Recent Hardware Posts



July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Have a happy federal holiday. I am taking the day off too. Maybe I can get some writing done for BC.

December 14, 2006

Setting Up System Selector Pro

Ahhh... now it is time to set this beast up! This was a major headache, let me tell you. Why? Because this was so much easier with two people.

STEP 1: Hook up all seven devices via component, three with optical.
STEP 2: Fish all the component leads to the back of stand.
STEP 3: Make sure it all works! Then, tidy up as best you can.

Sure, it doesn't look great, but I can't do anything with all those wires in the back. See the images after the break. I can now switch between all seven devices, and have another on the front if need be. You will notice my 5.1 headphones sitting there next to my TV. Those are now plugged into the switch box now, so I can listen to 5.1 on my PS3, 360, and DVD.

Why didn't they include optical on the Wii?

Continue reading "Setting Up System Selector Pro" »

December 12, 2006

Pelican System Selector Pro

If I were to review this, it would get 5/5 easily. Matt has been telling me for years to get one, and I finally found one - a steal of a price on eBay.

The Pelican System Selector Pro (NOT System Selector 2.0) is an amazing piece of hardware at the MSRP price of $100. Sadly, it is not sold, anywhere, anymore.

It has eight inputs (one on the front) and one output.

8 Component
8 Composite
8 S-Video
3 Optical Audio
3 Ethernet

It even comes with a Component cable, and a Composite/S-Video cable. That is a heck of a deal for $100, except I payed $59.80.

With a PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, GameCube and DVD/VHS all hooked up in the back, that leaves room for the S-Video lead for my GP2X on the front.

I am glad I don't collect game consoles like Matt does, or I would need another one of these things already.

The best part is, I now have all my consoles and DVD player hooked up using Component. Why Pelican stopped selling these is beyond me.

October 13, 2005

Video iPod, iTunes 6, and new iMac G5

What a busy day. Although I can't it was a surprise, thanks to the rumor sites. MacWorld has a piece on the new iMac, Playlist has the video iPod and iTunes 6 covered.

Viva la video on the iPod! And to answer Matt and Jake, NO I am not gonna buy one. I have Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and Sin City on my PSP right now, and I can watch them (and actually see the details) just fine on the luxurious screen. Granted I only have a 1 GB card, but I will take the bigger screen over the bigger hard disk space.

The one thing that gets me is how Apple can only charge $1.99 for videos and TV shows. I think that is a miracle in itself. Of course the flip side to that is BitTorrent and free, but $1.99 a show isn't bad at all.

August 28, 2005

Sandisk Memory Stick Pro Duo 1GB

1 GB Memory Sticks are finally widely available. It took them long enough. What a lost opportunity for the likes of Sandisk. Oh well. I found Buy.com to have a great price on the 1 GB Memory Stick, $99.95. They also take PayPal for those of you who use PayPal.

I also know the difference between the "Gaming" Memory Stick and the standard one. The Gaming Stick comes pre-formatted. This is something small, but its convenient. It allowed me to copy all my data from my 32 MB Stick over right away.

Anyway, Buy.com, good buy on the 1 GB Memory Stick. Be careful, they have a listing for the same thing for about $150 for some reason. The $99 one has free shipping too.

August 3, 2005

Apple introduces the Mighty Mouse

Apple Computer on Tuesday introduced Mighty Mouse, the company’s next generation USB 1.1 and 2.0 mouse. Mighty Mouse offers users up to four independently programmable buttons and a Scroll Ball that lets users scroll in any direction — vertically, horizontally and even diagonally, according to Apple.
Source: MacCentral

Hell hath frozen over. I never thought I would see the day when Apple saw the light, and released a multi-button mouse. I just hope this mouse is included when you buy a new Mac now. I am also not sold on the name. I almost expected it to be named something like "iMouse." But aparently Apple liked the name Mighty Mouse so much that they licensed the name from Viacom, who own the property now.

As you would expect, it is designed very well. I do like the ability to scroll sideways (something the Microsoft IntelliMouse has). I am a little surprised at the price too, $49 is cheaper then Apple has previously sold its corded single button mouse for ($69). It still costs more then an IntelliMouse though.

My only questions is this: Where is the Bluetooth? Since Apple has a BT single-button mouse, why not have a BT multi-button mouse too?

I have a Logitech MX 700, and I do not think I could go back to a corded mouse.

July 18, 2005

I want the Optimus keyboard

You gotta check out this keyboard. It is not in production yet. I wonder if it ever will be produced? If it ever does see the light of retail, I want one.

UPDATE: They have a nice selection of desktop wallpapers too.

March 22, 2005

1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo

If you can score one of these (Froogle) you can count yourself lucky. SanDisk is not shipping these in the mass quantity needed for the demand from us lucky PSP owners (yes, I pre-ordered one).

The best deal I could find was $108 from onsale.com. Thats a lot better then the $149 at EB Games. But if you wait a few months I would bet that price will drop well below $100. Flash memory always drops.

With all the possibilities for video, audio, and photos (not to mention the video games) of the PSP, I am sure people will be buying larger and larger Memory Stick Pro Duos.

Once the price for Memory Sticks gets low enough to compete with devices like the Creative Zen, the Sony PSP is going to have another gadget to directly compete with.

February 24, 2005

Review: Apple Wireless Keyboard

I have had my Apple Wireless Keyboard for 6 full months now. The batteries actually lasted 6 months! This is another great keyboard design from Apple. Although, I really miss having a power button on the keyboard, but it is great not having any wires.

