CONDENSED BASEBALL: RUNS WITHOUT THE DRIPS AND ERRORS
For those who believe that baseball is several hours of tedium punctuated by a few minutes of action, a new software package allows you to save time by cutting out the boring stretches.
MagicSports 3 from CyberLink analyzes the action of a baseball game that has been recorded on a Windows-based PC with a TV tuner card, removing the commercials, the lineup changes and the foul balls. The interesting bits are arranged at the bottom of the screen as a series of thumbnails, labeled according to their excitement level. A strikeout gets one star, while a home run earns three. You can burn clips onto a DVD highlights reel.
To find the good stuff, the software scans the video for pitches, home runs, score changes and a rise or fall in audience and commentator volume. The company claims that its technology analyzes games in about 10 minutes on a modern PC.
The program (US$50 from www.cyberlink.com) includes a module that analyzes soccer. Given that soccer is nonstop movement, it takes longer — about 20 minutes — to scan a game, looking for goals, red cards and fights between players to build a selection of greatest hits.
HELLO, MOM? I'M IN THE POOL. WHAT TIME IS DINNER?
The oddly named Verizon G'zOne — Is it Australian? Aimed at Generation Z extreme sports enthusiasts? — is a rugged phone that is completely submersible in water. That's right. Now you can call Mom, Dad or your relatives from the shower.
Actually the G'zOne can handle being underwater for only about 30 minutes, but it makes up for that by looking like an armored sea vessel. The openings for its 2-megapixel camera and built-in flash (which also serves as a flashlight) are shaped like a ship's portholes, and there is a round front screen for reading the time and caller ID The phone also has stopwatch and countdown timer functions.
The G'zOne's battery lasts for about 3 hours of talk time and 170 hours on standby. The phone also includes a chip that is compatible with Verizon's VZ Navigator mapping software.
The entire package weighs 142g and includes a loop for attaching to a lanyard or other outdoor gear.
The G'zOne is available now on the Verizon Web site and costs US$299 with a two-year subscription. Thanks to phones like this, it looks as if we'll soon see multitaskers taking cell phones into the lap lane at the pool.
THE PICTURE FRAME GOES TOTALLY TECH, AND NO WIRES
Bored with the same family photos on the fridge every day? Digital picture frames let you create slide shows of your loved ones that rotate through the frame's LCD screen. Getting those pictures into the frame generally requires a direct connection to a computer, or the insertion of a flash memory card filled with photos.
A new model from a British company called A Living Picture untethers the frame from all physical storage media, letting you download pictures to the frame over a WiFi connection, wherever it sits in the house.
The Windows-compatible product, named Momento, can also display stock quotes, weather and other information that will be available through the SideShow feature in the new Windows Vista operating system.
The Momento will be released on Dec. 1 but is available for pre-order from Amazon in seven- and 10-inch models starting at US$200.
A CHILD WAVES AT THE TV, AND THE GAME BEGINS