Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/17/tech_digest/

Martian robot trundles into Gizmoville


By Tech Digest

Posted in Personal Tech, 17th October 2005 14:18 GMT

Tech Digest Certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the oddest digital goodies, while Bayraider keeps tabs on the best and worst of eBay.

Shiny has also just launched two new blogs: HDTVUK – the first high definition TV news site for the UK - and PopJunkie. From OMD’s bizarre gay disco album to the retro thrash of the Brian Jonestown’s Massacre’s Take It From the Man, each day PopJunkie offers a mini review of a great lost pop album.

Accessory of the Week: GPS wrist watch

The Suunto X9iGPS-endowed wrist watches always sound like a great idea in theory. But alas in practice they are usually so huge that you inevitably strain a minor muscle or two moving your arm to look at the data. I might yet be convinced by the Suunto X9i, which the maker claims is the smallest and lightest wristop computer with GPS and from the pic it seems much more slight than normal. Aimed more at serious super-fit athlete types than trad GPS systems, the X9i also features a variety of apps that enable the user to track their current speed and distance etc.

Even cooler is the, ahem, Hansel and Gretel mode (our name, sadly not theirs), which instantly explains to the user where they have come from and how they can back there. Users can also hook up the device to a PC and download digital maps on to it. Other features include an altimeter, barometer, digital compass, thermometer, and an extensive memory. Oh, and it tells the time too. It is on sale now for £350. More here.

Traditional ‘how did that get on eBay’ Story: Martian TV robot

Martian robotOwning a martian robot would be cool. Just think of the cool things you could do with it... like... well... we're sure we'd think of something. Anyway, our dream could soon be reality, thanks to this auction. The bot appears to come from a TV show called 'Martian Law' - presumably like 'LA Law' but with more human characters. Boom boom! The robot has a remote-controlled tread, head-turn and body-turn, and can climb "mild grades" (i.e. it can't chase earthlings up stairs). It's up for live auction on 16 October with a starting price of $3,750.

Daftest MP3 player of the week: PEZ MP3 player

That Pez mp3 player in fullOK, so it's not particular classy. Hell, it's not even particularly nice, but how could I resist posting up this MP3 player which some mad soul has fitted inside a PEZ Pal Boy sweetie dispenser thing? You've got to respect someone who's gone to all that trouble only to produce something that looks like a... well.. like a plastic PEZ sweetie dispenser. It's 512MB (approx 120 songs), and comes pre-loaded with a collection of Indie music. I find myself wanting one against my will. $100 and it's all yours - but there's only a limited number, mind. More here.

Glad they thought of that gadget of the week: Video in a snowstorm

The Philips MementoHere’s some very clever stuff from Philips. The Momento is a snow scene-style video player that will playback your home movie clips, showing a new one every time you shake the ball. I saw it at Philips recent exhibition in Paris and it was larger than it looks in this picture, but I quite liked the idea of removing controls and having something totally basic for normal people to use. The idea is that any video from places like your mobile or digicam would be picked up automatically by the crystal ball, saving you the hassle of having to download stuff onto it, or plug anything in. A neat little concept that's probably not the most practical solution (it's pretty much restricted to one or two people peering at it at a time and everything goes a bit fish-eye), but appealing nonetheless.

Vaguely useful service of the week: TV to GPRS phones

If you fancy watching a bit of TV on your mobile and don't yet have a 3G phone, here is some potentially good news. Rok, who you may remember as offering storage cards for phones pre-loaded movies and programmes, is now offering a TV streaming service to GPRS handsets. I’ll believe the quality when I see it, but the company says that once the user has downloaded the ROK player they can stream up to 10 live and on-demand channels including the Cartoon Network, CNN and ITN.

Similar to Orange's rival 3G TV service it is free to try Rok TV, but after a month or so unless you pay £9.99 per month your screen goes blank. While it sounds great in theory there is a drawback or two. Firstly the service is only available on certain Nokia phones. Also users will also have to pay their network for the data they download on top of the £9.99 per month. Apparently it is around 10MB of data per hour of viewing at a claimed 15fps. More here.

Quick Picks:

Loads more of this stuff at Tech Digest, Shiny Shiny, Green consumer blog HippyShopper and Bayraider which delves into the dark side of online auction sites.