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Go Skype!

Filed under: Electronics — Jared @ 1:08 pm

Skype to FCC: open up those cellular networks, please



Sony Fanboy FUD

Filed under: Electronics — Jared @ 2:32 pm

Much has been made recently of the Playstation 3’s (in)ability to scale HD content. I’ll just point you of ArsTechnica’s coverage of both its Gaming and BluRay scaling issues. The issue is as follows (from what I have read):

The PS3 seems to have no ability to up-or-downscale the content it outputs within HD resolutions. For games produced in 720p (apparently many of the launch titles), this means it will not upscale to 1080i if that is what your TV supports, it will instead downscale to 480p. If you play a BluRay title shot in 1080i or p, the player will output it either at 1080i/p or 480p. Newer TV’s can handle this: they will take in whatever resolution you feed them, and scale it to the TV output. Older TV’s aren’t so lucky. MANY TV’s will only take in EITHER 720p or 1080i, as is the case with mine. In fact, when I was TV shopping at the beginning of the year, I was unable to find an affordable TV of large size that would take both in. Mine happens to do 1080i, which would leave me out in the cold for playing games.

The reaction from Sony Fanboys on this has been amazing. The thing to keep in mind: I chose to buy the TV I bought at the beginning of ’06, knowing that if I hooked up an Xbox, Xbox360, HD cable box, or up-converting DVD player, I would be able to tell it to output at 1080i and it would scale anything that wasn’t. And I’ll tell you honestly: both 720p and 1080i cable are beautiful, and I doubt you could tell me which is which. I decided that rather than buy a 42″ screen with all of the fancy inputs (which I wouldn’t need, because the various boxes I would plug in would have scalers, because they all do) or buy a slightly more limited 52″ screen for the same money, or the fancy 52″ for $500 more. 52″ was the right size for my living room, so I bought the cheaper 52″ and it looks beautiful. But now I won’t even have the OPTION of buying a PS3 without risking that it looks like crap. The reaction of the fanboys has been something like the quote below (off of the Ars discussion forums for the PS3 review, emphasis mine):

Sony has no reason to care, because it’s not Sony’s fault that some TV doesn’t support 720p. It’s the TV manufacturer’s fault, as I’ve said time and time again. If you bought an LCD for your PC that didn’t do scaling and complained when you couldn’t run it in anything other than 1280×1024, would it be the video card manufacturer’s fault? Really it’s funny that most people aren’t having this issue. There are basically two scenarios where somebody doesn’t have a TV that supports 720p: 1) you bought a TV without enough research or 2) you were an early adopter, and if you could afford an HDTV then, you can easily afford a replacement.

This is a level of either ignorance or arrogance that I find unimaginable. First, Sony has every reason to care: they are in the business of selling consoles. MOST of the HDTV’s sold early on, and many of those sold till recently, either do 720p or 1080i, and mass-market CE devices such as DVD players and Xboxes seem to get it right: in order to appeal to the widest audience, you strap in one of those little scalers so that your device works with EVERYTHING. Second, to suggest that ANYONE have to replace their $1k+ HDTV sets to accomadate Sony is crazy, and ignores the way the real world works: The TV’s were here first, and the CE devices need to adapt to the situation in the marketplace to which they are trying to sell. It is my understanding that the vast majority of CRT RPTV’s will be affected by this; I know mine is, and I bet most of my friends that have HDTV’s will be too. Third, Sony is not on its own in the market, they compete with Microsoft and Nintendo. The Xbox360 has a scaler in it, and will output whatever you tell it to (AFAIK). This is the standard behaviour.

I think I feel better now. But I really want this to stop – Sony has made a very bad play here. Maybe there really aren’t that many of us affected by this, but I will tell you one thing: There is 0% chance I will buy a PS3 unless this is resolved. Before, there was at least a small chance I would buy one in the next few years.

Xbox and Wii ho!


Computer Pr0n

Filed under: Computers, Electronics — Jared @ 2:00 pm

Dicota Link

The above device is from a blurb on Engadget (picture linked straight off their page in totally bad form; oh well, I have no server of my own and I have almost no traffic). Neat idea actually, but I can't help thinking it's the computer's version of a double-ended dildo.



Filed under: Consumer Activism, Electronics — Jared @ 2:39 pm

Must suck to have your mom called on you when you scam someone on e-bay. That story kicks ass.


