Sky and Google's YouTube partnership talks fall through

Gerald Lynch Computers, Internet, Satellite TV, Tech Digest news Leave a Comment

BSkyB will go no further towards making their content available free on Google's YouTube, the Daily Telegraph have revealed today. The news comes as another twist in the saga between Richard Murdoch's News Corp (majority stakeholders in Sky) and YouTube…

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Virgin launch gadget help service

Gerald Lynch Computer Security, PC tips, Tech Digest news Leave a Comment

It can be mighty frustrating, settling down for a marathon internet-trawling session only to be bombarded with error messages to let you know that, as ever, your Wi-Fi connection has gone up the creek. The ever-industrious Richard Branson and his…

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VTech announces baby monitor range

Paul Lamkin Baby Gadgets 6 Comments

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Sure, having a baby can be a huge drain on your finances. Yes, having a baby will seriously impact your 8-hours-a-night sleep-plan. And, of course, you may as well forget about any sort of social life you may have had.

But a baby also brings with it new possibilities – including a whole new world of tech you were probably never even aware of.

Tech like the range of baby monitors announced by VTech. VTech has taken its expertise in telephony technology and applied it to the range. Technology such as the DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) and HD sound, which guarantees crystal clear sound and zero interference from any other device.

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First up is the VTech Clear Sounds Digital Baby Monitor Deluxe which includes a temperature sensor with set limits to allow parents to ensure the best temperature for their baby’s sleep.

The parents can talk to their baby via the monitor as well as recording songs. There are 50 pre-recorded melodies, including 4 sung-songs and gentle nature sounds. There’s also line-in for an MP3 player. I hear babies love The Prodigy.

The VTech Clear Sounds Digital Baby Monitor Deluxe is £69.99. There’s also a non-Deluxe version available that’s £20 cheaper. You don’t get the temperature sensor or the LCD display and there’s only 20 melodies and just a solitary sung-song but, come-on, it’s cheaper.

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The pick of the bunch, as far as baby will be concerned, is the VTech Sleepy Bear Digital Baby Monitor. You see, for this model baby gets a teddy-bear based monitor.

It’s got the same DECT technology as the Clear Sounds models and comes with 30 melodies including two sung-songs as well as those gentle nature sounds. There’s also a soft, glowing night-light that should help baby drift off to sleep.

Parents can even activate features without disturbing their little one’s sleep, as the portable parent unit operates the monitor remotely.

If you’ve got babies or you’re expecting one soon then these could be just the job for you. Get them direct from VTech. If you haven’t got babies and you’re not planning on having them some time soon, then you really have to ask yourself why you’ve just read this post. That’s five minutes of your life you’re never going to get back.

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DAB receives major setback as Germans and Swiss say no

Paul Lamkin DAB 1 Comment

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The future of DAB radio took a bit of a kicking today when Germany and Switzerland’s commercial radio stations refused to invest in developing the DAB system to replace existing FM/AM transmissions. Their argument was that it didn’t make financial sense to do so.

The news has big repercussions for the UK and the rest of Europe. The Digital Britain report stated that the government would “work with our European partners, including the European Commission, to develop a common European approach to digital radio”. Well, it seems like all of the European partners aren’t interested in coming to the party.

The move could also be bad news for consumers. DAB radios are already much more expensive than their analogue brethren and the lack of a Europe-wide market is hardly going to help the cause. Car manufacturers are also less likely to include DAB radios in cars if they’ll only get maximum usage in selected countries.

The whole DAB scenario has been a bit of a shambles from the start really. Some DAB radios in the UK- reportedly as many as 9million – won’t even work if/when the system gets upgraded to the superior DAB+ system.

Campaigns such as Save FM argue that there is no need to take radio digital anyway – with many people arguing FM audio quality is, in fact, superior. The rise of internet radio also raises questions for the need of a digital radio network.

(via The Register)

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iTunes' variable pricing coincides with plummeting sales

Duncan Geere Digital Music Leave a Comment

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Initial reports from major labels are suggesting that the switch to variable pricing on iTunes has been a failure. According to ‘numerous sources’ sales decreases have been seen across the board since variable pricing was implemented at Macworld back in January.

But lets remember the statisticians’ mantra – correlation is not causation. Just because sales decreases have been seen alongside the implementation of variable pricing, it doesn’t mean that the latter is causing the former.

Just as likely is the effect of services like Spotify on consumers’ music-listening habits. Although the streaming service is unavailable in the States, where these figures are mostly likely from, there are plenty of other similar applications that consumers are beginning to explore.

As people shift from ownership of music to being happy with just access when they need it, sales will decrease. On the flipside, licensing revenues skyrocket, so the same amount of cash is still floating around for music creators – this isn’t the death of the music industry.

(via Digital Music News)

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Skyla Memoir – digital photo frame that incorporates a scanner

Duncan Geere Gadgets Leave a Comment

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How’s this for a smart idea? A digital photo frame that also includes a built-in high-resolution photo scanner. Traditional photos can be scanned into the device and then instantly displayed on the screen.

It’s a perfect, neat, solution for the technophobes in your family. If your grandma can’t cope with digitising all her old pics, then just give her this and show her how it works, and she’ll be sorted.

There’s 1GB of internal storage, which will hold 2-400 scans. It’s also got a light sensor, so it can adjust brightness based on its environment and an 8″, 800 x 600 display. They’ve also chucked in a card reader, for grandparents who’ve progressed to digital cameras, and two USB ports so you can get the data back onto a PC if you need to.

I’m a big fan of simple concepts that make sense, and this is exactly that. So long as the interface is good, this seems like a great product. Perhaps a little overpriced at £178, but all digital photo frames are overpriced – let’s hope that competition drives down those costs a bit over the next year or so.

Skyla Memoir

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