Saturday, March 22, 2008

Product review Sony Bravia KDL52XBR4 52 in LCD TV


There's no denying that you have a lot of options when it comes to selecting an LCD monitor to accompany your computer. Some of these monitors are designed to attract your attention with their exceptional refresh rates, contrast ratios, or viewing angles, whereas others attempt to grab their segment of the market by tossing a mediocre panel into the most attractive-looking package possible.

The Samsung SyncMaster 940UX is a 19-inch standard ratio LCD that boasts a feature you probably won't find on most other monitors: it can connect to your computer using USB. This option is in addition to its standard analog (VGA/RGB) and digital (DVI) connection options. This is easily its biggest selling feature and I feel that it is a valuable feature for someone, for example, who owns a laptop without a DVI output. Typically, these consumer-level laptops will only provide an analog (VGA) output and the result of this is usually less than spectacular. Analog signals have gone the way of the dinosaur, after all.

Before we get down into the nitty-gritty of the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX, let's have a look at the official spec sheet:

- Viewable area: 19"
- Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.294
- Brightness (cd/m2): 300
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (DC 2000:1)
- Viewing angle: 160 degrees vertical and horizontal
- Response time: 5ms
- Maximum Resolution: 1280x1024
- Color Support: 16.7 million
- Input Connectors: 15pin D-sub, DVI-D, USB
- Power Consumption: 42 Watts Max (on mode), <>


The box that the SyncMaster 940UX ships in is pretty standard. There's no glossy exterior or fancy packaging to accompany this otherwise nondescript LCD monitor. It's plain brown with a few faint blue highlights. On the box, they give you some basic information about the monitor and a grainy image of what the monitor looks like. Like so many other boxes before it, there is a plastic handle that protrudes out the top to help with transport.

The LCD is snugly held in place with a pair of styrofoam inserts. In addition to the monitor itself, I also found a VGA, DVI, USB, and power cable in the box, though it's unclear whether all of these cables are included in the retail package. There is also a CD with the software, user manual, and drivers that you'll need to run this monitor properly. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Wil Wheaton Review on the most expensive PC ever made

When I gave my keynote at Penny Arcade Expo, I wanted to give context to the whole reason we all gathered in Seattle. To do that, I tried to take the audience on a trip through gaming history, as seen through the eyes of someone who witnessed the evolution from Atari 2600 to Xbox360 first hand.

I understand that there will be an official PAX'07 DVD released sometime before our Sun goes supernova, or Duke Nukem Forever goes gold, but until then, here's some video of me talking about the first time I played a Nintendo Entertainment System.

Here's what I put into my notes, for those of you who are YouTube impaired, or want to find those places where I broke away from my prepared remarks to heed Fiona Apple's timeless advice to just "go with yourself."

After briefly browsing the action figures and board games, we turned a corner and saw it: the Nintendo Entertainment System, sitting at the end of an aisle, waiting for some lucky kid to pick up its controller and take it for a spin.

We looked at each other, marveling at our good luck, before bolting down the aisle and grabbing the controllers so that no one could get between us and unlimited video game bliss.

There were sixteen different games to choose from. It was incredible. My eyes raced across the colored titles spread out before me:

Golf? No. Golf is lame.

Clu Clu Land? That sounds like math. Next.

Kung-Fu? Bori -- wait! Kung-Fu? Like in the arcade?!

"Let's play Kung-Fu," I said.

"Is it cool?" he said.

"I'm pretty sure it is, Jer," I said. "I think I've played this at Pinball Plus."

(Pinball Plus was our local arcade, owned by a guy who would give us free tokens for good grades. He sold the place in the late eighties, and it was renamed – I am not making this up – The Enterprise. I felt right at home there, for all the reasons you’d think.)

I hit start and was so impressed and excited by what I saw, I think I peed a little.

It was unlike anything I'd ever seen on a console. It made our Atari 2600 feel as technologically advanced as a set of alphabet blocks that was missing three of the five vowels.

"Oh my god, Jeremy! This is just like the arcade!"

"Yeah!" He said, spurred on by my excitement as much as his own.

