When we first saw the Polk Audio I-Sonic, we dubbed it a "home theater in a shoebox." But now the all-in-one I-Sonic finally looks to have some competition in the form of the Cambridge SoundWorks i765. At first glance, the product looks like a doppelganger of the company's Radio CD 745i, but adds DVD playback and a top-mounted iPod dock to the AM/FM radio, CD player, and dual-alarm system found on that earlier model. The price is a hefty $500, but that's $100 less than that of the I-Sonic, which lacks the iPod dock but includes digital HD Radio and support (with an add-on antenna dongle and monthly subscription) for XM satellite radio. … Read more
Forget "Clocky," the "Sonic Bomb," and the flying alarm clock. The last thing we need in the morning is something that shatters our eardrums or requires us to chase it around the room to shut the damn thing off.
At our advanced age, any of these could easily shorten our lives with coronary issues. A far more civilized way to awaken is the gentle tones of a "Wind Chime Alarm Clock" and, naturally, its continuous snooze functions. (Our definition of the snooze button: Unplug clock, go back to sleep.)
But if you must get … Read more
Microsoft has hired Rob Conery, founder and lead on the SubSonic project, reports eWeek. SubSonic is a DAL (Data Access Layer) that helps a Web site build itself. Got that? Neither did I, but it sounds cool, if too technically complex for a layman like me.
This is all mildly interesting. After all, Conery has apparently been on contract with Microsoft for the past eight months and is an "MVP" (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, which is a bit like being a community lead in the open-source world--it means you know your Microsoft stuff).
Nintendo held its Fall Conference this week, and the company has revealed some interesting news about its upcoming games. Some of the biggest news of the conference is the announcement that Super Smash Bros. Brawl will include Sonic the Hedgehog as a playable character. While Sonic's been long-speculated as a character in SSBB, this is the first time his presence has been officially confirmed. Unfortunately, the game itself has been pushed back in Japan until January 2008, which could mean that an American release will also be pushed back until next year. In other news, the new Mario Kart Wii … Read more
TVs and PCs may be taking their own sweet time to morph into one appliance, but some designs are starting to betray the romance. Case in point: ViewSonic's new "Diamani DUO" series (dynamic duo?) are meant to be used both as a desktop monitor and an LCD TV, in 19- and 22-inch models with 1,440x900 and 1,680x1050 respective resolutions.
Unlike other PC-TV screens, which are often indistinguishable from desktop monitors, this one actually takes on some of the design characteristics of a plasma or LCD set, such as today's popular piano-black gloss finish, contoured … Read more
Polk Audio has taken the wraps off the I-Sonic Entertainment System 2, the follow-up to the company's impressive 2006 tabletop AV system. The new ES2 model gets the iPod dock that was missing from the original I-Sonic, but it loses the Swiss-Army-knife luster of that all-in-one model: gone are CD/DVD player and XM satellite radio support (though an auxiliary line-in port lets you connect any external device of your choosing). Video output (for the increasingly burgeoning number of video-capable iPods) remains, as does the dual alarm clock and HD Radio tuner. And it's the interaction between the HD Radio and the iPod where the new I-Sonic debuts a first-of-its-kind feature called iTunes Tagging. … Read more
Sony's years-long effort to promote its Atrac audio encoding format appears to be coming to an end.
Sony's known for creating proprietary formats rather than adopting formats developed elsewhere. Many other companies--Microsoft in particular--do the same thing, but Sony sometimes seems to cling to its technologies long past the date where it makes business sense. Sony invented Atrac for its MiniDisc, but as MP3 players became popular, Sony tried to push the format into the new world of discless players. Those first Sony portable players didn't support MP3. This helped a down-on-its-luck company with no consumer electronics … Read more
Care to take a stab at guessing this one? I'll give you a hint: it's fabulous news. As you may have gathered from Sony's abandonment of SonicStage, the company is giving its Connect music store the ax as well. Considering the new Walkmans are now PlaysForSure devices capable of playing both purchased and subscription WMAs--and they support unprotected AACs purchased from iTunes--it only makes sense to get rid of the faltering (and horrifically designed) store. For my part, I'm pleased as punch by the death of SonicStage and Connect. Yes, I'm a little bit sadistic...… Read more
Well, that should teach us. Just minutes after making sport of Swarovski, we came across yet another another category of products that the infectious crystals are attacking: computer screens.
ViewSonic, a respectable manufacturer, has apparently succumbed to market madness by allowing customers to "beautify and customize" their LCDs with "original Swarovski crystals," according to PCLaunches. (As opposed to unoriginal ones?) And you can scream bad taste in grand fashion with a full 22-inch widescreen with 1680x1050 resolution. But you might have to wear sunglasses to cut down on the crystal reflection.
OK, OK, two Sony products in two days doesn't mean Crave's all loved-up with the Japanese Walkmanites, but considering how much we bash its media-manager software SonicStage, we felt compelled to mention that the company's ickle new MP3 player--the NWD-B100--doesn't require it. About time, too.
The NWD-B100 is possibly the most respectable Sony Walkman product to see the light of day in 2007. Yeah, the NW-A808 is a superb piece of audio gadgetry, and the E series earned kudos points for including a system very similar to iTunes' Cover Flow on a tiny colour display. But … Read more