Best of Outside Lands: Beck, Radiohead, Wilco...

If you didn't make it to the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco last weekend (or you did and want to relive it), check out our free playlist and photo gallery below featuring some of the top acts. While everyone had their own unique experience, the climatic triple threat of Bon Iver, Broken Social Scene and Wilco on Sunday was my personal highlight. A common theme throughout the day was crowd participation (there were several occasions when the audience was invited to clap, sing, and scream along). From the reviews that I've read, and from general word-of-mouth buzz, the festival appeared to be a great success. Hopefully the artists and promoters feel the same way and will book a second annual Outside Lands next year!

Free playlist featuring Manu Chao, Radiohead, The Cool Kids, Nicole Atkins, Beck, The Walkmen and more:

Outside Lands photo gallery below courtesy of Ryan Salm -

More photos...… Read more

Military father gets robotics contract

A robotics company founded by a father who lost his son to the Iraq war has garnered an $800,000 contract with the U.S. military.

Black-I Robotics makes an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) called the LandShark that can be used as a platform to disable bombs, provide reconnaissance, and carry wounded soldiers from the battlefield. The LandShark robot can also be used at home in the U.S. as an aid to first responders for search-and-rescue, firefighting, Hazmat, and SWAT efforts, and even in agriculture, according to a company statement.

"We believe UGV chassis should be thought of … Read more

Home phones get a splash of color

As home phones are continually threatened with extinction, manufacturers have tried to add functions that appear to bring them closer to their mobile counterparts. But perhaps there's a much simpler tactic: paint them in bright colors.

Following a trend that's become commonplace for most mobile handset makers, GE has introduced the "Ultra Slim Cordless Phone" from its Designer Series in candy-apple red, according to SlashGear. (Not exactly our taste, but it could always be worse.)

Other than the shiny finish, the $70 phone has standard functions including a small LCD, caller ID, and a digital answering … Read more

Wireless speakerphone for chaotic households

Introducing the latest appliance for today's digital household: the wireless speakerphone.

No longer associated only with office conferences, the speakerphone is finding its way into kitchens and family rooms as well. Granted, there are many other variations built into answer machines or the handsets themselves, but they're often afterthought functions that don't emphasize quality. So GE's newest land-line system that uses DECT technology has added a cordless speakerphone that features "True Digital Sound" for "enhanced voice reception."

We're still not sure who would need something like this, unless you're a … Read more

'EA Land' closing just weeks after debut

Earlier this month, I wrote that Electronic Arts had made an announcement to members of its long-running but poorly received virtual world, The Sims Online, that it was re-branding the service as EA Land.

On Tuesday, however, EA announced on the official EA Land blog that it is now planning to shut the service down altogether.

"It is with mixed emotions that today we are announcing the EA Land experiment will soon draw to a close," the blog entry read. "Since 2002, EA Land/(The Sims Online) has attracted a very special group of players...and we … Read more

VTech has a little fun with home phones

VTech may be one of the most overachieving phone makers in the land-line business. Rather than just lie down and let mobile handsets invade the home, the Hong Kong-based company has continually pushed the envelope by developing computer-like functions for its products, ranging from online news feeds to instant messaging. (We think they may be overcompensating because of their reputation as a toy maker, but that's no crime.)

In fact, it was nice to seem them lighten up a bit with the latest version of their DECT 6.0 home phones. The LS6117 sports a look that was "… Read more

Flash vs. hard drives? Ask the editors Thursday

Is flash going to take over the notebook market, or are drives going to continue to be able to undercut it in price?

This is probably one of the questions we will try to answer in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. PDT Thursday on Ask the Editors. Click this link here at that time and I'll be fielding questions about flash density, technological advances and hurdles for both flash and hard drives, and how the different players in the hardware world are lining up on this question.

And, as an added bonus, we will have a … Read more

'The Sims Online' is officially reborn as 'EA Land'

For anyone familiar with The Sims Online, the poorly-received virtual world launched by Electronic Arts in 2002, take note: EA is relaunching it under a new name and for a new price: free.

Born as The Sims Online, it will now be called EA Land.

This is a rather momentous move by EA, since it means it is bringing back from the dead--at least as far as perception goes--a game that, while it never really got off the ground, was extremely important in the overall development curve of 3D social virtual worlds with economies.

And while TSO, as it came … Read more

SF festival grows: Radiohead, Tom Petty, Jack Johnson, Wilco, Primus, Beck...

If you live in the bay area (or plan to be here the weekend of August 22nd), get ready for the first annual Outside Lands music festival! The Bonnaroo-size line-up features some of the biggest names around, such as Radiohead, Beck, Tom Petty, Jack Johnson, Wilco, Primus and more (see below). Tickets go on sale this Sunday, March 30th at 10AM on

The festivities will take place in Golden Gate Park August 22-24th, and it's being produced by Another Planet Entertainment, Superfly Productions, Starr Hill Presents, and the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department. It will be … Read more