June 13, 2007

Any photo enthusiasts out there looking to go fully digital? This is your chance to jump in. Most folks have no problem going over to the digital side when it comes to their little point-and-shoot cameras but are hesitant when it comes to the big stuff like their SLRs. Well Nikon’s entry-level D40X digital SLR may be just the solution. The D40X is a knockout and has received great reviews since its introduction. It is a whopping 10.2 megapixels, has a low ISO of 100, can shoot 3 frames per second, instant on times and virtually no shutter lag. In addition, your old Nikon AF-S and AF-I Nikkor lenses will work just fine on the D40X. Butterfly Photo is offering up the D40X body with 18-55mm lens kit for $696, no tax, free shipping.
How many more cords and power strips can you cram onto your desk? What’s worse are those AC adapters, appropriately nicknamed ‘wall warts’, that take up two outlets or valuable real estate on your desk. The answer? Chargepod to the rescue! The Chargepod from Callpod is a charging device that can charge up to 6 devices with a single cord. The device consists of a center ‘hub’ that you plug adapters into that then act like spokes so all of your power-hungry gadgets fan out like a wheel. Besides the obvious advantages of a single power cord, it is also quite sporty. It has a nice compact, streamlined design with some nifty blue LEDs. When you buy the base, the first adapter is free. After that, you can choose from Callpod’s extensive list of adapters at $9.95 a pop. They include USB, miniUSB, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Sanyo, Samsung, Qualcomm, Kyocera, Audiovox, LG, Toshiba, Pantech, Palm (Treo, LifeDrive, Tungsten), just to name a few. Click here for a complete list of adapters. I gotta say, at $49 for the base unit and $9.95 per adapter, it’s a bit pricey, but if I could eliminate all those cords and plugs, it may be the best bargain around.
First off I must warn you that I have been a huge Speed Racer fan since I was a young boy. If you are not a fan, my apologies, and you should probably skip to the next gadget. If you’ve been with the Hit List from the beginning, you have heard me talk about the Mach 5. However, up until now, there have been some weak efforts to recreate a real-life version of the famous car. Now that there is a forthcoming movie with some formidable stars, this time they really got it right. Take a look at this. That’s a real car! Like its cartoon inspiration, this Mach 5 has a full-wraparound windscreen, sleek rearview mirrors, the distinct bullet shape and that memorable paint job. And the minor details? A Wachowski brothers film (of Matrix fame), starring Emile Hirsh, Matthew Fox, blah, blah, blah, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon and Christina Ricci, blah, blah, blah, who cares. Here is a video of the unveiling with some vacuous commentary from the cast. My favorite is Christina Ricci who has this to say about her character, “I’m really excited because there are so many negative images for little girls out there and she’s a very strong-willed, smart girl who also, you know, is super cute and has great clothes.” Come one Christina, you’re playing a cartoon character named Trixie.
Look ma, no batteries! Sony has just announced a conceptual line of toys for children that they must power themselves. That’s right, they actually have to expel a bit of energy to get these gadgets to work. It harks back to the days when you had to pull a string or crank a handle to get any action out of your toys. Each gadget in the new Sony ODO line has a simple, minimalist design that relies on a combination of kinetic and solar energy. There is the Spin N’ Snap camera, Push POWER Play viewer, Crank N’ Capture video cams, Pull N’ Play headphones and solar array Juice Boxes, which work like batteries for other devices. Somehow I think these will be more popular with the parents than with the kids. I am reminded of that blank stare I get from children these days when you hand them a toy that doesn’t have an On/Off switch or an LCD screen. I have included a link for the original Sony ODO site here. It is Googly translated and although it isn’t much help textually, it has some nice shots of the toys. 
This week a former Circuit City employee quit their job and decided to go out George Costanza style, “in a blaze of glory, Jerry!“ In addition to tendering their resignation, he or she has posted ’27 Confessions Of A Former Circuit City Worker’ to The Consumerist. In it, the former employee uncovers all sorts of unsavory practices that are allegedly commonplace at the giant electronics store. Some of the more scary ones range from your run-of-the-mill bait and switch to the murky waters of warranties and protection plans. I can’t vouch for all of these, but some do seem a bit familiar. Read on and take it for what it’s worth. At least you will be prepared next time you go gadget hunting.