Tag Archives: hardware

The Pen of the Future

Every year in Feb. there is an event in California called Demo. This event is where startups get to pitch their products to venture capitalists. the catch is they have exactly 6 minutes to do the presentation. There are always lots of great products but the pen from LiveScribe blew me away. Watch this video to see what I mean.

Livescribe Video

How to Add a ring tone to your Blackberry

How often have you been in a restaurant or a movie, and someone’s cell phone blares out the latest rendition of the owners favorite hip hop track, or the blaring sound of a ring from a phone of the 60’s? I have heard that some places are considering jamming cell phones because of this.

It is annoying and many consider this to be rude.

I have found a solution. I found an MP3 file where someone recorded a sneeze. I then found the site www.coolservice.dk. It allows you to upload any MP3 file, then download it onto your Blackberry, or any phone that has internet access. You simply upload the file, and it gives you a code number. You go to the download site on your Blackberry browser, enter the code and it will be downloaded. You then save the file and it will be listed in your ring tones. Select Profiles on your Blackberry and then change the tone.

Now when your phone rings, it will actually sneeze. I have found this much less obtrusive while in public places.

You can listen and download the mp3 file below.

The Future of computing

Recently there has been a few companies that have come out with UMPC’s. Ultra Mobile PC’s. Everyone has complained about how expensive they are and how impractical the small format is. What is important to realize is that these are the "betas" of the UMPC. Like everything else, the first version is expensive. Look at HD-DVD players. They first came out over $1,000. Now pricing is down to $799. This past weekend I received a flyer for an external HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 for $149 Canadian. (which apparently you can install in a PC.)

To really understand where the UMPC is going, simply watch the Intel video below. The only thing I could say after watching this is "I want one of each!"

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