On this week's show, OnStar decides not to be nosy, BMW's M5 makes some noise, and we get our truck on.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 235 SHOW NOTES
There was one thing that kept the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 from earning a CNET Editors' Choice award: photo quality. Its replacement, the FZ150, was announced today, and although much of the camera stays the same as its predecessor, a new imaging sensor might fix its photo woes.
The main issue was Panasonic's JPEG processing of photos taken above ISO 200 that produced soft smeary details and yellow blotching caused by noise. It's not great for any camera, but it's especially disappointing in a $500 one. The FZ150 gets a new 12-megapixel MOS sensor (dropping from 14 megapixels in the FZ100), which Panasonic claims improves its signal-to-noise ratio, and new noise reduction more evenly suppresses noise in dark and light areas of photos as well. The end result should be better photos at higher ISOs. … Read more
As of November 2011, the Nintendo Wii will be 5 years old. That's a long time in game years; in fact, it's nearly a console generation. To no great surprise, then, Nintendo has already announced the Wii's successor, the Wii U, with a likely release date of 2012. Until then, the Wii still survives, but as a lame duck console. That doesn't mean it should be overlooked. Nintendo's latest Wii console bundle--the fourth since the Wii's debut--is the lowest price ever, at $150, although the components in the bundle since last year's $200 have changed.
Gone is Wii Sports, the perennial Wii console pack-in. Gone, too, is Wii Sports Resort. Instead, the new Mario Kart bundle includes a Wii Remote Plus, nunchuck, a copy of Mario Kart Wii, and a Wii Steering Wheel plastic accessory. Mario Kart's a fun casual racer, but Nintendo has taken its most popular motion-control game, Wii Sports, out of the equation, forcing people to buy it separately. It doesn't make much sense, especially considering the game's 5 years old. Those interested in multiplayer games will also have to buy an extra Wii Remote Plus and nunchuck, $40 and $20, respectively.
Europe has announced an even less expensive redesigned Wii bundle, but the $150 Mario Kart version remains the least expensive Wii console in the U.S. We'd love to see this system drop down to $99, but that's just wishful thinking for now. That said, it can be found for under $135 at such major retailers as Wal-Mart and Amazon.
So the question remains: at those prices--about half that of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360--is the Wii worth the investment for first-time buyers?… Read more
Canon does little with the PowerShot SX150 IS to entice SX130 IS owners to trade them in for the refresh. The SX130 IS is a regular recommendation for me due to its AA batteries for power, full manual to full auto shooting modes, and large comfortable design that still squeezes in a pocket. None of that changes with the SX150.
In fact, it seems to have all the same shooting modes (except for the addition of a Discreet mode that shuts off all noises and lights), the same 28mm wide-angle lens with 12x zoom, and the same 3-inch LCD. What'… Read more
Trying to create an employee schedule--especially when many of your employees are part time or have limited availability--can be an especially infuriating puzzle. ABC Roster is an easy-to-use program that can take at least some of the hassle out of this important managerial task.
The program's interface is attractive and fairly intuitive, with an optional wizard that can walk you through the steps of creating a schedule for the first time. We were surprised by the number of features that ABC Roster has; you can assign skill levels to each employee and set the minimum average skill level per … Read more
Ford Motor today announced it has combined rubber from more than 2.2 million pounds of recycled tires with other material, such as soybean oil, to produce what it says are environmentally friendly gaskets and seals for new cars.
Teaming up with Detroit-based supplier Recycled Polymeric Materials, Ford has turned 210,000 used tires and 150,000 pounds of soy into material for the new gaskets and seals.
"The gaskets and seals are derived from 25 percent post-consumer, recycled-tire particulate and 17 percent biorenewable content from soy," Ford said in a press release.
"The sustainable gaskets were … Read more
The number of sound bar home theater systems in the $300 price range has exploded this year, but nearly all of them lack HDMI switching despite it being the near-universal home theater connection. (Now you can even connect the Nintendo Wii via HDMI.) Sony's been way ahead of the game with its HDMI port count, which is why its HT-CT100 sound bar home theater system has been one of the most popular products we reviewed. It has three HDMI inputs, excellent sound quality, and an affordable price tag.
For 2010, Sony released an updated version, the HT-CT150, and little … Read more
The 2011 Ford Explorer is going green, really green, with 85 percent recyclable material including: 40 percent soy polyurethane foam in its seat cushions and seatbacks, 25 percent recycled fiber in its seat upholstery, bolster and carpeting, and recycled steel left over from F-150 production in its noise-dampening fender baffles.
"Ford has made tremendous strides, not only in improving fuel economy in the new Explorer, but also in using more environmentally friendly materials," said Jim Holland, chief nameplate engineer. "By offering better fuel efficiency in an overall greener package, we're offering our SUV customers an appealing … Read more