Archive for Jan 30, 2007

Unbagging the Vista Launch Party Schwag Bag

The Vista launch party was a blast, I came (waited in line for 50 minutes in sub 20 degrees weather), drank, ate, watch, listen, then waited again – this time it’s for the goodie bag that was giving away to attendees.  It’s big and heavy full of stuff.  I snapped a few pics to share with everyone.  I’m currently processing videos, so they’ll be up in a day or so.

More images after the jump.


MobileCrunch review the N800 web-tablet

As much as the kind, loving side of me (it’s only a minor part, don’t fret) is tempted to feel sorry for Oliver over at MobileCrunch, who was prevented by NDA from spilling all on the Nokia N800 prior to its official launch, the knowledge that he’s been using it every day for the past month or so means I’m just not able to be sympathetic.  Still, I’ll happily link to his most excellent review.


Of interest both to those new to web-tablets and owners of Nokia’s first attempt at the niche, the 770, Oliver gives a balanced view that makes obvious the time he’s spent with the N800.  And while I’m still jealous as hell, phrases like this do make me feel a little better:

“And hopefully, [when I’m testing the next N-Series device], Nokia won’t keep me gagged behind an NDA while someone that has a buddy at CompUSA gets the scoop on a device that hasn’t even been charged while I read that blog post from my hard used prototype”

Next time, Oliver, next time!

MobileCrunch [via John Tokash]

USB hub doesn’t stint on ports

Given the current fashion for making just about everything USB powered (fans, coffee cup warmers, soft-drink coolers, pole dancers, etc) I could see all sixteen ports on this mega hub being used up pretty quickly.  Still, if your desk is still untainted with relatively pointless tat and you’re more of a functional USB user then I guess you could see it as future-proofing.

A built-in power supply means your USB powered nose-hair trimmer will never run short of juice (although in the end you might run short of hair), and you can switch between two host PCs for more sensible purposes like printer and scanner sharing.

Impress [via EverythingUSB]

Samsung add rotating screen to digicam for no real reason

Forgive my cynicism, but might the origins of this digital camera hark at least in some way from a surplus of rotating cellphone screens in Samsung’s mobile handset division?  The VLUU i7’s claim to fame is a twistable 3-inch display that can be swivelled around to either show portrait or landscape images or video clips in the orientation they were taken in, while audio is boosted by an SRS sound enhancer giving the impression, they’d have us believe, of 3D surround.

Perhaps I’m naive, but is there really a market for a digital camera that also does service as a video playback device?  And are there people who are so fastidious about their image reviewing that they have to see it take up as much of the screen as possible?  I could understand the latter, maybe, if this was some ultra-high resolution snapper which filled memory cards faster than you could say “go swivel” – then you’d have just reason to make sure each shot was a keeper – but at 7.2-megapixels it’s nothing out of the ordinary.


JVC media systems can access your PC’s content

There’s always been something of a divide between the so-called consumer electronics – DVD players, home theatre audio – and computer-based entertainment.  It’s meant that, in a lot of cases, people have been reluctant to upgrade to, say, a Windows Media Centre PC because their existing hardware then seems to be made redundant by virtue of its incompatibility.  You’re forced to make a choice between what often is more straightforward to control versus something with plenty of scope for customisation and future expansion.

JVC and CyberLink have obviously decided that this situation is helping nobody – after all, who profits from a consumer base that through fear or apathy sticks to their existing setup? – and have worked together to bridge the gap between the former’s media storage and the increasingly powerful entertainment computers many homes have access to.  CyberLink Media Server allows PC-based content to be streamed via either a network or USB to JVC components, meaning photos, audio and video can be navigated from a familiar remote.

Currently options on the DD-3 and DD-8 Network Media Systems, which will be available this month in Europe, both units also support USB hosting for direct playback of content on memory keys, external hard-drives and digital cameras.

JVC [via eHomeUpgrade]

Darth Vader says nudge

Thankfully you don’t have to be a deaf, dumb, blind kid to play a mean game of pinball; in fact, if you really did have no use of your senses then you probably wouldn’t get the appeal of this limited edition Star Wars pinball machine, since you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the films.  Still, for anyone else with a love of that galaxy far, far away and the itchy fingers of a flipper-lover, this might be the ideal birthday gift.

UK based Voyager Arcade, who specialise in restoring vintage games as well as crafting new, emulator-based cabinets, are celebrating the 30th anniversary of George Lucas’ smash Star Wars series with a beautifully restored pinball machine.  One of only 10,400 ever produced, this one will be made even more special as Voyager have managed to persuade Dave Prowse, the original Darth Vader, to sign the machine as well as add a message of the buyer’s choice.


