Portable Everything Player

The SmartDisk FlashTrax is another everything media device — it plays MP3, MPEG, JPEG and even text files. With 30 gigs of on-board storage, it’ll hold just about everything you want (7000 hi-fi MP3s, for instance), and play it all back on the 3.5″ color TFT flip-up screen. It also has a Compact Flash slot for uploading or downloading media to other devices, such as digital cameras. With the integrated composite-out port, it can be hooked up to a TV for displaying images or movies. For high-speed file transfer to and from the computer, the FlahsTrax uses USB 2.0, and like all the best of these HD MP3 players, it shows up as a standard external harddrive for easy use. At 5.6″ x 3.6″ x 1.3″, and 12 oz. it’s a fairly large device, but given its capabilities, it could be just the thing for those with an itch for mobile media. Price is $500, which is competitive with the similarly outfitted Archos Multimedia Jukebox AV320.

Universal LCD Remote

RCA has a new LCD universal remote, capable of controlling up to nine devices. Using the large touchscreen LCD for navigation, the interface can be customized per the users preferences. The remote is also a “learning” remote with the ability to mimic the functions of even obscure brands of other remotes, and supports macros and timed events (i.e. automatically start the home theater system, turn on the TV, dim the IR equipped lights, and turn to TLC every Wednesday at 9:00 for Junkyard Wars). With the backlit LCD screen, the remote can be used in the dark as well. Price is expected around $120. A model capable of controlling 8 devices will be available without the touchscreen LCD, using traditional buttons and a small LCD for set-up, costing only $50-$70.

Bargain Watch: Archos HD-MP3

With all the new HD-Mp3 players coming out, the older versions, such as the Archos Jukebox 5000, are coming down in price quite a bit. The Archos 5000 can now be had for around $120, and stores 5 gigs worth of MP3s. That may not seem like much, but it’s great for someone just starting out with the MP3 scene, and it can be upgraded when the users collection exceeds these small digital confines.

Another Soul Gets Uplinked

I am saddened to announce that another friend of Street Tech has passed away. Street Tech co-founder Peter Sugarman’s dad, Marvin Sugarman, died last week. Marvin was a TV production guy, working in sports television. He taught Peter a lot of what he knows, about media production, and lots of other things. Peter’s been one of my mentors, so there’s a direct connection.

Marvin financed the creation of Beyond Cyberpunk!, the masive 1991 HyperCard e-book on cyberpunk sci-fi and pre-Web cybercultre that Peter, Mark Frauenfelder, Jim Leftwich, and I did. If BCP! earns a paragraph in the cyber-history books, Marvin should be in the group photo.

Happy trails, Marvin. Thanks for giving us Peter. He’s one ornery mofo (did he get that from you?), but we love him just the same.

Being Mugged of Your Future

“Enron. WorldCom. Tyco. Those CEO dudes is scary. Now I’ll walk by a gang-banger and not even blink, but if I see a white guy with a Wall Street Journal, I’m gonna haul ass in the other direction. If I have to walk by the Arthur Andersen building, I’d rather cut through the damn projects. I mean, you might end up having what you have on today stolen, but at least you won’t be mugged of your future.” -Comedienne Wanda Sykes

Mutating Windows Spam

After adding a new service pack to my Windows 2000 install, I started to get embarassing popup spam when on the net. I don’t even know this Jennifer woman, I tell my wife. Anyway, here’s the disable protocol, which I finally bothered to look up:

Internet Privacy for Dummies :: Online Resources for Readers of Internet Privacy for Dummies:

“Disabling Windows Messenger Service Windows 2000

  • Click the Start Button
  • Choose Settings > Control Panel
  • Double-click ‘Administrative Tools’ and
  • double-click on ‘Services’
  • Scroll down and right-click on ‘Messenger’
  • Choose Properties
  • Click the ‘Stop’ button to turn the Messenger service off
  • Change the ‘Startup type’ to ‘Disabled’ to keep it from restarting when you reboot
  • Click OK and you’re done “

The Cybergrrrls Are Dropping Like Flies

Street Tech pal Mark Frauenfelder emailed me with the sad news that another friend from the bad ol’ days of the SF cyberculture scene has died. Jessica Grace Wing, bOING bOING’s music editor (when it was a print zine), lost her battle with colon cancer on July 19. She was only 31 years old!

Jessica and I worked together on the Happy Mutant Handbook. We did the "Mutant Music Makers" reviews. She was a beautiful, captivating presence, one of those people who seemed to ooze cosmic mysteries and unbridled creativity. She was a writer, Web designer, dancer, musician, short-film director, sound designer (she worked on Todd Solondz’ film Happiness), and composer. She moved to the Big Applet in 1997 and became a successful Off-Broadway composer. Her first musical, entitled Lost, will premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival in August.

Playbill Online has a short obit. You can find out more about her work at her website Warmblooded.

Okay, could friends stop dying now? I feel old enough as it is! Thanks.

They Might Be Gigantic

A nice pr piece by Apple on the TMBG documentary, Gigantic.

Through many slow nights in front of indifferent club audiences, TMBG persisted, themselves indifferent enough to fame to just keep playing. John Flansburgh’s career advice? “If you want to have a creative life, don’t be too calculating. Don’t worry so much about copyrighting your song when no one even knows it. There is inherent value and excitement in having your stuff in the world. Get your stuff out there!”

Starting from Scratch

I am installing a new laptop harddrive for the third time in three months. It’s a long boring story. Anyway, here is my list of essential freeware (all of it googleable) that I plan to reinstall.

explorer updates
winmedia updates
win2k updates
open office: I only need Word to open wordperfect files that I keep getting (Utah is the former home of WordPerfect)
palm desktop
cms disk cleaner
Gimp for windows
Matrix html editor
Notetab lite
handful of batch files.

This time around I’m burning a cd with all of these in one place, so that recovery will be a little quicker the next time.

What’s on your list of essential Windows freeware?