The phone isn't a traditional music listening device but that's changed dramatically in the last few years. Just think about the iPhone. Two of the most popular applications for the iPhone are Shazam, an app that helps you identify music, and Pandora, the ultimate music discovery tool if you can tolerate some absurd song picks from time to time.

Now it's possible to receive Sirius XM on a cell phone although it sounds like garbage and of course Slacker is now offered on the iPhone.  SanDisk announced it's slotRadio product at CES and hopes says it will have the cards working on mobile phones this year as well.

On the device side FM transmitters are being added to the chip sets so now you can beam any audio content from your phone to your FM stereo on the frequency of your choosing.  

So, here's a crazy scenario.  Run the Sirius XM app on your cell phone and send it to your car stereo via FM.  Nuts.  I know.  For the true geeks just because they can.  A more likely scenario is to load up a microSD card with lots to music and use the phone as wireless MP3 player in the car.

We reviewed the LG Chocolate 3 a while back and sort of chuckled at the FM transmitter.  Cool, but how much would we really use it?  Well, it's actually been extremely handy.  While riding n a friends car I can DJ with my own collection of music and simply tune the dial to my tunes.  My cell phone is the one device I always have with me.  With a 16GB microSD card installed I have access to over 4 thousand tracks. We can go on a road trip and listen to music 24 hours a day, 10 days straight.  That's pretty nuts.

This is just the beginning.  We're going to see more devices and better GUIs that make it seamless and fun to access more and more content, especially music on wireless devices.  The evolution of these phones is just remarkable.  Many support more codecs than standalone portable media players.  

The final piece of this puzzle will be ruggedized designs with extended battery life.  This will be the death blow to the already declining standalone portable media player market.


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

It shouldn't come as a big surprise to learn that Apple's string of advertisements for the iPhone 3G aren't exactly in real time or anything close to it. However, just the fact the iPhone is capable of all these things is enough for most consumers to keep drinking the Apple Koolaid.

Mozilla is keeping the original spirit of the Internet alive by making basic tasks like browsing and email just plain friendly and fun. The company's latest release, Firefox 3.0, keeps all the goodness and adds significant speed and functionality.   It's power is hidden under the hood and the awesome bar truly is.  The best part?  "No charge for awesomeness."

If you've been messing around with other browsers such as Explorer, Safari or Opera it's time to get Foxy. 

For more information and to download Firefox 3.0 visit Mozilla.


In the early days of the Internet, finding what you were looking for was easy. Open up your browser, go to Yahoo! and within a few clicks you usually found what you were looking for. Back then, there just weren't that many resources on the Web and life was pretty simple. Fast-forward a dozen years later and you've got millions of Web sites serving up everything from news, blogs, videos' you name it. Searching through all that information and finding what you're looking for can be a challenge.
Before hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Joseph Prows, a 23 year-old medical student at Tulane Medical School, was told to evacuate his 5th floor dorm room. Mr. Prows, however, signed a waiver to stay. He figured the local hospitals could use some volunteers. But when the storm was upgraded to a category 5 and it became clear that it was headed directly for the heart of the city, he wasn't sure what might left be standing, let alone his dorm room or nearby hospitals.

Despite an abundance of food, camping fuel and over two hundred gallons of water it was clear that it was time to leave. Joseph knocked on a few doors in the dorm to see if anyone wanted to join him. His pickup could hold a couple more. Manuela, a new transfer from Columbia and Gerardo, her brother, joined him. They were headed for Houston come hell or high water, quite literally.
As PCs get more powerful they tend to use more power, generate more heat and make more noise. However, with advances in PC case design, power supplies, motherboards, case fans and dampening material it's possible to make a powerful PC that is also very quiet.

There are a few boutique shops that specialize in making extra quiet PCs with special cases and fanless designs. Aside from the hard drives these machines make virtually no noise whatsoever. That's very attractive to individuals in environments that benefit from zero PC noise, such as a recording studio. However, the extra cost makes them impractical for most consumers.
Cable card technology is a one-way technology. Viewers can get all the regular, expanded and premium cable channels such as HBO. However, they're not able to receive Pay Per View or On Demand programming, at least not until the second revision of cable card (rev 2), which is rumored to be launching late 2005 early 2006.

That's fine but during our test it became clear that the folks at Comcast on the front lines really didn't know the subtle differences between 'the box' and 'the card.' Four separate times we called and asked about the different services available to cable card users. 3 out of the 4 we were told that yes we could receive the ESPN Gameplan with a cable card installed. We ordered the service two Saturdays in a row and worked with tech support to try and get the service up and running. Only on our last call were we able to confirm that a box would be required for ESPN Gameplan. One guy on the tech support team even admitted, 'I'm not that familiar with the cable card.' ESPN Gameplan is sold as a subscription service but technically it's no different than Pay Per View and that means a box is required.
The Mac mini has the right footprint and I/O capabilities to be turned into a nice little media server. It costs a little more to do it right but it's well worth it, especially compared to sub-par turnkey systems like the Media Link "entertainment receiver" from ADS Technologies.

Plus, if you create your own media server you won't have to settle for a horrible remote control, poor menu structures and generally pokey performance. Here's our experience using a Mac mini at the hub of our media center.
I'm just back from a roadtrip across the American West, and hidden among all the convenience stores and fast-food joints of roadside America is an interesting trend: WiFi for the masses.

