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All posts tagged "hardware"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Scott Jordan Signature System: How Geek Can Meet Chic

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 09:00 AM

Product Category: Clothing
Manufacturer: SCOTTEVEST
Where to Buy: SeV Store
Price: $340 USD ($250 for Quantum Jacket; $140 for Fleece 5.0)
System Requirements: Body ranging from XS to XXXL Sizes
Specifications: 52 pockets, cable management through channels / pocket passthroughs, removable hood (Quantum Jacket), removable sleeves (Fleece 5.0), various specially designed features such as key holders, bottle holders, and pockets accessible from the interior or exterior.


  • Be an unabashed geek without having to look like a nerd;
  • Attention to detail and usability;
  • Eliminates the need for a separate bag (some days).


  • Price (for some), Sizes (for others);
  • Does not connect (as in previous SCOTTEVEST systems);
  • Lack of color options.

The first SCOTTEVEST product I ever purchased was the 4.0 Tactical system, the closest thing to a predecessor to the Scott Jordan Signature Series. I was blown away and since then have reviewed many other SeV products. The direction foreshadowed by last year's "Evolution" jacket has now come to pass with the release of the Fleece 5.0 and Quantum Jackets (together they make up the series). But with any new thing, old favorite features can be lost or changed - and new features added can somewhat make you forget about the old. How does this system stack up to its past, and pave the way to the future? Read on!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SanDisk Releases $20 Sansa slotMusic Player

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:38 AM

"SanDisk on Wednesday unveiled the Sansa slotMusic Player, its new MP3 player for listening to music on the go. According to the company, the plug & play, portable music player was specially designed for use with the new slotMusic cards available today in the United States. The company rolled out both a Sansa-branded player and new personalized, branded slotMusic players for popular artists such as Robin Thicke and ABBA -- both of which are shipping to U.S. stores today, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart and are expected to be available from retailers in Europe and other regions of the world in 2009."

Well, it looks like slotMusic wasn't just empty industry hype - we posted on it back in September, but I wasn't sure if this was really going to happen or if it was one of those "let's make this public and watch the reaction" scenarios. SanDisk has released the Sansa slotMusic player, and it will sell for a mere $19.99. For that price, you get the Sansa slotMusic Player, slotMusic player shell, earbuds, an AAA Battery, and a Quick Start Guide. That's right, SanDisk is pulling us back into the world of disposable batteries - a very curious move considering the "Go Green" mantra that many people are now chanting. They even tout this as a feature, stating "Free yourself from the hassle of charging". The single AAA battery will apparently give you 15 hours of playback, which is impressive, but who wants to have the hassle of manging a collection of rechargeable AAA batteries? File support for the player is MP3, OGG, FLAC, WMA without DRM.

I'm more positive about slotMusic as a whole than I am this SanDisk player. Do people really want a cheap, low-end player like this? Is listening to your new album on slotMusic worth buying a special player just to do so? I kind of doubt it, but I guess we'll see. What's your take on this new player from SanDisk?

Spotlight Turns to Notebooks Part 4: The 24" Cinema Display

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM

"The first display made precisely for a MacBook. Introducing the 24-inch LED Cinema Display. It doesn't just expand the screen of your new MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. With a built-in iSight camera, mic, and speakers, it expands your whole experience."

The final item Apple discussed at their big announcement event was a new LED-backlit Cinema Display. For the first time ever, Apple has designed a display specifically for their notebook line. The new 24" model has connectors for the Mini DisplayPort, Magsafe power adapter, and USB port (to connect the camera on the top bezel and the 3-port USB hub inside). While Apple has caught a lot of grief over recent years for not having a proper docking station for their laptops, this does seem like an interesting compromise. The new Cinema Display has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and will be available in November for $899.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Inventing The Future, 2000-Style

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:32 AM

I was posting about Pocket PC Thoughts' 8th anniversary today, and courtesy of - I'm so grateful those guys do what they do - I saw this post I made back in October of 2000:

"Imagine a digital camera running Windows CE. Imagine snapping pictures and having them automatically emailed to you via a Bluetooth chip on the camera that talks to your cell phone on your hip. Storage becomes a thing of the past - the CF card in the camera is more of a buffer for your cell phone than anything else. Or imagine having a built-in FTP program that would automatically push your images up to a web site as you're shooting them - real-time photography and events coverage could usher in a new era of photo journalism. Raw, unedited, up to the second coverage. Imagine having Pocket Artist on your camera - you could crop, edit, and tweak your images before uploading/emailing them. The possibilities are so endless here - if anyone has any upper-management contacts with Kodak, Olymus, Nikon, or any other major digital camera OEM, tell them I want to speak to them."

I thought that was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, because eight years later, we still don't have cameras with rich operating systems supporting third-party software applications for - although we do have some cameras that can do WiFi directly off the camera itself, and of course we have hardware such as the Eye-Fi. We have some DSLRs with expensive add-ons to provide WiFi, but virtually no cameras that bridge into PDAs or smartphones. Read more...

