Recently VOIP technologies such as Skype, Vonage and Gizmo have really come to focus in the telecommunications marketplace. With this surge in VOIP traffic of course the question arises of how to get your voice into a computer in the clearest possible way. Companies like Vonage solve this problem by giving you a router which enables you to use a standard telephone with your VOIP service. Technologies like Skype and Gizmo get a bit more tricky. Most laptop computers come with built in speakers and a microphone, and most desktops feature the ability to plug in a microphone and speakers as well, but with that solution echo’s and poor sound quality can be a significant problem. Luckily headsets featuring high quality headphones and a boom mic such as the Sennheiser PC 150 enable you to get high quality audio for use in VOIP, Podcast creation, gaming, and other voice activated applications.
Unfortunately, upon purchasing my headset I discovered that my powerbook had only a line in,and lacked a microphone input - something a fair number of laptops suffer from. Enter the Griffin iMic USB sound card. The iMic is a great little accessory that enables you to use additional headsets and a variety of microphones or add an extra line in to your Mac or PC. Click through the jump for a full review.
Had to give you guys a quick heads up on this one. Newegg is currently selling a 1 GB 200-Pin SO-DIMM DDR 333 (PC 2700) Notebook Memory module for only $107 USD. For those not in the know, that is a great deal. I just picked one up for my PowerBook G4, which will bump it up to its max capacity of 1.25 GB. Something tells me this deal won’t last long, so jump on it. In fact, be sure to check out these Newegg promo codes.
Microsoft’s Hardware division unveiled some fun new products today. First up is the Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition, designed for those of you that want a wireless keyboard with Media Center-specific functions to help replace that remote control. It’s got a 30-foot wireless range, and a key lock to prevent accidental activation. The media keys are backlit, to aid controlling the media center in a darkened room. It’s even got a pointer nub and mouse buttons (on opposite sides of the keyboard) so that you can mouse-around without putting down the keyboard. No word on whether or not it is popcorn or soda proof, but I doubt it. MSRP is $104.95, but expect it to hit stores around $99.95.
The other new keyboard is an update to Microsoft’s Wireless Desktop package. The Wireless Desktop 5000 has keys dedicated to photo editing, and the mouse features Microsoft’s new “High Definition” optical technology (which we assume is simply a higher scan rate for the mouse, aiding in precision). The keyboard has the same “comfort curve” as the Wireless Desktop Comfort Edition that was released last year. Finally, Microsoft’s Digital Image Standard 2006 software is bundled in, so you can get started putting mustaches on your grandmother right away. It should retail for the same price as the Remote Keyboard.
Read More | Microsoft Entertainment Hardware
Sleek as it is sweet, Sonnet’s new Fusion 400 external drive enclosure looks like the next toy on my Christmas list. With four hot-swappable 3.5” drive bays, support for not only 3Gb/s drives but backwards compatibility with 1.5Gb/s drives, a small footprint, a sleek exterior and built in universal power supply, it certainly looks like it’s got some bite to back up the bark.
To quote SonnetTech.com:
Start out with a single drive for simple data storage and then add additional ones as the need arises, or fill the enclosure with four drives up to 500GB each to create a monster 2 terabyte striped RAID array for uncompressed HD video capture and editing—Fusion 400 is truly versatile.
Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ‘bout! Very nice. And, even better, the connection from the hot-swappable drives to the enclosure is cable-less, causing not only less mess but less degradation of signal, which may not mean much to the average data-storing customer but means everything to a video-editor or musician.
The Fusion 400 is the first in a new line, and works with Mac, Windows and Linux machines, as long as they’ve got a compatible SATA controller.
I feel a high sense of Star Trek-like nostalgia looking at this new product. The cards are capable of holding 30GB, and cost only $1. If the reader goes down in price, I can see this product hitting mass appeal in no time. Optware Corporation has also designed a holographic disc that holds a terabayte and is the same size as a DVD (or CD).
Read More | Popgadget
Turns out that 512MB of graphics memory actually does make a difference over 256MB of memory. Bigger is better, right? It was thought that 512MB was not needed for today’s specifications, however, under a lot of stress and really pushing the cards to the limit, the performance increase is seen. It’s time to save up to buy one of these little suckers.
Read More | The Inquirer
I certainly thought I’d never see this. We thought we were going forward with audio as a standard. However, maybe you don’t want to buy Def Leppard or White Snake CD’s because you already have the tape. Maybe you don’t want to find them on your favorite online music store. Instead, pop in this baby into an empty 5.25” bay and just sit back and carefully watch your DVD/CD-ROM drive get upset as you kick it where the sun don’t shine. We can’t wait to whip out our Ace of Base tape and begin MP3 conversion. Sweet retro gods will bless you if you buy it. Mac users get spared, for now.
Read More | ThinkGeek
Today we are one step closer to a completely wireless world. The wireless USB spec has been finalized after a myriad of delays. If you aren’t in the know, this is an official specification on how to transfar data through USB wirelessly. Look forward to mice, keyboards, printers - pretty much anything you use with a standard USB cable today, to have a wireless USB counterpart. The standard will use UWB for data flow.
Read More | Computer World
The ErgoDex DX1 keyboard is extremely unique. Basically, you have an electronic board onto which you can place keys which can be put anywhere you like. Check out the above configuration one gamer uses, optimized for EverQuest II. The directional keys are smack dab in the middle, and the F-keys are nicely lined down the side.
I use the DX1 to play Everquest II. I have laid the keys out in the shape of my hand. Everything is set up so that the keys are easy to reach from my fingers. My most often used keys are near my easiest to use fingers (index, middle, and thumb). Keys that I don’t use often are out near my pinky. I use about 47 Ergodex keys in my layout. My moving and turning keys are in the center. I use three keys with my thumb: cycle target, jumping, and missile attack.
The system includes the USB pad, the tray, and 25 configurable keys. If you want one, be prepared to drop 150 bones to get one.
Read More | ErgoDex DX1 System
Sony’s new internal DVD burner, the DRU-800A, is now available at a price of about $130. This one incorporates both the -R and +R versions of the double layer/dual layer format, writing double layer media at 4x speeds. An external version, the DRU-800UL, will be available in may for about $210.
Sony DRU-800A write:
- 16x DVD-R and DVD+R
- 4x DVD-R DL and DVD+R DL
- 8x DVD+RW
- 6x DVD-RW
- 48x CD-R
- 24x CD-RW
Sony DRU-800A read:
- 16x DVD-ROM
- 8x DVD-ROM DL
- 48x CD-ROM
Read More | ExtremeTech
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