Tech News September 2009

Callpod Dragon v2 Bluetooth Headset
Dragonsteel Mods :: Thursday, September 03, 2009
Bluetooth headsets are now pretty commonplace with most cell phones coming equipped with the technology. One limitation to most of these headsets is the working range. The standard effective range of most BT devices is 10 meters (32 feet). Callpod a company known for their various mobile technologies have released the Callpod Dragon v2 Bluetooth Headset which has a supposed range of 100 meters (328 feet) when used with a class 1 enabled Bluetooth device. Sounds pretty impressive. Callpod utilizes their proprietary noise mitigation system known as dual-mic noise suppression. This technology activates when a call comes through and helps reduce background noise while enhancing and optimizing the sound quality of the conversation. In addition to this ten fold increase in range, the Dragon V2 Bluetooth Headset also features eight hours of talk time, 300 hours of standby time, Skype functionality, multi-device pairing and Dragon to Dragon communications for walkie talkie like capability. The Dragon has a different shape than most standard Bluetooth headsets but this is probably to fit the more powerful transmitter. Let’s take a closer look…..

Hyperdesk Star Trek: The Original Series Hypersuite
Dragonsteel Mods :: Thursday, September 03, 2009
Space the final frontier ……. OK, I had to say that – it’s a Star Trek review. Growing up in the seventies and eighties I fondly remember watching Star Trek. It was action, adventure and cool futuristic tech. Many modern devices are analogous to the devices used in Gene Roddenbery’s created universe. Modern cell phones can trace their inspiration to the communicators from Star Trek. PDAs and smart phones are Tricorder like in today’s world. Love it or hate it Star Trek’s societal impact can be felt even forty years after its start. Today’s review item is from the Skins Factory who are renowned for their ability to skin OSes – making them look totally different and unique. Their Hyperdesk division has been morphing Windows XP desktops for several years, now they are bringing Windows Vista into the party and one of their first offerings is the Star Trek: The Original Series Hyperdesk Suite. Trekkers and Windows skinner can now make their Windows machine look like something out of the 23rd century. The Skins Factory Hyperdesk division is the same group that has provided Alienware with their unique PC interfaces, so we know the art will be first rate. It runs as a self contained program converts the bland Windows desktop into something unique. Previous Windows skinning programs required a dedicated program running to perform the conversion; The Skins Factory version uses the built in engine to change the Windows desktop appearance. Hyperdesk runs within the memory of the OS, so any changes can be undone with a click of a button as the system files are never altered. It works with or without Aero depending on which flavor of Vista the user is running and whether the PC has enough power. Let’s take a closer look…….

Mionix Alioth 400 Mousepad
Dragonsteel Mods :: Thursday, September 03, 2009
Mionix? Ever hear of them? Probably not unless you’re over on the other side of the pond, they’ve been around for a couple years now, based out of Sweden actually. Mionix specializes in gaming accessories like mice and mousepads, but they are expanding their lineup as well. They’ve recently come to be available here in the United States and from my experience so far with their products, I think they’re going to do well. Today for review I’ve got another mousepad, yep a mousepad, not too exciting to most, but I personally like getting them for review because I’ve found they can be greatly different from each other. The one I have for review today is called the Alioth 400 and it’s from Mionix. It’s a fairly large sized pad, coming in at 400mm x 335mm or about 15” x 13” in size. In my time with this pad I’ve come to like it very much, it’s nicely made and offers a surface that tracks perfectly with every mouse I used with it. So read on to learn about a very good mousepad…

