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All posts tagged "accessories"


Friday, June 12, 2009

The iZel: A Digital Device Holder

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

The iZel is a small, portable digital device holder (stand) that allows you to easily watch video content in comfort while on a plane, train etc. All you need is a surface to put the iZel on. In the video I test it out with a variety of devices: Zunes, smartphones, an iPod Touch, etc. When I travel, I like to load up my Zune with a movie or two, but I end up holding it in my hand to watch it - not very ideal. The iZel offers a solution to that problem, although depending on the screen size of your device, and how good your eyesight is, watching a video at tray-table height might be difficult. The iZel is made of very durable materials, so it should last a very long time, making it worth the price tag in my opinion (though not everyone agrees). I'll likely be travelling by plane in September, so I'll get a chance to use it in a real-world situation. In the meantime, I'm going to use it as a holder for my cellphone-du-jour, the Samsung Jack. The iZel can be purchased for $24.95 from Amazon.com. [Affiliate]


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ExpressCard 2.0 Spec Finalized: 5Gbps Speeds Touted

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 12:02 PM

http://www.slashgear.com/expresscar...-cards-0946480/

"...PCMCIA - the organization behind the expansion card standard - are striding ahead with the official release of ExpressCard Standard 2.0. Transfer speeds are reportedly boosted by up to 10-times compared to ExpressCard 1.2, the existing standard, and there's also support for SuperSpeed USB 3.0. In fact the up to 5Gbps bandwidth will make ExpressCard 2.0 even more useful for adding eSATA ports and high-speed storage such as the latest breed of SSDs."

Personally, I don't use my ExpressCard slot that much - but when I do, I'm glad it's there. Laptops today usually lack a CompactFlash card slot, so if I'm travelling and shooting with my DSLR, I need an ExpressCard slot for my Delkin ExpressCard54 Compact Flash adaptor. Beyond that, I've never used an ExpressCard product - so is Apple right to take the ExpressCard slot out of their new Macbooks? Or does ExpressCard still have life left in it - do you use the ExpressCard slot on your laptop for anything?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Tip My Laptop" Laptop Stand

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

http://www.tipmylaptop.com/

"This amazing product was designed to protect your laptop from overheating and to perfect your typing skills. This product will help to maneuver your hands into a better posture, creating a comfortable ergonomic angle in relation to the keyboard."

I've always thought it would be nice if laptops came with flip down feet like most keyboards do. Until they do, this looks like a nice way to get the same effect and for under $10, very reasonable.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cinema Rig Stops the Shakes

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 AM

http://i.gizmodo.com/5224882/redroc...ht-at-spielberg

"The latest dSLRs shoot excellent HD video, as long as you don't mind the shakiness. Redrock, who released some of the first pro solutions to this problem, have just announced a product that's downright buyable."

One of the challenges of all handheld video cameras is the camera shake. Personally, I've used a homemade "fig rig" to reduce shakiness for a some of my own videos, but it definitely looks, well, homemade. This equipment line, which starts at $195, is a much more professional option.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

iHarmonix Platinum Earbuds: Easy Listening on the Go

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Most of us have a media player of one sort or another. Whether it is an iPhone, Archos or Zune, PMPs typically come with stock earbuds. While great for space and portability, they usually lack decent sound reproduction. iHarmonix manufactures several lines of earbuds to improve upon what comes packed in a tiny bag of cellophane. I had the opportunity to put one of their Platinum ev-Series Earphones through its paces and I was fairly pleased with what I heard. Perhaps as an indication of thoughtfulness, the earbuds thankfully do not come in a cut-my-arteries-blister-pack, but one with a cardboard backing which is much easier to open. Inside, the earbuds came with three sets of ear gels in different sizes, a soft velvety pouch to and a slip of paper to serve as instructions. Read more...


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ultra-Tough Lens Filters from Hoya

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT6wBQR7iqE

Are you the sort that's rather tough on your camera lenses? Most wouldn't want to admit to that, but if you find yourself constantly losing your lens caps, and noticing new scratches in your lenses, it might be time for some semi-permanent protection. Lens filters are one way to do that, and these Hoya HD filters certainly stand up to some serious punishment.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

6-cell Battery Goodness Now Available for HP Mini 1000

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/13/...order-for-real/

"You may still not be able to get that VGA adapter, but it looks like HP Mini 1000 users can now finally get their hands on the six-cell battery for the netbook, which should provide a significant boost over the stock three-cell battery. As you may recall, this follows a brief spat of seeming availability in January but, judging from some of the responses on the HP Mini forums, it looks like HP has since canceled the few orders that got through before the battery was pulled from its site."

