YouTube can be fun, and very occasionally brilliant, but a lot of its content is, let's face it, Amateur Hour. Not so Hulu.com, which just opened to the public. It features real TV shows and even movies. For free - so long as you're willing to watch ads too, of course. (Hulu estimates its ads at about 2 minutes per half-hour's entertainment, less than commercial television.)
I was one of Hulu's beta testers, but I didn't get the big head because there were 5 million of us. I only checked in a couple of times, partly because the selection was limited and partly because I'm spoiled by my fairly big TV screen - not to mention haunted by many hours of programming languishing unwatched on my DVR.
Some of Hulu's offerings are top-drawer. TV shows include "The Simpsons," "30 Rock," and "The Office" (US version). Among the movies are "Sideways," "Ice Age," and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" - plus several golden oldies. There is, of course, also dreck. Exhibit A: "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine." I can tell it's dreck without having watched a minute of it. Don't argue.
I have a girlfriend who will only hit the gym if she has an appointment with her trainer, or take a run if she has a partner. (And I have another girlfriend who's a gym rat but we're planning an intervention, so that's a different story.)
Girlfriend #1 needs the new Adidas miCoach system which is like having a coach or trainer constantly pushing you to new levels ("Come on, just one MORE MILE!").
Unlike the devices that collect data for your workout, miCoach claims to be the the first system that actually coaches by turning your data into a personal training plan based on your fitness level and goals ("LAZY BONES, speed it up!").
Created as a partnership between Samsung and Adidas, miCoach uses your cell phone as a personal trainer, the first "fully--featured, fully-reactive and adaptive personal trainer mobile phone." This means there are some unusual features such as a heart rate monitor, a pedometer which works by attaching a "foot pod" to your laces (or if you bought the matching runners, there's a spot specifically for it) and measures the distance you’ve travelled and how fast you’re going.
Meanwhile, since you inputted all your data, the domineering phone is supposedly motivating you by pushing you to your own personal fitness plan. Perfect for people who need a personal trainer or coach. Me? I would have trashed my phone after the first mile.
Scheduled to be released next month, there's no pricing information available yet.
Your aerobic exercise routine may not be a bust, but it will be more efficient and productive if you monitor your heart rate and keep it in the target zone that's right for you. But those chest straps that measure electrical voltages from your heart . . . so ugly and geeky. And using a wrist-only device to measure your pulse instead just doesn't work as well.
But suppose they made a pre-wired sports bra with tiny electrodes knitted right into the fabric, electrodes that could sense your heart's electrical signals? Suppose a tiny transmitter, snapped into a small pocket in the front of the bra, radioed readings from the electrodes to a digital heart-rate monitor/watch on your wrist? And suppose this wired device looked pretty much like a regular sports bra?
That's what NuMetrex has done with a sports bra wired to send your heart-rate data to a digital readout for real-time monitoring. Prices for the bra alone start at $49, not much more than a wire-free brand-name sports bra. An entry-level package featuring bra plus transmitter and watch (with time, date, stopwatch, alarm, and heart rate limits) is $99.
OK, now the crucial question. A sweaty sports bra can get funky pretty fast. Is this, miracle of miracles, a washable electronic device? Yes. And you don’t even have to hand-wash; machine will do fine. The company says you can rack up 100 machine washings with no effect on performance, and even after that their electronic boob job continues to work with only slight error readings. Order one in red or a pretty deep pink called razzleberry before the end of February, and NuMetrex will send $5 to the American Heart Association.
So it’s Valentine’s Day (insert virtual vomit here). Now, you could spend $60 a month on eHarmony, getting paired with all the people you wouldn’t date, or spend $0 and post a personal ad on craigslist and get about the same result. But, I’m suggesting that you try a new online service, WooMe.
WooMe takes a very fun hybrid approach to online dating through virtual speed dating. It’s ridiculously easy to meet people who share your interests, and it's also a lot of fun.
Photo: Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Nikkor Zoom LensPrice: $2,479.95 and ranked 5/5 stars with 51 customer reviews!
Back in December 2007, I made my first post about a mid-range Digital SLR camera that I had just purchased - the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. (scroll mid-way down the gift guide to read).
In advance of posting about a new group of wonderful long-lensed SLR’s arriving to market in the next few weeks, I wanted to guide you towards a wonderful article recently written by Mike Davidison, CEO of Newsvine, “A Rookie Guide to Digital SLR Cameras.”
Mike dives right in and explains the query that so many of us reach after owning a number of pocket-fitting 7-10 megapixel cameras, “What’s the story with the SLR?” Why would I want to own such a big bulky camera? And, make that serious of an investment? And, if I do, when is the right time?
As you look forward to my upcoming series of posts on these bulky, sexy, snapping, shooting, SLRs in the coming weeks, take a moment to get a better understanding of what’s behind the technology and how it applies or doesn’t apply to your own photographic needs.
Visit Mike’s post over at his blog: mikeindustries.com.
[Try out our Interactive Buying Guide for digital cameras.]
