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Contest reminder: deck out tech for Halloween, sing an Engadget song, shoot some sweet photos

We've given away an enormous amount of kit these past few weeks, but we've got some pretty big prizes up on the block right now. We know you'd like to go on with your weekends unhindered by any obsession with competing for a Nikon D80 DSLR, VidaBox SLIM Media Center PC, or a Zune, but sorry, we want to see what you're made of.

Halloween contest - VidaBox SLIM home theater PC
Care to take on 2005 runner-up Cameron R? (Movie above, no sound.) Make a gadgety Halloween costume! Send it in by Wednesday, 11:59pm EST, November 1st. Full details on how to enter here, let's make it happen.

Gadget photo contest - Nikon D80 DSLR with lens
Shoot the best gadget or tech themed photo! Send it in by 11:59PM EST, Sunday, the 29th. Full details on how to enter here.

Engadget theme song contest - Zune
The final pre-release Zune! Write the Engadget theme song; Send it in by 11:59PM EST, Sunday, the 29th. Full details on how to enter here.

Oh yeah, we have some other contests going on right now, too:

Speakers + lamp = the iLamp

Like it or not, one of the biggest gadget trends is towards "convergence" (whatever that means), so it's hardly a surprise to see home furnishing company Adesso attempt to combine a couple of speakers with a desk lamp: no prizes for guessing the product's name either -- the iLamp. The speakers connect to sound sources via a standard 3.5mm jack so non-iPod owners aren't excluded, although the built-in stand seems rather conveniently suited to the iPod's dimensions. Available in six different designs each with unique bulbs and wacky names (pictured is the "Rock On!" Architect lamp), the iLamp will set you back $89 -- a fair price to pay for convenience, or yet another iGimmick? You decide.

[Via SciFi Tech]

Near-perfect glass CD hits stores in Akihabara, Shibuya for $831

You know how your audiophile friends insist on only the finest media on which to store their music -- forsaking MP3s and the iTunes Store in favor of vinyl or CDs? Well, if those audiophiles have deep pockets (as many of seem to), they'll probably be very interested in this new glass CD that's just come out of Japan. Suenori Fukui has recently invented a transparent glass CD that he says is guaranteed to not distort or warp. As Mainichi Interactive reports: "As glass CDs are completely transparent, information on them can be read perfectly, improving sound quality. They are not affected by heat or humidity and remain in perfect condition forever." The first glass CD recording of J.S. Bach's "Air on G String" (not to be confused with Sebastian Bach's "Show me your g-string," which we really wish existed) will be on sale at Ishimaru Denki in Akihabara and Tower Records in Shibuya for ¥98,700 ($831).

[Via The Raw Feed]

BioShirt to monitor temperature, heart rate of athletes

Some of us here at Engadget enjoy spending our off-hours going for a run (believe it or not, we actually do have them on rare occasion) . While our routines don't quite compare to runners who train for marathons and other such intense sporting activities, we're nonetheless interested in the cool gadgetry that these hard-core types get to use. Earlier this week, a team of South Korean researchers debuted the BioShirt at the National Sports Festival, currently ongoing in that country. The BioShirt is specifically designed with athletics in mind and monitors the runner's temperature, heart rate and speed; it then sends that data to a wrist-worn monitor via Bluetooth. Kim Seung-hwan, the leader of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute team that built the BioShirt, told The Korea Times that the shirt could also have similar applications as a monitoring system for elderly or infirmed patients who need constant attention -- an idea we've seen before. Still, for some this runner's tech can't come too soon, especially after the loss of former Wired editor Bill Goggins earlier this year, who passed away from heart failure while running the San Francisco Marathon this past July.

LG &37 media player melds touchscreen with brushed metal

While everyone is still waiting for the true video iPod, LG appears to have kinda sorta beat 'em to the punch with its new "&37." Sure, we've seen touchscreens before on media players and even electronic dictionaries -- but none of them come in brushed aluminum, and really, who doesn't love brushed aluminum? Good looks aside, this 2.4-inch media player, which recently debuted at the Korea Electronics Show, packs 4GB of strage, a three-hour battery, a photo viewer and a "mobile XD engine," whatever that is. We imagine that you'll be able to find this 51.5 x 90 x 10.4mm (2.02 x 3.54 x 0.4-inches) ampersander in Korea sometime soon, but no, we don't know how much it'll set you back. Click on over to the next page & check out a few glamor shots of the &37.

