MMNTech's 2010 Holiday Guide

By Mike on 7:44 am

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It's that time of year again. The snow starts to fall. The days get shorter, the weather gets cooler, and the malls go berserk. Yes, Christmastime is hectic. Don't go blowing your brains out from shopping overload. MMNTech is here to help you find the perfect gift for your techie loved ones, no matter what their geek genre of choice. Well, you've got one week left. What are you waiting for?!

For the Musician:

Whether they like to play or listen, there's tons of gifts out there for music fanboys. The iPod Classic is a good choice for your favourite casual audiophile. Its massive 120gb hard drive can hold a whopping 6,720min worth of raw, CD quality audio. Sells for $249.

For the musician, buying gifts can be difficult. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to type and brand of instrument. Gift cards to Long & McQuade, Canada's largest musical instrument retailer, are a great idea. They come in denominations from $10 to $100.

For the Car Guy:

Even if they're just a casual car guy, you can't go wrong with an OBD-II scanner. It plugs into their car's computer to give information and diagnose problems. The Innova OBD-II Code Reader at Canadian Tire retails for $199.99.

For the Gadget Geek:

Gadgets are expensive, but Apple's iPod Touch 4th generation is reasonable at $229. It plays games, shows movies, takes photos, surfs the web, shoots HD video, and has built in webcam chat. It's Swiss Army knife of gadgets that will make any geek drool.

For the Movie Buff:

Does your movie buff love old movies? Why not take them way back to the beginning of the celluloid age. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's fantastic feature, Edison: The Invention of the Movies (1891 to 1918) will surely inspire every filmmaker on your list. The DVD set isn't cheap at $91.99 at Amazon, but it's well worth it.

For the Gamer:

Tons of ideas here. Why not start them off to a one year gold subscription to Xbox Live or Playstation Network Plus. If they're on a PC, Valve's Steam service allows you to gift games, allowing them to download them right to their computer.

If you're looking for something new, check out Microsoft Kinect ($149.99) and the Playstation Move ($99.99) for the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively.

For the Computer Nerd:

PC builders are a fickle crowed. Like musicians, they have their own preferences. Gift cards to Canada Computers, NCIX, or Newegg are a great start. A Microsoft Technet subscription will please almost any programmer.

For the Videophile:

You obviously don't want to blow a grand on gifts, and the videophile is going to want the best of the best. For something a little more reasonable, consider the Slingbox. For $199.99, they can watch all their video content including live TV anywhere over the internet or local network.

If they're more into making their own videos, why not pick them up a good editing program. If they're on a Mac and still using iMovie, grab them a copy of Final Cut Express to give their videos that true professional edge. It's also $199. For PC filmmakers, Sony Vegas Platinum HD is a good alternative for just $95.

For the Photographer:

Like all picky hobbiests, Photographers are hard to buy for. They have their own preferences and won't want cheap gear. Gift cards to Vistek or Henry's Camera should start you off. More camera memory is also a good choice. Bags, coffee table photo books and photographer vests are more ideas to considered. Prices vary.

For the Book Worm:

Digital eBook readers like The Amazon Kindle, are very popular right now. Access to thousands of books, newspapers, and magazines for purchase. All available digitally and wirelessly without additional costs. The Kindle is also cheaper than ever too, starting at just $139 for the Wifi version.

For the News Junkie:

If they've got one of Apple's iOS devices, a subscription to PressDisplay combined with the PressReader app is a great choice. Unlimited access to thousands of newspapers around the globe for $30/month.

iPad USB neutering story is utterly stupid bull

By Mike on 10:08 pm

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Apple loves to mess with their products after launch. Usually for the worse. Hey, it's not a bug, it's a feature! That's what makes the recent story about iPad USB woes so believable. 9 to 5 Mac is reporting that iOS 4.2 blocks certain USB devices from being used with the iPad's camera kit. They claim this includes everything from certain cameras, keyboards, and microphones. The story has started making the rounds, with even Engadget reporting it as true.

Here at MMNTech, we never take tech rumours at face value. I tried two things on the list. Both my wireless RF keyboard and headset worked as before. The beef of the story seems to be a drop in power output from the dock connector. 9 to 5 Mac claims it was reduced from 100mA to just 20mA. The RF receiver for my keyboard is rated at 55mA, so that dispels this myth. The claim seem to stem from people who are trying to use plugging ridiculously power hungry USB devices. I wouldn't expect my Blue Snowball microphone to work with my iPad, though apparently one commenter did.

Well, someone is...

The keyboard hack has always been a little temperamental. Still, the dock connector uses a basic USB standard packaged in a proprietary plug. If they killed third party keyboard support with the camera kit, it's unlikely their own keyboard would work. That along with a whole host of other official devices that use the dock connector. Basically, any device that worked before should work now as long as it's rated below 100mA.

Source: 9 to 5 Mac
Image courtesy of Gotronics

Delightfully impractical tech: Steam powered turntable

By Mike on 10:37 pm

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When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, it ran on clockwork. I guess no Victorians thought to put a steam engine on it. There's probably a good reason for that, as this streampunk turntable demonstrates. Aside from the kettle whistle of its engine, it does play a delightfully out-of-pitch rendition of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen".

Despite being totally pointless and irreverent, it still looks cool. The turntable does have a battery operated electronic pickup inside. Now all it needs is a governor to get it to a stable and ear friendly 33 1/3.

Source: Asciimation via Gizmodo