We alternated between Kung-Fu, Excitebike, and Pinball until our parents dragged us away, what felt like hours later.

Once we were in the car. My brother said, "Mom! Dad! That Intendo is so great!"

"It's Nintendo, Jeremy," I said, in my very best Serious and Mature voice, "and it's probably the most advanced computer system that will ever be made."

That was my favorite line in the entire keynote, because I can still hear myself saying it, and recall how passionately I believed that.

I'm pretty heavily in love with my Nintendo DS, and I have a massive crush on my Xbox360, but the Nintendo Entertainment System will always hold a special place in my heart that's like . . . well, you know how there's the person you lose your virginity to, but then there's the person who shows you how to actually, you know, do it right? I lost my virginity to the Atari 2600, but it was the NES that made me a man.

Wow. Uncomfortable metaphors FTW.

Wil Wheaton made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you, but he gets the feeling that you don’t like it. What’s with all the screaming?

Gizmodo Very own Windows Home Server close Review

Microsoft has a difficult challenge ahead of them in convincing people that they need Windows Home Server. After all, having another computer in the house—especially one that doesn't have a screen, a keyboard, or a mouse—isn't something people are shoving each other in the face for. But when families take a good long look at what WHS can do, like automated, centralized daily backups, simplified remote access, storage expansion and network file sharing, they may just change their minds. We got our hands on a Norco DS-520 Home Server, one of the first pre-made boxes available, and definitely loved what we saw.

Windows Home Server

Before the software, here's the hardware we used to explore WinHoServer. Norco's DS 520 has a 1GHz Celeron M processor, up to 1GB RAM, eight SATA II channels, 3 eSATA ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a total capacity of 8TB when using 1TB drives. It's got an MSRP of $649, which may seem high for a headless machine, but it's not quite like a standard Windows machine you've used. True, you can make a Windows XP or Vista machine into a NAS that backs up and has RAID and allows remote access, you need deep networking and computer experience to do so. WinHoSo is designed for the average family with more than one computer. And you pay for both the convenience and the upgradeability.

Here are the main features Microsoft will be using to sell this to you.

Backup: Much like Vista itself, Windows Home Server allows you to back up your computer drive by drive to one centralized location. You can even do this with every computer in your house, provided you've got enough space installed on your Home Server. Like Time Machine in Leopard, this is a fire and forget method of backing up that's painless and easy enough for your mom to do (and if she can't, you can always remote access in and do it for her). We set our Vista machine to back up once a day and it's done by the time we wake up in the morning.

Network Storage: Another one of the main features allows you dump all your files off your computer and onto your network. Homes that have more than one machine can consolidate music, photos, and movies so the files can be accessed anywhere. For example, you can stream music to your Xbox 360 directly from the server. It depends on each OEM's implementation of the software, but most have hard drive slots in front that are hot-swappable, plus eSATA ports and USB 2.0 ports in the back for easy external expansion as well. All the drives—including external ones—are consolidated into one big pool that services your network. When you plug in a new drive (as shown above), it will format (assimilate) the drive and add it to the hive mind (Borg Collective).

What's great about this network storage is that it's essentially a poor man's RAID. You can choose top level shared folders on your server for file duplication, which backs up the same files onto another one attached hard drive for redundancy in case one drive fails. There's also access rights for different users so you can keep your "photo" directory separate from your family vacation pics. And since it's an SMB network share, OS X and Linux machines can use it as well.

Remote Access: In addition to being able to access your files through the network, you can also grab them over the internet with remote access. Setting it up was extremely easy, which is a credit to Microsoft to boil down port forwarding and domain registration to something normals can do. To enable it, just head to the settings, switch on the feature, and the server will auto-configure your router via uPNP. After that's done, you go through the handful of steps to register a free domain name ( is the result) and you can now grab your files from anywhere.

What's even better than accessing files from outside your home is accessing actual computers. Home Server allows remote access connections for privileged users (ones you give permission to) to control certain machines on your network. Connecting requires Internet Explorer, so non-Windows PCs are out. This reiterates the point that this is a Windows ecosystem-focused product. However, we couldn't get remote access to work correctly on 3 different machines we tried—it kept giving us a timeout which we suspect is a firewall/router issue—but we'll try again and update on how well remote access works when it actually does.

