I left CES with around 20 free pens. I went a little crazy with it. "Hmm, yes, that's very interesting...eh, do you have any pens?" I'm thinking of starting a pen blog where every entry is scanned in after being written with the pen I'm talking about. People could send in their unusual pens from around the world for review. I'd call it "Pengadget." One for a rainy day I suppose. The best pen I saw at the show was not for walking away with. The Wowpen Memo requires the user to clip a little device to the top of any sheet of paper of any size. The writer then does their thing, taking notes, sketching, whatever. Once done, the little clip device plugs into the USB port of your computer, where it transfers all your notes and other doodlings to your PC, ready to be viewed onscreen. I think it uses a technology called "magic." You can even convert your notes to text providing you have handwriting recognition software.
Unfortunately, you'll have to wait a while before the Wowpen Memo comes out. Wowpen makes other cool input devices though, so check them out on their site.
Oh, hold on. That wasn't the best pen at CES. My favourite was the free Belkin pen that had mini post-it notes built-in. Send photos of your favourite pen to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gah! Don't bother, the domain is already taken. Stupid link farms.
Ribbit! I have no idea what frogs have to do with this product. I suppose I don't know what apples have to do with computers either, so that was a bit of a silly thing to say. iFrogz was another company to have a nice person demo their product at CES. They had two brand new lines of silicone iPod cases for all to see. The first was their fully customizable option that allows you to change all three components of the case - the wrapz, the bandz and the screenz. The wrapz are the "main shell" of the cover that come in almost 40 different colours, while the bandz are the silicone rings that wrap around the body for extra support. More interestingly however, are the screenz. The screenz are sheets of transparent plastic used to protect the face of the iPod, but with one unusual feature - they have a "decal" that allows you to style your click-wheel from hundreds of options. I like the vinyl record one. You can buy case pieces individually or as complete set for $29.
Wait! There's more! Don't trust your video iPod with your child?
"Fight fight fight! Cisco and Apple are having a fight!" is something the kids at my old high school would chant if Cisco and Apple were pupils there. If you've been paying attention to the news surrounding Apple's new iPhone, then you'll know there's a bit of a battle going on regarding the fact that Apple doesn't 't actually own the name. They should have registered it years ago! Silly Billys.
Here's another product that's slipped through Apple's trademark net. It's called iRecord, and is stunningly simple to use. Mia and I were given a demo at CES last week by a refreshingly enthusiastic rep (it's really nice when you know the person demoing is really into the product). Simply connect your TV and iPod to iRecord, then press the record button. Press it again when you're done, and have a look on your iPod. Wow! There's a recording there! Ready to be played at anytime! No computer required! Sorry, I'm beginning to sound like the rep. You can even record onto a PSP or any USB storage drive. Take a look at the demo on the iRecord site to show you how simple it is.
The Japanese have had toilets that do everything but vacuum for years. We're now seeing these enter the market here, with ones like "Fresh Seat." It's basically a bidet with a built-in air dryer, a water massage feature, temperature setting for the seat and, uh, a remote control. At the end of day it's still a bidet, but all built into the seat so you don't have to buy -- and install -- an entire new commode.
Takagi, the Japanese company, is lining up distributors in this country and couldn't give me a fixed idea of the cost yet.
If I hadn't tried these on myself, I wouldn't have guessed how little these SportFones weigh -- a mere 2.2 ounces. A 2007 CES Innovations winner, the mp3 player is built directly into the headphones along with a set of simple controls and a rechargeable battery that reportedly will last for 8 hours. I don't know how long you plan on going to the gym, but I hope that will cover you. With a 512MB (figure 150 songs), they use mp3 and WMA music file formats. I liked the "sweat-repelling" ear pads that are washable, and the convenient storage case.
The Jensen JPM-3005 SportFones are available this month with a suggested retail price of $69.99.
