Friday, November 28, 2008

Now yo ucan program your TiVo from your cellphone

TiVo is launching a cell phone-friendly Web site that will allow users to search programming and set their TiVo DVRs remotely. TiVo Mobile will be a free service available "with any Internet-enabled phone through any network, regardless of carrier," according to the company. Any user will have access to the program listings, but only TiVo owners (Series2 or Series3/HD) will be able to set their home DVRs to record programs they would've otherwise missed. A similar service was previously available--for a fee--only to Verizon customers. The service (available soon at is currently in beta, but will be more widely available "in a few weeks," according to the company.

It's worth noting that TiVo owners can already program their DVRs remotely through the company's main web site

No need to go out to save today

I started typing this blog at 5:30AM on Black Friday. I had planned to get dressed in a few minutes to take out the trash and head to Circus City to snatch some BluRay disc deals.

Instead I found what I wanted on

No gas. No crowds. No lines. No tax. And I'll have them all on Tuesday with free shipping.

I also got a super-cool Seiko watch that I had not planned to get, at a bigger discount than I usually get at the Seiko factory outlet store in Maine.

Lots of other stores, including Circus City and Wally's Mart have good deals online, and many websites are offering free shipping. Keep in mind that if the company has a physical presence in your state, you will have to pay sales tax, which probably won't happen with Amazon orders.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday deal on "Best of" XM & Sirius

On Black Friday, Sirius XM will launch a trial, free “Best of Both” promotion and its first holiday advertising under a single Sirius XM banner. The company will give people three free months of “Best of Both” service with the purchase of any Sirius or XM aftermarket product.

(FUCK THEM! what about something to reward people like me who have been subscribing to BOTH services for years, and are still waiting to merge their contracts?)

The top-tier service usually carries a charge of $16.99/month, and adds Sirius channels to an XM subscription or XM channels to a Sirius subscription at a $4 premium.

The company will also abandon separate XM and Sirius ads. The company hopes the switch to joint advertising will alleviate customer confusion at retail.

Additionally, Sirius XM is starting to experiment with promotions to customers of used cars that have satellite radios in them, to get the new owners to activate service. It is working with CarMax and AutoNation and with certified pre-owned dealers. (info from TWICE)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New video download service from Blockbuster

Today Blockbuster introduced the 2Wire MediaPoint™ digital media player, an easy-to-use, on-demand video solution that offers movie fans instant access through their television sets to BLOCKBUSTER® ONDEMAND content, including thousands of titles from the latest movie releases to classic favorites.

Beginning today, for a limited time, the MediaPoint digital media player is available free with the advance rental of 25 BLOCKBUSTER ONDEMAND movies for $99 at Unlike subscription-based services, which typically offer movies long after their release, BLOCKBUSTER ONDEMAND includes hot new releases, many available within weeks of leaving theaters. After the initial 25 rentals, movies are available for as little as $1.99 each. The players will begin shipping in time for the holiday season.

Said to be easy to install, the MediaPoint digital media player works seamlessly with any broadband connection, either wirelessly via built-in Wi-Fi or wired via Ethernet cable, to deliver movies and television shows from the BLOCKBUSTER digital library. With fast-forward, rewind, and pause capabilities, the viewing experience is DVD quality, no matter the speed of the broadband connection. Movies can be played right away or saved to watch later. Additionally, the player supports HD video content and can be connected to HDTVs.

The MediaPoint digital media player is extremely compact -- about the size of two boxes of movie candy -- and can be integrated seamlessly into home entertainment systems through composite cable, HDMI, component cable, or Toslink.
This is a preview, not a review.

Monday, November 24, 2008

See football in 3-D TV

If high definition wide-screen TV doesn't thrill you anymore, consider watching football in three dimensions.

Next week, a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will be broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston. It is a preliminary step on what is likely a long road to any regular 3-D broadcasts of football games.

