Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Reviews Galore

Review – Sony EBook Reader

A flawed masterpiece. The idea of carrying a hundred books with me is appealing and the reader is certainly the right size, but at first blush it suffers from the tinkerers dilemma, too many buttons. What do I press next. Also the click feedback on the buttons is very poor and requires quite a finger to activate. screen contrast is okay, but some kind of backlight is required and didn’t seem to be present on the 505 model.
Finally the screen flashes in a really annoying way during page transitions.
Verdict : THis is a 1.0 product and unless you have a compelling need to carry electronic books, wait until the next version.

Review – Samsung Omnia

We really like Samsung’s new phones. The Omnia is the big brother of the Tocco (which we gave away last week). Comes with a similar 5MP camera but this model has WIFI, GPS, 5MP camera, touch screen. Windows Mobile can compete with the iPhone just about. Keyboard typing is impossible without the “so easy to loose” stylus.

Review – Sony Wireless Walkman

A lovely device, very light, Nice clear screen. Lots of buttons. Needed to get the manual out to pair the headphones (this is always the case with bluetooth, a very user unfriendly protocol).
Key highlights,

  • 4GB capacity (around 2400 songs or 15 hours of video)
  • 36 hour battery life (right, lets say 24!)
  • Doesn’t display AVI files or .WMV files so bugger all use for video (boo!)
  • Speakers are very good
  • Music gets on via drag and drop the music management software that comes with the software is pretty dire

The bluetooth is a winner and if you demand a wireless life then this device is a winner. but its got a long way to go to compete with the simplicity of the iPod.

Review – Philips Wireless Digital PhotoFrame

Loved the idea a photoframe that circulates through your photos displaying them. Falls down in a few critical areas though.

  • Setup: Required the manual, always a FAIL. It uses Windows Media Player to access your photographs and the setup is counter-intuitive.
  • It doesn’t support the simplest way to bung photos into a photo frame, which is to plug in a USB key with a bunch of photos on it
  • It doesn’t have battery support so you need to be near a plug
  • You can plug in the SD card straight from your camera which gives a nice instant satisfaction thing

It needs good quality pictures to look its best (e.g. 4 MP and up) older camera phone images will look grainy when upscaled.

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Three.ie Competition winner – Week 2

The second winner in the Three competition on The Right Hook has been announced on George’s radio show. It is Castle Tunes from Dublin who wrote a very detailed review of the Squeezebox Boom.

One of the prize phones from Three and Custom-1 headphones from Klipsch will shortly be on their way to Dublin.

There are another two weeks left in the competition. So get writing gadget reviews on the site or via SMS. The winner will be announced each Monday on the show which you can also listen to on the Newstalk web-site.

First Competition winner

The first winner in the Three competition on The Right Hook has been announced on George’s radio show. It is Snowgirl from Thurles who wrote a great review of the Sony Ericsson C905 phone. Our favourite line in the review was: “a camera that can call people”.

One of the prize phones from Three (the w880i)  and Custom-1 headphones from Klipsch will shortly be on their way to Tipperary.

There are another three weeks left in the competition. So get writing gadget reviews on the site or via SMS! The winner will be announced each Monday on the show.

Blackberry Storm is the iPhone Killer?

Blackberry Storm will arrive in Ireland in late Nov/Early Dec

Many of our listeners have been asking about release dates for the Blackberry Storm. Well it will be available in Ireland in Late Nov/Early Dec (aka Dec). Whats this rumpus? This is RIMs first touchscreen device, widely touted as the iPhone Killer (hmmm not without a decent data plan). Its being distributed by Vodaphone in Ireland so could we see a faceoff of the smart touchscreen phones. Reviews of the Storm have been pretty positive to date and we hope to get one ourselves to give it the Newstalk going over.

Its a “clickthrough” screen meaning you have to actually press hard enough to click to activate the onscreen buttons, sounds weird but most commentators say it works quite well and is more “buttony” than the iPhone.

Lets see what the price looks like. In the UK they are quoting £35 a month and free to purchase.

What will we put up with here?

Flickrvision – Watch the world Taking photographs

Realtime view of people taking and uploading photographs on the web. Fascinating to watch. A new photo popsup every few seconds you’ll never know where. Click 3-D view to see the world spin as a globe as new photos appear.