[Via I4U News]

Continue reading LG &37 media player melds touchscreen with brushed metal

It's the Great Robotic Overlords, Charlie Brown: make a Cylon jack-o-lantern

Charlie would be better off trying to kick that football than tracking down this jack-o-lantern. The guys at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories put their l33t stenciling, carving and LED wiring skills into this Cylon Centurion née pumpkin, and naturally posted all the info necessary to create your own. This stacks up pretty well against the pumpkin PC and even the Engadget pumpkin. But for truly evil and mad status, we'd prefer a fruit-based rendering of Number Six, destined to be destroyed October 31st by Starbuck Power Mac -- only to download, re-emerge next Halloween and continue its plan of human genocide through sweet, pie-based deliciousness. Frak.

[Via Make]

Vodafone's Treo 750v reviewed

If you put things into perspective, being the first Windows Mobile-enabled Treo to be available in Europe is hardly the greatest of accolades. But for those of us who haven't had access to such a device before the 750v's release, it's accompanied by a subtle sigh of relief. Unsurprisingly, The Unwired's review of the phone focuses primarily on the software aspects of the 750v, with the reviewer finding that Palm's customization of the WinMo 5 interface makes the device more intuitive compared to untweaked phones; a bundled threaded messaging application sweetens the deal further. The one particularly apparent area which the reviewer didn't specifically mention is the size of the device -- in comparison to the HTC Excalibur, the 750v appears positively obese. Even more telling is the comparison to the spec superior HTC Hermes (2 megapixel camera, HSDPA, 2.8 inch QVGA display, WiFi, faster processor, videoconferencing camera, etc.) which appears to share very similar dimensions. In the conclusion the reviewer stated that he would personally buy the 750v had the phone shipped with WiFi capability -- the lack of this key feature coupled with an overweight design and limited specs (including the usual crippled 240x240 resolution) severely dampens the initial positive points. As is far too typical for Palm, the 750v's excellent software implementation doesn't live up to the phone's chunky and dated hardware.

Engadget's relaunch giveaways: Xbox 360 Premium pack number four

How's everybody's weekend going? Good? We have a feeling it'll be a little better now that we're giving away an Xbox 360! Before we roll on this one, we have to let you know who won the last: Vernon R, you've got a 360! So, the prize is an Xbox 360 Premium bundle, which, just in case you haven't been reading Engadget for the last year or so, comes with:
  • Xbox 360 console (soon with 1080p output!)
  • 20GB drive add-on
  • Wireless controller
  • Xbox headset
  • Component high def AV cable
  • Ethernet cable
We're also throwing in a PowerSquid black Surge3000 for the winner to make sure you've got enough juice and plugs for your console, HDTV, etc., courtesy of our pals at Flexity. You'll have until Thursday the 26th to enter; we'll pick somebody at random who tells us in the comments how many of their friends already own a 360 (or are planning to buy one this holiday season):
  • You may enter other Engadget contests, however...
  • You may only enter this contest once; if you enter more than once on this particular contest post you'll be automatically disqualified and barred from all future giveaways. (Yes, we have robots that thoroughly check to ensure fairness.) You may enter future Engadget relaunch giveaway contests though!
  • You can only win once. (If you win and then try to go for a second prize during our relaunch giveaways, you'll be automatically disqualified, etc.)
  • Contest is open to everybody worldwide! (This is a US unit, however.)
  • You will be shipped your 360 when all the contests are up, so sit tight!
Good luck, and be sure you've entered our other contests, as well!

Fujiyama F-MP57 media player shows off its slim size

Well, speaking of Chinese media players, we've just come across this newcomer, the Fujiyama F-MP57. Apparently it brings a 3-inch screen (or possibly a 1.8-inch one -- we have conflicting info) and a built-in 1.3 megapixel camera to the normal media player design. Beyond that, the F-MP57 will play WMA, MP3, WAV files, packs an SD card slot (it can support up to 1GB in addition to its maxed out 2GB of internal storage), plays back video at 320 x 240, boasts a TV out (NTSC / PAL), and comes with an optional FM radio. All of that is stuffed into a slim 134 x 62 x 17 mm (5.2 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches) case. And in what is unfortunately an oft-repeated mantra around here, no pricing or availability info is available as of press time.

