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All posts tagged "accessories"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Microsoft Introduces Their Latest Keyboard

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

"Like Microsoft’s Arc Mouse, the Arc Keyboard stands out for its design. About the size and weight of a thick magazine, the Arc Keyboard blends inconspicuously into its surroundings. It stores conveniently and maintains a low profile. The Arc Keyboard weighs less than a pound and measures less than an inch thick. Upon closer look, it is evident that there were aesthetic design considerations made in creating this keyboard."

One section of Microsoft that I feel hardly ever gets recognized is their hardware division. From keyboards to mice to game controllers, I have found most Microsoft hardware (let us not talk routers) a pleasure to use. While I admit I am a Logitech person, there have been numerous occasions where I've had to use Microsoft hardware and there is nary a complaint. In fact, I find myself recommending them as much as Logitech's wares. The Arc Keyboard, throws me for a bit of a loop. The design and build look just great, however, I am not sure if they want this to be seen with notebooks, the living room, or the office. The aesthetics fit just about anywhere, but without some sort of cover, the keys are bound to get mashed and scratched unless given a separate compartment in a bag. But with the dedicated storage compartment for its receiver, you would think they are saying, "Hey! I am portable! I am designed to be taken with you!" If I had to pick a spot, I would have to pick the casual atmosphere of the living room as the keyboard for my HTPC when I just have to type something in. For office and work related duties, I need a keypad, which this lacks. Where would you use the Arc Keyboard?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Skooba Design's Checkthrough Brief: A Great Travel Companion

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

Skooba Design, the company formerly known as RoadWired, continues to crank out new bag designs and as usual, I'm keen to review them being the bag fanatic that I am. They were among the first companies to release a line of airport security checkpoint-friendly bags, which caught my attention. As someone who always travels with a laptop, I was curious to see if this really would make things easier going through security, so I requested one of their Checkthrough Brief bags, a $139.95 USD bag that comes only in black. I knew it was a sizable bag (17"L x 13"H x 7.5"D, 48 ounces) based on the number of pockets and pouches, so when I traveled to Seattle in November of 2009 for Mobius, I had it crammed full of gadgets. How did the bag work for me? Keep reading - especially since there's a special 20% off coupon for Digital Home Thoughts readers. Read more...

Monday, January 11, 2010

22 New Earphones From Sennheiser

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 04:43 PM

"With its expansive new range of earphones, Sennheiser is taking music on the move to another level. Altogether the 22 new models, designed specifically for use with portable players, offer a first-class audio experience and the Sennheiser quality you have come to expect. Each set of headphones features fashion-forward designs to complement any taste."

There is no doubt that the most important accessory that you can buy for your Zune or any PMP is a better set of headphones. And if you were having a hard time deciding which of your options were best before now, well, wait until you check out Sennheiser's new line of headphones! Read more...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Constantly Chaging, Shifting, Ever-Moving Keyboard

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 AM,news-5512.html

"Many keyboard manufacturers have invested tons of time and money into producing peripherals that reduce the impact of long hauls across the trusted QWERTY. Now Smartfish is taking the ergonomic design one step further by producing the robotic ErgoMotion keyboard."

I remember the curious looks that the original Microsoft Natural Keyboard got when it first came out. Now, it seems as if just having a gentle curve is no longer enough. Being a touch typist who barely looks down at the keyboard, I am unsure if I could get used to a keyboard that moved around at all, but supposedly, this thing will help from any aches or pains from Repetitive Stress Injury. I suppose one thing that I have not seen is any manufacturer try to put a "natural" keyboard on a notebook! Maybe some have a slight smile to them, but that's it. Flat is still in baby!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Boxee Demo'd

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

Pretty cool. This will cover most of what most users want out of a media center PC and at $200 is quite the relative bargain. The one big thing I see missing is Hulu. Also, while I think the design is really cool looking, it is not very practical, I predict an accessory piece that will make this into a cube.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Scotty, Warpia My A/V - or Perhaps Video Only?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"Source R&D, a premier technology provider, announced today the availability of the Warpia Wireless USB Audio/Video (A/V) Display Adapter based on Wireless USB technology from Wisair, a leading provider of single-chip based Wireless USB solutions. The A/V Set enables users to enjoy watching and sharing any PC and Internet content wirelessly on a Flat Screen TV, projector or monitor, including HD movies and streaming Internet video."

