Most of the high-end gear I talk about in this blog is designed to sound great and last a long time. Granted, it's more expensive than mass-market audio, but quality gear is more expensive to build, market, and sell. Mass-market audio is not so different than cell phones, computers, or digital cameras; they're all designed to be disposable. So would you consider paying $100 or more for headphones that could last 10 or more years? Or would you rather buy 10 cheap headphones in that time? For that kind of money you could have bought one really nice … Read more
The days of blasting music out of a portable boombox are behind us, and while some companies still offer retro jambox wannabes for iPods, the best way to free your music from the aural confines of an MP3 player is through a portable Bluetooth speaker.
We've rounded up several Bluetooth speakers for your consideration. All of these wireless speakers benefit from limited loss in audio quality while still maintaining a small footprint and extended range. Functionality varies according to model, and they differ in regard to rechargeable versus alkaline batteries, size versus sound, and the capability to be used … Read more
OAKLAND, Calif.--"Computers don't create computer animation any more than a pencil creates pencil animation. What creates computer animation are artists."
Those words would ring true no matter who said them, but in this case, the source has just about the highest possible credibility on the issue at hand: John Lasseter, the chief creative officer for both Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, and the director of four of Pixar's most loved films.
Etymotic invented the in-ear earphone in 1984 for use in diagnostic testing and auditory research. The first consumer model, the ER-4, debuted in 1991. I remember that when I heard it the resolution of fine detail was far ahead of any dynamic headphone I'd heard at that time. The ER-4 earphones are still in the line. I still use my ER-4P and love it.
The MC5 is a new model, and priced at $79, it is the most affordable in-ear design ever offered by Etymotic. The company claims its headphones produce superior isolation from external noise, and I agree. The MC5 did a better-than-average job blocking out the sounds of the NYC subway. Etymotic headphones tend to sound more accurate (or less hyped) than most under-$100 in-ear headphones. I didn't have any budget in-ears on hand to compare them against, but the MC5's sound was more naturally balanced than Monster's standard Turbine in-ear ($150). That was especially obvious with acoustic music like the Avett Brothers "Emotionalism" album. The brothers' soaring harmonies and chiming guitars really shined over the MC5; the Turbine sounded more immediate and brighter, but lacked the MC5's warmth.
Gil Scott-Heron's "I'm New Here" album's sound mix, with its buzzy keyboards and rumbling basslines sounded fabulous over the MC5, though the Turbines had deeper bass that made more of an impact, but its more upfront balance added an edge that detracted from the music. They are very different-sounding headphones, and, as always, selecting a winner is very much a matter of personal taste. Etymotic's MC3 ($99) headset model offers the same sound as the MC5, but adds a microphone and volume controls for iPods. … Read more
Monster Dash, from the makers of the hit iPhone game Fruit Ninja, challenges you to jump from building to building to go for the greatest distance, all while monsters try to thwart your mission. The game mechanics in Monster Dash are much like the popular Web game Canibalt (also available for iPhone and iPad), in which your character automatically runs while you carefully time your jumps from platform to platform. But with Monster Dash, you're also given a fire button so you can shoot monsters that get in your way while you struggle to stay alive.
Monster Dash is … Read more
Monster Worldwide has completed its acquisition of Yahoo's HotJobs for $225 million in cash and has sealed a three-year deal as Yahoo's exclusive provider of job and career content, the companies said Tuesday.
Although Monster already claims the title as the leading online job site, the addition of HotJobs to its resume is part of the company's drive to match up more working professionals with its business customers. The deal with Yahoo will place Monster on Yahoo's home page in both the U.S. and Canada.
With HotJobs, Monster said it expects to now reach about … Read more
Even with the huge success of the iPhone 4 and the iPad, we all know Apple hasn't been resting on its laurels. We still have a big hardware event to come this fall with Apple's now annual iPod launch event. Among the rumors and speculation around the Web, some news Web sites are saying we might see a full revision to the iPod Touch, a new iPad, and maybe a completely rebuilt Apple TV.
The guys over at AppleInsider uncovered a particularly interesting tidbit by studying the "Configuration Descriptors" within the USB configuration files of the most recent iOS 4.1 beta. Apparently, by following Apple's past releases, they were able to pick out new versions of devices by the code names Apple uses for its products. Check out the story linked above to see how they figured it all out. Especially interesting is the "unknownHardware" named in the third configuration file--could this be the smaller iPad people have been talking about or maybe the Apple TV?
Like everything Apple, we will not know what the company has in store for new hardware until the event (oh, the drama), but it's always fun to watch the rumors unfold on the many Apple rumor sites.
This week's apps include an easy to use news reader and a game that challenges you to run the longest distance while killing off monsters.… Read more
Flipn' Monsters is a clever, comical take on traditional card-matching games like Memory, and it's easy enough for kids but with an arcade mode that's addictive even for older gamers.
The object of the game's classic mode is simple: You flip cards over one at a time with a single tap, matching identical pairs on a three-by-six grid. A timer clocks your speed and records your best time. The cards feature nine different colorful monsters, which are distinct enough to be memorable but similar enough to provide a challenge. The game's arcade mode is much more … Read more
If your laptop display is too small for you, check out the latest USB monitor from Mimo. While its previous offering increased your screen real estate by 7 inches, the latest iMo Mini-Monster Touch comes with a 10.1-inch touch screen that requires only a USB cable to work.
Unlike conventional monitors, Mimo displays can be powered with a single USB connection that also streams video data. It's able to do this as the company has decreased the power consumption of this device to a low enough point that it fits within the power output of a standard USB … Read more
As we headed to a Disney preview of toys and gear for the upcoming "Tron" movie sequel, "Tron Legacy," we were reminded of what Yogurt said in "Spaceballs": "Merchandising, merchandising!"
While we're as excited about Disney's upcoming "Tron" sequel as anybody, it's clear the merchandising push will be fierce and all-encompassing. But if our preview of a few of the upcoming items is any indication, some of them are actually kind of cool, too.
Among the very many pieces of Tron gear available for your shopping pleasure … Read more