Friday, September 29, 2006

Ellen again! This time, October 17th

Hey everybody! Looks like I have been invited back (already!!!!) to the Ellen Degeneres show!

Again, I will be showing you really cool high tech gadgets. I will give you a better idea of what to expect later.

set your Tivos, it's gonna be a fun ride.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Zune on Ellen

Hey everyone, in case you missed my appearance and have a couple spare minutes, check out my little diddy on Zune, and see how crazy the ladies get when they hear their prize!

Outta control. And scared the crap out of me being in the Ellen Studio.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Microsoft Zune - a preview

All right, even though I don't have a Zune in my hand to play with and explain how it all works, I can tell you what I know from my couple hours with it at Ellen - with the Microsoft rep and their publicist - in my room - the entire time. But I can tell you how I liked certain features, and can give you my first impression, which is all I am good for at this moment. I am really tired.

So here are some basics on the Microsoft MP3 player everyone is talking about:
-30 GB media player
-3-inch LCD
-3 color choices: White, Black and Brown (I don't get this one...) Each color gets a 'double shot' finish (ie. brown color gets goffy green overlay only really noticable on edges), which actually makes the player more scratch resistant, and with athat extra fog-like coating, fingerprint unfriendly. Unless you're eating fried chicken, then I can't help you.
-FM tuner
-Zune to Zune sharing (it can only talk to and steal tracks from other Zunes)

The Zune is able to ingest yoru existing music playlists, tracks, star ratings, videos and photos, as long as the DRMs don't kick your ass. The Zune is compatible with a lot of different media formats, so that is nice. I'm sure there will be hacks 2 minutes after the release of Zune to allow you to walk your dog, milk the cows, and vaccuum the house remotely using the Zune.

Here is my first impression of the Zune. I like that it is fingerprint resistant and has extra coating on the screen, as I have scratched my iPod screen about 3 times already. It utilizes a D pad, so everything is click or to move quickly through your playlist, click and hold - which takes 5 seconds to get used to if you've trained your brain to 'touch in a cirlce.' The other neat thing is as you quickly scroll through your music library on the device, there is a large letter that appears on tehe right hand side to let you see easily what alphabet you are up to, which needs a more aesthetic design, but utilitarianly designed. And when we talk about Microsoft, isn't that all we can ask for?

The controls, which I touched on above, are easy and intuitive. It is a circle with a center control button. The touch pad is more of a click pad, and even if you are watching a video, in which case it loads landscape to utilize the entire screen, volume controls switch so that turning the volume up will always be the top position, and down is the bottom position.

As for the 3-inch screen, it's fairly bright and nice. Watching darker videos on it takes some adjusting to make sure it doesn't start blowing out or aliasing. As for using it outdoors, I didn't get a chance to take it out of the studio. The screen, as large as it was and neat as it was to have the option of watching TV on a wider screen is nice, but it wasn't super impressive image quality. Sadly....

The FM tuner is easy to use, being digital and having a little glowing light tell you where on that damned dial you are.

The earbuds have a little magnet on the back of each bud so when you have them put away, the buds are held in position back-to-back, a pleasure to see for all us neat cord winders.

And since it is a harddrive, you can load content there, and using an AV cord, plug it into your TV or speakers for playback, just like many media players.

And the most important feature, the Zune to Zune sharing feature. Sure you can share tracks with your Zune buddies wirelessly, creating a social network of sharing and friendship, as their marketing people tell me, the track disables itself after 3 plays or 3 days, your choice. The sharing has no effect on homegrown tracks and videos, so trade on. And when you sync up your Zune to your computer, there is actually a place where all your 'shared' tracks appear and show whether you have marked them for purchase later, kinda like a waiting shopping cart. So yes, Zune to Zune sharing is an incredibly neat feature, to be able to send your buddies tracks, pics and videos, but in my opinion, what the Zune is will really depend on is what the Zune Marketplace (their version of the iTunes store) will be like and offer.