The idea is a "proof of concept," says Howard Katz, NFL senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations. "We want to demonstrate this and let people get excited about it and see what the future holds."

The several hundred guests at the three participating theaters Dec. 4 will include representatives from the NFL's broadcasting partners and from consumer-electronics companies. 3ality Digital will shoot the game with special cameras and transmit it to a satellite, which will relay the program to theaters.

This isn't the first time the NFL has participated in a 3-D experiment. In 2004, a predecessor company to 3ality filmed the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. When Sandy Climan, 3ality's chief executive officer, shows the footage, "people crouch down to catch the ball," he says. "It's as if the ball is coming into your arms."

Technology has advanced considerably since then, and now makes live transmission possible. Boxing in 3-D, Climan says, particularly "raises your blood pressure."

Some live events, including opera broadcasts and circus performances, already pop up on screens at theaters across the country.

Next week's demonstration will also include television displays, to show what might one day be available in homes. While 3-D television sets are already available in stores, mainly for the handful of DVDs available in 3-D, the industry is still working on technical standards for 3-D.

That process raises the possibility that 3-D TV sets purchased today might not be compatible with programs aired in a few years' time. Just as in theaters, home viewers must wear special 3-D glasses. (info from The Wall Street Journal)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Paypal offers deferred no-interest payment

As the money supply tightens, eBay's PayPal subsidiary plans to offer consumers credit lines for online holiday purchases.

Starting Friday, PayPal will test a service offering online credit to several thousand members. The service builds on eBay's recent purchase of deferred-payment service Bill Me Later, which allows Web shoppers to delay payment instead of paying immediately.

The PayPal members will be preapproved for varying credit limits, based on an assessment of their finances. The credit can be used at online retailers such as and Apple, which use Bill Me Later. Shoppers won't get charged interest or have to make payments until April 1, 2009, when they can opt to pay through a payment plan with interest. (info from The Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This camera is so cool, it's worth having even if you don't take pictures

I'm a sucker for red. I have a 30-year-old tomato-red Fiat sports car. I have a website that specializes in red phones. My favorite uncle and an important girlfriend had red hair. I even had red walls in my apartment until I married a different girlfriend who didn't like red walls. I refuse to eat "white pizza." If it doesn't have red sauce, it's not pizza.

As soon as I saw the new Panasonic LUMIX GMX-G1R digital camera, I started salivating and panting.

Although I've been a Nikon fan and owner since 1970, I am well aware of the inroads that Panasonic has made into the digital camera business, especially since they started using Leica lenses on some products. Panasonic has long been an important innovator in video cameras and camcorders, and now they're kicking ass in still progography, too.

In general, I use my big Nikon D70 DSLR for "serious" photography, and a compact Nikon Coolpix L6 is always in my briefcase or car for unplanned photos. In my office, there's an older Coolpix 5000 on a tripod for taking product pictures. I also have a bunch of Nikon film cameras going back to an ancient Ftn that has shot miles of Kodachrome. I occasionally fondle the film cameras, but I haven't shot film in years.

I'm not ready to ditch my shelf full of Nikons, but I'm definitely ready to add a Panasonic.

The LUMIX DMC-G1 is the world’s first Micro Four Thirds system camera. Panasonic says it's the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera system, with the body and standard "kit" lens weighing about 20 ounces. It fills an important middle ground between my big and small Nikons, offering the quality and versatility of an SLR in a much smaller package, and has a bigger display than either of them.

Based on the new Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX G1 eliminates the internal mirror structure that's used in other single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, and so it reduces the size and weight by nearly half.

With the mirror-less system, the G1’s distance between the lens mount and the image sensor, has been reduced from 40 mm –- as specified in the Four Thirds System –- to approximately 20 mm.

The G1's Full-time Live View lets you see in the LCD screen how adjusting the exposure, white balance, aperture and even the shutter speed will affect the photo. This kind of super-easy live view shooting has never before been possible with a conventional digital SLR camera.

