The Gadgets Page

December 27, 2006

iPods: Just not worth the money anymore

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 2:43 pm

Apple 4 GB iPod Nano Green (2nd Generation)The only voice of dissent gets to have a megaphone today. Lisa, from Learning the Lessons of Nixon, thinks that iPods just aren’t worth the money anymore. Give her a listen.

She has a good point here:

“Sure, it’s a nice form factor. But who cares about a nice scroll button if you can’t put anything on it?”

I had so much trouble trying to get music on my Treo that when I started using the iPod Nano, I was so grateful at how easy it was. I never put the music on our old iPod (Mike took care of that). I haven’t had any trouble getting my music on the Nano and the Nike+ running pack has made my exercise life strangely fulfilling.

Sorry the iPod isn’t working for you, Lisa. Nice to know that not everyone has drunk the koolaid.

December 23, 2006

Software for Starving Students New Release

Filed under: Software — Laura Moncur @ 1:10 pm

If you’re short on cash and need to get software so you can do your homework, Software for Starving Students is your hero. They collect the best free software out there on one disc and make it available to you for download.

Here is their description of themselves:

“Software for Starving Students is a free collection of programs organized for students (but available to anyone). We’ve gathered a list of best-in-class programs onto one CD (one disc for OS X, one for Windows), including a fully-featured office suite, a cutting-edge web browser, multi-media packages, academic tools, utilities and more.”

Their download includes the following software:

  • Windows XP Software: 7-Zip, Ant Renamer, Audacity, Blender, BZFlag, Celestia, ClamWin, DeepBurner Free, Dia, Enigma, Eraser, Exact Audio Copy, FileZilla, Firefox, Freeciv, Gaim, GIMPShop, GLtron, GNU Chess, Icebreaker, Inkscape, Juice Receiver, KeePass, MozBackup, NVU,, Paint.NET, PDFCreator, Portable Apps, POV-Ray, PuTTY, SolarWolf, Spybot S&D, Stellarium, SuperTux, The GIMP Toolkit, Thunderbird, Tortoise SVN, Tux Paint, Tux Racer, Tux Typing 2, VLC, WinDirStat, Wink, winLAME, WinSCP, XAMPP, and µTorrent.

  • Apple OS X Software: Acqlite, Adium, Audacity, Bleezer, Blender, BZFlag, Camino, Carbon Copy Cloner, Cashbox, Celestia, ClamXav, Crack Attack!, Enigma, FreeDMG, Freemind, Fugu, Genius, GLtron, HandBrake, ImageBurner, Monolingual, MozoDojo, NeoOffice, NVU, Pac the Man X, Platypus, POV-Ray, Seashore, Schoolhouse, Smultron, Thunderbird, Transmission, TypeTrainer4Mac, VideoLAN Client

The most useful of these software elements is OpenOffice. I have used it regularly for a few months now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It even works better than MS Office when dealing with inserting pictures into my documents. Best of all, it can save in MS Office formats so I don’t have to convert anything.

This software suite was created for students, so it has a lot of software that will be good for kids going to school, but you don’t have to be a student to download it. Anyone can download it now. They have just completed their newest release and they are ready for you to hit their site. If you are sick of shelling out the big bucks for Microsoft Office, then try Software for Starving Students!

December 22, 2006

How Does the Wii-Remote Work?

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 1:42 pm

Let's take apart the Wii Remote and see what makes it tick...

You gyrate, smack and box with the Wii controller, but how does it work? You can thank the invention of inexpensive accelerometers:

Rayman Raving RabbidsThe same thing that accurately measures how far I’ve run every day with my Nike + iPod sensor is the same thing that lets me hit naughty bunnies with shovels, plungers and hammers. You can thank NASA, the military and all those super secret government projects from fifty years ago. If only those scientists knew that I was using their technology to mutilate bunnies…

Via: How do motion-sensing video game controllers (like the Wii remote) work? (

December 21, 2006

Rumors of Apple’s iPhone

Filed under: PDAs and Phones — Laura Moncur @ 6:00 am

The Apple iPhone or Fan Mockup?

I love it when the rumors and “supporting” photos start leaking about Apple products. It’s so fun to compare them with the real product when it finally arrives. Here is the latest in the iPhone rumor mill:

There are supposed to be details on this image that support that it is actually marketing information that has been leaked. I’m interested to see how this pans out…

On another note, a phone with no buttons. I’m all excited just thinking about it!

Via: Interesting (and probably fake) photo of Apple’s alleged iPhone (

December 12, 2006

The Ultimate Remote For Your Husband

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

What Every Husband Wants for XmasI got this image in my email forwarded to me from a friend of my mother’s. It’s rare that these sort of forwarded emails make me laugh, but this one did. It was titled, “What Every Husband Wants for Christmas.” If I could buy him a remote that would instantly make my boobs bigger, I wouldn’t think twice about getting it for him.

I suspect the “Stop Winging” button was meant to be “Stop Whining,” but I like the idea of a remote that will make me stop flapping my arms like a crazy girl. Sometimes it’s hard for me to stop on my own…

So, when is JVC going to invent this thing?

