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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Black Friday Websites To Watch

By Evan Ackerman

PC Magazine (which is now entirely digital, by the way) has put together a Top 10 list of Black Friday websites to check out if you want to know what’s going to be on sale at specific stores come Friday morning, or more usefully, where to go to get the lowest price on exactly what you want. Looking for a nice car GPS system for under $100 like I am? TGIBlackFriday lists 27 (!) of them, many of which are available online as well as in store. If you’d just like to find the best of the best, has a rundown of the top 5 best deals in a variety of categories… A Logitech cordless optical mouse for $5? I’ll take it.

Check out the full list over at PC Magazine, and plan out your Black Friday down to the last dirt cheap gadget.

[ PC Magazine ]

Another Day, Another Week In Laptop Experts Land

By David Ponce

So we’ve started tackling a few more questions. Heck, what’s a paltry 4 questions a week? Who are we helping like that. So this time, we’ve doubled our volume.

We start off by tackling the ever popular “Dude, where’s my drivers?” question. That’s a fairly simple one, but it’s immediately followed by the rather rad stories of a malfunctioning LCD screen and of someone clinging to the hopes of installing XP on their Vista laptop. We finish that batch with graphic card upgrades in a laptop advice.

The other batch starts off with Ubuntu compatibility woes and HDD passwords curiosity. We finish everything off by tackling what looks like a power management issue and a fried motherboard.

Max Burnet’s Private Computer Museum

Max Burnet's Private Computer Museum (Images courtesy CIO)
By Andrew Liszewski

I can’t think of a better way to waste a Monday morning than by clicking your way through an online gallery of classic computers. Particularly if it happens to be the collection of Max Burnet, which is considered to be the largest private computer museum in Australia. Burnet is now retired, but he worked as the director of Digital Equipment Corporation (before it was acquired by Compaq who later merged with HP) which explains how he was able to fill his 2 story suburban Sydney home with a vast collection of classic computers including everything from the first UNIX PDP-7 to a MITS Altair 8800.

Thankfully for us, he let CIO stop by and photograph his collection, and they’ve posted a slideshow with 52 zoomable images for your geeky gawking pleasure.

[ CIO – Slideshow – Tech of Yesteryear: Where Old Computers Find Their Final Resting Place ] VIA [ Slashdot ]

VTech WALL-E Learning Laptop

VTech WALL-E Learning Laptop (Image courtesy VTech)By Andrew Liszewski

I’ll keep my thoughts about WALL-E the movie to myself, since I don’t want the comments for this post to be taken over by the Pixar fanboys, but if you’ve got kids, there’s a good chance they’ve got a WALL-E [insert product tie-in here] already on their Christmas list. So why not go the whole ‘educational toy’ route instead with this WALL-E themed learning laptop from VTech.

The laptop features a flip-down QWERTY keyboard and a basic LCD screen, as well as 5 different learning modes including letters, words, math, logic and games. WALL-E’s arms can be used to scroll through the on-screen options (or you can use the arrow buttons on the keyboard) and he’ll even blink his right eye every time you get an answer right. How’s that for motivation!

For $29.99 it seems reasonable, though according to Gearlog it doesn’t include a headphone jack or a mute setting on the volume controls, so be prepared to get sick of hearing those WALL-E sound effects real quick.

[ VTech WALL-E Learning Laptop ] VIA [ Gearlog ]

JVC SP-AW303 Splash Proof Speaker Keeps Your Audio Player Dry With Plastic Wrap?

JVC SP-AW303 (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

Ok, so maybe it’s not the same kind of plastic wrap you use in the kitchen, but the SP-AW303 from JVC does appear to use some kind of highly flexible plastic faceplate that not only keeps your MP3 player safe from splashes, but also allows you to safely push all of its buttons, even if your hands are wet. The SP-AW303 itself is just as waterproof, and features a set of 28mm stereo speakers that will run for about 6 1/2 hours with the included batteries. There’s even a remote that can supposedly be used to control your MP3 player, but I imagine the functionality depends on which player you’re actually using.

The JVC SP-AW303 Splash Proof Portable Speaker is available from in your choice of white, blue or pink for $79.99.