This is a computer-to-display wireless kit that uses an USB adapter / transmitter at the computer, and a receiver / adapter at your display. It seems like primarily a business presentation product, but most computers have DVD, or even Blu-ray players, so home use is also possible. Note that Warpia sells two similar products, available either direct or from select resellers: one is video only, while the other provides both audio and video. User feedback, on Amazon, is very good for the A/V version, but mixed for the video only version, albeit with only a handful of users for either. In any event, be certain to select the model that fits your needs should you decide to purchase! Would this, or a similar product, have any appeal to you for home use?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Delkin's SD to CF Adaptor: It Works Like it Should

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

If you've got a DSLR that's in the prosumer or professional range, odds are that it uses CompactFlash memory cards. While we're starting to see prosumer/professional DSLRs supporting Secure Digital (SD) cards - the D300s has both CF and SD card slots - by and large most of these cameras only support CompactFlash. This leaves laptop users in a quandary: how do you get your images off that CompactFlash card? Sure you, could bring the cable for your camera and move it off that way - but that requires you bring the cable with you, and your camera batteries are draining while that transfer happens. Not ideal. You could bring a USB-based memory card reader with you, but it's one more thing to forget to bring with you. If your laptop has an ExpressCard54 slot, you could use a Delkin ExpressCard CompactFlash Adaptor like I do, but an increasing number of laptops are dropping ExpressCard slots entirely, or going for the narrower ExpressCard34 slots. Delkin has an adaptor for the ExpressCard34 slot, but it sticks out so you can't leave it in all the time. So what do you do? You switch to shooting onto an SD card using the Delkin SD to CF Adaptor that's what. I bought one from [affiliate] for $24.95 USD and wanted to share my experiences using it. Read more...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Skooba Design Netbook Messenger Bag Giveaway

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:00 AM

Skooba Design is once again giving us the opportunity to give away some of their products - and this time it's their new Netbook Messenger bags ($49.95 USD). These small bags are a great companion to your small netbook, allowing you to travel light. I hate taking my netbook in the same laptop bag I use to carry a 13.3" screen notebook - and it's a laptopbag designed for a 15.4" screen laptop. Small computers deserve small bags, and that's what the Skooba Netbook Messenger bag aims to deliver.

Want to win? All you have to do is tell me what kind of a netbook or notebook you'd put in it (it will hold a netbook up to 10.5" x 7.5" x 1.5" in size), and what colour of bag you'd like. Three of the colours are pictured above, and it's also available in "Abyss Black". I'll be randomly selecting three winners from amongst all the entries.

This contest is open to anyone in the USA or Canada (sorry rest of world, shipping is too expensive on a large product like this). There's one post per person allowed, and the contest will stay open for one week, closing down on Monday the 30th of November at 3pm GMT -7. One entry will be selected randomly. All posts are moderated, so if it's your first post, it might take up to 24 hours for it appear.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone that entered - it was neat seeing the variety of devices that everyone carries. The three winners, randomly selected, are: Steve Jordan, minikj, and Brad Adrian.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Skooba Design Releases the Neo-Sleeve for Netbooks

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:46 PM

"Protection for your Netbook. Neo-Sleeve will fit netbooks up to 11" x 7.5" x 1.5" which includes most netbooks up to 10.1" screens."

Skooba Design is a on a roll with netbook products lately - better late than never I suppose! First they released the Netbook Messenger bag a couple of weeks ago, and now they've released these sleeves. They're pretty much exactly what I've been looking for but unable to find - a neoprene sleeve designed for netbooks with a front pouch just big enough for a power supply...though I wonder if they're big enough for the tiny power supplies that come with some netbooks (like the Acer Aspire One) and too small for the larger power supplies for netbooks like the HP Mini 1000. I guess we'll see!