I'm guessing but the shape of the bump on the battery, that it will boost the rear of the laptop along with boosting your battery life. Looks like it is currently available for $95.99. If you use coupon code SV2130, you should be able to lop an extra $10 off of that.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Great Netbook Accessories

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:50 PM

This is a video review of two great accessories that I recommend every netbook owner get: a USB-powered DVD burner, and a shorter power cable. The DVD burner in question is a Samsung SE-S084B/RSBN External Slim USB DVD-Writer - it requires two USB ports to function, so as I explain in the video, you'll need a USB extension cable to reach two USB ports on most laptops. The power cable is a 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C5 Cloverleaf Plug from Cyberguys - it's great for shaving off some bulk from your travel bag.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Steal of a Deal - Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-10189248-58.html

"Tired of running out of juice when you're on the run? The Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800 is a rechargeable portable battery pack that supplies power to phones, MP3 players, Bluetooth headsets, and other mobile devices. The charger comes with seven adapter tips for use with most kinds of mobile phones, but you can also use the USB cable that came with your iPod, Zune, or other device. In other words, it's almost universally compatible, provided that your gizmo can be charged via USB."

I think I'm going to order one of these as is should cover my iPod, Zune, and phone. The normal price is $44.95, but right now Amazon has them for $28.99 $39.27 (they hiked the price!). [Affiliate] Unfortunately there is a couple of week backlog on their supply, so it will be a bit before I can share my thoughts. Anyone out there already have one of these?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SanDisk Launches New ImageMate Memory Card Readers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:11 PM

http://www.sandisk.com/Products/Ite...aderWriter.aspx

"SanDisk Corporation today announced that it has shipped the latest editions of its popular SanDisk ImageMate® memory card readers, which provide enhanced user experience through increased efficiency and faster data transfer rates. The new readers have shipped to retailers in North America and are available for purchase at this time. Faster, smaller and sleeker than their predecessors, and featuring upgraded software applications, the new ImageMate All-In-One and Multi-Card readers quickly and conveniently transfer data between a wide range of memory card formats and a host computer. The All-In-One memory card reader can reach speeds of up to 34 megabytes per second (MB/s)1 when using a SanDisk Extreme IV 45MB/s CompactFlash® card, and the Multi-Card reader is capable of up to 30MB/s2 read and 27 MB/s write data transfer rates when using a SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition SDHC card. Sporting a stylish glossy black and metallic silver design, each reader's tripod base is detachable, creating instant portability."

There's nothing particularly exciting about memory card readers, but I've got to hand it to SanDisk for trying to sex 'em up. Note that I've adjusted the photo above, lessening the shadow tones, because SanDisk's PR people thought it was a good idea to release images where it was impossible to see the slots. The bigger of the two, which has support for SD, SDHC, miniSDHC, microSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro Duo, xD and CompactFlash, will sell for $29.99 USD. The smaller one on the right supports xD, Memory Stick, SD, SDHC, MMC, and will sell for $19.99 USD.


Friday, February 13, 2009

How Do You Carry All Your Tech Gear?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 10:00 AM

Laptops, phones, MP3 players, cameras, gaming systems, etc. The dirty little secret of having a bunch of portable electronics is that even with some convergence, a lot of us still have too many items to just carry around in our pockets, necessitating even the manliest of us to carry some sort of bag. Since the ladies already carry purses for the most part, it is a challenge as a guy to find the right bag to carry all of our stuff. So I'm curious, how much stuff do you carry around on a daily basis and how do you carry it? I'll start off. Read more...


Friday, January 30, 2009

Wave Your Hand With The Gyrotransport Air-Mouse

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

Like many of you, I've got a computer hooked up to my TV in the living room for occasional browsing, especially when I have friends over and we all want to see a YouTube video or something similar. I've been using a desktop wireless mouse and keyboard that I had laying around, but the range was just a bit shy of what I really needed. I'd seen other options, but they seemed kind of expensive just for occasional use. Then I came across the Gyrotransport Air-Mouse on Woot! and figured I'd give it a go.

After the break, I'll tell you how it worked out. Read more...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

iFlyz: The Portable Media Holding Solution

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 PM

http://www.iflyz.com

"Inspired by you, the consumer, iFlyz was born after spending tireless hours traveling and watching as passengers tired to master a way to watch their media. Either you hold it, share the holding responsibilities with someone or rig it up a cup of some sort. Every option leaves you annoyed and with a slight kink in your neck, just reassuring you that flying is sheer joy. iFlyz introduces hands-free viewing while traveling, allowing you to relax and enjoy your downloadable movie or TV show while flying."

