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Tech Digest got a little starstruck at this year's IFA 2011 conference, as we got to meet electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre.

The electro star's presence caused quite a stir at the show, not least of all thanks to his startling AeroDream One iPad/iPhone/iPod dock.

Think you've seen all that the world of iPod docks has to offer? Think again; Jarre's AeroDream One takes Hi-Fi docks to a whole new level, with the emphasis on the "Hi" part. The docking port sits on top of an 11ft column, which necessitates the need for a fixed ladder on the side of the speaker to reach it.

It's also got enough punch to match its gigantic size, pushing out an ear-popping 10,000 W through its 5 channel amplifier.

The AeroDream One is very much a luxury item, and priced at € 399,000 (£349,873) is definitely a statement piece as much as it is a speaker system. As such, Jarre sees it just as at home in concert halls as the homes of the wealthy elite.

We have a chat with Jean-Michel in the video interview above, discussing his range of Apple product docks (which includes more affordable miniature versions of the AeroDream One among other designs), the state of the music industry and the inspiration behind his latest mad venture.

CES 2010: Final Thoughts

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las vegas sign.jpgThe Consumer Electronics show, the behemoth of tech, the Valhalla of gadgetry, has come and gone for yet another year. But this time, rather than arriving with a bang, it slinked into sight with something more like a whimper.

CES 2010 had really had the wind knocked out of it before it had even got into the ring this year. All eyes were already on Apple and their rumoured Tablet in the run up to the event, despite the fact that Apple are traditionally a no-show at CES, instead planning their own top-secret unveiling at the end of January. Likewise, Google delivered a sucker-punch in the shape of the Nexus One, their flagship handset revealed at their own event on the eve of CES 2010's opening.

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To make matter's worse, Microsoft's opening keynote speech (delivered by walking personality drain Steve Ballmer) was pretty darn dull. First a power cut, then a load of waffle on the 2 month old Windows 7, Ballmer hardly seemed to be trying to keep our attention. Though the Christmas release date for Project Natal was welcome news, it revealed nothing new about the device, whilst the partnership with Hewlett Packard for the new Slate device seemed merely like a case of keeping-up with the Joneses. Or should that be the Jobs-es?

But the Las Vegas event wasn't without its highlights. Far from it in fact. Maybe it's the recession, or the generally pocket-pinching mood in the air these days, but for once the most sought after tech wasn't in the realms of dreamy aspiration, but was actually fairly affordable.

Take for instance the brand new 3D TVs on show, of which the Sony BRAVIA XBR-52HX900 (video above, courtesy of Ashley) was the pick of the litter. Finally shaping up to the standards set by its cinema siblings, company reps promised that the average 3D TV will cost little more than a top-end Full HD set. Skype and video calling in many TV sets too will help turn your living room into somewhere the Jetsons could only dream of.

E-readers are also looking to be both big and affordable in 2010. As a comic book fanatic I'd have liked to have seen more attempts at a colour screened e-reader (I'm not including the MSI offering, which is really just a dual-touch screened PC, super-cool as it is). Plastic Logic's Que Pro e-reader looked great though, with a massive, durable screen, and was far lighter than the hundreds of books you'd be able to store on the tabloid-sized device.

There were, of course, tablets aplenty. The dual-booting Viliv P3 may be an underdog in the category, but seemed way more exciting than Microsoft's offering. The offer of both Windows and Android on the same device showed a respect for user choice not often seen in the back-slapping world of consumer tech.

There was still time for fun too. The Parrot AR Drone Quadricopter was fun and fresh, combining real-world toys with augmented reality controls. A little less high-tech but full of retro-chic was the Lasonic i931 iPhone dock/ghetto blaster mash-up. Odd's on its at the top of Flava Flav's Christmas list. And there was still some time for the weird and the plain old dumb, too.

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Though less prevalent than other years, there were some great examples of brand new tech on show that were genuinely exciting. A real head-turner and my favourite item of the show was the Light Blue Optic Light Touch. Using a pico projection engine and a touch sensitive sensor, it'll turn any flat surface into a touchscreen. It works ridiculously well despite still being in the development stages, and has almost unlimited potential.

