Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

As we head into the holiday season, we at Strange New World really hope you've already got your shopping done. So, this week we recommend a healthy dose of holiday cheer, good will toward your fellow man and all of that other stuff. We also have a few last minute picks for you: how about you take the family dancing, set up a Slingbox or ask Santa for a cool new car. Here now our picks of the week.

Happy Birthday DDR

We don't want to make you feel too old but Dance Dance Revolution, the originator of the rhythmic music video game genre, has just celebrated its 10th year. First launched in 1998, DDR has gone from that weird game you play at the bowling alley, to a full-bore cultural force. The game has become almost ubiquitous in the past 10 years, appearing in countless TV shows, movies and music videos. There are now several DDR records in the Guinness World Records Book. We really stink at the game but we fully support games that get people up off the couch and moving around. Care to guess what games we play now might be around in 10 years?

Slingbox to the Blackberry

One of our favorite gadgets of the last few years is the Slingbox from Sling Media. Basically, this device allows you to watch your television anywhere you can get an Internet connection. Hook the box up to your TV and kick back anywhere in the world and see what has shown up on your DVR. All of a sudden, business trips are a whole lot more palatable when you can still watch your local sports teams or access your library of recorded "Project Runway" episodes. This week, the guys at Sling announced that they will bring their Slingbox functionality to the Blackberry platform, with SlingPlayer Mobile for Blackberry Smartphones, Dec. 30. Now you won't even need a laptop. Just remember to bring your headphones.

Cool Cars from American Auto Makers

We know, we know, things are not looking good for our friends in Detroit. But we just want to point out that we are getting ready for a golden age of automobiles. If there is one under-covered narrative in the car industry's quest to get a student loan from the government, it's that, speaking strictly from the technological perspective, cars have never been better. In many ways they are entering a new era of innovation.

Take Pontiac, which is shipping a legitimate high-quality muscle car, the G8GT. This unit offers respectable power and it matches pricier models, like BMW, step-for-step for about 40 percent of the price. Fuel economy is not awful. It can get 24 miles per gallon when spare cylinders shut off on the road. And it is packed with great features.

Ford is getting into the action, too. There are plans for a new Mustang coming in 2010. This buggy provides real value and power in a car that starts at $24,000. Those are just the cool fossil fuel cars coming down the pike. GM is still planning to release the Volt, an all-electric car that does not look like a golf cart. If you have the money, we are sure the manufacturers will offer you a good deal in this economy.

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