Sony reduces the production cost of the PS3 by 35%

via Boy Genius Report by Kelly Hodgkins on 12/30/08

ps3

Yesterday we relayed the news that Sony’s Playstation 3 sales for the holiday period were lower than expected, yet Sony was remaining optimistic. Apparently, some good news on the production front sheds some light on how the company can manage to keep its chin up amidst some pretty terrible sales performance. iSuppli has broken down the production cost of Sony’s latest PlayStation 3 and Sony has reportedly shaved 35% off the cost of the original PS3 unit. Through changes to various components and integration, Sony has cut the price of manufacturing the PS3 console from $690.23 to $448.73. By integrating components into the core silicon of the PS3, Sony has also reduced the number of parts used from 4,048 in the previous-generation 60GB model to a modest 2,820 in the current model. With further changes and improvements, iSuppli estimates that Sony could soon be breaking even – perhaps just in time for that much anticipated price cut we’ve all been waiting for.

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D+Caf Detects If You’re Drinking Real Coffee Instead of Decaf

via Gizmodo by matt buchanan on 12/30/08

I don’t understand drinking decaf coffee. It’s like non-alcoholic beer. Both are crappy, neutered versions of the original. But if you’ve absolutely got to drink decaf, D+caf will make sure it’s the real (fake) deal.

D+caf test strips are simply little strips of paper coated with antibodies that tell if you a beverage is properly decaffeinated, turning up blue lines if it’s got more than 20mg of caffeine per 6oz serving. Even modern decaffeination procedures can’t remove every single trace of caffeine, but between 20 and 30 percent of coffee and tea drinks “contain unacceptably high levels of caffeine” according to the strip’s maker, Silver Lakes Research.

The strips are 98 percent accurate for detecting caffeine, plus you have to use them before you add anything else to your coffee tea, like milk or sugar. And at $10 for a pack of 20, you’re paying 50 cents a strip, instantly propelling even cheap decaf coffee into Starbucks pricing territory. So I’m not sure these are worth the small bit of security that some smartass doesn’t occasionally slip you real coffee instead of decaf.

Besides, how the hell do you decaf people get through the day, anyway?

[Discover Testing via MIT Technology Review via Medgadget, Photo: Joshua Scott/MIT TR]

Ripoff Alert: Best Buy scamming customers into a $300 HDTV ‘calibration’

via DVICE by Charlie White on 12/30/08

hdtv-best-buy-deception.jpg

Watch out for electronics retailer Best Buy. The company is reportedly scamming customers, making them think they can purchase a magical $300 “calibration” that can make their HDTVs capable of displaying video with noticeably higher quality. The company is said to be showing its customers HDTV through an HDMI (digital) cable, and comparing that with either standard-def or lower-quality HD over analog component cables.

This is not the first time Best Buy has been accused of such tactics. With more stunts like this, Best Buy could be headed for the bankruptcy junk heap, just like Circuit City. Our advice: look at and touch the electronics at Best Buy, but then go home and compare prices for the actual best buys online.

Via The Consumerist

bitRipper offers one-click DVD ripping

via Download Squad by Brad Linder on 12/30/08
BitRipper

Want to convert your DVD into a video file that you can play on any computer, but don’t feel like fussing with complicated DVD ripping software? It doesn’t get much simpler than bitRipper. All you need to do is pop a DVD into your optical disc drive, fire up bitRipper, and click the Start ripping button. That’s it.

Of course, you can click the settings tab to access more advanced features. For instance, you can change the audio or video codecs or adjust the bit rate, aspect ratio, or video resolution. At the very least, I’d recommend configuring the audio. The default settings use a ridiculously low bitrate that sounds just awful.

For some reason, when I tried ripping a video using the LAME audio codec, the audio and video were out of sync, but when I tried again using the Fraunhofer codec all was right with the world.

[via MakeUseOf]

Nokia Handgun Cellphone Is Ultimate Redneck Convergence Device

via Gizmodo by Jesus Diaz on 12/24/08

Bang bang, my baby shot me down. Then she tried to call me to ask me for money, but I couldn’t pick it up. Thankfully, it was all Photoshopped.

[Strategy Page via The Raw Feed]

Livedrive provides unlimited online storage

via Download Squad by Brad Linder on 12/24/08
Livedrive

Livedrive is an online storage service that offers two advantages over most services in this space:

  1. Unlimited file storage
  2. Integration with Windows Explorer

When you install Livedrive (and reboot your computer), you’ll notice an L drive show up in Windows Explorer. To copy files to the service, just drag and drop them to the L drive. You can also upload and download files through a web-based interface. And once your files are online you’ll be able to access them from any computer using the web client.