Some detractors say that, recession or not, CES looks to be on its last legs. It's sad, but not unlikely, when you consider the audiences that companies like Apple and Google can command for just a single product launch. However, for emerging companies like Light Blue Optics CES is still vital to gain some exposure, not to mention the fact that such a prominent date in the calendar forces the tech giants to have made some significant, competitive advances in their gear, year-on-year.

So here's hoping the old dog's got a bit of life left in it yet. Hopefully next year will kick off the recessionary cobwebs and kick the show back into high-tech gear. It wouldn't take much to tempt us back to the City of Sin once more.

Click here for full CES 2010 pre-show, day one, day two and day three round-ups.

CES 2010: Day 2 Round-Up

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ces 2010 day two.jpgIt may have gotten off to a dull start thanks to the lacklustre showing from Microsoft, but CES 2010 today threw up some really nice surprises. Keep an eye out for the Light Blue Optic's Light Touch here in today's round-up, and be prepared to be blown away.

HTC unveils the Smart, their first budget smartphone
You might recognise this one from last years leaked HTC product roadmap

Dell tease mini Android based tablet, the Streak
It's like an Archos internet tablet. But red.

Sony Z series laptops hands-on video
Ashley gets a quick demo of the new range of Sony laptops

EarVibe vibrating earphones on the way from Tehcnocell

Somehow improves sound quality. Yeah right....

Lady Gaga new creative director for Polaroid
No, it's not a wind-up, she's got herself a real job

Light Blue Optic's Light Touch turns any surface into a touchscreen
Amazing emergent tech, and the most exciting spot of the day so far in my opinion

Samsung's animated OLED identity card is equal parts cool and creepy
Your ID is about to go crazy cool, Bladerunner style

Microsoft's Ballmer announces the HP Slate
The iSlate...Oh? The HP Slate, right...

Project Natal Xbox 360 motion control coming Christmas
You hear that Santa!?

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer opens CES, but does anyone care anymore?
It's a pretty boring display from the PC giants

Sony's new products
In a quick, handy gallery!

Sony Dash personal internet viewer video
Sony do a Chumby

The five hottest e-readers
Another gallery rundown, this time of the best e-readers so far seen at CES 2010

Is this the hottest TV of the year? Samsung's 3D LED 9000
Real-time 2D to 3D conversion on its way

Five things to watch for
Ashley gives his run down on the best things to keep a look out for at this year's convention

Click here for more CES 2010 coverage from Tech Digest

Tech Digest at CES is sponsored by Best Buy. For more CES stories and
videos go here

Insert your "Paparazzi" jokes here; Lady Gaga has been announced as the new creative director for Polaroid. No, seriously, this is for real.

It may be little more than an intellectual property these days, but the defunct brand sure has created some buzz with this new appointment.

"I am so proud to announce my new partnership with Polaroid as the creative director and inventor of specialty projects," the "Pokerface" singer said in a press release. "The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation -- blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era -- and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand. Lifestyle, music, art, fashion: I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and to -- as my father puts it -- finally have a real job."

Credit where credit is due though; reports of Lady Gaga knocking about CES and getting hands-on with new gear have been knocking about all week, and she's already put her name to an (admittedly underwhelming) set of earphones last year.

Click here for more CES 2010 coverage from Tech Digest

Tech Digest at CES is sponsored by Best Buy. For more CES stories and
videos go here

twitter-clouds.jpgEveryone knows that money and fame gets you everything you could ever want (except love, but who the hell needs that?) but until recently the brightest and most beautiful among us had to deal with Twitter just like anyone else does.

Not for much longer. The microblogging company is hiring a "VIP Concierge" to look after the celebs using the service. Here's what they've put under 'job description':

"We don't have a description written for this yet, but the job is to be a "high touch" point of contact at Twitter for the burgeoning number of celebrities on the service. We want to make sure they're happy, using the product effectively, etc."