Continue reading "Review: Apple Wireless Keyboard" »

February 9, 2005

1 GB iPod Shuffle Review

I had to, I just had to. Sure I have a 60 GB iPod photo, but I had to get a Shuffle. This iPod shuffle is a 2-in-1. I can now get rid of my aging USB thumb drive, and have a super small iPod with me at all times.

This thing is tiny. You can fit it inside the coin pocket of a pair of jeans.

Continue reading "1 GB iPod Shuffle Review" »

January 29, 2005

Minolta DiMAGE Xt

I thought I wrote about this ages ago. A quick search and I find that I didn't.

My friend Jim Kimble IM'd me one day and said he was drooling over this new camera that just came out at some show, CES or something. One look at the DiMAGE Xt and I was drooling too. At the time I had a Canon Digital Elph that was only 2 Mega Pixels (MP). The DiMAGE Xt it a 3.2 MP camera, and it is half the size of the Canon I had. There is not a smaller camera that I could find at that MP. This camera is even smaller then that super small Sony Cybershot.

Continue reading "Minolta DiMAGE Xt" »

January 14, 2005

Jaipur WristRugs for laptops


These WristRugs fit great on my PowerBook. They cost $9.95, and are PayPal-able. Dad has some red ones on his PowerBook and they really do feel great. I bought the blue ones. I got them within a week of ordering them, and they are great, they are soft.

Are they worth $10? It is better then feeling the cold, and sometimes hot metal under your palm and wrists. I highly recommend them.

January 9, 2005

I have GMail invites to give away

Call it my New Year's gift to you. I have 10 invites to give away. If you want one email me at kenneth.edwards at gmail dot com.

December 7, 2004

My New Laptop

Hi! Have you heard about these things called "laptops" yet? These things are pretty cool and I got a new one. They're a variation on those "computers" you may have heard of. See, they can sit on your lap because they are made so small. That's why they're called laptops.

Continue reading "My New Laptop" »

September 14, 2004

Gefen offers Apple HD Cinema Display Extension Kits

Gefen Inc. on Tuesday introduced new Apple HD Cinema Display Extension Kits. With distances ranging from 10 to 330 feet, the kits enable users to separate their computers from their Apple HD Cinema Displays while retaining high-definition resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 pixels. Depending on the length required, the kits contain just cables, or a Gefen DVI Repeater, a signal regenerating box that sits between two DVI cables, or a Gefen DVI-1000 HD Extender, which uses sender and receiver boxes to manage the length. Prices range from US$217 to $4,065.

Source: MacCentral

Just what I need to put my G5 on the floor, but not for $217!

August 2, 2004

Review of Apple's 4th Generation iPod - 40GB Model

By Brandon M. Suman The iPod is a magical thing. It's almost like a pet. There are few gadgets that exude as much personality. It's almost like a comfort blanket, when your iPod is in your pocket, you know you won't have to live in silence. Scary walks home at night in sinister neighborhoods go faster with my favorite music. (Of course, wearing shiny white iPod earbuds increases your odds of getting mugged, but oh well.) I purchased my first iPod on the bleeding edge of the revolution- until last week, I was carrying the original 5GB iPod. I named her "Jenna," after a girl I admired at the time, and the iPod (not the girl) has been by my side ever since. That was prior to the days of solid state control wheels, dock connectors, or super-rounded corners, of course. The spinning scroll wheel had a tendency to spontaneously change volume while I walked, and the thing was too thick to be mounted to my belt without being an inconvenience. Nonetheless, I loved it, and found it to be most useful in the car, connecting it to my Taurus's stereo with one of those cassette tape adapters. (Those things still amaze me.) Needless to say, when my new iPod arrived, it was an exciting day. The free text laser-engraving proved useful and attractive. I simply chose to have my name and phone number embedded for posterity. Helpful, I figured, for identification if anyone tries to steal it. The new iPod is a huge improvement over my original version, but a fairly mild generation-revision from the 3G lineup. I am aware of rumors, however, that the new iPod is entirely redesigned from the ground up, and contains some special new abilities that have yet to be realized by its software. (Cross your fingers and watch for updates!) While it may be slightly thinner than the last model, the big outward difference is the light gray "click wheel" that places the usual buttons right on top of the scroll wheel, an interface used previously in the iPod Mini. After a week or so of experimentation, I wholeheartedly embrace the new click wheel. The original iPod placed the navigation directly around the scroll wheel. This made navigation with one hand very easy, and the buttons were easy to memorize. ("Menu" was just above, "Play/Pause" was just below, and the track skip buttons were to the left and right.) When Apple placed the buttons in a four-in-a-row layout above the scroll wheel I cried for the disappearance of the directional-memorization system. Now where was that pesky play button again? Third from the left? The click wheel brings back my "up down left right" system, and improves on it. I don't even have to reach my thumb above the wheel, I just press the top of the wheel itself. My only fear with this system would be that it would somehow inhibit the scroll wheel's performance. I am pleased to report that it does not. I was slightly disappointed by Apple's choice of gray for the scroll wheel color. An all-white device is so pure-looking, and this is the iPod's first departure from this thinking. The scroll wheel surface, however, is more than just a different color. The material is textured, soft and smooth, almost like a piece of paper. It makes a perfect surface for scrolling, it gives just enough resistance to complete the illusion of a spinning wheel. It does seem probable that this surface would be more easily marred by dirt from your fingers, the gray color may have been chosen to limit the noticeability of this problem. I am almost entirely happy with the way the iPod looks and performs. I can nearly get my entire music collection on a 40GB iPod (mine currently contains about 6000 songs.) I still can't get all my music on my iPod, however- and I can't wait until that day. Heck, I'd like to be able to store my favorite movies on my iPod, too- so I can plug the iPod into my television and stop lugging DVDs around to parties. (Are you listening, Apple!?) Of course, that would require an even bigger hard drive in this little gadget. One thing at a time. Software-wise, the iPod works and acts just like you'd expect it to. I can now customize my main menu, which is a sweet deal for me (I only ever navigate by artist anyway, better to have fewer options if I'm not going to use the others.) The games are still good, and the other palm-pilotesque address book / calendar storage could be useful, though I doubt I'll take advantage of it. The biggest software advancement, in my opinion, is the new On-The-Go playlist option, I can finally generate a playlist using the iPod itself, without the assistance of iTunes. My iPod was cheaper than the last 40GB model, but it doesn't contain a belt clip case or remote control. (The iPod remote is pretty lousy anyway, but the case would have been really nice.) As a 40GB owner, I get a dock, which is a wonderful thing. It keeps my iPod sitting upright and happy and free of scratches, which makes me happy, too. I've acquired the habit of carrying the dock with me just to have a little stand for my Pod. Also, the white earbuds included with my iPod have a defect, the right side makes these static-y popping sounds- I need to call Apple about that, though I'm confident that the situation will be resolved. The overall iPod experience is as magical as it was with the original so many years ago now. Kudos to Apple for finding a way to make technology so convenient and useful. I can only hope that the iPod magic and simplicity finds its way to other devices, like my WaterPik™. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see if Michelle minds having an iPod named after her.

