January 31, 2007

Start converting some of your old VCR tapes to digital. TigerDirect is offering the Plextor USB 2.0 Real-Time Digital Video Converter for the low price of $49. It features a DVD Editing/Creation Software Bundle and encodes video into the DivX, MPEG-4, MPEG-1/Video CD and MPEG-2/DVD formats in real time. The Plextor captures video straight from your video source, which includes TVs, VCRs, DVD players and camcorders. You can then create CDs or DVDs with full editing capabilities. The price is currently $99 with a $50 rebate. However, if you want to pick this up, do it quickly, the rebate expires at midnight tonight.
Fresh from the skunk works of Polaroid, that’s right I said Polaroid, comes the new Zink . I didn’t even know Polaroid was around anymore. Anyway, Zink, which stands for “zero ink”, is a newly formed start-up targeting consumers who intend to print their photos on the go. The printer doesn’t contain any ink, hence the “zero ink” moniker and in the spirit of the original Polaroids, the paper actually carries the “ink”. The sheet contains colorless dye-forming crystals that are activated as the paper passes through the printer. Here you can find more info about the technology than you probably care to know. More importantly, this unit is only about as big as a deck of cards, has connections galore and comes wrapped in quite a smart package. The Zink is equipped with Bluetooth and a USB cable to help make the connection to your camera phone or PDA for easy printing. The early word is that the picture quality is fantastic. The target price is slated at around $99 with a 100 pack of paper coming in at around $20.
On the heels of Apple’s successful release of the new matchbook-size iPod Shuffle, they are now re-releasing it in a whole new set of luscious, Good ‘n Fruity colors. Yes, it is the same old shuffle but now comes in blue, pink, green, orange along with the original silver. If you’ve forgotten, the Shuffle has 1GB of capacity, a USB dock, headphones, built-in clip and 12 hours of playing time! It is currently available for $79 and in the spirit of that upcoming greeting-card-holiday; Apple is offering free shipping, gift wrapping and laser engraving until February 14th!
Anyone who has been to Europe knows how sometimes in the city those small cars sneak up on you quicker than Tequila. You know how it is, you’re walking around through those small side streets and the next thing you know there’s a car on your heels. And this is with normal gas powered combustion engines. Can you imagine when electric cars become more prolific? Well you certainly won’t have that issue with the new Girasole. Italy’s Start Lab SAP has collaborated with Yoshio Takaoka to develop a new electric car that has a unique horn that mimics the clip-clop of a horse’s hoof to alert pedestrians. In addition to this, the Girasole can travel up to 120 km on a single charge, which will put you back $1. It retails for $18,000, but owners can claim a $6,600 subsidy under an environmental protection clause. Takaoka, a former rally driver, told Fuji TV that “Previously I was a polluter but as I grew older I felt I had to do penance for this and do something good in return,”.
If you didn’t spend last week locked in a cellar, you know that Vista, the new operating system from Microsoft, was released. Of course, amidst all of the predictable “Microsoft rips off Apple” and the less than enthusiastic reviews, an interesting article caught my attention. An article that appeared in Wired’s Cult of Mac blog seemed to give Vista one of the most favorable reviews that I have read. And what is even more remarkable, it was a review of Vista running on a Mac Pro. In fact, Leander Kahney and Pete Mortensen report that “Vista really flies on this beast, and feels like it’s faster than OS X – it boots faster, folders burst open and apps launch instantly.” They then go on to say “The OS is dark and handsome. It’s really quite exciting. Like the Zune’s interface, it’s artfully done. The beautifully-rendered shadow effects and transparency give Vista a greater ‘depth’ than OS X, which looks a little flat and well… old fashioned in comparison. I know this is because Vista’s new and novel, but it makes OS X look dated.” Whether or not you agree with any of this, it is still very interesting to see these two worlds colliding.