Panasonic 42″ 1080p Plasma For $649.99 – Sears Has It

You may recall that last week I had mentioned about not forgetting Sears when looking for electronics. Today I received an advertisement from Sears offering the following HDTV for a great price. The HDTV is a Panasonic 42″ 1080p Plasma on sale for $649.99. On their web site Sears provides the following information about this HDTV:

Product Description

Striking in its beauty and elegance, bold in its functionality, this 1080p VIERA® television from Panasonic brings your favorite programming to life. You’ll be mesmerized by its clear, crisp picture and its true-to-life motion reproduction, and its added features will only impress you more. Whether offering all-in-one control of your components from a single remote or digital photo viewer that turns your TV into a large, slideshow-running digital picture frame, the VIERA® S1 Series steps up to the challenge of offering more. 40.6 x 26.1 x 4.2 in., 57.4 lbs. (40.6 x 28.0 x 12.9 in., 59.6 lbs. with stand)

  • Full-Time 1080p TV – The S1 Series produces crisp images and eliminates motion blur by maintaining full TV lines of resolution even in fast moving scenes.
  • VIERA Image Viewer™ – Turn to this feature for a better way to share your digital photos with friends and family.
  • VIERA Link™ – Control all compatible audio and video devices via a single remote and helpful on-screen menus.
  • Neo PDP (Plasma Display Panel) Technology – The S1 Series utilizes advanced up-to-date plasma technology to bring you the best picture, complete with brighter images, a 40,000:1 native contrast ratio and an Infinite Black Panel.
  • 600Hz Sub-Field Drive – An improvement on the 480Hz Sub-Field Drive of previous models, this feature provides more sub-field possibilities for your display, allowing for a more true-to-life presentation.
  • Game Mode – Game Mode minimizes the time lag when displaying game images on the plasma screen. Ultimately, this mode ensures that your gaming experience will feature an extremely clear image with no annoying motion artifacts.
  • AR (Anti-Reflective) Filter – Cut down on glare and light reflection with this exclusive Panasonic feature.
  • 100,000 Hour Panel Life – Don’t worry about fading or loss of image quality. With the S1 Series’ long panel life, you’ll be enjoying your plasma television for many years to come.
  • Inputs – HDMI™ (3), Composite (2), Component (2), S-Video, Audio (5)
    Outputs – Digital Audio

I was surprised when I read a comment [I am not sure if it was here at The Blade or on some other site], that stated Plasma TV’s were only good for a couple of years. My understanding from what I have read is that Plasma TV’s have a life span of 15 to 20 years.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Previous Sears article

Current Sears advertisement

Have You Heard Of Freescale? You Will Soon – How About A Tablet For $199?

While we all wait for Apple and maybe Google to introduce their tablet computers, a company by the name of Freescale has a vision of cheaper tablets. Freescale provides the guts of tablet computer that they call smatbooks. Though the company does not have any vendors as of yet, their announcement at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show this week, could turn the computer industry on its head. Freescale is a semiconductor company that forsees cheap tablet computers in the $199 range as soon as this summer.

According to one article it stated that:

The Freescale tablet reference design (pictured above) has specifications close to what we have been hearing about the mythical Apple tablet: a 7-inch touch screen, 3-megapixel camera and various sensors such as a 3-axis accelerometer and an ambient light sensor.

Next to the 512MB of RAM, up to 64GB of internal storage (microSD expansion) and a 1GHz processor, Freescale’s smartbook tablet features a potentially killer spec: a $200 price-tag. Next to an Android or Linux operating system, it also includes WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and options for a 3G modem.

The smartbook reference design is intended to run everyday-use applications such as a Web browser (with Adobe Flash support), an email client, an RSS reader, social networking tools and an office suite among others.

If manufacturers goes with the Freescale concept, we could potentially see these sub $200 computers in a store near you in our future. In looking at the specifications, this pint sized computers could potentially turn the computer industry upside down and offer inexpensive tablets that everyone can afford.

If this does come true I can see a tablet in my future. What about you?

Comments welcome.


