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Polaroid-PoGo-printer-6

My cell phone photos live in limbo. I like to take them, and occasionally show them off, but I rarely manage to transfer them anywhere for permanent keeping. So when I saw a tweet recommendation from Brad Linder for a refurb Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer on sale for $25, I gave in to impulse and ordered one on the spot. (Thanks, Brad)

The PoGo printer performs as advertised. It’s got an AC power adapter for charging, and connects to your mobile phone via Bluetooth or USB. After years of owning phones with the Bluetooth disabled, I still tend to forget about the short-range wireless option. But my Droid Eris paired with the PoGo over Bluetooth immediately, and after less than a minute of processing, I saw my first cell phone photo on a 2″x3″ printout.

The Pogo prints are decent quality, and the no-edge format distinctly reminds me of a Moo card. That said, the colors did seem to fade a bit after the first printing, and you certainly wouldn’t use a PoGo printer to win any photography prizes. For casual or craft use, though, the PoGo is great. Want to include a photo with a thank-you card? Or make a family-tree pictorial for a school project? The PoGo printer is a handy solution.

As with any photo printer, the big catch in the deal is the cost of the photo paper. Luckily, the no-ink Zink paper that goes with the PoGo Printer isn’t overly expensive. The cost for a 30-pack of 2″x3″ paper seems to range from just under $9 to $12. The Pogo Printer itself ships at regular price for $39 from Amazon.

We knew the E3 annual gaming conference would bring the announcement of Microsoft’s Project Natal, rebranded as Kinect, but few of us were expecting a refreshed Xbox 360 console. After years of unfulfilled Xbox 306 “Slim” rumors, perhaps we just gave up on the idea. But, MS has delivered.

The new Xbox 360 form factor is available first in the “Elite” spot ($300, 250GB, 802.11n), with a refreshed lower-end “Arcade” config to follow – once existing inventory has been depleted. The most obvious change is a sleeker and more compact enclosure, but Microsoft is also touting the fact that the new unit has been engineered be “whisper quiet.” Hopefully, they’ve also engineered away the red ring of death (RROD).

As attractive as the new case is, I’m disappointed that Microsoft wasn’t able to do away with a massive (and lit) power brick. Also, I’m a bit surprised to see they didn’t go down the Blu-ray path… to take on Sony. Had they, I’d probably have upgraded my primary gaming station. But, as it stands, I’ll wait on the lower end unit to bring Netflix, ESPN 3, and Windows Media Center extender capabilities into the bedroom.

Click to enlarge:

Marcus Penn took his brand spanking new Netflix Instant Streaming disc for a spin on the Wii.

As a Blu-ray owner, he doesn’t appear entirely satisfied with the video quality. However, even though the Wii is only capable of standard def resolutions, using component cables (480p) should provide a nicer experience than running over composite (480i). Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360, I don’t believe there’s a television-esque remote available for the Wii. Yet Netflix (or was it Nintendo?) nicely integrates the Wii’s motion controller into the experience… Watch Marcus slide his queue around. (Of course, the directional pad can also be used for more traditional control. Which may be more efficient. For adults.) Unlike TiVo and Roku, but like the 360, the Netflix Wii experience enables genre-based browsing of content beyond your queue.

All in all, this seems like a decent upgrade for dual Wii/Netflix customers the low, low price of zero dollars.

If my inbox is any indication, it looks like a large number of folks will be receiving Netflix instant streaming discs for their Wiis in the next day or three. Running SD-only content off of disc isn’t quite as exciting as the Netflix Xbox Live app or even Roku. But it’s a nice freebie for Wii-owning Netflix subscribers (and their kids). Given I no longer own a Wii (due to the aforementioned SD problem and not enough compelling content), I won’t be able to provide a hands on in the near future. However, if there’s a shortage of streaming discs, I might be able to help someone out…

OnLive, the streaming games start-up, has announced that it will begin rolling out its subscription service ($14.95 per-month plus the cost of purchasing or renting the games themselves) to customers on the 17th of June 2010 to coincide with this year’s E3 gaming conference. It will be a US-only offering, however, at least for the foreseeable future, restricted to “to early registrants throughout the 48 contiguous United States”. This is in-line with their beta test program which requires users to be within 1000 miles of one of OnLive’s data centres.

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