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.
We recently got o ur hands on the LG C1300i, an entry level cell phone available from Cingular. The thought behind this was that not everyone absolutely needs the high-end phones out there, but do need something functional. The C1300i is a fairly low end phone, but has some great features - some of which go unadvertised. Being true gadget fans, we went into this review without high hopes and came away impressed with a few key points on this phone. Read the full Gear Live review after the jump for more.
This week, The Final Cut takes a closer look at two of Friday’ releases- Underclassman, with Nick Cannon; and The Transporter 2, with Jason Statham. Also in theaters this weekend are The Constant Gardener with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, A Sound of Thunder with Edward Burns and Ben Kingsley, and in limited release, Margaret Cho: Assassin- the comedienne’s fourth concert movie. As always, if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of this weeks’ releases feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on it. You can catch The Final Cut’s recommendations after the jump…
Okay, so I was discussing Gamestop’s ridiculously amazing, and horrendously overpriced Xbox 360 Omega Bundle on The Chris Pirillo Show last week. Before the end of the segment, Chris had convinced me to give one of these monsters away here on Gear Live. Thank him, because this is what we are giving away:
360 Premium Pack ($399.00): Xbox 360 Game Console, Wireless Controller, Combination High-Definition Component & Standard A/V Cable, 20GB Hard Drive, Ethernet Cable, Headset, Universal Media Remote, Xbox Live Silver, Xbox Live Gold 30-Day Trial
Omega Bundle Games: Perfect Dark Collector’s Edition, Project Gotham Racing 3, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dead or Alive 4, Call of Duty 2, GUN, Quake 4, Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland, Condemned, Madden NFL 2006, Kameo, Amped 3, Ghost Recon, NBA 2K6, NHL 2K6, Ridge Racer 6, Top Spin 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Tiger Woods 2006, Frame City Killer
Omega Bundle Accessories: Extra Wireless Controller, Extra Wireless Controller, Extra Wireless Controller, Wireless Network Adaptor, Memory Unit, Fuego Faceplates, Play & Charge Kit, Rechargeable Battery, Xbox Live 12 Month Card, 1-Year Product Replacement Plan
This contest starts now, and will end a week before Xbox 360 launch. Here is how it will go down. In order to enter, you need to be a registered user on the site, and must place your mailing address in the signup form in the Sync Magazine box. No worries, as your address will only be used to mail you your Bundle, and send you a Sync subscription if you check that box. Once this is done, be sure you are logged in and leave a comment here in this post. What we want to know is the following:
1) Which game are you looking forward to the most in this bundle?
2) Which game are you looking forward to the least in this bundle?
Be sure to tell us why you are excited about (or not looking forward to) the games you choose. The winner will be someone who follows the instructions, and will be chosen at random. Once again, this one is only for those located in the good ol’ USA. There you have it. Someone is about to be buried in Xbox 360 games.
So, at the beginning of August we came across a service/internet store called iPod My Baby. After talking about it, I said to myself “Hey, I have a baby - why not iPod him?” After waiting three times longer than the site said it should take for shipping, the package finally arrived, and the results are oh-so-cute, as you can see. Of course, Alijah is known as the gadget baby - it took a combination of a cell phone and iPod to get him to crawl, and a Nintendo DS to get him to say his first word - that being “Apple”, the name of my Golden Retriever pup in Nintendogs. Jump down for a couple more images. Oh, and if you have images of your baby in one of these, please send them in. We would love to post more.
Boy, am I glad that’s over. What a freaking ordeal. You see, a few days ago I continued my Mac switch (which, up to that point, included a Mac mini and 12” PowerBook G4) with the purchase of a 20” 2.0 GHz iMac G5. The thing costs about $2,000 after taxes are said and done, and maxing out the RAM would have cost an extra $400. Of course, I have upgraded RAM in many a computer - heck, I have built plenty of computers from scratch. Looking on Newegg, I saw a great deal for 2 sticks of 1 GB OCZ Platinum PC3200 RAM. With that purchase, I saved about $200 doing it myself instead of having Apple do it. The RAM arrived today, and the war between me and my iMac began.
This week, The Final Cut takes a closer look at two of this weekends great releases- Red Eye, with Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, and The 40 Year Old Virgin with Steve Carell and Catherine Keener. Also out this Friday are Valiant, an animated film about a pigeon set during World War II, and Supercross, a story about two brothers who take a motocross championship by storm after the death of their father. Check out The Final Cut’s recommendations after the jump, and as always, if you’ve seen one of this weekends releases feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section.
Recently we had the opportunity to review the Tom Bihn Monolith and Brain Bag. Today we are proud to present our thorough review and impressions of the Brain Bag - Tom Bihn’s carry all rough and tumble backpack. When you need to haul your your stuff in style, the Brain Bag is your friend. Check out after the jump for the full review.
Gear Live has reviewed bags made by the Washington State based Tom Bihn, and we have been quite impressed by them. We recently had the opportunity got to check out two more of their bags - the Monolith and the Brain Bag. The review is being done as a two part series and this first part is focusing on the laptop toting Monolith - a great solution for todays widescreen laptops. For a through review of the Monolith and our impressions over the last two weeks, read on.
Video Blogging, or Vlogging, is quietly gaining momentum in the weblog community. For those of you not in-the-know, Vlogging is basically taking the idea of podcasts to the next level. A video broadcast (yes, people also call them vodcasts) is placed into an RSS/Atom enclosure and syndicated around the web in the same way a regular blog works.
Apple has suspiciously added a form of video blogging support to its latest iTunes iteration. This is the first corporate endorsement of the fad/trend/media-revolution that I’ve seen so far. One of the biggest hurdles to the success of Vlogging has been the complexity and difficulty of taking video clips and getting them onto the web quickly. Traditional DV Cams require capturing, editing, encoding, and uploading before a finished video clip is online and ready for distribution. Webcams offer some relief but usually produce low quality video in tiny onscreen windows. The mobile aspect of blogging and photoblogging is another stymie for the video blog . In the U.S. today very few mobile devices offer decent video recording with the ability to upload or publish content to the web.
The issue of bandwidth is also a key to the success of the video blog. Traditional and photo blogs require very little bandwidth, as text and basic images are small in size. Video files are comparatively massive, especially when you consider syndicating these videos all over the web. The bandwidth costs associated with running a videoblog are potentially exponential compared to a text-only we.
Can video blogging displace TV news reporting? Will America be tuning in to bedroom versions of 60 Minutes on their PCs while televisions begin to collect dust? Could Google Video solve Vlogging’s bandwidth woes? Comment wars in 3,2,1…
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