[H] Consumer Archives: February 2006

Archive Listing

Tuesday February 28, 2006

Apple Shows New Toys

Engadget has a blow by blow of the Steve Jobs speech at a news briefing at Apple headquarters in California. Among the things announced, two new Intel powered Mac-Minis and a $350 set of iPod speakers.

We have two models, 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo, 512MB RAM, 60GB hard drive, Combo Drive. $599. Second model is 1.67GHz Core Duo, 512MB RAM, 80GB drive Super Drive. $799. Both of these models are available starting today. With the Mac mini this comprises 50% of our entire product line now available with Intel processors since we announced the shipment of MacBook Pros in January.

Shuttle SB36G5M XPC

Intel Viiv + small form factor = Shuttle SB36G5M XPC. The SB36G5M’s features make it a prime candidate for anyone looking to build a HTPC or the likes.

What differentiates this unit from the other G5s is the chipset. Specifically, this is the first Shuttle to include Intel's new Viiv technology. Intended to incorporate home entertainment, this places the SD36G5M squarely in the media center market.

Why 7.1 Audio Is Overkill At Home

Mark Fleischmann over at Designtechnica says "don’t get stampeded by the 7.1 parade". The editorial does a great job explaining why you shouldn’t buy into all the marketing hype when it comes to home theater audio.

With the marketing of 6.1 and 7.1 surround, the industry has decisively outwitted itself. It has convinced many consumers to buy new receivers and more speakers. But it has also undermined the 5.1-channel standard, which is more appropriate for the home, slowing the acceptance of surround sound in general.

Monday February 27, 2006

MSI Showcasing Living Room PC At CeBIT

MSI will be showcasing, among other things, a living room PC, a new notebook and the new K8N Diamond Plus.

Micro-Star International (MSI) will showcase its latest desktop PC, Living Room PC, its newly launched Napa-based notebook the S262, NX6600 Ares-series graphics cards and its K8N Diamond Plus motherboards at CeBIT 2006 in Hannover, Germany from March 9-15, according to company sources.


The guys over at Think Computer say they might have found the perfect HTPC case in the NMEDIAPC HTPC 300. Personally, I like the built in blowholes.

Today for review I have an HTPC case from a company called NMedia, NMedia is one of those companies that specialize in making a better HTPC case. I have been looking for the perfect HTPC case for myself and I think I may have found it, or at least the perfect one at the moment, as technology is always evolving to just get better.

MS Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup

Microsoft Corp. today announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows Vista™ operating system. Scheduled for release later this year, the Microsoft® Windows Vista product lineup will bring clarity to customers’ digital world by helping them easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want, enjoy the latest in entertainment, improve the safety of their personal information, stay connected at home or on the go, and help ensure PCs are up-to-date, more secure and running smoothly.

Saturday February 25, 2006

Hewlett Packard Benefits From Dell Fumble

An interesting article in the Houston Chronicle talks about how HP was able to capitalize on what it described as Dell’s missteps over the last quarter.

While HP was cutting costs and pushing low-priced PCs for the back-to-school season, Dell decided to concentrate on its pricey XPS line of upscale machines.

In its quest for better margins, Dell sacrificed sales, posting the slowest growth in three years for its last fiscal quarter. Dell's loss has been HP's gain, as it has wooed customers with cheaper machines courtesy of Hurd's cost-cutting.

Personally, I think that if customers had experiences like ours with the Dell XPS line of PCs then that’s probably a more likely factor than choosing to sell “pricier” machines. Certainly our XPS was a good value in terms of the hardware for the price paid, but Dell completely dropped the ball in a few key areas that directly impacted the customer experience.

Commercial Malware

File this one under “We all saw it coming”. Apparently professional malware is now commercially available. Pick your poison, pay the piper and you have you own custom little piece of crud to make peoples lives miserable. Great, just what we needed.

Engineers at Panda Software, while in the process of researching a new trojan, uncovered evidence this week that led them to a web site touting custom-built viruses for sale. For the low, low price of only US$990, a user gets his or her own pet trojan horse, complete with tech support. If the file is discovered—as this current model was—the designer provides a guarantee to alter it so that it may continue to avoid detection in the face of updated antivirus software.

This concludes the cliché segment of the news.

Top Digital Cameras

If you are in the market for a new digi-cam, then take a peak at this long list of some of today’s popular solutions.

These lists represent the top camera makes and models used to create photos uploaded to Flickr, the best online photo sharing application in the world. The lists are generated automatically by periodically sampling the EXIF data from the stream of recent uploads.


I ran across this article in the rumor mill this morning that speculates that maybe Microsoft is planning to take on names like Apple and Palm. Keep in mind it’s just a rumor, but still an interesting read.

But we're betting Microsoft won't classify Origami devices as MP/3 players. No "mere" iPod killers, these. Instead, we're wagering Microsoft will convince its chums in the market-research business to create a whole new category of all-in-one mobile communicators (better than Sidekicks; more comprehensive than Treos; able to leap even BlackBerries in a single bound!) which Microsoft's units will dominate from the outset.

Google vs. eBay

It looks like Google might be moving into the eBay’s territory. This announcement certainly seems to be a big step in that direction.

We're starting with a very small number of sellers and we expect to include more over the next several months. If you're a seller and you're interested in getting an announcement when this feature is generally available, let us know. And if you want to know how this functionality relates to Google's broader work in payments, read this update. We hope this feature will make it even easier for people to use Google Base to post and distribute a wide range of content, whether information for sharing or goods for sale.

Friday February 24, 2006

The 2006 Best of Web 2.0

Designtechnica brings you the 2006 Best of Web 2.0. This guide offers up a list of Web 2.0 sites for photos, chat, maps and more.

The next generation of the web is here! With new kinds of desktop-like applications being released left and right, how will you know where to go and what to use? That’s why we’re here: To show you the best of Web 2.0 sites that you can get the most out of. No matter the task, video, audio, or photos, we have a site that works great for what you want to do and uses all the great features of Web 2.0 technology.