What are the winter holidays without toys? Pretty disappointing is the probable answer. Everyone likes a toy. Some toys are simple and others are so techie delectable.
For the adults in the home, Sirius (www.sirius.com) offers one hundred streams of satellite radio. What is satellite radio? Try digitally produced music and entertainment that’s beamed up to a satellite and then beamed down to subscribers. What are the one hundred streams? One hundred channels of crisp, clear sounds packaged for various tastes. Sirius offers sixty streams of commercial-free music and forty streams of sports, news and entertainment. There are three satellites orbiting around the Earth that make this happen. Much of the music is produced live at Sirius’ studios that are located at Rockefeller Center in New York City. In the world of satellite radio, stream jockeys replace disc jockeys.
What is needed to be in the streams are an antenna, an FM modulator for your car radio or a plug n’ play console. Subscribing to a service plan and activating one’s account are the final steps. Imagine: in your car or in your home, crisp clear extreme sports streams or world music or the latest on your favorite celebrity.
VOOM (www.voom.com) is a high definition satellite television service (HDTV). HDTV turns your home into the local cinema. Similar to satellite radio, HDTV gives brighter, crisper, and clearer images on the television screen and the HDTV screen is much wider than standard TV-forty-two inches. The magic behind the picture is the use of smaller dots that make up the images. Similar to scanning, a clearer image is produced from using smaller dots. The last touch to the theater effect is the surround sound speaker system: one in the television, two on opposite sides of the television and two behind the couch.
VOOM is also commercial-free and subscription based. The satellite, Rainbow-1 that was launched July 17, 2003, facilitates the VOOM experience. A subscription consists of a choice of thirty-nine HD exclusives and ten 24/7 wide screen movie channels. The satellite TV service requires obtaining a satellite dish, antenna, HD receiver, remote control and the subscription. Being all in the family, the kids will say, “What’s yours is ours.” Be charitable and share.
Xbox is a video game system that’s ‘all the rave’. If the Website (www.xbox.com) is an example of the actual product, it’s engaging to say the least. From user reviews Xbox is a powerful games experience. It supposedly more dynamic than PS2 or Gamecube and has great graphics. Microsoft, the maker, markets the product to the teen-to-adult segment. The games categories include Simulation, Sports, Shooter, Racing, Action, Role Playing, Adventure, and Strategy. The content is rated as Teen, Mature, or Everyone. The games list appears to be never ending given the number of game producers that work their craft.
The basic equipment is the Xbox console and the controller. These pieces are attached to a television. To add depth to the Xbox experience, try Music Mixer for Karaoke and photo displays; the DVD Movie Playback kit; and System Link Cables to connect two Xbox consoles on separate televisions. Imagine ‘Xboxing’ by yourself, with another person or with a group. This is accomplished by connecting the Xbox to a television and then, connecting the ‘Xboxed’ television to another one. It seems that Microsoft seeks to create a world of ‘Xbox people.’
Make way barcode scanners, RFIDs are here. What are RFIDs? Radio Frequency Identification is an electronic chip smaller than a grain of sand that emits a radio signal. RFIDs are currently deployed by the US military. The US Navy keeps track of wounded personnel and prisoners in military hospitals in Iraq. US retailers will deploy RFIDs to tag merchandise for inventory and security purposes. Each chip is unique so any item that is tagged with one can be tracked individually-anytime, anywhere. Where the barcode identifies a type of good, RFIDs identify the individual item. Using London Fog raincoats as an example, a barcode can identify a woman’s beige raincoat. RFIDs can identify the particular beige woman’s raincoat that you bought and can track that coat outside of the store indefinitely.
That close surveillance has people uneasy; therefore, RFIDs will be implemented just short of the end user, in the United States. RFIDs will tag bulk packages of goods in warehouses. Wal-Mart requested a large supply and will introduce them by 2005. Wal-Mart foresee greater control from warehouse to backroom to shop shelves. Consumers need to organize now to ensure that RFIDs are not attached to pieces of clothing and accessories.
Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa have launched their own satellites. Nigeria’s NigeriaSat-1 is part of Disaster Monitoring Constellation. This satellite monitors such environmental concerns as deforestation and water supplies. At the cost of ten million dollars some quarters criticize the government’s decision, while others see the need to assess the ecological balance.
Africa is more than safari, batik, and soukous. Africa has a thriving film industry. Every two years FESTPAC is convened to view and judge the latest full feature and shorts in all genres. FESTPAC is held at Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. The last one was in February 2003. Plan ahead by booking your flight and hotel accommodations in the latter part of 2004.
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