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All posts tagged "accessories"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rocketfish Wireless HD Adapter Delivers 1080p Video

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:30 PM

"Best Buy is now expanding beyond commodity products such as A/V cables to offer highly specialized components. The $600 Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter (model RF-WHD100), for example, can stream an HDMI signal (with surround sound and 1080p video) across a room without wires. It's comparable to the $1,000 Gefen Wireless for HDMI UWB."

This is an odd fish, in a manner of speaking: apparently the Rocketfish RF-WHD100 is among a mere handful of wireless 1080p solutions - but faces new technology (WHDI: Wireless Home Digital Interface) that is likely to completely outperform it by year's end; it is less expensive than the current competition - but still costly enough for most potential buyers to give careful thought before purchase. Still, if your HD display is located away from the rest of your system, and you dread the thought of running wires around the room, Rocketfish has a solution for you - at least as long as the distance falls within 32-7/8 feet, with a clear line-of-sight. (That is the official specification: "32-7/8 ft." Cannot help but wonder what happens at 33 feet, or beyond?) Personally, waiting for WHDI, with its promise of a 100 foot range (and through walls!) seems attractive; but then I would also be willing to relocate gear rather than spend $600 on any in-room A/V transmission device. For those with deeper pockets, is this an appealing product? Or will you wait for WHDI?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Maximum PC Sub-$100 Headphone Roundup

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Accessories" @ 04:28 AM

"If you’re at all serious about the sound you feed your head, you’ve already replaced whatever craptastic headphones (aka earbuds, earphones, or in-ear monitors) came in the box with your digital media player of choice. Now you’re ready for another upgrade, and with the economy in turn-around mode, you can afford to splurge just a bit."

Maximum PC has done a review of six pairs of sub-$100 earbuds. I highly recommend reading the review and if you still use the cheapo earbuds that came with your MP3 player of choice, consider upgrading if you care at all about the sound quality of your music. It's the best thing you can do for your musical enjoyment after upgrading to a Zune.

We've done some reviews here of some really nice Shure earphones like the SE530 and SE210 and I still think if you really want to truly experience your music the way it was meant to be heard, you should step up to some high end cans. If you're not convinced yet at least do yourself a favor and get a mid-level set of earphones.

My first 'nice' headphones were in this price range from Sennheiser and opened me up to a whole new musical experience. So go read all the reviews and then think about it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blu-Ray 3D on Your Laptop with PowerDVD 10?

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Software" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Video/Audio Player
Manufacturer: CyberLink
Where to Buy: Amazon [affiliate]
Price: Starts at $49.95USD for the Standard version. Ultra version tested is $99.95USD.
System Requirements: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Win7 -- Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz+ or AMD Athlon 64 2800+ 1.8Ghz+; 512meg RAM, DirectX 9.0. For Blu-Ray: WinXP SP3/Vista/Win 7 -- Intel Pentium 4, CoreDuo or Core2Quad or Athlon 64 4400+, 1Gig RAM; blu-ray compatible drive. Full system requirements can be found on the CyberLink website.
Specifications: Video: Blu-Ray, AVCHD, AVCREC, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, SMPTE, VC-1, WMV-HD, RM/RMVB, MKV, FLV, HDMI3.1. Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/7.1/HD, DTS/HD/96/24, HDMI3.1, AAC. A full description of supported formats is available here.


  • Wide variety of video and audio formats supported;
  • Blu-Ray and 3D emulation (needs compatible screen) with Blu-Ray 3D native support coming soon;
  • Includes TrueTheatre video 'noise' filters and stabilizer.


  • Music interface is lacking in 'modern' features (album art, playlists, etc.);
  • May overload some systems;
  • Overloaded with 'social networking' interfaces.


