Let me get this out of the way; I’m a keyboard snob. I’ve been typing for a very long time, and still have fond memories of my IBM Selectronic (with its very nice “buckling spring” keys), and my old Northgate Omnikey, with those wonderful programmable keys. (Geek Cred +2) I hoard keyboards like they’re going out of style, because you never know when a company will stop making the perfect keyboard and leave you out in the cold.
However, since developing some severe RSI in both wrists, I had to move to a more ergonomic keyboard; a standard “straight” keyboard would have my wrists in flames in less than 10 minutes. Microsoft was one of the first companies to perform major research into ergonomics, and developed the first of what would become known as a “split” keyboard, branded under the “Natural” moniker.
The first of the Natural keyboards, the Natural Pro, was a gift from the almighty himself. As with any new keyboard layout, it took some adjustment to get used to it, but I noticed right away that the RSI that I’d developed was gone. Spending a little more time practicing with the keyboard, and my typing speeds improved even over my previous scores, and the keyboard had a fantastic “aural” response. You could hear me typing on that thing from across the office. There were some differences in the key layout, however, that had some people up in arms. Microsoft would change the layout of the 3x2 key grouping that contained the Delete, Insert, Home, etc., to a 2x3 layout of only five keys … removing the Insert key entirely and doubling the size of the Delete key. It was a controversial change, but one I came to embrace.
A series of refinements came to the line, starting with the slimmer “Elite” model, which many people still swear by to this day, but which also came with a new key configuration for the arrow keys, changing the “inverted T” to a cross layout with smaller keys. The Natural Multimedia would come later, adding specific keys for commonly used programs, as well as a two-port USB hub, but it retained that wonderful loud “clackity” sound. After that, it seemed as if there was no further development into the ergonomic keyboard design, and rumors started to spread that they simply weren’t selling as well as they should.
Finally, when Microsoft jumped into wireless technologies, they released a wireless desktop set called the Wireless Optical Desktop Pro. It features a wireless version of the Natural Multimedia with slick translucent keys, and while the sound had been reduced somewhat, it was still easy to hear when you were making good contact with the keys. They also introduced an “F-Lock button, which can convert your F-keys into dedicated keyboard shortcuts for New, Open, Close, etc. Today, I use the Natural Multimedia at work, and the Natural Desktop Pro at home. The wireless feature ended up being far more useful than I had anticipated … sometimes it’s nice to be able to just grab the keyboard and toss it aside to give yourself more desk space.
Even more from Logitech, and this one is pretty sweet. Basically, the company took the Harmony 880, made it silver, and added RF capabilities. This means that it has that nice 880-styled color screen, rechargeable lithium ion battery, and backlit keys.
Logitech´s Harmony 890 Remote Control uses both radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) wireless signals to deliver complete control of your home-entertainment system that may be hidden behind cabinets or in separate rooms. With a wireless range of up to 100 feet, the Harmony 890 remote sends RF commands to a base station, which then blasts infrared signals to any components in that zone. With the Harmony 890 remote, you can create a system that involves multiple remotes and/or base stations to deliver control of all the entertainment zones throughout the home.
This one is not too shabby, although at $399 USD, the only place we might see these in action is on MTV Cribs.
Read More | Logitech Harmony 890 Product Page
I love Logitech Harmony remote controls. I have yet to use a remote that is more intuitive, easy to set up, and recognized as many devices at the Harmony line. That being the case, I am looking forward to getting my hands on the 520 to see what kind of product they are putting out there at the $99 USD price range. It is a great option for those with just a few devices that they need to control, although the oddly-shaped housing does leave a bit to be desired. Hey, for $99 you still get the signature Harmony internet setup wizard via USB, which makes this thing cake. Look for it to hit stores by the end of the month. Jump down for the full press release.
Read More | Logitech Harmony 520 Product Page
Here is another SD card that has an extension to allow it to be used as a USB 2.0 drive in and of itself. This particular one is made by PDC Taiwan, and there have been others including the Sandisk Ultra II SD Plus and INX-USD.
Read More | Slashphone
Time to tear down your R2-D2 Lego masterpiece, and grab your “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” floppy for yet another cool mod. Follow these simple instructions and you will end up with a CD/DVD rack that any uber-geek would love.
Looks like Samsung has been hard at work cramming even more flash memory into a tiny form factor. The company has announced 1GB and 2GB MMC Plus cards, perfect for digital cameras. The MMC Mobile cards are half the size of MMC Plus cards, and are the first MMC mobile cards to reach the 1GB range. Both cards have absolutely stunning response times - about three times more than your standard SD card. Their low voltage is great for mobile phones which prefer low energy cards like these.
The new cards are capable of transmitting data at 52MBytes per second, up to 20 times faster than previous MMC versions, by supporting wider (x4 and x8) bus widths and faster clock speeds (up to 52MHz).
Read More | Physorg
There is a new FujiFilm printer aimed at the mobile market. The new printer will interface with a mobile phone via IR (what - no Bluetooth?!) and produce a credit card sized image for all your devious mobile printing needs. The printer features Fuji Image Intelligence, which will supposedly help correct for dark photos normally associated with the camera phones it is designed for. Retailing for $129, this miniature printer will be available in September. I’m glad to see a 1st gen product like this - hopefully someday the technology will exist to provide onboard printers of some sort for high end digital cameras - obviously a high quality print will involve a photo lab, but for your quick snap instant prints would be fantastic.
Read More | Gizmodo
In New York City, “straphangers” is the term used for subway commuters. TranStrap Corp has taking this to the literal, portable meaning of the term and developed this awesome piece of equipment. The simple design is made of plush heavy-duty nylon webbing, aircraft grade aluminum, and high-friction neoprene, resulting hygiene freak’s dream come true. Selling for a reasonable $14.95 - 19.95 depending on the model, TranStrap is a must own for the rush hour commuters. Everyone else can use it to play the role of Captain Hook in the next community play.
While the term biometric might not quite apply the fingerprint watch by Piaget has a certain geeky luxury to it. The Fingerprint watch is a unique creation - you order the watch and the company will make it custom designed for you based on a copy of your fingerprint. The fingerprint motif will be rendered in diamonds and white gold. Obviously such a personal treatment comes with a high price (so high they don’t list it on their website), but for the truly unique timepiece some might just find it worth the cash.
So, Mobile Edge is calling this one the smallest WiFi signal locator in the world. The nice thing about this is that it slips right on to your keychain, so it’s always with you, and pretty hard to forget. Unless, you know, you lose your keys all the time. The WiFi Locator weighs in at $29.99 USD.
- Patent-pending technology instantly detects ONLY WiFi signal presence
- Eliminates false readings from microwave and portable phone interference
- Detects 802.11B and G Networks
- Four bright LED’s to show signal strength
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