July 17, 2004

AirPort Express iPodLounge Review

If Apple's iTunes music management software had only one major failing up until today, it would have been an obvious one: you could only hear your iTunes library through a computer. And if that computer wasn't in the same room with a nice pair of speakers - say, the large ones used in your home entertainment center - the only ways you could enjoy your digital music collection would be on a computer, or on an iPod... Source: iPodLounge

July 10, 2004

Panther Server, Lacie Hard Drives Installed

Just in time for Tiger Server, I have installed Panther Server at Student Publications. We bought a "Quicksilver" 733 Mhz G4 with 10.0 Server and I quickly updated it to 10.1 Server when it came out. Things have been busy, and since it has been working, I have not updated the server to Panther until now. I just got flipping tired of using 10.1 on our file server. I also saw the new admin tools in Panther Server (they are a major improvement).

Finding the time to upgrade the server is an entirely different matter entirely. Making the purchase was the easy step. You cannot (easily) take users and groups from 10.1 to 10.3 Server. I do not know why this is, but thats the way it is. No lost sleep here, I am simplifying user log ins anyways.

It is SO NICE to have Panther Server up and running for our file/print server.

Did you ever thing that a 1 TB (yes, terabyte) firewire drive would cost only $1200? That is a pretty good cost per MB price, isn't it. Well when we needed the drives Lacie was not selling their 1 TB drive yet, but they were selling their 500 GB drives. Same price, imagine that.

We were getting severely low on HD space. Throwing files out Friday to be able to work Monday. Not fun at all. We have 120 GB in the Quicksilver (10K RPM), and 2x120 GB external. You might think that would be enough space but when you have a dozen publications being produced at some point during the year plus Unigraphics, there are always space problems. But now Unigraphics has the room to really have their photo archive and graphics archive they really need to have online.

The next time we need another TB, I bet the price will come down by at least 1/3. Since I have so much file space to work with now, I am no longer backing up to AIT tape, I will probably be putting that up on eBay. It is alot nicer backing up to firewire, it is a lot faster for one. I recycled our two external 120 GB drives and they are now our backup drives. One of which can always be taken out of West Hall.

These 500 GB Lacie drives have Firewire 800 on them, and because of some voodoo magic that Lacie does with their firmware, these FW 800 drives are screaming fast compared to the competition. I didn't just go by the bar graph on the side of the box, I did some tests myself (I mean we have a 500 GB drive thats not really being used for much right now). Since we have a G5 for Production, I could test the drive with FW 800. I found a couple other FW 800 drives on campus to test against. Lacie FW 800 wins, hands down. They stripe the drives (its not really a 500 GB or 1 TB drive, they are smaller drives that once one gets filled up, it goes to the next HD and fills that one up. Whatever Lacie is doing it is nice.)

Needless to say I ordered a FW 800 PCI card ($50) for our Quicksilver and the speed over the network is well worth the $50 of that FW 800 card.

Panther Server is so much faster then 10.1 Server was, and now we have breathing room on the file space front. *phew*

June 8, 2004

Jobs intros AirPort Express; streams iTunes music

Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs on Monday aimed to further solidify his company's hold on the digital music market with the release of AirPort Express, a tiny mobile 802.11g-based wireless networking base station available in July for US$129 that comes equipped with a combination analog and digital audio connector. The announcement came at the "D: All Things Digital" conference in San Diego. AirPort Express will act as a portable 802.11g base station for traveling, but when used at home, will also connect consumers' home stereos with their iTunes Music Library. Source: MacCentral This is the reason I am an Apple user. One word: innovation. The technology in use here is not anything new, but this is a new innovative and unique way to use wireless technology. The low cost AirPort Extreme is $199 ($249 for the one with the antenna + modem). This AirPort Express costs $129 and the tech. specs say it supports 10 users. That in itself is a selling point. Add to that wireless USB printing, AirTunes, and the form factor (close to the AC brick that current iBook and PowerBook models come with) is just icing on the cake. Oh and you can use this as a repeater? Yea, you can use it as a repeater. Most good wireless repeaters are going to cost you about $100 anyway. I will pick this up for the AirTunes feature. I have been wanting to play my iTunes library on my stereo for a while now, and this is just the ticket. What a great product announcement, and we didn't have to wait until Macworld next month to hear about it.

