This week brings us a bizarre sci-fi pinball game, a home-remodeling simulator, and an original space-themed shoot-em-up.WiiWare Alien Crush Returns (Hudson Entertainment, 800 Wii points): Alien Crush Returns is an updated version of the classic Turbografx 16 game. It's a pinball simulator unlike anything you've played because it looks like you're playing inside someones digestive system. Your Nintendo Wi-Fi connection extends the fun, bringing your gameplay online with up to four friends. Home Sweet Home (Big Blue Bubble Inc., 1,000 Wii points): Calling all aspiring interior decorators: Home Sweet Home lets you design your dream … Read more
In case you're not familiar with them, the Harmony remotes are renowned for offering (relatively) easy programming via desktop software, which is available for both Windows and Mac systems. Just choose your home-theater hardware from an extensive (and frequently updated) database, then set up your desired activities ("Watch … Read more
More companies are making tiny, portable speakers that plug into the headphone jack of your iPod, iPhone, music player, or laptop so you can enjoy your music while you're on the road. Like Altec Lansing's Orbit MP3 iM237, which is shaped like a hockey puck, the $50 iHome iHM77 also makes a design statement with its mushroom-like collapsible speakers that attach magnetically to each other and morph into a capsule that slips into a carrying pouch. That part we liked. But the sound didn't exactly wow us.
There's a good chance you've never heard of Pace, but back in April, the company--a developer of cable and satellite set-top box digital video recorders--acquired the set-top box and connectivity solutions business of Royal Philips Electronics. That fact has very little to do with this post, other than to give you an idea of the size of Pace and how it has its DVRs running in more than 17 million homes. (Pace DVRs work in any regions that are serviced by Comcast and/or Dish Network.)
So maybe you have a Pace box in your home right now … Read more
Donald and Jasmine discuss a new PVP from Cowon with an attractive price point.
Plus, Sonos inadvertently lowers the entry price point for its excellent in-home audio networking system--for those who already own iPhones or the iPod Touch. We interview Sonos co-founder Tom Cullen to get all the details.
Also this week: cute multimedia speakers, an overpriced in-car charger dock, and Jasmine's favorite music gadgets.
How about a 64-bit operating system with that 64-bit processor?
The 64-bit version of Windows Vista is not new. It arrived when Vista did. But making it standard on a crush of new consumer laptops being sold at Best Buy is a recent change.
All PCs now ship with Intel or Advanced Micro Devices 64-bit processors. Until recently, however, most consumer laptops have come with a 32-bit version of Vista. There are many reasons for this, two of the biggest being a lack of driver support and the larger memory requirements for the 64-bit OS.
But memory is no longer … Read more
Among home-theater enthusiasts, Logitech Harmony remotes have always rated fairly high. They're easier to program than most (thanks to browser-based software), they're packed with features (most notably built-in help), and they're quite comfortable to use. However, the higher-end models tend to be pretty pricey: witness the Harmony 880, which originally sold for $249. If you don't mind a refurbished remote, you can pick up a Harmony 880 for just $69.99 shipped.
Although this model is a couple years old, it's still one of the top options in the Harmony line. It features a color … Read more
Last week, my iGoogle home page suddenly got a new look via the addition of a pane on the left side containing shortcuts to my widgets. I didn't ask for the new arrangement, and I can't find a way to make the new left pane disappear.
What's worse, when I now click my Gmail in-box, I get an abbreviated version of the application, minus a search box and other useful features. To see the whole enchilada, I have to click the Launch Full Gmail link in the top-right corner of the window. Huh?
The upshot is that … Read more
Plat'Home, the maker of small, tough, eco-friendly servers that I've blogged about before, ran a contest this summer about ideas.
It was dubbed the "Will Linux Work? Contest" and solicited ideas about how to use Linux, how to abuse Linux, how to push the limits.
Part of it was marketing, sure. But it focused on Linux users' ideas--with the best ones winning a free Plat'Home OpenMicroServer worth $600 to test their ideas.
So which ideas won and how did the actual testing go? On Tuesday, Plat'Home released the results of the experiments.First, there was the "chicken sitter."
Gordon Smith of Lakewood, Colo., wanted to do a Linux project and also had a chicken coop. Obviously, they go together. His system is built around an inexpensive Webcam with infrared capability to see in the dark, along with a computer vision library to count the chickens.
To determine when nocturnal predators come out, the server runs simple network time protocol (SNTP). A stepper motor controller and power supply from a document scanner are used to open and close the coop door. The combination should make sure the door closes after all the chickens are home to roost. I love the image of raccoons trying to outsmart Linux. … Read more