If you love music and you love sharing, meet miShare, a single-button, smart gadget that enables sharing files and playlists between iPods. Simply attach the source and iPods (sans cables and computers) press miShare's can't-miss big button and presto changeo!
miShare allows you to navigate and share music, video and photo. Copy your media one file at a time or by batch. miShare uses the On-The-Go playlist for multiple songs—simply create an On-The-Go playlist on the source iPod by selecting by song, artist, album, or even playlist.
Single music files take about ten seconds to transfer once the iPods are attached, depending on the file sizes and videos up to half minute. (miShare runs USB 2.0 "Full-Speed," which is rated at more than one megabyte per second. Our real-world experience is about 500KB/second.)
* Minis, Nano, 3G, 4G, Video (5G), and Classic (6G) iPod models
* miShare does not currently work with the iPhone or iPod Touch
Imagine an iPod that could support subscription music services like Rhapsody, have an FM tuner, built-in Bluetooth, and in-line encoding so you could convert your old cassettes and vinyl or rip CDs on the fly from any stereo. Lately, as much as I continue to love my iPhone, and my various iPods, the player I've been using almost exclusively is the sacrilegious (to the Church of Apple) Insignia Pilot. Combined with a $15/month subscription to Rhapsody, I've been able to download hundreds of songs without paying anything more, as well as having access to Rhapsody's "channels" which are highly customized digital radio stations.
I've been feeling so musically oppressed by iTunes lately, and it's been liberating to listen to whatever I want, even nostalgic hair metal, without having to pay for individual songs or albums. And an FM tuner, as old-time as it sounds, is great to have for news, or finding broadcasts of sporting events, or when I'm just sick of having to think of what I want to download and just want the choices made for me. I'm a complete subscription service convert, even with the knowledge that all my music disappears the minute I don't renew my service. I'd believed as much as anybody that I'd want to "own" my music, but after suffering the loss of tons of music with every iPod generation change due to the restrictive iTunes DRM, I haven't felt that security very much anyway.
A bit more about the player - it's a featherweight 2 oz, and comes with either 4 GB or 8 GB of flash memory but is expandable with SD cards, which is great. It also plays MPEG and WMV videos on the 2.4" color LCD. Battery life is great; the rechargeable goes 25 hours, but I swear it's even better than that - I can easily go a week without a charge even with seemingly constant use. It comes with wired earbuds, but is compatible with Bluetooth. If you're used to iPod navigation, the user interface may be a bit confusing at first, and while it's not that hard to get used to, it could use a simplicity makeover in future generations. Also, the player is so light, it feels insubstantial and flimsy although I haven't had any problems with it so far.
The Insignia Pilot is $110 for the 4 GB model, and $140 for 8 GB and both are available from Best Buy. Rhapsody has various subscription plans, including a limited free account, but you can get a 30-day free trial from Best Buy.
The Sony Vaio TP25 PC Digital Living System. Sony continues to raise the bar in sleek computer design with the great-looking TP25. The TP25 has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Blu-ray, HDTV, DVR, 4 GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA Geforce 8400M graphics CPU with up to 1535 MB of memory. High-def audio, of course, since this is more than a computer, it's your living room theater. Pricey, at $3000, but you use your HDTV as your monitor so it'll look incredibly impressive when playing Blu-ray movies and watching high-def television.
Sony Vaio AR79OU Premium Notebook PC. Not the type of laptop you'll want to be lugging with you everywhere, but if you can afford it, it's a powerhouse. 17" widescreen display with Blu-ray, and an HDTV tuner and DVR. It weighs 8.4 lbs and costs $3300.
Vaio TZ series notebook. On the other end of the size spectrum is the updated Vaio TZ series. The gorgeous carbon fiber cased notebook weighs just 2.7 lbs. but is loaded to the gills with high-performance components: Core 2 Duo processor, Sprint Mobile Broadband, choice of Solid state drive (64 GB) or huge 250 GB hard drive. All this power in a tiny package costs more than all that power in a big one: $3700.
Even if your grandparents aren't on the Internet (maybe they don't even have a computer), you can now send them emails and digital photos. Get them a Presto printer and service and they'll be able to receive emails and photos automatically. It's a simple, quick 3-step process: (1) you send your email to the Presto service through your own email address, (2) Presto converts them for sending to grandma, (3) grandma picks it up on her printer without doing a thing (all she needs is a regular phone line). The Presto printer sells for $149.99, and monthly service is $9.99. Take a look at how easy it is to set up and use.
[Popgadget is an affiliate of Presto through February, 2008.]
We are very excited to bring you an inside view of the Popgadget pop-up shop which is one of the 2007 Holiday Shops at Henri Bendel in New York City. The store is now open, on the 3rd Floor, and is like a Popgadget page come to life.
The directory sign, which made us scream in excitement.
Popgadget Dream Machines! Conveniently located across from the Chocolate Cafe where you can get amazing hot chocolate and beautiful truffles. Right in front of the Rizzoli Book Shop is Popgadget!