December 11, 2006

Wii Would Like To Play

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 1:43 pm

This commercial might seem like an exaggeration, but playing with the Nintendo Wii has been as fun as this commercial shows. I was sure that the Wii Mafia would run into trouble on the farm trying to convince the tough guys to play, but when they showed the cow-tossing from Rayman Raving Rabbids, I realized that Wii already has something for EVERYONE and they really only have about twenty games on the market right now.

I was really skeptical about the Wii when I heard the announcements. I didn’t like the name, “Wii? Like in, ‘I need to go Wii?’” I made fun of the controller, “Nunchucks? Like in, ‘I need some nunchuck skills?’” The proof is in the pudding. After playing with it with my sister, brother-in-law and husband, the Nintendo Wii is the ultimate family gaming console. It is more fun than I can really describe in words.

Now I’m all like, “I NEED to go Wii!!!” and “Man, I NEED some nunchuck skills!” It’s funny how the same words can mean two totally different things to me within the span of only a couple of weeks…

On another note: Check out the Smart Car featured in this commercial! Man, I NEED a Smart Car!

December 8, 2006

Nothing Says Love Like a Paper Shredder

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Fellowes P70CM Crosscut Paper Shredder with Mesh BasketI’ll never forget the year we gave everyone a paper shredder. It was about five years ago and it seemed that everyone we knew in the older generation was worried about identity theft. Mike’s parents, my parents and even my grandpa had mentioned that they were worried about identity thieves. I’m sure identity thieves do get information about people out of garbage cans, but I don’t think it’s as prevalent as the media made it sound. When we bought everyone paper shredders, you would be amazed at the positive response. My mom immediately walked into the other room and brought out a pile of papers to be shredded, “I’ve been taking these to work to shred them. Now I can do them here!”

Christmas morning was filled with the noise of shredding paper.

Even grandpa called us from Montana, “I got that paper shredder. That’s a nice machine. I spent all morning shredding papers. I even accidentally shredded something that I probably shouldn’t have.” He was able to get Merrill Lynch to send him another check and all was well with the world.

Finally, there is no joy better than shredding paper. I can attest to that. Just watch this scene from The Office. Kevin works in a crappy job with no power or respect, but they let him shred the company documents. That is really all he needs…

If you haven’t given your loved ones a super-duper shredder, this is the year to be a hero. It’s not about whether identity theft is really an issue or not. It’s about shredding papers and CDs and even credit cards. Just be careful!

December 7, 2006

Jason Kottke’s Celebrity Mii Contest!

Filed under: Toys and Games — Laura Moncur @ 1:44 pm

If you have a Nintendo Wii, then you are familiar with the process of creating a Mii character to match your personality and physical attributes. Jason Kottke is having a contest to make the best celebrity Mii.

You only have until Monday December 11th at 11:59pm to enter, so get cracking!

Update 12-21-06: Jason has posted the winners:

Use Flickr to Sell Your Photos

Filed under: Cameras — Laura Moncur @ 1:53 am

This is interesting. Scoopt is trying to help you sell your photos to the press using Flickr.

You see yourself at the scene of a fire or maybe a famous celebrity walks by you. You snap a photo, upload it to Flickr and tag it with the word “scoopt,” meaning you’re willing to sell it to the press. Cool, huh? Yeah, but they take 50% of the money. Not only that, you can’t publish it anywhere else for three months. This is from their FAQ file:

“When you send Scoopt a photo, you automatically grant us an exclusive worldwide licence to market that photo for a period of three months. During this three-month period, you agree not to publish the photo anywhere else. When the three months are up, the licence becomes non-exclusive. We will still try to sell your photo but now you can also publish it yourself on a photoblog or a picture sharing site — or anywhere else at all.”

If I was reluctant to trust Flickr for so many years, I’m even more reluctant to give exclusive worldwide rights to a brand new company. This might be your ticket to fame, but I think I’ll stick to anonymity.

Via: webitpr | Scoopt invites the Flickr community to ’snap, tag, sell’

December 6, 2006

Skullcandy Link Backpack

Filed under: Audio and Video,Clothing — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Skullcandy - LINK SP1 Street Backpack w/Built-in SpeakersWhen we were in Vegas last week, we saw this Skullcandy Link Backpack at Fry’s Electronics. Remember that image I had of walking down the street with a ghetto blaster on my shoulders sharing my music with the world? Yeah, this backpack does that and I don’t even have to hold the ghetto blaster on my shoulders. It just blasts out of my shoulders, filling the neighborhood with my own personal soundtrack! You can also hook up your phone and have a handsfree conversation using the speakers and built-in microphone.

The Skullcandy Link BackpackThe beauty of this music sharing comes from the speakers in the shoulder straps. You can see them clearly in this picture. You can also control the music from the controls on the shoulder straps. I wasn’t able to actually try these out to see if you would get good sound from them, but audiophiles aren’t the sort to wear a singing backpack. These speakers aren’t for refined sound. They’re for fun times and sharin’ your tunes.

If I was fifteen years old again, I would be begging my mom for this backpack for Christmas. I can hear her response now, “Why is this backpack any better than the one you already have?” I don’t have the heart to tell her it’s because I want to annoy the world with my music.

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