What's the best sound quality per dollar solution--iPod speakers? Table radios? Home theater in a box systems?

I've heard 'em all and I'm here to tell you there's a hierarchy of fidelity. The pipsqueak iPod speakers (pretty much everything under $100) sound tinny, screechy, with zero bass and can't play at all loud. They're all different shades of awful. Sure, some $300 iPod speakers are way better, more or less on par with a decent sounding table radio, I'm thinking here of my favorite Boston Acoustics Receptor, Tivoli, and Cambridge SoundWorks models. Then again, the better radios and iPod speakers are priced upwards of $500 or more, and for that kind … Read more

Personal weather station is alien chic

Anyone who's minimally familiar with personal weather stations knows that Oregon Scientific is obsessed with these devices--which strikes us as somewhat odd, because the weather in Oregon seems fairly predictable compared with other states (rain followed by more rain). Whatever the reason, its crusade has paid off at least where design is concerned.

No longer do home forecasting gadgets look like hospital equipment thanks to the company's efforts to add an aesthetic dimension to its products. As Technabob points out, its latest offering looks more like a retro sci-fi movie prop than something used to guess whether you … Read more

Relive glory days with your own drive-in speakers

Now this is what we call retro chic. Forget those boombox remakes and arcade replicas--we're talking drive-in movie memorabilia here.

You too can own your own pair of free-standing speakers that look just like the kind we used to wedge into the fog-shrouded windows oif our misspent youth. All that's missing are the beat-up station wagon, decaying intermission hot dogs, and a cheap date.

Sure, $330 is a bit steep to bring back some teenage memories, as OhGizmo observes, but no one ever said the price of a midlife crisis would be a bargain. As for the … Read more

The history of the Atari 2600

Last month, some of Silicon Valley's biggest names showed up at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., for the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64.

What no one I heard mentioned, despite the presence of Pong designer Al Alcorn, was that October marked the 30th anniversary of what may have been an even more influential video game machine, the Atari 2600.

Now, over at GameSpy, Marty Goldberg has spun for us the story of the creation of that iconic console.

And when I say iconic, I do mean it. After all, who doesn't recognize the 2600'… Read more

Woz and I agree: 'Tetris' for the Gameboy is the best game ever

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--I was waiting to talk to Steve Wozniak last night at the 25th anniversary celebration for the Commodore 64 when I overheard him say his favorite video game of all time was Tetris for the Gameboy.

My eyes practically lit up when I heard that because, in a lot of ways, I have to agree.

In fact, as I told him a couple minutes later when I went up to talk to him, one of the things I made sure to do before I left for my Road Trip around the American Southwest this summer was go … Read more

Silicon Valley celebrates Commodore 64 at 25

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--I don't want to date myself, but when I was in high school, one of the things I remember was that, among the geeks like myself who hung out in the computer lab, a bit of a culture war was under way.

No, it wasn't Macs versus Windows. But Apple was a player in this battle.

In fact, it was the Commodore 64 versus the Apple IIe, and while the school had a collection of Apples in the lab that all of us had to use, those of us who had C64s felt like we … Read more

Now you too can go 'Back to the Future'

Doc Brown invented a flux capacitator after he knocked his head on a bathroom sink in Back to the Future. As everyone knows, it's the most important part of the time machine that allowed him to wreak havoc over many decades.

Now the item is available for public consumption on pre-order from Things From Another World for $220. As seen on Uncrate, it has lighting effects that really looks indistinguishable from the original.

And you don't even need to fall off a toilet to get one.

(Source: Crave Asia)

The transistor turns 60

Correction, 10:45 a.m. PST: This blog initially misstated Fred Terman's title at Stanford University. He was provost.

Sixty years ago, on December 16, scientists at Bell Labs--William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain--built the world's first transistor and nothing has been the same since. We'll be covering the anniversary in subsequent articles, but here's a smattering of some of the implications, in somewhat chronological order, of the event:

1. The dawn of electronics. Vacuum tubes consumed lots of power and were fragile. ENIAC, one of the world's first computers, weighed 28 tons, consumed … Read more

KITT rides again, without The Hoff

It seems America's Got Talent has given new life to old KITT, or Knight Industries Two Thousand, once the sidekick of The Hoff.

Firebox has a remote-controlled version complete with familiar whooshing sound and working red sensor on the hood. If you hit a button on the transmitter, it will even intone: "I am KITT, whom you may regard as the voice of the Knight 2000."

In case you're too young to remember the original (sigh), KITT was an advanced crime-fighting vehicle with artificial intelligence that had a sleek, customized Pontiac Trans-Am body in a molecular … Read more

iPod mail-in repair service

It's a rare sight to see a functioning first or second-generation iPod out in the wild these days. If your vintage iPod's battery hasn't lost its ability to hold a charge, then there's always the chance of a failed hard drive, a broken screen, or an intermittent headphone jack. Sure, the latest crop of iPods are thinner, cheaper, and longer lasting than your bulky heirloom iPod, but if you have a soft spot for the old guy, or just resent gadget obsolescence, there's a new repair option for you.

Blue Raven, a manufacturer of DIY … Read more