December 14, 2006

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Do not want
Bad gifts, with an actual product review!
By John ďjaQĒ Andrews† jandrews@hippopress.com

Itís too late.

Itís too late to order that awesome gadget for your favorite geek; no way itíll ever arrive before Christmas. Likewise, itís too late for any company to be launching an exciting new product right about now; November was the month with all the excitement. Zune took the portable media world by storm ó meaning everybody stayed inside for a bit before returning to business as usual. Sonyís Playstation 3 hit the stores with inventory in the dozens, leading fanboys to camp, race and shoot for them, just like in their favorite games. And the Nintendo Wii led sweaty-handed players to hurl their wireless remotes at television screens, windows and friends.

And those were the toys geeks supposedly wanted. If any of the following are under the tree this year, do your nerd love a solid and make sure to keep the receipt.

ē Knockoff iPod Nanos You saw it on eBay. Maybe you actually thought it was an unbelievably cheap iPod Nano. Maybe you realized it wasnít genuine Apple hipness, but thought the low price and added features like FM tuner and voice recorder could only sweeten the deal.

Now, this thing might be perfectly serviceable as a music and video player. There are a couple different models out there, with predictably mixed reviews. Some require you to convert videos to a proprietary format; some crash operating systems when you plug them into a computer; and some just donít sound very good. Most importantly, they donít have that spiffy fruit logo.

ē Floppy disks Not sure if youíve noticed, but computers donít really come with floppy drives anymore. Oh, sure, hardcore dorks run their ancient Linux firewall and print server boxes without hard drives off floppies, but for the most part, people have moved to e-mail or those USB flash drives for transferring files. Floppies donít hold much and arenít very hardy.

ē Corgi iCar I feel bad about knocking this, really, because these guys were so enthusiastic about sending a sample product. It has a certain kitsch appeal, too, but in the end it canít overcome its inherent awfulness.

Basically, the iCar is a model Cadillac Escalade on top of a speaker base. Itís one of the trillions of funky speakers designed for MP3 players, lighting up and rocking back and forth when you connect a music player with the included 3.5Ē audio cable. The multi-colored ground effects lighting is wicked awesome, but the motors that drive the chrome wheels with spinners are so loud that they interfere with whatever music youíre playing. Granted, I donít like hip hop and drive a Prius, so I could just be biased.

You can use the halfway decent speakers to amplify your audio without the light show, so this toy isnít a total loss. You do have to provide your own AC adapter once the six (six!) included AA batteries run out.

ē Spinmaster Elmo Giggle and Shake Chair Basically a Tickle Me Elmo that you actually place your child in/on. No.


12/14/2006 Meet the new web

12/07/2006 Extreme price shopping
11/30/2006 They want what?
11/23/2006 Zat†zany Zune
11/16/2006 Shop smart
11/9/2006 Your data's new home
11/2/2006 Hotkey heaven
10/26/2006 Computer to go
10/19/2006 Tech news roundup
10/12/2006 A different drummer
10/05/2006 Who needs TiVo?
09/28/2006 Disk drives without disks
09/21/2006 Movies, just click your mouse!
09/14/2006 Laptops for less
09/07/2006 GPS everywhere
08/31/2006 The printer dilemma
08/24/2006 A series of tubes
08/17/2006 More music, more places
08/10/2006 How big is your drive?
08/03/2006 It's a WiFi world
07/27/2006 Fancy a spot of memory?
07/20/2006 Under the sea
07/06/2006 eBaysic training
06/29/2006 You paid money for that?
06/22/2006 Processing ... processing ...
06/15/2006 C:\Run for the border
06/01/2006 The keyboard is mightier
05/25/2006 Geek phone home
05/18/2006 Super highway information
05/11/2006 How to host a site
05/04/2006 If they mated
04/27/2006 Apples to apples
04/20/2006 Flash uber-drives
04/13/2006 Web site, by you
04/06/2006 Ayyy, jaQ's right!
03/30/2006 Choose wirelessly
03/23/2006 Tax programs cometh
03/16/2006 And the Spammie goes to...
03/09/2006 Take in the Vista
03/02/2006 Cheap moviemaking
02/23/2006 Go directly to iJail
02/16/2006 Will you stamp your e-mail?
02/09/2006 War of the machines
02/02/2006 Faster than a speeding packet

01/26/2006†Free software made simple
01/19/2006 The Worst of CES
01/12/2006 Radio you
01/05/2006 Making Movies
A browser is to a car as ...

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