When you think of earphones, you might think of Sennheiser, Etymotic or Shure. The name that won't immediately jump out at you like a lame plastic corpse on a ghost train is Klipsch. Quite justified you'd be too--Klipsch is best known for its loudspeakers. But there are three pairs of sound-isolating earphones hitting the market from the company, starting with the Custom-1, going up to the Custom-2 and--would you Adam and Eve it?--the Custom-3.
CES is all about what's cool right now, up to the latest nanosecond. One of the Sandbox Summit panelists summed up the pace of development when she said that her wired kids thought that the Amazon Kindle was old news.
I have to say that one of the CES displays that impressed me the most was from a classic American company that had to be one of the oldest manufacturers at the show: Kodak. Think about the transition they've had to pull off, from film to digital photography, upending their previous innovations and business. A few years ago the outlook for the company's future was incredibly pessimistic.
Kodak had a massive booth at CES and after all was said and done, I realized that they had presented some of the best home-office photo printers, digital photo frames, and scrapbooking software that I'd seen at the show. (Keep in mind that seeing everything at CES is like trying to eat at every restaurant in Manhattan in two days; no one person can possibly scour more than a fraction of the total offerings.) Hewlett-Packard demonstrated a wide variety of equipment that would definitely do a good job, but Kodak seemed to have developed the whole package deal, understanding their target audience as photographers and memory makers rather than just people who print photos.… Read more
One feature in Microsoft Word has saved me more time than all the other doodads in the program put together: Styles. I frequently edit Word documents created by other people. The first thing I do after opening their files is to reformat them so they're easier for me to work on. I created a handful of styles that let me make the changes in an instant via custom keyboard shortcuts.
The favorite font style of one of the tech writers I work with regularly is 10-point Bookman Old Style, which I find close to unreadable. Another writer I edit … Read more
I can live without Microsoft Word, and I'm confident I could manage well enough if you removed Excel from my PC. Even my favorite e-mail app is a nonessential.
But take away my browser, and I might as well not even start up my PC.
Mozilla Firefox is the first program I open and the last one I close each workday (or worknight, as the case may be). I found some great time-savers for the program. And since many of you prefer Internet Explorer, I've got some productivity-enhancing keyboard shortcuts for both browsers.
Everyone wants to be a designer. That's the value proposition of JuJups.com, a new online service claiming it will allow consumers to design their own personalized and customized 3D content. 3D printing, as the underlying technology is called, is a form of rapid prototyping that builds up three-dimensional objects by "printing" successive layers of materials (polymer, cells, sugar, etc.) on top of each other.
As a recent Wired story points out, 3D-printing technology has been around for a while, mostly used by professional design firms and design-intensive businesses such as automakers, handset makers, and aerospace companies. … Read more
I used to think customer service and technical support were givens: you either did it well or failed in business. After all, if you don't support your customers, what have you got?
Now I'm not so sure. The multiyear trend of outsourcing service calls--primarily to India--seems to have consumers endlessly frustrated. The big question is: does it matter?
Conventional wisdom says we're frustrated because American jobs are being outsourced. But anecdotal evidence from my own personal focus group suggests that we may have gotten over the outsourcing thing, only to hit a snag on the support itself not being up to snuff.… Read more
In a major coup for Linux and for Novell, Office Depot has decided to consolidate its wide-ranging server architecture on Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. Office Depot is the second-largest office supplies retailer in the US (right behind Dunder Mifflin).
While this won't make Dwight happy (word on the street is that he's taken out a contract on Justin Steinman and is currently stalking Novell's Waltham headquarters looking for "weak defenses"), it's a solid demonstration of Linux's continued strength.
Well done, Novell. This is the kind of news I look forward … Read more
As a longtime iPod loyalist, I had a lot of mixed emotions ordering a Zune 80 for myself last Sunday. Part of me felt like a traitor, honestly. I thought about my poor 5G video iPod, which had been ignored for weeks at the bottom of my messenger bag while I played with Microsoft's loaner for my review. Now, I'd never abandon my iPod completely, especially considering that part of my job is reviewing the seemingly endless parade of iPod accessories. Still, I figure there's room in my life for another MP3 player, right? I mean, I would be negligent as a digital audio journalist if I didn't order one.
Well, my Zune 80 arrived today, and I can honestly say I have no regrets (so far). I went the custom route and ordered the Zune 80 directly from Microsoft on its ZuneOriginals site, complete with custom artwork. Say what you want about the Zune, but the designers have definitely outdone themselves on packaging details. From the foil-embossed box, to the golden envelope, the entire package from ZuneOriginals felt like it should be holding Lil' Jon's diamond-encrusted Pimp Cup.… Read more
I've definitely learned something in recent weeks about reacting to the inevitable problems that will happen in life--how it can be possible to turn a problem into a huge opportunity, but also how a problem can become an even bigger problem overnight with neglect.
Perhaps it was inevitable for Apple this year, as the nearly unprecedented iPhone hype from this summer was followed by a surge in Mac shipments. Peeved by their experiences upgrading to Leopard, some high-profile Apple customers have taken to the Internet in recent weeks to complain, suggesting that Apple is leading them on with the … Read more
Microsoft is finally allowing the 80GB Zune to be directly ordered and customized from its ZuneOriginals Web site. We reported about the ZuneOriginals launch earlier this month, when Microsoft was offering orders for only the smaller Zunes 4 and 8. The laser-etched designs being offered for the Zune 80 appear to be identical to the Zune 4 and 8 designs, only bigger, and thereby, way cooler. The service costs nothing, and the shipping is free.