Digital Curmudgeon

EEEPC-SSDThere’s a dirty little secret about computer performance that is hiding within plain sight. A solid state drive (SSD) will take almost any machine manufactured within the past five to ten years and give it a massive performance boost.

I have an Asus 1000HE EEEPC Netbook from four or five years ago. It came with a 160 gigabyte 5900 RPM conventional spinning hard drive. With the conventional hard drive, the computer was painfully slow to boot up and to use. It would take the better part of 10 minutes to completely boot up and become usable.

I installed a 120 gigabyte Crucial M500 SSD drive into it and restored the operating system (Windows XP SP3) from the original system DVD that came with the machine. After installing the software I will be using with the machine, including Adobe Audition 1.5 and MS Office XP, it completely boots up and is 100% usable within 30 seconds! Programs load immediately and windows snap to attention.

I use this machine as a handy backup machine to an older SSD-equipped white plastic Macbook. The Asus Netbook doesn’t take up much room when I’m traveling. I realize that XP is no longer being supported by Microsoft, but I want to hang on to the perfectly functional older software such as Adobe Audition 1.5 that really has no modern equivalent that I like nearly as well. I am not browsing or doing email with this machine, so it should be perfectly safe to continue to use well into the future.

The move to mobile has caused me to shift away from relying much on traditional computers. During the last year I have used my computers only to record podcasts with. Email and browsing are handled exclusively on mobile devices.

In recent years I’ve grown increasingly annoyed by the constant upgrade cycle drumbeat. It seems there is always some fix or some new supposedly “must have” version of virtually every piece of hardware and software. Why upgrade? “Better performance” and/or “better security” are almost always the answers that are either given or implied. Often I find that NOT to be the case.

Operating system updates end up destroying existing software and hardware compatabilities. Sometimes software that won’t work on a new version of an operating system is never updated or replaced, and the functionality is simply lost.

So, if you have an older machine, including both Windows and Mac, depending on what you are using it for, if you want to hold on to perfectly functional older hardware and software, installing an SSD into an older machine can give it an incredible performance boost that will blow away any brand new machine that is not equipped with an SSD drive. Also, SSD prices contine to go down. A 120 gigabyte Crucial M500 drive now sells for about $72 dollars on Amazon, making it one amazing inexpensive upgrade that offers the absolute most bang possible for the buck!

Tens Sunglasses Review

Tens LogoThis summer I’ve been feeling uber-cool with my Tens “Real Life Photo Filter” sunglasses. In a classic style, the Tens sunglasses are tinted to give a “an extra burst of colour to your summer” and that they do, with everything coloured that little bit brighter. Everything’s richer and more vivid – I love them.

Originally, an Indiegogo campaign, I took a chance on these shades, partly because I needed new sunglasses but partly because it was good to see a campaign from the British side of the Atlantic. The team’s actually based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Tens sunglasses. The frames seem solid, with sturdy hinges and the lenses are clear and distortion free. I find them comfortable to wear too. Here are some photos to show you what they’re like.

Tens Sunglasses

Tens Sunglasses Hinge

The Tens sunglasses come with a neat little drawstring bag to keep them free from scratches when not in use.

Tens Sunglasses Bag

I was lucky enough to get in on the Indigogo campaign and paid only GB£44. Available in a choice of four frame colours (black, navy, deep red and teal), if you want your own pair of Tens glasses, they’ll currently set you back £64. I’ll probably buy a second pair once they start doing prescription versions.

Fingers crossed for a few more days of sunshine before summer comes to an end!

SDI to HDMI Under $100 from MonoPrice.com

monopriceI have long been a fan of MonoPrice.com for a long time, their cable prices are simply incredible. If you buy from anyone else you’re flushing money down the toilet. I recently picked up several new products from MonoPrice one ofthe was a SDI to HDMI Converter/

Unless you’re a Pro-Video person you are not even going to know what SDI is, but lets keep it simple.  SDI is a Video format that is outputted on high end video cameras, and video processing gear. The studio here at Geek News Central has about 10 converters of various types HDMI to SDI (most popular), SDI to HDMI and SDI Splitters..

The sub $100.00 SDI to HDMI converter from MonoPrice  was ver inexpensive. I other similar converters in the studio that cost me upwards of $400.00 each.  Long story short, I plugged it in, hooked it up, and bam works like a charm. So I want to send kudos over to MonoPrice for literally kicking the butts of the major pro players.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that they introduce an HDMI to SDI converter as well and start building switches. When I can buy 3-4 devices for the price of one.. Well you know where I am going to be spending my money.

StarTech HDMI Wireless Extender over WHDI – Review

In my Studio I have been looking at ways to place a High Definition TV in a location that has power but nearly impossible to run a cable. The folks at StarTech.com sent over a HDMI Wireless Extender using WHDI  in the 5.1 to 5.9mhz. This HDMI extender is capable of extending a HDMI signal  strait line of up to 50 ft.

startech1

Here is how I employed it. I have Mac Mini that I used to monitor the social media stream while we are live on the air. I have always had trouble looking at the monitor it is attached to. So I used a 1×2 HDMI distribution amplifier and hooked one output to the monitor, and the other output to the StarTech  HDMI transmitter. The HDMI Transmitter is very tiny maybe 1 inch by 3 inches and comes with a 90 degree adapter if needed.

I then hooked the receiver up to a flat screen TV in the back of my studio so that I can observer without looking away from my primary camera. This all took about 15 minutes to hook up..  I am here to tell you running that cable 20 feet would have sucked, and my wife would have been pissed as the studio would have had a cable running across the wall.

