Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

In a week of trillion-dollar budgets and billion-dollar investment frauds, it's hard to stand out. So we thought we'd go the other way here on the Strange New World of technology and keep things small and personal.

The big techno news this week is a major upgrade for the venerable DS hand-held console due out from Nintendo April 5. Called the DSi, it is shaping up to be a must-have for the gaming set. And in the bigger small screen, a nasty fight has broken out for online video services. Web video players Hulu doesn't like the way Boxee is using its stuff.

So pushing and shoving has ensued. And it looks like Jonas Brothers -- don't kids these days know what a "The" is -- aren't the only ones going 3-D. Old-school video discs are adding depth to show dramatic new bulk and power.

These are our picks for the week for the end of February 2009.

The Nintendo DS Buys a Vowel

It is no secret that the great sleeper in portable devices has been the Nintendo DS. This $130 wonder offered great game play at a great price. But now this mainstay is about to get a major makeover.

The new unit, the DSi, at $170, is already a top-ten device on Amazon in preorder! And we can see why.

It includes a bigger screen, a second camera, sound applications, music players -- the works. And you will even be able to Wi-Fi enable this thing if you so choose.

All we are going to say is Crap, economy or not, this thing is going to sell.

TV Food Fight

What is it about online video that brings out the nasty in the media elite? Not a week goes by without some sort of digital fisticuffs over this video clip or that. This week, video service Hulu cut its ties from mostly-for-Mac competitor Boxee.

The move is over how Boxee manages Hulu content. And that was not all. Mostly mail-in video service NetFlix was widely reported to be planning to offer a streaming-only service -- no more red envelopes for them. And now the cable companies, the supposed blood enemies of online video, have stepped up to the Web video plate too.

Comcast and Time Warner are said to be tinkering up a way to offer their content online. Now this is exciting for Web video. Since there is real content online now. But the clutter is becoming an issue. So instead of 1,000 channels and nothing on cable or satellite TV, we'll be searching through 10,000 Web sites and still find nothing good to watch.

That is not exactly progress. Right?

Discs Add a Third Dimension

The new movies "Coraline" from Focus Features and "Bolt" from Walt Disney Pictures (owned by the parent company of ABC News) are sporting 3-D animation, and it looks like these discs will be adding a bit of depth as well.

Called holographic discs, this optical media will looks like regular DVDs. But they will store far more content. A group of University of California-Santa Barbara researchers has come up with a material called, here we go, "Dendritic Macromonomers" that will allow for something nutty like 1 Terabyte (TB) for each disc!

Besides supporting the massive capacity of new video forms -- 3D and certain gaming technologies eat up lots of storage -- how cool would it be to able to burn your entire record collection on single disc?

Now that is progress.

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