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Gear Lover - by Craig Hill

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New Format

December 28th 2011 09:31
Google India on Tuesday unveiled a new format for media advertisements (ads) to target, pay for and experience video ads on its web search engine.

"The new ads format is designed to ensure users find the information they are looking for and enable advertisers to reach potential customers with the right information," Google India sales head Praveen Sharma said in a statement here.

As a standalone format designed to put video ads front and centre, the search target is automated.

"The format is launched with STAR TV campaign built around its new channel Life Ok. The media and entertainment category search volumes have shown phenomenal growth. In the last two years, the query volumes have grown at 125 percent year-on-year," Sharma said.

The format will also enable media firms to capture the traffic on search and leverage it to create familiarity of the content.



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Casio PRX-2000T Watch

April 22nd 2009 10:01
Casio Japan announced the PRX-2000T, the newest addition to it series of Protrek watches, which are geared towards sports and trekking enthusiasts. The new model is just 11.3mm thick and features a titanium with carbide coating band and bezel (weight: 105g).

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Casio PRX-2000T Watch

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Now you can use this century's greatest gadget to do battle with last century's most-beloved geek toy.

A new iPhone app called CubeCheater helps you solve the classic Rubik's Cube puzzle toy using a mix of sophisticated algorithms and simple image-recognition technology. CubeCheater sells for $1 in the App Store.

Here's how it works. You take six pictures of your mixed up Rubik's Cube using the iPhone's camera — one photo per side. If you have an iPod Touch, you can also tap in the color combos manually. CubeCheater is able to recognize the placement of each colored square and generate a map of your cube. It then figures out the quickest path to solving the puzzle and gives you a set of easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

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CubeCheater Rubik's Cube


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USB Construction Site Novelty

February 18th 2009 12:59
Wiz, the Japanese toy maker behind great stuff like the Flying Ultraman and the consolation money pocket calculator, today unveiled their newest stroke of genius, a mini USB construction site.

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Wiz USB Construction Site Novelty
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Just about everyone is curious about which celebrity they look like. The website MyHeritage will show you who your famous look-alike is, but if you're not sitting at a computer then add the Face Double Application to your iPhone!

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Face Double Application


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T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8900

January 29th 2009 12:56
After the BlackBerry Bold's epically delayed launch on AT&T and the Storm's epically borked launch everywhere, RIM needs 2009 to be better than 2008. The T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8900 is a good way to start.

The BlackBerry OS 4.6 has been around for several months and been on a few devices at this point, and the Curve 8900, so far, seems like the most stable and least buggy product RIM has shipped in a while. It's also notably hardware that's a return to what they're most comfortable making; a 2G device with Wi-Fi, the kind of phone they'd churn out in the old days (you know, two years ago) and it'd still work fine and deflect missiles and small children while maintaining two-day battery life. So, it does bode well.

Conceptually, the Curve 8900 is almost exactly what you want in a sequel; it ups the ante in a lot of the right ways, like sex quotient, but keeps the fundamentals in place. It's not a beautiful piece of hardware that will magnetically pull drool out of people's lips in a trickle, but it's black-and-chrome modern enough with just the right lines (borrowed from the Storm) that it will draw eyes, if only for a split second.

T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8900
T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8900


Hardware

Three things make the hardware exceptional: The screen is delicious and not just because a video of John Mayer is preloaded on it, one thing RIM's been getting very right (the screen, not John Mayer, though that is also very right). Colors pop like John Mayer's lyrics, contrast is contrasty and the 480x360 resolution is fantastic, with a nice, wide viewing angle. The screen's still too small to watch anything longer than a music video—starring say, John Mayer—but it'll look pretty good while it's rolling.

The new "Atomic" trackball seems noticeably sturdier than the one that's been on BlackBerrys for years. It's more solidly implanted in the device, with less room for nasty junk to squeeze inside, but still plenty of spin in the wheel.

The keyboard is better than the original Curve's, with a more pronounced sloped to the keys, a la BlackBerry Bold. I prefer the Bold's keyboard, since it's way roomier and has perfectly squishy keys, as opposed to the super-punchy ones found on the Curve 8900. That said, the Curve 8900 keyboard is still one of the best smartphone keyboards you'll ever tap on. RIM knows how to make QWERTY keyboards with their Canadian eyes closed, even if they're still working out the whole touchscreen clicky thing.

The build quality is another strong point. It's a solid device that you know won't go down without a fight, like all RIM hardware. It feels more sturdy than the original Curve, which was excessively plastic. It definitely feels nicer than the Curve—more high end, and its smoother lines make for a better handfeel too. The weight's similar to the iPhone 3G, not a feather, but not a monster like the G1 or BlackBerry Bold. The flimsiest part of the phone is the cheapo battery cover, which pops off and on mercifully easy.

A few things muddle the hardware's excellence: The lack of 3G (sorry, once you're used to it, you can't go back) and the Wi-Fi's persnicketiness; it just didn't want to play nice with a few of the secured Wi-Fi networks and constantly drops out. Open Wi-Fi points seemed just fine though. Also, when I talked to my mommy, the call quality wasn't bad—it was very clear—but it also had a weird kind of hollowness to it.

Software

Software-wise, the Curve 8900 has every strength and weakness that every BlackBerry phone has when compared to other smartphones: If you're not familiar with BlackBerry email, BlackBerrys are all about it, with features like real push, server-side search, Exchange support, serious security, a million keyboard shortcuts and other power perks. It's not the sexiest looking email client around, but it does everything you'd ever want a smartphone to do in terms of email. There's a reason it's a corporate warrior's mandatory piece of kit.

