Category Archives: hardware

Bill, you finally got it right “Windows 7 is here and ready for primetime” #windows7

Various flavorsMicrosoft and Bill Gates (The riches man in the world) should be proud and over joyed at the soon to be success of the new Windows 7 OS.  PC manufactures, along with others should be burning the midnight oil with glee knowing they have a product that we can all stand behind. According to CNNMoney article “Windows 7 ready to launchExperts expect that PC users will change their operating system for the first time in about eight years when Windows 7 launches today.

We all know someone or heard about someone that had horrific experiences with Vista.  As a network administrator I gave recommendations to my superiors about what technology we should implement, and what we should wait on.  I always stated that we should wait out the Vista movement for the next flavor, and I was 120% right from a support stand point.  Vista came along and gave us too many issues I felt like from a support stand point it would have been a true nightmare not only for me but for management as well.

Windows 7

I don’t see the issues of the past with Windows 7 I see an operating system that has been tested, tested, and tested again.  Personally back before the summer started I started using Windows 7 on a older less powerful machine.  “Wow” are the words I uttered when using Windows 7 for the first time, because I think Microsoft finally got it, the bells and whistles don’t mean a thing if the OS does not perform some of the most basic functions with ease.  I can speak from experience that Windows 7 is a great OS to use on your current system, and also on a older system that you would have normally thrown away.  Don’t listen to the clutter that’s gonna start about well you should just buy a new computer, I would presume that those Tech support places will all be saying this, but resist my friendly computer user unless your computer is a Pentium II or lower with less than 512MB.  If it’s any better than that I’m tell you Windows 7 should be an eye opener.

What about Windows XP?

Well for those of you who have used Windows XP in my opinion you will gain a better Operating System in Windows 7, and workhorse right out of the box, new features, speed, and the capability to take off where Windows XP ended are clear indications that you should go for it.  Lets just say with the introduction of Windows 7, in 6 months no one will remember that thing called Vista in my opinion.  Now if your using XP at this point and you are going to install Windows 7 your gonna have a problem upgrading.  This has always been the Microsoft policy when upgrading, if your two generations back in Operating systems, they don’t make it very easy for you to upgrade with a “One click solution” I would guess there will be many companies taking advange of this (creating software to help Windows XP users upgrade).  My best advise for anyone looking to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows7 please do yourself a favor, make a backup of your critical data, such as documents, pictures, program data for specific programs and such.  Then insert your new Windows 7 OS CD and choose to do a clean install on your computer or laptop.  Then place your data and programs on the new OS.

Windows XP all flavors (Pro, Home, Media Center, Tablet, and x64) will be unsupported in the next two years so upgrade is eminent

Don’t let the experts scare you into buying a new computer, the one thing I have noticed is that with older machines I have had great success with Windows 7.  Currently I run Windows 7 in VMWare on my MacBook Pro and it’s been working like a charm, to my credit I had to tweak some stuff, but that’s what I do.  I hope your success with Windows 7 comes soon, I will say that you will not be disappointed going from any other OS to Windows7

Chime in and tell me if you have been using Windows 7 or if you plan on upgrading to the new OS in the comments?

TBTR

Seagate’s FreeAgent DockStar wants to help you share data with who ever you want.

http://media.seagate.com/files/2009/09/seagate_fa_dockstar_box_shot_lo.jpgData, no matter how much you have now days, your needs keep growing year over year, and for some people it’s month over month.  Recently I’ve been reading more and more about storage devices, and backup solutions, stay tuned for more coverage of these topics.  I recently blogged about Dropbox where I talked a little bit about how you can use this service to share, and backup data.  Sometime ago I also talked about Google Docs which gives you online space for documents and other files. I recently ran across a press release about the new Seagate FreeAgent DockStar $99.99, the name reminds me of DeathStar but maybe that’s because I’m a StarWars Fan.

Anyways the FreeAgent DockStar by itself does nothing, it’s just a docking station, with a power adapter and a ethernet port, but when you couple this device with FreeAgent Go portable storage solution you get a large amount of data that you can now store and access from across the internet which means anywhere in the world.  The device as stated has a dock port for the FreeAgent Go device, 3 USB ports to plug in other storage devices including USB thumb drives, and NON Seagate storage devices, a power adapter and ethernet cable.

So you ask the question what is this product just supposed to do for me?

