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.
The mad ax lab: Variax Workbench lets you concoct any flavor of guitar from scratch. Line 6 has made a name for itself creating simulations of a wide range of guitar amplifiers and stompbox effects. When used with an amazing Variax guitar, the Variax Workbench software and dedicated USB interface lets you play Dr. Frankenax, mixing and matching the pickups from a Fender Stratocaster with the body of a Gibson Firebird, in dropped D tuning with a capo. It's beyond good - divine is much more appropriate.
You can't miss in FizzBall, especially in kids' mode. FizzBall successfully puts new spin on the Breakout style of game, where the object is to eliminate brick walls with a bouncing ball. As Professor Fizzwizzle, you use a fizzball to capture and save cute little animals that have been abandoned on an island. Using a steampunk-style paddle, the professor swats the fizzball at animals, food, and more, but capturing the animals isn't easy -- numerous obstacles block the fizzball's path.
We can't get enough of the graphic style. Explosions and dead enemies leave eraser scuffs on the background. SketchFighter 4000 Alpha brings so much style to an arcade shooter that it almost forgets to pack the substance. Instead of the latest glossy 3D graphics, SketchFighter animates scribbles from a teenager's math homework into a top-down, 2D arcade shooter - and the uneven, scribbled lines are as stunning as they are simple.
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.