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Five Reasons to Love 2009


So, 2008 is ending and the ’09 Consumer Electronic Show is the first thing on everyone’s mind. Right? Okay, maybe it’s a stretch to assume it’s something awesome to people besides me. But give me a few minutes, and I’ll tell you why it’s something you should be giddy for, too. This year’s conference will showcase a host of new, innovative products that will change the way you consume your media if you give them half a chance.

i2i Stream, www.i2igear.com
The i2i Stream is the kind of thing I’ve been longing to see for years. A wholly wireless solution for streaming audio throughout the home. Granted Apple’s Airport Express has done it well for the last few years, but the i2i Stream doesn’t need to be locked in to a draconian system of proprietary parts and software to work.

Camera Mask, www.liquidimageco.com

It’s an underwater camera. No, it’s a facemask. No, it’s a facemask that’s also an underwater camera. It works up to five meters deep, looks a little ridiculous, and totally frees up your hands to fight off that tiger shark that just took a chunk out of your thigh. Hey, at least they’ll have video of your final minutes…

Audio Recorder, www.honestech.com

I have a few hundred LPs in my collection, and I keep meaning to digitize them. Sadly, it can be a daunting task for someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. I mean, I can connect my earphone jack output from my record player to the mic port on my Mac and use Garage Band; however I’ll get extra crappy mono sound and enormous files that will take weeks to compress. Honestech’s Audio Recorder 2.0 Deluxe has both the hardware connections and the software to do it right, and it’s simple to use. The only catch? Gotta do it on a Windows machine.

Popstick, www.popcatcher.com
True audiophiles most likely won’t dig this one, but since most of the free world is fine with mp3-level quality, this is right up their alley. The Popstick is an unassuming device that takes songs you’ve recorded off the radio with the Popcatcher ripper, turns them into mp3s and stores them for later playback on any device with a USB input and a speaker. The Popcatcher can be integrated with pretty much anything that has a radio in it, including the radio in your car. So, now you can listen to the same eight songs over and over again without all that annoying DJ banter and Rocky’s Auto commercials. Neat.

Rovio Webcam, www.wowwee.com

You’re at work and you’ve left the kids with your mother-in-law and her shiftless bum of a third husband. You just know they’re not good childcare providers, but your spouse is gonna need some hard and fast proof before agreeing to let your mother watch them. Good news! The Rovio mobile webcam is a remote control moon lander-looking gizmo that can broadcasts images via Wi-Fi anywhere in the world, and also be controlled from anywhere in the world, too! Dress it up like a geranium, and they’ll never know you’re watching!

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