Archive for Dec 30, 2006

FBI is inside every recent cellphone

After the news that China has decided to force manufacturers to standardise phone charging ports to the mini-USB format, it turns out that there’s an even easier way to get the industry-wide feature you want implemented: just be the FBI.  What cellphone manufacturers are reluctant to include in-among all the blurb about Bluetooth and high-speed data connectivity is that apparently every recent phone sold in the US has a built-in tracking device that, once activated remotely, can be set to keep the microphone powered on even when the phone itself is switched off.

The FBI used the technology in collecting evidence for the recent Genovese crime family trial, and it should be made clear that they can only do so with the relevant court order.  Saying that, just how difficult is it to get a court order in our age of super-terror?  The only way to circumnavigate the tracker is removing the battery, which then makes the phone rather useless.  In fact, you’d be better off carrying a small child’s shoe, which could at least be used for storing your keys. 

I’d be very interested to find out whereabouts in the phone circuitry the tracking device is located, from a purely geeky point of view.  Anybody fancy hacking open their KRZR and going looking?

The Blotter [via Neatorama]

LG’s latest phone the SB190

The latest phone from LG is the Cyon LG-SB190. It’s styled along the same lines as the popular LG Chocolate phone, but with more tactile buttons. The SB190 is sleek and white with a cool stainless-steel-looking navigation circle, some clear bubble buttons, and a slide-out keypad. The phone offers DMB, GPS, an MP3 player, and a 1.3 megapixel camera.

And as expected, it is one of those Korea-only items. I can’t find any detailed info on it besides that which is in Korean. So, lets just do the usual staring at pictures with envy routine and move on.

LG SB190, the latest LG phone
[Via: AkihabaraNews]

HotPod Concept

If your lazy ways are leading you down a path of frozen entrees and delivered pizzas, you and your pudgy midsection can look forward to the HotPod concept by designer, Christian Jung. This futuristic-looking crockpot delivers healthy food in single portions and will probably match well with your existing iPod speaker dock.

Just seal raw ingredients inside its central chamber and it will conduct heat when placed on an induction plate. And by using steam, the HotPod will insure that your food will better retain their natural richness, vitamins, and minerals.

[Via: Yanko Design]

No 64 Bit PhotoShop CS3

No 64 Bit PhotoShop CS3

Many photography editors rely on Photoshop, image editing software, to do their daily jobs. A future version of this piece of software may prove to be troublesome for people with computers with 64 Bit processors. Although Adobe does plan to release future versions of Photshop with support for 64 Bit processors, this will not be the first edition to do so.

This future version does have features that many users have been waiting for, however. For example, owners of Intel Macs will be able to run this application without using Rosetta (A PowerPC imitating application), but completely native, and much faster. This is one of the main reasons many Mac users will buy this software.

Although Macs do not currently support 64 Bit applications, and Windows XP, only has a very limited capability, both Mac OS X and Windows' operating systems will soon be updated to support 64 Bit fully (Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Windows Vista), and at that point, Adobe will be behind.

Adobe: No 64-bit Photoshop CS3 [Via: CNET News]

What’s up Coby? (Part 1)

What’s up Coby? (Part 1)

So, I splurged and picked up some Coby speakers for the iPod and iPod Nano. The speakers had a holiday sale for $40, so I couldn't go wrong (Or so I thought)! I brought the speakers home, and while carrying them, they felt almost weightless, I couldn't wait for the portability. The unboxing went well. Coby included many dock adapters, a video out cable to use on a TV, the AC adapter and of course the units, which looked sleek and compact. I was impressed. This changed when I plugged it in.

So, I plugged the unit in, along with my iPod (60GB, 5th Generation). The blue light on the speakers came on and my iPod started to charge, all seemed well. This changed when I hit play....I waited....I waited some more. Nothing played. Not a single sound came from brand new speakers.

After a 10 minute hold, waiting for customer service, on the phone, I got an answer. So I just got the simple, exchange and get a new one. So, tomorrow, you will hear back from me, I hope I get some working speakers. Keep an eye out for "What's up Coby? (Part 2)"!

Coby CS-MP87 Portable High Output Stereo Speaker System [Via: Amazon]

A Crappy Plasma TV from ByD:sign / EyeFi

A Crappy Plasma TV from ByD:sign / EyeFi

Want to buy a TV from a company that is just catching up to modern technology? I don't either. A new 42" plasma TV released by ByD:sign / EyeFi supports an unattractive 852 x 480 pixels. This TV has just met industry standards and only now has HDMI support.

The PE-4202DFK does have removable speakers which could be helping this unit sell. This feature alone does not substitute the fact that HD and Blu-Ray DVDs won't appear as well on such a low resolution.

So, does a TV that has old technology at a horrible resolution with limited support for new technologies suit everyone? I believe not. For $1,430, this TV won't make it to my home any time in the future.

