Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard For iPad 2 & iPad 3

Posted by tomwiles at 12:23 AM on October 13, 2012

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Not long after I purchased my iPad 2, I ended up finding a Bluetooth keyboard case combination on a discount table at a Flying J truck stop priced for $15 dollars. For that low price, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for. The keyboard quality was very low. It was extremely difficult to type on the rubberized keys — actually no better than the virtual iPad keyboard.

So, I did some looking around online for Bluetooth iPad keyboard reviews and ended up getting a Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard.

Typing on the Belkin keyboard is much easier than the experience I had with the other keyboard. The keys on the Belkin seem to work a bit better and have better overall placement for touch typing.

The Belkin keyboard does not replicate the experience of typing on a good computer keyboard. Also, there seems to be a problem with some occasional lag from when keys are pressed, or even key presses that are missed or ignored. I figure this problem is likely caused by iPad 2 performance issues, and not the Belkin keyboard itself since I experienced the same issues with the prior inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard.

It’s possible that I just have too many apps installed and they are stealing CPU cycles. My iPod Touch, which has an even slower processor than my iPad 2, also suffers occasional stuttering and delays just with everyday use. Turning off push notifications does seem to help this problem on the iPod and may help out on the iPad. The next step would be to start deleting unused or underused apps to see if CPU cycles can be freed back up for improved Bluetooth keyboard performance.

The functionality as a case seems to work as expected. The iPad 2 itself fits snugly in the sleeve. There are cut outs for the on/off switch and volume control, as well as for both the front and rear facing cameras and the home button. It comes with a micro USB charging cable, but you will have to provide the USB charging port.

If I can clear up the Bluetooth lag problem, the Belkin “YouType” Folio + Keyboard would make for a good typing experience for the iPad.

Breffo Spiderpodium Review

Posted by Andrew at 9:30 AM on August 19, 2012

The Breffo Spiderpodium is an extremely flexible gadget holder that can be used in a multitude of situations. Arachnoid, it’s eight rubberised flexible legs attached to a grey base and it’s easy to bend the legs to grip, to hold or to simply stand. Take a look at some of the pictures – it’s much easier to show than explain.

Breffo Spiderpodium Naked

Twisted Breffo Spiderpodium

Breffo Spiderpodium with Tapwave Zodiac

Yes, that’s a Tapwave Zodiac playing Doom II in the Spiderpodium’s embrace. The eight legs give a great deal of flexiblity in the positioning and orientation of the device. Standing, hanging, upright, tilted, it’s all possible. There’s just the right amount of stiffness in the legs to keep the Spiderpodium in the right position without making too difficult to shape. There’s a bigger version for hold tablets and heavier devices too.

But I’ve a confession to make….I haven’t been using the Spiderpodium for my gadgets at all. I’ve been using it as a clothes hanger in my gym locker to stop my shirt and suit from getting creased. That’s how handy the Spiderpodium is.

Breffo Spiderpodium Coat Hook

A bargain at £14.95 or $19.99, available direct and in a range of colours. It’s also designed and manufactured in Britain, so support local innovation and industry.

Disclosure – I won the Spiderpodium in a contest organised by Breffo in Twitter.

Akitio Neutrino U3+ USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure Review

Posted by geeknews at 2:25 PM on August 12, 2012

Akitio has come out with the Neutrino U3+ a stylish 2.5 Sata HDD enclosure that supports  bus powered USB 3.0 or Firewire 800. The all Aluminum casing with heat sink guarantees your drive will not overheat. The best part is multiple drives can be daisy chained together using the firewire ports. Priced at $79.00 this is one of the lowest priced USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosures on the market.

The drive can fall back to USB 2.0 if needed. The package includes a USB 3.0 cable, Firewire 800 cable, enclosure minus hard drive, power adapter for when you are unable to take advantage of Bus Power. The enclosure itself is brushed aluminum to match mac body design.

This is the third product from Akitio that I have reviewed, and I am always surprised by the quality of the product.

 

WiebeTech UltraDock v5 Review

Posted by Jack Ellis at 2:01 PM on August 12, 2012

Over the years I have owned a number of devices that allowed me to connect a bare drive to a computer. I have box full of these types of devices as they where always one off solutions. This past week I have had been reviewing the WiebeTech UltraDock v5.

This dock is incredible! I can connect to bare 3.5 & 2.5 Sata Drives, 3.5 IDE drives, 2.5 Notebook drives, 3.5 & 2.5 Sata, 1.8 Toshiba Drives, 1.8 Zif Drives, USB Drives and the best part is I can connect it to my PC or Mac via Serial ATA, Firewire 400/800, USB 2.0 or 3.0 . But this dock is what I would call “smart” it has a LCD display that gives you details about the drive you are connected to, capacity, error, warning messages and other relevant drive info.