Westinghouse 32″ LCD – HDTV 720p For $246? Target Will Have It On Black Friday

The website has the leaked a Black Friday advertisement for Target stores which includes what appears to be a real bargain. The list of products includes a Westinghouse 32″ LCD-HDTV 720p for only $246. I checked the Target website and the current price for the TV is $429 and is in stores only and not available online. Target lists the specifications of the TV as:

  • Television Features: High Contrast and Brightness, RoHS Compliant, Sleep Alarm/Timer, Wide Viewing Angles, Auto Channel Programming, A/V Connects to Home Theaters, Low Power Consumption, Parental Control
  • Maximum Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Vertical Resolution: 1080i
  • Screen Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Electronic Display Features: HD Display, English Language On-Screen Display, High Resolution Panel, On-Screen Display, Spanish Language On-Screen Display, Channel Display, Closed Caption, Diagonal LCD Widescreen
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Tuner Type: ATSC/NTSC/QAM
  • Contrast Ratio: 3000:1
  • Brightness(cd/m2): 480
  • Response Time: 6.5ms Response Time
  • Audio Features: Stereo Speakers, SAP
  • Comb Filter Type: 3D Y/C Digital
  • Mounting Features: Detachable Base Stand, Wall Mountable
  • HD Compatibility: ATSC/NTSC, HD-Built-In HDTV/ATSC Tuner
  • Speaker Type: Front-Firing
  • Speakers: 2
  • Input Type: Digital Audio Input, RF Antenna Input, Composite + L/R Audio, Component YCbCr/YPbPr + L/R Audio, L/R Audio, A/V
  • Output Type: Digital Audio, Audio
  • Component Video Inputs: 1
  • Composite Video Inputs: 2
  • HDMI Inputs: 2
  • PC Inputs: 1
  • Optical Digital Audio Outputs: 1
  • Includes: Detachable Base Stand, Standard Remote Control, Quick Start Guide, Remote Control Batteries, User Manual, Power Cord, Warranty Card
  • Finish: Glossy
  • Dimensions: Length: 30.0 “; Width: 19.0 “; Depth: 3.0 “
  • Product Weight: 20.0 Lb.
  • Warranty Description: 1 Year Limited Manufacturer Warranty

What I believe will happen is that these leaked ads will start the ball rolling for other retailers to cut their pricing on LCD TVs as well. Hopefully this Black Friday is going to be a Black Friday that will make history for low, low prices.

As a side note Target is also advertising a Black Friday sale of a Western Digital Elements 1TB Desktop Hard Drive for $59.98.

Take a look at the additional deals listed at the link below.

Comments as always are welcome.

Target Black Friday ad

Google Kicks Up Online Storage To 20 GB For $5 A Year

For those who need additional space to store their stuff in the cloud, Google is offering 20GB of storage space for only $5 a year. On its blog it states that this amount of storage can hold up to 10,000 full resolution photos from a 5 megapixel camera. Google will also be offering additional storage space for an added fee.

The company also says that:

If you need more than 20 GB, plans range all the way up to 16 TB, which is enough room for 8 million full resolution photos! And Google paid storage offers an extra level of security, protection and accessibility that you can’t get with an external drive — at a similar cost per gigabyte.

As always, extra storage acts as an overflow that you only start using when you reach the limit of your free storage, and people who have extra storage will be automatically upgraded. So if you need more space for thousands of photos of your toddler, or if you’re running out of room in your overflowing inbox, visit to see all the plans and to buy more storage.

Google wants to be your in the cloud storage partner. But will people use this low cost storage to store their precious stuff?

Now that Microsoft has entered into the cloud storage arena how will it respond to Google pricing?

What do you think?


Would You Buy This Toshiba Laptop For Only $329.99?

Yesterday I received an email from an old friend of mine asking for some advice about a Toshiba laptop computer that Best buy has on sale. My friend asked whether or not this cheap laptop would be a wise buy and would meet their needs of email, surfing the web and light word processing ? I was familiar with this particular model since one of my old neighbors had bought a similar model from Walmart a few months ago. But the model from Walmart had came with Windows Vista Basic instead of Windows 7 Home Premium, was priced at $349.99 and other wise was basically the same model.