The OS is fairly easy to use (some particulars aside)—it's an icon-based layout where what you see is what you get. Settings can be a bit of a listicle labyrinth, but for the most part, everything's presented right up front and easy to get to.

Even though the iPhone and though Android get all the press for apps, BlackBerry also has the backing of a pretty solid developer community for applications, so there are tons of applications to download and install, even if they aren't quite as shiny as what's on the iPhone or Android or available from a convenient storefront (yet). The Curve 8900 comes loaded with a solid starter suite though, with instant messenger apps from everybody that matters, like AIM and GTalk; BlackBerry Maps (which is alright, though I prefer Google Maps); and Office to Go, which lets you edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files...on the go. The media apps work fine, with a fairly generic UI.

The software is hampered mostly by its message-oriented roots, so while it does email better than anyone and does have a ton of apps from the developer community, the whole web thing the iPhone, Android and Palm Pre get, and its attempt to scale to that kind of complexity, is clearly a struggle within the BlackBerry OS paradigm. The Curve 8900's browser, though ridiculously more usable and accurate at rendering than the original Curve's, is slow even over Wi-Fi. Its application approach is still browser-oriented while we wait for the BlackBerry app store and it's pokey and annoying, even from RIM's own central app hub. The apps are there and many are good—Kevin from CrackBerry highly recommends the Bolt browser for a much faster browsing experience—you just have to find 'em.

Oh, one other sore point for BlackBerry is trying to sync one to a Mac. It's not a fun experience, with PocketMac providing nowhere near the kind of complete functionality of the PC BlackBerry Desktop Software, which handles all of your syncing, app and media management, and the total inability to have more one sync program installed on a Mac at once. If you install BlackBerry Media Sync to sync iTunes to your BlackBerry on a Mac, it borks your other syncing programs. =(

Conclusion

Based on our time so far, if you have a BlackBerry Curve, the Curve 8900 is the same thing, but better in a lot of little ways that add up to a markedly better experience overall, thanks to a gorgeous display, slicker OS and well-designed hardware.

It's not a phone to switch to T-Mobile for—especially since it's obviously coming to AT&T, and most probably Verizon and Sprint too—but this is the BlackBerry that most people will be rocking in the next year as it inevitably spreads from carrier to carrier, and for good reason. If you're on T-Mobile, you really have two (good) choices for a smartphone now: This or the G1. If you do serious business, well, the choice is made for you.
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mobiBLU A10 UFO MP3 Player

January 29th 2009 10:56
Korean portable digital audio player maker mobiBLU has recently introduced a new type of MP3 player, the A10 UFO. The device can link to other Bluetooth devices and is unusual for building in a 2W flat panel speaker from NXT Technologies. It can play back ASF, MP3, OGG and WMA format files. There is no display, but a vibration function is integrated, presumably to match the device's namesake of Unidentified Flying Object and entertain onlookers while music is playing.

The built-in lithium-ion battery pack is rated for six hours when the speaker is used to play music, or 15 hours via the headphones that connect via a 3.5mm audio jack. The A10 UFO is available in gloss red or black, with 512MB through to 8GB capacities. No pricing or release date information has been announced, though mobiBLU offers its players in the US.

mobiBLU A10 UFO MP3 Player
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Small external displays are becoming increasingly commonplace but the little displays are still special to us. They are so freking handy and this one from Buffalo is no different. The 7-inch display is powered by USB and features a decent 800×480 display resolution which should display Adium or Trillian buddy lists just fine. Even video would be fine. However, this external display is only PC compatible. No fun there for Mac users.

Buffalo FTD W71 External Swivel Display
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OnPar GPS

January 29th 2009 06:33
There’s a new GPS device for golfers out there called OnPar. It seems slightly more advanced than the rest; just based on the fact that OnPar has a touchscreen interface.

OnPar is basically is a touchscreen GPS finder that can help the player by providing a dynamic hole layout display and GPS positioning that provides instant distances to anywhere and remaining distance to the green, personalized club averages, and simple score and shot tracking.

OnPar can store upto 300 courses in its memory and does no membership fees or course map fees.

OnPar has a 3.5″ screen, and measures only 0.63″ in thickness. Even though the pricing is yet not revealed we know it will be available at a few specialty stores starting in early February this year.

OnPar GPS
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Sony Patents Touchscreen Printer

January 29th 2009 06:31
Microsoft’s high-tech Surface table has a nifty feature that lets it communicate with electronic devices wirelessly and exchange data with them. For example, if you place a digital camera on top of the Microsoft Surface, the surface can automagically suck out all of the photos in the digital camera and display them on the table for you (and anyone else nearby) to see. Sony is trying to put this great feature to good use for its wide range of digital cameras by building a smaller version of the Surface in the form of a touchscreen equipped inkjet printer.

In Sony’s patent, entitled “Image forming device, having an ejection tray, and a display is mounted to a cover,” Sony details plans for a device with a touchscreen surface, a large display, and an ejection tray from which prints of digital photos can be produced. According to Sony, this device works in the following manner:

The surface is a touchscreen that can connect with a digital camera wirelessly and automatically retrieve digital photos and save it to memory. The digital camera may be placed anywhere on the surface of the display.

Sony Touchscreen Printer


A user will then have the option to either just browse the photos on the inkjet printer’s display, or print them out and get them via the ejection tray on the side.

Sony doesn’t say when this product of theirs will come out for purchase of the general public, but since the technology to create one of these is already here, I have a feeling it won’t be long until we see this baby beside digital cameras in our favorite retail stores.
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