Category Archives: hardware

Seagate puts focus on Consumer Electronics –Podcast Episode 2

In this Podcast I talk to

  • Marc Cisneros, CE Channel Sales Manager, Seagate Technologies
  • David Burks, CE Product Marketing Manager, Seagate Technologies

Seagate is pushing hard into the Consumer Electronics space. No longer are they considered a hard drive company, they now want to be known as a Storage Company. The Scoble Show interviewed Seagate’s CEO Bill Watkins, where he said “it’s about content distribution.”

Seagate has come out with a several market specific hard drives with benefits tuned the each area of specialty.

  • LD for mobile and low profile devices [2.5″]
  • DB for DVRs and Media PCs [very quiet]
  • SV for security DVRs [24×7 duty cycle]
  • EE for extreme environments [can handle temperature and vibration extremes]

Wireless Keyboard for Windows Media Center

I recently had the opportunity to test new wireless keyboard from Adesso. This could be the closest to a perfect wireless keyboard for Windows Media Center. There are lots of wireless keyboards out there that use their own methods to connect. Most are good to about 6-8 feet before the signal gets to the point where the keyboard is no longer usable. Adesso uses 2.4 Ghz radio frequency. This is the same signal that wireless phones and wireless networks use. You should be good up to 50 ft. or more with this. (the keyboard supports up to 100 ft. but you may requre binoculars to see the screen at that distance 🙂

The keyboard also has an integrated trackball. The mouse buttons are located on the top, as well as another set under your trigger fingers .Scroll wheel on the left and left click on the right. The group of buttons on the top left are all related to media controls. Stop, Play, FF, REW etc.

Setup was the easiest process I have ever seen. There is a USB ‘dongle’ that you plug into any available USB slot. You push the button on the dongle, and an LED starts flashing. You push the ID button on the upper left of the keyboard and you are ready to go.

Are you worried about germs?

These days you can’t buy any kind of cleaner that doesn’t include some kind of anti-bacterial added. Some would say that the reason that more people are getting sick is because bacteria and germs are building up resistance due to all anti-bacterial everything out there. Then we have the studies that look at the places with the most germs. Would you believe that your office keyboard and mouse have more germs than some bathrooms? Now a company named Unotron has the solution.They make a keyboard and mouse that is waterproof.

 Meaning you can take it over to the sink and give it a good washing. When was the last time you washed down your keyboard? How many lunches have you eaten at your desk over the past year?

Playing music via WiFi

I recently had an opportunity to test a new WiFi music bridge that allows you to play DRM music from either Apple iTunes or Windows Media Player. The product is called the Sirocco from Sondigo.

Feature List

You don’t need any hardware on your computer. Other than your existing wireless router. The system allows you to play DRM protected music on your stereo system by making your stereo an extension of your computer. Just as if you were plugging speakers into your computer.

And best of all… it lists for $139.99 US.

Hands On, MotionLingo Adeo…GPS that talks to you.

This is and update to my previous post on GPS that talks to you. There has been a lot of hype recently about the launch of the Nike + iPod running module. Although the price is right at $29.95 US, it is still just a pedometer. A pedometer simply registers that you took a step. You have to calibrate the system to tell it how big your step is. But that assumes that you are running at the same pace, over the same terrain. If you are running uphill, then your distance will be off. If you are sprinting, or hill training, then your distance will be off.

The only way to get accuracy is to use a GPS device. One of the more popular units is the Forerunner from Garmin. However, these units are very expensive. They run in the $300 range.

In May I had the pleasure of testing a new unit. The Adeo from Motion Lingo. The company has been great about updating their firmware. The unit is a full GPS system, that talks to you as your run. You decide how often you want updates and what should be updated. Distance, Height (for skiers), Speed, and Pace are a few of the updates you can get. The unit comes with software that connects to the Web, so you can track and update your runs, or cycles.

The image below shows the screen where you add the updates you want to hear.

The software also allows you to set intervals. For example, if you train with the Running Room you are familiar with the 10 and 1 method. This is where you run for 10 minutes and walk for 1. You can set that up in the screen below.

Once you have completed a run, you can upload your run onto the Motion Lingo web site and see your run on a Google map.

The bottom line is that you will bet accurate readings of your run, your speed and your distance.

Cloth Keyboard for PDAs or Cell Phones

ElekTex has come out with a new keyboard made out of cloth. There are no moving parts and it is even washable. This is perfect for typing out a long message on the Blackberry and giving your thumbs a rest. Or for those text messages on your cell phone. When you are done, just roll it up and put it in the carrying case. The communication with your device is via Bluetooth. So no wires to worry about.

Listening to your iPod at home

This post is a follow up to my Listening to your iPod in your car post.

Once you load up you iPod there really isn’t any reason to have your CD player. There really isn’t any reason to move your CD’s from stereo to stereo in your house. You can have your cable1.jpgwhole collection play where you are. You can spend as little as $10 for a cable, or as much a $1000 for a high end system complete with a built in iPod dock. Starting with the least expensive. The iPod has a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can get cables that has a 3.5mm jack at one end and splits into 2 RCA jacks at the other. This is the easiest way to connect your iPod to your home stereo. This will run you about $10-$15dock.jpg

 One step up from this is the iPod Dock. The advantage of this is that while is connects with virtually the same cable, it also allows for a power cable to be attached so you will not run down the battery. It also make it very easy to simply drop the iPod into the dock and listen to the tunes! This will cost about $40

  Both the solutions above will require you do connect to a speaker system. This could be a jbl.jpgboom box or a full surround sound system. The next step up is one of devices that I use. It is the JBL Onstage II. The sound that comes out of this small unit is amazing. The unit also comes with a radio frequency remote. An RF remote allows you to be anywhere within about 20 ft. of the system and control the iPod. This also makes a great set for travelling. No more CD’s to carry along with you. At the same time, there is an iPod jack in the back that allows you to connect to your computer to sychronize with iTunes. This costs about $150

homedoc_dx_hero_lrg.jpg The JBL unit allows you to control the iPod, it is difficult to see the Playlist or the Artist name etc. Until DLO came out with Homedock Deluxe. This system will require a speaker system to hear the sound. But the best part is that it allows you to see the iPod screen on your TV! It also comes with a remote, but the difference is now, you can scroll through the menus, choose your playlists, or the artists, because you can see it all on your TV. This will run you about $150. This system will require a speaker system to hear the sound.Â

 From there, it is a bit of a leap to the next systems. There sonance_iport_2.jpgare a lot of stereo manufacturers coming out with either iPod docks built in, or iPod cable connectors. One of the neatest devices I have seen is for the home automation specialist. It provides a dock in your wall that would connect to your home stereo system. Each dock is $200