As technology manufacturers continue to design products that blend more naturally into the decor, some are taking the concept to an extreme--so much so that the items aren't even recognizable at all. Take the new voice-activated answering machine from Hammacher Schlemmer, for example. The idea behind the device is admirable, activated by the simple phrase "answering machine" and responding to 15 voice commands including "play new" and "set volume." We're just not exactly sure about the design; is there some reason it needs to look like a sushi plate? It's not … Read more
Normally I stay away from gag sites like this, but Gizmoz is a guilty pleasure that caught my attention with its eccentric sense of humor. Gizmoz is a "Talking Heads" video creator that lets you make your own gag videos to send via e-mail or embed on your site.
There are a variety of characters to choose from, primarily celebrities and political figureheads, all with matching voice banks and caricature-like faces, many of which are slightly offensive. You also get the option to pick a slightly cheesy animated background. The real clincher for the service is the ability … Read more
We're saddened to say that there appears to be an infinite supply of date-repellant products on the market. As if we needed more proof, another example has surfaced in the form of a gadget that pays homage to--what a surprise--Star Trek.
VOS Systems has created a talking light dimmer that Chip Chick says features "the voice of Majel Roddenberry (AKA the computer)." The dimmer is equipped with voice-recognition software so you can do your best William Shatner impersonation on it too.
You'll have plenty of time to practice on Saturday nights. Come to think of it, … Read more
As most of us are counting sheep and dreaming of faraway places this Sunday night, things are abuzz in Barcelona, Spain, where the 3GSM World Congress has officially kicked off. This was the day Microsoft was supposed to officially take the wraps off Windows Mobile 6. But oopsies--someone beat them to the punch. Still, there's plenty of exciting news coming out of Ciudad Condal, such as, oh I don't know...one of the first Windows Mobile 6 devices?!
Today, HP unveiled the HP iPaq 510 Voice Messenger, an ultracompact smart phone that focuses more on voice features and … Read more
This is either an ingenious invention or a sad testament to the hopeless laziness of modern society--or, in our opinion, both. The "SmartShopper" is a voice-activated shopping list designed to put an end to the illegible Post-its you leave all over the kitchen.
Just tell the device what items you need as you think of them and print out the list before leaving for the grocery. Gadgetell says it even has 2,500 items already programmed in its memory.
The downside: You no longer have any excuses for not picking up any embarrassing hygiene items requested by other … Read more
Skype is set to launch a new version of its VoIP phone service for international customers in 24 countries. The new service, named Skype Pro, won't charge by the minute for its SkypeOut service, which lets computers call landlines. Instead, it will charge users a €2-per-month subscription fee and €3.9 cents-per-call connection fee.
There are some benefits to the new system over the old one: specifically, free Skype voicemail (which used to cost about $20 a year) and a large discount on a SkypeIn number at which regular phones can call you. All in all, it's a … Read more
CallWave is about the coolest free cell-phone utility I have ever seen, and it goes a long way toward making me not care so much about the "visual voice mail" that Steve Jobs touted for the upcoming iPhone. The CallWave service, which is live now, replaces your standard carrier-provided voice mail with a much better system, and it lets you pick up incoming cell-phone calls on any other phone or even your PC.
At the Silicon Valley New Tech Meetup tonight I got a demo of Pinger, a cool little voice messaging service that works on your cell phone. You dial the Pinger number, speak your message to the service, say the name of person you want to get it, and it sends an SMS to your recipient. The recipient gets a text message with a phone number attached to it. The recipient selects and dials that number to hear the message immediately and can respond immediately by voice, too.
It sounds an awful lot like voice mail, doesn't it? It is, … Read more
As we first reported in December, Ford and Microsoft have been busy working in collaboration on in-car communications and entertainment, to be unveiled this week at CES. Well, here we are today at CES, and we can spill the beans on details of the system to be marketed under the name "Sync."
Initially to be made available in twelve 2008 models across the Ford family and across the entire 2009 lineup from FoMoCo, the service will be a fully-integrated, flash memory-based system that enables drivers to call hands-free and to control a range of digital audio via voice … Read more
If you're ever in search of a gift for the true narcissist in your life, this may be one worth consideration. You also have our deepest sympathies.
The "Ventriloque" records the voice of your favorite egoist so that he can wake up to his favorite sound--his own voice, of course. (You can always record over the voice just to be irritating.)
Uber-Review says the clock, which is made by France's Tse & Tse Associates, also has a snooze alarm. That may come in handy, or even necessary, depending on how boring your acquaintance sounds.