The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No.201
Thursday August 4, 2005

1. Silex Technology SX-2000WG USB device server
2. SolidAlliance "Cable ga Neapolitan"
3. Canon DC20

Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo

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Location: City Club of Tokyo - Maple Room
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Language: English Website:

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Name: Silex Technology SX-2000WG USB device server

Category: Peripherals
Price: 17,640 yen
Release date in Japan: September 7, 2005

The Gist: There are plenty of solutions available to use multiple
USB devices on a single computer; if you look on the back of
your machine now, you'll probably see at least two USB ports.

But what happens when you want to use a single USB device
on multiple computers? Typically, you're hosed -- you'll need
to disconnect the device from the first computer and reconnect
it to the second.

Here's where Silex Technology SX-2000WG comes in. It is a
"USB device server," which shares USB devices across a network.
At roughly 17,640 yen, you'll pay a premium for the capability.
But if you have a bunch of devices and a bunch of computers,
this is certainly worth the investment. When I say "a bunch" I
mean 15 devices, as the SX-2000WG supports most USB hubs.
You could, for example, allow all of the employees at your office
to access a single external USB hard drive, and then take the
drive home at night for a poor-man's offsite data storage solution.
Of course, there are plenty of other applications, like sharing a
USB printer with your family, or allowing everyone on your
network access to a single scanner.

The SX-2000WG supports both wired and wireless LAN
configurations, though you'll need to configure the latter using
Windows XP SP2's "Windows Connect Now" before you're
ready to go.

More info:

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Name: SolidAlliance "Cable ga Neapolitan"

Category: Peripheral
Price: 24,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Already available

The Gist: If you thought SolidAlliance's "Yay~ Drive" (see GW
#195) was off the wall, get ready for this. The company has
announced the "Cable ga Neapolitan," a USB extension cable
shaped like a plate of Neapolitan spaghetti.

I already know what you're asking yourself. "What is that
supposed to mean?" Frankly, I too had nary an idea what that
meant until I looked at the product image. There it was,
staring me right in the face: a plate of spaghetti with a fork floating
in the air. Satou Sample, known for their work with SolidAlliance
in their "SushiDisk" and "FoodDisk" lines of USB memory devices,
continues to work with the company by providing Neapolitan
spaghetti sample plates. "And this is supposed to be a USB
extension cable?" Yes, it is.

The Cable ga Neapolitan is easily the world's most expensive USB
extension cable at 24,800 yen. This comes as no surprise,
however, given the "you're kidding me" factor of this product.
Perhaps its most interesting point would be how the USB port --
remember, this is just an extension cable -- is at the end of the
fork (and covered with spaghetti, I might add). When combined
with something like SolidAlliance's SushiDisk, you're certainly in
for a walk on the wild side of the USB peripheral world.

More info:


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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Name: Canon DC20

Category: DVD camcorder
Price: Open Price; estimated around 125,000 yen
Release date in Japan: Mid-September 2005

The Gist: Canon has introduced their first DVD camcorders, the
"DC20" and "DC10." We'll take a look at the DC20, as it is the
higher end model of the two.

The DC20 records to 8cm DVDs, similar to other DVD camcorders.
It uses a 2.2MP CCD and records video in the MPEG-2 format,
where audio is in Dolby Digital. "XP" mode offers an average bitrate
of 9Mbps, "SP" mode 6Mbps, and "LP" mode 3Mbps.

One nice feature of the DC20 is one-touch finalize. In order to view
DVD-Videos on your home/PC DVD player, the discs need to be
"finalized." The DC20 offers one-touch finalization of fully recorded
discs in about 1 minute 30 seconds, and a disc with only 15
minutes recorded on it takes roughly 4 minutes to finalize.

The lens offers a 10x optical zoom, and you'll find some other
lighting-based features such as a flash and video light. It supports
recording in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, the latter certainly giving
you an option to make your DVDs look a lot more like DVDs. We
mentioned a 2.2MP image sensor; you can use this image sensor to
record still images up to 1632 x 1224 in size. Images are recorded to
a miniSD card, but the unit does offer a feature to convert your still
images to an MPEG slideshow, then write them to a DVD.

The battery life of the DC20, using the included battery pack, is at
about 80 minutes when using the viewfinder and 75 minutes using the
LCD. Unfortunately, opening the LCD screen will render your camera
incapable of equipping any sort of large-capacity battery.

More info:

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Written by: Liam McNulty
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