PowerDVD by CyberLink has been the DVD player of choice for OEMs for a number of years, providing a simple way to view movies on home PCs and laptops. With version 10, CyberLink extends the capabilities of the software to the point where a well-equipped media PC can compete with dedicated home theatre equipment. With Blu-Ray (TM), Dolby (TM) 7.1 and remote support, all you really need is a big screen monitor and you'd be all set. Let's take a look and see if you really need that dedicated Blu-Ray player.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

HP's ePrint Delivers Content Directly to Your Printer

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"HP ePrint lets you print from virtually anywhere. One of the ways that ePrint works is to assign an email address to your printer. To print, simply send an email containing your document to your printer's address. You can print images, Microsoft Word, Excel* and PowerPoint documents, PDFs, and photos. Note: .... Documents printed with ePrint may appear different from the original. Style, formatting, and text flow may differ slightly from the original document. For documents that need to be printed with a higher quality (such as legal documents), we recommend that you print from the software application on your computer, where you will have more control over what your printout looks like."

Sending a print job via the internet is not new technology, but HP's ePrint service raises the ante by simplifying the process, and by signing on content providers such as CNET, USA Today, and Google Maps in hopes of increasing the desirability and usage of the service. Indeed, while HP mentions the ability to store documents in "the cloud" for later printing, most of the emphasis appears to be on the "Print Apps" which provide "Instant access to relevant, printable web content from your printer screen," and appear to be primarily home or family based in their appeal. To utilize the service you need a HP printer with ePrint capability, and you must create an account, which will assign a random e-mail address to your printer. A typical Print App will then allow you to print content such as a Google map, a daily news summary, or perhaps a page of coupons. If the service catches on, HP would realize an increase in printer sales, and - perhaps more significantly - an increase in profitable printer ink sales. However, given the popularity of smartphones, netbooks, and tablets (Apple or otherwise), I would question how many people are clamoring to have more printed pages as opposed to having content sent to (or natively available on) their portable device of choice. Does HP's ePrint service seem significant enough that you would be willing to base your next printer purchase upon it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cloak Shoot-through Camera Bag

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:30 PM

"The Cloak is not a camera bag -- in fact you shouldn't even call it one. The Cloak can't fit five lenses, two strobes, battery packs and your kitchen sink. It isn't even that padded (*GASP*). What it lacks in packing gusto, it makes up for by being the simplest, always ready, camera toting invention ever. The world's first shoot-through camera bag."

Although James Bond might have something to say about the Cloak being the "world's first shoot-through camera bag," the Photojojo Store does appear to have come up with yet another distinctive product. My initial reaction was "neat idea," followed by "looks awkward in use" - and then "Gee, wonder if using this setup increases chances of being picked up by police?" (whether for espionage or as a Peeping Tom!). Photojojo has a number of pictures, of course, but reading the "Cloak Bag Story" on the manufacturer's website provides a better perspective as to why one might want to actually carry this around. Does the Cloak seem likely to prevent robbery or theft? Under what circumstances - if any - would you be willing to trust your camera to one?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Canon Unleashes New Scanning Power!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"With the aid of Canon's new flatbed scanner, these treasured memories can now be transferred to high resolution digital storage. The CanoScan 9000F scans at 9600 x 9600 dots per inch in Film mode, benefits from instant power up thanks to white LED and can even automatically remove imperfections from scanned images to improve on the originals."

Is there really a market for high-resolution scanners anymore? Of course! Maybe you favour the warmth of traditional cameras. Maybe you still have a few shoe boxes of photos you want to archive. Fortunately, new scanners are still being made at ever higher scanning resolutions. Soon, you will be able to scan your pictures, and just say "enhance" in Photoshop CS5 and it will reveal everything around the photo! While all of my photos have been from a digital source for years, I have to wonder, for those of you who are photogs, do you rescan all your pictures the moment a higher resolution scanner comes out on the market?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Intel Demonstrates Laptop With Light Peak Technology

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"Intel has provided the first hands-on demonstration of a laptop running its Light Peak technology, at the company's inaugural European research showcase here in Brussels. Light Peak is an optical interconnect that can transfer data at 10Gbits/sec in both directions. Intel hopes Light Peak will one day replace the host of other PC interconnects, including USB, DisplayPort and HDMI."

