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All posts tagged "computers"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Samsung Updates Their UMPC

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 PM

"The keyboard-free Q1EX-71G UMPC was first showcased at CES 2009 for all to drool over, but the company has finally gotten around to posting a product page for the device. The Q1EX-71G will retail for $749.99 and provide users with a 7-inch 1024×600 pixel touchscreen, 1.2Ghz VIA Nano processor, VIA Chrome9 HC graphics, 2GB of RAM, 60GB hard drive, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, and SD card slot."

Getting close to what I'm looking for from a tablet form netbook. Add an inch or so to the screen and get the price to at least the sub $600 level and we can talk. Other than that, the form factor looks about right.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Real World Reviews: The Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000

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

This is a new type of review that I'm experimenting with - rather than me doing an exhaustive review of a product, I'm giving a a product to someone else for a couple of weeks and asking them about their experience using it. I think there's a lot of value in real-world testing of products by people who aren't experts, because as much as I try to put on my "Everyman Hat" when I'm testing a product, I still carry bias with me. In this case, it was my wife Ashley who was given the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition netbook to use over a period of a month, because, hey, it's made for women so who better to test it?

Q: Let's start with first impressions. What did you think of the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition when you first saw it?

A: I loved it! I had no idea that any laptop companies had even thought of partnering with world class designers to make the laptops they were selling more aesthetically appealing to their customers - specifically women. Everywhere I take my HP Mini, I get tons of compliments and people asking me what it is and where I got it! It's definitely a great conversation piece.

Q: So beyond the initial impact of the design and colour, what did you think of the size and weight?

A: Again, I love this about it: it's so small, light and compact. I could put it in my purse and carry it with me to a meeting if I needed to. The only downside is the comparatively huge power brick and cables. With such a small device, it would sure be nice to have an equally small power brick! Read more...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lenovo Pocket Yoga is Like Splenda

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"There's not much info on this sexy little devil yet, but it looks to have a nice wide screen that can be flipped around and act as a touchscreen tablet, and it's very close to being small enough to fit in a pocket comfortably, but not quite. It looks slick and is sure to be expensive, as is the way with things moving towards the space between two types of device."

I say it is like Splenda because while sweet it is also a fake. OK, fake may be a bit harsh, but according to some other postings I've seen, this was a Lenovo concept design from a few years back that went nowhere. Too bad though, I like this better than Sony's similar offering.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Ravishing Red Netbook: HP's Vivienne Tam Edition Mini 1000

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:52 PM

This is my video review of the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition netbook. Since the hardware and design of the laptop (other than the colour) is identical to the HP Mini 1000, please check out my HP Mini 1000 unboxing and first impressions video for my thoughts on that part of the experience. Just like the top-end HP Mini 1000, the Vivienne Tam edition runs Windows XP SP3, and in the configuration I was sent, costs $724 USD directly from HP. It has an Intel 1.6 Ghz Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, a 60 GB 4200 RPM hard drive, an SDHC card reader, two USB ports, 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 3-cell battery. Watch for an upcoming written Q&A interview with person who has the most experience using this netbook: my wife!

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.

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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eee Keyboard in the Flesh

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

"The 5-inch, 800 x 480 touchpad was looking mighty fine, and the Atom N270 within seemed plenty powerful. It's a touch hard to believe that ASUS was able to shove a 16GB SSD, 1GB of RAM, WiFi and Bluetooth modules, VGA / HDMI ouputs and a few USB 2.0 ports within a slim, elegant keyboard, but somehow or another it did."

Pretty cool. Reminisent of really old school computers, like the Commodore 64. Of course they didn't sport a built in touch screen!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Brief History of Data Storage

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

"Your next build may very well come configured with dual-SSD drives in a RAID 0 array for the OS, a gluttonous 2TB SATA HDD for storage duties, and a Blu-ray optical drive for movie watching and HD backups. And for quick transfers from one rig to another, does it get any sweeter than a 64GB USB thumb drive loaded with all of your favorite apps? Such a storage scheme is certainly worthy of dream machine status, but our storage options weren't always as fanciful, fast, and fat as they are today. Some of you may remember toting a 3.5-inch floppy to and from school, while others hearken all the way back to cassette tapes. And if you've lived long enough to remember the IBM Punch Card first hand, just ask and we'll SPEAK LOUDER."

Image Credit: IBM

You youngsters probably had optical storage on your first computers. Sadly I've actually handled most of these data formats (except the paper tape). Funny story, when I started my current job, the garland and topper on the office Christmas tree were made of old punch cards and many of the ornaments were made from the internal rings on magnetic tapes. Hey at least they were recycling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

HP Pavilion dv2 Ultra-thin Notebook

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"In the background of all the netbook debate, AMD quietly announced the “Yukon” platform for ultrathin notebooks. We wanted to provide something different, something more. We wanted to provide a rich entertainment experience at an affordable price. So when I got the chance to play with a real, live Yukon-based, HP Pavilion dv2 Entertainment ultrathin notebook, of course I jumped on it, and wanted to share those experiences with you. Because the unit is a prototype sample and isn’t expected to be released until March, I won’t be able to share everything with you, but I will share as much as I can."

