The Gadgets Page

December 5, 2006

Zune Was Supposed To Be A Failure

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 2:44 pm

Zune 30 GB Digital Media Player (Brown)When you read this article from the LA Times, you don’t need to delve deep to realize that Microsoft was planning on Zune being a failure.

This is what they have to say,

Initial sales “indicate we are on track to meet our internal business projections,” Zune Director Jason Reindorp said.

The tell-tale indicator that it’s a failure however is this:

Microsoft has refused to disclose sales or projections. A survey by Piper Jaffray & Cos. analyst Eugene Munster shows that few retailers are recommending the device.

What are they up to? If they planned to sell as few Zune as they have, why did they even bother? When you look at the advertising that has been done for Zune, it makes it even MORE obvious that they wanted it to fail.

Who uses Zune? Fat losers in basements? When you compare it to the Nano commercial, it is really obvious:

When you take into account that the only thing that they are really advertising as cool is the fact that you can wirelessly share music, it might have been pretty cool, but the sharing is purposely crippled. You can only play a shared tune three times before it’s deleted from your drive. Maybe Microsoft is trying to teach the RIAA a lesson. Cripple us and you won’t make any money off us. That just sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

December 4, 2006

Epilators: Pain For Beauty

Filed under: Health and Beauty Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

View product details at AmazonI have owned my Emjoi Optima Epilator for almost three years now. It still works just as well as the day I bought it. I did a review for it last year at this time:

If you are thinking of a gift for the woman in your life, this might be a drastic step. It’s not like when she gives you a razor because an epilator pulls the hair out by the root. It’s VERY painful the first three or four times you use it, so if you want her to love you, you might not want to get her an epilator.

Then again, if she has been waxing regularly, she is no stranger to pain. Epilators are actually less painful than waxing because you control how many hairs come out at once by the amount of pressure that you use. Emjoi isn’t the only company that makes epilators. Here are a couple of other choices:

BRAUN 5270 Silk-Epil X'elle Body System EpilatorThe Braun Silk-Epil X’elle: Includes a trimmer for cutting hair instead of pulling it out. The Amazon.com reviews say that it doesn’t come with a “cooling glove,” even though it’s listed on the included items. Good riddance. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work anyway. There’s really nothing that can dull the pain of epilation the first few times.

Panasonic ES2025V 3-in-1 Epilator with Skin Protector and Shaver, LavenderThe Panasonic 3-in-1 Epilator: I don’t know what a “bikini comb” is but it’s supposed to work with the shaver attachment, so it must be something good. This is Panasonic’s entry in the category. If she likes purple, then this one might distract her from the pain.

Norelco HP6492/11 Satinelle Ice EpilatorThe Norelco Satinelle Ice Epilator: If she tweezes hair from her face, she probably won’t want to use the same epilator on her upper lip as she does on her legs, underarms and bikini area. This Norelco looks like it would be good for facial epilation.

Norelco HP2843 Satinelle EpilatorThe Norelco Satinelle Epilator: Here is Norelco’s epilator for the rest of the body. For only thirty dollars, this one looks like it’s a great deal. It doesn’t come with a shaving head, so if you are planning on using it on the bikini line, you probably need some sort of trimmer in addition to this.

Remington EP1000 Women's Smooth & Silky Hair Removal SystemRemington Women’s Smooth & Silky Hair Removal System: For seven more dollars, you can get 24-karat-gold-plated, hypo-allergenic tweezing discs. I am severly allergic to nickel, but I have never had a reaction to any epilator. The metal just doesn’t touch your skin long enough to be an irritant. The gold-plated tweezing discs are just for show, sorry. It’s still going to hurt.

Once again, remember if the woman of your life is a regular waxer or tweezes her face, then these products will be a godsend. There is no risk of chemical burns or heated wax burns. They’re a little noisy, but they get the hair removal job done amazingly quickly. She will LOVE you for buying this for her because of all the time and pain you’ve saved her.

If, however, you are thinking of getting this for the lady in your life who loves her razor, these things will hurt like a mother****er and she will HATE you for buying this for her.

December 1, 2006

Satellite Radio Looking To Become Satellite TV

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 2:46 pm

It looks like Sirius is going to start broadcasting live television soon. You’ll be able to watch the game on your GPS screen in your car with the right equipment and a pricey monthly fee. Does anybody want this?

