Wow. Very, very cool device. Apple’s innovation continues to blow away their competition by leaps and bounds, and you can bet that the iPhone will be one of, if not the, hottest tech gadget(s) of 2007. A must have though? Well, no, not from a business productivity standpoint. But with the introduction of Mac OS X in the mobile device marketplace I’m quite certain Windows, Palm, and RIM are not feeling all warm and fuzzy.

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We recently purchased a new cellular phone for our eight year old son. The phone allows him to make or receive calls only from a defined list of telephone numbers, which we enter into it, and provides emergency 911 access. A few months ago a friend of his from school came over and she had a new LG Migo “kid-friendly” cellular phone from Verizon Wireless. Once we saw the LG Migo, we knew we’d be getting him a cellular phone long before we had initially planned. While the Migo is a neat device, we ended up going with the Firefly, which uses Cingular’s network.

The Firefly can be used as a pre-paid device or you can subscribe to a monthly service plan. As with nearly all pre-paid services, the per minute rates are a little outrageous ($.25/min.), but since we anticipate minimal usage we should be alright for the immediate future. The fact of the matter is this was an impulse purchase, and we may eventually change to the LG Migo and Verizon Wireless anyway.

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There’s finally some content out using the latest and greatest HD standard, but I certainly won’t be running to the store to replace my 1080i HDTV anytime soon. If you’re a video “geek” like myself or have just been following the evolution of HDTV, you know that the PS3, Blu-ray, and 2nd generation HD-DVD will support 1080p. If you haven’t been following this evolution, after reading this (and the CNET article linked below) you’ll be able to tell the sales guy at your local electronics store to go annoy someone else while you browse for your next HDTV.

Picture quality is determined by a multitude of factors, and believe it or not resolution isn’t necessarily the most important factor when we talk about 720p, 1080i or 1080p capable HDTVs. Sure, it ranks right up there, but contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy do as well. For more detailed information on the HDTV standards and resolution, check out this excellent CNET article from David Katzmaier. The fact of the matter is that difference in picture quality between 1080i and 1080p will not be noticeable to the average viewer.

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If someone uses the phrase “DVD Quality Video” in their marketing literature it usually means one of three things; (1) their product is crap, (2) they haven’t the slightest clue about DVD-Video standards, or (3) they do understand the standards and are simply trying to mislead you…and their product is crap.

Now maybe I’m being a bit harsh here, but I take offense when companies attempt to mislead the “typical” consumer by using generalizations. The fact of the matter is that there are several standards for DVD-Video, along with other variables that can impact DVD-Video picture quality.

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Xbox 360 vs. PS3. There’s no question that the real battle in the HD home theater space will be decided predominately by these two gaming platforms. With the PS3 launch just a week away, very few movies available in either format, and the sticker price of the stand-alone players in either format, it all boils down to this. Microsoft and Sony have known it for a few years now, which is why they’ve each bet the bank and called in “solids” from all their homies.

Personally I think HD-DVD and Xbox 360 have the advantage, even though their HD-DVD drive was just released. While many in the industry gripe about the fact that Microsoft didn’t embed the HD-DVD capability in their console, I think it was a wise move. The consoles were out on the market at an affordable price a year ahead of the competition, and the $200 price tag for an HD-DVD player is a steal compared to either formats stand-alone players.

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