Review: USB Squid at ThinkGeek

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 10th, 2009, 18:26
Category: Hardware, Review

If you are like me and own a MacBook Air, you find out pretty quickly that one USB port is often not enough. Almost everything requires a USB port, Ethernet, CDs and DVDs, thumb-drives, and external hard drives. Since I often prefer a wired connection when I can, for the extra speed (yes, still faster than wireless), I have to use Apple’s USB Ethernet adapter. If I need to plug in anything else, I loose my network connection. I soon grew tired of this and went looking for a solution.
usb_squid.jpg
And I found it at ThinkGeek! They sell a device called the USB Squid which was the perfect solution and works great! Basically its a USB 2.0 compatible splitter. You plug one end into your computer of choice, and it offers four USB jacks on the other end. As ThinkGeek points out, “The USB Squid is not a real squid, as squids have 8 legs and 2 tentacles. Heck, it’s not even an octopus – they have 8 arms. The USB Squid has four arms, so it’s sort of more a quadropus.”
Unlike other tiny USB hubs I looked at, the USB Squid doesn’t require an external power supply. Obviously it won’t work if you device needs something other than bus power, but all of my everyday devices worked fine with the Squid. The four jacks also have interlocking ridges on the outside in case you want to “hook” the plugs together into a vertical or horizontal block, but I found that the moulding was a little inconsistent and sometime the plugs didn’t remain attached to one another. A minor quibble in my opinion.
usb_squid_stack.jpg
The USB Squid is manufactured by a company called Buffalo in China, but there is no way to tell what they call the device since the package is covered only in Chinese characters and no English (except for a reference to “Windows Vista”), as it is something ThinkGeek imports for sale in the US. The USB Squid is 11″ long (from plug to hub) and is currently in stock and $19.99 at ThinkGeek. If you occasionally need an extra USB port and have a little space in your kit bag, I highly recommend grabbing one of these.

(more…)

Top Three Notebook Drives Duke It Out

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 20th, 2007, 10:51
Category: Hardware

uprightdrive.jpg
The guys over at Bare Feats have ran a full comparison between the Western Digital Scorpio 250 gigabyte 5,400 rpm drive, the Seagate Momentus 7200 160 gigabyte 7,200 rpm drive and the Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200 gigabyte 7,200 rpm drive.
The full rundown is available here and if you’re interested in upgrading your MacBook or MacBook Pro’s SATA hard drive, take a look.
If you’ve come across a killer hard drive or have thoughts or opinions on this, let us know in the forums.

(more…)

Recent Apple Patent Filing Describes Backlit Touchpads and Click-Wheels

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 11:55
Category: Hardware

fruitlogo1.jpg
A recent Apple patent filing submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office published earlier this month discusses the concept of illuminated touchpads and click-wheels as a means of providing constant visual feedback.
According to AppleInsider, which pointed out the 34-page filing, Apple cited that visual stimuli could be used to both alert the user via feedback to a touch event as well as be used in low light conditions.
The patent filing also stated that such devices could change intensity or color based on motion characteristics or pressure. Visual characteristics could also be used to highlight events, especially before and after an event occurred.
Click the jump for the full story…

(more…)

Myvu “Solo” Now Available Through Web Site

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007, 07:56
Category: Hardware

myvu1.jpg
In other news, one of the cooler accessories for the iPod just became more accessible. The Myvu, an eyewear system that attaches to the iPod and simulates a 27″ video screen being viewed from about six feet away, is being introduced in a more affordable “solo” edition.
According to Macworld News, the Myvu solo retails for US$199.95 and arrives without the power pack and premium travel case found with its “fully loaded edition” cousin. The Myvu solo edition includes the eyeglasses, in-ear noise-reducing earbuds, inline audio and picture controller and microfiber protective sleeve and lens cloth.
Myvu has states that the “solo” edition is now available from its web site (which still lists it as “coming soon”) and is available through the Apple Store and ZoomSystems-based automated retail systems found in airports and Macy’s department stores.
If you’ve tried the Myvu system and have comments about it, get it off your chest in the forums.

(more…)

Reports Surface of Santa Rosa-Based MacBook Pro Overheating

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 21st, 2007, 11:31
Category: Hardware

15inmacbookpro.jpg
Your Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pro just arrived in the mail. And after showing it to your spouse, kids, pets and co-workers, you settle down to work with it.
If it feels a bit too warm, that might be Apple’s contribution.
A report over on Engadget is citing how dozens of users on MacRumors and Apple discussion threads are mentioning that their newly-acquired MacBook Pros are running hot.
An intrepid reader pulled his laptop apart only to find about 40 times too much thermal paste having been applied to the logic board. Other readers have echoed similar complaints and offered similar logic board pictures.
A recent firmware update issued by Apple seems to have helped somewhat, but no official comment as to the issue has been released.
If you’ve seen this problem on your new MacBook Pro or have a solution, idea or workaround, let us know.