Here are some of the specifications of the Toshiba Laptop:

Product Features

  • Intel® Celeron® processor 900
    Features an 800MHz frontside bus, 1MB L2 cache and 2.2GHz processor speed.
  • 2GB DDR2 memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 8GB.
  • Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
    Records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD+R DL media; also supports DVD-RAM.
  • 15.6″ TruBrite TFT-LCD widescreen display
    With 1366 x 768 resolution for stunning detail and clarity.
  • 250GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage options.
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M
    With up to 1340MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory for intense detail. Built-in stereo speakers offer clear audio.
  • Multiformat media reader
    Supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick and MultiMediaCard formats.
  • 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital audio, video and data transfer.
  • Realtek wireless LAN (802.11b/g)
    Lets you connect to the Internet on the go.
  • 10/100 Ethernet LAN
    With RJ-45 connector for easy wired connection to the Web.
  • Weighs 5.9 lbs. and measures just 1.5″ thin
    For easy portability.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition operating system preinstalled.Provides a stable platform for word processing, Web navigation, gaming, media storage and more.

The single core Intel Celeron processor at 2.2 GHz is old technology, but a technology that has always performed reliably for the most part. I doubt if one should expect blinding speeds, but I believe the processor is adequate for the job of running Windows 7. 2 GB of RAM is also adequate and the other spec’s seem adequate as well. Overall I gave this stripped down unit a two-thumbs up for my friend.

But my question to you is this. Would you personally buy such a unit for your own personal needs? Would you recommend this computer to a friend? Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.

Best Buy source.

Walmart’s $30 A Month Cell – No Contract Needed

It seems that Walmart has been beta testing a phone system and is now ready to release it to the masses. Pricing seems encouraging in that for $30 a month you get 1,000 minutes of calling, 1,000 texts and 30 MB of mobile web access. For $45 a month you get unlimited calling, texts and mobile web access. According to Walmart, this is nationwide service, which they describe as ‘reliable’.

In a recent article it states the follow information:

The average U.S. adult spends $78 on his or her cell phone bill to receive 1,000 minutes a month.* By switching to the $30 Straight Talk plan, for example, the average 1,000 minutes-per-month consumer could save more than $500 per year and still be on a reliable nationwide network.

To help drive down no-contract wireless pricing for customers, Walmart will launch Straight Talk providing customers the following two options:

  • Straight Talk “All You Need” 30-day Plan that includes the following for only $30 a month:
    • 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30MB of mobile web access
    • Nationwide coverage
    • 411 Information calls at no extra charge
  • Straight Talk’s Unlimited 30-day Plan that includes the following for $45 a month:
    • Unlimited minutes, unlimited text and unlimited mobile web access
    • Nationwide coverage
    • Unlimited 411 Information calls at no extra charge

“It has been very encouraging to see the excitement and response to the Straight Talk pilot in 234 stores that began last summer at Walmart,” said Greg Hall, vice president of Media Services, Walmart U.S. “In light of the savings customers continue to need, we have worked very quickly to extend this offering to all of our Walmart customers nationwide, and just before the holidays.”

Consumers may refill their monthly balances by buying refill cards at Walmart, or by registering online at or Also available at Walmart are a range of Straight Talk phone products to suit different needs, from the entry-level LG 220 flip phone at $39.98, to the LG Slider 290 at $79.98 to the Samsung 451 QWERTY keyboard phone at $99.88.

More information about Straight Talk no-contract wireless services is available at or

Straight Talk is an exclusive Walmart service developed with TracFone Wireless, Inc. TracFone Wireless currently sells TracFone and NET10 prepaid wireless phones and airtime at Walmart stores and online at

I would be interested in using  this ceahp service, but would be concerned about the ‘reliable’ part. What about you. Would you het a Walmart cheap phone?

Comments welcome.


Online College Courses For A Flat $99 A Month

When I first read an article about online college courses being offered for a flat fee of $99 a month, I was somewhat skeptical. Could this be for real or just a scam? So I took a look at StraighterLine and it seems to be the real thing. A recent news article provided the following information:

StraighterLine let students move through courses as quickly or slowly as they chose. Once a course was finished, Solvig could move on to the next one, without paying more. In less than two months, she had finished four complete courses, for less than $200 total. The same courses would have cost her over $2,700 at Northeastern Illinois, $4,200 at Kaplan University, $6,300 at the University of Phoenix, and roughly the gross domestic product of a small Central American nation at an elite private university. They also would have taken two or three times as long to complete.