Intelligent Auto mode activates six detection and compensation functions that work automatically, leaving you free to just aim and shoot.
  • Shake detection - MEGA O.I.S. Helps prevent blurring when the camera shakes.
  • Motion detection - Intelligent ISO Control Helps prevent blur caused by subject motion.
  • Light detection - Intelligent Exposure Adjusts the brightness of dark areas in the image.
  • Advanced Face - Detection Face Detection AF/AE Helps deliver clear portraits.
  • Scene detection - Intelligent Scene Selector Selects the optimal scene mode for the situation.
  • Subject detection - AF Tracking follows moving subjects and adjusts accordingly.

  • The 3.0-inch free-angle LCD with high 460,000-dot resolution 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, making it easy for you to capture dynamic shots from extreme angles without getting into an awkward position. And when the lighting around you changes, the LCD backlighting level automatically changes too, so you get comfortable, easy-on-the-eyes viewing at all times.

    In My Color mode you can freely adjust the color, brightness and saturation of an image, while checking it with Full-time Live View. This gives you the power to control how your image will look. You can even make dramatic color changes.

    Film mode lets you capture photos with a special mood or expressiveness. Much like changing the film type in a film camera, you can get a wide range of expression based on six color modes and three monochromatic modes. When the multi-film mode is selected, you can record pictures having up to three different effects with each press of the shutter button.

    1920 x 1080-pixel HD (high-definition) photo recording. The G1 shoots wide-screen, 16:9, full-HD images. These images can be displayed on an HDTV, which handles about four times the data of a standard-definition TV.

    The camera has an HD output so it's easy to connect to an HDTV for high definition viewing. If your TV is HDMI compatible, a single HDMI mini cable is all you need. If you have a Panasonic VIERA HDTV, you can also operate the G1 with the VIERA remote control for even easier viewing.

    The image sensor has 13.1 total Megapixels. There's a Supersonic wave filter dust reduction system. Lens focal length is 14mm to 45mm. The 35mm film camera equivalent 28mm to 90mm, which I've always considered the ideal zoom range for most shooting.

    ISO Sensitivity can be selected for Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / Intelligent ISO. White Balance choices are: Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / Flash / White Set 1,2 / Color temperature setting

    The G1 should be available now. You can get a kit with the new LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S lens. Also available is the LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S.lens.

    The LUMIX G1 is also apparently the world’s first interchangeable lens camera with color choices, just like some Panasonic phone models. You can choose basic black, electric blue or bloody red models.

    For current Four Thirds users with a collection of lenses, an optional mount adapter will allow Four Thirds lenses to be compatible with the LUMIX G1.

    Panasonic is also offering a wide-variety of accessories including: External Flash DMW-FL220(GN22); PL Filter: DMW-LPL52; Mount Adapter: DMW-MA1; Battery Pack: DMW-BLB13; DC Cable: DMW-DCC3; Soft Case: DMW-CG1; Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1; Shoulder Strap (Stylish) DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R; Shoulder Strap (Woven) DMW-SSTG2-W; Shoulder Strap (Leather) DMW-SSTG3-T.

    Suggested retail price for the LUMIX GMX-G1R is $799.95.
    This is a preview, not a review.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Super deal on superb lobster

    As I told you last week, if God skipped Day #3 and never got around to creating dry land, and instead skipped right ahead to Day #5 to create the sea creatures, I would not complain. I enjoy steaks, chicken, ribs and burgers, but I could live very happily on shellfish alone.

    I enjoy simple raw clams with cocktail sauce, but lobster fra diavalo is probably my all-time favorite meal. If I am executed, that's what I want for my last meal. It's "to die for."

    Lobster is usually a luxury food, but current prices are much lower than normal, and there are some terrific deals around. It's not good for the lobstermen who are getting about a buck less than last year for each scary critter, but depressed prices are wonderful for eaters.