"This person is probably pretty junior (it won't pay a lot) but hopefully familiar with working with "Hollywood types." They should be tech savvy enough to answer questions and solve basic problems (though they can fall back on our tech support). And they should definitely present themselves (and the company) well on the phone and in person. They should be proactive but not pushy. "

"It might make sense for them to be in L.A. but to come up to SF often. Obviously this is a very sweet gig for someone. The challenge will be finding someone who is good at the schmoozing but also humble and a fit with our culture."

It's probably a wise move for a company who've seen much of their growth thanks to high-profile tweeters like Steven Fry and Philip Schofield. Does it sound like you, or someone you know? Go for it! And tell them we sent you.

Job Ad (via TechCrunch)

stephen-fry-lift-trapped-twitter-pic.jpgStephen Fry, who has gone from obscure advert voice-over man and trainee Peter Ustinov to become the WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS PERSON thanks to his embracing of the tech world and Twitter in particular, has, once again, done it.

He got stuck in a lift.

Fortunately, there was a mobile signal available in the Centrepoint building's accommodating shaft, so Fry was able to update his rabid, slavering Twitter fans on his confinement status via his phone. Fry's 110,000+ followers went berserk, as the newly-crowned geek king posted words and a couple of photos from his impromptu cell.

"I am stuck in a lift on the 26th floor of Centre Point. Hell's teeth. We could be here for hours. Arse, poo and widdle." was the first post, with Fry managing seven Tweets about his status during his 45 minute spell in the lift.

Amazing. It's like actually being his friend, or at least having him as a pet.

(Via Tech Central)

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barack-obama-mi-phone-moblie.jpgKenyan mobile supplier Mi-Fone is the latest company to have a go at cashing in on Brand Obama, launching this curious Barack Obama themed mobile phone in the region.

The Mi-Obama phone will help Mi-Fone "forge new frontiers in African urban youth market," apparently, although unlike the man whose slogan the phone carries, the low-spec handset is unlikely to change the world for the better and have people sobbing with joy.

It's a generic dual-band GSM piece, and you know there's nothing to get excited about when one of the bullet points on the list of features is "calculator". It does at least have a built-in little LED torch. That's a handy addition, so much better than trying to find whatever it is you've just dropped by using the light of the screen.

(Via BB)

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omron_m2_compact_blood_pressure_monitor.jpgApple needs Steve! The world needs Steve! Steve Jobs says he's a little bit sick, but technology can keep him going for longer, just like Steven Hawking.

Here's how Steve Jobs can ensure he lives to be 100 - or more - thanks to the modern technology he loves and has helped shape, guaranteeing peace of mind for all Apple fans and the company's panicking shareholders.

1. PORTABLE DEFIBRILLATOR The worst case scenario can be averted. Steve needs to employ a nurse to be with him at all times, ready to pounce with the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator should he collapse while ordering the Coffeee of the Day from the local Starbucks. Pay her minimum wage and you've got 24-hour-a-day Steve reassurance for less than 20k a year.
2. BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR A cheap, standard high street blood pressure monitor would reassure us all of Steve's health. An Apple engineer could add a wi-fi adaptor and have it feed data to the Apple web site, letting the world see a reassuring count of Steve's current blood pressure in real time.
3. SHOEI X-SPIRIT CRASH HELMET If Steve was to fall over and bump his head, the results for Apple, its shareholders and fans would be devastating. We therefore propose that Steve encases his precious brain in a Shoei X-Spirit Helmet, the finest cranium-padding money can buy. You can't put a price on Steve's brain stem and frontal lobe! The matte black will also match his outfits.

mr-c-shamen-record-collection-ebay.jpgDJ Mr C, AKA the bleach-haired proto-Eminem out of early-90s dancey/ravey band The Shamen, is flogging his entire remaining record collection - with a starting price of £75,000.

Here's what your £75k gets you, along with an interesting look into the personal life of Mr C himself.

"When Mr.C moved house 10 years ago he separated his then 16.000 unit record collection into 2 halves, 1 which he considered to be too valuable to sell & the other half, records that although good held no sentimental value. He sold 8,000 units at this time & kept the 8,000 units that he considered gems & could not possibly get rid of. It is now this collection along with all of the amazing records he's acquired since 1998 that are for sale as this extremely interesting job lot."

