In 1993, Billy Idol released a concept album called Cyberpunk,
which shipped to rock critics with a floppy disk of interactive
artwork. We can’t recall a single track from the album, but we do
remember being sure that this was the future of music. iTunes LP
reminds us of that--and of years spent pouring over liner notes before
there was Google search.
The biggest challenge of the Web is finding information you want. For a
while, bookmarks sufficed, giving users an easy way to quickly return
to their favorite sites. As bookmark lists grew, Really Simple
Syndication (RSS) became the preferred tool of Internet power-users. An
RSS reader makes it easy to track a large number of sites, but
eventually, you’re subscribed to so many feeds that finding the good
stuff becomes a challenge. Enter Fever, a Web-based RSS reader that
tries to solve this info overload by sorting your news by importance.
If you’ve become accustomed to the MacBook’s multitouch capabilities,
you’ll find yourself missing them when you use a desktop Mac. Wacom has
an answer, care of its recently refreshed Bamboo line, which adds a new
take on tablet input. We tested the Bamboo Fun, which recognizes the
pen, as well as touch input from your fingers--including some
multitouch gestures. For long-time tablet users who are used to
pen-only control, the addition of touch capabilities is nice,
especially in image editors like Photoshop and iPhoto, where using
two-finger pinches and reverse pinches can zoom in and out of images.
You can also use gestures to rotate images. It’s not a feature that
comes into play all that often, but it’s welcome when you do need it.
There are nine touch gestures in total, but they’re all limited to one-
and two-finger motions--and that’s one to two fingers short of the
three- and four-finger gestures supported by the latest MacBooks.
All-in-one printers do everything, but usually at the expense of
excelling at any single job. Not so with the Epson Artisan 810, which
quickly spits out high-quality photographic prints and also ably takes
care of your scanning, copying, and standard printing needs.
If you flipped over the Flip pocket-size video cameras, there’s a new
contender worth your attention. Kodak’s Zi8 replaces the Zi6, bringing
full HD 1080p capabilities to a small, well-designed package that fits
in your pocket but does more than its competition.
It pains us to find fault with such a rich, generously appointed
handheld media player. But while the third generation of the iPod touch
has plenty of outstanding features, they’re all mostly legacy features,
and there’s really not much to celebrate in the new-and-awesome
category. If you’ve been in the market for a touch, this one will
please you immensely. But if you already own a touch, you’d do better
to start saving up for something truly revolutionary--like maybe
Apple’s long-rumored tablet.
When your mom told you to “Take a sweater!” she probably didn’t mean for your laptop. But now you can bundle your ’Book in style with Dinglab’s Multimodular Laptop Sock. The Sock is, for lack of a better term, a sock--a double-layered, reversible tube of knit cotton and acrylic, 27 inches long and about 9 inches wide, closed on the bottom.
An iPod speaker is a great investment if you want to rock out with
friends--unless you and your friends prefer to dance around with
headphones on, like those silhouetted party people in Apple’s print
ads. iLuv’s iSP100 is portable, compact, and takes regular AAA
batteries, so there’s no need to tote along an AC adapter or charger.
But the anemic sound it produces might have you reconsidering that
“let’s all just put our headphones on and dance around” idea.
Giant TV. Check. Super-rad universal remote. Check. Speakers
strategically placed around the room so that when stuff blows up
onscreen you actually feel it in your belly. Check. A/V receiver that
supports up to 7.1 surround sound and the iPhone. Surprise--check!
While the iPhone has taken over your pocket and possibly your car, home
theater rigs have been noticeably late to the iPhone party.
Fortunately, the folks at Pioneer have taken notice of the iPhone and
its league of faithful users with the release of the VSX-819H home
receiver. Instead of relying on 1/8-inch cables, the system includes a
USB port with a USB-to-dock cable.
For several years now, the music industry has had quite a scam going.
No, we’re not talking about the insane price of physical CDs. And no,
we’re not talking about the fact that major label artists--the folks
who actually did the work--make pennies on the dollar for the sale of
those CDs. We’re talking about ringtones. iPhone users are luckier than
most--iTunes will let you buy a ringtone for a mere 99 cents. Other
cell carriers and plans can charge up to several dollars more. If
you’re big into custom tones, that can add up fast. Ringer can help you
quickly create your own iPhone ringtones from your existing media. No
longer are you subject to iTunes’ sometimes spotty ringtone