Morning Tech Deals: Zune, UMPC, Unlocked LG, Thinkgeek, 7.1 System

• Today's Woot!: A 30GB Zune for $155, shipped. The Zune ain't a bad MP3 player at all, although the vaunted Wi-Fi "squirting" features are pretty much a wash.

• It's a bit of a convoluted deal, with two different mail-in rebates, but is selling the Asus Ensemble Ultra Mobile PC for $860, shipped. The UMPC platform isn't for everyone, but the hardware is pretty nifty on paper: 7-inch touchscreen, 900MHz Celeron, 60GB HDD, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and webcam. You could stuff one of these in all sorts of interesting places. [Dealnews]

• Dealnews also points out two cheap, unlocked phones from LG: the KG270 candybar and the KG225 flip phone for $65 and $85, respectively. Nothing fancy, but unlocked is handy.

• Thinkgeek has a bunch of toys on clearance, some more embarrassing to own than others. Of course the little R/C battle tanks would be out of stock.

• The I'm-told-popular Onkyo HT-SR800 7.1 home theater system can be yours for just $406, including a full set of speakers and a receiver with HDMI 2-to-1 support. [Tech Bargains]

Boing Boing Gadgets explains: "Just How The Hell Did I End Up In Infomercia?"


The Setting

Welcome to Infomercia, a massive super-conglomerate turned government on an alternate Earth in which indiscriminate technological consumerism and promiscuous corporate partnerships have become the backbone of an oppressive, Orwellian dystopia.

In Informercia, propaganda-driven consumerism is the method by which the masses are mollified, kept swollen and subdued by the government's encouragement of the blind pursuit of incrementally improved technology and the accumulation of crapgadgets. There is no money in Infomercia: instead, income is taxed at 100 percent, and technology is purchased from a monthly stipend of Informercian Pegasus Rebates, the official currency.

Infomercia is not our world's only super-conglomerate, but is one of a triumvirate of equally matched powers: Engasia and Gizmoldovia. Infomercia has "always" been at war with Engasia; Gizmoldovia is its ally.

In this world, Boing Boing Gadgets is one of an endless number of official government mouthpieces, controlled by Infomercia's Ministry of Machines (MiniMac, or MoM for short). In fact, all gadget blogs are either mouths of MiniMac's propaganda machine, or the mouths of its foreign counterparts. As such, links that go to Gizmoldovia's cluster of gadget blogs will tend to be laudatory; links that go to Engasian sites will be disparaged.

As a mouthpiece for the government charged with maintaining a constant level of commercial apprehension and unslaked gadget lust in its readership, Boing Boing Gadgets carries out its charter with the help of its three Ministers of Technology: Minister Thanko Brando, Minister Inspiron Touchpreaux and Minister Cray "Pippin" Wang. Every morning, they clock in, connect their umbilicals and grind through the propaganda of the day, part of a larger, well-oiled machine.

This morning, something will go wrong with that machine.

What This Actually Means

This week, Boing Boing Gadgets is doing three days of fiction-based blogging. The story will start on Monday, continue on Wednesday and finish on Friday. Tuesday and Thursday will be blogging as usual.

All of our posts on these days will take place in the Infomercian universe and be written in the voices of our imaginary Ministers of Technology. We will continue to blog about real-world products, but we will blog about them as if they were alternate versions of these products in our dystopia instead. For readers, this means that information in our posts may not be reliable, and opinions voiced will probably not be our own. We will be writing parody, not fact.

We invite those who want to read the real news and specifications of these products to click the links at the bottom of each post. Blogs or companies that might see us saying odd things about them: please keep in mind that we're writing fiction here, and it's all meant in good fun.

Enjoy your time in Infomercia. Remember, no matter what occurs: always stay calm, and keep shopping!