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All posts tagged "laptops"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Manfrotto Unica VII Messenger Bag ~ Near Perfect Camera Bag

Posted by Stacie Huckeba in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:17 PM

Product Category: Camera Bag
Manufacturer: Manfrotto
Where to Buy: Best Buy, Amazon
Price: $50 - $99 USD
Holds: DSLR with lens attached as well as 1 to 2 other lenses, 17" Macbook (15.4" laptop) and personal effects.
Specifications: Product Height 12.2", Product Width 7.5", Product Depth18.9",Product Weight 2.2 lbs.


  • Lightweight;
  • Cost Effective;
  • Lots of Storage Space.


  • Shoulder Pad is not Comfortable;
  • No Regular Tripod Attachment;
  • No Easy Access Side Pockets.

Summary: The Manfrotto Unica VII Messenger Bag is a great camera bag for photographers on the go or who travel frequently. It is stylish and has an easy access top zipper that lets you get to all your gear in a hurry. That same zipper makes it easy to grab your laptop out for airport security checkpoints and, yes, the whole bag is carry-on friendly for both domestic and international flights.

The ability to carry a pro body with a battery pack attached and a 17 inch laptop along with other lenses and equipment without weighing a ton or requiring you to stop and find a place to sit your bag down in order to access your equipment is a lifesaver. The messenger bag style makes it easy to carry around all day and doesn't scream "I have an expensive camera in here!". The price point on this can't be beat - at $50 - $100, it easily compares to bags twice the price. Read more...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Does DisplayLink Live Up To The Hype?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM,3006.html

"So, how do you get the flexibility to connect three of four displays at a time? DisplayLink has a solution in its technology that enables graphics over the USB bus, connecting to monitors with USB inputs. These devices are handy in a pinch, but how do they actually work? We take a deeper look at this technology so you know what to look out for before buying multiple monitors for your mobile workstation."

Adding extra monitors to desktops has been relatively easy for over the past decade. I remember my first experience with them on Windows 98. It was like a whole new window of opportunities lay before me. Of course, most discrete video cards offer at least two video outputs, but laptops tend to be a bit more restricted. Even with desktops, some people are shy about opening their computer to put in an additional or discrete video card. DisplayLink has been a great solution for those, with limits.

HD movie watching you will not do with DisplayLink. Well, HD movie slideshows are possible, but not smooth action. For simpler activities such as twitter, facebook and Google+, DisplayLink should suffice. What about ThunderBolt? USB3? Well, both are slowly making their way into notebooks, but they are still quite limited in number but when they come around, we should no longer be bound by the all-in-one nature that notebooks tend to provide.

Monday, August 1, 2011

iTwin: Your Missing Link Has Been Found

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

iTwin first picture

Product Category: File Sharing Utility
Manufacturer: iTwin, Inc.
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $99.99 USD
System Requirements: Windows 7, XP or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
Specifications: Size: 90mm x 21mm x 8mm; 50g. Symmetrical USB (2.0) connectors, LED activity lights.


  • Easy to use.
  • Can connect two computers to copy files when other means don't work.
  • Easier than connecting to a remote file share.


  • May not be as good as connecting to a file share.
  • Needs access to company's server to operate.
  • No local help or trouble-shooting options.

Summary: This is a unique little device that enables secure file sharing between two (and only two) computers, and may be just the thing you need when other methods are blocked by company firewalls or home routers, or are simply too difficult to set up by a novice user. The company's slick marketing-oriented web site may over state its features, but it works well. Read more...

Monday, May 9, 2011

The LapDawg X4: A New Breed You Can Cuddle With

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Laptop Thoughts Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

When life's circumstances breed new technology, great things happen. The LapDawg X4 is a good example. If you use your laptop to get your email in bed, browse the Internet from the chaise longe, or work in non-office environments, the LapDawg X4 is for you! Or, if you are just looking for the ultimate in ergonomic adaptability, you need to read on. Read more...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Intel Wants to Sell You This Bridge

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"Fret not, to-be Sandy Bridge buyer -- it looks as if the laptop delays won't be as severe as expected. According to Intel, it's working hard (read: coercing) with OEMs to keep Sandy Bridge laptops flowing from the factory, and apparently, that involves a pinky swear that partners won't utilize the four affected ports. "

In case you have not heard, Intel admitted to a flaw in its 6 Series Chipset which supports Sandy Bridge. Over time, some of the computers using the 6 Series could see a degredation of performance over its 3Gb/s SATA ports. So, a recall is born and manufacturers eager to sell some high performance love are forced to wait. Or are they? Laptops usually only come with two SATA devices built into them, and the 6 Series Chipset does have two ports (the 6Gb/s SATA ports) which work as advertised. So instead of tossing all these hardware, why not make use of it?

