Zippy Reviews? What is that?

Zippy Reviews (n.) – website dedicated to people who feel they have been bamboozled by search engines while trying to find the best consumer and expert reviews on computers, consumer electronics and travel…because they would rather spend their time downloading from iTunes ™, Tweeting, watching their flat screen TV or relaxing in a four star hotel. Zippy Reviews will get you to the best reviews fast.

What are we doing?
Giving everyone a way to shortcut the search process for consumer and expert reviews on travel, consumer electronics and computers.

How does that work?
We identify the sites that publish the best consumer and expert reviews and get you there directly, taking the search engine process out of the picture for you. You don’t have to wade through 1,475,923 search results, click on each site, search for what you want, hope it is there and then backtrack to find another website. We will save you time and frustration by doing all your review site research for you.

See us now! Go to Zippy Reviews, watch our Zippy video and fill out the email form. We will let you know when our full site is up and rolling and our next videos are posted. You can read about us on TwitterFacebook and take a look at Pam’s blog, too. Oh yeah, having fun is an essential rule in the Zippy Reviews business. We aren’t too serious. So have a good laugh on us or at us and watch us in action while you wait for our full site to launch.. We are going to help you. Just wait!

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The best sound card a consumer should consider buying – HT Omega Claro+

Heaven is here, and it’s in the form of a sound card…… Ok well maybe not quite, but if euphoria exists for an audiophile computer geek it’s this card:

http://www.htomega.com/claroplus.html

Ht Omega Claro+ Sound Card

I just installed the card in my media center and it far surpasses the performance of my $700 Sony ES CD Changer.  Pretty cool that for less than $200 one can own a sound card that has a digital-analog-converter that is equivalent to todays $800+ surround receivers.  Forget Creative Labs I’m sold on buying HT Omega cards from now on.

Nintendo to partner with Netflix for live video and movie streaming

Yup, sometime this spring coming to a Wii console near you you’ll be able to stream videos/movies through the netflix service.  Anybody that’s already a subscriber and paying more than $8.99 a month supposedly will be getting this “value-add” at no additional charge.  Here’s the bad news…. no HD (due to the Wii graphical limitations), and also it will annoyingly require you to enter a different disc into your Wii to get it to work.  This is similar to how it current works on PS3’s, however the xbox360 does not require disc swapping to use the service.

Google High Speed Internet to your Home – Google ISP?

Google may now be getting into the ISP (Internet Service Provider) business.  They will be doing a market test to validate the possibility of this being broad reaching across the nation.  They claim the that speeds can be up to 100 times faster than current high speed internet connections.  It will be interesting to see how the “open access” concept works out since currently the telecommunication lines usually are owned by 1 provider for each area within the United States and then indirectly regulated the resale price to each individual ISP that wants to “lease” from this one provider.  Google, being a giant, and thinking outside the box may be able to get this changed.  We’ll see…….  Here’s a link to Google’s information on this concept:

http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/

Apple iPad – Apple’s New tablet Computer

Apple finally did it.  They stuck an iPod touch in the gigantatron machine (that obviously super-sizes items) and POOF out comes their new “tablet computer”.  Now keep in mind while it’s essentially a giant iPod Touch the iPad is under $500 with a starting price of $499.  Below you get a feel for how thin the device is.

iPad Touch

iPad Touch

Here are some specs for the device:

  • Weight – 1.5lbs
  • Screen size – 9.7″
  • Thickness – 0.5″
  • OS – iPhone OS 3.2
  • CPU/Processor – NEW Apple A4 1Ghz CPU

Since it uses the iPhone OS it of course can’t, without being hacked, multitask :(.  Also keep in mind that the iPad can’t render anything with Flash.  We’ll have more on this product as time progresses.

