Just another part of the web

I've decided that I should share the the coolest new electronics that have gotten, so you can, when you're looking for something, have yet another source to confuse you.

(FYI: my links for pictures of the product go to amazon, since there are other reviews of the product there).

Logitech Harmony 880
This is the coolest thing since slicest bread - at least for me. I have a pretty complex setup for my home theater - I have a cable box, a VCR, a DVD player, a CD player and another external input all going into my receiver. I had, when i first starting compiling this system, gotten a universal remote to control everything. I hated having multiple remotes sitting on my coffee table, and, to top it all off, I would often misplace the remote that I was looking for, since there were 5 of them.

However, programming the universal that I had (the Marantz RC-185R, which is not even made anymore) required that you "teach" the remote how to send each command - i.e., you pressed on button on the original quote, and then on the universal, and it remembered what to do. It was a daunting task - but one that I did after about a year of procrastinating it. It did make my life easier - until somebody came over and I had to explain how to use the remote to turn on the tv. It was my job then, to support the tv, and explain (usually when I was supposed to be working) how to get sound and switch channels.

Given this experience, I was ready to get a stateful remote - one that knew how to switch the entire system back and forth - you press one button, and it turns on the TV, and any systems that are needed to watch TV. And another button, and you are watching the DVD, with all the inputs switched over. The statefulness was useful, so it knew how to switch from one to the other without going back to a base system (which is what you would have to do if you took the time to program macros).

This remote solves this problem, with a unique twist - it is programmed via the web. Many people have complained that the website was never available, and this initially scared me away; however, after buying the remote, I never had that problem. I did notice, however, that it doesn't work very well with Firefox - so I used IE, and it worked like a charm. You supply all of your system model numbers, and it downloads and sets up all the commands into your remote. All you do it define which inputs have to be set to do each activity, and it just works. My wife was able to use it the day I set it up, without even me showing her how it works - it is that intuitive.

As I said, the most amazing thing since sliced bread. No question.

Other reviews:
AudioHolics, DesignTechnica

Sony PSP
This was my Christmas gift for myself. It's an amazing toy - the screen is crystal clear, and it does many things well - especially letting me avoid work, and play Tiger Woods Golf against my co-workers, without even using a router. More than the PSP itself - the games are amazing. I just spoke of Tiger Woods Golf - the graphics are great, and the controls are extremely familiar to anyone who ever has gone to a bar and played Golden Tee (the best game ever made).

This product is much more mature, and there isn't much that can be said that hasn't already, so I won't waste time on it - instead, I'll list my top games for the PSP, noting that I am a sports nut:

  1. Tiger Wood's PGA Tour - the most amazing graphics in a game that I've seen.
  2. Madden NFL 2006 - it looks like you are in the game.