I have seen many complaints and people swearing off buying these laptops, considering them broken from the start, but I have to wonder how many regular users would be affected by such a choice. Yes, there are laptops that come with eSATA, but most people I know still opt to use a network, or USB to handle their external storage needs. Considering the potential waste (even the effort to recycle a laptop motherboard is costly) resulting from this recall, it sounds like a fair compromise.

What do you think? Is Intel making lemonade, or lemons?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peaking Behind the Curtain on Windows 8

Posted by Todd Klein in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM

"At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will support system-on-a-chip architectures using ARM processors. Unlike the x86 architecture that today's Windows laptops and desktops work with, ARM-based chips tend to run such low-power devices as tablets and smartphones. In his CES keynote speech, Microsoft CEO Steve Ball­mer said, "This announcement is really all about enabling a new class of hardware, and new silicon partners for Windows, to bring the widest possible range of form factors to the market." In other words, Windows won't be just for laptops and desktops anymore."

The next Windows operating system is due out in 2012 and rumors that it's going to be a game changer have accelerated since CES. Code named "I Hope it's Not Too Buggy," the new system is meant to address an entirely new set of devices, including TVs, smart phones, notebooks, and tablets. The themes are clear and important for Microsoft to get right: virtualization for ease of use, quick starts and portability, and a focus on untethering devices and storing settings, apps and data in the Cloud. There's talk that Microsoft will launch a new developer framework and support it's own app store to push the system even further.

I'm sure whenever Microsoft launches a new OS, the folks at TWBA Worldwide start to lick their chops. They're the smartypants who created Apple's "Get a Mac" ad campaign which successfully ran from 2006 to 2010 and sarcastically tweaked Microsoft's prowess in building elegant operating systems. So, will Windows 8 be Microsoft's clever retort? Will Windows 8 join Android and Apple O/S and a viable third choice for developers? Ultimately, will this put Microsoft back on top with consumers?

That Old Laptop Can Do More Than Take Up Space

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM

"We get it, your new laptop is shiny, super-fast and awesome. But don't forget about your old laptop! It doesn't have to sit around and collect dust. Here are five super easy things you can do to rejuvenate it."

There seems to have been a whole bunch of articles coming up on how to use your old computers these days. I guess everyone thinks that we all got shiny presents over the holidays. While many focus on old hardware in general, Gizmodo's list is focused on laptops, which presents some extra options. The two that I find most intruiging are the digital photo frame and secondary monitor.

While a nice idea, the digital photo frame is only partly useful as I find that laptop screens generally do not have a wide viewing angle and suck up much more power than your typical digiframe. Still, it does allow you to play a wide range of videos too, so maybe it is a good idea after all.

As for the secondary monitor gig, they recommend MaxiVista, which I have tried in the past and works wonders, but for those on a budget, consider ZoneScreen. Not quite as packed with features like MaxiVista, but functional. Neither option will give you the same performance as a monitor hooked directly up to your PC, it is good if you need yet another monitor, or do not have the budget for one. That and since it works over a network, that laptop-come-monitor can be placed almost anywhere!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Everki Track Laptop Messenger Bag

Posted by Chris Baxter in "Laptop Thoughts Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

Product Category: Laptop Bag
Manufacturer: Everki
Where to Buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
Price: $59.99
Specifications: Length: 16.54 in., Width: 7.09 in., Height: 12.99 in., Weight 1.98 lbs.


  • Handy compartment designed for Apple iPad or any other similar sized tablet computer;
  • Lots of additional compartments to store other electronics, including power cords;
  • Small enough in size to take anywhere, yet can hold a lot more equipment than you would think.
  • Clasps on front flap are difficult to manage while on the move;
  • The bag only accommodates up to a 15.6" laptop.

