Archive for September, 2006

Zune will be done wid de troubles ob de worl

September 29, 2006

Microsoft sets price for Zune – Digital Music – Gadgets – Technology

Microsoft says its new Zune music player will be sold at a price matching Apple Computer’s market-leading iPod and, as a result, lose money this holiday season.

Microsoft’s 30GB Zune will retail for $US249.99 – US99 cents more than the iPod with the same amount of storage – when it goes on sale in the US on November 14.

Songs available for download at the Zune Marketplace service will cost about US99 cents a song, on par with prices at Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft said.

The world’s largest software maker faces an uphill climb in trying to topple the market-dominating iPod after conceding a five-year head start to Apple’s media player.

Microsoft said it needed to put a comparable price on Zune, even if it meant that the company will suffer a loss from the device’s sales this holiday season.

“We had to look at what was in the market and offer a competitive price,” said Scott Erickson, Microsoft’s senior director of product marketing for Zune. “We’re not going to be profitable this holiday but the Zune project is a multi-year strategy.”

Microsoft has said it plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and market the Zune, and acknowledged the investment may take years to bear fruit.

The music player is the first step in creating a new brand of portable devices, according to company officials, who also said a Zune phone is in the works.

The Zune, a rectangular media player with a round click wheel, is similar in appearance to the iPod but slightly bulkier and has a larger 7.6cm screen.

Unlike the iPod, it comes with an FM radio tuner and wireless connectivity to allow users to beam photos and songs to one another.

Microsoft enlisted Japanese electronics maker Toshiba to manufacture the Zune.

Microsoft also announced it will sell a music subscription pass for $US14.99 a month, allowing users to listen to any of the songs on Zune Marketplace. It pledges to offer 2 million-plus songs at launch. After the pass expires, users will not be able to access those songs.

For consumers looking to own a song, the Zune Marketplace will sell tracks for 79 Microsoft points. A user can buy 80 Microsoft points for $US1 and points will also be redeemable at its online video game store, Xbox Live Marketplace.

Microsoft said it will initially sell only music – and no video – at the Zune Marketplace. The company said it was negotiating with major record companies and labels.

Each Zune device will come preloaded with an array of songs, music video, images and short films, Microsoft said.

No details are yet available for the Australian release.



And if that doesn’t make you air-sick…

September 28, 2006

Surgeons complete zero-G surgery aboard plane
Barf!The five-man medical team made history by slicing off the patient’s yellow growth, which then floated away, tied to a string.

Or as they said on :: KARE 11 TV – “Doctors operate in near zero-gravity” – “The five-man team and the patient landed safely at an airport in southwestern France after a three-hour flight, although doctors said the midair surgery to remove a cyst from the man’s arm took only about 10 minutes.”

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Warming strip

September 8, 2006

Photograph and Caption
Photograph and Caption

In this photo released by Maria Ramsden, Rebecca Gale, who led the team of dancers from Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque at an Australian government-sponsored conference on global warming in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006. The show was cut short and organizers issued an apology after some delegates at the Australia and New Zealand Climate Forum’s dinner in Canberra walked out in disgust at what was intended as a lighthearted break from the weighty business of rising temperatures.

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TV ears

September 4, 2006

TV Ears » Coolest Gadgets

For the average person, this gadget is totally useless and looks pretty extremely geeky. However, for a very niche market, this thing is great. For those who have absolutely no idea what TV Ears is, it’s a TV hearing aid.

TV Ears allow you to hear what the people on the TV are saying without having the volume cranked up all the way.

This background sound elimination is done via the microchip built into the headset. It lowers sound below 100hz (the background sound) and raises sound above 1,000hz (speech).

You can control the volume, tone, and balance controls to better suit whatever hearing condition you have. There’s no special TV you have to own, either. TV Ears work with pretty much all TVs, DVD Players, VCRs (please!), stereos, and game consoles. Sound is transferred by 95 kHz infrared, which means good enough sound quality.

The headset itself is powered by a rechargeable battery, which should last 2 years before needing to be replaced.

For anyone with a hearing condition that has trouble listening to the TV, and doesn’t mind looking terribly geeky while watching it, TV Ears is a good product, although the price tag, $150, is a bit high. But if it works for you, it’s easily justifiable.

Testimonials and information on where to buy can be found on the TV Ears site.

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