We traveled from the San Francisco area to Denver and back, and the only time I lacked for free wireless Internet access was in our Denver hotel. No need to name names here--it's a fine hotel in a great downtown Denver location--but like most hotels that cater to the business traveler, it charges an obscene amount for WiFi service.
If you were lost in Europe and trying to find your way to your hotel and you happened upon a street with a cobbler and a robot shop which one would you enter in hopes of finding good directions' Well if you were Homer Simpson you would probably just stand there and moan, "mmm'cobbler." But most folks would probably ask the friendly shoe repair man for directions.

Robots just aren't that good at giving directions. They don't know what's going on in the neighborhood. Is there construction or an event in town that might clog up the streets' What about different times of day and driving with or without the commute' Robots don't have the qualitative skills to add value to the vast amount of data on the streets, roads and highways in the country.
The campaign to use cell phones to help in the treatment or identification of accident and disaster victims has taken off worldwide since the first bomb attacks in London earlier this month.

Mobile phone users are being urged to enter a number in their phone's memory with the acronym ICE, for In Case of Emergency, with the contact person's name and number.

Paramedics or police would be able to swiftly to find the number and use it to reach a relative or friend who could help identify deceased victims and treat injured ones, by providing vital personal information, including details of any medical conditions.
Baseball is a thinking man's game. But if you talk to 'fans' around the country you'll find that less and less of them appreciate the subtleties of the sport. The most obvious example is the desire for more offense. It brings to mind the ads that ran on ESPN for a while showing the glamorous life of hitters versus the mundane one of pitchers. The hitters just shrugged and said, 'Chicks dig the long ball.'
Apple always manages to put the best spin on everything it does. It's a marketing driven company that has done such a good job of convincing the faithful that its products are superior that even when the technology doesn't live up to the promises of it's fearless leader, media darling Steve Jobs, they continue to drink the Kool-Aid.

Apple customers have been very forgiving of iBooks with defective screens, iPods with short battery life, and dual G5 systems that still crash even with a much touted and improved Unix based operating system. Despite a history of over hyping and under delivering Apple manages to keep its precious few percentage points of the overall PC market. So why do these people keep coming back for more? Are they addicted to disappointment?
Now that's just crazy talk. Applied Generics hopes to make all those drivers with cell phones an asset on the road versus a liability. Everyone has a love hate relationship with cell phones. You almost have to have one these days to stay connected and they can be invaluable in an emergency. But let's face it, a lot of people aren't cutting deals while chirping away during rush hour. They're simply chewing the cud.

Distracted drivers on cell phones have become such a problem that states have begun passing laws making distracted driving illegal. However, it doesn't seem to be doing much good. Besides, doesn't the highway patrol have more important things to tend to rather than pulling over cell phone offenders?
Let's see. If Google becomes the default search engine of choice and Blogger becomes the blog tool for the masses and we all open Gmail accounts wouldn't that start to get a little scary' Just think. We could receive non-stop targeted advertisements during nearly all of our online activities. Great!

Google has a cute little name and an innocent looking logo. But never forget that this company is a powerful Silicon Valley entity that is motivated by profits and the value of its stock. There aren't a whole lot of fancy cars in the Google parking lot just yet but give it time. As companies grow larger they get sloppy and lazy. And I hope Google can fend off the pounds for as long as possible.
The NAB (National Association of Broadcasting) show in Vegas is interesting for both broadcasters and consumers alike. Companies reveal new alliances and products and consumers get a glimpse at how the latest in technology will ultimately change the home entertainment landscape.

The biggest news is the drop in price of high-def cameras for professionals and consumers from industry leaders like Sony and Panasonic. For example, the Panasonic DVX100 has been a favorite for independent film-makers for some time. Now the company is rolling out the HVX200, which serves up a high-def solution to the same market. Look to pay about $5k for a professional quality HD camera in the coming year with units available for consumers approaching $1500 as the market matures and more standards emerge.
If you have a bunch of vinyl you want to digitize into your PC get yourself a phono preamp. What's so special about a Phono Preamp' Well, here's the deal. The physical nature of phonograph records makes it very difficult to accurately represent and reproduce bass frequencies. The groove in a record is an analog representation of the frequencies produced by playing a piece of music. But because lower frequencies can literally pop a needle out of the groove, they are attenuated before the record is pressed. When the record is played back the phono preamp boosts the frequencies, essentially adding back the low-end ingredients of the music. To help overcome noise, high frequencies are boosted before the record is stamped. The phono preamp reduces these frequencies upon playback.
It's never been a better time to buy a nice big, fast hard drive to upgrade your system. The market is flooded with high performance drives at very reasonable prices. You no longer have to pay a premium for great drives from companies like IBM, Quantum, Maxtor and Seagate. You can spend as little as $100 or over $1000, and you are sure to get plenty of value for your money from almost any drive you purchase. Your biggest challenge will probably be sorting through all the acronyms the industry has invented for itself and getting the right drive(s) for your application.
I reviewed the Samsung 191T flat panel monitor a while back and I liked it so much that I picked one up to replace my aging NEC monitor. It's been a solid unit but recently I started noticing noise and hum being picked up by my sound card. I use my PC as a digital audio workstation for recording and mixing so any noise gets recorded and amplified and really gets in the way. The noise is not audible otherwise and does not interfere with general computer use.