Window shopping at CES through the eyes of a LabRat.
It's been almost a week since the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I've sorted through the press kits and pondered all the products I saw. Personally, I found CES rather underwhelming this year with very few radical technological innovations. But that's a good thing too. It means the products we see in 2005 won't be half baked, good-in-theory-but-doesn't-work-because-it's-new-technology type products. It also means that there are many products ready for prime time. I admit that I'm probably the most cynical LabRat in the group and rarely do I find products that I would spend my limited funds on, but after this CES, I'm poised for financial ruin.
For My Ride
I've been looking for the perfect stereo upgrade for months and I found almost everything in the Pioneer AVIC-D1. Installed, the double DIN AVIC-D1 looks like little more than a 6.5 inch display, but there's so much more. There's navigation and vehicle dynamics built-in along with your usual head unit features, making it the perfect centerpiece for my car stereo. Fine, it doesn't play DVD's, but I can live with that for now.
But I want more. The Pioneer GEX-P10XMT XM NavTraffic not only adds XM satellite radio to the AVIC-D1, but also brings real-time traffic conditions to the navigation system as well. Living in Los Angeles, this isn't an option, but a prescription for sanity. The combined service costs $13.99 per month. I was ready to switch to Sirius Radio, but real-time traffic changes everything.
There's more. The Pioneer CD-IB100 connects my iPod to the AVIC-D1 (or any IP-Bus ready Pioneer stereo). That way, I can control the iPod from the head unit and charge up too.
For My House
I am a digital packrat. This is a fact that I will not argue. Between my music, movies, and pictures, I've maxed out more than 500 GB of hard drive space. Ultimately, I'd like to free the hard drives from the confines of my desktop anyway. Enter a packrats dream – the Buffalo TeraStation. As the name eludes, the TeraStation boasts a bulging terabyte through four 250 GB drives. Four USB ports allow additional storage, for backing up on external drives, or sharing a USB printer across the network. The TeraStation supports 10/100 Ethernet and the all important gigabit Ethernet, a must for transferring ridiculously large files. The TeraStation works with Mac, Linux, and Windows computers.
The TeraStation handles my storage needs around the house, but how about sharing with the world. Axentra's Net-Box One does everything from storage to Web hosting in a single unit. Of all the features, I'm most interested in photo album publishing. Once activated, the Net-Box automatically publishes your folder full of pictures online, complete with a thumbnail views, and even slideshows. You can set access to only those you want, but best of all, I won't have to upload to a Web site to share with friends.
Finally, there's the question of gigabit networking for the TeraStation. The Net-Box One does everything a router would normally do, but doesn't include gigabit networking. Now, I've seen gigabit switches for over a year, but never a wireless router for consumers. D-Link's GamerLounge Wireless 108G Gaming Router is the first consumer router to support gigabit Ethernet. Plus, there's 802.11g, so there's one box for all my networking needs.
On the Run
One of my New Year resolutions is to exercise more frequently. That's why the Garmin Forerunner 301 is on my list. Designed for bicyclist and runners, the Forerunner utilizes GPS to track your workout (speed, distance etc.). There's a virtual partner for motivation and it'll even help you find your way home. The biggest enhancement is the integrated heart monitor to make sure you're hitting your goals. Download all this information into a PC and analyze your progress.
I'm a palmOne Treo 600 user by day, but I want a smaller, more pocket friendly and stylish phone for the evening. I had been eyeing the Sony Ericsson S710a for a few weeks leading up to CES. I'd seen the European version at CTIA last year and loved it then. In Onyx Black, the S710a looks even better. It's packed with features including a one megapixel camera, Bluetooth, EDGE data support, and comes with synching software for MS Outlook. For me, it's all about the style and the S710a has plenty with its digital camera looks. The only downside so far is the proprietary headset jack.