O'Grady's PowerPage » Accessory

REVIEW: Radtech BT400 G5 Bluetooth Headset

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, March 5th, 2006, 22:48
Category: Accessory

radtech-bt400-g5-headset.jpgI’ve been testing the BT400 G5 Bluetooth Headset from Radtech (a sponsor of this site) for a few days now and like it. The BT400 connects to virtually any Bluetooth phone (in my case a Treo 650) and allows you to talk handsfree and remain in compliance with many local laws for using your mobile phone while driving.
The BT400 weighs 20g, fits me perfectly and works well. The rubber earhook is easy to switch from right to left ear operation. It’s slightly larger than my other headset (Motorola’s H500) so it may not be a good choice for small ears.
Pairing the BT400 to my phone was easy and sound quality is clear – no one I spoke to could tell that I was using a headset. Rubber ribs on the outside of the BT400 contain buttons for power/mute and talk/transfer, but sometimes it is difficult to tell the buttons from the ribs.
The volume buttons makes the BT400 loud enough to hear the caller clearly – which is more than I can say for the H500 which is barely audible sometimes.
The BT400 G5 Bluetooth Headset is available in light blue (Dolphin), silver (Marlin) and black (Sea Bass) for US$65 from Radtech. A USB charging cable is available for US$6 extra.
BT400 G5 Headset Specs:

Radio Class: Bluetooth II
Frequency: 2.4 – 2.48 GHz
Rx sensitivity: < -80 dBm
Antenna: Internal - chip-type
Range: 10 meter free-space
Input power: 5V 200-500mA
Battery: Internal Li-Polymer 3.7V, 120mA Rechargeable
Profiles: HSP, HFP, voice dialing, multi-pairing
Power Rating : 5mW (Min) - 10mW (Max)
Standby / Talk time: 250 / 5 hrs
Dimensions: 82 x 53 x 24mm
Weight: 20g

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Energy Vampires Drain Cash

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 16th, 2006, 00:15
Category: Accessory

vampire-adapter-150.jpgThe Dallas Morning News (free reg. req’d) has an excellent article by Terry Maxon about something that has been bothering me for a while – vampires. No, not the type that “vant to suck your blood,” they’re worse. These vampires are in the homes over eveyone reading the PowerPage and you probably have at least five to ten of them. These energy vampires are more commonly known as “wall warts,” “power supplies” or “ac adapters” but make no mistake about it, they’re vampires.
According to the article (Energy vampires drain current, cash) “Electronic gadgets now use 15% of a home’s electricity, sucking power even when off.”

They’ll be receiving video game players, mobile music players, the latest computers and televisions, many with the same characteristic – the ability to keep sucking down electricity even when they’re not in use.
It’s the power adapters that drain a little bit of electricity all the time, even though no device is plugged into them.
It’s the high-definition television that can pull more than 10 watts of power when it’s not turned on. It’s the computer that sips while it sleeps.
The Christmastime electronic harvest spotlights a quiet but expensive change in Americans’ habits: Even as refrigerators, dryers and other big devices get more efficient, consumers are pumping up their utility bills thanks to an ever-growing reliance on personal electronics.

Read the rest of the article at the Dallas Morning News.


How Emory Manages his Media

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 28th, 2005, 20:47
Category: Accessory

5819-large.jpegEveryone dreams of having all their media digitized and available on a server somewhere. The utopia world would be filled with cheap, fast broadband so we could stream this and on-demand that but the reality of the situation is that we still maintain certain amount atoms, mostly in the form of shiny 5-inch discs, and they need to be stored somewhere.
Until we Apple opens the iMovie Video Store and we can stream any title we want to our WiMax-enabled SuperPods we’re forced to manage traditional a bunch media delivery vehicles, namely CDs and DVDs. In this installment, we’ll examine how Emory manages his media.

I have been having a hard time finding out just how it is that I’m supposed to manage the massive amounts of media that get archived onto DVDs and CDs in our house. With most of our movie watching and music listening happening on XBox Media Center these days, I needed a good way to stop keeping things in piles all over the house.
What I came up with is pretty simple, and wound up being very inexpensive to boot.

Read the rest of Emory’s “un-informed, un-important blathering” at Incumbent.org.


Capacity Meter 1.1.1 a Must-Have for PowerBookers

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 8th, 2005, 01:06
Category: Accessory

capacity-meter-ss.jpgIs your PowerBook battery not quite lasting the advertised 4.5 hours? Well no one’s does, but you should be be able to get at least 3 hours and 45 minutes according to Apple. If you’re getting something less, your battery is probably getting a little old and has lost some of its capacity.
Branden Keller’s excellent freeware tool Capacity Meter 1.1.1 is truly a must-have utility for all PowerBook users.
Capacity Meter displays and tracks information about your PowerBooks battery, including capacity, amperage, current, and voltage. Using this information and your machine’s specifications, Capacity Meter will let you know the current status of your battery and track degradation over time.
Capacity Meter 1.1.1 is Tiger compatible and free, so check your battery today.


