Posted inToys

Let It Snow

Springfield experienced blizzard conditions for most of the day today. Here’s the snowdrift that is currently my driveway…

(The first shot is a little misleading… I was trying to get an artsy-fartsy low angle shot, but that just made the drift look like it’s nine feet tall, instead of nine inches or so. ;-))

However, I was able to travel around town today with little trouble because of a shrewd purchase I made months ago when it was sunny and 80-something degrees…

I love my 4-wheel drive Nissan Xterra! :-D

Posted inToys

Xbox 360 = 100 Xbucks

As part of the Amazon Customer’s Vote program, one-thousand Xbox 360 game consoles will be available for $100 from at precisely 1:00 PM (central time) on Thanksgiving day. The Xbox 360 Core System currently lists for $299.99 on Amazon, so such a limited number of units are going to sell out in seconds at this price.

Good luck!!!

UPDATE: This promotion was too much even for Amazon to handle, according to this BroadbandReports article.

Posted inRant n' Rave / Toys

ViVa La TiVolution!

I love TiVo.

There’s no doubt about it. I’ve been a huge TiVo proponent for many years now. I’ve even managed to convert a couple of buddies to the cult of TiVo.

So I was understandably excited when rumors started to circulate about the next generation of TiVo. Finally after months of speculation, the TiVo Series3 was officially announced just this past week. The Series3 box offers some significant enhancements…

  • Control live Hi-Definition TV and record 2 digital cable shows at once
  • World’s only digital media recorder with THX-certification
  • 300 hours of standard recording time or up to 32 hours in HD
  • New backlit, programmable TiVo remote, easy to configure to your TV

And of course, the Series3 continues to offer the functionality that has earned TiVo such a loyal following…

  • An interface that is both powerful and easy to use
  • Season Pass recording allows you to subscribe to your favorite shows
  • WishList searches automatically record programs based on a number of criteria, including a favorite actor or director
  • Schedule recordings anywhere from
  • Advanced TiVo broadband features include digital photos, Internet radio, podcasts, and more

Unfortunately, the new TiVo machine has a couple of major factors working against it. And both involve money. Cash. Finances. Mulah. Green stuff. Legal tender.

First of all, the new TiVo Series3 machine costs $800. :-O Ouch! Despite the sticker shock, I will almost certainly go ahead fork out the dough for a new Series3 before the end of the year. I’ll tell you why in just a moment…

First we need to discuss the second issue. In addition to the purchase price, TiVo also charges a fee for their service ranging from about $13 a month to $299 for a 3-year commitment. When I bought my Series2 machine, TiVo had a lifetime service option available. For one lump sum I was able to avoid the normal monthly service fees. Unfortunately, “lifetime” refers to the lifetime of my existing TiVo box so it won’t automatically transfer over to a new Series3 purchase. On top of that, TiVo recently stopped even offering the option for lifetime service on new purchases.

So I was a little surprised (and pleased) to read the following offer in this month’s TiVo e-mail newsletter…

For a limited time, transfer your Product Lifetime service from a Series1 or Series2 box to the new Series3 HD for only $199. As an added bonus, we’ll keep TiVo service activated on your old box for another 12 months for no additional charge.

Those bastards. They know the one and only pressure point that would make me even consider spending $800 on a Series3 any time soon. I don’t have Hi-Def (yet) so that’s not a big selling point for me right now. But I can’t stand the thought of paying month after month (or year after year) for the on-going TiVo service. If I bite the bullet and spend the 200 bucks now, I’ll save money in the future. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ;-))

This offer is good only through the end of the year, so I’m going to wait as long as possible in an attempt to maximize the usage of my existing Series2 box. But at this point, I have to admit that it’s just a matter of time…

I’ve given quite a bit of thought about the past, present, and potential future of TiVo (as you can probably tell ;-)). This is already a fairly long entry, so check out the extended body of this entry if you’re at all interested in my further ramblings…
Continue reading “ViVa La TiVolution!”

Posted inToys

Hi-Def?!? Bye-Def!!!