Faster is usually regarded as better: but is the world ready for another wired connectivity standard? Intel is planning to ship Light Peak components sometime in 2010, but there does not seem to be a rush of product announcements - although the Intel "Light Peak Technology" web page does provide a quote that "Sony is excited about the potential....!" Personally, I am not too excited at the thought of having to (literally....) buy into yet another interface standard. Somewhere around here I still have a couple of USB to Parallel Port adapters that were necessitated by the removal of Parallel Ports from notebook computers: wonder what the cost of a Light Peak to USB adapter will be?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

AVerLife Cinema: Enjoy Movies, Music, and Photos on Your TV

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:30 PM

"A few product categories have really exploded over the past couple of years: netbooks, smartphones and digital media players come to mind.... AVerMedia Technologies.... has just announced the AVerLife Cinema, which is a digital media player that allows you to combine all media files, including movies, videos, music and photos, on a single device for playback on a TV - all from the comfort of your living room."

For under $70 - a price finds very competitive - the AVerMedia AVerLife Cinema will allow you to view your digital media on your TV. Limitations include an inability to connect a network drive, a maximum resolution of 720p across the HDMI output, and lack of WiFi capability. The unit allows input from either a Hi-Speed USB port, or built-in multiple format card reader; output ports provided are Audio L/R, Composite and Component Video, and HDMI - and AVerMedia includes both HDMI and Component video cables, along with a remote control, which suggests that this unit may indeed be a good value. Do you agree that the price point makes this unit competitive - or is it missing one or more features that you would consider "must haves" in this product category?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photojojo!: Simon Hogsberg - The Widest Photo Ever Taken?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

"To create "We're All Gonna Die - 100 meters of existence," he stood on a railroad bridge in Berlin for 20 days, photographing strangers. The result: a print 30 inches high, and 100 Meters wide."

The Photojojo! Newsletter provides a link to "100 Meters," a study that is only one of a number of ambitious projects by photographer Simon Hogsberg, whose website is worth a visit - as is Photojojo! itself: an eccentric photography web site that offers the above referenced Newsletter, a Forum, and the Photojojo Store. The latter sells a handful of items ranging from an Inflatable Photo Frame and a Bottle Cap Tripod (seriously!), to Eye-Fi Wireless Memory Cards. The Newsletter appears to mainly link to other sites; beyond the Hogsberg link, recent features include such fun projects as how to "Make a DIY Fisheye Lens from a Peephole and Soda Can," and "Light Painting with Moth Trails!"

The "Forget-me-not" Skooba Cable Stable DLX

Posted by Jeff Deneen in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Any road warrior worth his or her salt has a favorite way to carry their gear into battle. Mine arrived in my consciousness many years ago when the company provided a Dell laptop case along with the corporate laptop. The accessory case has out lasted both the case and the laptop. The contents? A wireless mouse, small surge protector, 2 RJ 45 reels, HP power supply, Bluetooth dongle, several USB cables, and several USB thumb drives. It fits into my current backpack and allows me to keep track of all those things you take along so you can actually use your laptop.

Well, the old accessory bag may have met its match with the Skooba Cable Stable DLX ($39.95 USD). First, as you can see in the above photo, it has plenty of room for the gear and you can actually see it for a change without digging and wondering if you actually left important dongle at home.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cables?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"Everyone has had the experience of staring at the back of a machine, device, or gadget, scratching their head, gazing in bewilderment at some unfamiliar cable port. In this massive guide to the bizarre world of plugs and cables... we'll explain nearly every modern connector for computers, TVs, and audio equipment, including which ones to use when you have choices, and which ones you can easily adapt to fit others."

Until all equipment becomes wireless, connecting the gear in our Digital Homes will depend upon a variety of cables. has put together a "Giant Cable Guide" intended to help sort through the various types of cables and connecting ports that might be found in the typical home. The Guide is broken down into five categories of cables - Display, Proprietary, Peripheral, Audio/Video, and Networking - and includes advice on preferences (e.g.: when possible, use S-Video instead of Composite Video), adapters / converters, and methods that can be employed to add additional outlets to a given type of port. I found the article somewhat basic (or skimpy) overall, but it might still be a useful reference.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Eye-Fi "Endless Memory" Card Announced

