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Top 10 Gadgets of 2010

TECH: Top gadgets and tech treats from 2010

IT’S clear that we are firmly in the age of digital technologies. No doubt each year will bring new and exciting gadgets to the table that will make today’s ones seem so last year, but it’s good to take stock of where we are today and how far we’ve come.

With a quest to develop all-in-one gadgets, the market has been saturated with digital devices that can all do pretty much the same thing. It seems to be more about brand name and style than anything else. What follows is a list of some of the top gadgets of 2010.

Top 10 Gadgets: 1. The Apple iPad

Apple iPadAlthough tablet PCs are not new to the world, Apple tends to take things a few strides further and did so with the release of the Apple iPad. Capable of behaving like a laptop, media player, Internet browser, e-reader, game station, camera, photo album and more, the iPad really is an all-on-one digital device.

Top 10 Gadgets: 2. Apple iPhone 4G

Apple iPhone 4GThe iPhone was hailed as a revolutionary mobile that not only looked good, but could do more than you could ever ask of a phone. It is certainly one device that will be continuously upgraded and enhanced thanks to its eager fan base. The iPhone 4G boasts the sharpest, most vibrant, highest-resolution screen on the cellular market today.

Top 10 Gadgets: 3. The Garmin Nüvi 1390T GPS

Garmin nüvi 1390TGPS devices may be so last year, but what the latest models can do almost makes one gawk at satellite technology. This particular GPS not only comes with lifetime map updates, but features an enhanced user interface, ecoRoute (which suggests fuel-efficient routes), pedestrian navigation and the new public transit mode, which allows you to navigate using buses, tramway, metro­ and suburban rail systems.

Top 10 Gadgets: 4. Logitech Revue with Google TV

Logitech Revue With Google TVAlthough not quite mainstream yet, at least not in South Africa, Logitech Revue­ essentially allows you to connect your TV and satellite cable with a high speed Internet connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi to bring you Google TV. Switch between regular broadcasts and online content (specifically Google TV) at will. Use a keyboard to search for your favourite shows or surf the Internet on your TV; or use your iPhone 4 as a TV remote.

Top 10 Gadgets: 5. Samsung LED 9000 series

Samsung LED 9000 series3DTV has boomed this year with the release of several films in 3D as well as newer 3DTVs to enjoy watching them at home. I always speak highly of Samsung screens and this particular 3DTV has got to be one of the slickest on the market. As thin as a number two pencil, this TV will do 3D right out of the box.

Top 10 Gadgets: 6. Panasonic 3D camcorder

Panasonic 3D CamcorderWith the explosion of 3D films and new 3DTVs this year, it won’t take long before consumers will want to start producing their own videos in 3D. Panasonic has been hailed as the first to bring 3D video to the consumer level with this camcorder, although it will set you back about R150 000.

Top 10 Gadgets: 7. The Nook Colour E-Reader

Nook Color E-ReaderE-Readers have certainly come into fashion this year, and although one can use an iPad or iPhone as an e-reader, the Nook Colour features a 17 cm touch screen and comes in full colour — perfect for children’s books and magazines, as well as enhanced books and newspapers. The Nook can also be used to surf the Internet, listen to music and play games. It’s an e-reader the whole family can enjoy.

Top 10 Gadgets: 8. Fourth Generation Apple Ipod Touch

Apple iPod touchIpods are not just about listening to music­ anymore. Video chatting, filming and sharing HD video, playing games and listening to music are all doable with the forth, and not last, Apple Ipod Touch.

Top 10 Gadgets: 9. Bluetooth-enabled, iPhone-compatible Meat Thermometer

iGrillA new gadget for the kitchen, this iGrill meat thermometer will connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth so that you can check the status of whatever meat you’re cooking from any room in the house. With a range of 60 metres and capable of registering up to 200°C, you’ll able to keep an eye on dinner while taking a bath.

Top 10 Gadgets: 10. Kodak PlaySport

Kodak PlaySportThe PlaySport is a durable camera for the outdoors type. It’s drop-resistant, and waterproof and can be dragged around the world without worry. Strap it to your body before scaling a mountain or skiing down a slope and capture all your adventures in high quality video­.

Sources:
www.logitech.com
www.gizmodo.com
www.digitaltrends.com
www.top100gadgets.com
and Time Magazine’s Top 10 Gadgets

Time to chair up

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ULTIMATE V3: It’s death by comfort

THEY say that we spend a third of our lives sleeping (presumably in a bed). Well, I reckon that we spend another third of our lives sitting in a chair, especially if you work in an office. Think about it. You get out of bed, sit at the breakfast table, drive seated to work, sit at your desk, drive home again, maybe sit and watch some television, perhaps sit at your computer and do some writing or surf the web and climb back into bed.
 