Since we couldn't get online, I couldn't see the store, but did get to see a couple screen shots. It looks organized and the images of CD art look large enough to quickly read at a glance, but then again, my linen closet looks good at a glance, but lemme tell you, there's a pillowcase or 15 out of place there. And no one knows unless I open up the doors. So open Microsoft, open up the Zune Marketplace.

Would I buy one? Only time will tell. Microsoft won't confirm a price point, but say it will be comparable to its rivals...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ellen!!!! Watch Wednesday 9/20 on NBC

OMG!!! I just came back from being on The Ellen Degeneres Show and it went soooo well! It was a little weird to be talking to 1000 people in the audience, Ellen, and 4 cameras, and everytime I mentioned a feature, the faces of these 1000 audience members would all be amazed, jaws dropped and everything!!! So watch the show tomorrow and I will post all the products soon.

PS. It is 6:10 pm and I have not eaten at all, today. Like ok I ate half a granola bar, and this hunger strike is NOT voluntary, it's more accidental. No worries, no urges to look like a Nicole Richie here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

MYLO and Zune

Hello everyone!

So I have had about a week to play with the Sony MYLO, in between my crazy little life, I was able to use the MYLO in my home, at the Dr's office, and at a cafe. Yeah! Now the features, which I am sure you all know, are this:
Communication - IM your friends using Yahoo!, Google and Skype; make VoIP calls using Skype
Web - browse the web
Music - listen to your tunes, and share with other MYLOs
Photo - look at photos - no camera
Video - watch videos you download to the MYLO from your computer
Text - take notes my brothers!
What's Up - a screen that lets you instantly see which of your buddies are online

So what do I like about the device? Here is a top line. If you are looking for a device that lets you make Skype calls (save those cell minutes!), IM and listen to music, this may be the right investment for that $350 burning a hole in your pocket. More details below.

Being the sole owner and bill payer of my cell phone bill, I really like that I can make free calls on the MYLO thanks to Skype. Skype is currently running a promotion where you can use Skype to call any cell or landline number in the US for free. And I have made a number of calls, and most have reported that the audio sounds like you're on a cell phone, not perfect, but pretty good. On the MYLO end, the person on the phone sounds crystal clear, so that is pretty impressive.

As for the QWERTY keyboard, the fingerpad is a little tiny, and takes getting used to, but once you do, it'll make your thumbs some strong contenders in the thumbwrestling competition 2007. The keyboard makes IMing extremely easy.

As for signing into Yahoo!, Skype and Google, I have noticed that logging into these guys is pretty quick and more dependent on your connection speed than the device, although, my laptop does beat the device by maybe 1-2 seconds. Really. That close. And that is IMing. For web browsing, well be ready to sit down, cause it's gonna take a minute.

As for setting up the trusted Wifi networks, MYLO makes it really easy, but once you tell it that this network is a registered network, well, it remembers the network whether or not it is available in your current location. That means that if you are in your home and wander out to a cafe, MYLO will try and connect to the web via your network before it tries the other ones it finds at the cafe. But that is easily by-passable by just clicking down to the open networks on the available lists.

It's got 1 GB memory and a slot for expansion. It's got the most useful command buttons on the face, similar to the Danger Sidekick, but there are things that are not so super with this crazy little Wifi Device.

And it comes in two color choices: Black with gray accents, and White with Orange accents.

For one thing, I really don't like that it isn't compatible with flash, so you can't surf sites like You Tube nor IM your AIM people on AOL Express (AIM's backdoor IM answer to not being able to download software onto your computer). Also, you cannot download songs directly from the web onto your MYLO, you have to download it onto your computer then transfer to your MYLO. And that goes for the pictures and videos too. Trust me, I tried. Even though they said it couldn't be done, you gotta give it the old tech toys go! The speaker on the device can pump out the audio just well enough to hear it outdoors, but I wouldn't say you can leave your headphones at home...And did I mention that it comes with a headset and mic for your calls?

