Wed, May 14, 2008 - Page 14 News List

[ TECHNOLOGY REVIEW ]

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE

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TIMEKEEPER FOR TECHIES TURNS 25 IN STYLE

Next to the plastic pocket protector, there is probably no better-known artifact of the nerd than the Casio G-Shock watch. But the chunky digital watch, created in 1983, has become a fashion item on the wrists of those who aren’t necessarily technologically inclined.

To celebrate the brand’s longevity, Casio has created a number of multifunction watches. They include the MTG-1000, a solar-powered, water-resistant stopwatch that tells time in 27 cities and features what Casio calls “multiband atomic timekeeping,” which uses a radio time signal to calibrate the watch. It is available from Casio at www.gshock.com.

Casio continues to engineer watches the way it has done for a quarter-century, adding features and rarely removing any. One thing remains constant, though: Programming the US$400 watch by pushing its four buttons in a precise order is the true test of whether you are smart enough to wear it. For those who give up, leave the watch on a windowsill anywhere in the US (or in Japan and most of Western Europe), and the next morning it will tell the correct time.

A HOME THEATER SYSTEM TO ROCK YOUR WORLD

Sometimes true surround sound is overkill. While chair-bouncing sound pumping out of a phalanx of speakers intensifies movie viewing in the living room, it’s often easier just to set up a smaller home theater system — like the Sony DAV-F200 — and call it a day.

The two 450-watt speakers and a subwoofer simulate surround sound. A glassy black central control panel that plays DVDs and CDs can sit on a stand or even be mounted to a wall. It converts standard DVDs to the high-definition 1080p standard and sends them over an HDMI cable to a high-definition TV. The speakers have a “dialogue enhancer mode” that isolates and heightens spoken parts of a film so the actors’ words can be heard over soaring soundtracks or explosions.

The device can also extract audio from compatible MP3 players and thumb drives. (Fans of MP3s can turn on the portable audio enhancer to smooth out compressed music files.) With an optional adapter, music lovers can connect their iPods and Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and laptops to the home theater system.

The DAV-F200 will be available next month, but Sony hasn’t yet set a price.

DJ GEAR FOR THE PC SIMULATES VINYL

Amateur deejaying on a PC can often sound, to use the vernacular, kind of whack. Hercules hopes to improve the chances of pumping out a great mix with the Mobile DJ MP3.

The device consists of a pair of dials — which simulate two simultaneously spinning records — and a cross-fader. To play music, you install the included software on a Windows PC or laptop and pick and choose tracks over a wireless USB connection.

The display shows the current song titles, and you can change pitch and volume for individual tracks on the fly. The audio plays through whatever speakers are attached to the computer. The unit, which comes in white or black, runs on two C batteries and is available for US$100 at DJDeals.com, MusiciansFriend.com and other online retailers.

While the Mobile DJ MP3 can’t quite match up to real wheels of steel, it might be enough of a simulacrum to make people think that Daft Punk is in fact playing at your house.

FROM JAPAN, A TINY LAPTOP THAT STANDS OUT IN A CROWD

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