At CES this year, you couldn't get away from all the new versions of what we call a "TV". Toshiba Japan has a new entry called the Regza LCD TV C2000. At their booth, I was dazzled by the picture, even while trying to remain the cynical journalist. There were a total of 13 new sets: four 720p models (HL67), two 720p with built in DVD (LV67), three 1080p models (HL167), and four Cinema Series 1080p models (LX177). I'd take any of these.
Here come the specs:
* 20 incher sports a resolution of 1336 x 768 pixels and a viewing angle of 178 degrees.
* It has an analog as well as digital TV tuner. The onboard digital amplifier delivers an output of 5W x 2Ch which is bought to life thanks to SRS WOW function.
*The LCD has dual HDMI ports along with S-Video, composite, Ethernet and analog audio jacks.
For gamers, the Regza C2000 has a dedicated game mode which adjusts the picture size and quality best suited for gaming.
It goes on sale in Japan in February for a cool 110,000 Yen ($920).
I hate baths. You're either a bath or a shower person, I reckon. It's a secret rivalry. Lying in your own filth while waiting for a potential spider appearance isn't my idea of fun. CES exhibitors, Atlantic, are bath people. They've created a great waterproof iPod case and speaker system named EGO. Atlantic showed me the case floating around a small pool of water, blaring out tunes with a very slight aqua theme, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, a couple of Beach Boys songs; I'm sure they could have thought of better. They still sounded good though, and I suppose if I were forced to have a bath, I would like one of these cases with me. Not to put my iPod in, I have to add, just to catch any spiders that decide to scare the life out of me.
The Atlantic site doesn't currently stock the case, but should do very soon.
You know how whenever you take a photo of your pup (or cat), their eyes have this weird, otherworldly glow in the photos? Spooky.
Kodak announced at CES that it had developed a system to remove "glow eyes" from pet pictures -- but it won't be available until later this year.
Red-eye removal for photos of humans is now standard inside almost every manufacturer’s digital cameras. As pets are the second most photographed subject, it makes sense to develop a built-in camera system that recognizes the glow eye.
There was a long line at CES for the "gaming chair" and everyone seemed to want to do just one thing -- race a Formula One very, very fast. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Unlike other gaming chairs, this D-Box chair, dubbed the GP-100, doesnï¿½t simply vibrate in synch with game play, it actually moves as well, tilting and rocking. I was getting dizzy just watching. The secret is the chairï¿½s motion actuators. They resemble shock absorbers that move slowly like pistons in close integration with what is happening in the game. The company calls the patented technology the "Integrated D-BOXï¿½ MOTION CODEï¿½."
When I talked to excited participant, he said "Damn! It's just like driving a race car!."
As the web site says:
Integrated motion systems use a two, three or four actuators to lift and move your seating in perfect synchronization with the onscreen action and sound, creating a virtual-reality experience in your living room or home theater.
All of this costs a pretty penny, as you might imagine. Figure on the gaming chair costing $15,000, and that does not include a television screen, PC (a Voodoo gaming tower was used for the demo) or games. What consumers get for that is the chair, its actuators and the D-Box controller, a box that takes signals from games specially encoded for the motion chair and translates them into physical movement. I think we'll probably see this in arcades and movie theatres, with not much home use.
Griffin technology feels it's time for you to evolve, cut the chord already! At CES they were showing their brand-new Evolve wireless speaker system for your iPod, which is comprised of a charging base and two cube-shaped speakers. Just simply place the Evolve cubes wherever you want to hear the music, or move them room to room. Me, I'd put them outside when we have a party, keeping in mind that they're not all-weather of course.
Each speaker cube has its own Lithium-Ion battery pack, delivering up to 10 hours of music between charges. To charge, just place the speaker on its charging station. There's nothing to plug in, and nothing to unplug when you're ready to deploy the music. Each speaker features its own on/off switch, and an automatic sleep mode to conserve battery charge.
To complete the wireless picture, Evolve comes with its own RF remote. The system works with all iPods, but there is a line-in in the back, so you can plug any music player into it (zune,
It'll retail for $349 in late spring/summer.