On another note, this is a surprising addition to programming competition. If satellite radio is able to attract big radio people like Howard Stern, will satellite TV do the same? Should the networks be worried?

Sirius should be more worried about the Video iPod and iTunes downloads than the networks. I can already watch television in my car. I can even download the shows using my laptop and my cell phone. They aren’t planning on releasing this until the end of 2007. I’ve already got it. What’s taking them so long?

November 28, 2006

Zune Vs. iPod

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 2:47 pm

This comic says all I have to say about the Zune…

Click here to see full sized Joy of Tech

November 27, 2006

Animal Crossing for the Wii

Filed under: Animal Crossing,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 1:46 pm

Animal Crossing: Wild WorldHere is some unverified rumor stuff about Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Wii. It looks like they are looking at more functionality with Nintendo’s connectivity. This is an interview with Katsuya Eguchi, who was the developer for Animal Crossing for the Gamecube and DS. He is excited to expand the capabilities of the game.

If find it interesting that they talk about time traveling. If you change the date in your Nintendo DS, it will change the date in your town. You can go back in time and visit Nook’s store when he was selling something rare. You can travel forward in time and gather the interest on the money in the bank. There are consequences to time travel. The Animal Crossing forums are very split on time travel. Most people believe that it’s cheating, but it appears that the developers knew that time travel would be used:

“Well the first thing is that we knew people would be time traveling – and that’s ok! That’s one playstyle if people want to do it. But the thing to remember is that the game’s in a natural setting, so if you move forward in time, weeds are going to come, plants are going to die, and things like that. So what happened in this case is that when you turn your game on, the game saves where you are. So it saved his progress three weeks into the future, and the game considered that nothing had gotten water for three weeks. It’s not built in to punish people, it’s just by way of saying that time traveling is dangerous!”

Unless you count Daylight Savings, I have never time traveled with my Animal Crossing game. I avoid it mostly because I feel like my animal friends are real people and I imagine them sitting alone for months on end when I travel within an instant. I imagine them being alone and moving away thinking that I had abandoned them just because I wanted to buy a crown now that I finally have enough money to do it. It’s not worth it to me. The weeds and turnip prices aren’t as much of a deterrent as imagining my new animal friends alone and thinking I abandoned them.

Via: Animal Crossing (Wii) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

November 22, 2006

Wireless Power

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Wireless Power? Always Charging?I am currently keeping six small electronic devices charged. That’s six wires, adapters, or cradles that I have to make sure are plugged in, otherwise, my phone or iPod runs out of juice at inopportune times. Wouldn’t it be great if they could just sit in my house (or at a coffee shop) and draw a charge from the air? A team of physicists are working on just that.

I once asked an electrical engineer why we didn’t have wireless power and he said, “Because it would cook anything in its path.” I’m interested to see how this “long-lived resonance” works. I wouldn’t be surprised if we DO have wireless power within my lifetime.

Via: Meriblog: Meri Williams’ Weblog » links for 2006-11-15

November 21, 2006

Dealing With “Suits”

Filed under: Clothing — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Duluth Twill Presentation JacketI love the advertising copy for this jacket:

“Even in these days of Business Casual, there are times – like dealing with the Suits at the bank or introducing yourself to a new client – when a sports jacket adds a touch of professionalism. Thus, we developed the Duluth Presentation Jacket, designed to go with jeans or khakis and requiring no special care.”

Of course, I wouldn’t be looking at this men’s jacket if it hadn’t been recommended by a gadget freak. What he had to say was far more interesting:

“In the last month, I have worn it everywhere from going to the movies to staying two days in a swanky hotel in Morocco for business meetings, hiked part way up an 11,000 ft mountain, and slept on a long flight. As this implies, it is a dreamy traveler’s jacket — never looks wrinkled (it is treated to resist wrinkles and stains), is tremendously comfortable, and has 13 pockets including zip-up pockets inside the outer patch pockets. Enough space to fit a moleskine in an outer pocket, a cell phone inside, a wallet safely zipped-in, some pens — and suddenly I don’t have to carry a backpack when I am going out for a quick meeting.”

That’s the sort of recommendation I can love. I’m tempted to buy one for myself, except that I promised myself to stop cross-dressing. If you’re a guy in need of a jacket that can take you from the mountain to the board room, the Duluth Twill Presentation Jacket just might do the trick.