Looks like a sweet competitor for the Macbook Air. Come on though HP, there is more gloss on that thing than on an 80's hair band. I know this looks great in the press pictures and on the shelf, but after 10 minutes of use, they end up looking filthy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Does Building Your Own PC Really Save You Money?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:01 PM

We've had an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of self-building a PC, and some of the comments were around whether or not it saves money to build the PC yourself. Some people said that it did for them, but since that flew in the case of my own experience, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to and priced out the following Intel Core i7-based system:

The price from Dell for that? $999 Canadian. To create a comparison, I went to the online store of my local computer parts store, which tends to be quite affordable. See how I did after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shuttle Unleashes Intel Core i7-based Barebones XPC, The SX58H7

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:34 PM

"Just when you think you've got it all in a PC platform. Shuttle gives you more! The Shuttle SX58H7 Pro Station packs amazing performance into a mini glossy aluminum enclosure to reach "work hard and play hard" goals of extreme gamers, demand enthusiasts and mainstream PC users."

This is the Shuttle I've been waiting for. I've been wanting to build an Intel Core i7-based system since I saw the first monstrously awesome benchmarks for the Core i7 line of CPUs. I do quite a bit of video editing, and rendering out a final 720p or 1080p file takes forever, so I welcome any technology that will speed that process up. Four cores, each hyper-threaded? That's just...awesome. At any rate, I have limited space for my media editing computer, so I was looking to another Shuttle to replace this one. The SX58H7 features the Intel X58 Express Chipset, has a power supply fan that's 5cm bigger (which should mean better airflow and lower RPMs), supports ATI's CrossFireX or NVIDIA's SLI for dual video cards, and has four RAM slots - but you'd only want to fill up three of those in order to get maximum performance from triple-channel RAM. Read more...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Asus Eee PC 1000HE has Great Bang for the Buck

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 PM

"Asus’ second generation netbook Eee PC 1000HE changes everything by offering all the high-end features for less than $400. It dispenses with the thick protruding 6-cell batteries of old with a flush 6-cell high capacity battery that can stretch beyond 9.5 hours when operating in “airplane mode” with all the wireless features turned off and the screen dimmed to 40% brightness. It not only offers integrated Bluetooth, but also 802.11n wireless networking. Instead of a small solid state hard drive, the 1000HE includes a 160 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. Instead of a dinky 0.3 megapixel webcam, a 1.3 megapixel webcam is included. It uses an N280 processor which is 60 MHz faster than the N270 and has a 2 watt TDP instead of 2.5 watts for the N270."

This is a minor upgrade to the Eee 1000HA which I recently purchased. For basically the same price as the 1000HA was about a month ago, you pick up an extra 2.5 hours of battery life (sweet), Bluetooth, and 802.11n. Not bad, not bad at all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Unboxing the Samsung NC20

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 PM

A bit on the large side for what I'd normally consider as a netbook. Given the size I think it looses some of the advantages of a netbook but maintains a nice price/weight advantage that makes it more of a competitor to things like the Macbook Air. Personally, I'm more interested in the physical dimensions and less so in the weight, so I'd probably choose a cheap full-sized laptop over this particular model, but I know a lot of people this would be great for.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

HP Mini 2140 Webcam a Huge Improvement Over the Mini 1000

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

"I’m a big fan of the HP Mini 1000 and it earned our first Editor’s Choice award, but the quality of its built-in webcam is a weak point. The Mini 2140 has a similarly spec’d webcam, but it delivers a dramatically better image than the one found in the Mini 1000. The Mini 1000’s webcam has a dark filter in front of it that doesn’t let enough light through."

If the only difference between the 1000 and 2140 cameras is the filter, then it is pretty obvious that the filter makes a huge difference. However, I'm curious if HP actually included a better quality, if similarly spec'd camera in the 2140.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Building Your Own PC

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

"That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place. Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide."

Building PCs is something I used to enjoy doing, but have not done in years. If you've never built one before, I strongly recommend you do it at least once, you'll learn a lot and it really is not that difficult. Check out the full article to get an idea of what you would be getting yourself into.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shuttle's SDXi Gaming System

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:17 PM

"Shuttle Inc., the leading designer and manufacturer of small form factor (SFF) computers and accessories, today announced the availability of the new custom liquid-cooled SDXi Carbon extreme gaming solution showcased earlier this month at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. As an extreme performance system for gamers, enthusiasts, and even professionals working with graphic design, animation, or CAD, the Shuttle SDXi Carbon features a powerful quad-core Intel® CoreTM2 Extreme QX9770 processor, dual-slot NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 280 graphics card, and high-speed DDR2 memory (up to 16GB) to deliver the best possible experience for today's most demanding applications. Then to ensure maximum performance and stability at all times, SDXi Carbon features the world's first Liquid I.C.E. technology that is designed to deliver the most efficient cooling solution in an extreme small form factor system. As a finishing touch, the SDXi Carbon is custom wrapped and painted in a premium automotive level finish, making the exterior of the system as unique as the interior."