The best part is that the receiver can support additional transmitters so all I need to buy is more transmitters and I can send two wireless signals to the HDTV and when I want to switch. So it will be cool to watch a movie in the studio when not on the air.  The StarTech kit include a wireless remote control that brings up a on screen menu for its system config and pairing, I can also easily changes sources with a click of the button.

Going wireless is going to set up back about $285.00 on most of their retailers. When it is impossible to run a cable this is the way to go i’m in love already. You end up with a clean install and crystal clear picture as if it had been plugged into a cable. Supported resolutions include 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p.

I am not sure why I waited so long to implement a solution like this but it really keeps the cable deployments to a minimum and works like a charm.

Hub It Sync and Charge Station Review

hubitThe landscape in American homes has changed when it comes to cables and charging all our devices. We all seem to have device charging cables everywhere and their is never enough plugs. As a bit of a neat freak it drives me crazy to see cables everywhere..

Up until today there has been no solution to clean up the mess. When the Hub It Sync and Charge Station arrived for review, I knew before opening the box we had a winner and I was so right.

As delivered I could charge 7 devices at once with a next gen iPhone connector, old style iPad charger, 2 mini jack usb, and three ports to plugin additional usb cables. Taking the lid off I could have installed 5 more Hub It modules! All in a stylish case where the cables retract when not in use to give a clean charging station area.

hubit2My wife immediately took control of it, and put it in a area in our home where phones / tablets get charged in the evening. She was able to stash all of her cables that had been laying around.

The best part is you can connect the device to a computer and via USB 3.0 you can access each of the devices connected to the Hub. So you can Sync and Charge at the same time. The device has firmware within that can be upgraded to support new devices as they come out.. The best part if the Hub It is only $79.99.

I love that companies are recognizing that we have a huge issue with all the wall warts and cables everywhere. This device requires a single average sizes wall transformer plugin and bom it charges all my devices… We will call this one  a winner and I will be ordering additional Hub It Modules to completely eliminate all extra cables.

See all the details at eggtronic.com be sure to look at the use cases and gallery of pictures on their website.

New Media Show #57 – New Media Expo & NAB / Podcast Movement Thoughts

Rob and Todd talk with Rick Calvert from the New Media Expo and their announcement of their show dates and alignment with NAB. Both Rob and Todd are excited about the direction of NMX and look forward to attending next April. Rob and Todd then discuss their thoughts about the Podcast Movement event that just concluded in Dallas last week.

Overall this is a huge show when it comes to talking about the podcasting space and where the shows and event that support it are headed.

Contact the show: Rob or Todd @ newmediashow.com

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GNC #973 Back from Podcast Movement

I am glad to be back in Honolulu after a very productive three days at Podcast Movement. I share a little of that and also what is happening around here. Very busy time in the media space and I am very excited to be tightly aligned with it.

I Also update on my Transformation. Discounts are still available by using promo code “podcast” @ mypurium.com/podcast

Consider becoming a GNC 1000 Contributor:

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Robot Underpants: 08.20.14 (166) “The Hoth Bucket Challenge”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek and “Starman” Michael Gaines discuss this week’s topics including: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Star Wars News, Robin Williams tribute in WoW and more! (not much more though)

* Ice Bucket Challenge
*
 Star Wars News
*
 Robin Williams News

* End Song: The Star Wars that I Used to Know

Devolo Develops for 4K

Devolo LogoDevolo today announced their new dLAN 1200+, the fastest Powerline networking adaptor in their range with Gigabit-class data transmission. The latest adaptors double the speed of the dLAN 650 by using a combination of Devolo range+ technology, the newest generation of Powerline chips and MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology, offering a maximum of 1200 Mb/s. This is ideal for anyone wanting to stream 4K video but doesn’t have a network point close to their UltraHD TV.

Devolo dLAN 1200+ Powerline Adaptors

With the Powerline adaptors on all the time, Devolo has kept the power consumption low. When in use, the dLAN 1200+ uses a maximum of 4.2 W, and if the connected device, e.g. TV, is switched off, the adapter automatically goes into standby mode, using just 0.7 W. If security is a concern, users can also activate 128-bit AES encryption to avoid any unauthorised access to the network.

As can be seen from the pictures, the dLAN 1200+ is equipped with a gigabit Ethernet connection and an integrated electrical socket with mains filter.  It’s fully compatible with all previous dLAN models, though the maximum speed will be limited by the slowest adaptor.

The adapters can be purchased as a starter kit for setting up a home network or as individual adapters to extend an existing network. The starter kit is priced at GB£119.99, while the single adapter costs GB£64.99. Devolo will be officially unveiling this new range of products at the IFA Conference in Berlin from 5th-10th September.

Hmm, these might be my next upgrade – hopefully they’ll be available before Christmas.

Game Over Foursquare

Foursquare logoIt’s game over, Foursquare. After several years of intermittent playing, I’ve decided to pack it all in and delete my account from the site. I’m no longer happy to take a service without questioning the value and cost to me and Foursquare doesn’t break even anymore.

Foursquare may have been at the forefront of gamification and I like games, honing skill and strategy to succeed, but the problem with Foursquare was that the limit of expertise was how much time you can spend in a local hostelry. Yes, there were occasional benefits of being a mayor, but most places that rewarded frequent visitors ran a loyalty programme anyway. Of course, the really good shops and restaurants knew you because they paid attention.

The reviews helped maintain interest for awhile but the puerile (“the waitress is hot”) and trivial (“the drinks were nice”) usually outweighed any valuable critical assessment of places to visit. In the end, I didn’t bother putting the app back on my smartphone after changing devices and that was the end of it all.

I’m not going to leave my personal data lying around for the next security breach, so it’s time to delete the account. To its credit, Foursquare make it easy to go.

Delete Foursquare Account

Facebook…you’re next.