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"Eye-Fi has announced the addition of two wireless SD cards into its X2 line-up of memory cards. The 4GB Connect X2 and 8GB Explore X2 both feature the Endless Memory Mode first seen in the RAW-compatible Pro X2 card. They also share its class 6 (6MB/s ) transfer speeds and high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi. In addition, the Explore card uses location data from nearby WiFi points to geotag images." has picked up a press release for the new additions to the Eye-Fi X2 line of wireless SD cards, which now consists of three models, ranging in price from $49.99 to $149.99, and in native storage capacity from 4 to 8 GB. At first glance the price seems a bit stiff, but the cards offer a variety of features and I find it amazing that they are able to cram both storage and WiFi capabilities within a standard size SD card! Eye-Fi also offers a line of "Classic Cards" which lack several of the X2 line's features, including the Endless Memory programming. As hinted at by the above photos, the initial set up is done by connecting to your computer via an included USB reader, after which the card itself is inserted into your compatible camera: the Eye-Fi website provides a list of compatible models, including a number that provide enhanced capabilities. If you carry a wireless computer, or routinely find WiFi hotspots in your travels, this might be an attractive technology. Would be interested in hearing from any of our readers who have tried these out: Do they work as well as advertised?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Protecting the Nearly Priceless: The SkoobaWrap

Posted by Jeff Deneen in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

Every once in a while I slap my forehead and say, "I wish I had thought of that." Such is the case with the SkoobaWrap, a simple, useful product. Skooba Design provided me with a sample to review. You can read the review, but until you get to play with it, you can't really appreciate its usefulness. It's a simple square of material, bright green and soft with Velcro fabric hooks on the corners inside, and basic black outside with loop fabric for the hooks to attach. That is the real genius in its design. By simply folding it to conform to the object being carried and pressing down the Velcro hooks in the corner, you can protect your gadget from the incidental jolts of travel. Read more...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Canon Lens Collector Cup (Not?) Available For Purchase

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

"Arguably one of the hottest swag items among photographers covering the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver last month was a travel coffee mug given out by Canon. Called the Canon EF Lens Collector Cup, it resembles an EF 70-200mm f/4L lens. And it's coming to a photo store near you."

Here is a novelty item that Rob Galbraith, Digital Photography Insights, has picked up on. He provides several photographs on his web site, along with links to a retail outlet, a YouTube video, and even a Facebook fan page! Alas, the outlet he links to, The Camera Store, sold out their inventory in a single day, and it does not appear to be in stock elsewhere either. However, if this looks like something you would enjoy owning, feel free to join the scintillating discussion on Facebook, where various alternatives are mentioned! (If you have not already guessed, the real Canon EF 70-200mm Lens is pictured on the right above, with the Collector Cup shown on the left.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get Your USB Devices Online With Iomega's iConnect

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"Iomega's iConnect... is designed to put your existing thumb drives, external hard drives and / or printers online. We've had less-than-awesome experiences in the past with devices that turn localized storage into network accessible storage, so we went into this overview with fairly low expectations. Much to our surprise, we came away duly impressed with the package that Iomega has assembled...."

Engadget reports favorably on the iConnect Wireless Data Station, which does indeed look like an attractive option for connecting a variety of USB devices to your network. It offers both Gigabit and Wireless connectivity to your router, and permits remote web access to connected storage devices. There are products which compete with parts of the iConnect's feature set, and while the Engadget article mentions the similarly priced (under $100), but less feature-rich Pogoplug, I think the Belkin F5L009 5-Port Network USB Hub looks like a closer competitor, or you could opt for a software solution, such as FabulaTech's "USB Over Network" application. But the iConnect seems to trump all of these with a broader feature set, 3 Year Warranty, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux compatibility, and a software package that includes Trend Micro's Internet Security, Iomega's Retrospect Express back-up utility, and the MozyHome Online Backup service. Is this a product category you have any interest in? Or do you already have some sort of device sharing solution in place?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

CaseCrown Cases: A Mixed Bag

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

As you can tell from the video, the CaseCrown cases were a mixed bag of goodness and not-so-goodness. The three products I looked at were the 10" Classic Slim Case (in black, $25.92), the Camera Case (in nylon red, $9.41), and the Hard Drive Case (checkered, $9.21). All the products are quite affordable, but even with that in mind, the netbook case was a complete miss. It took an HP Mini 311 with an 11.6 inch screen to line up with the straps inside the case - and who wants to lose the corners of their display to see-through plastic? The 10" Classic Slim Case was clearly not designed netbooks with 10 inch screens - unless CaseCrown had a premonition that the new Dell Mini 10 was going to be almost an inch deeper than the first model.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He has a thing for bags and cases.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Contest Time, Win a Gomadic Charger !

