I don't think most people notice the amount of background noise that is generated on airplanes. Since it's in the form of white noise you don't really notice it until you try and listen to music or a movie. Have you ever noticed that you have to turn the volume way up to be able to hear the dialog of a movie' And you thought that was because of the $2 airline headphones.
To give flyers piece and quiet Bose has created the QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. These are the 2nd generation of noise canceling headphone from Bose. The headphones use both acoustic isolation and active noise canceling to block out all of the unwanted background noise.
The PlayStation Portable, PSP, is a great system. There I said it. The basis of this short yet direct analysis is the fact that I can't put the darn thing down. On the plane, at the airport, in the hotel room and at home, the PSP is my favorite way to kill time.
Versatility is one of the PSP's strength. I'm not going to bore you with the specs. Visit Sony for all the details. The fact is everything on this system works. Video games play flawlessly as they do on a Playstation 2. The controls mirror that of the PS2's controller. There's no fumbling. For multiplayer games, the IR or infrared allows PSP players to 'connect' without the cumbersome cables.
In the duper wars, speed and the set-and-forget factor rule. No one wants to baby-sit a robot as it churns through a burn run of 100 discs, especially if it's printing labels. The BravoPro, the latest integrated duplicator and printer from Primera Technology, addresses these issues and more. Designed for businesses and studios in need of a turnkey solution for small-run duplication, the BravoPro features two Plextor 716 drives, Lexmark 4800 dpi print resolution and faster robotics than past efforts. The BravoPro also includes a Kiosk mode that allows it to print up to 100 DVDs and CDs in a single run.
I'm happy to see that Primera is now using Plextor drives, as Plextor diligently tests a wide range of media with its drives and publishes the results. The firmware seems to be stable, and the BravoPro can burn some discs beyond their rated speeds. However, your computer will have to keep up.
The Samsung HL-R6168W 1080p HDTV is a state of the art DLP television using the latest technology from Texas Instruments. It weighs less than 100 pounds but competes in the home theatre heavyweight division. Samsung delivers a knock-out punch in the HDTV arena.
Samsung has improved this TV with a much higher contrast ratio, no DLP rainbow effect we could discern, a plethora of analog and digital connections, a more friendly GUI, better remote, CableCARD slot, and built-in TV Guide that makes the Cable Box all but a relic. Of course, Comcast and other cable companies would prefer that you keep your cable box at least until the next revision of the CableCARD technology allows for on-demand programming. A 'technician' was sent to our test facility to install the PCMCIA-like card into the HL-R6168W and offered, 'If you really want the best signal you should use the Cable-Box with the HDMI input.' Yeah right. The truth is no box means no way to sell you extra stuff.
The SageTV PVR software combined with the Hauppauge PVR-150 is a powerful combination that gives a TiVo-like front end to a very capable MPEG card. The SageTV software is mostly for watching and recording TV but it can play other media on the PC as well.
The SageTV software can be purchased separately or as part of a bundle that includes a TV tuner card such as the Hauppauge 150 for capturing video in the MPEG format. We highly recommend the bundle. The folks at Frey Technologies, the developers of SageTV, sent us the Hauppauge PVR-150 bundle with the latest version of the SageTV software. Previously we tried SageTV with a Kworld card we tested here recently but couldn't get it to work. That's not surprising since the Kworld 883 barely works as it is. The folks at Frey Technologies tell us they plan to make SageTV compatible with a wider range of cards in the future but for now we suggest you stick with a bundled package. The Hauppauge PVR-150 is a pretty good card all by itself and comes with its own software suite. Combined with the SageTV software it really shines.
The EOS 20D is the perfect companion for the type A shooter. It's a professional level camera that instantly powers on and delivers fast, beautiful pictures from its ergonomic compact design.
For consumers who are willing to venture beyond the land of the sub $1000 point and shoot and into the land of the semi-pro, this may be the last camera they ever need to purchase.
The EOS 20D features an 8.2 megapixel CMOS sensor that Canon claims reduces noise compared to earlier design. Photos can be rendered as large as 3504 x 2336, plenty big for nearly any application and excellent for cropping. The speed of the camera and processing power inside allows the 20D to capture 5 frames per second for up to 23 shots.
The LG VX8000 is a very impressive phone right out of the box. It's just the right size and features the outstanding ergonomics of a typical LG flip phone. The VX8000 is a little bigger than the ubiquitous VX4400 and packs a whole new feature set including V CAST capability, Internet, 1.3MP camera with video, and a larger, better full color display. It's one of the best displays we've seen.
Sound quality is on par with the VX4400. Most people I talked to couldn't tell I was on a new phone and when I told them they simply said, 'yeah, you sound good.' After a couple of dropped calls in a known problem area using the VX 4400 I called one client back using the VX8000 and we managed to stay connected.
The camera on the VX 8000 takes decent photos. The VX8000 allow you to set the quality and size of the phone, ISO speed, brightness, color/sepia/black and white'etc. However, navigating the menu could quickly become tiresome. It's more likely you'll set it up once and forget it but it's nice to have the options. It would also be nice to be able to snap a few pics and decide what to do with them later. The VX 8000 wants an answer after each snap. Do you want to save, delete or send it'
We once DJ'd a house party with an MP3 player and two Cambridge SoundWorks speaker systems in tandem. Yes, we know that sounds crazy but in a small this system packs quite a punch.
The PC SoundWorks package under $80 is one of the best values in PC sound. It's a simple three piece system with a pair of small satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The three 3-channel amp located in the subwoofer provides all the juice and the package includes a handy wired remote volume control.
When you buy a PC it all comes down to the components. You can build your own or have a third party do it for you. This review is as much about the Velocity Micro experience as much as it is the PC itself.