SiliconRepublic.com launches gadgetrepublic.com

GadgetRepublic.com is a website for the irish gadget geek. It only launched today but we are expecting great things from the SiliconRepublic stable. We definitely need a review site that covers specifically whats available in Ireland, priced in Euro and where can we get it.

Microsoft Bizspark launches

Microsoft has always had a good offering for startups but BizSpark makes it even better. You get all Microsofts development and server software, marketing support, promotions and production hosting for your product on the Microsoft Azure grid. Its totally free. I know we give MS a lot of stick for Vista but this is a great program for Irish startups.  To enroll you need to be endorsed by,

ChangingWorlds gets bought by Amdocs for 60m

Another Irish success story hot on the heels of PollDaddy’s acquisition by WordPress.com.  AmDocs has bought ChangingWorlds for 60m in cash. ChangingWorlds has a product called cliksmart that allows Mobile operators to tune menu selections to users needs based on things they have chosen in the past.

Obama – The first president to use the power of social networks to get elected

NY Times talks about how Obama outsmarted the republican party by shrewd use of social networks (facebook, twitter, YouTube, barackobama.com) to combat sleaze, raise money and leverage key influencers. Obama will change how campaigns are run in the futre.

Windows 7

Will fix all that ails you regarding Vista. It uses less memory, doesn’t destroy your will to leave with security warnings and has nicer desktop apps, we can’t wait!

Microsoft World Wide Telescope

We really like this. A free download which gives you the whole world of space at your finger tips including all the major constellations, manned missions, unmanned missions etc. All in beautiful high def colour.

Windows only, though, hey, this is Microsoft Research 🙂

cheap calls and carbon footprints

Cheap Calls

Maxroam.com is the place to get your SIM Card to enable up to 80% reductions in your  calls home from overseas.

To make cheap calls from Ireland to overseas locations he recommends RebTel.com. RebTel allows you to call your overseas friends through a local number with sharply reduced rates.

Elonex WebBook

379 euros from the Carphone Warehouse.
80GB hard disk and 512MB of RAM. (Compared to 4GB solid state disk for eee-PC).
2.5 hrs battery life.
Lovely small form factor PC.
Nice keyboard but needs larger space bar and backspace key.
No Firefox or Skype (preinstalled on eee-PC).
Nice big hard-disk (but not solid state).
Heavier than eee-PC.

A great ultra portable PC if you need a lot of hard disk space.

If the World Could Vote

Nice site that offers a poll offering a choice between McCain and Obama.  So far Obama has 86% of the vote. thats 79,000+ votes across 167 countries.

Track your carbon footprint with your Phone

Carbon Diem (Carpe Diem, geddit) will track and report and automatically calculate your you carbon footprint using your mobile phone. Its 100% accurate on trains and planes and about 65-75% accurate on cars and buses. The main thing is you don’t have to spend the rest of life typing stuff into a manual carbon calculator.

Archos Personal DVR – Not quite Soup

Archos 705 WIFI Personal Video Player

I looked at the Archos 705 WIFI Personal Video Player today. Bit of breach of the trades descriptions act their, it barely does WIFI and kept dropping my home network (in a location where my Sony VAIO Laptop happily gets a full signal).

There’s worse to come though, it won’t play any video format files without buying another piece of software, the DVD plugin which will cost you another 20 euros on top of the 360+ euros you dropped to buy the player in the first place. Its like buying an iPod and having to shell out more money to listen to music. Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous hoops you have to go through to give them your money, including entering two weird keys and making sure to pick the right model number.

Consumer electronics must succeed on three counts,

  • Save you time or save you money
  • Win on usability and convenience
  • Do what they say on the box

The Archos WIFI Personal Video Player is an Epic Fail on all three counts.

Picasa Will Group your Images

A new feature soon to be launched on Picasa Web Albums (The Google photo sharing service) will group your photos based on the image contents.

Robot Skeleton helps paralysed Walk

Amazing technology to help people paralysed from the waist down walk with with aid of a robotic frame that the user straps into. We are designed to be upright and this device removes the problems associated with wheel chair use