Read - Global Sources
Read -

Land Warrior gear to equip a US Army battalion

After 15 years in the making, our footsoldiers are finally getting the proper location-based gear that they need. Noah Shachtman, one of the finest experts on military technology out there, has just informed us via his blog, DefenseTech, that one Army battalion will be equipped with a bunch of wearable electronics, known collectively as the Land Warrior. The team leaders of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry division (better known as the "Manchus", who are slated to be deployed to Iraq next year) will get the nearly 20-pound getup that includes weapon-mounted sensors, voice communications, GPS, a full-color visual interface via the monocle, and a long-range gun sight on the monocle as well. While only the team leaders will get the whole kit and caboodle for now, every soldier will get a GPS beacon, alerting the higher-ups to their sub rosa whereabouts.

Los Angeles-area Boy Scouts can earn "activity patch" in copyright

Los Angeles-area Boy Scouts (this author used to be among them) will now be able to receive an "activity patch" in respecting copyrights. Different from a merit badge, The Associated Press reports that "an activity patch is not required to advance in the Scouts. Instead, they are awarded for various recreational and educational activities, such as conservation or volunteering at a food bank." Scouts will get a primer in copyright law, will have to identify five types of copyright, and will get to visit a movie studio to learn about "how many people can be harmed by film piracy," as defined by the MPAA. Boing Boing also adds that a movement is underway to educate the Los Angeles Area Council about their concerns of potentially pushing the MPAA's agenda. Jay Neely, an Eagle Scout (as is this author), writes on Boing Boing: "If it's as one-sided or erroneous as your post worries it will be, I'd like to get other current or former scouts to take part in a concerted effort to write the Los Angeles Area Council with our concerns." So basically, this ain't over yet, Hollywood.

[Thanks, Rollins]

Read - The Associated Press
Read - Boing Boing

Treo 680 headed to Cingular

Big surprise everybody, the Palm Treo 680 is coming to... wait for it... Cingular. Right, we know, we all figured it was coming to Cingular anyway, but we snagged an internal Treo 680 PowerPoint doc and now we know for sure. It'll have everything we've been expecting: Palm OS 5.4.9 with that new five-tabbed quick access (dial pad, favorites, home screen, contacts, call log), quad-band GSP / GPRS / EDGE, 312MHz XScale processor, 2.2-inch 320 x 320 display, SDIO, Bluetooth 1.2, IR, PocketTunes, 1200mAh battery, and a 4.41 x 2.36 x 0.88-inch body weighing in at 5.28 ounces. Oddly, Cingular also made mention of a few things in their "confidential and proprietary" document that we found a little puzzling: listed with their compatible email clients, it mentions XpressMail, Good, BlackBerry Connect and... "Microsoft Direct Push (Q1,'07)"? Huh? Ok, so maybe the Cingularian who threw this document together didn't know his biz as well as s/he might have, but either way at least now we know for sure orange customers can expect theirs soon.

UPenn scientists create replacement retina on a chip

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new silicon chip that could be "embedded directly into the eye and connected to the nerves that carry signals to the brain's visual cortex," reports New Scientist. The chip aims to help people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, which is the gradual death of one's retinal cells, those really useful bits of organic matter that convert light into nerve impulses for the brain to process. Previous attempts at solving this biological conundrum have often gone the route of using a video camera usually connected to a tiny computer to process the signal, which is then attached to the optic nerve. If Penn's research works, it would let this chip be directly implanted into the eye -- with a direct connection to the optic nerve -- removing the need for an external camera. Even better, this new version also mimics the way a healthy retina adjusts to light intensity, contrast, and even movement. The next step is to reducing the size and power consumption of the chip before clinical trials can get going.

[Via New Scientist]

Fujifilm FinePix F20 reviewed

After dropping a solid, low light-capable offering in the FinePix F30, the folks over at PhotographyBlog were anticipating another winner in the F20. While admitting that their expectations for the little brother were intentionally lowered, they were "pleasantly surprised" by its competency in everyday point-and-shoot environments, as well as low-lit situations. The overall image quality was "on par" with most other average alternatives, with hints of purple fringing and "chromatic aberrations in areas of high contrast" holding it back from superiority; however, it should be noted that this compact didn't suffer from the notorious red-eye introduction that has become all too common amongst pocket-friendly options. The ISO settings -- while not quite reaching the outlandish 3200 available on the F30 -- performed "quite well" up to ISO 800, while shooting at ISO 2000 (unsurprisingly) created images with a bit too much noise for large prints. Overall, Fujifilm certainly cut a few corners here, but if you're only looking for a reliable P&S tagalong that isn't afraid of the (occasional) dark, the FinePix F20 delivers a "beautiful marriage of price and performance."

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