Lite-On announce lower 'strategic' price for internal Blu-ray drive in Europe

bluray.jpgLite-On has announced that, since Blu-ray lasers are no longer in short supply and the company has accumulated enough stock of the product, they are lowering the price of their internal Blu-ray PC drive – titled as the particularly uninspiring LH-2B1S.

The drive launched back in November last year, when there was a distinct shortage of components. Now, says Katrin Ackermann, European Sales Manager for Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions, “we can see already a growing demand of Blu-ray. It looks like the format is getting more popular now that there are more playback devices and movie titles available in the market. Now we have the possibility to lower our prices, to make our product available for a bigger group of customers and increase our sales quantity.”

Londoners love their gadgets, and Brits spent £7.8bn overall

money_bags.gifNew research from GfK shows that Brits spent over £7.8 billion on consumer electronics between May 2006 and April 2007. That equates to an average £311 for each household.

Londoners easily top the pile, spending at least twice as much on gadgets as any other region, with £2.2bn spent, or £431 per household.

Those in the south west of England spent the least, at just £195m, or £245 per household.

Average increase in spending on the previous year was 10.6%, proving that we’re still happily spending more on consumer electronics products than ever before.

Opinion: I Facebook therefore I am… but when did it get so complicated?

andy-merrett.jpgAndy Merrett writes…

Oh no, not another opinion piece about Facebook?

Yes, Facebook is now almost as ubiquitously talked about in non-geek circles as the iPhone or the iPod, or Potter’s latest escapades.

Irritating isn’t it?

Oh sure, Facebook is now the fastest growing social network for over-25s in the UK (much to the disgust of their kids, I imagine), but when did it start getting complicated?

No, the system’s not technically difficult to use – that’s the whole point and is why you shouldn’t really be taken aback when your gran adds you as a friend, however wrong that might feel socially.

What’s more complicated is managing all these pesky applications.

Samsung launch new range of MiniDV and DVD camcorders


Samsung has unveiled a new range of MiniDV and DVD camcorders.

The VP-D371W, VP-D372WH, and VP-D375W (pictured above) MiniDV range are compact camcorders offering 800k pixel CCDs, 34x optical zoom lens, and a 2.7″, 112k pixel widescreen LCD preview screen.

Various audio functions allow background noises to be reduced, improving the quality of sound recording, while Voice+ allows immediate audio dubbing over pre-recorded material. The VP-D375W also features a SD/MMC slot and USB port.

Blogging is ten, maybe twelve, or twenty-four years old

blogging_platforms.gifThe Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article over the weekend suggesting that blogging is now ten years old.

According to the article, the first blogger is “regarded by many to be Jorn Barger”, who “began his business of hunting and gathering links to items that tickled his fancy, to which he appended some of his own commentary, on Dec. 23, 1997.”

What appears to be closer to the truth is that Jorn Barger was the first person (or one of the first people) to coin the phrase ‘blog’, because other sites reckon that blogging has been around for much longer than a decade.

Logitech launches MX Air rechargeable cordless mouse

logitech mx air mouse

Logitech has unveiled its MX Air rechargeable cordless mouse, a versatile laser mouse that works both on the desk and in the air.

The device is like a cross between a remote control and a mouse, and is supposed to cater for those who want to command their media PC from the comfort of their sofa (or indeed, anywhere that there’s an absence of solid, flat surface to use a traditional mouse on).

“The MX Air mouse offers a radically new way for people to control their PC entertainment,” said Erik Charlton, Logitech director of product marketing for performance and gaming mice. “It’s for anyone who has listened to music on their PC and been frustrated by having to return to the desk to change songs or volume. It’s for people who want to share vacation photos with friends and family without being tied to the desk. It’s for any of the millions of people using the Internet to browse and watch videos on sites such as YouTube or Grouper. And it’s for people with a living-room computer or media PC who want to navigate their media content on their terms.”

Second-hand computers an ID fraudster's paradise

old_computer.gifNew research from Navigant Consulting suggests that slack handling of computers destined for the second-hand market could make them an identity-thief’s dream.

To demonstrate the potential dangers, the consultancy purchase three second-hand computers last week, and determined that one of them still contained sensitive personal information on the hard drive.

It’s not enough to simply wipe the hard drive using most basic operating system tools, as anyone with some tech knowledge can recover data from a disk that’s supposedly been wiped. Simply dumping the hard drives intact isn’t a good plan either – it’s akin to putting your paper-based financial documents in the waste bin without shredding them first.

One second-hand computer recovered from a community college still contained student and staff details, including names and addresses, budgets, payroll information, photos, and bank account details.

Streakr: Another vowel-challenged social network goes into beta

streakr_logo.gifPrepare yourself for, a “web discovery tool and social networking site” that has just entered public beta (read “we’ll let people in but don’t blame us if it stops working”).

It appears to be Facebook meets MySpace meets Digg meets StumbleUpon meets… another irritating browser toolbar.

The system works once you embed the Streakr toolbar in your web browser, which you then use to rate sites with a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’. This links them to a personal profile page, and allows them to be shared on the social network.

Orange intro new European roaming rates

orange_logo_small.jpgOrange has announced the launch of new European mobile roaming rates for its consumers. From 30th August 2007, it will cost 38p per minute to make a call while roaming, and 19p per minute to receive them – at least, in their “Europe 1” area.

Orange customers can check how much a call will cost while away, by texting “FROM [COUNTRY]” to 452 (PAYG) or 159 (Pay Monthly), and receiving a free-of-charge confirmation from Orange.

No doubt this new “transparency” on Orange’s part is in response to various initiatives by the EU and Germany to pull into line the high costs associated with mobile roaming abroad.