Friday, October 10, 2008

12.1-inch Dell E Slim Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"It's hard to say what we've come across here, but if our retinas aren't deceiving us too badly, this looks to be an in the wild shot (sans blur, amazingly) of Dell's forthcoming E Slim. If you'll recall, we caught a glimpse of said device way back in June, and the two look at least marginally similar using the oh-so-scientific eyeball test. But look, even if this thing isn't the E Slim (though we're guessing it is until proven otherwise), we've been told on numerous occasions that Dell is mulling the idea of pumping out a netbook with a 10- to 12-inch display. An accompanying screenshot of the unit's internals was also provided, and while the model may say Optiplex1210, we're guessing that's just there for prototyping purposes; besides, the listed CPU matches up quite nicely with the aforementioned E Slim specs that slipped out this summer."

I'm not convinced this is a new Dell netbook. Why? Because the System Properties screenshot over on Engadget shows a CPU speed of 1.33 Ghz - I can't imagine Dell using anything other than the Intel Atom at 1.6 Ghz, or perhaps the dual-core version (which is also at 1.6 Ghz). And that's Windows Vista, which isn't netbook friendly - especially with only a 1.33 GHz CPU. Instead I think this is a Macbook Air compeditor - which is great, I'm all for thin and light long as they don't compromise too much on battery life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Velocity Micro Announces the FUZEbox

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:45 PM

"Velocity Micro introduces the Velocity FuzeBox, the world's first whole home media experience. Take control of your entire media collection-movies, video, music, and pictures-like never before with the FuzeBox intuitive user interface. Then distribute content throughout your home to turn your entire house into a virtual media hub...Catalogue, store, and organize your entire library of movies, TV, music, and pictures on the FuzeBox's massive hard drive. Then access them quickly and easily using the revolutionary and intuitive FuzeBox interface for an immersive entertainment experience."

Velocity Micro has released something new here, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around exactly what it is. In the demo video, I see Windows Media Center, but elsewhere the UI looks quite different - it looks like it's Windows Vista Home Premium-based system where the Media Center UI is front and centre, with some custom software bits thrown in. It's got built-in cable-card support (two in the FUZEbox, four in the FUZEbox Pro), so you can get HD goodness captured to the hard drive. The FAQ has lots of good info - like the fact that this system will not rip DVDs for you, but if it detects an unencrypted movie format on the hard drive, it will pull down cover art and DVD info on it. So there's no breaking the DMCA here - move along MPAA agents. The pricing seems fairly reasonable - it starts at $1995 USD, and that's with 4 GB of RAM, an unspecified Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, and 750 GB of storage space. For $249 more you can jump up to two 1 TB hard drives - nice!

If my local cable company (Shaw) offered cable card support, I might be all over this...but as it stands now, I can only hope that someday I'll be able to indulge in the HD TV goodness (my sucktastic Motorola HD PVR doesn't really count because it's a closed system). The full press release is after the break. Read more...

BlackRapid's Rapid-R Camera Strap

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:06 AM

"The R-Strap is the most innovative camera strap ever to hit the market. This patent-pending equipment offers unparalleled peace of mind and ease of access to your camera. The R-Strap is worn diagonally across the torso from shoulder to hip and is adjustable to fit most photographers. The pad has a mesh underside for comfort and breathability. Our locking FastenR connects the R-Strap to the tripod socket located on either the camera body or the lens. Once connected, the camera hangs upside down, resting securely at your side or in the small of your back, with the lens pointing behind you. With the camera at your hip or behind your back, you can maneuver easily through a crowd, carry a tripod or other gear, or simply have both hands free."

I'm always interested in new camera straps, and the Rapid-R strap looks like it could be a useful tool. This video shows the strap in action, and it looks pretty cool, although it's a bit hard to see - someone should have told this guy that you don't demonstrate a black strap while wearing a black shirt.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dell Inspiron Mini 9: GPS Hacking

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

"So, I wanted to add a GPS receiver to my Mini 9, but I didn't want to have to use a dongle or other external device. I figured that a netbook really ought to just have it built in, so that's what I decided to do. All of these pictures are links to larger versions. I started by tearing the Mini down and seeing if it was even possible. Luckily, there's a bit of space around where the Bluetooth adapter is located. It wasn't much, but it looked like enough, so I ordered the smallest USB GPS receiver I could find. It's a nice unit with a SkyTraQ chipset and support for AGPS. Once I used the included utility to download an AGPS update into the unit, it gets a location fix in about five seconds after a reset."