Monitoring: In addition to hot features like backup, file share and remote access, there's small features that let you keep your home network in check as well. WinHoSo can monitor the status of all computers connected to it via the Network status section. This, as shown above, lets you see the status of each computer's firewall, antivirus and whether any updates are pending from one place. For families, you can see if your kids have disabled the firewall or the antivirus because they wanted to play some trojan-laced game they downloaded.

Extendability: The Windows Home Server platform also serves as a base for plugins, which either extend the functionality software-wise or act as a gateway or driver for some piece of hardware you're using. Announcements for these will come soon, but suffice it to say things sound very promising.

Do It Yourself: For those of you who already have a spare machine you can use as a WHS node, you can already pick up an OEM copy from Newegg for $179. The installation process takes about an hour, after which you'll be set up with your own Home Server without having to buy a pre-made machine.

In more ways than one, the WHS product reminds us of Windows Media Center Edition, a design that started out as a niche product but was updated and improved every year to be so great that it eventually outsold standard editions of XP—and then incorporated full out in Vista.

Microsoft wanted this to be an easy to use product that families can take advantage of without having to think about it. It incorporates well into existing homes that have more than one computer and want to back up/store/share their data. Norco's implementation is a fine example of how this Windows Home Server will work, bringing an all-in-one kit that's both expandable on the hardware side and extensible on the software side. They may have a hard time convincing people that they need this in their homes, but we're definitely sold. [Windows Home Server] Reveals Top Sales Gadgets of 2007 Announces ''Best of 2007'' Lists

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE) (NASDAQ:AMZN) today released its Best of 2007 lists, which include the bestselling, most positively reviewed, most-wished-for and favorite gift products as determined by customers in 2007.

Bestselling Products

The following is a list of the bestselling products on in 2007 by total units sold:

  • Books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Music: Noel by Josh Groban
  • DVD: Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series
  • Electronics: Canon PowerShot A570IS 7.1MP digital camera
  • Home & Garden: Pyrex storage sets
  • Health & Personal Care: Omron HJ-112 digital premium pedometer
  • Grocery: Senseo Douwe Egberts dark roast coffee pods
  • Gourmet: Starbucks assortment gift basket by Wine Country Gift Baskets
  • Computers: Nokia Internet tablet PC
  • Software: Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
  • Video Games: Nintendo Wii
  • Apparel & Accessories: Kenneth Cole Reaction men's Eden wool peacoat
  • Shoes and handbags ( and Jessica Simpson women's Henri2 pump
  • Sports & Outdoors: Perfect Pushup
  • Home Improvement: Black & Decker 8-inch auto wrench
  • Automotive: Actron AutoScanner diagnostic code scanner
  • Jewelry: Sterling silver open double flower pendant
  • Watches: LEGO kids' watch
  • Beauty: Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil
  • Baby: Munchkin Mozart Cube
  • Toys: Jakks EyeClops Bionic Eye

Most-Loved Products

The following is a list of products that were reviewed most positively by customers in 2007:

  • Books: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling
  • Music: "One Chance" by Paul Potts
  • DVD: "Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series"
  • Electronics: Garmin nΓΌvi 350 3.5-inch portable GPS navigator
  • Home & Garden: KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-quart mixer
  • Health & Personal Care: Farouk CHI 1-inch ceramic flat hairstyling iron
  • Grocery: McCann's Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Gourmet: Tuscan whole milk, 1 gallon
  • Computers: Apple MacBook Pro notebook PC
  • Software: Apple Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard
  • Video Games: Nintendo Wii
  • Apparel & Accessories: Chrome Metal Silver Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
  • Shoes and handbags ( and FEED bag
  • Sports & Outdoors: Perfect Pushup
  • Home Improvement: Toro Ultra 12 amp electric blower/vacuum
  • Automotive: Actron PocketScan diagnostic code reader
  • Jewelry: Sterling silver open double flower pendant
  • Watches: Invicta men's Pro Diver Collection automatic watch
  • Beauty: Bare Escentuals Get Started Kit
  • Baby: Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
  • Toys: Blokus Strategy board game

