On Gear Live: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

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Retro Phone Handset connected to cell phoneGone are the days of real telephones, with real handsets.  It used to be that a telephone handset had real heft, and could double as a hammer in a pinch.  Forget about trying to do that with cell phones, with their flimsy flip covers and see-through plastic cases.  You might as well be holding a tissue to your ear.

That’s all about to change.  Now, for those times when you need an authoritative phone presence, the Retro Phone Handset is available.  It plugs into a wide range of cell phones via a standard 2.5 mm plug and comes complete with curly umbilical to tie the handset to your mobile phone.  (A hands-free adapter kit is also available, though I’m not sure I see the point of that.)

With this entry into the retro phone market, I forsee a wave of future retro products.  How about a Bluetooth rotary dialer for your cell phone?

Read More | ThinkGeek

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Deep in the bowels of Kentia Hall, camera jockey Nate True and I found this interesting booth. The Brain Games concept allows you to connect a few diodes to your skull that it uses to monitor your brain’s stress level and affect your controller’s accuracy. Calm down and focus, and your controller works flawlessly. Find yourself distracted, and you’ll notice sluggish, well, distracted control. I know there’s always a lot of “stress” associated with the hustle and bustle of E3 and interviews and such, and it was a bit difficult to control, but I could swear there were times where I was “thinking” as calm as possible, and still noticed a bit of an encumberence on my controller.

Watch me demo the unit! Watch me ask all the tough questions! Watch me butcher the man’s name! Watch how stupid I look in a visor! All this and more. It’s almost worth it.

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We got our hands on the new SCOTTeVEST Performance T-Shirt, the latest from the company that makes Technology Enabled Clothing. Check the video for our full review.

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Gear Live Podcast SurveyIMPORTANT: We are surveying the viewers of our show to see what it is that people like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It is anonymous, and just takes a couple of minutes. If you have the time, we would appreciate it! As always, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

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Stonehenge Watch

There are those among us who just can’t get enough of Spinal Tap, particularly the Stonehenge sequence.  For those people, we present the Stonehenge watch.  Flip open the lid, erect the gnomon (that’s something you don’t read every day), orient yourself using the included compass, and let the shadows tell you the time.  Or just flip it over and look at the analog watch dial on the back.

Impress your friends, confuse your enemies!  With this watch, some glittery eyeshadow, and a custom amplifier that goes to eleven, you’re sure to be a shoe-in for the Spinal Tap tribute band now forming in your neighborhood.

Read More | Stonehenge Watch

Line 6 Variax

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is lucky.  If he’s working on a track at his home studio and he needs a particular sound, he can just go grab another guitar, plug in, and another classic track is born.  Those of us for whom money is still an issue have it a little tougher.  Sure, we know that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” should only be played on a Les Paul (or a copy, like Slash used), but there’s only room for a couple of guitars in the back of the Civic, and if the song has to be played on a Strat, then so be it.

No more excuses!  For the cost of a decent Stratocaster or half of a Les Paul, guitar players can have access to classic sounds from both of these instruments, as well as from banjos, sitars, resonators, and several acoustic guitars.  The Variax carefully models the waveforms of classic instruments to product their sounds faithfully, and all of the sounds are just a knob twist away.  Finally, guitarists can leave their vintage instruments at home and still be prepared for any musical need that may arise.

Read More | Line 6

Xbox 360 Contest

Alright peeps, we have yet another opportunity for anyone out there to walk away with an Xbox 360, courtesy of Gear Live. We are looking to see what our readers can come up with in terms of creating a simple video game. We just made one ourselves, and despite not having any previous coding knowledge, we are pretty happy with the way Tennis Challenge turned out. Yeah, it may appear to be a Pong rip, but we made it our own. Now it’s your turn. Here is how it’s gonna go down:

  • Download the game we created in Visual Studio Express, Gear Live’s Tennis Challenge
  • Download Visual Studio Express. This also enters you in the Upgrade Your Game Sweepstakes.
  • Create a game from scratch, or edit one of the game templates that Visual Studio Express gives you.
  • Let us know about your game. Blog about it and link us to it. Let us know on our forums. All games will be made available for public download.
  • The contest ends on June 23, 2006, but seriously, it took us all of ten minutes to create Tennis Challenge. Of course, we want you to do better than we did.
  • We will choose a winner, and that person walks away with a brand new Xbox 360.