    On Sunday my wife and I split a two-lobster deal for just $21.95 at the Weathervane restaurant in Kittery, Maine. Two days earlier we feasted at their branch up the coast in South Portland. The lobbies were big and delicious, and are highly recommended.

    Normally the "Wicked Cheap Twins" special deal is available only on Thursday, but we got them on Sunday. In Kittery we even had a coupon (in the book from the Tanger Outlet office) for a free appetizer. We got a plate of delicious onion rings that could have fed four hungry folks.

    Here's a link for the Weathervane website. They have 16 restaurants in northern New England and upstate New York. If there's none nearby, they'll ship lobbies, chowdah and other treats to you.

    Join their online Claw Club and you'll get a $10 coupon for your birthday, restaurant discount coupons, online lobster shipping discounts, and more.

    Eat hearty, matey. Aaaargh!

    As I've previously written, Kittery, Maine is a great place to eat and shop. There's plenty of clothes shoes and cosmetics for women, and men will have fun at Brookstone, Black & Decker, and Seiko.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Time Out

    I'm taking a few days off

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    A reason to give Red Lobster another chance

    I love seafood.

    I've often said that if God skipped Day #3 and never got around to creating dry land, and instead skipped right ahead to Day #5 to create the sea creatures, I would not complain.

    If I had a boat to sit in, I could happily survive on lobsters, shrimp, clams and flounder... and never think about the burgers that didn't exist. (However, it would be nice to have tomatoes to make red clam sauce and cocktail sauce. And we need cows for melted butter to go on the lobster, so it's good to have some dry land.)

    Anyway, as a seafood fanatic, the ubiquitous Red Lobster chain has been a frequent source of frustration to me, chiefly because of lack of consistent quality both within the menu, and from restaurant to restaurant.

    Some branches of the chain are simply much better than others, and many of the menu items -- like fried shrimp -- are the high school cafeteria version of real seafood. On the other hand, I've had superb New England clam chowder at several RedLobs, I like the salad topped with tiny shrimp, and the food is always fresh.

    Nevertheless, RedLob is seldom high on my list when I have other dining choices.

    My attitude may change with the company's new Wood-Fire Grilling program that was announced yesterday.

    The company said it is "largest systemic change in Red Lobster’s history and is the second step in a three-phased plan to renew growth at the iconic seafood brand. Wood-Fire Grilling creates a clean, crisp flavor that naturally enhances the taste of seafood, emphasizing Red Lobster’s commitment to fresh, delicious seafood prepared with culinary expertise."

    I'm a big believer in cooking seafood on wood fires. I love the roasted lobsters and clams I've been eating at The Place in Guilford CT since 1964. It's an outdoor restaurant, only open from April through October. If RedLob can come close to duplicating their flavor year-round, I'll be their biggest fan.

    “We’re grilling food over oak because of the crisp, clean flavor it provides,” said Senior Executive Chef Michael LaDuke. “Fresh fish and seafood are delicious in their purest form, and Wood-Fire Grilling really enhances those flavors. The fresh, natural flavor makes the heart-healthy benefits of fish even more appealing.”

    In developing Wood-Fire Grilling, RedLob studied consumer preferences for nearly 20 cooking methods, conducted more than 30 focus groups and tested Wood-Fire Grills in 36 restaurants for more than a year. Consumers rated Wood-Fire Grilling as their most preferred cooking method, especially for fresh fish, shellfish, chicken and steak, because it added such an appealing flavor.

    Wood is the oldest grilling fuel and remains an excellent source because it enhances the natural flavors of food. But it requires practice and it’s advisable to let the wood burn down to hot embers before placing meat or fish on the grill.

    Hard woods – like the oak used by RedLob – give the best results, because soft resinous woods produce a black, stronger smoke.

