Imitation is the Quickest Way to Market Share

Yet another sleek and stylish iPod pretender is on its way from Creative, maker of the famed Nomad line of MP3 players. This one, called the Zen, is a 10 gig hard-drive based MP3/WMA player. It comes with both USB 1.1 and firewire ports, and its sleek aluminium exterior measures just 3″ x 4.4″ x 1″ and weighs about 9 oz. Price and availability unknown, but the specs are available from the Japanese website. Translate through Babelfish.

Update: The Nomad Zen is now available with 20 gig drive for $350.

Update 2: It’s only $300 with the $50 rebate.

Sweet 17

CNet has a review of the Envision EN7500 17-inch LCD monitor with TV tuner built in for only $600. That seems like a pretty good deal considering that’s about the same price as a regular 17″ screen. Worth looking into, if you’re looking for a compact display for entertainment in the den or entertainment plus computing in the home-office.

See No Evil

The New York Times has a story on Michael Naimark’s report on the topic of defeating security cameras with a simple $1 laser pointer. While most of us probably figured that a laser pointer would cause trouble for video cameras, apparently this fellow has done a fairly thorough analysis on the effect, and finds that it’s actually much more effective than we might have thought. The info on the web isn’t very detailed, but it’s unclear whether the “white-paper” mentioned in the NYT is the same one already posted on the web. We’ll check his site in a week to see if there’s something more detailed.

Selling CDs is Thievery

In a gleefully ironic turn, major CD music vendors have been convicted of price-fixing. Who’s the thief now, huh? huh?

Under the settlement, $67.38 million in cash will be distributed to the settling states. This will be used to compensate consumers who overpaid for CDs during the 1995-2000 period, as well as to pay settlement administration costs and attorneys’ fees. In addition, 5.5 million CDs, valued at $75.7 million, will be distributed to public entities and nonprofit organizations in each state to benefit consumers and promote music programs. According to the agreement, the companies will pay artist royalties on the CDs.


The new T-Mobile branded Sidekick (formerly called the Danger Hiptop) is available today in T-Mobile stores and at the website for $200 (after rebate) with activation — and it includes the extremely lo-res color camera attachment (120×90?). Kewl. For more info on the device, including a review, go to

P2P is Thievery

The New York Times has an interesting story about how the P2P (including Morpheus, LimeWire and Kazaa) or other shareware that you downloaded may be hijacking the affiliate payments from nice sites like Street Tech to pay someone else. This has got to be illegal, and if it’s not, something really ought to be done. The article in the times has the steps needed to remove the stealware like LimeShop, SaveNow and BuyerSport from your computer.

Borg Like Me?

[Street Tech Feature] Like Wired after its sale to Conde Nast, I am now officially “post-hip.” Last year, after decades of trying to shake off the pain of severe degenerative arthritis in my right hip (and nearly every other major joint in my body), I had a total hip replacement (“THR” in the trade). With months of Steve Austin/Six Million Dollar Man jokes under my belt, and after enduring such forehead-slapping questions as: “Will you set off metal detectors?” and “Is the Sony AIBO going to hump your bionic leg?,” I was suitably hardened for all manner of operating room torture.

Being told what the MatriX is…

EasyBuy2000, sellers of cutting-edge cheap Asian electro-crap, are now selling the The MatriX (US$60), a.k.a. Xodus, an XBox add-in chip that allows your ‘Box to play games in JAP and PAL formats. To get around legal “issues,” the chip is shipped unflashed — you add the FlashRAM yourself when you get it, so YOU’RE breaking the law, not them.

Zire Predictions

Palminfocenter has come up with some spy pics of Palm’s new upcoming handhelds, and they all are sure to spark the handheld war afresh; Palm’s low end unit will be called the Zire, will have 2 megs of RAM and cost just $99. According to Palminfocenter, the Tungsten line will be the high end line, and will include the first Palm OS5 handheld with ARM-based chip @ 175 MHz with 16 megs of RAM, internal Bluetooth, a “double density” 320×320 TFT screen with 65k colors and a fancy slide out Graffitti area cover with D-pad (pictured right). Another rumored device is a Palm PDA/Phone with similar features as the Tungsten T, but with wireless access and a biult-in keyboard for thumb-typists. Visit Palminfocenter for better pics and specs.

[Posted by Nate Heasley]