Now, this contest is open only to Gear Live members. Of course, signing up is completely free, and takes all of ten seconds. If you have a forum account, you are already a member. Now, go ahead and get to work on creating a game - we want to see just how creative you guys can be. Oh, and we have this extra Xbox 360 that needs a home.


What happens when you create a giant slingshot, and use it to propel a piece of old-school technology into a solid cement wall at over 100 MPH? Find out in this episode of Breakin’ Stuff.


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Gear Live Podcast SurveyIMPORTANT: We are surveying the viewers of our show to see what it is that people like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It is anonymous, and just takes a couple of minutes. If you have the time, we would appreciate it! As always, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

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Gibson Digital Guitar

The Gibson Digital Guitar, demonstrated last month at Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle, is the first electric guitar to feature an Ethernet port on-board.  Using onboard electronics, the Gibson Digital allows players to send output from different strings to different amps or effect loops, as well as opening up the guitar’s traditionally analog signal to digital applications, like Internet streaming and single-string-per-track recording.

The real innovation here is in the media delivery system Gibson has designed to carry this information.  MaGIC, which stands for Media-accelerated Global Information Carrier, is a protocol that carries media information bi-directionally on a standard Ethernet cable.  Gibson’s goal for MaGIC technology is to replace all the cabling on musical instrument rigs as well as consumer electronics,  allowing users to daisy-chain devices and greatly simplifying audio system component hookup.  The MaGIC protocol carries 32 channels of digital audio over the single Ethernet cable.

Gibson has not yet released the digital guitar for sale, but has partnered with chipmaker Cirrus Logic to deliver a suite of digital audio and video products utilizing gigabit Ethernet connectivity in 2006.


Read More | Gibson Digital


Xbox 360 Contest

Alright peeps, we have yet another opportunity for anyone out there to walk away with an Xbox 360, courtesy of Gear Live. We are looking to see what our readers can come up with in terms of creating a simple video game. We just made one ourselves, and despite not having any previous coding knowledge, we are pretty happy with the way Tennis Challenge turned out. Yeah, it may appear to be a Pong rip, but we made it our own. Now it’s your turn. Here is how it’s gonna go down:

  • Download the game we created in Visual Studio Express, Gear Live’s Tennis Challenge
  • Download Visual Studio Express. This also enters you in the Upgrade Your Game Sweepstakes.
  • Create a game from scratch, or edit one of the game templates that Visual Studio Express gives you.
  • Let us know about your game. Blog about it and link us to it. Let us know on our forums. All games will be made available for public download.
  • The contest ends on June 23, 2006, but seriously, it took us all of ten minutes to create Tennis Challenge. Of course, we want you to do better than we did.
  • We will choose a winner, and that person walks away with a brand new Xbox 360.

Now, this contest is open only to Gear Live members. Of course, signing up is completely free, and takes all of ten seconds. If you have a forum account, you are already a member. Now, go ahead and get to work on creating a game - we want to see just how creative you guys can be. Oh, and we have this extra Xbox 360 that needs a home.


WowWee demonstrated for us their new Roboreptile, a “quicker, more cunning” version of their Roboraptor. We must have missed the memo explaining that “quicker” and “more cunning” were now euphemisms for “spastic” and “utterly stupid.” Suffice to say, this interview was a brilliant exercise in professional courtesy, as we had to try our best not to break down and laugh as the pathetic, over-priced, and bizarre robotic toy (which we wouldn’t pay $20 for at Radio Shack) nearly flailed itself right off the table in a fit of white, melodramatic, plasticy rage.

This all makes for a very stark contrast to the Ugobe Pleo, a dinosaur-based artificial life form that features three times the sensors, intelligence to keep it from walking off a table, and the ability to communicate with other Pleo’s, along with a ton of other innovative features.

When asked about a successor to the sorry, largely pointless Roboreptile, we receive a “no, not really anything planned” which made the interview all the more special.

We can’t quite grasp what would encourage someone to throw away $120 at a crappy plastic dinosaur that doesn’t really do much but seize and fall over, but perhaps there’s a market in people who don’t really know any better. Stay away from this novelty at all costs.


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Gear Live Podcast SurveyIMPORTANT: We are surveying the viewers of our show to see what it is that people like, and more importantly, what they don’t like. It is anonymous, and just takes a couple of minutes. If you have the time, we would appreciate it! As always, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

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