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Tag Archives: Op-ed

Iomega Updates Their eGo Portable Hard Drives

Iomega eGo Drives (Image courtesy Iomega)
By Andrew Liszewski

Iomega (click of death) recently updated their line of eGo Portable Hard Drives (click of death) with 4 new colors including Ruby Red, Silver, Midnight Blue and Helium (click of death) in capacities ranging from 250GB up to 500GB, depending on which color you buy. They also come with (click of death) Iomega’s Drop Guard feature which protects the drives from drops of up to 51 inches, as well as (click of death) the Iomega Protection Software Suite which includes apps like McAfee Virus Scan, MozyHome and Iomega QuickProtect. The drives should be available sometime in June (click of death) and will range in price from $84.99 for the 250GB models and up to $134.99 for the 500GB.

P.S. Can you tell I’m still holding a grudge? Does it show? My therapist says I’ve made great progress, but I’m not so sure.

[ Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drives ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Updated Speeder Bike Ride-On Toy Completely Lacks The Original’s Charm

Ride-On Speeder Bikes (Images courtesy StarWars.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

The photo you see on top is a speeder bike ride-on toy created by Huffy in 1984 as part of a toy store sweepstakes. Not only does it actually look like the speeder bikes featured in the Endor chase scene in Return of the Jedi, but it also has a bit of retro 1950’s charm to it. In other words, I’d proudly ride one of those around, even today.

But the photo you see on the bottom is an updated version of the speeder bike ride-on toy created by an Australian company called ToyMonster. Not only is it completely lacking any of the charm of the original, but it barely even looks like a speeder bike. On the plus side it’s apparently faster and handles better than the original, but it’s yet another reason why I feel that today’s kids have gotten royally screwed in the toy department.

[ StarWars.com - The Return of the Speeder Bike Ride-On ] VIA [ TheForce.Net ]

So How Much Is The Nokia E71, Rogers?

Nokia E71 @ Rogers
By David Ponce

Those of you who followed the Canadian iPhone 3G saga know that our country’s largest GSM provider (Rogers) can be… how shall I say… interesting to deal with? Well it seems there’s some confusion/concern once again over another anticipated smartphone, the Nokia E71. Over the past few days photos have been popping up showing the Nokia E71 available at Rogers stores across the country for the incredibly low price of just $49.99 with a 3-year contract and data plan.

But a friend of mine who went to a Rogers store this morning with hopes of picking up the E71 was told, after they had asked him for all of his contact info, that the price tags in store were actually misprinted and should have read $149.99. A pretty hefty $100 difference. And he was signing up for a data/voice plan that was considerably more than the $45 minimum as indicated under the price tag. What’s even more confusing is that the Rogers website lists the phone as being available for as low as $99.99, with what turns out to be with a limited time $50 mail-in rebate.

So what’s the deal Rogers? Why have stores across the country had this misprinted price tag for several days now? According to Canadian law you should be honoring the $49.99 price if you don’t see fit to update your in-store displays.

Sale above advertised price – The Competition Act prohibits the sale or rent of a product at a price higher than its advertised price. The provision does not apply if the advertised price was a mistake and the error was immediately corrected. “

Have any of our Canadian readers had the same thing happen when they tried to pick up a Nokia E71 from Rogers?

R.I.P. Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton (Image courtesy TIME Magazine) By Andrew Liszewski

While November 4th will most likely go down in history as the day Barack Obama won the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, it unfortunately will also be known as the day the world lost author Michael Crichton.

Like Arthur C. Clarke, Crichton’s novels often dealt with new technologies, though usually delivered as a cautionary tale. Whether it be cowboy robots running amok in Westworld, or dinosaurs taking over Isla Nublar in Jurassic Park. In fact when I was in high school I read Jurassic Park after seeing the movie (like countless others) and it was that novel that rekindled my love of books, particularly those from Clarke and Crichton.

Michael Crichton was 66 years old when he died, and while his family called his passing unexpected, he had been privately battling cancer.

[ US Magazine - Jurassic Park Author Dies Unexpectedly ] VIA [ Geekologie ]

Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee Bans “Professional Camera Equipment” For Non-Press Visitors

Banned Nikon D70s (Image courtesy Nikon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Is anyone else starting to get the idea that the upcoming Olympic games in Beijing will be memorable, but not because of the sporting events themselves? According to the official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the following items are prohibited at the Olympic Green venues.

In accordance with national law, like elsewhere in the country, guns, grenades, gun powder, explosives, and other dangerous articles in this category are forbidden. In addition, everyday objects that may potentially affect security, such as glass bottles, hot water thermoses, coolers, and other such items used to carry things cannot be brought into competition grounds. No banners or other material bearing slogans are permitted. With the exception of strollers and wheelchairs, no supportive equipment is allowed. Whistles, horns, radios, walkie-talkies, speakers, drums, sticks, or sharp objects that may be harmful are also not permitted. Sports equipment, suitcases, large bags, and professional camera equipment will not be allowed into the Olympic Green.

While most of the stuff is common sense, it seems that security will not be letting visitors bring in professional camera equipment unless they’re brandishing press credentials. As someone who exclusively switched to a DSLR a few years ago, I would hate to have to rely on a P&S camera, particularly if I paid to travel half way around the world to attend the Olympic games. People have been speculating that the ban is mostly to prevent photographers with large lenses from blocking the view of other spectators in the stands, so why not just ban large lenses? It’s not like they’re hard to spot at a security checkpoint. Unfortunately it’s not like this rule is going to change with a week left before the games, so if you’ll be attending, and have managed to score yourself tickets to an actual event, it looks like you’ll have no choice but to leave your gear in your hotel room.

[ Prohibited items in Olympic Green ] VIA [ Crave ]

Question Of The Moment: How Do You Back Up Your Data?