And if Solvig needed any further proof that her online education was the real deal, she found it when her daughter came home from a local community college one day, complaining about her math course. When Solvig looked at the course materials, she realized that her daughter was using exactly the same learning modules that she was using at StraighterLine, both developed by textbook giant McGraw-Hill. The only difference was that her daughter was paying a lot more for them, and could only take them on the college’s schedule. And while she had a professor, he wasn’t doing much teaching. “He just stands there,” Solvig’s daughter said, while students worked through modules on their own.

There is more:

StraighterLine is the brainchild of a man named Burck Smith, an Internet entrepreneur bent on altering the DNA of higher education as we have known it for the better part of 500 years. Rather than students being tethered to ivy-covered quads or an anonymous commuter campus, Smith envisions a world where they can seamlessly assemble credits and degrees from multiple online providers, each specializing in certain subjects and—most importantly—fiercely competing on price. Smith himself may be the person who revolutionizes the university, or he may not be. But someone with the means and vision to fundamentally reorder the way students experience and pay for higher education is bound to emerge.

StraighterLine’s Web site lists the 4 colleges it is affiliated with. The course selection is limited. But drop by and take a look for yourself and see what you think.

Comments welcome.


StraighterLine Web site

Marvell And Their Small Plug-In Computer

The folks at Marvell have a new miniature computer that is about the size of a network power adapter. The mini computer uses any Linux based operating system which uses the 2.6 kernel. The small computer uses a Marvell Kirkwood processor running at 1.2 GHz, 512 MB each of flash and DRAM. Also included is a USB 2.0 plug and Gigabit Ethernet.

According to Marvell the unit also features:

Plug computing is a logical evolution for the digital home in the same way enterprise applications moved from servers to network appliances,” Mr. Hajime Nakai, Director, Member of the Board, BUFFALO INC. “Marvell is probably the only company that can pack so much processor performance into such a compact form factor.”

“Marvell is a leader in designing high-performance, power-efficient CPUs,” commented Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. “SheevaPlug leverages this capability to deliver an impressive amount of compute performance in an innovative form factor. As a silicon provider, Marvell is providing a flexible platform for a wide variety of applications that serves both consumers and service providers.”

Early adopters of plug computing began to launch Marvell based products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2009. These include:

Axentra: HipServ™ software running on a SheevaPlug is a complete home server platform and applications suite that allows OEMs and service providers to quickly go to market with branded home server solutions. This highly secure and stable software platform allows users to easily store, manage, share, view, or listen to digital media content in the home or remotely.

Cloud Engines, Inc.: Cloud Engines launched the Pogoplug, a new device which connects your external hard drive to the internet so you can easily share and access your files from anywhere. The $99 device won accolades at CES, and the company is taking discounted pre-orders now at

Besides being compact this mini computer is also frugal when using electricity and uses about 1/10th the juice of a standard system according to Marvell.

What do you think? Do you see a need for this mini computer?

Comments welcome.


Dell Mini 9″ With Ubuntu For Only $249

Dell is slashing the price on their Dell Mini 9″ that comes with Ubuntu. The pint sized computer comes with only 512 MB and only 4G SSD drive. Even though this might be a light weight netbook, this unit would be great for those who wish to use it for surfing the net and sending out and receiving emails.

When you view the site for the Dell mini 9 you will also notice that like the Model T their is only one color. Black. Though for an additional $30 you can have the option to select other colors.

Dell seems to be throwing down the gauntlet when it comes to pricing. It will be interesting to see if other companies follow this low pricing.

Would you be interested in buying a min 9 at this price? Let us know.

Comments welcome.

Dells site for the mini 9

Cheap is King

“Content is King,” the saying goes, but words are cheap, the king is dead, and cheap is the new king.  What you knew has been turned around and twisted inside out in this brave new world. Folks are rabid for bargains and thankfully, they’re still not all that hard to come by … if you have the patience and know where to look … whether you comb the net tirelessly for a cheap new car (with four good tires) or wait with baited breath for the next TigerDirect email chock full ‘o cheap goodies (and endless distractions).

