise pollution?)  And, since we're united in our geekery, we can admit that it's nice, too, when there's a slick interface too.  uControl are relatively fresh to the home security scene; they've spent the last year developing a platform called SMA (Security, Monitoring and Automation) and a TouchScreen control panel which not only works as a fresh system install but can also integrate with an existing alarm.

Jawbone 2 Review

Jawbone 2 Review

When Aliph released the original Jawbone nearly two years ago, I felt as if I was the only person in the world that didn't like the look, thought the design too bulky, and wasn't all that impressed by the company's "noise shield".  So how do I feel about the Jawbone 2?  Well, let me put it in one simple word - WOW.  Aliph had two years worth of customer feedback and, yes, it seems as though the company truly listened.  As a result, Jawbone 2 is lighter, 50% smaller, has improved voice enhancing and even more aggressive noise-canceling technology, a simpler ear hook design and a sleek new look that leaves the predecessor in the Stone Age.  Jawbone 2 comes at a hefty price of $129.99 and yes, I agree that's extremely expensive considering most cell phones don't cost that much - but if you want the ultimate in Bluetooth headsets, then it is worth every penny.

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Seasteading floating home project gets $500k boost

Seasteading floating home project gets $500k boost

It's not exactly consumer electronics, but if you're of the mind that a person's biggest gadget is their home, then Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich's Seasteading project might tempt your credit card out of your wallet.  Originally conceived as a way to experiment with "diverse social, political, and legal systems", the scheme involves floating spars topped with habitats, communications relays and solar panels, gathered into self-governing enclaves.  Based on the same ballasting system that some oil rigs use, the technical side of the project is reasonable; however it's the community aspect that is perhaps more far-fetched.

The Bear Baby Bath Thermometer

The Bear Baby Bath Thermometer

Anyone who has ever had to draw a bath for a baby, or just a young child knows what a guessing game the water temperature can be. Especially if you aren't used to doing it, or just have always taken such hot showers yourself that you can't really feel when the water is too hot for the younger ones.

The Dreamfit motorcycle mod – for paralyzed bikers

The Dreamfit motorcycle mod  – for paralyzed bikers

Typically here on Slashgear we cover slightly smaller mods, computers and game consoles are extremely typical. This slightly larger mod, appears  to be a perfectly normal bike. Actually if there weren't a wheelchair sitting next to it, I wouldn't have known there was the slightest difference between it and other bikes.