You get a device that can enable your storage to be placed on the internet (encrypted) so you can access your iTunes music, your pictures, your video, your documents etc.  It can even create a RSS feed for each of those directories, which now enables you to give that to anyone who can plug the feed info into a feed reader so as changes are made to your directories they get updates showing the changes without the traditional notification of calling someone, or having to email them to say take a look at the new data I uploaded. Here are some of the highlights:

http://media.seagate.com/files/2009/09/seagate_fa_dockstar_enviro_lo.jpg
  • File sharing at its simplest with a clean, web-based interface.
  • Access files from any networked PC or Mac® computer in your home.
  • After service activation, access and share files with friends, over the internet — no special software required.
  • Enables friends to upload content as well, creating a comprehensive share space.
  • Appears as a local drive whether in the home or accessed through the internet, for simple drag-and-drop access.
  • Dock a FreeAgent Go™ drive and connect up to three USB storage devices.
  • Send pictures straight from your iPhone® to the FreeAgent DockStar network adapter.
  • Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

http://media.seagate.com/files/2009/09/seagate_fa_dockstar_browser_view_sm.jpg

Think about this…

Imagine your out of town, visiting a friend or loved one, and you want to show them that video from this summer. Without a device like this or some kind of web service you would just have to wait till you got home, figured out a way to upload all the videos you want to show them, then pray that they know how to access the files.  This solutions eliminates that issue, all you have to do is connect to the internet using any computer and supply your username and password, then start streaming the video directly to this computer.  That is awesome, an just down right cool when you think about all the other things you would have to do otherwise.

In my case it now eliminates the fact that I had to keep my server running at home while traveling hoping and praying that something didn’t happen to my hard drive on the computer or it didn’t over heat and start a fire.  Those days are long gone in my book with the FreeAgent DockStar.

Conclusion

I think that Seagate is obviously on the right track to supply us with a solution that makes things easy, but the one draw back I have is the fact that the device uses the underlining technology of pogoplug.com which is not a bad thing it’s just that DockStar only comes with a 1 year pogoplug subscription for internet sharing after that first year you have to pay $29.99 to continue usage that is where the device fails in my eyes.  Why should we have to pay after 1 year, when if we just purchase a pogoplug for $99.99 the Internet Sharing is FREE for ever.  Most people who purchase this device would not know this if they didn’t know the underlining technology is pogoplug.  Shame on you Seagate for trying to pad the bottom line when you really don’t have to this way.

TBTR

Samson known for audio wants to now help with video, but truly it’s all about the audio.


Samson the makers of premiere Audio devices is set to make a splash with it’s new Video Recorder dubbed “Q3”.  This device is cabable of recording video at 640 x 480 resolution, althought I don’t see any references to HD quality I’m sure the video image is usable.  Lets face it even if you have have a HD video camera, sites such as Youtube don’t allow you to upload in HD quality, so your audience never gets HD quality. 

Sampson known for audio equipment is trying to take a way the bad audio stigma, that comes with these small video devices. Sampson’s Q3 has True Stereo Sound, which makes for a awesome device that can definitely make bad video much better with quality audio. 

Q3 X-Y mic
This true audio is achieved by the Q3 having two condenser mics on-board, arranged in such a way that gives you the best stereo recording possible. When I see the Q3 it’s look clunky and futuristic but when you think about it, that could be an advantge when holding the device, it probably provides a better grip.  The unit also includes audio meters so you can set and monitor your levels as you shoot, this is an added plus when you look at the other video recorders that don’t give you any choice in the matter when it comes to audio settings.

Overall the Sampson Q3 looks like a winner although I predict that most will overlook the Q3 as a novelty because The Flip, and Kodak Zi units get most of the coverage and are seen in a lot of online circles.

Features:

Built-in stereo condenser microphones with X/Y configuration for true stereo imaging
Get up to 1 hour of video with bundled 2GB SD card
Accepts up to a 32GB SDHC card for 16 hours of recording time
Large 2.4″ LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 240
Video resolution of 640 x 480 at 30 frames/sec
Video Format: MPEG-4 SP
NTSC / PAL TV output
Optics Lens Type: Fixed Focus (0.8m to infinity)
Audio formats with video include 44.1/48kHz 16/24-bit Linear PCM WAV or MP3 up to 320kbps
Audio only formats include 96kHz 16/24-bit Linear PCM WAV
Auto Record Level automatically adjusts audio levels during recordings
Uses two standard AA batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries
USB 2.0 with built-in cable
Windows and Mac OS compatible
Built-in speaker and tripod mount
Includes on-board editing software, YouTube up loader software, Apple Quicktime, TV cable, softcase, windscreen, 2GB SD card, two AA Batteries

Q3 Accessories
P.S. Promise me if you get a hold of one before I do, you’ll pass it along so I can review this puppy.

