WiFi and Bluetooth in iPods?

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PC Magazine’s audio analyst Mike Kobrin sounds off for us on personal-media technology company PortalPlayer’s attempt to bring WiFi to digital audio players. Read on:By now, most of us have seen the reports of PortalPlayer’s attempt to bring WiFi and Bluetooth to the digital audio player world. Basically, the company has partnered with a chip maker called CSR and claims to have the ability to enable device makers to create an MP3 player with WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. The reason for this is fairly obvious: You’ll be able to sync files and transmit audio without any wires. Since PortalPlayer chips power most flavors of iPod, various Apple-related sites are abuzz with reports that Apple may come out with a WiFi-enabled iPod by the end of this year. Will it really happen? And will the product satisfy consumers? I’m not so sure.

ipod iphone 6

One of the main drawbacks of integrating wireless technologies into a device is shorter battery life. Apple isn’t known for having exceptional battery technology, and unless the company has gotten some battery life secrets from a company like Sony, I’m pretty sure that any WiFi capability will suck an MP3 player’s battery dry very quickly. I’m hoping that the power consumption of this WiFi chip will be as efficient as PortalPlayer claims it will be, and that the implementation allows the chip to be active only when it’s in use (unlike some current WiFi-enabled devices, in which the WiFi component is constantly drawing power).Bluetooth, on the other hand, is a far less power-hungry technology, and integrating it in players will let users get rid of those silly Bluetooth dongles. If Apple includes Bluetooth in a future iPod, for example, you’d be able to use products like the Logitech Wireless Headphones for iPod without making your iPod about 25 percent longer, as happens with the current product. Unfortunately, Bluetooth audio is still pretty lousy, especially when compared with WiFi transmission or wired headphones.

Not to mention the agonizingly slow file-transfer speeds that limit Bluetooth’s usefulness as a sync method. But because of Bluetooth’s relatively low power requirements, Apple (or whichever unnamed manufacturer, since PortalPlayer wouldn’t tell us who’s going to get their new technology—wink wink, nudge nudge) may opt to include Bluetooth in upcoming devices and wait until battery technology catches up with WiFi’s needs.Once WiFi is integrated into MP3 players and PMPs, however, it will certainly spawn another segment of the already-huge portable accessory market. iPod accessories alone are expected to be a $1 billion industry this year. I predict that one of the hottest-selling accessories will be the giant battery packs that extend the iPod’s battery life. These will likely be must-haves if WiFi is involved. On the other hand, maybe this is the push Apple needs to start making players with removable batteries.

Log’s Valentine’s Day Gift IdeasValentine’s Day

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A long tradition of showing each other you care with special gifts. Of course, I show I love my boyfriend every day, not just on V-Day. Granted, February 14th may just be a company’s way of making us spending fools by loading up on chocolate, lingerie, and sentimental cards. I just hope old Saint Valentine isn’t rolling in his grave. I’m sure the shopping malls and jewelry stores will be packed this weekend, full of last-minute shoppers springing for a gift to express their undying love. I’m no dummy though. It’s not always that simple. Most of the time it’s your significant other giving you exact orders: “My ring size is 6” or “6GB, not 4GB.” But for me, I like to be surprised. So, if you’re “allowed” to shock your one-and-only, try these on for size: 1. Motorola RAZR V3 Pink Phone ($369.99)If you’re dating a pink lady, then she’ll love Motorola’s Pink RAZR V3.2.

Log's Valentine's Day Gift IdeasValentine's Day

Mr. Beer Premium Home Microbrewery Kit ($39.95)If your guy is anything like mine, he LOVES his beer. You might as well let him brew his own! All you do is add water to brew twenty 12 oz. beers each week.3. MAGPIX Titanium Digital Pocket Photo Album ($99.99)I haven’t seen people whip out an accordian of photos from their wallets in years. It’s all about digital now. 4. The Sims: Hot Date Expansion Pack ($9.82)My boyfriend owns one of The Sims games, and I have to pry him from the computer sometimes.

This expansion pack is the perfect gift for your Valentine. But, if you don’t have a sweetheart this year, a virtual vixen is just as sweet!5. Scrolling License Plate Frame ($59.95)I’m not one for bling, but if you’re into LED belt buckles and rings, you’ll probably love this gift idea. You can enter up to five personalized messages, then use the wireless remote to select one as you drive. Available in black and silver.6. Distorted Wall Clock ($219.00)I’m a big fan of Dali, so if you want to show off your artistic side (or pretend that you have one), this clock will do it. 7. Terracotta Self-Watering Flowerpot ($29.95)In my opinion, buying flowers is a waste of money because they only die after a couple of days. Buy a plant instead, and then get the Self-Watering Flowerpot.8. 1001 Dreams: An Illustrated Guide to Dreams and Their Meanings ($9.95)I frequently dream of freaky things happening to me. I can attribute this to watching too many horror flicks, I know.

Once, I dreamt that I was filling the bathtub, and suddenly the drain was clogged. So, I reached into the water to feel for the drain, when suddenly a person pops out from underwater! I’d sure like to know what that dream means!9.  Buy One Share of Tiffany & Co. Stock ($36)We can’t all afford the good stuff. Buy a share of stock instead.10. Solar Messenger Bag ($229) This bag can charge any device that runs on 5, 6 or 7.2 volts, such as a cell phone, MP3 player, PDA, or digital camera. Plus, you’re saving electric!If these don’t appease you, check out PCMag.com executive producer Robyn Peterson’s ideas.

The Gottesman Report on BiM Active

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PC Magazine’s technology editor Ben Gottesman sent me another dispatch from DEMO: “For the ‘as an avid bicyclist and avid geek, I really, really want this’ category: At DEMO today, a company with the unusual name of Bones in Motion introduced BiM Active, a service that uses GPS-enabled cell phones to help runners and cyclists track their treks. BiM Active will measure speed, distance, and elevation; show your splits (that is, how long each subinterval of your exercise took); and display street maps, topographical maps and satellite maps of your route. “Bones in Motion is first partnering with Sprint, and the company demonstrated the BiM Active on a Sanyo MM-7500 phone. Once you’ve completed your run or your ride, the data is uploaded to BiM Active’s community site, where you can keep the data private or share your routes with others.

The Gottesman Report on BiM Active

The cell-phone-based mapping service will cost $9.99 a month, which is fine, since Americans won’t embrace any sport that they can’t spend money on. But you can also join the BiM Active community for free and manually plot your routes or upload GPS data from a Garmin outdoor GPS or other GPS units. “One very intriguing aspect of BiM Active is that it can rate the difficulty of your trip, so you can easily find other routes that will require similar effort. I was a little concerned that mapping my route and then sharing it would show everyone where I live, since I start from my house nearly every time. One way around this would be to start tracking after you’ve gone a little distance.

Users will have to decide how much detail they’re willing to share. “But if this service pans out to be as good as it looks, I can’t see any serious runner or cyclist not wanting to use it. I’ve been charting my bike rides for years. A couple of times, I’ve tried mobile GPSes; but for the most part, I use Microsoft MapPoint, recalling my trips as best I can. BiM Active should make this a lot easier. “Spring can’t come soon enough to the Northeast.”