Gadgets For Christmas with KCLR

KCLR 96 FMTwo or three years ago I was doing a regular stint in the afternoon on KCLR 96FM talking gadgets and technology. That time has long since gone but this morning I was asked back into studio (handy, given it’s only across the road) for some thoughts on gadgets for Christmas, tech suggestions for kids and adults alike.

For those asking for the list in full of everything that was mentioned on air this morning, along with links for where you can buy them, here you go. Check out the video too, I’d mentioned TikTok in relation to the iPod Nano (thanks to Paul Watson for the tip) but there’s straps already on the market as well from Griffin. (links after the video)

Consoles & Games

  • Kinect for Xbox 360 (available in most gaming retails, some high street shops and supermarkets). Expect to pay in the region of €140-€150 to get you started.
  • Playstation Move – Starter packs including motion controller and camera run from €70, again, gaming shops and high street stores (like Argos) will stock.
  • Game suggestions for Christmas: Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fifa 11, Just Dance 2, Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Gran Turismo (links to Play.com)

Tablets, Cameras, Video

  • Apple iPad (available from 499)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tablet (available from €650)
  • Dell Streak (available from €499)
  • Apple TV (available from €119)
  • iPods – new iPod Nano available from €159. When talking about the watch straps, look for the Griffin Slap as a starting point)
  • Digital Cameras – Nikon Coolpix 1100pj (digital camera with built in projector)
  • Video Cameras – Flip Mino (available from Argos, prices start around the €90 mark)
  • DVDs – DVDs mentioned on the show this morning included Inception, the Toy Story Box set (movies 1-3), The Wire (big seller last Christmas), complete 24 and Lost box sets and The Pacific. All have been seen recently in HMV, Xtravision and are sure to be available in most good DVD retail outlets.

Also Mentioned…

Also mentioned this morning were

  • Digital Photo Frames – depending on where you buy, expect to pay from €20 upwards, have come down in cost something fierce in the last year or two
  • Limited Edition Streets of Rage Megadrive Handheld Console – 18 games for the retro gamer including Sonic The Hedgehog, Streets Of Rage, Golden Axe 2 and more. Clocks in around the €32 mark via Play.com.
  • Polyscience Food Smoker aka “The Smoking Gun” – Tipped from @avillagepantry this morning, this kitchen gadget lets you smoke your own food – chicken, spinach, drinks, anything goes. Handheld food smoker for those who don’t cook over flame or have wanted to try woodchip flavours like hickory, maple, apple wood, cherry etc in your cooking. Retails online from US$99.

The links above go out to Argos, Play.com, Pixmania and CuisineTechnology.com though you may find items mentioned above cheaper at other local / national stores. No affiliate links are included.

To iPad or Not to iPad

Apple iPadTHE IPAD. Everyone’s talking about it, the preorders are already rolling in and as far as gadgets go, it’s one of the most anticipated releases of 2010. I feel I should be drawn to it straight away, but somehow that’s not the case.

I’m a gadget fan, no doubting that. From carrying multiple smartphones to iPods, iPhones, recording equipment, 3G this, WiFi that, GPS watches and more, I find myself yearning for the latest gadgets and toys. But for some reason, I can’t seem to find a want in me for the iPad.

As it stands, I carry an iPod touch with me on the road, a 3G iPhone in my pocket, a MacBook Pro in my bag and there’s a 24″ iMac sitting on my desk. All taken into consideration, I’ve a feeling that the iPad may well not be targeted at me and if I was pushing it in a shop, I’d be hitting the new home broadband users, the “silver surfers” or even the school kid generation.

It’s not going to do anything for me that I can’t already do. Sure enough, it will carry the apps I use daily, it will allow me to check mail and surf away to my hearts content, but that’s all achievable with the iPhone. I like the flexibility to use 3G access as opposed to WiFi when I’m out and about, something which I would have to fork out a lot more for on release of the European models of the iPad. It won’t make phone calls and won’t pack a video camera for the first generation, so video conferencing is out – though discoveries in the latest iPhone SDK may suggest different.

Yes, it bridges the gap size-wize. In the hands of an very young or elderly user, it’s not so small that you can’t read the names of apps on the screen or have difficulties in viewing the on-screen text when flicking through the New York Times or your latest eBook addition. The interface, as with that of the iPod / iPhone is quite simple to navigate and apps have made web access all the more easier for folk. Want weather? Tap here. Want news? Tap here. View photos? Tap here. Read email? Tap here.

With family connections coming and going from the US over the next few weeks, the question has come up again and again… “can I bring you anything home?”, quickly followed by “what about those ipad yokes?”.

While it would be very easy to say yes, it’s something I genuinely cannot (at least with what we know about the first generation model) justify in buying. It’s not so much the price (I was happy to go and shell out for a pre-paid iPhone 10 months ago rather than take one on contract), just the use, and potential lack of. I can’t carry it in my pocket and at the very most I reckon it could be used for some bedside browsing but then again, the iPhone and laptop take care of that.

I can’t even find a good reason to buy one for the office outside of demoing developments on-site but even that would be scraping the bottom of the reasoning barrel.

To iPad or not to iPad? I think not.

More From The Playlist Mix Podcast (And Podcasting)

The 27th Playlist Mix podcast has gone live and it marks (at least technically) a full year since the launch of the podcast. Granted, after three shows I took the bones of five months away from the podcast to decide whether or not I would make a full run of it but having revived the podcast in October last, it has become a weekly habit of mine and I’m delighted I decided to press ahead.

Such to the point that my 2008 diary (I keep a physical diary for the music / theatre side of life) is marked with podcast recording dates straight up to the end of December which should see the Playlist Mix having well passed the 50-show mark and the Sound System Podcast having passed the 70 or 80 show mark, that podcast too having gone weekly late last year.

There is an element of ease at this point in recording a solo podcast, the gremlins instead tending to hold off until the Wednesday night when the Sound System Podcast records for KilkennyMusic.com (listeners to both podcast shows might realise).

The transition from working in Adobe Audition to working in ProTools has been a slow one. The last two weekends away in Sligo have given me time to toy around with different recording setups, discover the ins and outs of the various plugins at my disposal, find out where things are hidden in the menus, learn off a few keyboard shortcuts, that kind of thing. But, I’m adapting.

From a podcasting point of view I will say that I’m delighted with the purchase of the Mbox 2 (Factory bundle) from Digidesign. It’s a purchase I had been toying with for far too long but its sheer portability (lighter and more suited to a podcasting environment compared to the Digidesign 002 rack we used in the live environment) is worth the investment. It’s lightweight, fits in my laptop bag or backpack (depending on the setting), packs 2 XLR / line / DI inputs as well as phantom power for the condenser (which I must get back!). The fact that it’s powered via USB as well helps portability matters, meaning there’s room for high quality recordings wherever I wind up.

Given the nature of the One Take Sessions and recordings for their respective podcasts it’s a certainty it will be travelling with me every three weeks to the venue (it will actually be there tonight as well as we welcome Bonnefires, John O’Hanlon, Nassau Royal and Joey Ryan to Kilkenny – Cleere’s Theatre tonight at 9:30pm).

Anyway, check out PlaylistMix.com for this week’s podcast or see the links below to play / download.

Playlist Mix Podcast #27 (Download @ 26mb)
[audio:http://www.playlistmix.com/podpress_trac/web/62/0/podcast027.mp3]