TBTR

For the true facebook, photo, pandora junkie, introducting HP’s DreamScreen digital frame.

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Hp is about to introduce a new digital frame that seems to go far beyond the normal viewing of photos.  The HP DreamScreen will allow you to show photos, connect to the internet, access social media and more.  For the suggested price of $249 you can have one.

We all know how these devices show you pictures, but what about your friends latest pictures from Facebook, or their most recent status updates?  Now that’s what I’m talking about, remember it’s not a full time computer, so don’t think you will be responding back on the unit, and it does not have a touch pad.  (YES I’M STILL WAITING FOR THE APPLE TABLET) That kind of makes me sad, but come on they gotta keep the cost down somehow.  Imagine Pandora streaming music for you, the DreamScreen does that too. I’m finding a weather forecast is pretty important in Florida, DreamScreen has you covered.

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This seems to be just the beginning for the digital photo frame revolution which for 2009 is a $25 million dollar industry, projected for $50 million by 2013.  When twitter, and a open API are available (I hope)  I’ll be more able to really show my geekness to those who visit me and my HP DreamScreen.

Please backup your blackberry, before it’s too late.

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As an avid blackberry user and former Network Administrator I have come across a ton of scenarios where backup was needed but not practiced.  Some methods I’ve used to fix these problems come from knowledge base articles, to online forums, to just plain old common sense.  There is one thing that as a tech junkie I have to talk about today.  That subject is about Backing up your data, While there are many articles on the net about backing up your personal (Computer) data many don’t talk about backing up your cell phone data.

I have been a blackberry user for over 5 years now, and in that time it’s come to my attention over and over again, the question is not if I will lose data it’s when?  That “when” you may never know, but since blackberries and Smart Phones in general are the norm now days.  We all have to take the proper precautions to save our data.  Some of us have saved data for years, and while most people can’t understand why someone would want to save so much useless data.  I have a ton of reasons I’ll go into on another post some day.

Why Backup your Smart Phone

Simply you have over time added more and more task, contacts, memo’s, notes, and other things to your Smart Phone that if you lost today, you have no where to get it back.  A lot of these phones can carry an enormous amount of data including files, pictures, calendars and other things.  These items are usually stored in the ROM of your smart phone.  Wikipedia.org defines ROM as Read-only memory (usually known by its acronym, ROM) is a class of storage media used in computers and other electronic devices. Because data stored in ROM cannot be modified (at least not very quickly or easily), it is mainly used to distribute firmware (software that is very closely tied to specific hardware, and unlikely to require frequent updates). ROM cannot be removed from your phone, it’s a permanent storage area within your device.

This ROM is your internal MEMORY which saves your data, pictures, and other items to your device.  Some smart phones also have a memory flash card that lets you create a place to store more data, that you can also remove from your phone and even access with a computer given the right software sometimes. Usually this flash card only saves pictures, music, video, and items that you record, but it does not save any contacts, calendar, task or other items that are part of the phones software.

I understand ROM, but tell me why I need to backup

A Smart phone is just like a computer it can fail, and if it does will you be able to recover that special number, or contact calendar from your device?  In most cases NO, you will never get that data back and it’s over.  You have to start from scratch with entering all your contacts again, which means an enormous amount of your personal time, not to mention the loss of critical items that are gone forever.  Don’t even think about sending your device to a specialty tech shop that deals in lost data, if you do plan on spending hundreds of dollars.

You don’t need to lost your data, at least you can always have a backup with in reach at any given moment.  Most Smart phones come with software that you can use to import contacts, task, calendar functions and other things that help.  Along with that most of them allow you to backup your data right to the same computer that you use to do all these functions.  I’m only going to discuss the blackberry method today but remember there are many manufactures out there that also do this, please consult your device manual for more information.  Better yet call your carrier, and ask for the data team or someone that can help you set up backups with your phone and the accompanying software, that is what they are there for in my opinion.

Blackberry backup method

You will need:

  • Blackberry device
  • USB Cable

Since I’m all about saving time and allowing you to get the best resources for answers I took the time to sift the net and found some resoruces that should help you in the process.  They tell you how to make that backup of your device and should help as a written example of how to do this, I hope my words hit home.  Remember this can happen to anyone, it’s only a matter of time.

Indiana University With a Blackberry, how do I backup and restore data

BlackBerry Cool Backing up your Blackberry (Cool Screenshots)

BlackBerry Rocks How to backup and restore your Blackberry (Even Cooler updated Screenshots)

TBTR (Comments are always welcome)