Thanks to the Windows Explorer integration, you could easily use LiveDrive as an offsite backup tool like Carbonite or Mozy. Just install your favorite file backup utility and point it to the L drive.

Livedrive is free while in beta, but I have a feeling the company will probably start charging a fee when the beta ends.

[via Lifehacker]

The Only 10 Games Your iPhone Needs

via Gizmodo by Adam Frucci on 12/25/08

There are loads of games in the App Store for the iPhone/iPod Touch, but if you want to save money and space, which are the true essentials? Here are our 10 must-haves.

While there are enough good games in the App Store to fill up multiple pages on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you don’t need that many, nor do you need to spend that much money. If you focus on filling certain genres with single games and not doubling up on multiples, you can make yourself the ultimate “games page” of apps. Here’s the list.

Touchgrind: This skateboarding game was designed from the ground up for the multi-touch iPhone platform, and it shows. The completely unique control method of using your fingers as legs on a skateboard immediately makes sense and is totally addicting. As you get better, the new skateboards that are unlocked with high scores continually feel just within your grasp. $4.99

Galcon: Galcon is a space-based strategy game that delivers super-short games, which is perfect for the iPhone. Rather than getting dragged into games you won’t finish, Galcon lets you play a bunch of one or two minute games. You can refine your strategy with each game, and every time you lose it’s just too easy to try again. Lite: Free; Pro: $4.99

Fieldrunners: Many call this the best game in the App Store, and it’s tough to argue with them. A tower defense game with a super-high degree of polish, this is the definition of addicting. Basically, you want to set up weapons to stop soldiers for storming your towers. You earn more cash for more weapons for every guy you stop, and you lose health for every guy who gets through. And then you can’t. Stop. Playing it. $4.99

Line Rider iRide: You’ve probably played Line Rider on the internet in some form or another: you draw a bunch of lines, then a little man on a sled gets tossed down your makeshift track. The controls are simple and work great on a touchscreen, and you can play in short bursts, saving your maps for later. It’s intuitive enough that there’s virtually no learning curve, but you can spend countless hours working on your masterpiece of sledding physics. $2.99

Uno: You know Uno, you love Uno. But here’s a version that involves no pesky shuffling. If you’re more of a poker fan you probably went for Texas Hold ‘Em, which is cool, but if you ask me, Uno is a much more fun card game. After all, what fun is poker when you’re gambling with pretend money? $5.99

Rolando: This is a wonderful, cartoonish platformer that uses simple controls that are easy to learn but are used in increasingly complicated and challenging ways as the game progresses. You control a series of little balls—Rolandos—by tilting your iPhone and swiping up to jump. But you can control many of them at once, and there are also obstacles and switches you can manipulate. It’s got a high degree of polish and will suck you in from the first level. $9.99

Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D: This is our favorite racing game, despite not being fully sold on the accelerometer controls of iPhone racing games. But because of that, you really only need one, and this should be it. Great graphics, good stability and plenty of variety add up to make this the essential iPhone racing game. $5.99

SimCity: This port of SimCity 3000 is stunning. This is no gimped version of SimCity, dumbed down for a touchscreen. It’s the full game, complete with advisers and all the building types you can handle, with intuitive touchscreen controls. Finally, you can build the epic metropolis of your dreams whenever you sit down and have a few minutes to kill. $9.99

Touch Hockey: FS5: Air Hockey on the iPhone is just like regular air hockey, minus the high probability of getting one of your fingers smashed with the puck. Simply put your finger on the mallet and try to score some goals. It’s also fun to play with two people, with each person holding an end of the iPhone. And hey, no quarters required. Lite: Free; Pro: $1.99

Trism: This is essentially a modified version of Bejeweled, and if you know that game then you know why you’d want it on your iPhone. It’s a classic puzzle game, one that makes the transition to the touchscreen beautifully. You’re trying to get three pieces of the same color together to make them disappear, and depending on how you’re holding your iPhone, the resulting tumble of pieces will happen in a different direction. It adds a new level of strategy to the game while retaining what made the original so awesome. $2.99

[A Bonus 11th game, From Brian: I’d like to add Motion X Poker Quest to the list for its amazing use of the accelerometer and in game physics used to roll the dice, as well as beautiful graphics and sounds and addicting game play. ]