I don’t even have hi-def TV yet, and it’s already so last week. According to this story from Wired News, Phillips is releasing a new line of 3-D televisions…

A new line of 3-D televisions by Philips uses the familiar trick of sending slightly different images to the left and right eyes — mimicking our stereoscopic view of the real world. But where old-fashioned 3-D movies rely on the special glasses to block images meant for the other eye, Philips’ WOWvx technology places tiny lenses over each of the millions of red, green and blue sub pixels that make up an LCD or plasma screen. The lenses cause each sub pixel to project light at one of nine angles fanning out in front of the display.

A processor in the TV generates nine slightly different views corresponding to the different angles. From almost any location, a viewer catches a different image in each eye.

The article goes on to talk about one likely application of this technology…

One nearly ready-made source of content is modern video games, which actually generate three-dimensional objects internally, then flatten the images into 2-D representations for standard monitors. Philips has developed hardware and software that can extract the original depth information from the game engine and use it to create 3-D images on a WOWvx display.

In New York, the company demonstrated the technique with the first-person shooter Call of Duty. It looked almost perfect, except for a little shimmering around the edges of objects, which Philips says will be fixed in the coming months.

Sorry, I need a second to wipe off the drool… :-P

Of course, it’ll take some time before the technology is affordable enough to earn a space in our living rooms. Makes me wonder what the porno industry is going to do with this technological advance. Gives the name “boob tube” a whole new dimension. :-O

Posted inToys

Have a safe glass of water, and then go play catch in the yard from your armchair

Light DelightLike me, I’m sure that you’re often curious just how hot that tap water is coming out of your faucet, but don’t want to suffer a third-degree burn or two finding out. Fret no more… The Light Delight tap changes color based on water temperature. And as an added bonus you can browse the rest of the site, which uses partial nudity to sell water taps and radiators. Those crazy Italians!

Digital Speed Sensing BaseballThe Digital Speed Sensing Baseball let’s former and wanna-be jocks like me find out just what kind of stuff we can still bring. Simply enter the distance and its speed-sensing technology registers the ball’s speed immediately upon impact. Only works up to 100mph, so Nolan Ryan need not apply.

The Famous Lawn ArmchairAnd finally, for the person that has everything… And who would still prefer to hang out on their lawn. The Famous Grass Armchair is fun, functional and most certainly a talking point. Constructed from a strong cardboard template, you simply fill it with soil (not supplied), sow with grass seed (supplied) and watch it grow. Now I just need the tree stump in my back yard to get cable, and I’d be all set.

Posted inToys

Batteries Not Included

Puzzle Alarm Clock This Puzzle Alarm Clock wakes you up by firing four puzzle pieces up in the air. The alarm will not turn off until all the puzzle pieces are placed back in the clock.

Makes you wonder how many pieces the clock breaks into when you throw it against the wall…

Posted inEntertainment / Technology / Toys

Found a few things today…

Have you heard about Windows OneCare? Microsoft has packaged almost every piece of software you might need to protect and secure your computer, including virus scanning, firewall, tune ups, and file backups. A one-year subscription retails for about 50 bucks, but Amazon currently has it available for $19.99.

In the past, I haven’t been a fan of American Idol. That changed this season the first time I saw the gorgeous and talented Katherine McPhee sing. As much as I enjoyed the energy and antics of this season’s winner Taylor Hicks, I was rooting for Katherine (and Chris Daughtry, who should have taken the Fuel gig) all the way. Anyway, I’m not the only one to recognize her talent, as RCA just signed Katherine to a record deal. Congrats Kat! If you happen to be reading this blog, I believe that Eva Cassidy’s slow and soulful version of Cindi Lauper’s Time After Time would be a perfect song for you.

Sixth Sense for a Wired World is a strange but interesting article on Wired about people who have decided to try to embed magnets in their fingertips. (And yes, according to the story, it is exactly as painful as it sounds.)

Comic Book Creator is a cool piece of software that allows mere mortals like us to write, layout, and create (duh!) our own comic books.

Special forces to use strap-on ‘Batwings’ is a real story about the near-future military application of bat-wings, as seen in the most recent Batman movie. Too cool! Where can I get a pair of those?