    The result of the consumer feedback is the new Wood-Fire Grilled menu prepared by Certified Grill Masters at every restaurant. The menu features eight new items:

    • Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops -- a split Maine lobster tail, skewered jumbo shrimp and sea scallops with a buttery garlic finish
    • Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp & Scallops -- wood-grilled jumbo shrimp and baconwrapped sea scallops with a sweet peach-bourbon BBQ sauce
    • Wood-Grilled Sirloin & Shrimp -- a lightly seasoned center-cut sirloin and a skewer of jumbo shrimp
    • Wood-Grilled Scallops, Shrimp and Chicken -- skewered sea scallops, jumbo shrimp and a tender chicken breast with a buttery garlic finish
    • Jumbo Shrimp with Lobster Butter -- two skewers of wood-grilled jumbo shrimp topped with a savory lobster butter.
    • Maple-Glazed Chicken -- a wood-grilled chicken breast with a sweet maple and cherry glaze
    • Honey BBQ Grilled Chicken and Shrimp -- a wood-grilled chicken breast and
    skewered jumbo shrimp with a creamy honey BBQ sauce
    • Peach-Bourbon BBQ Scallops Appetizer -- wood-grilled, bacon-wrapped sea scallops with a sweet peach-bourbon BBQ sauce over thin-cut onion rings

    RedLob customers can also choose wood-grilling for any of the five to eight daily fresh fish species available.

    Wood-Fire Grilling is an initiative that also includes new restaurant equipment and specialized training that led to the selection of four to five Certified Grill Masters at each restaurant. Only they will prepare grilled items, in an effort to ensure consistent, expertly prepared food. Approximately 3,500 employees have been trained and certified, for 680 restaurants.

    High flames are not conducive for wood-fire grilling. Instead the Certified Grill Master must manage the burning logs as an even heat, using cross-hatching – typically recognized by diagonal grill marks - to know when meat and seafood need to be flipped over.

    The name of the Grill Master on duty will be on the menu, so who'll know whose hand to shake if you like what he or she cooks for you.
    This is a preview, not a review.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    WARNING: headphones can interfere with heart electronics

    If you have a pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator, don't keep your earbuds in your shirt pocket or draped around your neck -- even when they're disconnected. A study finds that some headphones can interfere with heart devices if held very close to them. They might even prevent a defibrillator from delivering a lifesaving shock, say doctors who tested them.

    "Headphones contain magnets, and some of these magnets are powerful," said the study's leader, Dr. William Maisel, a Boston cardiologist and a heart device consultant to the FDA. Maisel's research was presented Sunday at an American Heart Association conference.

    "I certainly don't think people should overreact to this information," but it's smart to keep small electronics at least a few inches from implanted medical devices, and not let someone wearing headphones lean against your chest if you have one, he said. "The headphone interaction applies whether or not the headphones are plugged in to the music player and whether or not the music player is on or off," he added.

    Nearly 2 million people worldwide have pacemakers, defibrillators or other devices to help their hearts beat faster, slower or more regularly. Tests by the FDA earlier this year concluded that iPods or other music players posed no threat to these devices as long as they were used properly.

    Maisel and other doctors wanted to know if the same was true of headphones. They tested eight models - earbuds and those that hook over the ear - in 60 people with heart devices.

    When headphones were about an inch from the device, interference was detected nearly one-fourth of the time - in four of the 27 pacemaker patients and 10 of the 33 with defibrillators. A pacemaker reset itself in one patient.

    Patients having such interference might not feel anything, or may have heart palpitations. But the interference could temporarily deactivate a defibrillator, keeping it from delivering a lifesaving shock if one were needed.

    The magnet's effect falls off rapidly with distance from the device, and heart device function returns to normal as soon as the headphone is out of range.

    The study did not test larger or noise-canceling headphones. The size of the headphone doesn't necessarily relate to magnetic strength. Small headphones often use neodymium, a very powerful magnetic material.

    A separate study presented at the heart conference found no danger to heart devices from cellphones equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology.

    Cellphones, anti-theft security devices and a host of other electronics have sparked fears in the past, but studies generally find no danger to heart devices with ordinary, prudent use, said Dr. Douglas Zipes, past president of the American College of Cardiology and professor of cardiology at Indiana University.

    Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen, a heart device expert at Virginia Commonwealth University and a spokesman for the heart association, said the solution is simple: "Keep your headphones on your ears and when they're not on your ears, you shouldn't put them over your chest or your pacemaker." (info from The Associated Press)

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Under-bed TV holder

    If you like your porn up-close and personal, or if a modern flat-screen TV would look out of place in your French Provincial bedroom, or if you just like to show off in your bedroom, this may be for you.

    The Underbed Lift from MK 1 Studio can help you hide a 50” plasma or LCD TV under a king-size bed. If your crib is merely queen-size, you can use a 42-inch TV.

    If you connect a camera, you can use it as an electronic mirror. If you add a video recorder, you can use it for instant replays.

    The lift needs just 8” of clearance, unfolds in under 45 seconds, and the TV can rotate to permit out-of-bed viewing.
    This is a preview, not a review.

    Friday, November 7, 2008

    Honda walking aid is like a bicycle seat with motorized legs

    Honda has been researching artificial mobility for a long time. In 2000, the company introduced the Asimo humanoid robot. Last Spring Honda showed an experimental model of a walking assist device which could help the elderly and other people with weakened leg muscles. Designed for people who are still capable of walking on their own, it's worn with a belt around the hips and thighs and helps to move the wearer's legs.

    Honda's latest development can actually raise and move the wearer's feet.

    It's like a bicycle seat with robotic legs connected to a pair of shoes.

    The experimental device, unveiled today in Japan, is designed to support bodyweight, reduce stress on the knees and help people get up steps and stay in crouching positions. Honda envisions the device being used by workers at auto or other factories.

    Engineer Jun Ashihara said the machine is useful for people standing in long lines and for people who run around to make deliveries. To wear it, you put the seat between your legs, put on the shoes, push a button, and just start walking around. The system has a computer and sensors so it responds to a person's movements.

    Pricing and commercial product plans are still undecided. Honda will begin testing a prototype with its assembly line workers later this month. (info and photo from The Associated Press)

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    Watch football on your phone

    For the first time Thursday, a National Football League game -- the Cleveland Browns vs. the Denver Broncos -- will be viewable on Sprint cellphones as part of the company's partnership with the league.

    Over the next seven weeks, Sprint will phonecast the eight games that are televised solely on the NFL Network, the league's cable channel. For the past three seasons, the NFL has struggled to persuade major cable operators to include its channel in their basic programming packages.

    With the NFL Network available in only about 40% of American households, Sprint executives hope the NFL games can do for their company what the league's Sunday Ticket package has done for satellite-television provider DirecTV. Sunday Ticket, which is exclusive to DirecTV, allows dedicated fans to see every NFL game on Sunday afternoons, and has been crucial to DirectTV's growth.

    For the NFL, the Sprint phone-casts are part of a series of experiments with digital media aimed at discerning how fans will consume football in the future. NBC conducted similar experiments this summer, showing highlights and a handful of events from the Beijing Olympics on phones.

    "We know a lot of fans find themselves displaced, and they are using devices like mobile phones for more tasks," said Brian Rolapp, the NFL's senior vice president of digital media and media strategy. "With 60% of our revenues coming from media, we'd be foolish not to do something like this."

    The planned phonecasts are part of Sprint's NFL Mobile Live package, which is available on most Sprint handsets. The package can be purchased for $15 a month, and is also included as part of Sprint's Everything plans that start at $69.99 per month.

    Personally, I hate football. I never watch it on my HDTVs, and would not watch it on a cellphone either. (info from The Wall Street Journal)

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Electronic bargains galore as stores close

    With Circuit City closing 115 stores and Tweeter apparently closing 94 stores, there should be plenty of bargains in consumer electronics between now and year's end.

    I won't miss Circuit City. I've often found their employees uninformed, unhelpful and dishonest.