It's hard to get a handle on how compact this is, but it's a brilliant idea for anyone that travels a great deal and wants a better way to hold their media playback device. I know I could have used this product many times in the past! It would work equally well on a Zune, a Windows Mobile smartphone, or any other number of devices. The product is available for pre-order ($29.95 USD within the USA, $34.95 to Canada, and $36.95 elsewhere in the world, shipping included) and they'll be shipping them out come February.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How Long Can HDMI Cables Be Run?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/artic...an-hdmi-run.htm

"One of the glorious things about the traditional analog video formats is their robustness over distance. Our customers have run analog component video for hundreds of feet without so much as a booster box to keep the signal together. When DVI and HDMI first hit the market, many people had trouble running signals over even modest distances; 15 feet would be reliable, and anything longer was a gamble. That situation has improved, though HDMI will never rival analog video for reliability over distance. Here, we address why that is, and what you can expect if you need to run HDMI cable over distance."

I've never really understand the reasons why digital cables couldn't have longer run distances than analog - you'd think analog signals would be subject to more degredation - but this article does a good job of explaining what they've discovered through their testing. They don't go into the physics of how and why the digital signal degrades, but what matters is what they've discovered in their tests - and how just because you see a 50 foot cable on a store shelf doesn't mean that it will work the way you think it should work. If you're going shopping for HDMI cables, this article is a must-read.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Solid Camera Strap Replacement: The Skooba Superbungee

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

In the same way that replacing the headphones that came with your MP3 player is a great way to upgrade your overall experience, the same holds true for DSLRs and straps. It doesn't matter how expensive your camera is, they tend to come with straps that, while functional, tend to lack in both style and comfort. The Skooba Superbungee ($19.95 MSRP) is a camera strap upgrade that improves your shooting experience in a big way because it helps keep the camera in place on your shoulder, unlike most default camera straps. It's available in a variety of colours, including black/red, black/black (pictured above), black/gray, black/blue, and black/pink. The strap is adjustable from 21 inches to 45 inches, and although you might think otherwise looking at the photo above, the SKOOBA logo on the black/black strap is virtually invisible - which is exactly the way I want it. Read more...


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Save 25% On Skooba Design Products

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 04:40 PM

http://www.skoobadesign.com

Skooba Design makes some great bags - in fact I have one here that I'm way behind on reviewing (whoops!) - and now you can pick up some of their great gear at a significant discount. If you use the coupon code 08TEC25 at checkout you'll save 25% off your order if it's $50 or more. You'll also get free shipping within the US mainland (Sorry Mrs. Palin) - gotta' love that. Wait, there's more: it can even be used on sale items! I really like Skooba products, and have been using their laptop bags almost exclusively for several years. You can't go wrong with them!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer Laptop Bag Reviewed

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

http://the-gadgeteer.com/review/tom...ptop_bag_review

"The main thing I hate about travelling is going through airport security. You know the drill, take off your shoes, jacket, metal items in your pockets and place them in a tray. Then remove the laptop from your shoulder bag and place it in another tray. It's always a hassle once your items come out the other end of the Xray machine because you have to hurry up and gather them before you hold up the line. How would you like to make your life a little bit easier with that task? How about if you didn't have to remove your laptop? Well now you don't have to thanks to the Checkpoint Flyer laptop bag from Tom Bihn."


$220? Yikes - that's one expensive bag. I'm all for quality bags, but considering it's nylon and not leather, I'm highly dubious that this bag would be worth the money. On the other hand, in some ways you're not only paying for the bag, but for the convenience of not having to remove your laptop and other digital equipment from the bag - and for a frequent traveller, that might be worth a lot more than $220. Now if there was only some way for them to invent shoes that I didn't have to take off...


Make Extended Listening Enjoyable with Comply Foam Tips

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

When I think of what matters to me in a pair of headphones, comfort isn't usually at the top of the list - not because I don't want them to be comfortable, but because sound quality is always the thing that I care about the most. Take the Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 EB's for example: they are fantastic-sounding headphones, but after an hour or so or having them in my ears, my ears tend to hurt a little. And my right ear never seems to seal up air-tight with them in. Despite that, I adore the super.fi 5 EB's, and put up with the discomfort - partially because it's rare that I listen to more than an hour or two of music in a single sitting. But do I wish the super.fi 5 EB's were perfectly comfortable after extended periods of use? You bet! And that's exactly why the Comply Foam Tips caught my attention - they claimed to improve the comfort experience for a variety of headphones, so I contacted the company to ask for a few samples. Read more...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

BlackRapid's Rapid-R Camera Strap

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

http://www.blackrapid.com/

"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.


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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