(more…)

Matias Now Selling USB 2.0 Keyboard

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 10th, 2007, 12:33
Category: Hardware

Canadian hardware firm Matias has released a keyboard with two USB 2.0 ports built into it as opposed to the standard USB 1.1 ports generally included with a keyboard.

matiaskb.jpg

The keyboard ships in both black and white, is compatible with both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X and is available throughout retail electronics stores as well as online for $29.95.
If you have any comments or feedback about this, let us know.

(more…)

MWSF07: Other World Computing, Atrionix, Debut ModBook at Expo

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 19:41
Category: Hardware

San Francisco — Axiotron and Other World Computing have unveiled the long-anticipated ModBook, the first Macintosh laptop modified to use a tablet interface.

modbook_love.jpg


The unit, which was created by Axiotron and is being distributed within the U.S. by Other World Computing is tentatively priced at $2,279 and ships as a do-it-yourself kit that adds a true pen input, 13.3″ widescreen LCD and optional Global Positioning System within a toughened satin chrome-plated magnesium casing.
For the full article as well as a picture gallery of the mobbed unveiling, check out the jump…

(more…)

Apple Exceeds Delivery Expectations

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 2nd, 2006, 03:00
Category: Hardware

I received this email today:

I already received the iPod Shuffle v2 I ordered for my wife. Ordered in September, selected free shipping during checkout, shipped from China on Monday, and it was handed to me at 10 am this morning. Haven’t been able to use it yet, but dannnnnnnng is it cool to look at!

It echoes what I’ve heard from many of you and even my own experience.
My MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo was ordered via Apple’s online store and I selected the faster “2-3 Business Days (after shipping)” option for an extra US$18. Apple’s online order status page (which I highly recommend) told me that it was shipping on 31 October and was slated to arrive on 02 November.
I was extremely surprised when the FedEx tracking page changed on 31 October. My MBP had traveled from Shanghai to Anchorage to Indianapolis on the 30th, then from Indianapolis to Philadelphia to New Jersey on the 31st. I was very excited when I read that my new MBP was “On FedEx vehicle for delivery” yesterday, when I wasn’t expecting it until a full two days later!
Sure enough it arrived yesterday and I haven’t slept much since. Obviously, your mileage may vary and not everyone is going to receive their order two days early. Apple’s overly conservative shipping estimates are another example of their commitment to under-promise and over-deliver and they deserve credit for it.

(more…)

Apple Requires a “Direct Signature” for all Hardware

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 2nd, 2006, 03:00
Category: Hardware

pre-sign-for-this-shipment.pngApple offers a new delivery option when ordering from their online store. After your order is processed an option is available to “pre-sign” for your shipment. The only problem is that FedEx won’t accept a such a form to leave your package.
It works like this: after you place the order, you can click on a link on Apple’s order status page to “Pre-sign for this shipment.” It takes you to a page that instructs you to accept the terms and conditions outlined below. You are then be presented with a Shipment Release Authorization form which you must print, sign and attach to your door prior to delivery.

Terms and Conditions
I understand that Apple requires signatures acknowledging receipt of delivered goods. By signing the Shipment Release Authorization form, I hereby authorize Apple’s carrier to leave my package at the address I have specified for delivery when placing my order. I understand that, in so doing, I assume the risk of any loss, theft, or destruction, and release Apple and its carriers from all liability that may result from, leaving the package where I have indicated on the Shipment Release Authorization form.

The problem is that FedEx considers a Shipment Release Authorization form an “indirect signature” because a live human did not sign for the package at the time of delivery. According to two FedEx representatives that I spoke to Apple specifically requires a “direct signature” for all their packages, no exceptions. So Apple appears to be sending mixed messages, telling FedEx that they require a direct signature but telling customers that they’ll accept an indirect signature.
Shippers of valuable hardware need to protect themselves from fraud, especially in light of the recent theft-in-transit scams that are plaguing technology companies.
It’s worth noting the discrepancy in signature policies in case you’re waiting for a special delivery from Apple.

(more…)

Mac Pro Unboxing

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 11th, 2006, 00:00
Category: Hardware


Mac Pro unboxed and taken apart. Ahhh, computer porn…

PowerMax: Mac Pro taken apart!

technorati tags:, ,

(more…)