Some are more disciplined than that. I had a Swiss-German friend at varsity who couldn’t even sit through a movie because it involved too much sitting. It must be his German blood.

I find nothing more satisfying than sitting (even better — lying) on a comfortable couch. The funny thing about couches is that it is always the most stuffed, unattractive-looking couch in any house that is everyone’s favourite — the couch that is probably worth less than the amount of loose change that has fallen into it over the years.

An artist's impression of my dads favourite chair

An artist

My dad has a favourite couch back home, which I’m sure is a source of some embarrassment when visitors arrive. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother has tried to incinerate it in a freak “coal-leaping-out-the-fire” accident. I’m sure it would go up in flames pretty quickly with the amount of body oil that has seeped into it over the centuries.

This off-white relic has coffee stains, tobacco burns and an imprint of my father’s behind in the centre. Yet, when seated in its mould, in front of an early winter’s fire and after some of Mother’s good home cooking, Father is as happy as Larry (however happy he is), usually fast asleep. He probably sleeps more in that couch than in his own bed.

So, if we do spend such a significant amount of our lives in beds and chairs, then why not make them decent ones. I’m always willing to spend a little extra on something that I know I’ll use every day and probably have for a lifetime.

I thought it was high time for me to chair up and buy myself a decent gaming chair — one that I could swivel around in freely and lean back and forth in. It’s a rather simple piece of furniture, although it was one heck of a science putting the thing together.

It came in attachable parts with a set of tools, a spider diagram, some Chinese instructions, and a note of encouragement. I half expected to find a small key, some coded message, a strange map and an enchan­ted ring. Without those one definitely needs a degree to put one of these pieces of technology together.

Although I now swivel contently in my “leather” chair, I still wanted to see what else was available on the market. This is what I found …

Ultimate Game Chair V3

The V3 Ultimate Gaming Chair can be jacked into your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. Photo: ultimategamechair.com

The V3 Ultimate Gaming Chair can be jacked into your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. Photo: ultimategamechair.com

There are a lot of fancy and alien-looking chairs out there — most of which have been designed for home entertainment. The simplest home theatre chairs have speakers mounted on the headrest and are basically REALLY comfortable and pleasant-smelling.

The most common gaming chairs, on the other hand, are designed to enhance the experience of simulators such as Flight Simulator. These have joysticks protruding out the armrests, which I imagine one could use to play a variety of games.

Racing chairs come with an adjustable chassis and have foot pedals and a steering wheel as part of their anatomy. The seats are designed to mimic the feeling of being in a Formula One car, and many even go the extra mile by vibrating as you ‘drive’ over rough roads.

Yet those chairs are old school now. You can get a close-enough experience at your local arcade. I was more intrigued by the Ultimate V3. This baby is co­vered in plugs and ports and is compatible with just about everything. To name a few, you can jack it up to your PC, Mac, Xbox, Game Cube, iPod, Playstation, or television. One reviewer had this to say:

“The V3 quite literally rocks your face off! From our experience from it, we were simply stunned. It is like getting a back massage while playing all your favourite games in a comfortable leather chair. It is simply amazing.” — ultimategamechair.com

It has 12 “strategically distributed” feedback monitors, adjustable 3D stereo speakers and a headset jack. It also vibrates and has “variable output on all three vibration sensation levels”. There are three vibration sensation levels? That takes the sensation of sitting in those vibrating chairs at the mall to a whole new le­vel.

 I imagine that one would never get out of this chair if seated in it. It would be death by comfort. So, I imagine that V3 owners have to be just as disciplined as those who are not fans of the couch.

Nike + Apple = Nike + iPod Sport Kit

YET two more global brands have joined forces to bring you the latest in integrated sport and fitness technology. Apple and Nike have released the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, which allows your iPod nano to become your personal coach as it tracks your distance, time, pace and calories burned in a workout. However, this is only after you connect your iPod nano to your shoe – preferably your Nike + shoe.

I bet Forrest Gump would have appreciated this:
Nike + iPod Sport Kit

Although people are devising ways to integrate the idea into their old – smelly yet favourite – running shoes, the Nike+ shoe is specifically designed to ‘talk’ to your iPod nano:

“[A] wireless sensor is placed in a built-in pocket inside the insole of the shoe while the receiver is plugged into the dock connector on your iPod nano. As you run or walk the sensor automatically sends information to your iPod nano during your workout.”

The sensor in the shoe uses a sensitive accelerometer to measure your activity before transferring this data wirelessly to the receiver on your iPod nano. And there’s nothing preventing you from simultaneously listening to music during a pleasant afternoon jog …

• Average retail price: $29 (R359 in South Africa).

Link: Get in Gear
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