We ventured out into the real world this week, with Scott and Joey trekking out to Queens to attend the NYC version of the Maker Faire, and coming back with a slideshow of exotic DIY inventions.
A new study shows we're all keeping our mobile phones longer than ever--is it because they've gotten so good that we want to hold onto them, or because we're locked into onerous multiyear contracts? Later, Dan recalls the moment of horror he experienced last week, when he realized every single item of clothing he was wearing came from super-hot private shopping start-up Gilt.com.
In you're keeping count, we're only two weeks away from the big 100th episode special! Be sure to tune in for all sorts of surprises and giveaways, including the ultimate video game T-shirt collection and the long-awaited downloadable Digital City theme song MP3.
This week we check out the new NFL FanVision device, which Scott demoed live from this week's Jets game. It's a slightly dated looking handheld screen that gives you access to instant replays, other game highlights, and more, all while you're sitting in the stadium.
We also act out the latest testy Steve Jobs e-mail exchange with an equally tone-deaf college student, and finally show some some amazing video we shot that very morning, of a daredevil window washer, working on a high ledge without any kind of safety harness.
Sports fans can easily find the live stadium experience to be paradoxically out of touch compared with the instant stats, superior commentary, and HD replays available to home viewers. DVRs, HDTVs, and smartphones can't follow you to the live game. At stadiums, it's hard to get any smartphone to work properly. Streaming radio apps black out live game broadcasts, unless you're using Sirius. As for video, unless you've got some portable TV with an HDTV antenna converter box, you're out of luck.
This is the promise that NFL FanVision offers to a seasoned fan. At first glance, the device--a dedicated ruggedized handheld with a 4.3-inch screen formerly used at Nascar events--looks like a castoff from the early '00s, some idea of a personal media player from the early age of iPods. Purportedly waterproof (though we didn't test it) and boasting a 6-hour battery life for streaming, it's a bit too big to pocket and hangs from a lanyard around one's neck. Sure, it's not nearly as elegant as an iPhone. What it does, however, bears consideration. A live TV feed of the current game (plus audio commentary), multiple viewing angles, instant multi-angle replay after every play, plus live video of other games around the league, the NFL Red Zone channel, and stats...it's compelling for a hard-core fan.
How it works Others might ask, why not just watch the real live game in front of you? That's a valid point, but not for me. I'm a New York Jets fan, and my dad has been one for 45 years. We know the players, and we like to know what's happening down to the fine details. FanVision's audio commentary and stats offer more than what's given via the minimalist PA system and the infrequently updated HD megascreens. And instant replay, the killer app for the home user, is offered up at the press of a button.
Even better, FanVision seems to be set up to be overload-proof. FanVision works via a dedicated local UHF channel that's licensed to broadcast in the stadium and the parking lot area. The device is really a higher-tech TV, one that can receive up to 10 channels of digitally compressed video and stat data and cache highlight videos for replays. Once booted up via a small power button, the device locates the nearby broadcast tower and downloads team-specific data and channel programming. After a few minutes of initialization, the device is up and running. By avoiding Wi-Fi or 3G, FanVision's broadcast concept shouldn't suffer from slowdown.
It all sounds great on paper, but we wanted to test it for ourselves.… Read more
Parrot's AR.Drone is a mash-up of several interesting tech concepts. It's a remote control quadricopter that's piloted via an iPhone/iPod Touch app, while also providing a live-to-screen video feed from its built-in video camera, as well as optional augmented reality gaming apps.
A free App Store download called AR.FreeFlight is necessary for pairing and controlling the Drone. Once set up and installed, you have two flight-control options. In the beginner mode, users hold the left onscreen button to maneuver the Drone with the iPhone's accelerometer--tilt it left and the Drone glides to the … Read more
In this week's action-packed episode, we engage in a little live Halo: Reach multiplayer action, finding out in the process that none of us is particularly good at this sort of thing.
Then, Joey attempts to pilot a remote control helicopter around the confines of our broom-closet-size studio. Hilarity ensues, as does some small amount of danger.
After showing off some new minilaptops from Toshiba and Sony, Scott tells us about the FanVision handheld device being hawked by NFL teams (including his beloved Jets). Finally, we hold our heads in collective disbelief over the upcoming "Galileo was Wrong" pseudoscience conference, being held later this fall. Yes, that's a real thing, not some sort of Onion-like prank.
We're not huge fans of "collector's edition" game boxes, truth be told. More often than not, the extras included just seem silly. It's to our great surprise, then, that we unwrapped the monolithic box of the $80 Halo: Reach Collector's Edition, the deluxe version of the imminent Xbox 360 prequel, and found items inside that were actually both beautifully produced and fun to explore.
You won't find action figures or extra DVDs here--statues and helmets are reserved for the $150 Halo: Reach Legendary Edition. Instead, you'll get the core of what's … Read more
Looking more like a nuclear football than a video game, a packed-to-the-gills press kit for the upcoming Xbox 360 game Halo: Reach showed up in this morning's mail.
Different than the regular ($59), limited ($79), or legendary ($149) versions that will be available starting September 14, this kit consists of a metal briefcase that opens to revel a series of Halo-related items.
Inside, we found a United Nations Space Command folder with press information, a softcover art book titled "Halo Overture", a Halo: Reach Xbox 360 controller, and a tie-in novel, "Halo: The Fall of Reach.&… Read more
We're down a man this week, as Joey calls in with back problems--but the rest of us are on hand to discuss this week's hot topics. The hottest of which may be Apple's upcoming September 1 press event, and we all weigh in with allegedly thoughtful predictions on what new iPods and other gadgets may show up.
Then it's time for a moment of silence as we mourn the death of the ATI brand, with its corporate parent reportedly planning to tag the company's future graphics cards with the AMD brand name instead.
Among the wackier technology antics we look at this week--a collection of pottery figures inspired by the hit casual game Plants vs. Zombies, and a quick visit to a Chicago coffee shop with a pretty sweet pop culture collectible--a full-size model Delorean car from the "Back to the Future" film series.
We're no strangers to unusual video game promotional items, but today's unexpected collection of pottery figures inspired by the hit casual game Plants vs. Zombiestakes the cake (at least for this week).
Although there was no explanatory note or press release included in the box (shipped directly from Moose Studios Pottery in Clovis, California), we assume this is to promote the $19.99 Limited Edition "Game of the Year" version of Plants vs. Zombies for PC. This new boxed retail version of the popular PC/iOS game includes a plastic zombie toy and an in-game tool, … Read more
This week, a heated argument breaks out over the cable TV regulatory landscape (we're sure you were just thinking about that as well). Plus, check out footage of a new laser weapon ready for use at LA County jails, and groove to some live music on the YouRock MIDI guitar.
More importantly, this may sound a lot like the classic "dog ate my homework" excuse, but it appears that the gremlins in our broadcast facility actually did eat the video version of this week's show (which aired live on Monday at 3 p.m. ET).
While we attempt to recover the video file, this episode is only available as audio at the moment (see the "Listen Now" player at the bottom of the page). If you need some visual stimulation while listening, feel free to flip through this slideshow of Scott and Dan modeling back-to-school backpacks.