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新浪首页 > 新浪教育 > 《英语文摘》杂志 > 我们所喜爱的小玩意

Gadgets We Love
http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/05/18 13:44  英语文摘

  (1) iPod The most unpopular gift my wife ever received came from me on Christmas Eve of 2001. She unwrapped the package, cracked open the stylish clamshell box and frowned at the debut1 model of the iPod, Apple’s magnificent music player. It was the size of a pack of cigarettes, gleaming in white and polished stainless steel and ready to swallow hundreds of songs.

  “This isn’t for me,” she said, sliding the whole mess over to my end of the coffee table. “This is for you.” She was right. So after a few tepid protestations I took custody of the unloved player and turned it into a hightech talisman2 of my inner life. The iPod renewed my love of music and answered a primal need: It made me feel cool.

  Today’s handheld cameras, phones, music players and organizers3 pack power into tiny, cheap space and offer features so similar it can be hard to distinguish a Neo from a Treo. So the deciding factor comes down to something more intangible—it’s a matter of how the gadget makes us feel about ourselves.

  Apple gets this more than any other manufacturer of computer ware, and its designers, with their requisite piercings4, tattoos and allblackallthetime wardrobe, go to extraordinary lengths to make the iPod something special. Even the power supply—reduced elsewhere to a generic afterthought of black plastic—is a thing of beauty, its white, smoothsculpted edges concealing hidden notches that pop open to reveal functional parts.

  The iPod’s fanciest feature: a navigational spinning wheel that no longer spins. Just 2.4 inches across, it lets you scroll up and down a list of songs or turn the volume louder or softer. The first model used a spinning dial that clicked as it revolved. Later models went virtual, letting you navigate simply by skating a forefinger over a stationary wheel.

  The iPod is a handy little thing, letting you travel with a prodigious5 collection of music without having to endure the disarray of a stack of CDs. But utility isn’t the point; the real point is to ascend into Apple’s elegant world. iPod users on the New York subway eye one another approvingly, spotting the distinctive white and tangleprone earphones that mark another member of the club. Our faces share the same beatific look, as we get lost in sound, gleefully embracing technology that actually delivers.

  (2) PowerShot S400 There are lighter, more functionrich and betterreviewed ultracompact digital cameras than the Canon PowerShot S400, but something about this one gets everything just right. With 7.8 ounces of heft6 to it, the S400 is easy to hold and reassuring in the hand. Canon clad it in this sexy new material called Cerabrite, halfceramic and halfmetal, that stays cool, doesn’t scratch and doesn’t show fingerprints. You can shoot a movie up to three minutes long with audio and play it back right away, and the LCD7 is so crisp and bright that you can gather a couple of people to watch and nobody will complain that they’re watching a 1.5inch screen.

  But the whole point is taking pictures. If you want to become a better photographer, the only way is through repetition. Switching to digital clears the way. With a goodsize memory card inside (I advise at least 256 megabytes), you can snap, snap, snap and never worry about cost of printing until you’ve got one worth keeping. If you’re a mediocre8 shooter, like me, that’s less often than you’d like. The S400 is so small, a business card across and two fingers high, I don’t think twice about grabbing it before leaving home.

  But the 4 million pixels9 the S400 swallows up are astounding for a camera this cute. I walked around the Lincoln Memorial last week thinking, “Yup, mine is smaller than that guy’s. His, too. And hers.” Now there’s something to brag about.

  (3) Xbox Not all hardcore video gamers are kids. The people behind Microsoft’s Xbox figured that one out. Start with its controller. My original Xbox controller was huge by videogame standards (Microsoft has since replaced it with a slightly smaller one). That might have frustrated a boy, but a 6footer will find it a natural fit. The 9footlong cord from the controller to the machine itself also means the adult player doesn’t have to sit directly in front of the television like a kid.

  In the end it’s all about the games, and that’s where the Xbox shines. Games load faster than they do on the Sony PlayStation2. While Sony has Microsoft beat in the sheer number of available games, many of the original Xbox titles are already classics. Staying up until 1 a.m. and playing together to accomplish a goal, no matter how mindless or destructive, is pretty revolutionary for guys raised on PacMan.

  (To be continued) -


  (1)iPod随身听 我太太有生以来所收到的最不受欢迎的礼物是我于2001年平安夜送给她的。她打开包裹,撕开时髦的蛤壳形盒子,望着首次面市型号的那一款iPod——苹果公司十分漂亮的音乐播放器,不禁皱起眉头。它有香烟盒大小,白色精制的不锈钢熠熠发光,随时准备吞下几百首歌曲。






  (2)佳能PowerShot S400相机 虽然与这款相机相比,有些超小型数码相机要轻一些、功能丰富一些,也获得了较好的评论,但是这款相机的某种特性使得一切都恰到好处。由于重量只有7.8盎司,所以S400牢靠地拿在手里是很容易的。佳能公司给它穿上这种诱人的新材料,称为Cerabrite。它一半是陶瓷,一半为金属,保持着很酷的状态,不会划伤,也不会落下指纹。您能够拍摄一部长达3分钟的有声电影,然后立即回放。其液晶显示器十分清晰和明亮,因此您可以召集几个人观看,而没有人会抱怨说,他们是在看一个1.5英寸的屏幕。



  (3)Xbox游戏机 并非所有的铁杆儿游戏机玩家都是儿童。微软公司的Xbox的设计师们明白这一点。就从其控制器说起。按照游戏机的标准来看,我原先的Xbox控制器是很大的(微软现在已经用一种较小的型号取代了它)。虽然这也许让一个孩子感到失望,但是一名6英尺的汉子会发现,它用起来得心应手。从控制器到机器本身的9英尺长的电线还意味着,成年的玩主不必像孩子那样坐在电视机前正对屏幕。

  一切的一切最终都归结为玩游戏。而这正是Xbox技压群雄之处。游戏加载起来比在索尼公司的PlayStation2上面要快速。虽然索尼仅就上市的游戏数量而言,要比微软略胜一筹,但是Xbox的原始型号上的许多节目已经成为经典。对于在“吃豆”(PacMan)游戏陪伴下长大的人们来说,熬夜到凌晨1点,一起玩游戏,以达到一个目标,不论它是多么愚蠢或具有破坏性,都很有些革命的味道。 (待续)

  (尹宏毅 摘译自 Forbes Nov. 10, 2003)

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