ByD:sign / EyeFi unveils antiquated 42-inch plasma [Via: Gizmodo]

PS3s Not Doing Well On eBay

PS3s Not Doing Well On eBay

Just nights ago, a brand spanking new Playstation 3 sold for $50 below retail when it left its eBay auction. This is amazing news considering a month ago, people would pay thousands more for this piece of electronic equipment.

What is happening to Sony? Just a single month ago, their product soared above the rest, price wise, and now they are going for below retail. Are these products not good enough? Does nobody want to pay to high price tag Sony has put on them? What has made the demand so low?

If you look at this from the seller's perspective, are these consoles worth buying at retail, than reselling? No. Now if you see this from the buyer, would you buy something when you don't even want to pay retail for it? I say no again. What happened Sony?

eBay Watch: 20GB PS3 Sells for Below MSRP [Via: Tech E Blog]

Wanna see my GPS-7V1XX-IXX?

Wanna see my GPS-7V1XX-IXX?

Not sure why they couldnt have given it a 2 digit model number, but the Wanna see my GPS-7v1 XX-IXX is a navigation tool that was recently launched by Invion. It has a beautiful 7 inch touchscreen, along with audio/video playback capabilities, and a 400MHZ processor.

Also included is an SD slot for a 2 gigs-worth of maps and songs/videos. The antenna goes by the Sirf III standard, and a connection can be made with the built-in Bluetooth. A TMC/RDS service can also be used, which zips traffic information for your area onto the GPS system.

Also included is a car and home AC charger, a headset to listen to commands, a bracket used for car mounting, along with a carrying bag and a USB cable. The price tag is marked at 400 Euros, and can be bought from Invion.

GPS-7V1XX-IXX [Via: Invion]

Drive AND be a couch potato at the same time

Drive AND be a couch potato at the same time

Ever feel like you don't wanna get up off your couch, but you need to drive somewhere? Well now a solution is available! Armchair has launched 3 new types of armchair cruisers. These are basically couches that are modified in a way that they are able to cruise over grass and roads. The speeds aren't high, but these cruisers will for sure get a laugh at.

If you let them know 6 weeks in advance, they will create you a brand-spanking new couch, ready for driving on the road. There are two electric versions. A white single-seater with cow spots, and an even more comfy looking two seater, with organge and black colours. The gasoline version is beautified with Harvey-Davidson ornaments, and is upholstered in light orange.

Armchair Cruisers has an extensive website, containing pictures and videos, along with order forms and a forum. Prices range from $3995 for a single seater, to $7995 for a gas-powered loveseat. There are many options available, including high speed motors for $255, and a booming stereo for $552.

Armchair Cruisers Product Page [Via: Armchair Cruisers]

An MP3 Playing Novelty

An MP3 Playing Novelty

A company in Korea called Axxen has created the PLEIO, a thick MP3 player that displays album art in a circle on the front of the player. In the center are the controls for the MP3 player. Such a device like this is a novelty at best.

The player comes with 128MB of storage, and with the added album art, you can play less songs than a traditional 128MB MP3 player. That might be enough for two albums at most, and with the cost of using a photo display, this MP3 player would cost way more than in the nromal price range.

There is some discussion on this product over at PDA, and product information can be found on Axxen's website, which is provided below.

PLEIO Prodcuts at Axxen [Via: Axxen]

The Coolest Lounge Chair Ever

The Coolest Lounge Chair Ever

I'm not sure what Avarte's intention was when making a chair that stretches at the top, but has a narrower seat. However it is just plain cool. The chair comes with a little seat, but you can always take that off. The chair is made of birch plywood, and the legs are made of epoxycoated round bar.

Avarte is a company that specializes in design. It is based out of Finland, and Mikko Paakkanen was the designer of the Nietos Lounge Chair. His specialty is stools and chairs, and those products can be found on Avarte's site.

The Nietos can also be accompanied with a simple and cool side table. These, and other chairs found at Avarte, would fit perfectly in a modern house. Unfortunately you cannot buy these chairs at this time in North America.

Nietos Lounge Chair [Via: Avarte]

The new HTC Kaiser

The new HTC Kaiser

A new PDA will reportedly launch at CES that will blow many minds away. Of course there are a ton of features in this device, but why name is Kaiser? HTC is a company known for their high-quality PDAs and Pocket PCs, while they just released their P4350, complete with GPRS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The new device will sport 3G (a big step up from GSM/GPRS), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. A 400MHZ processor was put in, although I'm sure they could have made it larger. The device is said to be a thinner version of the HTC TyTN.

All we can do now is wait for CES. There are PDAs already out made by HTC that have all forms of communication on them. Another PDA, the $1700 HTC Athena, has not been released, although plenty of pictures of the unit are flying around the internet, including exclusive pics on SlashGear.

HTC Road Map for 2007 [Via: MobilitySite]

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