But using their 'Ad Hoc' program, you may listen to and view the music, videos and photos of other MYLO users in the area. Plus you can see their profile (if they have made it public) and you can chat directly to those in your area. Talk about a new way to stalk! Yeah.

the battery life is decent; I have been using it to browse the web, chat and make calls for about 7.5 hours and am on my last battery bar. The only thing that I do not like is the ability to power down the screen sooner to preserve the battery. It's on auto, and a very long auto setting it is. And there are two settings, long and forever, so your choices are limited.

And as of yet, you cannot text to cell phones, but as Skype is rolling that out, the Sony Rep I spoke with told me they will be providing software updates so that may be coming to a MYLO near you soon.

All in all, the MYLO is an incredibly simple device to use. The interface is incredibly user friendly and has all the little things you may want. It is again targeted for areas that have wifi, like college campuses, certain cities like Philly, Sunnyvale, etc. and as more cities become hot spots, this device will find more and more homes.

Since I live in LA, we are some of the least tech savvy in the state, and there hasn't been a big push for city-wide Wifi, but a girl can dream. So for now, since I have gone over my cell minutes for the last year of my life, I think spending $350 to be able to make calls through Skype (aka Free) and surf the web for free while I am at home or out and about is looking pretty good right about now.

And if the Sony rep is reading this, yes, I would like a MYLO, and I would like the White and orange one please.

tomorrow I meet with the Microsoft people where I will get the skinny on Zune. Will it knock the socks off me? That's the million dollar question....

I am taping an episode of The Ellen Degeneres tomorrow, where I will talk about all these devices and more and it will most likely air Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

back from vacation

Hello all who still are loyal friends who read this blog. I just returned from my lovely jaunt to Germany to see my hardworking boyfriend and it was wonderful. We spent about two weeks together trolling the streets of Stuttgart (home of Mercedes and Porsche) in search of warm weather and boy, it was like someone told the sun we wanted to warm up because that bitch up and left our vacation so fast, it changed the rotation of terra firma.

So let me impart some knowledge about Germany that many of you may or may not know. First off, almost everyone in Germany speaks English, so if you're there to learn some German, no problem. If you're a lazy American who decided to head to a western European country without learning a lick of that foreign tongue (like your's truly), no problem. Almost everyone speaks English. Woot.

And if you love snitzel and potatoes, you're in big luck buddy, because they have that in tons. Looking for a salad? Well, that's not super rare, but let's just say Germany ain't California. So I spent many a day walking the streets of downtown Stuttgart and people watching. I really enjoy doing it, except when you are an ex-coffee drinker, it's hard to say no to that sweet sweet brown liquid I think of as happy juice - especially since they know how to brew that special brew so brewey! The lessons I learned while in Germany are: 1. Germans are incredibly nice. 2. Female Germans are GORGEOUS. And German men are handsome, but even the so-sos get their groove on nicely, from what I can see. Rock on.

OK so 'I Want That Tech Toys' has been going really well, showing off cool products for any budget, and wowing me with the really expensive crap that I WANT SO BAD I COULD PUNCH MY PRODUCER FOR NOT GIVING IT TO ME, but hey, I already host the show, so I can't really take the products anyhow, but well, I would love it to just be out there on the table.

Sorry, I digress. Looks like Tuesday I will be taping an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show on NBC where I will be talking about the Sony MYLO...yes, I have it in my grubby little hands and am playing with it now. NOW! haha! I love it! Once I play with it, I will let you know what I think. First impressions? I am not really wowed by the screen and the exclusion of a cameraphone, but I love that it is a phone and device that works FREE out of the box. If there's wifi, well, you can make calls through Skype, IM, browse the web, all that jazz and for free! Skype has a promotion through the end of the year that allows free calls to any number in the US, therefore calls on the MYLO are free. Obviously this product is marketed for the younger market and urban areas.

I play, I report. I'll let you know. Hugs.