May 6, 2004

I won a 15 GB iPod

I entered a drawing for an iPod mini a week ago at the Student Union. I won a 15 GB iPod, they could not get a mini. Oh darn. I never win stuff like this. I can't remember winning anything as valuable as a 15 GB iPod. Killer! People want me to give it to them, or sell it to them. NOOOO! I won it it is mine. True, I do have 2 iPods now (MUA HA HA HA) and they ain't gonna be sold. Well unless someone wants to give me close to face value. What should I name my new, smaller iPod? iPod 2.0 or iPod Jr?

May 2, 2004

My DVD Player is Dead

ruh row! My CyberHome CH-300 died last week. A lot of my friends and family have bought this DVD player on my recommendation. It seems as though mine has lasted the longest though, as others have had theirs die as well, some even have bought two that have died. Well, count me in on that, the drive is less then $50, and I do not really want to spend much money on an expensive DVD player. It was a great DVD player while it lasted - almost a year. Of course, maybe there is a reason I have never heard of CyberHome before. Its such a small drive though! grrrr. I think the power supply burnt out. I hear a very high pitched whine coming from player. I am just glad I did not put a lot of money into the it. Oh well.

March 15, 2004

CeBIT to premiere USB Swiss Army Knife

It was bound to happen. Given that you can buy a Victorinox Swiss Army Knive with just about every gadget known to man, from horse-hoof awl to Hubble Space Telescope lens polisher, it's no real surprise that the company - in association with flash memory outfit Swissbit - is now offering cutting tools plus USB flash memory stick. The gadget will be unleashed on an incredulous world at CeBIT next week. The USB Swiss Army Knife is available with 64 or 128MB memory, plus all the usual extras - knife, corkscrew and tin-opener. The 64MB version will cost €55; the price of the 128MB version is tba. Source: The Register I want one! Check out the datasheet (PDF).

March 2, 2004

X-Arcade Sticks

I consider myself a fighting game fanatic...at least as far as the 2-D ones are concerned. A few odd 3-D ones have caught my eye in the past, but I always find my way back to Street Fighter or the King of Fighters series. This is all well and good except for one thing: I'm terrible at them. Beyond terrible actually. In fact, I may consider myself one of the worst players in the modern world when it comes to the genre. This in no way however kills my love for them and is exactly why I was a candidate for one of these gorgeous 1-player X-arcade sticks. Though there are some minor problems with the stick, you really can't go wrong if your one of those people who is still clinging to the games of old. Right out of the box, the X-Arcade screams quality. From the flawless veneer finish to the solid wood used to create it, these guys have spared no expense.The buttons have an exremely solid feel and the sticks spring loaded recoil is unparralleled. The box is also very professional looking and the packaging didn't allow for any movement during the shipment. Speaking of which, the X-Arcade arrived at my door in 2 days....and that's only because that Monday was a holiday. This was with their offer of free ground shipping yet! My only complaint was with Airborne who obviously decided my package wasn't important enough and let it sit on my front porch for over 2 hours in freezing temperatures without so much as a knock or a doorbell ring. Jerks. The stick features 9 face buttons, enough to support any of the major consoles. Button maps are avaialble with the included nstruction book. 2 buttons are featured on the side, just underneath the top panel. These serve their purpose of replicating a pinball machine accurately for whatever video pinball games you may have laying around. Another button on the back is for programming moves into the peripheral. 3 banks are available and can be set to any button. Adapters are available for various consoles from the PS2 to the Dreamcast. After pulling it's 10-pound frame from it's box and connecting my added PS One/PS2 adapter (which was also free!), I got to work with Street Fighter Colletion 2. It's amazing, but even with it's size, this stick is still perfect for placing on your lap. If it's too much, the rubber grips on the bottom should hold things in place on a sturdy table just fine. Just by holding it, you can feel how much care goes into making this stick. Some arcade machines don't feel this solid. Finally getting into the game, I noticed some problems. Most notably, the dragon-punch motion that is so familair with fighting game fanatics, is nearly imposible to pull off without some unhuman-like reflexes. Half-circles, 360's, and charge motions have never been easier. I have finally become deadly with Guile. Sadly, trying to make anything out of Ken and Ryu is an excersise in frustration. A quick change of games to Street Fighter Alpha 3 and then to King of Fighters '99 proves futile. I have no trouble controlling the combatants in Soul Calibur II, but it's not exactly what I bought the stick for either. A quick check of their website shows a way to make the stick a bit easier to use. By bending some of the metal contacts, response time becomes quicker. After doing so, the ratio of hit dragon punches to missed is better. Probably 3 out of 5 times at best compared to the one out of five previously. Still, not very good considering the price. However, my complaint is meager. The X-Arcade is meant to be taken apart and replaced with any arcade machine parts of your choosing (as evident by instructions on their site). After ordering a "competition stick" from HAPP (www.happcontrols.com), all things are forgiven. Moves come off without a hitch and the looseness of the included stick is gone. It would've been nice to maybe have the option of what type of stick you would want to be included depending on what you'll be using it with most, but the added price of a new stick is minor for the overall quality. If your not terribly into fighting games, the above complaints probably won't even affect you anyway. Playing Pac-Man is a snap with the 4-way controls (easily switched from 8 after opening the bottom panel). Playing MAME is actually fun now compared to my old, horribly innacurate, Gravis Pro. Also note their customer service is outstanding. I recieved an E-mail response within 12 hours with a professional answer to my question. No, I'm probably not any better a fighting games than I was previously thanks to the stick, but they are alot more fun to play. The price is certainly something that will keep this accessory in the hands of the hardcore, but you get what you pay for. You will NEVER get this quality from a generic stick bought off a store shelf. Better yet, this is the only stick you'll ever need as they promise to support all upcoming consoles. In theory, you'll save money in the long run. This is a must own, but fighting game fans need to be aware of the minor added cost to make their games more playable.