The Neo-Sleeve comes in Abyss Black, Blizzard White, Deep Ocean Blue, and Inferno Red. I just received one of their Netbook Messenger bags for review last week, and the Inferno Red is actually a burgundy or maroon colour. It's definitely not red, but it still looks pretty good. The Netbook Neo-Sleeve comes in at a reasonable $19.95 USD price point. It would make a nice Christmas gift for anyone that owns a netbook.

Oh, and as a reminder, remember that our giveaway contest for the two Skooba Messenger bags closes tomorrow (the 11th) at 3pm. Be sure to enter!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Win One of Two Skooba Sidekick Laptop Bags

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 06:00 AM

I've reviewed a lot of Skooba Design (formerly RoadWired) products over the years, and their latest line of messenger-style bags look great. The Sidekick bag is priced in the realm of your typical found-at-Best-Buy laptop bags ($79.95 USD, on sale right now for $39.95), but I'm willing to bet it's much better than anything you'd find at retail. I haven't looked at one of these yet, so I can't say for sure, but my previous experience with Skooba Design bags tells me I'm probably right. I keep trying other bags, but always go back to my Skooba bags.

Want to win? All you have to do is tell me what you'd like to carry in the bag. Take a look at the photos on the Skooba product page, check out all the pockets and pouches, and post a message telling me what gadgets and gear you'd put into this bag. I'll randomly select two people and each will win one of these bags.

This contest is open to anyone in the USA or Canada (sorry rest of world, shipping is too expensive on a large product like this). There's one post per person allowed, and the contest will stay open for one week, closing down on Wednesday the 11th of November at 3pm GMT -7.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for entering! The two winners, randomly chosen, are Dyvim and NeilE. Yes, the same NeilE that won the last contest...but this is what happens when there are so few entries! We've got another Skooba Design contest coming up later this month, so watch for that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Skooba Design Releases the Netbook Messenger Bag

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:05 PM

"OK, so you bought a cool, super-portable computer so you can travel light, move quickly and work efficiently. So of course you'll want to carry it in a bag that does all the same things. The Skooba Netbook Messenger is a sleek, stylish courier-style bag that's incredibly compact and feather-light, yet packed with smart, efficient pockets and thoughtful features. Holds any size netbook, plus power cord and other accessories, with room to spare for books or papers and more."

I'm a fan of Skooba Design products, and have been waiting a long time for them to release a smaller bag - most of their bags are fairly sizeable, designed to fit everything up to and including a 17" laptop, which to me means there's wasted space if you're using a smaller laptop. This new Netbook Messenger product looks really cool - and I'm pleased to see the return of some colour to the Skooba line! Many of their recent bags have been all black with no options for colour. The Netbook Messenger is available in Deep Ocean Blue (which looks more like Peacock Blue to my eyes), Inferno Red (pictured above), Blizzard White, Abyss Black. The price seems pretty reasonable as well: only $49.95 USD.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Carry it All with the Lowepro SlingShot AW350

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

If you've got a DSLR and more than one lens, odds are you're using some sort of camera bag that allows you to carry your gear. Whether you're a pro going off to a shoot, or an amateur wanting to carrying your gear on vacation, a good camera bag is essential. I've tried a few over the years, including some good ones, and some not so good ones. A couple of years back I had purchased a SlingShot 200AW, and I really liked it - until it became too small to hold all my glass. The logical upgrade was to look at the bigger version of the same product line, so I went for the biggest one they had: the SlingShot AW350. And so here we are!

Above: That's a stock photo, because I sure as heck don't own a Macbook!