The actual and original Mr C pops up to verify and further explain the auction in the comments section of this post at Resident Advisor, saying that is was "Typical of the inter-nerds having a go" and that "I bet none of you who talk shit have ever heard me play (or even go out very much, lol)."

How refreshing to know that even famous rich people spend their spare time getting angry with comment-leavers on the internet.

(Via RA.net)

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new-york-times-obama-edition-cover.jpgYesterday's American newspapers, all of which carried various combinations of the words "Obama" and "wins" and "change" on their covers, are selling on eBay for vast sums today thanks to the whole incredible level of excitement surrounding the election of America's first ever president.

Copies of the New York Times, pictured left, which led with the simple headline "Obama," are currently fetching around $100 each on eBay, despite the NYT hurriedly printing an extra 75,000 copies to meet demand on the day as desperate punters tried to grab themselves a piece of history.

The Chicago Sun-Times is currently blowing its own trumpet, saying it boosted its usual print run from 250,000 to 500,000 - and expects to turn a nice profit selling back orders for $10 each - less than the $20 eBay Nutcases(TM) are paying for a copy online.

No one understands your needs like Diamond Select Toys understands your needs - which is why the sci-fi toy and replica company has started making some of these. For you. For you to sit on and dream. For us all to sit on and dream. A realistic Star Trek Command Chair.

Based on the original Kirk-housing 1960s Trek captain's chair, the new model makes sounds. The correct sounds. It even has lights and sampled dialogue. All you need to provide for 100% Trek authenticity is a ruffled quiff, slightly torn uniform and your girlfriend covered in green paint.

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The realistically-proportioned Command Chair will go on sale in 2009. You might want to email the MD of Diamond Select personally to ensure you're on the pre-order list.

(Via C-blog)

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It seems the bloke from the All-Bran Bran Flakes adverts is doing really well for himself. William Shatner, an actor famous for introducing the Kellogg's 'Yoghurty' cereal to unsuspecting members of the British public, was so inundated by requests for his autograph from eager breakfast-food fans that he has set up a company offering them a multimedia autograph experience as an alternative to boring 'pen on paper' autographs.

Shatner, also a sci-fi actor from the television series 'Star Trek' (whatever that is), has established a company called 'Live Autographs' with some non-famous business partners to offer a radical new twist to the celebrity name-scribble market: Notably, personalised video recordings filmed by the star of your choice to a request of your choice.

The idea is simple enough: You get a celebrity's face and voice recording whatever you want them to say. Want Shat' to sing you Happy Birthday whilst crossing his eyes and flapping his wig? Done. Want Carmen Electra to tell you her favourite Star Trek episode whilst crossing her eyes and flapping her ... eyelashes? No problem. And how much is it gonna set you back? Just $149. Bargainus.

speedo-aquabeat-mp3-player.jpgHere's something to keep Michael Phelps entertained while he waits for those other losers to finish - a waterproof MP3 player.

Phelps could lie back, lift up his size 28 feet and listen to the American National Anthem on his stylish Aquabeat, while he politely waits for for silver and bronze to splash their way slowly toward him.

The Speedo player beats other so-called waterproof devices by being fully submersible up to a depth of three meters, plus the earphones are fully bath-proof too - so they won't break when you go under to wash the shampoo off. And it floats, which is a very clever idea.

There's a trade off in the specs, mind - you only get 1GB of storage space for a rather hefty £80. That's the price you pay for leading a healthy sporting lifestyle, or taking lots of baths.

(Via Speedo)

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andy-murray-ebay-racquet-wimbledon.JPGGood old Andy Murray. He gave us a few moments of hope, before Bravely Crashing Out At Quarter Final Stage (TM) as British sporting heroes tend to do.

If you want to forever own a piece of sporting nearly-history, you can - Andy and war injury charity Help for Heroes have teamed up to flog one of his racquets on eBay.

The racquet - a Head Radical Microgel Pro - is the one Andy used in the match before his embarrassing quarter final slump to that butch Spaniard, so it does at least have a happy winning anecdote attached to it.

The price is currently at £300. Which isn't very good - you could pick up a new one for much less than that.

