"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.
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 09:15 PM
Valentine's Day is only a few days away, and if you're the typical guy you probably haven't gotten anything for your wife/girlfriend/significant other. Digital Home Thoughts is here to help! HP has given us three of these very feminine Vivienne Tam wireless optical mice to give away. With Valentine's Day being so close, I figured it was time for a giveaway! I won't be able to ship them to the winners in time for the 14th, but you can print out the above photo and tell that special someone that they won one!
OK, here's the contest: post a reply telling me how your met your wife/girlfriend/significant other. So as not to exclude the single people out there (believe me, I remember what it was like), if you'd like to give this mouse to a close friend, go ahead and tell me how you met them. And hey, you never know what kind of sparks a fashionable mouse might create! The contest will close Friday night, around 10pm (GMT -7), and the three winners (chosen at random from among all posted entries) will each receive one mouse each.
UPDATE:Thanks for all the great stories everyone - I enjoyed reading them. And thanks for entering the contest! The three winners are: Dyvim, lynnroth, and srsabu. Each winner has been contacted via private message and they have 7 days to claim their prize. Have a very happy Valentine's Day, one and all!
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 04:52 PM
I shot more video at CES 2009 than I have at previous shows, and it seems that one of the side-effects of that is forgetting to publish all of it! This is a video that was recorded on January 8th.
At CNTRSTG, Fred Bullock, head of marketing for HP PSG (Personal Systems Group) Americas gave a "fireside chat" (the reference is explained in the video). Bullock has been with HP for about six months, so he talks about the types of changes and initiatives he's implemented at HP. If you want insight into the way HP approaches marketing, and social networks, this is a useful video to watch.
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 04:47 PM
I shot more video at CES 2009 than I have at previous shows, and it seems that one of the side-effects of that is forgetting to publish all of it! This is a video that was recorded on January 9th while I was attending CNTRSTG.
Matt McAndrew from HP's commercial notebook group, talks about some of the things that HP does with their commercial notebooks to increase the reliability and durability factors.
System Requirements: Netflix account, Wired or Wireless Internet Access, TV
Wireless built in;
Small and silent.
Might be redundant if you already have an Xbox;
No power button;
Summary: If you have Netflix, you've got access to their "Watch Instantly" feature, giving you instant access to over 12,000 movies and TV shows via the web. To get the most out of this service, you really want to be able to watch these on more than just you computer. Netflix has made this feature available via a number of platforms, including Tivo, a Samsung Blu-ray player, the Xbox 360, and The Netflix Player by Roku (the subject of this review). After the break, my thoughts on Roku's diminutive offering. Read more...
"After more than a week with my HD-PVR I can now say that my excitement has not waned. This thing brings all the channels: HD, digital, SD – everything to the HTPC user without needing to worry about CableCard, broadcast flags or other DRM issues. I’m still working out the final details for my complete review of the device, but had a few points I wanted to mention to the readers on the HD-PVR. I just watched the movie: “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” this week so bear with me as I follow that theme…"
Those of you with media centers should be well aware of the ugly problems that DRM can cause. From incorrectly set broadcast flags preventing you from saving your favourite TV show to problems with CableCard, DRM and related technologies make it difficult for those who want to benefit from what media center software can offer. GeekTonic has posted a workaround that uses the Hauppauge HD-PVR to circumvent all these problems through use of the analog hole. It works by taking the digital signal, converting it to a purely analog signal, and then re-encoded into a digital format. The process pretty much strips the video of any DRM and with this hack, the apparent loss in quality is minimal, letting you record and enjoy anything from your cable box, satellite tv, etc. without any worries of that ugly message telling you can you can't record, or even worse, finding your recorded tv shows folder empty!
"The Sonos mesh network is independent of any other Wi-Fi network you might be operating, so you don’t need to worry about music clogging up the pipes of your data network. The new hardware is backward-compatible with older Sonos products: We merged the new ZP120 (the self-amplified model), the new ZP90 (the passive model), and a second controller into our existing Sonos network without a hitch."