More on AC Adapters

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 7th, 2005, 22:12
Category: Accessory

madsonline-microadapter.jpgTidbits’ Travis Butler has posted a follow-up to his article Comparing Three AC Adapters:

After last week’s article on PowerBook AC adapters was published (see “Comparing Three AC Adapters” in TidBITS-803), I’ve received several messages from people about the MadsonLine MicroAdapter and the MacAlly adapter – specifically, about the amount of power they provide.
I wrote that the MicroAdapter wasn’t recommended for use with newer PowerBooks (the 1 GHz PowerBook G4 Titanium, and all of the 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks) because it provides only 45 watts of power, compared with the 65 watts provided by the adapter Apple ships. Several people wrote in to say they were, in fact, using the MicroAdapter with those machines, and that it appeared to work fine – though some reported the adapter getting “pretty warm.” One person suggested the overheating was the main reason MadsonLine had to disclaim using it; another that the higher wattage requirement on newer PowerBooks was only under peak usage, and that when performing less-intensive tasks a lower-power adapter works fine.

Read the rest of the article at Tidbits.


Tidbits Compares Three PowerBook AC Adapters

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005, 00:28
Category: Accessory

lucille.jpgTidbits has a excellent piece by Travis Butler comparing three PowerBook AC adapters, including the new Lucille AC adapter from Madsonline:

Back in the days of the Wallstreet PowerBook G3, the best AC adapter I could find was the MicroAdapter by MadsonLine. It was about half the size of the power block that Apple used at the time, and even smaller than the yo-yo adapter that Apple switched to later. When the white iBook and Titanium PowerBook G4 came out, with a different-sized power socket, MadsonLine went their previous adapter one better by making the power tip – designed at a right-angle to reduce the amount of clearance needed – a machined aluminum piece instead of molded plastic. Unfortunately, the G4 MicroAdapter didn’t produce enough power to run and charge simultaneously a last-generation Titanium PowerBook, or the 15-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks. And so for a couple of years, I’ve been operating without my preferred adapter, and missing it.

Read the rest of Travis’ piece on Lucille, the Kensington Universal AC/Car/Air Adapter and the MacAlly AC Adapter for PowerBook G4 at Tidbits.


Free TiVo's in NYC on Friday

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 10th, 2005, 04:05
Category: Accessory

I found this in the NYCHEADS mailing list

Seems the company has decided to display its vim and vigor by staging an interesting event at the Oct 14 opening of NYCs Digital Life technology and entertainment show. Sort of featuring a mock funeral, TiVo is encouraging anyone who still may have an old VCR tape laying around to come on in and trade it in for a free TiVo box. Just toss that old episode of Quantum Leap in the VHS casket (which will include an old VCR with blinking 12:00) and you can walk away with a brand new DVR. And to make it even weirder, there will be a eulogy and speakers, sharing their personal memories of the VCR. Fascinating, no? Now remember folks, thats as supplies last, so get over there and start tossing your tapes! Starts at noon on Friday Oct. 14 at the Crystal Lobby of the Jacob Javits Center.


The Case for no Case

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 7th, 2005, 07:21
Category: Accessory

Gadgets are getting so small, that a case is a hindrance. I love my iPod shuffle. I would never get a case for it. It has a nice durable finish, it seems bullet proof and a case would just hinder its function. I like the idea of a skin. I use one on my Razr and my G3 iPod. If I had a nano, I would just skin it.
Click the title to read more.


Picking an EVDO Card for Your PowerBook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 20th, 2005, 06:47
Category: Accessory

Sierra Wireless Aircard 580Om Malik’s broadband blog recommends the Sierra Wireless Aircard 580 for PowerBooks…

If you are looking for a EVDO card for Powerbook, I will recommend, Sierra Wireless Aircard 580, which after some hacking gives you better performance than any other PC card. However, it doesn?t work as well with Windows Laptops. It was giving me about 350 kbps on Mac and 115 kbps on a PC laptop. Novatel?s Merlin v620, however is a solid and brisk performer on Windows Machines, with average speed of about 270 kbps. It got 115-120 kbps on a Mac. The comparisons were carried out using PowerBook 15 (Tiger) and Averatec 1000. I sat in the same location for the two laptops, and repeated this experiment in four different spots in San Francisco. I look forward to your feedback from other cities. Kyocera 650 is known to work well with a Mac. Folks over at EVDOinfo.com have more details. These recommendations are only for Verizon?s EVDO service only.

Click through for the links.


PowerPick: Miglia HarmonyAudio Firewire Interface

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 30th, 2005, 07:55
Category: Accessory

Miglia HarmonyAudioIf you’ve ever seriously tried to capture audio on your Mac, you’ve quickly noticed that it only has one real audio input channel – if you want more you’ll need some hardware baby!
I’ll start right off by saying that I’m not a pro musician, by any stretch (awesome progressive house DJ though :), but I recently ran into the one channel limitation when recording the PowerPage Podcasts. It’s easy enough to plug in a USB headset (like the excellent Plantronics DSP-400, for example) and record yourself yammering on about this or that mobile technology – it’s an entirely different story if you want to record an interview with another person, with two microphones. It’s easy to do with one mic – if you like passing it back and forth like Dan Rather chasing some tobacco exec down the sidewalk, but who wants to do that?
Read More about this PowerPick after the jump…