December 9, 2003

Bookendz PowerBook Dock

I have owned this Dock for my 2002 PowerBook G4 since September. I now take my PowerBook with me more often. The BookEndz Dock is very much worth the price. For those who do not know, the BookEndz Dock allows you to plug everything into it, and then very easily dock and un-dock the PowerBook to take it with you. Some people have asked "Is it too much to unplug and go?" It is a pain in the rear to unplug power, ethernet, FireWire, one or two USB, and external monitor every single time. Like I said, now that I have the BookEndz Dock I take my PowerBook with me much more since it is a simple squeeze of the two latches to dismount the PowerBook from the Dock. So yes, it is worth it. It took a few days, 3 or 4 if I remember, to get the Dock to "fit" my PowerBook. When you are docking 9 ports at once, it takes some time. The user manual pointed this out, and it did take a few days indeed. At first I could not get it to dock at all. But after a week, it has been smooth sailing. BookEndz is even making docks for the new 2003 15" PowerBooks. They have docks available for the 12", 15" and 17" PowerBooks, as well as for iBooks. I am really glad I bought mine, it is a well made product. You can even take out some ports if you are not going to use them. For example I took the S-Video Dock Connector out of the Dock because I do not use S-Video on my PowerBook, so there is no need to have that extra friction ever time I dock my TiBook.

December 3, 2003

iSkin eXo 2

I cannot say this enough: They changed everything that was wrong with the first iSkin eXo.
This time around you get a nice color user guide that shows how to install the belt clip. The new screen protector has a large lip that sticks under the rubber around the screen. It now says "iSkin" in the upper left of the screen protector, but what are you going to do, it is an iSkin. The screen protector is much nicer with the wide lip around it that slips under the case. The hole around the hold button is twice as big this time. This, more then the beveled holes, makes using the hold function much more usable. The beveled buttons for rewind, menu, play, and forward buttons are much more usable as well. It is not like using the iPod with no protection, but its a ton better then the old iSkin. The 4 touch buttons are much more sensitive. I can flip through tracks, and pause so much easier now. The belt clip that is included is much stronger. It is now metal, and not plastic. It is also is not "installed" by default. It is something that you have to add if you want. In my case, I do not want it, so I do not have to take the clip off. The old iSkin had a nice threaded mount that the clip screws into. This is great if you want to use a mount in your car, the type that fits into your car lighter. This also unfortunately means the iPod does not sit flat. With the new iSkin 2, your iPod will now sit flat on the desk. There is a cover over the Dock Connector port. This is a nice touch. It does not just cover the port, it also actually fits into the port. This keeps it in place until you want to use the Dock Connector port. I use the PocketDock, not the Dock that comes with the iPod. I tried, and cannot get the iPod into the Dock unless I take the iSkin 2 off. This, for me, is not a problem. It might be for you. These changes are, what I believe, a direct result of user feedback. I emailed them about the hold button being hard to use, I am sure others did as well. The opening around the hold button is now double the original size. I emailed about it being hard to push the 4 buttons, as I am sure others have as well. These buttons are now beveled, and make it much easier to "push" the buttons. Great job on getting a better product out!

November 16, 2003

Lacie Porshe 250 GB Hard Drive

porsche_hd_rt.jpgI cannot believe the price drop on Firewire drives. A few months back we bought 120 GB drives for work from OWC for, I think, $250. This 250 GB drive cost $290. But thats how these things work in the computer world. This is by far the smallest full sized Firewire enclosure I have seen. The (approximate) dimensions are 7.25 x 4.25 x 1.25. It is a lot smaller then the OWC drives we use at work. "Designed by the world-famous Porsche Design Agency GmbH." Yea, whatever, its a gray case. I can't get over the form factor though, it is very nice. It matches my PowerBook G4 too :-D. Now I have one place to store my MP3 collection! That is so nice. I can now schedule more things to be backed up, not to mention Apple System Restore (ASR) images of my main drive, and still have room to grow. I formatted it as 'MS DOS File System' with the Panther Disk Utility. I did this so I could hook it up to my PC or any PC that I want to, for that matter. The only problem with using this formatting is the fact that it does not like special characters like HFS+ does, and it seems to have some issues with some icons. Think how many MP3 files have quotation marks, or question marks in them! Thank god for A Better Finder Rename (which coincidentally just came out with a great beta for OS X) to replace all those characters in the file names. Otherwise that job would be very very long and boring. But back to the drive, this is the best looking Firewire drives I have seen, hands down.

