Yesterday, Apple released Apple TV 3.0, the first “major” release for the device in about two years. The company has often referred to the Apple TV as a hobby, as opposed to a real business. That said, there are a few nice additions that can be found in the Apple TV 3.0 update, so we give you a full walkthrough of the device, giving you a sampling of some of the new hotness.
Some of the standout features are the obviously redesigned home screen. Instead of the centered grid, you get a full screen menu that makes it easier to navigate right to the content that you want. I mean, it’s nice, but it seems to be the biggest visual upgrade to the device, which we think is in need of a hardware refresh. You also score Genius DJ playlist abilities, nice for parties and such, but I rock a Sonos system, so it doesn’t really appeal to me personally. Same goes for Internet radio, but it is there as a feature, and it’s nice. The one we like is the addition of iTunes Extras and iTunes LP content. We are fans of the iTunes LP, so being able to see it on an HDTV, which is where we think it shines, is also “nice.”
If you are picking up on a trend, you win. This whole 3.0 business is, in a word, “nice.” It isn’t anything more than that. It brings the Apple TV in line with other Apple products, allowing it to do things that other devices can do, and it gets a UI refresh, and the Helvetica font. All well and good, but let’s hope that next time around we get some decent new hardware. In any event, hit the play button for the full tour.
Tidy up your your desktop with CableDrop. Each one will keep cables not in use from falling into that scary black hole behind your desk. Use them for computers, appliances, lamps, cell phone chargers or anything else with a cord. Stick them on a desk, wall or furniture to keep the clutter to a minimum. The 1 1/8-inch CableDrops come in a pack of 6 with three different colors at a price of $9.95
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RadioShack has had a limited trade-in program for a while now, but they have just announced that it will become available at all 4,400 of their stores. Take your working used electronics in, show an ID and you will receive a gift card for your efforts. You can also go to their site and get an appraisal and free shipping label. The items are limited to MP3 players, cell phones, gaming consoles, peripherals, computers and a few others, so check with them to find out if your used device qualifies.
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Don’t you hate it when you have to use an entire socket just for a single plug? Those with bulky, oversized or oddly shaped plugs can now relax with the Socket Sense Surge Protector. With 2160 joules of protection, the device goes from 13 to 16-inches with a six ft. cord. Not only will you not have to worry about plugs being blocked, it has keyholes for mounting on a wall. Get yours for $29.95.
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We told you how Lego was going to start offering electronic products for kids. Take a look at their Animation Station Video Camera that has a 1.4-inch color LCD flip-out display, record/function buttons, a 5-way navigational pad and a detachable remote. The cam comes complete with a how-to guide for amateur photographers as well as editing software. Digital Blue has plans to release it either late summer or early fall with a retail price of $79.99.
Read More | Kids Tech Review
For parents who can’t get their kids away from the electronics, the Screen Time Manager will set a daily or weekly limit and “no-use” time segments where they will not be able to use the TV, computer, video game or other electronic device. Each child is given his/her own PIN number for access and it works 24/7, in case the kidlets try to pull one over on you when you are out. When time is up, the device shuts down. Set up is simple and is good for 6 users. At a size of 4 1/2 x 71/2 x 3 3/4-inches, the time manager is priced at $89.95.
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While Circuit City goes under with a whimper, Best Buy has announced with a bang that their recycling program will be launched nationwide on Feb. 15. You can bring up to two units per day for each household. Items include computers, VCRs, DVDs, cell phones, peripherals and other small electronics. They will not accept TVs or monitors over 32-inches, console TVs, any appliances, items with Freon and microwaves. Items with screens come with a $10.00 recycling fee, but that becomes an instant Best Buy gift card.
Read More | Digital Tech News
Powermat combines a super-thin mat and receiver to wirelessly charge 3 to 6 electronic devices, all at the same rate as their own chargers. Using magnetic induction, there are a dozen different receivers that will work with phones, PDAs, headsets, MP3 players, handheld games, GPS units, laptops, batteries, cameras, and more. For example, the one for home use comes with a storage tray and can handle up to 4 devices and has a USB port to charge a fifth. A fall debut is expected, so sign up on their site if you would like to be notified when the Powermats become available.
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What to do with those outdated electronics? If you don’t want to sell them yourself on eBay or craig’s list, send your old working cell phones, MP3 players, laptops, GPS systems or other electronics to Gazelle. Evaluate the condition of your device online and they will give you an estimate. They will even pay for shipping by sending you a postage-free box. The entire process takes about a week after they receive the item. The company claims their average payment is $115.00, a great way to make some extra holiday cash.
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Circuit City just couldn’t save itself by selling off some of their stores and cutting back on employees during the last couple of months. They have filed for bankruptcy, making them the largest retailer to do so since Kmart in 2002. Reasons given include tougher vendor credit terms, a decrease in cash, and less consumer spending in their 556 outlets. They have even gone so far as to post a “We’re sorry” note on their site from CEO Jim Marcum. It may be a tough road back for the electronic chain and, while we hate to be blunt, while watching our local news we noticed that shoppers were grabbing some discounted items with glee.
Read More | Reuters