    Tweeter, on the other hand, has been a great place to shop, and I've spent many thousands of dollars with them over the last decade.

    A year ago I bought two Sony XBR5 HDTVs at Tweeter. It was a 90-minute round trip. I first tried to buy them at a nearby Circuit City, but the salesman was a lying asshole, so he lost the sale.

    A few tips:

    When stores close, prices are usually gradually reduced, generally starting at 10 or 20% discounts, and maybe reaching 90% at the end. If there's something you really want, buy fairly early or you may lose out completely.

    Circuit City may ship the most desirable products from the closing stores to surviving stores, where they can sell for more money.

    Here's a list of CC's closing stores. (photo from

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    High-power laptop from Alienware

    Yesterday Alienware -- Dell’s high-performance PC gaming brand -- launched the new M17laptop. The 17-inch Alienware M17 is powered by the world’s first mobile quad-core processor, the Intel® Core™2 Extreme QX9300, and is Alienware’s first notebook with ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU technology, featuring dual ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 3870 cards.

    Gamers can get an M17 featuring an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, ATI CrossFireX technology, 3GB of DDR3 memory and a 1920 x 1200 Extreme High-Definition LCD for under $2,000. Prices start at $1399.

    The Alienware M17 notebook can be configured with:

    The Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300, the world’s first mobile quad-core processor, delivering revolutionary performance, efficiency and multitasking capabilities for maximum speeds, up to 50 percent faster than previous generation mobile processors.

    ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU technology featuring dual ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 graphics cards for intense HD video playback, full DirectX® 10.1 support for the latest next-generation games and frame rates up to 80 percent2 higher than single GPU solutions.

    DDR3 memory for up to a 50 percent increase in transfer rates, as well as the bandwidth necessary for the notebook’s quad-core capabilities. With up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, the M17 has the edge in data retrieval, load times and multitasking.
    Dual 500GB hard drives linked in a RAID 0 configuration for a massive 1TB storage capacity - enough to hold roughly 160 games, 250 full-length movies or 250,000 songs3.
    A 17-inch Extreme High-Definition 1920 x 1200 resolution display for Blu-ray Disc™ and HD video playback.

    The Alienware Command Center control panel, home to programs such as the AlienFusion power management system, AlienSense facial recognition software and AlienTouch touchpad controls, allowing you to take complete control of your computer.

    Alienware’s Stealth Black, a soft-touch, matte black finish that protects the system from fingerprints and scratches. The M17 features Alienware’s signature Skullcap case design.
    This is a preview, not a review.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    It's getting easier to recycle old electronics

    Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba will join a nationwide recycling initiative designed to allow purchasers of each companies’ products to have them recycled at collection centers around the county.

    The recycling program, which is being coordinated by Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM), will provide a free means of recycling old televisions and other consumer audio and video products.

    The program will begin in several states in November before expanding to all states with hundreds of additional sites over the next three years. Products from all three companies will be accepted at these locations, with potentially more to follow.

    Beginning in November, more than 160 sites will be available in 10 states to drop consumer audio and video electronics products. The companies said they will continue to expand the program until its services cover all 50 states.

    Sharp said it will also accept consumer drop-off of its products for recycling at its headquarters in Mahwah, NJ.

    MRM said it is seeking build sufficient volumes to maximize efficient collection by bringing together the electronic product manufacturing community into a voluntary national program to handle America’s e-waste recycling needs.

    The initiative will enable MRM to expand its operations beyond its current activities in Minnesota and Texas. Now entering its second year of operations, MRM currently manages recycling services in both states for about 25 manufacturers.

    The first phase of the MRM nationwide ramp-up will start in November with management of recycling for manufacturers in several additional states, including California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. MRM will continue its expansion until its services cover all 50 states.

    The MRM effort joins a similar initiative started in 2007 between Sony and WM Recycle America. The company in partnership with US Waste Management and its retail partners has collected over 560 tons of e-waste through more than 80 events nationwide. (info from TWICE)