HP desktop touchscreen Media Centre

Here’s a little warning for all those slender Tablet PCs out there who refuse to eat their vegetables.  If you’re not careful, one day you’ll get fat and stop being a portable computer any more – you’ll have to sit on a table and suffer the indignity of being jabbed at by someone’s chubby fingers whenever they want to be entertained.

The Register’s hardware team took some time to comfort the HP TouchSmart IQ770, itself the main character in that torrid tale, to see how useful a touchscreen media PC could be.  It’s not underpowered by any means (specs after the cut), but with a 19-inch screen you wouldn’t want it to be your sole media display.


Shanghai’s 4G network goes live

Ticking the box marked “irony” with a heavy hand, as we stumble along with our 3G cellphones, marvelling at HSDPA and, even stranger, eagerly anticipating 2.5G handsets, China has decided that 3G is simply too passé and that 4G is definitely the way to go.  The fact that they haven’t even got a 3G network to build on seems like the most minor of setbacks for one of the fastest technologically growing places on the planet.

So far costing $19.3m, Reuters is reporting that the network – which will be run as a commercial trial until 2010 – is capable of speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second.  It’s being run by a group of ten institutions calling themselves the FuTURE Project, and is currently active in Shanghai; it’ll be joined later this year by 3G operators who at long last will be able to get their hands on the lucrative band licences.

China launches 4G before 3G off the ground [Reuters]

Nokia Concept Video: Finland won’t roll over for iPhone

John Tokash does his bit to remind us that the iPhone isn’t the only cellphone promising multi-touch input; in fact, Nokia presented a variety of concept videos back at their last conference, all making heavy use of finger-jabbing and stroking to move around the interface.

Although the run-up to the Apple cellphone launch is going to be fraught with leaks and snippets of hands-on information, for what it’s worth I think the aftermath of the release will be the most interesting period.  You could certainly argue that the cellphone market is one of the hottest contested and has the fastest turnover among current tech – here in the UK it seems like there’s a new “must have” handset every week – and you can bet the ass of your neighbour that Nokia, Motorola, Siemens and the rest are busily stoking the creative furnaces to usurp the iPhone before it has had much of a chance to sport its crown.

More video after the cut.


The old switcheroo

Ok, we know that some of you out there should be working instead of browsing through the latest gadgets here at Slashgear, and that’s ok with us. Your boss, on the other hand, might not be as quick to forgive you as we are. So for you guys, we have a special gadget called the StealthSwitch. With a quick tap of the foot, the casual passerby, or snooping boss, will think you’ve been working away the whole time.

The great thing about this little device is that it doesn’t just minimize what you’re doing, it completely hides it, and mutes the sound too. The great thing is that it works just by tapping your foot. Gone are the days of alt-tabbing and looking over your shoulder. Now you can browse in peace.

‘StealthSwitch’ hides screen, saves job [via Crave]

Tarantula, the keyboard for gamers

Every gamer knows that having the right gear can make all of the difference. One of the most important, and sometimes overlooked pieces of equipment is the keyboard. So many games rely heavily upon various shortcuts that aren’t always the easiest to pull off. The Tarantula from Razer aims to give you the edge you need to take on the best.

Key features include 10 dedicated macro keys, five on each side of the keyboard, 32Kb of memory for storing up to 5 different profiles, and software for your PC to store up to 100 additional profiles. You also have interchangeable keys with 10 extra keys for such actions as shoot, reload, etc. While this may be a bit much for the everyday user, hardcore gamers will certainly get plenty of use out of the Tarantula’s vast array of features.

Razer Tarantula Gaming Keyboard [via GameApex]

Pico-ITX, motherboard standards keep getting smaller

I know that all of you modders out there just can’t wait for a smaller motherboard to cram into you newest custom-cases. It looks like the wait will be over soon. Via, who already makes some of the smallest boards around is gearing up for the release of their newest standard called pico-ITX. Measuring in at 3.9 x 2.8 inches, it only takes up half of space of their current Nano-ITX boards.

Looking at the picture, you can get a feel for the size by looking at how large the VGA and ethernet ports seem. Also, you will notice that those are the only two two ports that are built onto the board. Your other connections will be connected via pin headers, so be prepared to run plenty of cables.It is going to sport a C7 processor running at 1GHz, so it’ll run about anything you’d expect to run off of a system this small.

So once again, VIA is setting the new standard in tiny computing, much to the delight of modders everywhere. Now the only thing left to do is figure out what to put it in.

Via’s incredible shrinking mobo line spawns “pico-ITX” [via LinuxDevices]

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