Destroyed HDs

By Evan Ackerman

I’m way paranoid about my data. I’m not even sure that “paranoid” is the appropriate word, I guess, since I’ve suffered several primary drive failures in my laptop over the years, as have an alarming number of friends… Virtually all of the heavy computer users I know have had similar experiences. If this has happened to you, you know how much it sucks, especially if you lose things that can’t be replaced, like pictures or email.

After nearly having my computer die (again) last month, I’m trying to figure out the best way to keep my data safe. I can think of two options: online backup services (like IDrive), or a desktop RAID system (like Drobo). If any of you have experience or opinions on the matter, let me know what you think, after the jump.Continue Reading

Arthur C. Clarke Passes On

Monolith From 2001: A Space Odyssey (Image courtesy Photobucket)
By Andrew Liszewski

This is one of those days that I hoped would never come. At the age of 90, Arthur C. Clarke passed away in Sri Lanka after suffering a cardio-respiratory attack. While he’s best known for the film/novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke had written over a hundred books in his lifetime and is often credited with the idea of using artificial satellites for communications and other applications.

As a huge fan of Clarke’s work I’m sad that this day has finally come, but every time I introduce someone to his work I know his legacy will live on. I find it funny that if you were to go back and read a random OhGizmo! post from just a few years ago, the technology would seem pretty dated. But reading a tech-heavy Clarke book from 20 or 30 years ago doesn’t. He definitely had a gift for writing about technology, whether it be interstellar spacecraft or artificial intelligence, that emphasized the ‘science’ aspect of science fiction.

[ BBC - Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90 ]

My Asus EEE PC – Goodbye Xandros, Hello XP

Asus EEE PC (Image courtesy Asus) By Andrew Liszewski

I originally bought my Asus EEE PC a few weeks after it was released to serve as a mobile blogging system. My full size laptop is about 4 years old now and while it’s still a perfectly usable machine, I had forgotten how ridiculously heavy it was. The EEE on the other hand is not only light, but it fits inside my camera bag meaning I don’t need to travel with a separate case just for my computer.

Unfortunately my love affair with the EEE came crashing down while I was at the NAIAS. Well to be honest while the EEE itself was fantastic, my issues were really software related. First off, the default Xandros install was my first time really using Linux, and while the user-friendly front end was easy to use, installing non Asus-approved apps and other enhancements wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. (Though there are many fantastic tutorials online already.) And while the suite of included software works fantastic if you just need email, web or office-type programs, the one piece of software that was really missing for me was a good image editor.

So before I even bought the EEE I made sure I’d be able to install a program called GIMP, which is an open-source alternative to Photoshop. Unfortunately I’d only ever dabbled with GIMP in the past, and while I applaud the developers for creating a robust image editing application they basically give away, GIMP is no Photoshop. To be clear, rarely a day has gone by in the past 7 or 8 years where I’m not doing something in Photoshop, and while GIMP can mostly match PS when it comes to features, there were just too many little things I couldn’t do, or behaved differently that drove me crazy. I’m sure if I stuck with GIMP for a few months I would get used to its workflow, but since there’s also a handful of PS specific plugins I can’t live without, I’m just going to stick with Photoshop.

So when I got back from Detroit I was really tempted to sell my EEE, but instead I decided to replace the standard Xandros OS with Windows XP, and so far I’m extremely happy with the results. The install process was ridiculously easy, and Asus even provides a DVD with all the Windows drivers you’ll need. The biggest challenge of course is the tiny 4GB SSD hard drive, but so far I have XP with all its updates installed plus a host of other applications I rely on, with about 700MB still free. And on top of that a 4GB SD card serves as a secondary drive.

All in all I still recommend the EEE to people looking for an extremely portable laptop, and I even think the Xandros OS is a great alternative to Windows if you’re just surfing the web or answering email. But for my needs XP is just turning out to be a better solution.

[ Asus EEE PC ]

[NAIAS 2008] Auto Show Wrap-up – Going Green, Electric Cars And A Company Called Coskata

Chevrolet Volt Concept (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

When the Chevrolet Volt concept was revealed at last year’s NAIAS it not only made headlines in the major automotive publications and websites, but throughout the gadget and technology blogging community as well. Normally you have to stick a 32-inch LCD TV in the trunk of a car for it to be considered ‘gadget-fare’ but the Volt stood on its own as a great piece of technological innovation. And while there’s no doubt we’ll all be driving electric cars like the Volt some day, there are still some big hurdles to overcome before that’s a reality.

As much as I’d like to walk into a dealership right now and buy myself a Volt, it hasn’t officially been announced as a production vehicle just yet. While at the show I had an opportunity to speak to Tony Posawatz, the Volt’s Vehicle Line Director and Denise Gray who’s the Director of Hybrid Energy Storage Systems at GM. They both admitted that the biggest hurdle for the Volt to overcome was the current state of lithium ion batteries. A 20-hour battery life for an MP3 player might be totally acceptable, but if a larger version of that battery can only power a car for 3 miles, consumers just won’t buy it. And besides performance, there’s a long list of other issues that have to be dealt with on a battery designed to power something as large as a car. But GM has apparently been working hard with a handful of other companies to overcome these problems, and they’re confident they’ll be able to bring an affordable production version of the Volt to the masses in just a couple of years. (And by affordable I mean in comparison to expensive high-performance electric cars like the Tesla or Karma.)

But while the Volt and other hybrid vehicles will no doubt be a big step towards reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, there are still millions of vehicles on the road that exclusively rely on gasoline. It would be great if everyone was willing to just trade in their cars for a hybrid or electric model right now, but that’s simply not going to happen. So dealing with those legacy vehicles is probably the biggest obstacle when it comes to weaning the world off of gasoline.

Continue Reading