October 2, 2003

PocketDock, iSkin screen protector arrive

Today I got my SendStation PocketDock in the mail. This is a gotta have accessory for your 3G iPod. I pre-ordered mine too, so I got $2 off. Now I do not have to carry around a separate FireWire cable. I always have a 6 to 6 pin FireWire cable as I carry a bus powered FW HD with me. I suggest to anyone who does not want to deal with Apple's proprietary Dock port buy a PocketDock. I still do not see the reasoning for taking the FireWire port of the iPod.
Last week i finally got the screen protector part of my iSkin. Now my entire iPod is protected from scratches, even the screen. The screen protector does not obstruct the view of the iPod screen either. The iSkin is a superior case for the iPod. The case feels great too, it has grip to it. It sorta feels like the cover of an iBook, its better to hold onto then a naked iPod. Oh and I found out you can unscrew the belt clip snap too! I was wondering how to take that thing off. The zipper pouch that came with the eXo iSkin also comes in handy, it holds the FireWire power adaptor, PocketDock and my portable headphones (those ear bud ones that come with the iPod are so uncomfortable). This is a great case. My brother got one and he loves his too. Of course now all the wild colors are shipping, a month after I wanted an iSkin. Well I would rather have my iPod protected then wait for glow in the dark orange.

September 22, 2003

Belkin Mini Firewire Hub

I finally decided to get a firewire hub. Unplugging firewire devices had just got irritating enough to spend the money. Now I can have my iSight hooked up all the time, my iPod Dock hooked up all the time, and my FireWire hard drives hooked up all the time. So just to clarify (this is for Jake) I am a lazy spoiled little bitch.

September 19, 2003

iSkin Screen Protector

This week, Monday I think, I finally got the screen protector for my iSkin. It sure took long enough but the wait was worth it. Especially after I have seen how my friend Kurt's iPod screen looks after only one months use. The great thing about the iSkin screen protector is that it does not obstruct the iPod screen at all. The screen is just as readable with the protector on as it was without it. Hopefully people who order these things today will get their case with the screen protector and not have to wait a few weeks extra like I did,

September 15, 2003

Kensington Pocket Mouse Pro Wireless

This is a great mouse. It is the only portable wireless mouse I have found that stores the USB receiver inside the mouse. This mouse is also not as small as other portable mouse I have seen. This is a good thing. Check out this mouse. It is great!

September 3, 2003

800 MB CD-R

Well this is total crap! Mac OS X 10.2.6 does not recognize a 800 MB CD-R. The Finder thinks it is 660 MB and Toast 6 (Review to come soon) thinks it is a 710 MB CD-R. So I have found ONE thing that my Mac cannot do that my PC can. That stinks. I am going to email both Roxio and Apple about the 800 MB CD-R report. I also know a couple Apple reps. on campus that I can bring this up with. BTW, if you want a great place to buy blank media, check out cdrdvdrmedia.com.

My Dead Palm m505

I called Palm tech support about my m505. It will cost me $25 to talk to them. Fine. If they don't resolve the issue they do not charge me. Great. They had me do a battery reset when the Palm was in the cradle (two soft resets while plugged in). Then I had to charge it for 4 hrs. That did not help. It is dead. They will service it for $125 though. I don't think so. The tech gave me 20% off a new Palm. Of course this does not include the Tungsten series. I can, however, get $20 off the Palm Zire. So I bought the Zire ($99 MSRP) and am selling it. Maybe to Brian's friend, maybe to someone else. That is a deal I could not pass up. Unfortunately my m505 goes in the trash with no hope of getting data off of it. The lost passwords are not worth a $125 and only a chance at that price. I only got some of my passwords moved to my FileMaker Mobile database, not all of them. So now I am rebuilding my passwords database. If this happens again, I will not loose my passwords file. I will have the FileMaker file on my hard drive. I have not got an email back from Stand Alone (makers of Password Store, and app I will never use again, unless they tell me where my passwords are) either. That I am not happy of. They do have a phone number on their Web site though, so next I will be calling them. I would think the passwords file, probably encrypted somehow, gets sync'd to the host desktop. When I sync the Palm it does say "Backing up Password Store." I can still hope.

August 30, 2003

Broken Palm m505

Well hells bells. This is a really sucks. I like my m505. It is so sad to see it go. It has done me very well. I bought it when it first came out in early 2001. I mumbled about getting a new PDA in February. But after that I decided my m505 was all I needed. Well now I need a new Palm. Because that is my digital brain. Now my digital brain is on drugs, or rather in limbo. The power button on my m505 does not work and I cannot sync the m505 to my Mac or my PC. If I cannot sync to my computer the handheld is worthless. And I can only turn it on with the hardware keys, and only turn it off with the software. I really wanted to wait until Palm OS 6 was out. But... I use my Palm on a daily basis for a calendar, scheduler, address book and a password storage database. That password storage database is a key to my survival. I have other apps on my Palm but the one I use the most is FileMaker Mobile to keep track of my passwords. I am going out later today to buy a new Palm, possibly a Tungsten T2. Beth: I used to use an excellent app called Password Store, I used it for a long time. I finally decided to write my own password storage database in FileMaker Pro because Password Store did not (and I do not they do yet) offer a Mac compatible desktop conduit program to manage passwords on the desktop. Last I checked they had a beta out that did not work one bit. But you hit it right on the head "Without that information, there's no hope of my doing anything online." I would have to add to that all the server passwords I keep. heh. Not a fun thought if I lost that stuff. That was another reason I switched to a FileMaker Pro based database. FileMaker Mobile is $50 and well worth it.