Let's talk specs for a minute. The AW350 is made from 420D and 840D Nylon, and 600D Polyester. Translation? It's pretty rugged, though not indestructible like KATA bags. Unlike the KATA bags, however, the AW350 is fast and easy to get open. It's a sling bag, meaning it has a single shoulder strap. It has wrap-around waist stabilization straps, and when you want to access what's in the bag you undo the waist straps and shift the bag down and across your waist. It sounds a bit awkward, but it works really well. Here's what it looks like. Being able to quickly access your camera, swap lenses, or grab a new memory card is critical to anyone who's serious about getting great pictures. Read more...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Skooba's Checkthrough Design Explained

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 PM

Curious about the "how" and "why" of Skooba Design's Checkthrough system? This video explains it all...complete with a cheesy piano intro!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hands on with the Myine IRA Internet Radio

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Internet Radio (streaming audio)
Manufacturer: Myine
Where to Buy: [affiliate]
Price: $129.99 USD
System Requirements: WiFi connection to the Internet (either 802.11g or n); Stereo system or powered speakers with analog AUX input via RCA jacks or stereo 3.5mm jack.
Specifications: Main unit is 50.8mm (2in) x 152.4mm (6in) x 76.2mm (3in), 726g (1.6lb); Remote is approximately 85mm (3.4in) x 40mm (1.6in) x 2mm (0.08in); Screen is 67mm (2.6in)


  • Very simple to set up and use;
  • Huge station list which is updated automatically, with up to 40 storable as favorites;
  • Sound quality is very good.


  • Volume output is on the low side (depending upon station);
  • Menus are difficult to read from "couch" distance :-);
  • Can only access the menus using the remote.

Summary: Although diminutive in size, the Myine IRA (Internet Radio Adapter) packs a fully WiFi capable, Internet browser which can select and stream clean, stereo audio from a list of over 11,000 stations around the world. Whatever your music or information preference, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own living room/den/entertainment room over your existing sound system. It literally sets up in seconds. Read more...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Skooba Design Contest Now Over

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 03:11 PM

Our giveaway contest for the Skooba Design Checkthrough Brief is now over, and the randomly drawn winner is...Neil Enns! Here's Neil's rather interesting travel story:

"On my last business trip I was flying to Austin. I got into the security line and realized I didn't have my wallet. I quickly called my wife and she turned around back to the airport in case my wallet was in the car. Nope. So I had no ID, no credit cards, no cash. And my house is more than 40 minutes from the airport so there was no way to go home and get it in time. What did I do?

I grabbed the $40 in cash my wife had and got on the plane. Yes, that's right. On the plane. Thanks to reading BoingBoing I knew that you don't actually need ID to fly. You just have to be ready for some extra scrutiny. The TSA supervisor gave me a stern lecture, but you could tell she was amused and she was nice about it. They had to call some special number, I had to answer some questions to "prove" who I was, sign an affidavit, submit to secondary screening, and that was it. Even the secondary screener was apologetic when he couldn't find the big stamp they needed to put on my boarding card to say I was clear to fly. My wife found my wallet at home and FedExed it to my hotel. It cost $28, and was at the front desk by 8:30am the next day. Fun stuff!"

Thanks to everyone that entered! I enjoyed reading the stories - some of them gave me a good chuckle. Thanks also to Skooba Design for the donation of this bag. I hope you'll enjoy it Neil!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Win a Skooba Design Checkthrough Brief

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 07:00 AM

I've reviewed a lot of Skooba Design (formerly RoadWired) products over the years, and their latest line of "Checkpoint Friendly" bags improve upon their previous designs in a number of ways. Their Checkthrough Brief ($139.95 USD MSRP) is one of the new designs, and they sent me one to check out. I haven't been able to use it yet for a flight, but so far I'm quite impressed with it. And guess what? You can win one courtesy of Skooba Design.

Want to win? All you have to do is tell me an airport security story - good, bad, or ugly. Ever been stuck behind one of those people who didn't understand the whole concept of "metal" and watched as they walked through the screening gate over and over until they got pulled aside for the more thorough search? Or those people who can't get their own stuff out of their bags? Tell me a story about it! And if you've never had the opportunity to go through airport security, just tell me a travel story of some type.

