Tengu Review

Tengu will bring you hours of laughter!

Tengu has a tiny microphone in the base that picks up sounds in the room — whether it’s music or your loudmouth boss — and makes his mouth move in time. Blowing on the Tengu will change the colors and patterns of the mouth, as well.

Full video at Expo TV.

Dual LCD Screens

I’ve got two screens sitting on my desktop. Tonight, after I’m finished writing, I’m going to be putting a second LCD screen on Ponzi’s desk, too. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a second monitor attached to your computer. If your desk footprint is too small, get a bigger desk – because the more pixels you have, the more productive you can be (and that’s a fact):

Microsoft researchers haven’t perfected the genie, but they’ve found a tool that can increase your productivity by 9 to 50 percent and make your work day easier. And you can begin using it right away. The researchers conducted user studies that proved the effectiveness of adding a second or even third monitor to your workstation, creating a wide-screen effect. In addition, they found out how the operating system needs to change to accommodate a larger screen area. Their work encompassed changes needed in the next version of Windows, as well as looking forward to when wide screens would no longer mean side-by-side single monitors, but would instead take many different forms. They even developed a prototype wide-aspect monitor to test their ideas.

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Origami is as Exciting as Paper

If you’ve been watching the Web at all, no doubt you’ve heard buzz about Microsoft’s latest project – Origami. I’ve seen what Origami is supposed to be and (without spilling too many details per the NDA that I willingly signed) it’s not going to live up to the hype. There are far too many wild-eyed speculations – ranging from the subline to the grandiose. It’s not necessarily a Microsoft device, though. Then again, it’s not necessarily a specific device. I think I’m safe in saying that? In fact, the only reason I’m saying it now is because the hype machine is completely out of control – and that’s going to translate into nothing but disappointment for the very people who are interested in what’s about to happen. If you have no idea what this Microsoft Origami project discussion is all about, you’re in the clear – there’s nothing to worry about. The announcement will come soon enough and you’ll wonder what all the hoopla was for (if you even notice it happened, although I fully expect it to be covered in one of Lockergnome’s various channels). But if you happen to be one of those caught up in the excitement, ratchet yourselves down a few notches. Hint: it has nothing to do with folding paper.
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A Happy CES Camper

You have to make a decision: attend a noisy party with mediocre snacks, or come to CES Camp tonight and meet a whole buncha cool people. There are so many things to do here during CES that you have to (ultimately) decide what’s going to make more memories for you in the long-run. I’ve already seen a lot of old friends, but I’m ready to make new ones. It’s already been a thrilling trip, despite all my technology problems (and not having enough time to see all the interesting things on the show floor). One highlight has been meeting the folks who produce my default browser, Maxthon (yes, Firefox is just a hold-over until I can get my Maxthon back).
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Broadcasting Live From CES!

I did something fairly stupid: installed Windows Vista build 5270 on my laptop before leaving for Vegas this week. Yeah, I’m headed down here early this time around to keynote a conference on Monday. I should’ve followed my gut instinct and uninstalled this beta after trying it for a few minutes. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections weren’t working at all in my build of Vista, and I had to wait until Jake came to town before I was able to reinstall Windows XP. There was basic wireless access at my first hotel (Stardust), but there’s absolutely no access at my new hotel (Polo Towers). There’s a McDonald’s up the street where they charge for access by the hour, but even after installing Windows XP, I can’t get my machine to recognize the Wireless adapter (even after having downloaded the proper IBM Thinkpad drivers). I’m able to get connected via Ethernet right now, in a closed-door session with Microsoft – looking at newer builds of the Vista beta. Doesn’t do me any good right now, as I won’t be able to use it for another year – or get online to see more about it until I can get home and dig into my laptop problems.
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Consuming CES

Long-time Lockergnomie Glen Farmer (who is becoming one of my favorite Gnomies with all the feedback he’s been sending us lately) wants me to look for certain kinds of consumer electronics on the floor at CES:

  1. A digital camera that can stay in my pocket and automatically takes good pictures for me. I’m sure there are things worth taking a picture of where I live but it’s just too much work finding them and figuring out how my camera works.
  2. A computer that is the size of a flip-phone that opens up to a full-sized computer with a full sized keyboard and at least a 17-inch monitor. And it has to automatically provide it’s own broadband connection.
  3. A DVD player that automatically skips through the boring parts of movies. I am sick of fast forwarding through those long, drawn out scenes of the jilted lover driving in the mountains with sad music playing.
  4. A remote cell phone exploder. For those times when I am out and the cell phone owner is annoying me with their crazy conversation. I don’t want to blow their entire head off or anything. Just their ear and lips would do.
  5. A TV with an adjustable screen. So I can watch wide screen and full screen TV without the empty space. Grrrr…

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Consumer Electronic Showcase, Day 0

The Consumer Electronics Showcase has become *THE* geek convention in recent years; Comdex has come and gone, and we needed some kind of event to rally around. I’ll be at CES for this entire week, hitting the show floor and broadcasting live on Thursday and Friday afternoon (at 1pm, Vegas time). What’s missing is my sense of anticipation. I’m not really looking forward to being away from home for an extended period of time for what might be a mediocre grouping of semi-interesting products. Yes, we’ll be seeing HDTVs and digital cameras and PDAs and phones and all sorts of services and accessories – but what’s really new? I think I’m going to take that on as a personal challenge: to find at least five to ten new and/or unique products that are ready for the consumer market. I’m sure they’re out there, I just have to find ’em. What I don’t need is another gadget – what I do need is interoperability between my existing gadgets (and that’s not likely to come for a few more years). “Convergence” is a buzzword that seldom produces a win for the user.
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The Robosapien Robot

“You’re never too young to get a fun toy for Christmas.” That’s exactly what WowWee was thinking when they unleashed the Robosapien V2 a few weeks ago. I never really spent much time looking at them in the store, but Ponzi thought it would be cute to have another robot roaming throughout the house (to accompany our Roomba). Little did she know that the Robosapien has built-in features that were designed with males in mind – including farting and burping, my two favorite indoor sports. The new Robosapien has environmental interaction with humanoid body movements; it recognizes colors and skin tones and sports IR vision to avoid obstacles and track moving objects.

“Robosapien V2 is a highly evolved robotic fusion of technology and personality, combining fluid biomechanical motion with a multi-sensory, interactive humanoid personality. This 24” tall, second generation Robosapien is capable of autonomous ‘free roam’ behavior.”

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