August 28, 2003

3G iPod Accessories

The 3rd generation (3G) iPod was released in April of 2003. It is the end of August and people (myself included) are still waiting for accessories designed for our new iPods. The SendStation PocketDock will not ship until September 12, although it has been announced for some time now. I emailed them and was told "All manufacturers of dock related iPod accessories are dependant on Apple and its connector supplier - unfortunately there's only one, as the dock connector is patent protected. We've been waiting a long time to get this component, and have been told to finally receive it within this week. " The PocketDock has got to be one of the most wanted gadgets for the 3G iPod. It is a small iPod Dock to Firewire converter. You can pre-order and save two dollars, which I did, but it will have been 5 months by the time the PocketDock ships - if it indeed ships in early September. I am just as impatient as the next guy, but come on! Five months for 3rd party accessories? That is a little ridiculous. Another accessory I wanted to get, and even more so then the PocketDock, is a good case with a screen protector for my new iPod. I have seen how easy the iPod gets scratched and scuffed up so screen and case protection is important. The best looking case, and one of the only ones that comes with screen protection is the iSkin. Unfortunately supply and demand has caught up with this iPod accessory maker as well. I pre-ordered a glow-in-the dark orange case. In order to get the case soon, I had to get a plain white one. The screen protector did not ship with it either. It has been a couple weeks since I got the iSkin case, and I am now told I should get the screen protector within a week. My friend's iPod has big scratches on the screen and numerous scuff marks on the metal body and white plastic face. I care far too much about my $500 iPod. At least the body of the case is protected at the moment. I notice I have a small scuff on the lower right side of the screen now. I do not know how it got there, I am going to try rubbing some tooth paste over it (as I hear this works to get rid of scuffs in the plastic). I just want the screen protector piece so I do not have to worry about it. I hear other 3G iPod accessories are in the same type of limbo at present as well. And that is not fun at all.

August 4, 2003

New 15" TiBook 1 Ghz

I have had my new TiBook for almost two weeks and I love it. I am really glad I did not wait for a new aluminum model, who knows when that will ship. I have already had some reasons to boot into OS 9, so I am glad I did not get the 12" model. This is the 4th revision of the Titanium. That was another reason I did not wait for the 15" aluminum model. The 15" AlBook will be a rev. 1 model again :mad: . The differences between my original TiBook 500 and this 1 Ghz model are staggering, and I am not talking about the speed gains or the better screen resolution - although those make a big difference. I wish i could photograph the differences in the quality of the new screen. I put the two TiBooks side by side and the photo didn't come out so well, so I will just have to describe it. This new TiBook has a much improved viewing angle. I did not really notice the problems until I started using my new TiBook to see the differences. The new screen is so much brighter and also a lot crisper. The old TiBook seems dull and gray compaired to the new one. And the added screen resolution is really nice. I have heard that the fan in the 1 Ghz TiBook was loud, I have read many posts on boards about this very subject. Either people whine a lot or I have a very quiet TiBook. This new 'Book is nowhere near as loud as my first TiBook. Not even close. And when the fan comes on you actually feel air flowing out of the side air vents, something that didn't happen on the original TiBook. I have also heard the 1 Ghz TiBook gets hot. People stop your bitching please! Do you need some cheese with your whine? This new model does not get anywhere near as hot! On the original TiBook the entire bottom case got HOT. Not anymore. There is a rectangular plate on the bottom of the new TiBook that gets warm. But it does not get close to the tempature that the old TiBook got. I am very impressed. Other then the plate on the bottom of the case, it doesn't look like much has changed in case design. One small keyboard change, which happened in the rev. 2 TiBook, but worth mentioning nontheless is the replacement of the Enter key on the right of the spacebar with a second Command key (as with the Pro Keyboard). I no longer have to remap the keyboard now! The mechanism that loads CD's has changed and I am glad of that considering the amount of issues owners of the original TiBook models had with the optical drive. Talking about the optical drive, it sure is nice to burn CD-R's w/o plugging in an external burner! I cannot tell you how nice this is! I do not understand why in this day and age the PowerBook (all models) can only burn at 8x for CD-R. I am sure this has something to do with the fact that it is also a DVD-R as well. 8x is slow when I have been used to my 12x Sony Spressa and my 48x LITE ON that is in my PC. But it is not a complaint at all, being able to burn a CD in my TiBook is so convienent. The speed difference between my old 500 Mhz and my new 1 Ghz TiBook is amazing. This was expected of course. But the real difference is the ATI 9000! I now have Quartz Extreme (QE) where as my old TiBook did not support QE at all. In its 4th incarnation the Titanium PowerBook G4 is a mature beast. I am very glad I bought it and did not wait. Something else I am sure that will be addressed with the new 15" PB, but would have been nice to see after 4 revisions: a second FireWire port. It looks like there is room. That is the only thing I wish this TiBook had. I do not really care about AirPort Extreme, FireWire 800. or built in Blue Tooth.

June 24, 2003

Touch Keyboard for 15" TiBook

No Jake, I do not one of these (Sam I am). I have a big dent in my TiBook (long story) and I don't even want to pay to get that fixed. At $259 for the TouchStream MacNTouch keyboard (interesting side note - MacInTouch is the web site of a very good Macintosh new site), you would have to REALLY be spoiled to go out and spend your money. But no Jake, I would much rather spend my money on on of those new dual 2 Ghz G5s that were announced today. But back to this touch keyboard for the 15" TiBook. That is pretty slick. One thing is for sure, it would not scratch the screen (well OK the TiBook keyboard doesn't scratch the screen but it looks like it does). That keyboard is an interesting layout, but I think it could work. I would buy it for its not-scratching-the-screen abilities myself tho. But since I do not use my TiBook nearly as much as I used to, there is no need for such expenses :-P.

May 21, 2003

New TV and DVD Player

Maybe now Jake will buy me that spoiledlittlebitch.com domain, he he. Cuz he calls me that all the time. These new toys are thanks to some freelance FileMaker Pro development I am doing (not the FMP stuff I do for the University). The TV is an RCA 27" TrueFlat and looks like this. The DVD Player is a CyberHome CH-DVD 300 and looks like this. I love the flat screen on the TV. It is a very crisp picture. Oooh sooo nice! The DVD Player is soo small, has about a 8 3/4 inches wide footprint. It will also play authored or unauthored MPEG1 and MPEG2 files. It was on sale at Radio Shack for $50. Sure there are Apex ones that do more, but why pay for it?

