Susie Ochs's picture

Boo to all blister packs everywhere! I cut myself a tiny bit prying this one open, and I was using scissors and everything...

3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator: First Look

This lil' knob makes it easier to move through Google Earth and other 3D apps.

The Podcasting Pak includes a good-looking USB-powered microphone, a mini mic stand, and a foam-lined industrial-strength case to carry it all. Every podcast recording begins with a microphone. The only reason that most Mac users haven't worried too much about the mic is because the built-in mics on iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros have worked just fine for most off-board uses. If you tried to record on a Mac notebook, however, you've no doubt noticed a few irksome issues: fan noise, primarily (unless you're recording MIDI, in which case no harm, no foul). While it's fully possible to make this flaw seem like a feature by packaging your podcast as some sort of staged neoindustrial set piece complete with whirring machinery in the background, in actual fact, fan noise is not a desirable trait. Moreover, if what you're doing involves live music, instruments, or any other nuanced acoustic audio source, using the built-in mic is less than ideal.

Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Stick

This tiny USB stick brings high-def TV to your Mac.

TuneStage 2 for iPod

The TuneStage 2 has a surprisingly good range. Mention Bluetooth with an iPod device, and you might find us shaking our heads in doubt. That's because our experience with Bluetooth devices has been mixed - Bluetooth isn't bad, if you don't mind a limited range. But sound quality? Forget it. But then Bluetooth 2.0+EDR was released, offering better data rates and reliability than its predecessors. And as it turns out, the TuneStage 2 for iPod, which uses Bluetooth 2.0+EDR to provide wireless connectivity between an iPod and a stereo-connected base station, is a great example of how far Bluetooth technology has come.

LightSnake Microphone-to-USB Cable

The LightSnake takes the frustration out of XLR mic connectivity. Podcasters hoping to record pro-level audio usually have to dish out pro-level dollars - a good XLR microphone requires an interface box to connect to your Mac, and that'll set you back at least $200. But with the LightSnake Microphone-to-USB Cable, you can spend a fraction of that and still be able to connect XLR mics directly to your Mac.

Torq MixLab

A good beginner’s mixer, with some room to grow. With an incredibly cheap entrance fee of $130, M-Audio’s Torq MixLab gives you the core tools you need to make mixes, sans vinyl records and turntables. The package includes the X-Session Pro USB MIDI hardware mixer and Torq LE, a paired-down version of M-Audio’s Torq DJ software.

Concealed and Compact Surge Protectors

Manage your mess of power cables with these better-looking surge protectors.

TuneView for iPod

For such a pricey iPod accessory, it doesn't look very iPod-esque. Keyspan's TuneView is an iPod dock and remote control combo that lets you listen to your music on your home entertainment system. Unlike other products of its ilk, this remote has a color LCD that lets you navigate your iPod from your La-Z-Boy. Unfortunately, the remote's dated, inelegant design detracts from the overall package.

ColorVision Spyder2express

If you like your colors very bright and very blue, try this calibration tool.