Oplink gets in on the DIY home security game

As DIY security becomes more and more popular, we're seeing more and more options arrive on the market. The latest offerings come from Oplink Security: the $199.99 sensor-driven AlarmShield package, and the $349.99 TripleShield package, which adds a pair of wireless cameras for the surveillance-minded homeowner. With similar motion detectors, panic sirens, and contact sensors for doors and windows -- not to mention equivalent price levels for both the basic package and the camera-ready package -- Oplink seems ready to compete directly with iSmartAlarm.

The big difference between the two systems is that, unlike iSmartAlarm, Oplink charges … Read more

Lego version of the world's largest ship sets sail

Owners of the new Lego version of the Maersk Line Triple-E might be tempted to smash a bottle of champagne against it once they're done building, given that it's a model of the world's largest ship.

Alas, the model would probably smash to bits. Still, maritime and Lego fans alike may want to rush out in January to buy the new $150 set. Comprised of 1,518 bricks, the Lego Maersk Triple-E re-creates the real ship with what the toy company said is a high attention to detail.

Lego said that the model includes rotating screw blades, … Read more

Review: Play a World War II game with others online using TripleA

As an open-source game engine that works across a number of operating systems, TripleA for Mac allows users to enjoy playing different strategy and war-inspired board games in single-player, hotseat, or online modes. The application includes some features found in many popular games, but ultimately lacks the graphics or menus found in modern games. However, many may find the ability to play with others over the Internet to be a useful function.

The program's interface appears dated, with graphics and text labels that are not up to the level of modern strategy games. The first screen allows the selection … Read more

Watch the planets dance in a triple conjunction

Triple planetary conjunctions are relatively rare in the night sky, but astronomers are about to be in for a real treat.

The three brightest planets in our solar system as seen from Earth -- Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus -- will be coming together in the sky, "dancing" around each other over the course of several nights, starting Friday, May 24.

If we're lucky, we see a triple conjunction once every two years or so. The most recent was in May 2011; the next won't be until October 2015.

Because the planets in this conjunction are so bright, the dance will be visible to the naked eye, even in densely populated areas. But if you have access to a telescope or binoculars, so much the better. … Read more

Barbie gets digital makeover at Toy Fair

It's playtime for CNET Update:

When it comes to the tech at Toy Fair, Apple steals the spotlight. Many tech-related toys at the 2013 Toy Fair integrate with an iPad or iPhone. Mattel is diving into this growing trend with several toys that offer an augmented reality experience using iPad apps. But it also wouldn't be a Toy Fair without a few cool robots.

Toys featured in the video include:

- Tomy's BattroBorg: Players use Wii-like controllers to throw punches and wirelessly control the arms of tiny boxing robots. A robot will deactivate after five hits to … Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week, readers wrote in with questions about cleaning up a Mac to keep it optimized, external drive permission errors, increasing the number of recent documents stored in the system, and options for triple-booting OS X with Linux and other operating systems. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!

Question: How to clean up a Mac to keep it optimized MacFixIt reader Angel asks:

How can I get … Read more

The 404 1,021: Where we're laced with Cinavia (podcast)

Stupid Andy sits in the guest seat and he has a bone to pick with Cinavia today. I'm warning you that this discussion is technically the first time we've nerded out about DRM systems so hard, but it's relevant in terms of resale, personal file backups, and the rumor that the next PlayStation console won't allow used games.… Read more

Comcast, Time Warner preparing to bid farewell to Clearwire

Cable providers Comcast and Time Warner Cable will stop reselling Clearwire's 4G wireless service following their agreement to hand off their unused mobile spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 billion, CNET has learned.

Part of the Verizon deal gives the cable companies the right to resell Verizon's wireless service, which will become the cable providers' exclusive partner once the spectrum aspect of the agreement goes through, said Time Warner Cable spokesman Alexander Dudley.

Both companies will slowly wind down their Clearwire business over the next six months, and plan to move their existing customers to other options. … Read more

Scrabble is better when it's bigger

Scrabble for iPad is a faithful adaptation of that classic board game much beloved by logophiles, with tons of cool extras and several easy options for multiplayer games.

What Scrabble for iPad does best is simulate the look, feel, and even sound of the original game, with sharp HD graphics, gratifying sound effects (letter tiles pop into place with a subtle click), and an interface that will put Scrabble-lovers right at home, including a virtual tile rack that lets you rearrange letters. (And in party play mode, individual players can even use their iPhones and iPod Touches with the free … Read more

The 404 804: Where we understand your plan (podcast)

It's Natali Morris' penultimate episode and National High Five Day! Wilson's back on the show after yesterday's trip to the New York auto show, and today we're chewing the beef between Lady Gaga and Weird Al Yankovic and chatting about a 3D porno topping box office records in China, a dispute over Apple's environmental footprint, and a pair of 2D glasses that just makes things more natural.

The 404 Digest for Episode 804

Today is National High Five Day! 3D porn movie beats "Avatar" box office record in China. 2D glasses make 3D movies more natural. Turns out Apple ain't that green.

Episode 804 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more