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Worlds Are Colliding! Episode #926

It's been an interesting last several days. I've had one of those runs where you see enough cool stuff to make your head spin, but it took seeing a Seinfeld rerun and hearing George lament that "worlds are colliding!" to put it all into perspective. What an exciting time to be in the technology game, if only for the coolness factor. Of course, it helps to be old enough to remember how things were "back in the day," before we carried more computing power in our pockets than was used to put the first man on the moon. Every now now and then we have to shut our analytical sides down, and just appreciate the whiz that comes with bang as new devices infiltrate our consciousness.  In that spirit, let me share a few of my latest "ooh and ah" moments with you.

A co-worker walked into my office recently, with a new Nook Color reader that he was trying to log onto the secure WLAN. A couple of quick tweaks and he was ready to rock and roll, but the wild part was the back story. It turns out he had picked up the Android-based reader at a killer price somewhere for the express purpose of "rooting" it, which he did successfully. The result? A very nice tablet PC at the on-sale cost of a reader.

But on the topic of tablet PCs, it gets even better. There's no reason to do the unthinkable to a Nook Color to get a great price on a tablet, when Walgreens (yes, the drugstore) sells the Coby Kyros at well under $200. And the Kyros is actually getting decent reviews on build quality and usability by those who score such things. Tablet PCs at the drugstore? Yes, indeedy.

Another co-worker just turned me on to yet another alternative to high TV subscription prices. Yes, there are your Apple TV and Roku "appliances," and we've had the likes of Joost and Hulu to play with for some time now. But now we've also got Boxee, a social-networking-meets-entertainment platform that you can either get in appliance form or load up for free on your PC. It's wildly full-featured, and even on a low-end netbook tethered to a Droid for Internet access, it's a very effective replacement for the boob tube when you feel like getting your fix without another monthly bill.

Cool enough, sure, but maybe not as cool as the Sony Ericsson announcement about its new PlayStation smartphone. What are we becoming? I thought Angry Birds was slick business in the palm of my hand, but the PlayStation experience on a smartphone? Get out ... Also Android-based, Sony's Xperia Play phone (I'm starting to hate that term applied to these incredibly sophisticated devices) competes with the Xbox gaming capabilities of Windows 7 mobile devices. Will any of us ever pay attention in meetings again?

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