Think Lego Mindstorms meets Radio Shack. Bug Labs has been working on their Bug Base—a fully modifiable, open-source gadget building block system. The base itself includes specs similar to “a three-year-old laptop” but includes WiFi and Ethernet, USB and more. Once you have the base, you can add additional “modules,” including LCD displays, GPS, cameras, motion sensors and tons more. Each of the modules will require you to program them using a software package similar to VisualStudio in appearance, but everything is open source. Bug Labs has about 80 different sensors on the roadmap right now and they’re constantly interfacing with the community to come up with new ideas.
The concept has a lot of promise and some great tinkering cred. For the first 60 days, they’re offering an early-adopter special with the base costing just $299 (down from $349) and modules ranging from $49-$119. Pre-orders began on January 21st and will ship by March.
Take a look at our video to see us get our hands on the base and its modules and to talk to Jeremy from Bug Labs about what’s coming down the road and what’s in store for Bug Labs.
The Gear Live crew got the only private listening session of the newly-announced Beats by Dr. Dre headphones during CES, and our thoughts are in this episode. Be sure to check out our other Beats by Dr. Dre video, and our Beats by Dr. Dre photo gallery.
We got a private demo with Monster and had the opportunity to listen to what’s amounted to more than two years of obsessive research and attention to detail. All the materials, the drivers, the amplifier and more are clearly thought out and it shows. The response from these is absolutely incredible. Their intent was to allow you to listen to the music as the producer intended and dare I say it’s as faithful reproduction as you’ll find on a $400 set of headphones. It’s enough that I would buy these before buying the nearest-priced Logitech system for my computer. The bass response was impressive to the Nth—low bass held its tonal quality through a great deal of dynamic range, something not usually seen. The midrange was rich and warm and perfectly presented and the high ends came out just as well.
I’m sad because I really want these. I mean, I was upset that I had to go home tomorrow to my sound system, and that it’s nothing close to how these performed. They were comfortable, sexy, and sounded absolutely incredible.
Try these when they come out in June. But only if you’re prepared to buy them.
Many companies showed of Solid State Disks (SSD) at CES, but none so cost effectively as Sandisk. As usual Sandisk is bringing a product to market that beats the price of it’s competitors while still not skimping on features. SSD drives are an effective way to increase performance and battery life on notebooks without requiring re-engineering. Available now in a variety of capacities and price points - look for them in stores or devices soon.
The Asus Eee PC is an amazing little wonder of a device. However, unless you buy the 8G version, your little Linux mobile laptop isn’t fully powered. Luckily, getting inside the Eee PC is not much of a challenge at all, and adding in some extra RAM typically works nicely for any computer user. In this episode, Nate True show us how to upgrade the RAM in the Eee PC. All you need is a tiny Philips screwdriver, a 1 or 2 GB RAM module, an Eee PC, and a few minutes of time. Check out the video for the full details, and let us know how it goes if you try it out. Remember, we will have more Eee PC tips and hacks for you soon.
During this morning’s MacWorld keynote, Steve Jobs announced the new MacBook Air notebook. We’ve all been expecting some sort of Apple sub-notebook, and this one looks amazing. Apple it touting this as the “world’s thinnest notebook”. The MacBook Air is 0.16-inches to 0.76-inches. The thickest part of the Air is thinner than the thinnest part of a Sony TZ series notebook. That is impressive. The device features an 80 GB 1.8-inch hard drive, with a 64 GB SSD drive as an option. It ships standard with 2 GB of RAM and a 1.6 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, with the option to switch to 1.8 GHz. Other features include a 45-watt MagSafe, 1 USB 2.0 port, a Micro-DVI port, and audio out. There is no Ethernet port (otherwise they couldn’t have gotten it this thin) so you will have to rely on the built-in 802.11n WiFI and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. The MacBook Air also leaves out the optical drive, but you can purchase an external SuperDrive accessory for $99 USD. It also ships with software that allows it to “borrow” the optical drive of another Mac or PC. Expect 5 hours of battery life out of this one - or more if you opt for the SSD drive. The MacBook Air will hit retail in about two weeks, and will cost $1799. Pre-orders start today.
Read More | MacBook Air Product Page
During this morning’s MacWorld keynote, Apple announced a brand new router specifically meant for those of us running Leopard on Apple notebooks, called Time Capsule. Basically an Airport Extreme NAS, the Time Capsule router allows those running Leopard while connected over WiFi to run Time Machine. Currently, unless you use a back-end hack to enable WiFi backups, you have to plug and unplug your laptop to an external drive to run Time Machine backups. Time Capsule removes that requirement, thus making WiFi Time Machine backups simple. Of course, it comes at a price. A 500 GB Time Capsule retails for $299 USD, which a 1 TB version costs $499.
Read More | Time Capsule Product Page
We visited Samsung and learned about their new Ultra Mobile Personal Computers (UMPC). They’re basically palm-sized computers with the power of a laptop. Their line starts with the Q1 Ultra, which runs Windows XP or Vista has a standard 80GB hard drive, a battery life of 4 ½ hours with WiFi enabled, includes a webcam, 2 USB ports and an SD Card slot, weighing only 1.5 pounds at a price of $1300 USD. There’s also the Q1 Ultra SSD, with a 32 GB solid-state drive for increased boot time and access to data. Finally, there’s the just-launched, award-winning Q1 Ultra Premium, with a powerful Intel Pentium Mobile Processor, 80GB hard drive, and a battery life up to 7.5 hours with WiFi enabled. Available at the end of the month for $1500.
When going to CES one expects a rough week involving countless interviews, hour after hour of writing, and defending oneself from PR reps from round the world. One thing you don’t expect is to get the living daylights shocked out of you. First and foremost, watch the video above for a chance to see me get tasered. After all, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to see some poor sot get tasered - particularly when they signed themself up for it (full waiver and everything).
Oh yeah, a bit of background - we didn’t go for the ‘shock treatment’ but rather went to check out Tasers new MPH or Music Playing Holster. With this faux-leather device one can carry their original, pink, or leopard skin taser in style and listen to 1GB of tunes at the same time. It doesn’t fully make sense to us, but the Taser company claims this makes it an ideal exercise companion for those jogs through the seedy underbelly of your favorite big city.
We got a chance to catch up with Noel Lee, Head Monster of Monster Cable to talk to him about their newly announced Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Noel goes into the background and development of these amazing headphones, the two-year development, and the relationship with Dr. Dre. Be sure to also check out our Beats by Dr. Dre photo gallery to get a good look at these things.
TiVo takes some time at Digital Experience from CES to show us their latest iteration of TiVo Desktop, version 2.6. Version 2.6 includes some very cool features, including the ability for users to automatically push web-based video and podcasts (like like ours) straight down to their TiVos automatically. We talk about availability and what else to expect coming down the pipeline from TiVo in the near future in this video.
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