March 28, 2007

This week I am featuring a lightweight and stylish portable hard drive from Western Digital for a great price. The Passport has a 120GB capacity, is Mac and PC compatible, powered via USB (no separate power source needed), includes synchronization & encryption software and can fit in your pocket. It measures a compact 5.11″ x 3.14″ x .59″ and weighs just 3.6 ounces. You can learn a little more about it from the BuyTV Review video that plays after the link (the sound defaults off). Try to resist watching it (I warned you). The host is monumentally annoying. Halfway through it I felt like taking out my own appendix with an oyster fork. is currently featuring it for $89.99 with free shipping.…
Sometimes it’s tough to hold that cell phone when you’re multi-tasking. What choice do you have? You could use the Bluetooth-cyborg-headset tool, but you end up looking like one. Some cell phones have speakerphone capabilities, but they seem to always sound like they’re projecting from an old rusty can. Now there’s help. The Australian company BlueAnt has released its latest Bluetooth handsfree speakerphone and it’s a beauty. Small, compact and lightweight, the SuperTooth Light comes in at 4.06 ounces and measures a mere 0.716″ x 2.37″ x 4.8″. It can be clipped to the visor of the car with zero installation, look good sitting on your desk or thrown in your bag to be used anywhere. Despite its small size, this unit packs a big punch. It features 15 hour talk time, full duplex (listen and speak simultaneously), full DSP (Digital Signal Processor) noise and echo cancellation, retractable microphone, digital volume control, incoming call rejection and can be charged via USB cable. In addition, the SuperTooth Light can also maintain sound volume through extreme outside conditions like loud engine noise or driving with the windows down. Although it is listed at $100 on BlueAnt’s site, I found it here for $79.99.…
This past week the much anticipated Apple TV was released to all sorts of press and fanfare. You might have thought the boys from Apollo 13 had just landed. Although I am not that crazy about it from a pure technological standpoint, I can’t help admiring its beautifully clean, monolithic design. It’s simple and delicious and reminds me of some sort of Entenmann’s cake. For those of you that don’t know, Apple TV allows you to connect wirelessly (or wired) to any PC or Mac on your network, sync up with iTunes and play movies, pictures, music, TV shows and podcasts on your TV. Although Apple reports that you need a high definition TV, there are many reports of it working fine as long as your TV supports the widescreen format.  Here is a video of that scamp David Pogue from the New York Times giving a humorous performance which should provide you with a good introduction/overview of this new product.
This week at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago, Shelley Minteer, Ph.D., an electrochemist at Saint Louis University introduced a battery that basically runs on virtually any sugar source. The battery uses the enzymes to convert the sugar to electricity, leaving behind only water as a byproduct. This is more than just a concept. Dr. Minteer has developed a prototype about the size of a postage stamp that successfully ran a handheld calculator. So far the battery has been tested using glucose, flat sodas, sweetened drink mixes and tree sap. More importantly, this technology will outpace the operation of conventional lithium ion batteries by three to four times and the materials used are biodegradable. With a new start-up company and “millions of dollars” secured, Dr. Minteer sees this product ready for commercialization in three to five years. With all of that money, I suggest that she replace that giant old fashioned CRT monitor in the picture!
I love to jump on the new technology just like the next guy, probably even more (actually I’m sure of it). This is even more satisfying when you end up being the early adopter for products of a company that tends to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. Apple is just such a company. When we get that new Apple product it makes us feel all warm and shiny. However, as I warned you all in this very column back in the September 20, 2006 Hit List, it can be a dangerous game. Like trading the family cow for a handful of magic beans. Well, as is reported above, Apple TV began shipping this week and everyone is very excited. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so I will just offer up this article for your consumption. As I stated back in September when this product was just beginning to be discussed, it’s an issue worth mulling over. This story comes to us from the Mac fanboys at iLounge. My personal favorite is #10 which also includes a mention of the DLO HomeDock which I featured a few weeks ago in the March 7, 2007 issue.…