This contest is open to anyone in the USA or Canada (sorry rest of world, shipping is too expensive on a large product like this). There's one post per person allowed, and the contest will stay open for one week, closing down on Tuesday the 6th of October at 3pm GMT -7. One entry will be selected randomly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shure SE210 Earphones: Pure Audio Delight

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

Product Category: Earphones Manufacturer: Shure
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $97.78
System Requirements: Any MP3 player with a 3.5mm headphone jack
Specifications: Headphones have a frequency range of 25Hz - 18.5kHz with a 26 ohm impedance. They come in black or white and have an 18 inch cable with a 36 inch extension. The headphones pack up easily in a small travel case and come with a deluxe fit kit of 7 different tips to easily fit almost any ear size.


  • Amazing sound, it blew me away;
  • Lots of fit options, ensuring a comfortable, tight seal;
  • High quality construction that should stand up to long term use.


  • Somewhat expensive;
  • In-ear design takes getting used to.

Summary: No matter what you use as an MP3 player there is a universal law that applies to your device of choice. The included ear buds suck. Sure, there’s different levels of suck, but in the end they’re all pretty horrible. There was a brief period of time when the Zune came with the premium sound isolating earphones and those were certainly a step up from the usual throwaways you get. Still, to really appreciate your Zune or "other" MP3 player you only have two avenues to really get the most out of your music. Read more...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stupid Gadget Friday - USB Motorcycle Helmet Humidifier

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 AM

"Keeping a humidifier on your work desk is essential to keep the surrounding air fresh and it’s good for your skin, eyes, lips, providing them with sufficient wetness during dry seasons. The best humidifier for those who always work in front of the computer is one that plugs into the computer’s USB port for its power. Some more if you’re a rider, you will definitely love to have a USB humidifier that comes in the shape of a motorcycle helmet. But it may give you little distraction of your work, bringing your heart to a ride instead of on your work. The portable helmet-shaped humidifier can also be powered by three AA batteries, handy for continuing to keep your surrounding with sufficient humidity when you’ve decided to carry it with you for the run."

We are all into gadgets, but sometimes there are products out there that just leave me scratching my head as to who would actually buy them. The above product was submitted as a potential news item and I just had to laugh when I saw it. Nevermind the fact that I doubt it is a very effective humidifier, but I think my motorcycle license would be immediately revoked if I had something like this on my desk. Plus, to add insult to injury, they are asking nearly $40 with shipping for this. So, what totally stupid gadgets have you seen recently? Submit them as news and I'll pick the best (worst) for periodic post.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

One (USB Receiver) to Rule Them All

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM|Unifying

"The Logitech Unifying receiver is a tiny wireless receiver that can stay plugged into your notebook’s USB port and lets you easily connect up to six compatible wireless mice and keyboards to the same receiver. There’s no need to unplug it when you move around, so you won’t have to worry about losing it."

Meh. While I love Logitech's tiny receiver (I have one for the mouse on my netbook), this issue has already been solved by Bluetooth. Plus I'm betting that this is a proprietary solution, so no mixing Logitech mice with a Microsoft keyboard.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Verbatim Speaker Keyboard: Really? Someone Would Buy This?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:45 PM

"Whether you use your computer to watch videos on YouTubeTM or listen to your favorite tunes, the Verbatim Speaker Keyboard for Windows is a great choice. With integrated dual speakers, this keyboard gives you stereo-quality sound at your fingertips - without cluttering up your space with speakers and cords. It also has easy keys to control volume and boost bass and a media console designed to help you manage your music. For an extra cool experience, this keyboard offers backlight illumination you can turn on or off - depending on your surroundings or your mood. With integrated speakers and backlighting, this Verbatim keyboard lets you turn down the lights, turn up the volume and enjoy the ultimate music experience."

A lot of different technologies pass by my Inbox, and I try to keep an open mind about them - because, after all, what might seem useless to me might be exactly what someone else is looking for. This keyboard from Verbatim might be a rare exception to that rule - speakers? On a keyboard? The price of $69 softens my opinion somewhat - at least Verbatim isn't trying to charge $199 for this product - but I again have to wonder in what scenarios someone would need speakers in their keyboard. The sound quality is described as "tin-like" in an buyer review, so it's not like Verbatim has done some psychoacoustic magic to make them sound better than their small size would indicate. Does this product interest any of you?

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