playawayWhat do you get when you marry the inconvenience and bulk of hardbound books to a single-function audio player reminiscent of those bulky audio tour guides they hand out at museums? If you're a marketer looking to convince customers that the simple audiobook is a quagmire of convoluted and confusing technology, you get the Playaway, an audio player and audio book all in one. The idea — as far as we can get it via the breathy copy on Playaway's site — is that you'll buy a single player for each book you want to listen to, saving you from having to "figure out the computer or lug around cassettes or CDs." Even if we could get past the idea that carrying around a separate player for each book is somehow meant to be more convenient than carrying an iPod containing 100 books, or a CD player with a few unabridged volumes on discs, we still can't understand why anyone shopping anywhere but an airport departure lounge would have any interest in one (or more) of these. We somehow see this taking its place in the landfill right next to other great products like the self-destructing DVD and single-use digital video camera. Bring on the hackers!

Portable HDTV setup