Motorola Droid review and comparison

Here comes another iPhone competitor.  Ah, but will THIS one overtake the “king” of smartphones with higher popularity?  Here are the stats:

  • 3.7″ Screen with 16 Million colors
  • 16GB’s of internal memory expandable with up to a 32GB transflash (MicroSD) card
  • 5 megapixel camera with…. is it really… a FLASH!  No, actually it has 2 flashes
  • Video capabilities (720×480) with 24fps
  • Out of the box Microsoft Exchange support
  • Verizon’s great network coverage
  • Boasts being the thinnest smartphone with a full qwerty keyboard

Motorola_Droid_resized

There are of course pitfalls of any new device.  We’ll see how great the battery life is which is a major concern of mine.  Another failure of the product design, in my opinion, is that the phone doesn’t have a talk or end call hard button.  While contacts are consolidated in one unified listing between Exchange, gmail, Facebook, and other sources your calendar is not (as it is in WebOS).  Also management of your music has to be done on the phone itself since there is no software that comes with the phone that will allow you to create playlists (although Media Monkey may work incidentally).  In Android 2.0, the new Google operating system that will be christened with the launch of this new phone, there is a expansive GPS app that will allow you to see traffic updates, street-view, and many other cool and useful features.  This phone certainly holds a lot of promise, and clearly we’ll have more information on this one soon.

Microsoft Windows 7 Launch Today

windows-7-box-art

Will Windows 7 usurp XP as the best operating system Microsoft has ever released? Only time will tell. In using Windows 7 personally in beta, I felt Windows 7 ran as stable as XP with many new features and certainly a new overall look and feel. Typically I wait for the first major service pack release before installing a new version operating system on anything other than a spare machine. Many IT professionals have a similar mantra before installing a new version. I’ve already started to hear rumblings that IT pros are thinking of this version differently. We will surely have more information to come on this topic for you.

FTC pressure facilitates division between Apple and Google’s Board of Directors

With all the anti-trust laws and regulation we have here in the US you’d think this wouldn’t have been allowed to begin with.  Apple and Google had many key board members in common.  Apple and Google have been making competing technology starting with Android OS (Google’s mobile platform) and the iPhone.  Yet just recently the FTC has begun to dig into things to investigate whether anti-trust laws are being broken due to their shared board members.  Can true competition really exist and be fair to it’s share holders if a board member is being shared?  I think not.  At one point even Eric Schmidt (Google’s CEO) was on Apple’s board (until August 2009 actually).

The most recent wrinkle in this debacle is that Arthur Levinson has resigned from Google’s Board of Directors.  This now severs all shared ties between the two boards.  Competition in our capitalistic market can now go back to how it was intended.  If you’re a shareholder of either company does this concern you?  Were you even aware?

Dell Smart Phone Destined for AT&T on Google’s Android Operating System

Looks like another manufacturer is now interested in building a phone on Google’s Android Mobile OS.  Rumors state that this phone will be released in early 2010.  Dell has stated the phone will be full touch screen.  I think it’s safe to say that it will offer the normal features we’ve come to expect from a smartphone including:

  • Speakerphone
  • E-mail access (certainly to gmail, we’ll see about Exchange interaction)
  • Full web-browsing
  • Camera (we’ll see if they’re smart enough to add a flash)
  • Bluetooth v2.0+ and A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile – One way transmission of stereo audio)
  • GPS

We’ll contact some people at Dell to see if we can get you some more information.

FTC Blogger Ruling on Reviews Payments

Product Reviews and Ethics

Some bloggers have been making cold hard cash or accumulating products for their glowing reviews on anything and everything with no disclaimer of that payback. Up to this point it has been reader beware or be wary of what a blogger is touting. The FTC has now declared that the blogosphere will have to abide by the same rules as newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations. There must be a disclosure if they are receiving any money or freebie for their review.

We will go a step beyond the FTC ruling. We will determine reliability of a positive review based on whether or not we believe there are marketing dollars involved. However, in the rare instance that there is a review site that we still think does a very credible job but they disclose payments, we might include the site in our listings. We will make it perfectly clear as long as we are aware of the payments. We will call out those that we believe are editorial reviews heavily influenced by marketing dollars.  While getting free products to facilitate the review process in and of itself isn’t terrible, it concerns us when we hear of a site that accepts cash or freebies directly or indirectly as a result of positive reviews.

There will always be some reviewers that somehow skirt the issue with the thin veil of the “payout” being offered in the form of marketing dollars. We can’t do anything about their ethical standards but we certainly will try to avoid that reviewer and/or site as long as we are aware of their indiscretion.

It is not apparent whether the new FTC ruling will affect websites that are well respected for their reviews but are not blog sites. One would hope they are included in the ruling as well.  It is our supposition that this initial ruling is intended to trend lightly and only lay the ground work for potential future regulation and/or legislation.