on7 wired nov. 7

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Oh, brother!

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/11/2010 (4410 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Oh, brother!

If you’re in the market for a solid, multifunction inkjet printer, the $269.99 Brother MFC-990CW offers a compelling feature set. It has connectivity to spare: Ethernet, USB 2.0, PictBridge, Wi-Fi (b/g), Bluetooth, USB flash drives and most memory cards. And if you can’t wait for Apple to enable wireless printing for your iDevice later this month, Brother offers a free app that lets your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone print photos wirelessly on the MFC-990CW. I can say from personal experience it works quite well. Besides the usual fax functions, this multifunction ups the ante with a 5.8-GHz digital cordless handset and built-in digital answering machine. A four-tank cartridge system cuts consumable costs and photo printing is boosted by 6000 x 1200 dpi print resolution, colour touchscreen and built-in photo paper tray.

Chew on this tablet

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Got the hots for a tablet, but don’t feel like contributing to Steve Jobs’ ego? There are few alternatives available in the Great White North at the moment. However, California-based Cherrypal is offering a bare bones, Android 2.1 tablet at a rock-bottom price. There are reasons the CherryPad costs a third of the price of the cheapest iPad, among them a smaller 18-cm screen (versus 23 cm for the iPad), only 256 MB of RAM, no cellular capability and a resistive touch display — this means you have to put pressure on the screen, not just swipe. On-board storage is 2 GB, but can be expanded with a 16-GB Micro SD card, Wi-Fi is included and display resolution is 800 by 480 pixels. Unlike an iPad, it’s not locked down and you can access Flash-enabled websites. Available through www.cherrypal.com for $188 plus $18.80 for shipping to Canada.

Shiver me ice cubes

It’s a little late for international “Talk Like a Pirate Day” (that would be Sept. 19), but with the Skull and Crossbones Ice Cube Tray, every day can be “Drink Like a Pirate Day!” Available at www.homewetbar.com for only $6.49 plus $21.95 for shipping to Canada. Yeah, the shipping rate seems like piracy, but if you’re tired of square ice, you gotta pay a price.

Morning’s a grind, thankfully

I’m an admitted caffeine addict and it has to be fresh-ground. If I hadn’t invested in one of these Cuisinart Grind and Brew Thermal 12-Cup coffee makers, I’d be making trips four times a day to Starbucks. It may sound like an airplane taking off when it starts up, but it’s hard to beat that fresh-ground aroma in the morning. The burr grinder has a hopper that holds 1/4 of a kilogram of beans; unlike other models, you don’t have to clean the grinder and refill the hopper after every use. You can set the coffee strength to strong, medium or mild (it’s never left “strong” at my house) and it includes both a permanent filter and charcoal water filter. It retails for $199.99, although amazon.ca has it at $169.99.

Wii help for wee ones

Wii is a gateway video console for young kids. It’s got the biggest library of kid-friendly games and motion control makes for a quick learning curve. But for the youngest hands, the standard Wii controllers might be a little big for comfort. The icon Kid Remote Playchuk Bundle takes care of that issue by shrinking everything just enough to comfortably fit in little hands. As an added bonus, it features funky colours and a lower price than the Nintendo versions. Unfortunately, MotionPlus isn’t offered, but at $29.99 for the set, you can’t have everything. Available at Best Buy.

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