Did Han Solo shoot first? Who cares? You can buy his blaster

With Christmas just around the corner, this is the perfect gift for that huge "Star Wars" fan in your life: an original Han Solo blaster.

Truth be told, this nifty little piece is going to run you at least $200,000, and likely a bit more. But how can you put a price on such an important piece of geek (and film) history?

Officially, this is a "Harrison Ford 'Han Solo' non-firing DL-44 Blaster," from "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," according to the auction site. And sure, it'… Read more

The tech behind Kinect and how it will control your living room

LOS ANGELES -- At first I thought I had misunderstood him, so I made sure to reply slowly. "So you're saying Kinect is going to blast IR signals at your living room, and they're going to reflect off walls and stuff and bounce back to control all of your devices?"

"That's correct," Marc Whitten said.

"Whoa," I replied.

"Kinect has a really powerful management of that energy," he explained. "It's just light," he went on, "but it just exists in a different spectrum." I … Read more

The 404 1,194: Where we have NEStalgia (podcast)

The flu has finally struck down our very own Justin Yu, but luckily the much more attractive Bridget Carey is available to fill his tiny men's size 6 shoes. Bridget and Jeff get uber-nerdy today, discussing all things Nintendo nostalgia including what games they used to rent repeatedly and the current state of gaming as it exists in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Finally, we'll noodle over the fact that older brains can't remember a lot of new stuff because they're too "full." All this and more on today's show!… Read more

Boombox iPhone case styles up speakerphone situations

In the early days of '80s hip-hop, you were almost sure to see one item on the streets of any major city: the boombox.

More recently, city ordinances and personal music players have all but eliminated the chance of encountering a wild boombox blasting tunes, but you can resurrect the iconic look of the gaudiest piece of consumer electronics ever with the $17.50 Boombox Ghetto Blaster iPhone case by Caseorama on Etsy (available for iPhone 5 and 4/4S). … Read more

Protect yourself with SpywareBlaster

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that's especially true when it comes to spyware; wouldn't you rather protect your system than spend hours trying to rid it of malicious visitors? SpywareBlaster is a simple program that provides protection from ActiveX-based software and unwanted cookies for both Firefox and Internet Explorer users.

SpywareBlaster has a simple interface that will be easy for even novices to navigate. The main screen shows the protection status for Internet Explorer, restricted Web sites, and Firefox. By default, protection is disabled for each of these, but you can easily … Read more

Creative unveils 'new genre' of audio device: Sound BlasterAxx

Not surprisingly here at CNET we get a ton of press releases e-mailed to us announcing new products. Most are fairly bland, but Creative's media pitch for its upcoming Sound BlasterAxx line of speakers is one of the more amped-up ones I've received lately, reading like an ad for a new energy drink. In fact, I think the PR person who wrote it had three Red Bulls before he or she started typing.

Here's a little taste. Careful, it's rich:

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Sound BlasterAxx, a whole new generation of Sound Blaster and … Read more

Great sling shot games that aren't named Angry Birds

With the incredible success of the original Angry Birds, few iOS gamers were probably surprised that Angry Birds Space would rocket to the top of the iTunes Store's list of paid apps. I've been playing the game quite a lot over the past 24 hours, and though I've noticed some bugs (kill all pigs with one bird to get one star, anyone?), the new gravity fields, interesting levels, and new bird types definitely add something new to the game.

Angry birds isn't the only game in this genre, however. When Angry Birds took off at the iTunes App Store, several developers came out with their own version of the sling-shot game mechanic and many brought new elements to add to the fun.

This week's collection of iOS apps are all Angry Birds-like destruction games, but each have an interesting twist on the original game mechanic. The first offers a heavy metal theme as you smash monster trucks into structures. The second lets you blast ragdolls through intricate levels towards a target. The third mixes game genres to add liquid physics into the equation making for unique challenges.… Read more

Great games for iOS to get you through the long weekend

Here at CNET we're about to start a three-day weekend thanks to Presidents Day on Monday. If you're lucky enough to have an extra day this weekend, what better way to waste a little time than with a solid new game? There have been a lot of great game releases lately, and this week I've picked games from various genres in the hope that you can find something you like.

This week's iOS app collection is all about new games to play over the long weekend. The first is a physics puzzler sequel that's extremely polished and very hard to put down. The second uses your music library to drive the shoot-'em-up action on screen. The third is a platforming game sequel that truly tests your arcade gaming skills.… Read more

Shoot rag dolls out of a cannon

Ragdoll Blasters 3 is the third installment in the popular physics puzzle series, and this sequel is a solid offering with plenty for puzzle gaming fans. Like the first two Ragdoll Blasters, the game concept is simple: on each level, aim your cannon and fire the rag doll to hit the target. Of course it's never quite that easy; you'll also want to grab buttons for extra points, and maps provide plenty of obstacles to make it hard to get a perfect three-star score.

As the third game in a popular series, you would expect the game to … Read more

Samsung Smart Interaction TVs get cable box control

LAS VEGAS--The highest-end plasma and LED TVs Samsung announced at CES yesterday offer a feature called Smart Interaction, which among other functions allows volume and channel changes at a word or gesture. Most TV watchers, however, use a cable box and not their TVs to change channels.

The solution is an IR blaster, a device designed to send infrared signals (just like a remote control) to operate the box. The little device pictured above handles that duty for Samsung's 2012 Smart Interaction models, namely the UNES7500, UNES8000, and PNE8000 series.

The TVs communicate with the blaster via Bluetooth, as … Read more