Turn your iPhone into a Peter Frampton-style talkbox

Long before autotune was popularized in pop music, there was a phenomenon known as the talkbox. The talkbox helped guitar god Peter Frampton come alive. With the Wee-Wow for iPhone, you don't have to be Frampton to get the same effect with your iPhone.

A talkbox is a unit consisting of a tube that goes into an effects box. You hold the tube between your lips and shape the sound with your mouth. It gives off a strange sound that is part robot, part alien. It's pre-autotune at its finest.… Read more

Get old-school photographs with CamWow Retro

CamWow Retro is an iOS app that lets you take photos with antique effects applied to them. Whether a sepia-tint or grainy black-and-white images, there's a lot of effects you can apply. CamWow Retro is a free app and installs easily.

The CamWow Retro interface is based on a larger app called CamWow Pro and works the same way. When activated, the app opens an interface with four panes. One shows the image from the camera natively, and the other three panes show various effects in real time. You can scroll through a few screens of effects to find … Read more

Free effects app that will quickly become a favorite

CamWow is a photo effects app for iOS devices. It takes the input from the camera (front or back) and applies distortion effects with the resultant images saved or passed on to other apps. The CamWow app installs quickly.

The CamWow interface is simple to use. When launched, the screen shows the image from your camera in one of four panes, plus effects applied in the three other panes. You can swipe to the next or previous page of effects, always seeing your original in one pane. There's quite the variety of effects, from somewhat subtle to over-the-top, but … Read more

Your one chance to reply to aliens

We have ceded our attempts to communicate with aliens far too often to Hollywood.

There, paunchy producers and pugnacious directors have portrayed aliens as scary, difficult people, not unlike certain recording artists and movie actors.

Now you have the chance to speak to aliens directly and offer a peace pipe, or at least a pipingly warm greeting.

For, as part of the National Geographic Channel's "Chasing UFOs" series, everyone is invited to reply to a message sent (maybe) by aliens.… Read more

Nameless spider robot should just be called awesome

At first glance, the title of the video "Sneak Peak Greatest Toy in the Universe!" sounds like a showboating claim conceived by a lunatic.

As the video progresses, you meet a remote-controlled toy spider wielding powerful weapons, and suddenly realize maybe creator Jaimie Mantzel is onto something. After all, it takes part genius and part luck for an independent person to get nearly half a million hits in one day for a YouTube video about a toy robot. We also recommend you check out the official promo video for the spiderbot, which is set for release later this year.

Mantzel's 7-minute, 29-second video showing off his creation highlights the arachnid's weapons, which include Ping-Pong balls, darts, and flying discs. It even has removable armor. The spider seems to move around well, and if it doesn't cost a fortune, this could just be the hottest toy of 2012. The operating noise does seem loud, though. … Read more

Star Wars: The Old Republic takes on World of Warcraft with force

After at least three years and an estimated $155 million, Electronic Arts and BioWare open their new massive multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic to general audiences on December 20.

The developers' hope is that the game will bring meaningful competition to the World of Warcraft-dominated online gaming market. Gamers and the "Star Wars" faithful, on the other hand, just hope the game is fun. We've been playing the game in an early release phase, open to customers who preordered the game and others.

Rich: Games in the MMO (massive multiplayer online) genre are notoriously hard … Read more

Crave giveaway: SRS iWOW 3D for iPhone/iPad

First, congrats to Drew P. of Battle Creek, Mich., who won last week's awesome Toshiba HDTV/Bluray player combo. Now on to this week's giveaway, which brings us back to the audio realm with SRS Labs iWow 3D audio-enhancement adapter for iPhone, iPod and iPad.

That's right, you plug this little dongle into your iOS device and through some digital trickery, your music, movies, and games get a literal sound boost with a more open sound stage. There's also a free iWOW app that goes along with the dongle that allows you to refine and customize your settings.

Here's what SRS has to say about the accessory:

Utilizing patented SRS technologies, SRS iWOW 3D effectively and naturally restores the audio cues that are buried in the original source material, allowing the user to experience renewed clarity and detail. The result: Music and videos sound more natural, the way the artist originally intended, and are infinitely more enjoyable. The immersive 3-D audio, ultra-clear definition, and deep, rich bass will make you say "WOW!" after just one listen.

Normally, the iWOW 3D would cost around $60, but you have the chance to get it gratis. … Read more

Writer tests iPad keyboards under deadline fire

Sometimes, gadget reviewers need to turn to their test products in an emergency. I found myself in that very predicament last week when I was on deadline for CNET--just as the hard drive on my MacBook Pro decided to pack it in permanently.

Editors can't print your whining about computer glitches, and you don't get paid much for plaintive cries of "I'm working on it." So when said laptop died on me with only a couple hours left to hand in my commentary on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's "moon speech," I had to look to my iPad to get the piece written and turned over to the news desk.

You can get any number of word-processing programs for the iPad. For better file swap between my tablet and MacBook Pro, I turn to Pages. Though some say there are better app options, I figured Apple's native program would help me pound out several paragraphs mourning the current state of the American space program. But I can't use that pop-up virtual keyboard the iPad provides for entering text for anything more than an e-mail or a Facebook post. I've tried, and I end up with typed-up pseudo-English that resembles a code pumped out by the Nazi Enigma machine.

You've heard the cliche about an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters eventually creating all of Shakespeare's works? That simian scribble is what comes out of my iPad if I can't hear the comforting "click" of keyboard strokes.

After realizing all of that, I unpacked the five keyboards I had on hand to review and loaded them up for use in this order: the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard from ThinkGeek, Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2, the Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard, the Omnio Wow-Keys and the ThinkGeek Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad.

These are hardly the only options on the market, and some of them have already been reviewed by the gadget crew here at CNET. But my personal crisis offered an excellent test as to how fast I could get these items out of the box and working with President Kennedy and the Apollo Crew waiting. … Read more

WoW Cataclysm: It's game over for this obsessive

After nearly six years playing the game, I officially quit WoW in September (too much time commitment for not enough payoff). Overall, I'm proud to say I've been faring OK; however, the last few days have been trying. The allure of stepping back into that world and reinvigorating my sometimes mildly destructive obsession can't be understated.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the third expansion to the most successful MMO ever, launched at midnight this morning. I haven't yet played the release version (or at least I hope I haven't; when I wrote this post before midnight, I was still holding strong!), but I did spend a plenty of time in the beta from summer through most of November.

Rather than bore you with a huge list of changes WoW vets are already aware of and WoW noobs wouldn't understand anyway, I'll focus on my favorite and least favorite things in the new Azeroth. If you're looking for more minute detail, Wowhead has put up a great feature on all the new hotness. Also, I'll try to avoid overly nerdy proclamations like "ZOMG! They nerfed pallies!!"… Read more

Roboscooper tidies up your room, whacks objects

What could be better than robots that promote laziness? Robosapien maker WowWee is introducing a household robot that can tidy up after you, autonomously locating and picking up socks and other objects on the floor and carting them away.

Roboscooper works in two modes--autonomous and remote-controlled. With four infrared sensors, the robot can avoid obstacles and detect objects on the floor that are up to a foot away.

It can grab lightweight stuff (around 1 ounce) with its large hands and then swivel to drop them in its cargo bay. If an object is too heavy or stuck, it will … Read more