For a few years now, Sonos has been plugging their flapship product, the Multi-Room Music System. Maximum PC has had the lucky opportunity to review the latest bundle to be released, the Sonos Bundle 150. It looks like Sonos has listened to complaints regarding their older products and have worked towards addressing most issues. Their ZonePlayer now has the capability of producing a wider range of sound with a bit more output and some more codec support has been added. Of note is free subscriptions and access to Last.fm and Pandora! Rich, tasty, multi-room music is here, but at a price! I'm already saving up. It'll be quite an upgrade from my personal FM broadcasting network I'm using right now.
"Intel has announced a series of price cuts on its lineup of SLC (Single Level Cell) and MLC (Multi Level Cell) Solid State Drives. Their NAND flash is produced by IM Flash Technologies, an Intel joint venture with Micron Technologies. Lower sales due to the global economic slump are a key reason for the price cuts. However, declining NAND flash prices are lowering production costs for Intel's competitors, many of which are entering the market with a new generation of products. Intel launched their 160GB X-25M for $945 just under two months ago."
This is the kind of competition I like to see: a bunch of compeditors fighting for a new market, each trying to release the best product at the lowest price, all competing with each other. I don't own any device with an SSD yet, but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the year, I'll have slapped an SSD into something I own - the temptation is too great, though what's keeping me away is the poor price/storage ratio. As that improves, SSDs will become impossible to resist...
"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.
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!
"NVIDIA’s Ion comes in as an alternative two-chip solution. The GeForce 9400M is a single chip, the other chip is the Atom, the two make up Ion. You get a modern memory controller as well, supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (up to DDR3-1066). Graphics performance is better than Intel and you get full HD video decode support."
Anandtech has their hands on an NVidia ION reference platform and put the wee board through a quick set of benchmarks and tests. NVidia ION looks like it will give netbooks a chance to be more than a light duty computer. The pairing makes it possible to watch Bluray movies and play games, albeit with very low settings. Currently, Atom based netbooks run off of the aging 945G chipset. While capable, it doesn't take advantage of advancements over the past few years like faster memory. The tests Anandtech go through shows how much the Atom is hobbled with its current partner. Is the potential enough to make you wait on your ultra-portable purchase?
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:10 AM
This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the HP HDX X18-1058ca. This laptop features an 18.4 inch, 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 16 by 9 aspect ratio screen, and weighs in at 8.9 pounds (4.06 kg). It features an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 CPU (2.26 GHz, 3 MB L2 Cache, 1066 MHz FSB ), 4 GB of DDR2 RAM, a 320 GB 5400 RPM SATA drive, a LightScribe Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer, Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Intel WiFi Link 5100AGN, four USB ports, an ExpressCard 54 slot, and a 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics card.
Priced on February 3rd at HP.com, the laptop would cost $1363.99 USD. This exact model number is only available in Canada where it was available for $1599.99 CAD as a holiday special and at this point it's not being offered any more. The more commonly available version, currently on sale from Best Buy Canada, is the HDX X18-1180ca, which is a quad-core CPU model and sells for $2199 CAD.
Look for a follow up video review later this week. The audio on this video is unfortunately not up to par - I neglected to take off the shotgun microphone I had attached to the camera, and as a result it didn't pick up my voice as well as the integrated microphone. I hadn't done an unboxing video in so long, I was rusty!
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.
Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM
Like many of you, I've got a computer hooked up to my TV in the living room for occasional browsing, especially when I have friends over and we all want to see a YouTube video or something similar. I've been using a desktop wireless mouse and keyboard that I had laying around, but the range was just a bit shy of what I really needed. I'd seen other options, but they seemed kind of expensive just for occasional use. Then I came across the Gyrotransport Air-Mouse on Woot! and figured I'd give it a go.
After the break, I'll tell you how it worked out. Read more...
Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM
I recently reviewed the TSAT-2000s from The Speaker Company. I really liked them and one of the few negatives I came up with was that they did not offer a subwoofer as part of their package even though it was really required to fully enjoy the speakers. Shortly after my review, they added 2 subwoofers to their lineup and I recently purchased a full set of the speakers I reviewed along with the ASW-10 subwoofer, so thought I would relay my thoughts on the subwoofer.