(Via eBay)

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Apple reveals 'Steve Jobs Air'

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The new streamlined Steve Jobs Air comes in the same smart casual denin jeans and sleek dark top design we've come to know and love, but now - thanks to a rigorous low-carb diet - Apple's new Steve Jobs Air weighs in around 15 pounds lighter!

Pictured below - the original bulky Steve Jobs 1.0 (left) and the slimmer Steve Jobs Air:

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Sadly, this means the new Steve Jobs Air is incompatible with previous Steve Jobs version 1.0 accessories. Which means you will have to rebuy all your Steve Jobs jumpers, jeans and underpants if you want them to work on the Jobs Air.

Fortunately, the feet of the Steve Jobs Air have remained the same size, so existing Steve Jobs socks and shoes are 100% compatible with the Steve Jobs Air.

(Via Valleywag)

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scarlett-johansson-album-release-napster.jpgYes, really. This is not a May 12 Fools joke.

Everyone's favourite large-chested, pasty-faced art house actress has only gone and done an album of songs. She's called it "Anywhere I Lay My Head" - an invitation to lewd comments if ever there was - and you can listen to bits of it RIGHT NOW on Napster.

Subscribers to whatever service it is Napster's running these days can stream Scarlett's album at CD quality from today, a whole week ahead of its no-doubt disastrous release.

Although Paris Hilton's album was actually quite OK. And Juliette Lewis is doing a good job of being a rocker. So you never know. The collection of ten Tom Waits cover versions and one co-written ORIGINAL SONG by Miss Johansson comes out next Monday. It will, at the very least, have some nice photos of her on the inlay.

(Via Napster UK)

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ricky_martin_black_and_white_kingston_technology_memory_card.jpgKingston Technology are probably not in it for love, but they've announced the release of a special edition "Black and White" Mobile Memory Kit, featuring a 1GB microSD card preloaded with a selection of Ricky Martin music, video and mobile phone wallpapers, plus a USB reader.

I don't care what you say -- celebrity endorsed technology products are far more exciting that bog standard gadgetry.

Content includes the tracks "Somos la Semilla" and "Tu Recuerdo," concert images, and video.

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So revered is the MacBook Air by some that they care more for its safety than their own. At least, that seems to be what happened to US TV presenter Charlie Rose.

Appearing on a recent show with a black eye and a plaster above it, the story goes that Charlie tripped in a Manhattan pothole while carrying his newly purchased MacBook Air.

Instead of letting the wafer-thin computer crash to the ground, he protected it by sacrificing his face, which he planted neatly into the sidewalk. OUCH!

stephen-fry-eee-pc-review.jpgWe already knew he was well up on the mobile phone scene, but now it turns out Stephen Fry is also loving the Eee PC at the moment too.

Writing with his customary enthusiasm, Fry's latest Guardian column has him analysing the pocket-sized wonder-laptop in immense detail - and slagging off Microsoft's Windows as "expensive, clumsy, costly, ugly, pricey" while he raves about Eee PC's awesome little Linux build.

The whole piece is pretty much just one drippingly positive review of the Eee, which Mr Fry reckons is "absolutely ideal as a truly cheap, portable, resilient device to slam into a backpack or briefcase."

Isn't it great when famous people actually know what they're talking about? If we bumped into Stephen Fry we would actually be able to have a really awesome conversation about Linux kernels with him.

(Via The Guardian)

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britney-piece-of-me-video.jpgYOU WILL NEED: One fat man in drag, two sobbing children dressed in sackcloth, a few bottles of prescription medication, some very cheap wigs and 25 extras to act as paparazzi photographers.

Although it's actually not that creative. From today, MTV users can remix and edit a video for Britney's new single 'Piece of Me' (maybe in 1999 but not today, thanks) from a pre-selected, family-friendly collection of Britney clips, using MTV's online video remixer.

The winner gets some fairly rubbish freebies as a prize, including an MP3 player and some Britney CDs, plus their video will get shown on MTV. Once.

Britney's new single 'Piece of Me' will have a proper video made for it especially by proper video-making people, so this is pretty much a big waste of everyone's time.

(Via MTV)

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