Andrew Kim of Minimally Minimal got his hands on an original Sony Walkman and provides an interesting look back at a seminal piece of personal technology. Initially, the Walkman was billed as the “Walking Stereo with Hotline”:
Next to the dual headphones is a button labeled “Hot Line”. This was another key feature of the TPS-L2. When the user pressed the Hot Line button, the device would would override the music with audio from the built in microphone. It allowed you to listen to Subway announcements or talk to a friend without taking off your headphones. I find it to be a particularly clever idea as it uses existing parts from tape recorders. Hot Line wasn’t really a sought after feature though, and was axed in later models.
Now that Sony’s on board, all four of the major music labels are selling DRM-free music on Amazon’s MP3 store. Amazon’s giving Apple a real run for its money here.
Although Nintendo finds itself in third place in the video game console wars behind Sony and Microsoft, the company is doing really well financially while Sony and MS are maybe breaking even with their efforts. “Nintendo knew that it could not compete with Microsoft and Sony in the quest to build the ultimate home-entertainment device. So it decided, with the Wii, to play a different game entirely.”
Mostly positive review of the Sony Reader by David Pogue. That it’s Windows-only is a real bummer for me and my go-go Macintosh lifestyle.
Update: Sorry, the “Windows-only” bit above is confusing. The software to load documents directly to the Reader is only available for Windows, but you can use any old OS you want to put documents on an SD card and then the card into the Reader. (thx, erik)
Sony has announced their Portable Reader…the one with the e-ink screen. The Librie was the precursor to the Portable Reader.
Current TV is running advertising for Sony that was created by a viewer. “Of course, Sony approved Mr. Ibele’s finished product before it went on the air.”
Andreas Pavel was the inventor of the portable music player (aka Walkman). “I was in the woods in St. Moritz, in the mountains. The snow was falling down. I pressed the button, and suddenly we were floating. It was an incredible feeling, to realize that I now had the means to multiply the aesthetic potential of any situation.”
Looks like Sony has finally made a version of the Librie (an electronic ink portable media reader) for the US market. It says that “Random House, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin-Putnam, Simon & Schuster and Time Warner Book Group are all on board with titles”, which may mean that the thing is all DRMed up. Still coveting though. (via rw)
Several companies who manufacture digital cameras have issued “silent recalls” due to a faulty chip distorts photos when it fails. Sony, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and others are affected.
Digital Photography Review has more; here’s the Nikon D2H & D70 advisory. (A “silent recall” isn’t an official recall…the companies are only repairing items in which the faulty chips fail.)
Update: Eliot sez: That’s the wrong service advisory for Nikon…it’s an unrelated problem. Here’s the related advisory…doesn’t affect any of their dSLRs.
Playstation 3 to support OS X?. “The operating system has also yet to be clarified. The integrated Cell processor will be able to support a variety of operating systems (such as Linux or Apple’s Tiger).”
When estimating losses due to piracy in the media, movie studios are fond of using the full purchase price of the pirated DVD or movie ticket. So if I download a copy of Bewitched off of the internet, Sony (and associated companies, the theater, distributors, etc.) feels like they’ve lost $10.50, even if I had no plans to ever see the movie in the theatre.
So why is it when Sony defrauds their customers by fabricating movie reviews to promote the theatrical releases of some of their films, they’re only refunding $5 of the total ticket price for those that actually saw those films? Why not the full price? Or better yet, how about a refund for transportation costs, the price of any concessions purchased, estimated loss of wages for time spent watching the film, and compensation for any emotional trauma suffered as a result of thinking the movie was going to be great when it in fact sucked? That sounds about fair.
 Well, $10.50 if you live in Manhattan. If you live in rural Wisconsin, you’re only cheating Sony out of $8.00 or so. Well, until the movie comes out on pay-per-view and it costs $3.95. But then when the DVD comes out, Sony’s loss will shoot back to $26.99. Twelve months after the DVD release, when Bewitched is available in a value two-pack with Anchorman, Sony will only be losing $6. Whew, must be hard to keep all those losses straight.
Sony Aibo dances to a Daft Punk song.
DataTiles project from Sony Computer Science Laboratories. Watch the movie for how it works…reminds me a bit of the computer systems in Minority Report.