Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

With love in the air as Valentine's Day bears down on us, some pretty strange things are earning our love this week. Apple has gotten so good at manufacturing buzz that it has drawn a good bit of hype for nothing more than a memory upgrade. You gotta love that. And laptops are being pushed as tokens of our affection for the day of roses. Finally, the ladies out there seem to be lovin' the new 3-D version of the Hannah Montana movie.

At this rate, who needs chocolates?

Here are our picks of the top tech stories of the week.

Tempted to Touch?

We seem to be saying this a lot lately, but Apple has just announced another new product. This time, America is all aflutter about... two new iPods! Actually, that's not quite true. It's actually the same old iPods, but with more memory — and a higher price.

For the low, low price of $499 you can get the brand new 16GB iPhone or the new 32GB iPod Touch. We love the Touch and it truly is the best MP3/video player on the market, but when you hit the $500 mark, you start to question its value.

If we were going to buy a gift for someone special on this Hallmark propaganda spectacle otherwise known as Valentine's Day, we would choose the 160GB iPod classic for $349. No, it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the new Touch, but you'll never run out of movies and tunes once you fill it up.

Loving Laptops

If your significant other is a geek, or you just hate using his or her terribly out-of-date PC when you visit, how about a gift of a laptop for Valentine's Day? Wait, wait — hear us out.

There are some great deals on solid PCs this month if you know where to look. Best Buy is pushing an entry-level Toshiba with a 15-inch screen, 120 GB hard drive and simple Celeron processor for $399. Take a look and click on the weekly ad at the top.

Best Buy's not your big box store of choice? Try Circuit City. It has an Acer Aspire with a dual core Intel Pentium, 160 GB hard drive for $479.99.

And if you go to Fry's, $499 will get you either a fancy new iPod Touch or a Compaq with a dual core Athlon processor, 120 GB hard drive and some other features.

Nothin' says love like electronics!

3-D is Back

Like boy bands and leggings, 3-D movies seem to come back every 10 years or so. But these are not your parents' 3-D movies; modern movie-making has taken them beyond the crappy thriller effects (we truly believe Spielberg owes us $7 for Jaws 3 in 3-D) and is turning out actual 3-D hits.

Following on the heels of last year's hit "Beowulf," the Hannah Montana 3-D concert movie took in $29 million last weekend. Not to be outdone, U2 has a 3-D concert movie coming out that should blow the teen phenom right back to the Disney Channel.

Directors like James Cameron are saying 3-D is what will save Hollywood because it's a perfect storm of technology. The new 3-D movies will be visually spectacular and extremely hard to pirate in their native form, forcing you back into the theater again and again. We hear that Peter Jackson is talking about re-releasing King Kong in 3-D and the always-tinkering-with-perfection George Lucas is considering a Star Wars 3-D.

Jonathan Blum and Dan Evans co-host "Strange New World," a weekly syndicated radio show. Blum hosts the blog and Evans is a features editor at PC Magazine.