After the break, get my take on this addition to the package. Read more...
"The Aspire One D150 lineup hits the streets of France beginning in February with the D150-0B. This €329 ($425) netbook sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB memory, 160GB hard drive, a 10.1-inch (1024 x 600) display, and a 3-cell battery. Then in March, the D150-1B makes its appearance. An enhanced version of the D150, this device is otherwise identical, save a 6-cell battery that should be good for up to 7 hours -- the battery upgrade will set you back a cool €349 ($450)."
Engadget has some details on the new Aspire One models, but they seem a little late and overpriced. I recently picked up the Asus Eee 1000-HA for $385 and it has pretty much identical specs. I'll reserve any further judgement until we get firm US pricing and release dates.
"Finally, a nettop we can really support. Rather than forcing consumers to deal with yet another underpowered box on their desk, MSI is enabling Earthlings to totally conceal said underpowered box so long as they have an LCD monitor with a VESA-compatible mount. The WindBOX, which actually broke cover back in November, is now completely official, and within the slim slab will be a 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, Intel's GMA 950 graphics set, 802.11b/g WiFi, audio in / out, three USB 2.0 sockets, a VGA port and a 3-in-1 multicard reader for good measure. There's no mention of a price, but it should start filtering out later this quarter."
I like nettops as they're extremely low powered computers that can handle my day to day computing and take up a minimum of space. MSI intends to take this even further with their WindBOX which can mount onto the back of LCDs that have a VESA mount. VESA mountable PCs have been around a long time, but they've also traditionally either been underpowered or expensive or both. If this could be paired with a touch-screen LCD, I could see this having lots of tempting uses all over the house like looking up recipes in the kitchen. What would you use a dandy WindBOX/LCD combo for?
"Windows 7 Senior Program Manager, Gabe Frost, demonstrates Windows 7 “Play To” functionality to the crew of On10.net For those unfamiliar, Play To is a new function introduced into Windows 7 that allows one to send a media file (from the same PC, shared media library derived from networked PCs, or a dedicated home server / NAS) for playback or display to a DLNA / UPnP device like a music streamer, digital media adapter, or photo frame with a simple right-click of the mouse."
One of the new features that Windows 7 brings is the "Play To" option. It is one thing to read about it, but Gabe Frost of Microsoft demonstrates this feature in a video at On10.net. Towards the end of the video, he says that Windows 7 can become a "Universal remote control for your media" which I think best describes "Play To." I'm very looking forward to this, as I've worked to come up with a wide variety of hacks such as using FM Transmitters, Shoutcast and Videolan to stream audio and video across my house and this seems to bring it all together in a much easier to use interface. I'm glad that they're going with a standard like DLNA, however, to make full use of this means upgrading/replacing a large amount of hardware I have around the house. Then again, new toys are always welcome!
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:00 AM
This is my final video from CES 2009: it's a mish-mash of some short clips I captured from the CES show floor. What isn't shown is that I happened to be at the Casio booth and Stevie Wonder and his entourage walked by - pretty cool! That had me humming "Superstition" for the next hour. That's it for my CES 2009 videos, I hope you enjoyed them.
"Inspired by you, the consumer, iFlyz was born after spending tireless hours traveling and watching as passengers tired to master a way to watch their media. Either you hold it, share the holding responsibilities with someone or rig it up a cup of some sort. Every option leaves you annoyed and with a slight kink in your neck, just reassuring you that flying is sheer joy. iFlyz introduces hands-free viewing while traveling, allowing you to relax and enjoy your downloadable movie or TV show while flying."
It's hard to get a handle on how compact this is, but it's a brilliant idea for anyone that travels a great deal and wants a better way to hold their media playback device. I know I could have used this product many times in the past! It would work equally well on a Zune, a Windows Mobile smartphone, or any other number of devices. The product is available for pre-order ($29.95 USD within the USA, $34.95 to Canada, and $36.95 elsewhere in the world, shipping included) and they'll be shipping them out come February.