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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Namco’s Upcoming ‘Easy Piano’ Game For The DS To Feature Piano Accessory

Namco Easy Piano (Images courtesy and MCV)
By Andrew Liszewski

I think we’ve all grudgingly accepted that the Wii is a magnet for crappy gaming accessories, but the DS? The little dual-screen handheld that could? It’s almost painful to see the ridiculous types of add-ons game designers have created that essentially negate the DS’s portability. So what’s next you might ask? Well Namco Bandai have a new piano learning title called Easy Piano that comes with an eight note full-octave keyboard peripheral allowing newcomers to play along with various tutorials.

More advanced pianists will be able to play classics from Mozart and Beethoven or more modern fare like Bohemian Rhapsody and Jingle Bells. And there’s also a create mode that will record up to three minutes of a performance so you can show others why that ridiculous keyboard peripheral was actually a good investment.

Easy Piano should be available in “PAL territories” this November for an undisclosed sum.

[ – Namco unveils DS piano title ] VIA [ MAXCONSOLE ]

Fish Tank Friday: ZeroEdge Aquarium


By Evan Ackerman

I’m not sure how well the concept of an infinity pool translates to fish… I mean, where they’re from really is an infinity pool. I guess if you’re going to keep them captive in a little box, though, it’d be nice to make it as infinity-y as possible, which is what the ZeroEdge aquarium is designed to do. The aquarium is constructed of nothing but sheets of borderless glass, but the cool part is that it’s designed so that water is continually flowing over the sides, into a drain around the base of the tank. This keeps the water circulating very effectively, and means you don’t need any ugly pumps or anything inside the tank itself.

The only thing you really have to worry about is, of course, escaping fish, since the water level is the same as the sides of the tank. Not that your fish necessarily want to escape, but some of the not-so-nice species aren’t exactly subtle when it comes to their turf (so to speak):

We do not recommend putting to many Damsels together as they are considered a rough crowd and someone is going over.

Does it make me a bad person that I’d consider buying this tank specifically to see that?

An entire ZeroEdge tank setup costs about $1k, or the tanks by themselves are about half that.

[ ZeroEdge ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Take Your NES Games On The Go With The Retro Mini X


By Chris Scott Barr

I miss playing my old NES games sometimes. I’ve still got a drawer full of gems like Zelda, Micro Machines, Metroid and Contra. I’ve been tempted to pony up the cash for one of those devices that’ll play both SNES and NES games, but here is another to vie for my hard-earned cash.

The Retro Mini X Handheld NES System not only lets you play your old NES games, but it lets you do it on the go. Just pop in 4xAA batteries and you’re good to go with a 2.5-inch screen. You’ll also get a couple of wireless controllers that look strangely like those of an SNES. The X and Y buttons are labeled AA and BB, so I’m guessing that’s your turbo fire or something. There’s also a zapper, but you’ll need to hook the system up to an old CRT monitor if you want to use it. An power adapter is included for those times that you want to hook it up to a big TV and re-live the glory days of console gaming. $50 and this awesome retro handheld can be yours.

[ ThinkGeek ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Apple Bumps Time Capsule Up To 2TB


By Chris Scott Barr

Despite being a Mac user (I swing both digital ways) I’ve never been all that excited about Apple’s Time Capsule. I use Mozy for backing up local files and a FreeNAS box to store everything crucial. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I’m cheap. However, if the Time Capsule is exactly what you’re looking for, then you’ll be happy to know that Apple has given the line a nice little refresh.

Starting today you’ll be able to pick up a 1TB model for $300 and a new 2TB one for $500. For all of you playing along at home, you read that right. They’ve doubled the storage on both models and kept the price the same.

[ Apple ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Another One Bites The Dust – Sprint Acquires Virgin Mobile


By Chris Scott Barr

I’m really starting to wonder if there’s really any point it signing up for wireless service with a company that isn’t Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. Sure, they might offer some great deals, and you get that wonderful feeling of “fighting the man” by going with the little guy. But the ugly truth is that you’re only delaying the inevitable. It’s just a matter of time before your favorite provider is gobbled up by the big boys.

Sure, I sound a bit cynical, but at the beginning of the year Alltell was acquired by Verizon, and now Sprint has bought Virgin Mobile (who acquired Helio last year). Yes, Sprint did have a 13.1% stake in the company before, but now they proudly own the whole company. So I really do wonder, how much longer before we’re just down to be big 3?

[ Sprint ] VIA [ Cnet ]

Plastic Chocolate Mouse – Ergonomics: Zero, Deliciousness: Also Zero

Chocolate Mouse (Image courtesy Lazybone)
By Andrew Liszewski

Besides being the ‘perfect gift’ for the chocoholic in your life, this chocolate bar themed mouse doesn’t have much else going for it. The sharp corners and hi-larious bite taken out of the corner make it about as ergonomic and comfortable to hold as the original NES controllers, and it’s actually made of plastic, not chocolate, so you can’t eat it! It is at least wireless, though with a price of about $36 I can’t imagine the receiver is going to be as tiny as the ones you’d get from MS or Logitech hardware.

[ Chocolate Mouse ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Meet Thomas The Transformer


By David Ponce

It’s not new or anything, but while everyone’s still frothing at the mouth over how bad Transformers 2 is but how little we care since Megan Fox is in it, might as well point you to this awesome little toy. It’s Thomas The Tank… as a Transformer. It’s… Thomas The Transformer, I guess. No real clue who makes it, but it IS available for purchase on eBay for all of S$8.50, which is $8.50 in Singapore dollars, which is about $5USD. Of course, that’s the price now so if you geeks go and bid it up, that’s your issue.

[ eBay Auction ] VIA [ Share Some Candy ]

Thanks, Reuben!

Nikon Polishes Up The D300 – Adds An ‘s’

Nikon D300s (Image courtesy Nikon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well, the big news today comes from Nikon with their official announcement of the D300s DSLR. The new model keeps the D300’s DX-format 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor but adds new features like a dual CF/SDHC card slot, 7fps burst mode (or 8 with the optional MB-D10 battery pack) and most notably, a 720P 24fps movie mode.

Now it’s pretty obvious HD video recording is here to stay when it comes to DSLRs, and while 1080P would have been preferred, Nikon has at least included a stereo sound input allowing videographers to capture high-quality audio using an external mic. The D300s also allows you to edit videos in-camera with the ability to select start and stop end points during playback, but to me that sounds a lot more like ‘trimming’ than ‘editing.’ And if the 3-inch 920,000 pixel LCD display isn’t sufficient for your ‘editing’ needs, the camera also features the new Type C HDMI interface allowing you to review and edit your clips on an HD display. $1,799.95 (body only) available in late August.


Plantraco Micro Butterfly Itty Bitty RC Plane

Plantraco Micro Butterfly (Image courtesy Plantraco)
By Andrew Liszewski

I think the biggest advantage to flying a tiny RC plane like the Micro Butterfly from Plantraco is that because they’re so light (2.6 grams flying weight) they do little to no damage when they inevitably crash. And when I say tiny, I do mean tiny. The Micro Butterfly has a wingspan of just 3.5 inches and a prop that’s just 32mm in size, and thanks to a ‘body’ made of durobatic foam and carbon fiber the batteries that go in the 4 channel fully proportional remote control are probably heavier. But we all know you always pay more for less, and the Micro Butterfly kit will set you back $149.99 from the Platronic website.

[ Plantraco Micro Butterfly ] VIA [ Gear Diary ]