There aren't many laptops that come with GPS receivers, but when you consider the size and sheer portability of the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (I received mine last week and will do a video of it shortly), a GPS unit is a logical extension of the functionality on this device. The procedure definitely isn't for the faint of heart, but if you want to do what this guy did, the instructions are fairly clear - just be aware that you'll be voiding the warranty, and you might break something.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

HP Finally Gets on the 13.3" Train

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"If 12 is too small and 14 too big, HP now has a laptop to sell you. With the Pavilion dv3500t, the company has slotted a 13-inch model into its already crowded laptop lineup. The dv3500t features a choice of four Intel Core 2 Duo processors (up to the T9400), up to 8GB of RAM, a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics card, and up to a 400GB hard drive. The 13.3-inch display features a 1280x800 resolution, and an LED-backlit display is offered for an added $100, which HP indicates will shave nearly a half pound off the system's 4.1-pound weight. Unlike most of HP's laptops, the Pavilion dv3500 does not offer a parallel AMD version (a dv3500z, say, to the Intel-based dv3500t)."

I'm a big fan of small laptops, and a 13.3" screen is a great size for a laptop - it's small enough to be easily portable, but large enough that you don't feel like you're compromising your work style. What amazes me is that it took HP this long to get on board with this size of laptop - they've got to be the last company making notebooks to get here, but at least they finally arrived. I would have preferred to see the optical drive be removable and space for a secondary battery, because I suspect the 6-cell battery humps out the back in a big, ugly way. Also, 1280 x 800 is what I got on my Dell XPS M1330 over a year ago - 1440 x 900 would have been a nice advancement. Still, it's nice to see them releasing a laptop at this size, because their 12" tx2500 Tablet PC isn't going to be for everyone - the tx2500 is surprisingly bulky for a 12 inch laptop.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blu-ray: Victor in the HD DVD Wars, But Ultimately Doomed?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 12:17 PM;posts

"CNET's Crave on Friday reported on Nielsen's latest VideoScan figures, showing that Blu-ray Disc's market share in the video disc market has slumped in the past week. According to Nielsen, Blu-ray's market share dropped to just 8 percent of the overall market, giving DVDs a whopping 92 percent ownership. Granted, those figures show only one week's performance, and Blu-ray may have a huge week soon and capture more of the market, but let's be honest with ourselves: do we really think that will happen? According to a study released in August by ABI Research, more than half the people it surveyed had no plans to buy a standalone Blu-ray player in the near future, and 23 percent are considering it, but not until 2009. When your format is limping along with just 8 percent of the market, the last thing you want to hear is that only 23 percent of the population actually wants a Blu-ray player."

Don Reisinger has put together an interesting piece on the future of Blu-ray, and it confirms what I've felt since last year: neither HD-DVD nor Blu-ray offer enough advantages over upscaled DVD to win over the hearts and minds of consumers. Blu-ray won the battle with HD-DVD (much to my dismay), but it faces a long, drawn-out war with regular DVD. I firmly believe that Blu-ray is only going to oust DVD through a long, slow war of attrition - and it's going to take a full decade before DVD is really gone from the store shelves. What's your take on the future of Blu-ray?

Tags: hardware, DVD, Blu-ray

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do-It-Yourself SSD RAID5

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:52 PM

"Many say that SSDs are the future of mobile computing and notebooks, but unfortunately they are still pretty expensive, so what about making one yourself? Many had the idea of doing so but too few were able to make it happen, until today. Thanks to Century and you will be now able to build up your very own SATA SSD thanks to 3 CF, the very same CF that can buy found in many DSLRs."

This isn't exactly my type of thing, but it's still pretty neat! Lots of pictures and a great video round out this tutorial. Anyone want to give it a go and report back?

JVC's Everio AVCHD Flash-Based Camera

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:04 PM

"Sanyo and Panasonic are ruling the compact / pocketable SDHC based HD camera world, but it seems that JVC will soon, and I stress the word SOON, release their very own compact Full HD SDHC cameras, which will definitely, and I stress again DEFINITELY look like below (visit our gallery for hi-res pictures both these monsters).
 Unfortunately JVC didn't leak any specs, but we assume these camera will be AVCHD ready, and feature an HDMI port. I'm pretty excited about these new cameras, and hope to have the chance to play with them soon."

JVC looks to be making a move into the ultra-compact HD camera space, and while there aren't any published specs, JVC has solid video pedigree. The bigger question is, how will you hold this? Most of the smaller cameras in this category are vertically oriented.

Monday, August 18, 2008

They Sure Make These Things Hard to Get Into...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:00 AM

That pile of junk above is what's left of the Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive once I removed the 750 GB hard drive from it. I hate destroying perfectly working hardware, but I didn't have much choice: Maxtor made the enclosure completely user-inaccessible, and they decided to bring this product to market without an eSATA port. I had a 400 GB drive in a drive enclosure with an eSATA port, but I wanted to use that big 750 GB drive in there instead...and so I had to get messy. My primary tool? The claws on the back of my hammer - I use them to crack, bend, and break the enclosure. It's quite ridiculous that Maxtor would made the drive so difficult to remove - what are they afraid of? That users might want to remove the drive and put them into their computers? Or move them to another, non-Maxtor enclosure? The new drive is purring along nicely in the eSATA enclosure, and average transfers speeds are slightly more than doubled over the original USB 2.0 connection. It's hard to say no to that, even if things had to get ugly...

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