I'm not entirely sure if this is the best time for Shuttle to be releasing a liquid-cooled gaming system that starts at $2599 USD and goes up from there, but if you've got the bucks and want a small but powerful gaming system, you should definitely check out the SDXi Carbon. That paint job/case design is sweet!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dell Exchange: Recycle Your Old Technology

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 12:01 PM

"Trade your excess technology for the latest from Dell with Dell Exchange - and do your part for the environment. Turn everything from unwanted PCs to mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players into Dell Gift Cards. You'll clear some much-needed desk space for your new Dell products while keeping your old items out of the landfill. It's a win-win-win situation."

Got some old technology gear lying around? You could turn it into Dell gift certificates with Dell Exchange. It's definitely better to recycle your hardware than to toss it the garbage, but don't overlook local charities and even friends and family members: you might be able to give someone your old technology and have it benefit them far more than the tiny sum of money you'd get by trading it in.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lose Some Cable Bulk, Travel Easier

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

Digital Home Thoughts reader Sven watched my unboxing and first impressions video of the HP Mini 1000, and took note of my complaint about the total size of the power brick and cable. He contacted me with some really cool power accessories that look perfect for lightening my travel load. Both are from Cyberguys, a company I've ordered some equally useful power cables from in the past. On the left, we have the 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C5 Cloverleaf Plug, which would allow me to cut a significant amount of bulk out of the HP Mini 1000 power adaptor. The cable on the right is the Ziotek 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C7 Figure-Eight Plug, and would do the trick for other laptops or netbooks that use that type of power connector. I'd love to see HP include something like this in the box - it would be really useful to anyone who travels and wants to pack light.

Another cool thing that Sven pointed out to me was how Sony handles this problem: by designing power supplies that are more compact and easier to pack. HP? Dell? Are you guys paying attention?

Maximum PC Looks At The HP HDX 18 Entertainment PC

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:23 AM

"HP's HDX 18 Entertainment PC is a notebook, but not in the portability sense of the word. With an 18.4-inch diagonal screen and a carry weight of 10 pounds, 9 ounces, you might occasionally move this monster from room to room, but you won't take it everywhere you go-certainly not without the aid of a lifting belt. Of course, the large size does have its merits. The aforementioned screen, for instance, sports a 1920x1080p resolution for ample desktop space and a true high-def movie experience, made all the more vivid by the screen's glossy surface."

I'm in the midst of testing this notebook myself, so I won't share with you what I think of it just yet, but if you're interested in a powerful notebook with a really big screen, the HDX X-18 is definitely worth considering. Checkout Maximum PC's review for more details.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dell Launches The XPS One 24 Desktop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:53 AM

Dell launched a new version of their XPS One, this time featuring a 24 inch screen with a curious Dell-specified resolution of 1900 x 1200 (I suspect it's really 1920 x 1200). Noteworthy features are a one-cable connection to the machine, an optional Blu-ray drive, 2.0 megapixel Web cam with dual-array microphones, JBL stereo speakers with a built-in sub-woofer, a wireless mouse and keyboard with an integrated mouse-pad, and a quad-core Intel CPU. I've never owned an all-in-one computer, largely because they tend to be pricey and require too much compromise, but this unit from Dell covers most of the bases quite well. Still probably not the product for me though!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Create a Deep Zoom Photo Album

Posted by John Lane in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:30 AM[p...MC-R3A917316679

"Deep Zoom, an Ajax-powered online viewer that lets you view, zoom, and pan through high-resolution photos and images in a way that is incredibly fast and smooth, regardless of the original image's pixel density. Companies adopting this tech include the Hard Rock Café, which utilizes it in its music memorabilia showcase."

Deep Zoom Composer is Microsoft software that lets you build a collage of your photos to post on your website. Its unique function is that builds an image that you can zoom in and out and move around very easily. The link will take you to a step-by-step guide that walks you through building your own and it is very easy to use. Check it out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

CES 2009: HP's New MediaSmart Windows Home Server

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

An HP representative walks me through the features and functions of the new MediaSmart EX485/487 Windows Home Servers. These new servers feature a 2 Ghz Intel CPU, 2 GB of RAM, and either 750 GB or 1.5 TB worth of storage. Pricing is $549 USD and $749 respectively [Affiliate]. I have my home-built Windows Home Server, but I'm considering picking one of these up when they're released in late January. What's with the $200 price difference for a 750 GB hard drive though? I can pick up a 1 TB hard drive for $119 locally. Looks like buying the EX485 is the better choice!

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