Exciting FCC Approval

Filed under: Electronics — Jared @ 7:37 pm

Previously: Nokia N93

Ooh, this could potentially decide what carrier I want to go with for me. Very tasty.


Nintendo Wii

Filed under: Cults, Electronics — Jared @ 2:58 pm

With all the info coming in from E3 about the Wii (you can start here and here at Engadget), it's looking more and more like I may end up a Nintendo fan again, 20 years later…


Initial Impressions: Gyration Ultra Compact Keyboard Suite

Filed under: Computers, Electronics — Jared @ 9:04 pm

Previously: Woot!

My very initial impression is very good. Pulled it out of the box, put batteries in the keyboard, pulled the plastic separator that was inactivating the mouse battery. Plug receiver in to computer. Press sync buttons to sync up keyboard and mouse. Keyboard types, mouse indeed works in mid air using the gyroscope. It's going to take a little getting used to; I'll probably write up a full review once I've played with it substantially.

Price Gouging

Filed under: Electronics — Jared @ 8:56 am

One would think that with a title like that I'm thinking of gasoline prices. I've mostly gotten over those though; just a cost of getting to work. I'm talking about the E3 announcements by Sony regarding the Playstation 3. $500-$600? I thought Microsoft was pusing it with their $400 unit. The dual-core PC I built to be my Tivo cost ~$700. What is worse is the feature list. Go ahead, click the link, I'll wait.

Back? Good. Noticed the smaller hard drive on the cheap unit I'm guessing. I'm also assuming you noticed the lack of wi-fi, memory card reader, or HDMI out too (it does help that it's in Engadget's headline).  Without a digital out, it won't be able to send anything better than a 1080i signal (fine with me, because that's what my TV will take). Worse, since the output isn't digital, it probably won't support HDCP, so in the future it'll be a brick of a Blu Ray player, when we're all sporting 4320p60 TV sets.

Note some sarcasm there – I never bought into the "1080p is the only real HD" crap. I've played progressive scanned DVD's on my TV, and I've done OTA HD, and the difference is present but minimal; 720p is fine, as is 1080i. But it just seems like this is Sony shooting itself in the foot a bit. I know it won't have a negative impact on them long-term, but still.

And $500 to get in the door? No thanks. I'll wait until the first 360 price drop (by that time hopefully there'll be a few games worth playing), and then I'll buy a copy of FF XII for my PS2 rather than buy either of the new consoles. Here's looking at you, Wii, come to my rescue. 


Nokia N93

Filed under: Electronics — Jared @ 7:43 am

Drool. In the US, pretty please? 


Bluetooth iPod, where art thou?

Filed under: Apple, Electronics, Personal — Jared @ 2:27 pm

Talking to Matt today, I was thinking about what I want in my next iPod. I'm currently the proud owner of a 3rd Gen 20gb iPod. It has way more space than I need for music, although I keep putting more and more podcasts on it. The current Video iPods are nice, and the Nano is a very nice size, but they are both missing one key feature: Bluetooth.

As Matt suggested to me, I'm not sure Bluetooth is ideal. I haven't used it myself, but apparently device pairing sucks. To explain what I want, I am going to ignore this; as far as I'm concerned, Apple should either figure out how to make it work, or invent their own AppleTooth.

I want a iPod with built-in Bluetooth. This link should allow not only stereo sound transmission, but also allow for play/pause/skip/volume control by the paired device. This would allow me to wear my headphones, and hide the iPod in my pocket. This I don't think is too complicated.

My requirements are slightly more complicated, however. I also want a seperate bluetooth audio transmitter, that I can plug into the CV machines at the gym via a mini-audio plug (I know, it'd be able to plug into any device, but that is why I want this). Through some magic, when I have this transmitter plugged in and turned on, the headphones listen to it, and not to the iPod.

Oh, but wait, there's more. I also want to be able to get this hooked into my car stereo. I have a 2006 Honda Civic, and I can get a Music Link adapter to plug my iPod straight into it for charging/playback/stereo control of my iPod (even with the controls on the steering wheel ^_^). This is good, but I want one better. I either want a bluetooth version of this link, or just as good, I want a reciever for the iPod that I can hook into the dock cable for this adapter.

I know, this is kinda crazy. I'm aware it's not going to happen anytime soon, if it happens at all (I'd bet on the latter). But I can dream. And I can't help but think that there are other people out there that would love a similar setup. Oh well, here's to hoping.

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