The LCD screen was invaluable to me as I had a box of drives of various types and I was able to connect to drives that I had failed to be able to do so in the past with other docks. This allowed me to clean up some drives that I had not been able to do so in the past.

Wiebetech has stated the the v5 version of the dock is substantially improved over the v4 version. They say that it has an upgraded chipset and faster host connections (USB 3.0, eSATA, and FireWire 800), and is 24% faster than its predecessor with benchmark speeds of up 211.9 MB/s

A cool feature is that if you have drives with a Host Protected Areas (HPA’s) or Device Configuration Overlays (DCO) you can now create, modify or remove the areas. Programmers may want to modify or upload their very own builds.

This dock is priced at $249.00 but I found the price to be justified as they have developed this into a docking solution that works both on the Mac and Windows operating systems. The LCD screen in my opinion is one of the best features. Being the dock is compact and versatile in being able to connect to nearly every format it is worth every penny. Do not forget the speed factor with data transfer clocking in at 211 Mbps this bad boy screams.

Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless Plus

Posted by tomwiles at 12:13 AM on July 17, 2012

Keeping teeth clean by brushing and flossing is one of those jobs that we know we should do, but it’s easy to put off or even completely ignore.

The Waterpik home dental appliance has been around since the early 1980’s. Think of it as a miniature pressure washer for your teeth and especially your gums. The original Waterpik plugged required AC house current to operate, but now there’s a cordless version called the Cordless Plus.

Even though I’ve been pretty good about brushing and flossing for many years, I still have gum and bone erosion and my dentist’s dental assistants want to do something called “deep cleaning” to my teeth and gums. After a bit of research it is apparent that this so-called “deep cleaning” has some negative side effects. Instead of allowing them to do the “deep cleaning” instead I’ve decided to do daily water flossing instead and see if that has any positive effect.

Even with regular brushing and flossing, my gums often had sore spots. Now that I’ve been using the Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless Plus once a day in addition to my regular brushing and flossing regimen the soreness in my gums has gone away. I’ve decided against the “deep cleaning” and instead will take my chances with daily water flossing instead.

The Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless Plus is easy to use. Simply fill the reservoir up with warm water and turn the unit on. It holds enough water for about 45 seconds worth of water flossing. I typically fill it a total of four times during each daily use, concentrating the power spray of water along the gum line and between teeth both inside and outside, upper and lower. This really does seem to do the trick. Just add warm water and periodically plug it in to keep the built-in battery charged.

The Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless Plus sells for as little as $39.97 on Amazon.Com, or you can buy it like I did at my local Bed Bath and Beyond.

As an ever-aging adult that easily qualifies for so-called senior citizen discounts, I can tell you that keeping your teeth and gums clean is a task you should take very seriously.

A System to Prevent Traffic Jams

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 5:43 PM on April 27, 2012

Honda We’ve have all been in one either as a driver or as a passenger a traffic jam. Sometimes they are caused by an accidents, but many times the cause seems to be a complete mystery. These are known as shock wave traffic jams and are often caused by drivers braking or slowing down causing a ripple effect behind them. Most of the time they clear out quickly but they create a wave-like an effect, traffic bunching up, than clearing out, then bunching up again.

Scientist had known about this phenomenon for quite a while, however finding a solution has been much more difficult. Changing people’s habits is never easy especially when they don’t think they are doing anything wrong. Someday we may have driverless cars like the one Google is testing, but until that day Honda is trying something different.

Honda is trying a system that encourages drivers to change their habits by a system of color codes. Honda hopes to use these color codes to help the driver drive more smoothly. This will help cars behind it from bunching up. At this time the system is single car only, but they do hope to link it to the cloud so cars can talk to each other. Right now in initial test the average speed increased 13 percent and fuel savings by 5 percent. This system will also help to prevent a lot of fender benders.  They plan to do further testing in Italy and Indonesia before they release the system commercially.

The biggest trouble with this system remains the human dimension, after all the system will only work if the driver follows the suggestions. Right now the system is set up so that the benefit for the drivers behind the person using the system. The more cars the system is installed in and the more people follow the suggestions the better traffic will flow.

BubbleScope Takes 360° Pictures and Video at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 11:31 PM on April 18, 2012

The BubbleScope is an optical attachment for smartphones that takes 360° pictures and video called “Bubbles”. The BubblePix smartphone app is used to capture, view and share online the Bubbles, which can be hosted free at bubblepix.com. The pictures below gives you a feel of wraparound nature of a Bubble but when it’s in the BubblePix app, it joins up seamlessly. Here’s one in a fountain - the effect is amazing.