Most-Wished-For Products

The following is a list of products that appeared most often on the Wish Lists of customers in 2007:

  • Books: I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
  • Music: Noel by Josh Groban
  • DVD: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (two-disc Special Edition)
  • Electronics: Apple 4 GB iPod nano (3rd Generation)
  • Home & Garden: Silpat nonstick silicone baking mat
  • Health & Personal Care: Accutire programmable digital tire gauge
  • Grocery: Numi's Bouquet bamboo gift set
  • Gourmet: Starbucks assortment gift basket by Wine Country Gift Basket
  • Computers: Asus Eee 4G-Galaxy 7-inch PC mobile Internet device
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 6
  • Video Games: Nintendo Wii
  • Apparel & Accessories: Red Moon women's long-sleeve cashmere jersey V-neck sweater
  • Shoes and handbags ( and FEED bag
  • Sports & Outdoors: Suunto T6 Wristop personal trainer with heart rate monitor
  • Home Improvement: Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool
  • Automotive: Accutire MS-4350B programmable digital tire gauge
  • Jewelry: Sterling silver open double flower pendant
  • Watches: Bulova women's diamond chronograph watch
  • Beauty: Bare Escentuals Get Started Eyes
  • Baby: The First Years Sure To Comfort newborn to toddler tub
  • Toys: Magnetix I-Coaster

Most Popular Gift Products

The following is a list of products most frequently purchased as gifts by customers in 2007:

  • Books: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Music: Noel by Josh Groban
  • DVD: Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series
  • Electronics: Apple 4 GB iPod nano (3rd Generation)
  • Home & Garden: George Foreman Next Grilleration removable-plate grill
  • Health & Personal Care: Omron Pocket Pedometer
  • Grocery: Numi's Bouquet bamboo gift set
  • Gourmet: Soup's On gift basket by Wine Country Gift Baskets
  • Computers: Apple MacBook notebook PC
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 6
  • Video Games: Super Mario Galaxy
  • Apparel & Accessories: V Fraas women's cashmere knit scarf and glove set
  • Shoes and handbags ( and Slippers International women's Fluff Scuff slipper
  • Sports & Outdoors: Garrity Power Lite 3 LED crank light
  • Home Improvement: Black & Decker 8-inch auto wrench
  • Automotive: LifeHammer original emergency hammer
  • Jewelry: 14k gold, round diamond stud earrings
  • Watches: Movado Women's Amorosa watch
  • Beauty: Burt's Bees Head to Toe Starter Kit
  • Baby: Mozart Magic Cube
  • Toys: IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit

About, Inc., (Nasdaq:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earths most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as health and personal care, jewelry and watches, gourmet food, sports and outdoors, apparel and accessories, books, music, DVDs, electronics and office, toys and baby, and home and garden.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including,,,,,, and the Joyo Amazon websites at and

As used herein,, we, our and similar terms include, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, significant amount of indebtedness, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, and all subsequent filings.

The $159 PC reviewed

The $159 PC reviewed

Holy tightwads, Batman! A better PC than what you're running costs less than a pair of designer jeans? What's happened to the computer industry?

Were GQ magazine to design a computer, it would sport a Gucci leather jacket and stroll in slick Prada loafers. It would also cost eight, maybe nine thousand dollars. But when Fry's Electronics designed the GQ system, it wasn't thinking of luxury linens and leather. It wanted something cheap. The surprising thing is that the GQ (short for "Great Quality," by the way, not Gentleman's Quarterly) turns out to be a powerful PC. It's low-cost, in other words, not high crap.

Why should you care about a cut-rate Californian computer? After all, you've probably got a PC or two at home already. But consider: This one is probably faster than yours. It contains an AMD Sempron 2400+ chip, which runs at 1.67 GHz; unless you've bought a computer in the past year or two, that's a faster chip than yours. And if you're up to your eyeballs in speed already, a fast, cheap box like this would make an excellent office system or home server. Plus we're willing to guess Grandma doesn't have half that power at her place.