November 20, 2006

Zune? Meh…

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 2:48 pm

Zune 30 GB Digital Media Player (Brown)I’ve seen lots of advertisements for Microsoft’s new MP3 player, Zune. They all show the brown one turned on its side showing a picture, or maybe it’s a video, I can’t really tell from a print ad. I didn’t even bother looking at the price to see if it was worth it. Somehow, the Zune isn’t attracting my attention.

I feel like I SHOULD care… I write for a gadgets weblog. Shouldn’t I care about an MP3 player created by the most successful company in the world? Somehow it just seems wrong that I don’t.

To be honest, I wasn’t jumping up and down waving the Video iPod around when it came out. I looked at it and thought, “It’s about time. My Treo has been playing videos for months.”

Honestly, I don’t watch videos on my Treo anymore. I don’t even listen to music on my phone anymore. I just use it for contacts, calendar and answering calls. I listen to music on my computer more than anything else. I own an iPod Nano and use it for exercising, but really, I’m at my computer all day and out there running on the road for maybe 30-45 minutes a day.

Can Zune compete with iPod? I think a better question is can Zune compete with my laptop. Quite frankly, my little laptop has it beat. It has its own speakers, it can show video on a MUCH larger screen and it has far more usability and versatility than the Zune.

Plus, my laptop isn’t puke brown…

November 17, 2006

Women Gamers: Hello?! We’re Right Here!

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 1:48 pm

Just a couple months ago, we were buried in stories on the mainstream media saying, “Where are the women gamers?” I kept jumping up and down yelling, “Hello?! We’re right here! Can’t you see us?!” Guess what, mainstream media just barely found women gamers.

It seems that the Electronic Software Association just released a survey that shows that 38 percent of all gamers are women over 18. Yeah, you know those women that the gaming industry can’t see and doesn’t make games for, THAT 38% of the market. Funny thing, the market that 90% of the games are created for? You know, the boys under 17? Yeah, we OUTNUMBER them.

All along I’ve been saying that there are plenty of women out there wanting to play video games, but Grand Theft Auto isn’t going to do it for us. We really don’t want to hang out with prostitutes, steal cars and shoot people. We want casual little games that we can pick up when we have a free moment. We want games that allow us to create relationships. We want something to turn to when insomnia hits at 3am. I don’t want to shoot zombies at 3am. I have enough bad dreams as it is.

Now that there is a survey showing that women gamers are out there, wishing they could spend money on a video game if only they could find something as relaxing as Bejeweled, I wonder what the video game manufacturers are going to do. And hey, to all you women out there wondering what’s good, here’s a list of games I’ve found to keep my interest and the zombies at bay:

November 16, 2006

Silicon Case for Nintendo DS Lite

Filed under: Reviews,Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My Green Silicone Skin for the DS Lite

Back in September, I wrote about buying a silicon case for my Nintendo DS Lite:

It has been a couple of months now and I’ve been playing with my DS a lot because of Animal Crossing, so I thought I’d give a more detailed review. I actually LOVE this case. Here’s why:

  • The cover is sticky: I like that the cover makes my DS a little more “grippy” so it won’t slip off the table. I was worried that the cover would attract dirt because it’s kind of sticky, but it looks as good today as when I bought it back in September.

  • The smell goes away: The silicon had a strange smell when I first got it, but it went away in a couple of days.

  • I can tell my DS apart from Mike’s: I like that it differentiates my DS from my husband’s. It makes it really easy to tell which one is mine. This is especially important now that I’m playing Animal Crossing on both. I have two Animal Crossing towns, so now I can tell which one is which by just looking at the machine.

  • It cushions my hands: I can really tell when I’m playing with my DS with the silicon skin and when I’m playing with Mike’s without one. Mine has more of a cushion and doesn’t hurt my hands when I’m playing for a long time.

  • One minor problem: There is a little bit of a problem with the design of the cover. When you have the charger plugged in and open the case, the silicon cover bunches up kind of funny. Sometimes it actually pushes the top part off a bit, covering part of the screen. This ONLY happens when the charger is plugged in, otherwise, the skin folds nicely and stays in place. I don’t play with the charger plugged in that often, so it’s not much of an issue for me.

The skin bunches up a little when the charger is plugged in.

An example of how the skin can be when the charger is plugged in.

When they came out with the Pink and Black Nintendo DS Lite, I felt kind of sad that I hadn’t waited. Since I’ve had this cover, which makes my DS green, I haven’t cared one bit about the pink one.

Silicone Skin for Nitendo Ds Lite NDS Lite Console

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