Summary: The Everki Track Laptop Messenger Bag, is a bag with a twist. It comes with a compartment especially designed to carry an Apple iPad. Given the wildly popular reception the iPad has received since its debut, there have been a lot of products designed to carry and protect it, but this is the first time I have seen a solution designed into a laptop bag, and that makes it rather unique. While some people might argue that the whole reason they bought an iPad was to ditch their laptop, for other people, myself included, that just isn't realistic. As handy as my iPad is, there are just some things that are done more efficiently with a laptop. So how do I easily carry both? Everki attempts to answer that question with their Track Laptop Bag. Just how successful are they? Let's see!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

When it Comes to Storage, SSD or HDD?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:00 AM

"Solid-state drives (SSDs) make for a pretty great upgrade, but they aren't without their downsides (most notably, their high cost and low amounts of space). While the answer to "are they worth it?" is fairly subjective, there are a number of factors that can influence the usefulness of a solid-state drive."

While solid-state drives definitely appear to be the future, traditional hard drives will probably be here for many, many years to come. Their huge storage capacities and fair transfer speeds have kept them in the running and the standard choice for most consumers but SSDs are increasing in popularity, especially in notebooks. While I am tempted to jump onto the SSD bandwagon, my storage needs outstrip my speed needs, and external storage devices are just too much of a hassle. Still, I am waiting for the day when a 500GB SSD can be had for under $100. Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

College Students Willing to Pay More for Upgraded Laptop Audio

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 12:00 PM

"A study conducted by Dolby Laboratories pegs the fulcrum of change on the shifting notebook shopping tastes of the back-to-school crowd. Specifically, the survey cites the mindsets of college students as the harbinger of increased focus on punchy audio and media capability in notebooks. In a survey of 300 college students and 300 non-college students, the latter reported that they would likely spend $719 on a PC with an ideal audio setup; college students, however, tapped out at a Benji Franklin higher, $824."

Of course the reasoning behind this is pretty obvious. For many college students, their laptop is more than just their computer, it is their home entertainment system, so paying a premium for something that does the job is certainly in order. Still, no matter what the upgrade, nothing is going to beat a set of external speakers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Notebook Bundle Giveaway at

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 01:00 PM

"How would you like to win a mobility bundle that includes an HP Pavilion dm4 notebook, Beats by Dre headphones and a Canon PowerShot SD1300 camera? All you have to do to enter this giveaway is answer a few questions in our July 2010 survey about your recent or planned computer purchase."

Nice prize bundle, since I plan on winning, you should not even bother entering.  But if you insist, you should head over to, take their survey, and enter the contest.  Open to US residents only.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Squeeze Every Last Minute Of Your Battery

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

"If you've got a laptop with a really old battery that drains in a few minutes after a full charge, there's not much you can do to make that old thing last much longer—you'll probably want to replace the battery before you do anything else. For everybody else, these tips can help you keep your battery working at peak efficiency."

The quest for longer battery life is eternal. Manufacturers post rosy figures but those are under ideal conditions with limited use. In the real world, battery life tends to be much shorter, and it gets shorter as time goes on. Lifehacker has posted some tips, some of which are well known, but some which are less common. They provide a good read, and every little suggestion helps. Sadly, despite all the efforts you go through, batteries will eventually die and fail to hold a meaningful charge. Of course, the way things are, you will probably want a new laptop by the time that happens!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hitachi-LG HyDrive Combines SSD with Optical Drives

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

"Put simply, the HyDrive is a standard form factor optical drive (DVD burner or Blu-ray will be available), but there's a 32GB or 64GB SSD... tucked below. When this gets stuffed within a laptop, you're immediately able to access an optical drive, an SSD (for your operating system and critical launch applications) and a spacious HDD...."

Image Credit: Engadget

I am not certain that a 32GB - or even a 64GB - hard drive could really be considered as "spacious" these days, but this does seem like an obvious pairing of technologies, especially for the laptop market. Hitachi-LG is a joint venture that specializes in OEM products (no direct sales to consumers), and the first HyDrive equipped laptops are not expected until August 2010. Read the full article on Engadget for additional details, including a link to the official press release, which promises some enticing benefits for the current design, along with faster units, with greater storage, by mid-2011.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

CNet Reviews the MSI Wind U160-007US

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

"The current version of the MSI Wind, called the U160, happens to stand out from the crowd in a couple of ways. It boasts some of the longest battery life we've seen, at 7-plus hours, and it ran some of our benchmark tests just a few seconds faster than other Netbooks. It's not enough of a performance difference to notice in real-world use, but if you're looking for the maximum possible battery life, the Wind is certainly up there. This extralong life, however, comes at a price. First, the system's massive battery sticks out significantly from the bottom of the chassis, like some kind of awkward kickstand, and second, the Wind U160 costs $380 (although the official list price is even worse: $429), which is $80 more than largely comparable machines from other PC makers."

