EARS ON

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 23, 2006 1 comments
The beta version of the Google Video Store is now online. The surprise is that it offers an abundant amount of free material in the form of short, amusing, amateur video clips. (Pick hit: a video editor ranting on "Why Mac's Suck.") The pay-for-play material includes a motley assortment of movies, NBA games, music videos, and TV shows like The Brady Bunch, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek in two flavors—Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Pricing varies according to the nature and length of the material. Movies cost from $12.99-24.99 while TV shows are $1.99 per episode. In some cases you can also pay $2.99 for a Day Pass that will allow you to download the video and view it within 24 hours on the Google Video Player. Google's software is required for paid material but the free stuff will work on any player that handles AVI files. Picture quality is standard-definition with heavy video compression artifacts, but this being Google, the user interface and search features are user-friendly. Even if you have no intention of paying for anything, the Google Video Store is a great way to while away idle hours. Click on the external link below. Or, from the Google homepage, click on More, Video.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 20, 2006 3 comments
Flying is brutal. And the cramped seat and substandard food aren't the only things that do you in. Noise is the unseen enemy. You may think you can merely adjust to it and ignore it—but that is physically impossible. Jet-turbine noise gives your eardrums and the other delicate parts of your inner ear a beating, and that messes up both your hearing and your sense of balance. That's why you often feel disoriented after a long flight. The wise traveler is therefore one who carries a good set of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 19, 2006 0 comments
Steven Soderbergh's Bubble will soon become the first major movie to be simultaneously premiered in theaters and on satellite television. On January 27 the movie will be shown on HDNet while rolling out in theaters nationwide. The DVD release will follow on January 31. However the actual opening night was January 12, in Parkersville, West Virginia, where the tale of murder in a doll factory was shot with real-life people on high-definition video. Theater chains are crying foul, so it's uncertain if or when the movie will make it to your local cineplex.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 18, 2006 7 comments
AT&T has snuck into the television-delivery market on silent cat feet. Without fanfare, the company formerly known as SBC has begun providing TV-over-IP service to a lucky handful in its hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Ironically, that's the same state where arch-rival Verizon has premiered its own television service. Unlike Verizon's capital-intensive all-fiber-optic approach, which extends fiber directly into the home, AT&T is building fiber only as far as "nodes" in the neighborhood, then compressing the signal into copper lines for the final leg of the journey. AT&T's initial offerings include 200 channels, including all the major networks, and some on-demand programming. This is a huge story and I'll get back to it as soon as I know more.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 17, 2006 0 comments
Levi Strauss has redesigned its iconic jeans for the iPod. The Redwire DLX Jeans have a "docking cradle" to hold the music player—while concealing the telltale bump—plus a red ribbon to allow easy removal of the iPod, a joystick track-navigation control built into the watch pocket, a wire retractor to manage the earbud cable, a distinctive white leather patch, and bluffed back pockets with hidden stitching. Pricing and pictures were not available at presstime but the new product probably won't look much like this picture of my 550s with a nano stuck in the watch pocket.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 16, 2006 5 comments
This blog has a new name. What was formerly the Diablog has become From the Edge. The new name fits in more neatly with Maureen Jenson’s From the Top and Geoffrey Morrison’s From the Lab. It also signals a change in content. Starting this week, short news items will start appearing in this space several times a week. Now you’ll have an excuse to stop by more often. The news briefs will join the short reviews that have been appearing every third week. The longer, quirkier, dual-voiced Diablog commentaries, my labors of love, will continue at the rate of about one a month. So there you have the new format: news, reviews, and commentaries. Or as it says in the subhead, dispatches, demos, and diablogs. Please visit and comment often.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2006 1 comments
Following are a few postcards from the now-concluded 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is not a weighty wrapup or even a best-of-show story, just a few things that caught our fancy.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 03, 2006 2 comments
We're in Vegas! We're in Vegas!
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 29, 2005 1 comments
Venice: La Serenissima, and serene it is. Gondolas ply the blue-green waters of the canals while thundering water-buses hop round the exterior of the islands in a blue-grey lagoon kissed by Adriatic sea air. Tourists cheerfully lose themselves in a maze of quiet pollution-free streets. Unleashed dogs walk themselves, tails wagging. Workers patiently replace wooden piles under sinking buildings while old folks haul lightweight shopping carts over pedestrian bridges. People are gentle and tolerant in this 1250-year-old former nation-state, and that's a good thing—because there you are, in a supermarket, aiming your digital camera at home theater gear. I could have killed you.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 20, 2005 3 comments
Let's face it, i-anything is pretty hot now that the iPod has become the fastest-growing product in consumer electronics. Sales of MP3 players shot up by 255 percent during the first eight months of 2005, and you can bet Apple's smallest and prettiest child was the driving force behind that dizzying growth. Enter Klipsch, one of the few good speaker brands you're likely to find in a national chain store. Now that the the company's iGroove is playing on my desk, I'd say Klipsch deserves its piece of the pie.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 16, 2005 0 comments
Hey, it's holiday gift-giving season! Or as I like to call it, Yuletide. I've already dug out the stocking mom made with the train in felt and sequins. What are you putting in it this year?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 08, 2005 3 comments
You're a little quiet today.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 02, 2005 1 comments
Will better sound help a non-iPod product succeed in a iPod-centric world? JVC is betting on it with the Alneo XA-HD500. Now, I’m not saying the iPod sounds bad. The minis and nanos I’ve heard sound pretty good. But the Alneo has an edge in transparency that becomes immediately obvious with a high-end classical recording like Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (K622), as played by the Michelangelo Chamber Orchestra with soloist Antony Michaelson. Normally I don’t expect miracles from MP3 files, even when ripped at 192 kilobits per second, but I was amazed at the fragile beauty of the string sound and the air that surrounded the solo instrument. I was hooked.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 29, 2005 4 comments
Hey, what happened?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 18, 2005 4 comments
Do I get to pick a topic for a change?

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