Monday, January 16, 2006

The Naked iPod

Hello folks! Right now I'm in a hotel room in London - my work involves extended periods away from home - so over the next few weeks I'll be reporting on my experiences traveling with the multitude of gadgets that usually accompany me.

For this trip, I finally resurrected my old Gen 1 iPod. As much as I like my Shuffle, I do miss not being able to pick tracks at will. So the Shuffle will have a holiday while big iPod takes over the music duties.

The thing that struck me was that despite being over 4 years old, the iPod was in remarkably good nick. Cosmetically, it's pretty scuffed up, but it doesn't mean it's unusable! The kerfuffle over iPod nano scratches was overblown in my opinion.

If you're thinking 'iPod nano? Scratches??' then I'll assume you've just come out of a long term coma. In that case, welcome! It's 2006 and robots are real!

I think my ol' iPod has weathered well having never seen the luxury of a case, sock or balaclava, but I can appreciate if you've just splashed out on a new nano or video iPod and it starts to get marked early on, you'd be miffed.

The best advice I can offer is to never, ever under any circumstances - threat of forced viewing of Celebrity Big Brother, even - put your iPod in a pocket with keys or loose change. Never. Do it once and your iPod will be scarred for life. Scarred I tell you! Not to mention the mental scarring you receive when, fumbling for your house keys, your fingers touch upon... your precious iPod. Aaarghh! Kill me now! (Readers may have gathered that the author of this piece has undergone such a traumatic experience).

Mind you, not as bad as - having been very careful protecting it's surfaces with a tea-towel - finding a bloody great scratch on the casing of the iBook while undertaking a complicated drive-ectomy! To add insult to injury, it was right across the translucent Apple logo in the lid! I'm still paying the rehab bill!

Ok, it's time for, er, teaser time: I recently took delivery of a Fossil Wrist PDA (a dream gadget) - a full write up will appear here soon so bookmark me already! Meh!

Also coming up: How playing PSP on the Tube can make you vom.

Call back soon for more gadget goodness!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The gift of light

Hello, and a Happy New Year to everybody. If you've stumbled across this from iLounge, then welcome, make youself at home and help yourself to nibbles.

Naturally, Christmas is a great time to receive and give gadgets. In my case, I did mostly the giving - namely an iPod nano to my fiancé. I'm not about to plunge into a review of the nano; there is a great review on iLounge if you're interested. Suffice to say, it's as great as everyone says. Yes, the gloss finish exterior will get marked as time goes by. My philosophy is not to get too paranoid about this - my G1 iPod rates pretty highly on the scuff-o-meter but guess what? It still plays music just fine.

For today however, I'm going to write about a cool little gadget that some may have seen before - the tritium keyring.

"Triti-what?", you cry. It's basically a clear perspex keyring with a phosphorous coated vial of tritium. The low-level radiation (yes, radiation), reacts with the phosphor an causes it to give out light - albeit very faintly. The coolest aspect of this process - the tritium has a half life of 12 years.

Don't get me wrong - this is a low level, fairly useless light source, good for only seeing where you left your keys in the dark. But it has a life span of 10 years! Not only does it sound like something from Star Trek, it has almost the same lifespan as Lt Cmdr Data! Ok maybe not, but certainly longer than any of Kirk's Enterprises! Truly, science fiction - in your pocket.

I have kind of cheated with the photo in that I used a long exposure time in a relatively dark room to try and make the glow show. Well, it worked, but the real thing isn't nearly as bright.

Here is a link to a retail page if you're interested. Also, there seems be some restriction on where these can be obtained - US availability is limited as far as I'm aware, but there is always eBay!