Today’s economy will empty out your wallet faster then a boardwalk full of hucksters on $1 beer night. Oh sure, the liquid comes cheap, but your money flows out of your pocket faster then a tap on turbo once you’ve become drunk on the bargain suds.  At some point along the way, we slipped into a period of hyperinflation that pushed the commodities and staples we depend on past the point of reality. A trip to the supermarket is a voyage into the Twilight Zone.

All this brought me to Costco today, a place I’d never ventured (since we’re talking about distractions).

I’ve made the vow to buy everything in bulk that can help save a few bucks over the long run. Our bulk toilet paper subscription ran out a while back and we were down to our last roll. (Quite the precarious position, and one we’ve all been in, once too many times.)

Rather then get ripped off buying a four-pack at the local supermarket, I figured it was time to give Costco a roll, so to speak.  Upon entering Costco’s chain link majesty, I flopped down my $50 for a membership card, wandered around the oversized rows with one of their jumbo carts and ended up coming home with 36 double rolls … and a trunk full of other stuff, including a monster box of 500 sandwich bags.  I stopped short of buying the thousand foot roll of aluminum foil for $24 … there just wasn’t enough impulse in me for that large an investment in aluminum futures.

Maybe next time … I might need a couple of rolls to line all the walls and ceilings …. ;)

Walmart To Offer A 4GB iPhone For $99?

In an interesting twist, Walmart may be offering the 4GB Apple iPhone for only $99 plus a two-year contract. The mega discount store could start offering the older phones for those who do not want all of the bells and whistles that the newer iPhones offer.

But what is unknown is how much the two-year contract plan will cost. If in fact Walmart does offer this deal, with a reasonable two-year contract, sales of the iPhone could take off placing Apple in the drivers seat for cell phone dominance. It could also offer all consumers a reasonable alternative and force the other cell phone providers to lower their rates as well.

Right now this is only a rumor, but a rumor with teeth. :-)

What do you think? Would this be an attractive deal for you?

Comments welcome.


Mitsubishi 60″ DLP 1080p HDTV For $999 At Best Buy

Thanks to EEE for pointing this out to me. I don’t know how I missed this in the Best Buy Black Friday ads, especially since I previously did a post on this TV.  [see post here]  In that article I thought that $1,399 was a good price for this size of a TV. So at $999 this is a fantastic price.

This is a Mitubushi HDTV DLP 60″ 1080p.

The reviews for this HDTV have been mostly positive.

Comments welcome.


Utah Driving Cheaply On Natural Gas

Utah is one of the first states that appears to be taking a serious look at natural gas as a replacement fuel for gasoline. The state has seen a 240% increase in consumers who are purchasing natural gas for their vehicles. But there is only one minor problem. Well, more like two minor problems.

Gas stations do not want to spend the high cost to convert their stations to natural gas, since there is a lack of vehicles to make it profitable. Car companies are reluctatant to produce natural gas burning vehicles because of a lack of gas stations. Also there is the fact that in the article:

Natural gas is especially cheap here, so that people spend about 87 cents for a quantity of gas sufficient to propel a car approximately the same distance as a $3.95 gallon of gasoline.

The article does explain why natural gas is so cheap in Utah:

Natural gas prices at the pump here are controlled and are the cheapest in the country, while the price of conventional gasoline is one of the highest.

I know that some readers here and also in speaking to others in my community, there seems to be a consensus that we need to use ALL types of different energies to break our reliance on oil. But is this a pipe dream?  Can we have cars running on ethanol, natural gas, propane gas, diesel, electricity and gasoline? All at the same time?

Which fuel would be most likely to win out in the end?

Comments welcome.


Fix Your Dell Power Adapter Connection For Cheap

One of the more popular articles I have written has been about the problems consumers have experienced with trying to get their Dell power adapter to stay connected. Even after bringing this problem to the attention of Dell advocates, it appears that the problem is for real and that people are still having problems. Well today I found an interesting repair article that has what appears to be a fix for the problem.

In viewing the fix article and supplemental pictures, this repair does take some minor skills and may best be left to a person who is mechanically inclined. Which means that you may need a friend, family member or crafty type person to assist you if you feel the mechanics is over your head.

I took a look at the step by step guide, and it appears you will need the following:

Plastic top from a can of coffee, hole punch, hole enlarger, 1/16″ drill bit and two screws.

Comments welcome.