Genius EasyPen i405 4″ x 5.5″ Graphics Tablet
Dragonsteel Mods :: Thursday, September 03, 2009
When it comes to input devices we’ve got a lot of choices out there, especially when it comes to mice, but there are other options for input, such as tablets, or graphics tablets as they might be called. The graphics tablet is for much more than drawing, they can be very handy for just generally making life easier to do certain tasks, like presentations and hand signing a document. When signing an electronic document without a pad, you’ll have to print it out, sign it then scan it back in and send it off to wherever it needs to go, with a tablet though you can just edit the document, sign it with the tablet and save it, very easy. The main use is of course for drawing, nothing beats a tablet really when it comes to creating or drawing a picture on your computer, a mouse just really doesn’t cut it most of the time. Another great use for a tablet is for presentations, a tablet allows you to draw on the screen, you can highlight, circle, underline or write on your document, desktop or picture and it can be permanent or just temporary as a type of overlay. Up on the review block today I’ve got the Genius EasyPen i405 4” x 5.5” Graphic Tablet, and by the dimensions we see there it’s pretty small, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful and a fairly decent product. The EasyPen i405 works well, and includes a nice suite of software that can be useful to anyone for personal or business related applications. The pad itself features 28 programmablefunction keys and the pen has two buttons that can act just like your mouse buttons, so you could replace your mouse with the pen if need be. So read on to learn more about the EasyPen i405…

Thermaltake Max4 3.5″ SATA HDD Rack
Dragonsteel Mods :: Thursday, September 03, 2009
Hard drive racks are something that many people associate with servers or primarily business related applications, but they’re much more useful than most people know. Personally I’ve used anHDD racks for a few years now as I like the ability to swap my hard drives out as need be. At this point in time I’m so accustomed to using them, I couldn’t live without one. In my setup I use the rack for my operating system drive, I’ve got separate HDDs with Windows 7, Vista, Xp and Linux on them, to use a different operating system I just swap the hard drives out to whichever I need to access or use. This makes my life easy, and it keeps everything separate for me. It works basically like a cartridge, pop it out then pop the new one in, simple and easy and I’m ready to go. The one I’ve got doesn’t use a tray as like most others do, all you do is stick the hard drive in and you’re done, which in itself is very nice, no extra trays to buy for all of your HDDs, no worry about losing screws for the trays etc, overall it’s just an excellent feature not having to use the tray. Today for review I’ve got the Thermaltake Max4 3.5″ SATA HDD Rack which is the kind of rack that I prefer, it does not use a tray, all you do is put the hard drive in, close the door and you’re done. The Max4 isn’t really fancy, no LCD display on it, no built-in cooling fan, it’s basic and simple, which is nice as you don’t have to worry about parts breaking down or failing on you. Though since it doesn’t have a fan one might worry about its ability to keep your hard drive cool, you don’t have to, I’ve found that it works just as well as a rack that does have a fan built in. Read on to learn more about an excellent choice for an HDD rack that’s simple and easy to use…
Logitech Harmony 900 Review 
Digital Trends :: Tuesday, September 15, 2009
“We heaped a fair amount of praise on Logitech’s Harmony 1100 universal remote last April. But the reality is that while that touchscreen device is supremely easy to program and drop-dead sexy to boot, it costs as much as the small HDTV or entry-level A/V receiver you might use it to control.”

Tv & PC Tricklesavers
RB Mods :: Saturday, September 12, 2009
A big power consumer these days is your home theather system, which includes but not limited to: receivers, cd players, HTPC, DVD recorder, and digital top box etc. They all run on stand by when you are not using them and believe it or not the stand by actually cost money if you count it out on a year. Tricklestar has released a product that takes care of that problem. The Tricklesaver products basically shuts all the extra products off when you turn your TV or computer off. How does it work? Let’s find out.

Transformers: The Movie HD Movie Review
Tweak Town :: Friday, September 11, 2009
“Before Michael Bay reinvigorated the Transformers franchise in 2007, with the movie of the same name (and then promptly destroyed it in 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen), there was of course the Hasbro action figure series and cartoon series, which culminated in this; Transformers: The Movie.

Unfortunately, the enjoyment of this film is directly related to the familiarity with the TV series, as this sits between the second and third series. My age means I just missed the craze of the mid 80’s and I haven’t gone back to watch them. At this stage I probably won’t. And while I am familiar with some Transformers lore, most of this film went over my head, and mostly appears as an hour and a half of battle scenes, fused with a rockin’ electric guitar soundtrack. However, in the interest of reviewing the basic plot of the film, I’ll take a stab. The evil Decepticons have taken control of Cybertron, the Transformers home planet, and decide to attack Autobot City, which results in the slaughter of many Autobots and will have dire consequences for the force of good in the galaxy.”