The MSI Wind's netbook protrudes a bit from the main battery component. Really, for such a large battery I'd expect better than 7 hours of battery life. At least it appears somewhat well designed to provide a bit of extra lift rather than just sticking straight out the back.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ubuntu Light Boots Like Greased Lightning

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

"It joins Splashtop, HyperSpace, and other light weight Linux distributions in this space. It isn’t meant to completely replace your primary operating system. Instead, you can load it up on a dual boot system, so you have the choice of loading Ubuntu Light and launching your web browser in just a few seconds, or loading up your full desktop operating system for more resource-intensive tasks."

Hooray for faster booting systems! I am sure that a lot of people use sleep or hibernate, but there are still times when you want a fresh boot, or just shut down their computers as a force of habit, like me. I do not know if they include POST in the boot time, but even without it, 7 seconds is quite impressive. However, reading through things, there is one major downside. You cannot install any additional programs! Still, in this cloud connected world, does that really matter?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Toshiba May Release Super Fast Charging Laptop

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

"I have been following the rumors of a new Toshiba ultra-portable laptop with great interest. Not because it is super thin and light — what has me excited is the Super Charge Ion Battery (SCiB) it’s reported to use. This is significant as these batteries supposedly can be 90% charged in a mere 10 minutes. Think about that for a moment. If you could charge your notebook battery in 10 minutes it could change the way you work while mobile."

A laptop that could be charged in ten minutes is great. However, I think it could have some other consequences. First, it would probably encourage people to deep drain their batteries more, meaning that batteries will need to be replaced more often. Second, I am positive that people will complain that 10 minutes is still too long. That being said, I would really like to see this technology applied to cell phones. In my experience, I have seen friends and colleagues have their phones run out of power much more often.

Friday, April 23, 2010

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.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Compaq AirLife 100 Outed on

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

"Compaq AirLife 100 delivers a new way of connecting to the Internet, email, social networking, photos, music, and more."

Been on the HP site for a few days now and hasn't been removed, so I'm assuming it is legit. To summarize, it is a touchscreen netbook running Android. It has 16GB of storage and a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It comes with a built in GPS, Adobe Flash Lite, and Quickoffice. There is a data transfer counter listed as a feature, so I'm wondering if this will be sold through mobile carriers rather than being available to consumers without a contract. If it is offered directly to the public, it will be interested to see where these are priced given the low prices of netbooks running Windows.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Engadget Reviews the ASUS U30Jc

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

"A Core i3 laptop with NVIDIA's Optimus discrete graphics that boasts 9.5 hours of battery life? Well, now that sounds new, and that's exactly what the 13.3-inch ASUS's U30Jc promises to be – that perfect chocolate vanilla swirl of portability and performance. But like us, you've got to be thinking there's got to be sacrifices here, right? We thought so too, but surprisingly enough they're extremely minimal considering the $900 pricetag."

Looks like this machine strikes a pretty good balance at the price point. Powerful enough for most of your needs. Thin and light enough not to break your back and enough battery power to last you all day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Macbooks Offer Battery Saving Advanced Tech

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 PM

"But new processors aren't the only improvement; Apple has also seen fit to increase the base RAM configuration to 4GB on all models and bump the hard drive and SSD options. And Apple claims battery life has been improved, with some models now going as long as 10 hours without plugging in."

Some would say that the new Macbook and Macbook Pro line is only a marginal upgrade over what is currently offered, but I see two points about these new notebooks which I find exciting. First, there's the claim of a 10 hour battery life. Manufacturers often exagerate these claims, but if it is anywhere close to what Apple is boasting, I see this as a good thing. In recent memory, ASUS has also been working to offer several notebooks that host just as much battery life like the UL series. Having a laptop that can run a full workday without having the beep beep beep of a low battery is one of the holy grails of portable computing and it looks like they are getting close! Part of the reason for this is NVIDIA's Optimus chipset. Instead of suffering with vampires like a discreet chipset, notebooks can now use an integrated chipset when all you are doing is Facebook and Twitter, only kicking in the more powerful GPU when you need to do something like video rendering. A more complicated notebook, sure, but it means we can get the best of both worlds! Now if they can trim down LCD power usage, we might just see 16 hour battery ratings!

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