Gadget Show Bubble

Rollercoaster Bubble

Shaped a bit like a periscope, the BubbleScope attaches to the to the smartphone and uses the phone’s built-in camera to record the imagery. The optical part of the scope pops up and down to keep it clean and undamaged. Available initially for the iPhone 4 & 4S, it will be on sale this summer for £64.99. Versions compatible with other leading smartphones (Android) will be released shortly afterwards.

BubbleScoppe

In the interview at the Gadget Show Live, I talk with Tom Lawton, the inventor of BubbleScope about the device and how it took ten years to turn it from idea to product.

This is my favourite interview from the Gadget Show Live, so if you only listen to one of these, listen to this one.

3M’s Personal Projectors at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 12:28 AM on April 17, 2012

3M LogoPowerpoint and data projectors have become synonymous with business presentations and I dread to think how many people I have bored over the years. As with almost any technology, the data projectors have got smaller and cheaper, but this was the first time I’d seen how small personal projectors had become. As you can see from the photograph, most would actually fit in a (large) pocket.

3M Pocket Projectors

3M have a range of seven projectors, of which four were on show at The Gadget Show. Unsurprisingly, the different models have different capabilities and there’s more product information here (not all the new models are on the site yet), but I was genuinely impressed by how good the pictures were. The NEC is not a darkened room and yet it was easy to see the presentation or film that was being projected.

As you’d expect the different models have different features; battery size, wireless connectivity, in-built memory and a new model, the MP220, runs Android (it’s the one on the left side of the photograph). I chat with Peter from 3M about the new additions to the range.

XBMC and AirPlay

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:24 PM on March 25, 2012

XMBC I have an Apple TVand iPad. One of my favorite things is the ability to take a video that’s on my iPad and then send it over to the Apple TV by using AirPlay. Let’s face it some videos are better on a bigger screen. Plus everything sounds much better on the Apple TV, which is connected to my sound system than it does on the iPad. The problem is I only have one Apple TV and there are times when I’m sitting up late at night and looking at my iPad and I see a video that I want to see on my large screen TV in the bedroom. To that TV I have attached a Mac Mini which I use as a media center. As part of that media center I installed Banana TV to AirPlay my videos from my iPad to that Mac Mini. However Banana TV no longer works with the iOS 5 update.

My favorite media center application is XBMC. XBMC is a free open source cross-platform media center. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Apple TV and many other devices. XBMC is highly customizable thru the many add-ons that are available. As a media center it was great however without Banana TV there was no way to get my video from my iPad to my Mac Mini, until now. XBMC has just gotten an the official update from Dhama to Eden and with this update AirPlay from the iPad to the Mac has become available. If you already have XBMC than go ahead and update to Eden. If you don’t have XBMC you can download it at the website. Once you’ve either updated or downloaded it, you want to go into Systems, then Network and then Services and tap down until you see where it says allow AirPlay and click enable. Now you can AirPlay videos from an iPad to a Mac, PC or Linux machine. There is one caveat it does not work with videos that have DRM installed, despite this caveat I am really glad this update has occurred.

TVman Wireless DTV Tuner by Dediprog

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:07 PM on February 26, 2012

TVman Do you want to watch over the air TV on your laptop or tablet while traveling, then the TVman Wireless DTV Tuner by Dediprog maybe what you are looking for. It is a digital TV receiver that allows you to watch over the air TV. It transfers the signal to any computer or tablet by Wi-fi. So there are no extra wires to carry around. The cord is the antenna. Because it doesn’t depend on 3G connectivity you get a full high def signal. Unlike other options available now which depend on the 3G signal and are often compressed. Dediprog distributes the product themselves and also  through other vendors. They expect to sell it in the US for around $100.00. It is available now in Japan and South America. They hope to have it available in Europe within 3 months and the US by end of the year.

Dediprog also showed off a second item which combines the wireless DTV tuner with 3G. The device can be used as a mobile hotspot or a digital TV receiver. Dediprog is trying to build partnerships with various mobile service providers which would provide the 3G connectivity. They also need to get FCC approval for both devices.

Both products are small enough to fit into a man’s front pocket. You carry them with you and as long as there is an over the air signal available you can watch TV. Not sure how long the battery last or how far the wi-fi signal travels. I expect you need to be in the same room as the device, but that is an assumption on my part. Both products will works with Android, iOS and Windows. I would love to get a hold of the device to test it, to see what kind of signal it picks up

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee of Wave of Tech

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