March 3, 2003

Logitech Wireless Optical Mouse

This is a small update to my previous review of this mouse and keyboard combo. I just today had to replace the batteries in the mouse. I got a dialog telling me. and sure enough I looked at the battery meter in the control panel and it was pretty low. that is well over one month of constant use. so I am pretty impressed with the battery. they keyboard battery meter still is high, so I guess that doesn't drain as quickly. even after successfully reconnecting the mouse to the wireless base I had to reboot a number of times. the mouse worked on the logon screen but then did not once everything was loaded up. this has happened occasionally since i've had it, but not like this. I don't know if rebooting was the right thing to do, but it finally is working.

February 21, 2003

Tungstenô T Scuba Sleeve Case

Reviewed by James Kimble a.k.a. Techisattva The texture of the Palm Tungsten T Scuba Case is smooth and consists of a metal substrate coated with a rubber on the exterior and a felt-like material on the interior. The case is sturdy, with the hinge relying on the interior and exterior materials for its range of motion. I very much like the texture of the case, it grips well without being something that would bring the pocket lining out with it when you pull it out of your jeans or coat. I'm not sure how well it will hold up to daily use, but it looks as though it will last. Time and exposure to a little of the elements will tell, of course. The case opens like a paperback with the PDA being held onto the right/bottom and the cover swinging on a hinge located along the left-front edge of the case: * The case in 'paperback' mode - notice how it covers the graffiti area Personally, I would have preferred the PDA to be mounted on the left hand side of case and hinged on the right. The combination of the lip of the case being on the right hand side and being able to securely hold the device while holding open the cover with my stylus hand just seems more comfortable. I've experimented with turning the Tungsten upside down in the case and prefer it: * The case upside down Only the case badge, overall profile of the case, and voice-memo button cut-out prevent me from doing so for regular use. This is one case where the Lefties may have the advantage. Otherwise, for the right-handed among us, holding the case by the cover supports the Tungsten well, but letting it hang out there is definitely something I am going to have to get used to. The mount for the Tungsten is essentially the same mechanism that holds on the clear plastic cover that comes with the device. It is made of slightly sturdier and thicker black plastic, and maintains a VERY good grip on the sides of the device. Access to the buttons, stylus well, IR and SD card are completely unhindered. The placement of the voice memo button cut out could be better, but it functions without significantly exposing the device or wrecking the case itself. With the Tungsten closed, the case prevents the device from Hotsyncing without first removing it, or extending the base beyond the edge of the case. Now, it would be silly to have to mount and unmount the device from the case, given that the cradle itself is quite a standard bit of hardware. But extending the base is a problem for two reasons. The first, I will admit, is sheer habit. I have grown accustomed to being able to drop my Tungsten effortlessly on the cradle with the clear cover on the face and not think twice about it. The second, however, is related to an overall problem I have with the case. My major problem and concern with the case is the lack of an easy way to reveal the graffiti pad: * The graffiti area uncovered * there is nowhere to grip the sliding mechanism There is no way, short of sliding the bottom open with both thumbs from the front or using a fingernail to pull the top edge of the base downward, to open the Tungsten while it is in the case. Given the way the open case must be held for a right-handed person to use the stylus, the thumbs option seems an exercise in asking the whole thing to be dropped on the floor. Likewise, I am quite sure using a finger nail to slide open the base isn't what the device designers had in mind. A more considerate case designer would have made the addition of a scallop on both sides of the case along the bottom edge, allowing the use of a thumb and forefinger to slide the base. Unfortunately, this seems to have been neglected. The most annoying part of the case, however, is the fact that there has been no accommodation made for the buttons / Navigator. I constantly find myself shutting off my Tungsten, because pressure on the front has pushed one (or more) of the buttons. Finally, I really wish Palm would have embossed the palm logo onto the rubber surface, rather than the current case badge / logo that they have stuck on the front. It sits up from the surface of the case far too high. It looks poorly cast, and rather plain with no blackwash / enamelling to set off the logo. and it is square, making an excellent hook for pocket string and lint. So, all and all, this case is a love-hate prospect. It seems a bit on the prototype side rather than a finished and well thought through product - and so it's up to you to decide if it is worth ticket price. Frankly, the only reason I haven't returned the case is the paucity of anything else with a similar form factor and protection for the device. The clear plastic cover protected the screen, but not the device, and I have little options until other manufacturers gear up to make something a bit more well thought out. $29.95 at the Palm Store (c) Jim Kimble and FoxPop

February 15, 2003

Logitech Cordless Elite Duo

Not only a cordless mouse, but a cordless mouse and keyboard combo. Wow, how sweet! I have had been using this for little less than one month, the time in which I have had my PC. I found a better price using PriceGrabber, it is $99 from Logitech, and the lowest I found it for was $62, I bought it from some no name shop and saved $20 even after shipping.

I am still using the AA batteries that came with the mouse and keyboard. I have read in a review they last about a month, so it might be time to change them soon. that's the only down side to having wireless mice is that you should probably go buy stock in Duracell or Energizer because of the amount of batteries you go through.

Continue reading "Logitech Cordless Elite Duo" »

January 29, 2003

Pictures of Green Machine!

* Closeup on GFX card * A Look Inside * 21" Sony Trinitron Monitor * My Desk(top)



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