Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions


Let's See How Crazy Black Friday Gets This Year!

November 12, 2008

Crazy Eddie take note!
The Friday immediately following Thanksgiving has long been known as "Black Friday" because it represents the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season, or the day when retailers hold massive sales in hopes of steering their (red) losses into (black) profits.

And from what I've been reading about holiday shopping this year, gadgets may be one of the few bright spots ... 

Among the most heavily discounted electronics items poised to dominate this year's sales are low cost notebooks, according to sources, who note that Dell plans to offer $299 linux model via its website, while Wal-Mart markets a $299 Compaq and Best Buy a $299 eMachines portable.

And do yo think Apple will be sitting quietly ...

... Didn't think so; so check out AppleInsider.

And thanks to for the image.

Hopefully, these prices are insane!!!!!

MacBook Mini on Its Way?

November 7, 2008

One of my favorite analysts, Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital, has raised an interesting point about a pretty obvious gap in the Apple product line-up.

Reitzes has asserted that it "makes complete sense" for the company to introduce an ultra-portable device to fill the price gap between the $399 high-end iPod Touch and the $999 MacBook.

"This $600 gap needs to be filled and we think it can be with a premium ultra-portable device using multi-touch technology," he writes. "We believe an ultra-portable can be done right by Apple and do not believe the company wants to follow the netbook model, trying to pack full PC functionality into a something small and cheap. Apple, in our view, would only introduce a premium product that doesn't dilute its brand." 

More on this at Barron's Tech Trader Daily.

Belkin GoStudio Turns iPod into Recording Studio!

November 6, 2008

Now you can turn your iPod into your own mini, hand-sized recording studio with Belkin's GoStudio.  It can record stereo audo directly to an iPod Classic, Nano or Video with its two built-in microphones, a mono speaker and four external microphone inputs.

The iPod slips into a holster-like setup and a recording menu appears.  Neat features include built-in gain and recording level controls as well as monitor controls so you can listen to your recording while you are doing it.

Recordings can be uploaded immediately to iTunes when your iPod is connected to your computer. You can then add that audio to your blog, web site, Facebook or MySpace pages. 

Pretty cool!  Can some pro audio recording studios be jealous of your work   

MSRP: $119.99
  Availability: Now.

Fab Four Heading to Rock Band; Can iTunes Be Far Behind?

November 4, 2008

In an auspicious time for the music business, we may have the first big hint that the Beatles may finally be on the way to Apple's iTunes.

That's a big leap of faith but hear me out: The Beatles' label Apple Corps will join MTV to unveil plans to bring the Beatles' catalog to the wildly popular Rock Band video game. These two groups have been trying to hammer out details for months, and it appears they've finally come together (yes, pun intended.)

The reason this is so much bigger than merely MTV scoring the world's most valuable music catalogue is that it signals a monumental shift by Apple Corps to begin to embrace digital distribution. And that could mean a new opening for more discussions with Apple and its iTunes music service -- where the Beatles are still so conspicuously absent.

(And its is the world's most popular music store.)

Maybe AC/DC and Aersomith taught them something???

More at

Very Handy iPhone & iPod Emergency Charger

October 30, 2008

AT&T's Free Wi-Fi for iPhone

October 29, 2008

In the on again, off again department ...

AT&T knows Wi-Fi is hot, and free Wi-Fi is even hotter. Which is why free AT&T Wi-Fi access is now available for Apple iPhone at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks.

Now you can can relax and access music, email and web browsing services with your favorite brew in hand from the comfort of your nearest location. (That's if AT&T has a good signal in your area.)

AT&T provided a number of early hints that the service would be coming and sent a message to iPhone users announcing the plan.

Sears Wants Your Old Gadgets

October 27, 2008

Sears is offering VenJuvo's Trade4Credit program to shoppers that will allow you to earn Sears store credit in exchange for trading in pre-owned gadgets that have been determined to still hold value.

The program, which offers free recycling and shipping, will accept a variety of gadgets, including iPhones, digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 players, GPS systems and gaming systems.

To use the service, simply have to log onto, select your gadget and then enter the specifics about it so the system can calculate an estimated trade-in value. Once the value is established, the user can print out the prepaid mailing label and send the device to VenJuvo.

After the device is received, VenJuvo will validate the value and within three days you will be able to collect a Sears gift card for that value. 

A quick look at the site tells me the product categories are narrow and the prices low.  Now, wouldn't eBay be a better choice in some cases?

More at TWICE.

Wow! A Quick Boot PC -- About Time!

October 27, 2008

It is the black hole of the digital age -- the three minutes it can take for your computer to boot up, when there is nothing to do but wait, and wait, and wait some more before you can log on and begin doing anything at all.

Now the computer industry says it wants to give back some of those precious seconds. In coming months, the world's major PC makers plan to introduce a new generation of quick-start computers, spotting a marketing opportunity in society's short attention span.

Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo are rolling out machines that give people access to basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less.

Now, can you remember back when you'd boot up the PC and then head to make a pot of coffee ... 

Asus, a Taiwanese company that is the world's largest maker of the circuit boards at the center of every PC, has begun building faster-booting software into its entire product line.

Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that "a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds."

Today only 35% of machines running Windows Vista, boot in 30 seconds or less, the blog notes.

Here Comes the BlackBerry Apps Store ...

October 22, 2008

Apple's rivals are making moves to match the runaway success of its iPhone platform with their own versions of its store for applications and games from outside developers.

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced that it would launch an "application storefront" in March next year. 

TIme to fill up that screen with lots of icons! 

Google is also revamping its Android Market and adding new applications this week to coincide with availability of the first phone built on the new operating system, the HTC G1.

Both are trailing Apple's App Store, which launched on July 10 for the second-generation iPhone. 

The increasing sophistication of smartphones and the growth in size of their screen interfaces is turning them into PC-like platforms. Following the Apple example, handset makers are exploring how consumers can be drawn to phones by the number and variety of applications available on them.

RIM said that developers could set their own prices for applications but, at 20%, it is taking a smaller piece from them than the 30% Apple bites off. 

More from The Financial Times.

Mac Mini Going Bye-Bye?

October 21, 2008

The Mac Mini may be pronounced dead as soon as today's Apple earnings conference call, as two major retailers in Europe have confirmed that they can't order any more of the little doodad.

While this could signal an updated model coming in, the impression is that -- once again -- the Mac Mini may be dead dead DEAD for real, even while you can still order it at the Apple Store.

It would be weird to see it go in this time of crisis, but being their worst-selling computer, it's not that surprising.

The Mac mini was first introduced in January 2005 at the Macworld Conference & Expo. Labeled by Steve Jobs as the "most affordable Mac ever" it was well received by the critic and public. And check out those tiny dimensions for a desktop machine.

Apple positioned it as a cheap alternative to the Mac Pro for every PC user who wanted to switch to the Mac without having to buy new peripherals. 

But guess a lot of PC users didn't want to take any of that old stuff with them ... 

More at Gizmodo.

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