Hard spin: The LaCie disk.

Hard spin: The LaCie disk.

A golden chance and more geek news

A golden chance and more geek news

A golden hard drive, to jazz up a desktop

Auric Goldfinger, the James Bond villain, would love the LaCie Golden Disk, a 500-gigabyte external hard drive.

This 1.5-inch-thick hard drive looks like a gold ingot, though it weighs only 32 ounces. LaCie hired the French designer Ora-Ito to create this $189 (around Rs7,500) slab that, with its warped top panel, looks like it is still in a liquid state. It connects to a computer through an included USB cable.

Hard spin: The LaCie disk.

The drive, which is quiet because it has no fan, spins at 7,200 rpm and can transfer data at about 480 megabits a second, about the speed at which many drives of this size perform. It will be available in late October, although LaCie is taking orders now at its website.

The Golden Disk, which is compatible with Macs and PCs, includes automatic back-up software. Perhaps LaCie’s design is sending a message to its users with a lot of data on their computers: The 128,000 songs or 500 movies the drive can hold are as good as gold. Protect them.

John Biggs

New multi-purpose headphones

Anyone who has one set of earbuds for the cellphone and another set for the music player, all spooled up in briefcases or pockets, has been waiting for the Swiss Army knife of headsets.

The Voyager 855 from Plantronics, which works as both a hands-free headset for the phone and a stereo headset for the music player, may be that multifunction tool for the plugged-in set.

The 855 is a transformer. Extending the boom microphone pauses the music played on a phone and answers a call. Ending the call restarts the music. Both earbuds are activated for listening to music in stereo by plugging a detachable cable to the main unit.

But the 855, available in October at most US electronics and office supply stores for $150 (around Rs6,000), works only with phones that are A2DP compliant. You can see whether your phone supports this standard for playing stereo through a Bluetooth wireless connection by going to the Plantronics website, www.plantronics.com. Now, if only it came with a knife and a can opener.

Stephen C. Miller

More memory, quicker loading in a lighter playstation portable

Sony has given the PlayStation Portable a makeover. The new PSP is 19% slimmer and 33% lighter than the original PSP it replaces.

Within that trimmer shell, Sony has doubled the built-in memory to 64 megabytes, which results in noticeably faster-loading games displayed on its bright 4.3-inch screen.

Like the original, the new PSP is also a mini-media entertainment device, able to store and play music, pictures and video. Internet access opens it not only to multiplayer gaming, but to watching recorded or live TV at any Wi-Fi hot spots if you also happen to have TiVo or Sony LocationFree devices back home. And like the original, the battery lasts about five hours on a charge despite also being slimmed down.

The new PSP’s price has not been trimmed. But at $170 (around Rs6,800) for the basic model, it is no more expensive than the last remaining original PSPs still on store shelves and is $80 less than the price of the format at its introduction.

Jor Hutsko

The New York Times

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