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Thoughts Site Updates" @ 12:00 PM

The Gomadic chargers are very slick, and we recently did a Quick Look on the 2-in-1 Charger pictured above. If you aren't familiar, the system uses what they call "Tip Exchange" so all you need is one cable and a tip for each device, instead of having to carry around separate charging cables. They pretty much cover every device know to man, or at least it seems that way (the brand list is here).

Now the folks at Gomadic are being generous enough to give away four (4) of their 2-in-1 Charging cables as well as two tips to be chosen by each winner. Since Gomadic has such wide coverage on devices, this is a network-wide contest. To win, all you have to do is go to the Tip Exchange page and pick two of the charging tips you want to go with your 2-in-1 Charger. Post the two numbers along with a reply to this post and you are entered. You MUST post the two tip numbers in your reply or your entry won't be counted.

One post per person, and the contest closes on Friday the 19th of March at 12pm Pacific time, GMT -7. This contest is world-wide with Gomadic providing the shipping. Remember that all first posts in our system are held in moderation, so if this contest entry is your first post, please wait up to 48 hours before getting concerned if your post hasn't shown up yet - it will. Winners will be contacted via private forum message, so have email notifications turned on. Winners will have 72 hours to claim their prize.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Infinitec's IUM Promises "Infinite USB Memory"

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"[Infinitec's IUM]... ad hoc streaming stick creates a local WiFi network... for all sorts of media and data to flow from your PC to, well, pretty much anything. PC to PC, PC to Blu-ray player, PC to printer...."

Engadget has been following the development of Infinitec's IUM device, which is expected to be available in July 2010 at a list price of $129. The IUM is uniquely paired to your laptop, via Infinitec's "Infinite Portal" software, and then can be plugged into almost any other device that has a USB port, where it appears as a simple USB thumb drive - but uses your laptop's WiFi signal to create a connection that can access the installed hard drive, as well as any external drives your laptop has access to. Although the "unlimited" tag is arguably a bit of a stretch, the IUM promises the transfer, or streaming, of a wide variety of data or media files, including full HD (1080p), and does so without storing any data internally, so if the IUM itself is lost, no data is compromised. This looks like a promising product, although it does have competition - for at least some of it's functions - in devices such as IOGear's USB Net ShareStation (Ethernet or WiFi), or any of a number of "Certified Wireless USB" (WUSB) devices, which use Ultra-Wideband technology.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Near-Perfect Netbook Bag: Skooba Design's Netbook Messenger

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

The third and final Skooba Design product that I'm taking a look at in this burst of laptop/netbook related products is their Netbook Messenger bag. It sells for $49.95 USD, and comes in Abyss Black, Blizzard White, Deep Ocean Blue, and Inferno Red. I won't repeat myself here - go check out my opinion on the colour of Inferno Red in this review. The bag measures in at 14.5"L x 12"H x 3"D and weighs a scant 24.8 ounces. It's a light, compact bag that's been extremely well thought out. Read more...

Monday, February 15, 2010

iBlink: See the Sound!

Posted by Chris Baxter in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Black and Blue iBlink

Product Category: Noise Isolation Earbuds
Manufacturer: iBlink Corporation
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $24.99
Specifications: Cord length: 44" , weight: .7 oz., Lithium ION rechargeable battery with 30 hours continuous play and 28 day standby between charges.


  • Good price;
  • Variety of color combinations available;
  • Flashing lights lends a uniqueness to the product that help it stand out.


  • Cheap construction quality;
  • Wish it came with more than just three different sized ear-tips.

Summary: iBlink earbuds let you see the sound. Literally. Using LEDs in the earbuds and battery compartment, iBlink earbuds blink to the time of the music you are listening too. I decided to give a pair of these a try and not only see if they lived up to their blinking hype, but how well they reproduced sound as well.

Read on to see what I discovered.

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