[ JVC SP-AW303 Splash Proof Portable Speaker ]

Play NES, SNES and Sega Genesis Games On One Console

This post is syndicated with permission from

Like many of you, I grew up on the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis. Much of my childhood was spent playing these three consoles, and there are times that I think about dusting them off to relive the good old days. The only problem is that of the three, only my SNES is still in working order. I’ve considered trying to find an old NES and Genesis that are still in good working order, but when you’re talking about consoles that are upwards of 20 years old, they’re still going to give out eventually. No, what I need is one of these FC3 Plus systems from Yobo.

This awesome piece of hardware combines the three greatest consoles from my childhood into one generic-looking plastic shell. Sure, it doesn’t look like much, but remember kids, it’s whats on the inside that counts. This thing could look like complete garbage and I wouldn’t care, because it’ll let me play games from my NES, SNES and Genesis collections. You get two fairly generic controllers (no, you can’t plug in the original ones) and a light gun for use with the NES. Much like the original Nintendo Zapper, this isn’t going to work with LCD and Plasma TVs, so don’t be too surprised.

The biggest issue I have with this console is its availability. I can’t seem to find anywhere to order one, and the Yobo site will only sell them to me if I’m a retailer. They’re already popping up on eBay, so that’s one option. I’ve seen a couple of Famicom clones down at my local Game X Change, so maybe I’ll check with them about getting one.

[ Yobo ] VIA [ GamerFront ]

Measure Master Pro – A Calculator For Carpenters

Measure Master Pro (Image courtesy Amazon)By Andrew Liszewski

In grade school I was taught the metric system, which (most of the time) makes doing simple conversions and calculations in your head extremely easy. But what they failed to teach us was that the ‘real world’ still relies on the old imperial measurement system, where conversions seem far less intuitive to me.

But the Measure Master Pro from Calculated Industries makes all that 1/16th math easy since it can “work and convert in all dimensional formats including Feet-Inch-Fractions, Decimal Inches, Fractions, Yards, Meters, Centimeters and Millimeters as well as Areas and Volumes.” It also has all of the standard functions of a regular calculator, and a paperless tape feature allowing you to review the last 20 calculations. While the segmented LCD display looks kind of dated, I’m pretty sure any carpenters or architects working on a construction site will be able to overlook the design flaws if the Measure Master Pro ensures the house they’re working on doesn’t collapse because of a simple conversion error.

You can get it from Amazon for just $28.10.

[ Measure Master Pro ] VIA [ Home Improvement Ideas ]

Lemur Autovision Reveals Your Driving Habits

Lemur Autovision (Image courtesy Root Four Imagination Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

Everyone likes to think they’re a good driver, no matter what your friends, family, passengers or arresting officer might tell you. But for those who are truly curious as to what kind of motorist they really are, the Lemur Autovision provides an unbiased report of your top speed, how far you’ve traveled and how many times you’ve suddenly hit the brakes.

The Lemur’s FOB, which features an easy-to-read & hard-to-misinterpret LCD display, syncs with an included sensor that easily connects to your vehicle’s OBD-II port. So it doesn’t rely on a built-in gyro or accelerometer to gauge your speed or actions, but pulls the data from your vehicle’s own electronic monitoring systems. The FOB also features buttons for resetting the stats for each trip, and setting up a PIN to stop drivers concerned with the revealing stats (teenagers etc.) from tampering with the device. At $99.95 CDN the Lemur Autovision isn’t cheap, but if it helps curb your lead foot, it’s far more affordable than a speeding ticket.

[ Lemur Autovision ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Latvian Restaurant Features An Unsettling Hospital Theme

Hospit?lis (Images courtesy Hospit?lis)
By Andrew Liszewski

Hospitals are already at the top of my ‘places I’d prefer not to visit‘ list, so I’ll probably never be popping into the Hospit?lis if I happen to feel a bit peckish while visiting Latvia. From what I can tell, the restaurant was created by two doctors (correct me if I’m wrong) and not only is it decorated in the ‘gleaming white meets stainless steel’ motif of an operating room, but it also features a special ‘crazy’ menu. In fact the website warns that the preparation of some of the items on the menu can be quite shocking, and before ordering the Debilitas Dementia Hysterica Universalus Grave or the Compressio Cerebri Cum Oculus Dextros Left Sive, you’ll actually need to sign an informative patient agreement.

[ Hospit?lis ] VIA [ Optical Poptitude ]