The Velocity Micro AMD 64 3800 + system we reviewed featured the ASUS A8V deluxe motherboard, 1gig of memory, an ATI 9600 dual head Radeon, on-board serial ATA RAID with two Western Digital WD1200JDs striped in a RAID 0 configuration, the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS, and a 7-in-1 Floppy/Media all assembled in a slick black case featuring front access to both USB and Firewire ports.
Velocity Micro positions itself as a premium provider of PC systems using retail grade components, meticulous assembly and a 3 year limited warranty on parts and labor to back it all up. So how's that different from ordering a PC from say Dell or Alienware?
The Active Reactor from Radio Active is one of the coolest watches we've ever seen. It's also one of the more comfortable stainless steel watches. It has a smooth beveled edge and thick band that feels nice and substantial. Two simple buttons on the right allow you to check and set the time. The first reaction to the reactor from most people is, 'how the heck do you tell the time with that watch'' Well it's actually pretty simple and dare I say fun to check the time.
The picture to the left shows the time as 11:48. Here's how it works. There are three sets of LED indicators on the face of the watch. The vertical series of 6 labeled 'Danger' on the right indicate the hour. Of course 6 hours we'll only get you through half a full clock cycle. The blinking LED labeled 'Warning' in the top left corner indicates hours 7 through 12. When it's blinking you just add 6 to the number of hours indicated by the vertical series.
The Averatec 3270 is a lightweight full-featured notebook with a competitive feature set and decent screen. At 4.5 pounds it's easy to take with you. However, smaller and lighter isn't always better. The keyboard on the 3270 is designed for the smaller footprint and feels a bit cramped. If you're someone who plans on doing a lot of writing with your notebook this probably isn't the computer for you.
It's the typical cruel irony of smaller notebooks. While they're great for hauling around campus your fingers might be sore from taking copious notes. If Averatec could manage to squeeze a more comfortable keyboard into this package that would be very impressive. However, at this price that's asking a lot.
In the sub-$1000 marketplace it's all about bang for buck. Consumers want web, email, office and DVD functionality without a lot of fuss. It's even better in a lightweight package that can easily be taken on that big vacation. You know, the one where you plan to take a bunch of digital pictures and use the notebook computer as the photo bank so you don't run out of flash memory at the church in old town where you shouldn't be taking pictures in the first place. Oh, wait' maybe that's just me.
Anyway, the point is, this notebook beckons to be taken on the road. It's not a gaming machine or a media creation powerhouse. This machine is really a digital sidekick. It's a solid performer for everyday computing tasks and it won't break the bank. Our unit handled all of the above tasks with aplomb. Our only other gripe besides the cramped keyboard is sometimes the fan seems to get a bit loud. We noticed this when just the screensaver was running and nothing else.
The 3270 we tested featured a mobile AMD Sempron CPU with 512MB of memory and a 60-gig hard disk. It ran quietly and felt cool to the touch. With 3 USB 2.0 ports, a DVD dual format burner and media card reader there are plenty of I/O options. And last but not least, it all comes in an attractive case that looks a lot more expensive than it is.
Averatec is a subsidiary of the South Korean company TriGem. They only entered the US market last year and sold about a 1/4 million notebooks in 2004. The company is ramping up activity in Europe and hopes it's slim design and full featured notebooks will meet the expectations it creates with its aggressive marketing campaign. For the 3270 we'd say Averatec has done just that.
Visit Averatec for more information and all the specs on the 3270 series and other notebooks.
One of the biggest challenges in working on computer-based video editing system is the lack of analog controls. A mouse and keyboard is incredibly inadequate compared to a mixing board or even a simple wheel on a beta deck. Computers were originally designed for crunching numbers and writing reports not for making precise video edits.
World Tech Devices makes a line of specialty keyboards they've deemed the Specialist series that are designed to speed up the often laborious task of video editing. visit World Tech's web site for more information and all the specs.
Ulead has added a variety of new features, improved the interface and generally made version 2.0 a worthwhile upgrade. The general work flow is the same but the program responds a little faster and feels better to work with. But more importantly, whereas the initial version was more of a fun program for hobbyists, version 2.0 has professional features for creating much more impressive discs.
New in this version are audio and subtitle options that offer up to 8 different audio tracks and 32 subtitles. So now, multiple language DVDs and the director's cut can be added for that professional touch.
One of the most overlooked components of a PC is a quality power supply. Quality power supplies provide clean, quiet power that can improve the performance and reliability of your computer.
The three brands we typically prefer are Antec, Enermax and Seasonic. All three suppliers offer quality supplies at a reasonable price. While retail stores may charge $65-$100 for a 300-400 watt power supply upgrade, online stores offer a more complete selection and better prices. And since ATX power supplies are small and weigh 4-5 pounds, (the well built ones anyway) shipping isn't much of an issue.
First off, like everything else, we'll preface this article by saying these things change. A month ago we would have picked Mitsui Advanced Media for both our audio and DVD discs. After being acquired by a firm from Italy some suppliers are speculating that quality has gone down and in fact that MAM may be getting some discs from third parties. It's a shame because Mitsui prided itself on complete control of the materials and manufacturing process of its discs. A recent batch of 4x printable media suggests things might be changing. We had trouble getting the media recognized in several of our burners including a Pioneer A05, A07 and Toshiba 5112. The Toshiba surprised us because it seems to be the least picky of drives.
In the early 90s a high fidelity sound card in a PC was expensive and hard to come by. Not to mention a pain to configure in the early days of Windows. The folks at Digital Audio Labs were the pioneers in bringing truly clean and accurate audio to the desktop PC. And over the years it's nice to see they have stayed focused on quality as their primary objective. Four hundred dollars might seem like a lot of dough to spend on a PCI card with some chips and capacitors spread over its surface. But I'll tell ya, it's worth every penny.