Elgato Releases Turbo.264 HD Video Converter

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Date: Friday, March 20th, 2009, 08:00
Category: Accessory

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Accessory provider Elgato announced the release of its new Turbo.264 HD video converter on Thursday. The USB hardware converter can convert HD and AVCHD content into a wide range of standard and HD video formats.
Users can then edit movies before copying them from a camera, splice movies together, and download movies to your Mac or YouTube account. Turbo.264 HD supports AVCHD Video, QuickTime, AVI, DV, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 Program/Transport Stream, MPEG-4, MP4, M4V, H.263, H.264 AVC, Xvid, VIDEO_TS and more. It also includes a QuickTime component that improves H.264 exporting for other applications including Apple’s iMovie.
The Turbo.264 HD retails for US$149.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later to run.
If you have a hardware converter of choice, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Elgato Releases EyeTV 3.1.2 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 19th, 2009, 09:11
Category: Software

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Late Sunday, Elgato Systems released version 3.1.1 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.
The new version, which can be found here (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

  • A problem where EyeTV would require increasing amounts of memory while playing back live television has been resolved.
  • Exporting a recording to elementary streams now preserves the native audio format.
  • Resolved an issue in 10.4.11 that would cause EyeTV to hang when creating a manual schedule.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred when teletext was toggled on and off.
  • Improved USB performance of EyeTV Hybrid US 2009 after starting up the Macintosh.
  • The Freebox live TV window no longer opens by itself every 10 minutes when using Freebox in Wi-Fi mode.
  • EyeTV 3.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    The program retails for US$79.95.
    If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Bodybugg Review – Weight Loss 2.0

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    Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 02:47
    Category: Review, Software

    By David Klein
    One can argue that dieting is extremely challenging for the average person. In my opinion the biggest problem is the lack of data. Manually counting calories consumed and burned is a meticulous process that is virtually impossible to do with a pencil and paper. Also, how can you be sure your numbers are accurate? Now, we have the hardware to help us lose weight: the Bodybugg (below). Using this technology truly is a new generation of dieting: weight loss 2.0.
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    Review: Ted Baker Six Pack

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    Date: Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 08:25
    Category: Review

    By Robert Kaneko
    Today’s mobile community is in desperate need of portable power. As our iPods and iPhones gain functionality, they also eat through their built-in batteries. My 8GB first-generation iPod touch will last for a full day if I’m just using it to listen to music. However, if I start playing games, surfing the Internet, checking email, watching video and doing all the other things I bought the Touch for, my battery life plummets. It’s not a big stretch for me to use up the internal battery within two or three hours. Enter the Ted Baker Six Pack.
    Contrary to what the name might imply, the Ted Baker Six Pack is not a strange new beverage. It is a portable external battery that will power and charge just about any small mobile device you can think of. In fact, if you are familiar with the Proporta Mobile Device Charger, the Ted Baker Six Pack is the same product in prettier packaging.
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    Moshi iLynx Review

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 23:48
    Category: Accessory, Firewire, Gadget, iMac, Mac Desktop, Peripheral, Review

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    By David Klein
    Moshi’s latest product, the iLynx, immediately caught my eye at January’s Macworld convention in San Francisco. When I saw Moshi’s booth I ran over to see what they had coming in the near future. My first question was: “What is that and when can I buy it?!” (Yes, I love cool looking products.) The Moshi employee told me it was a USB and Firewire hub. Somehow, they took a relatively dull concept and made it surprisingly sexy. Moshi demonstrated expertise in this style of design again.
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    USB 3.0 Specification to be Ready in June

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    Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 13:03
    Category: News

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    Agilent Technologies, Inc., stated at a conference in Tokyo today that it would have a test-ready version of the USB 3.0 specification ready in June. The time frame should provide computer and component makers with a reference point for building hardware that can be checked for compatibility in the second half of the year. Final USB 3-capable computers and peripherals should be ready by 2010.
    According to Tech-On, the USB 3.0 spec should increase bandwidth to 5 Gbps as well as simultaneously reduce the average power consumption while increasing the power output for hard drives and other devices that would otherwise require an AC adapter.
    As always, let us know what’s on your mind over in the comments or forums.

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    Apple Releases Time Capsule & AirPort Extreme 7.4.1 Firmware Update

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    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:37
    Category: wireless

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    Late Thursday night, Apple leased version 7.4.1 of its firmware for its 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers. The revised firmware, which can be downloaded either via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update application or the update application within the AirPort Utility program makes the following fixes and changes:

  • Resolves an issue in which a client computer may be disconnected when waking from sleep.
  • Addresses an issue in which redirecting SMTP port services may disable IP-layer networking.
  • Improves the reliability of Back to My Mac-based disk sharing.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • For AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Fast Ethernet), AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Gigabit Ethernet), AirPort Express with 802.11n, and original Time Capsule models, the firmware 7.4.1 update:

  • Enables remote administration and remote access to compatible USB connected drives via Back to My Mac (except on AirPort Express).
  • Improves reliability when backing up to a Time Capsule via Time Machine.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any major changes, let us know in the comments or forums.

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    Review: Pure Digital Flip Mino HD

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    Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:32
    Category: Review

    By David Klein

    For many of us, purchasing a digital video camera is similar to purchasing a digital camera: a stressful experience. Am I buying the best one in my price range? What about the competitor’s? Is that enough megapixels? Is that enough storage? Endless questions and confusion. Most settle for average quality in the US$100 to US$200 range, and they are surprised by the above-average results. They get something compact and light with an LCD screen, a decent lens, and clear pictures.

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    Fortunately, we now have a comparable experience with digital video: the Flip Mino HD. It’s compact, stylish, sleek, and light. It has a 1.5″ screen, and it records in 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution. Yes, that’s high definition and it’s shocking for such a small package. However, the other surprising part is the audio. Even with lots of ambient noise and jarring interruptions, the Mino HD manages to pick up close-range audio. For example, it clearly records the holder of the camera who may or may not be narrating (something I enjoy doing with my Flip).

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    Charging the Flip and downloading videos is easy using the built-in USB connection that pops out of the top after flipping a switch. You have two options for accessing your videos. You can either copy them from the Flip, which mounts as an external hard drive on your desktop, or you can use the free software which is ready to install when you connect. My recommendation is to avoid this software. Although it allows you to organize, edit, and upload your videos, the interface is questionable. I prefer to use iMovie on my Mac when editing is actually necessary.

    Click the jump for the full review…

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    What the heck is a Mouse Jiggler?

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    Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 09:59
    Category: Accessory
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    That was my reaction when I saw this little diddy from our friends at WiebeTech. The Mouse Jiggler (US$30) is actually pretty self explanatory and quite simple. Just stick this little device in your USB port (no, it’s not a USB flash drive) and it jiggles your mouse around on your screen. Since Mouse Jiggler registers as a Human Interface Device (HID), no new software is installed or required. An LED counts off the number of minutes Mouse Jiggler has been working.
    Now, you’re probably asking yourself “Why would I want something that jiggles my mouse around?” Good question. It’s sole purpose (at least that I can think of, anyway) is to prevent timed screen savers and sleep mode from invoking and their associated password dialogs.
    The Mouse Jiggler is available in two speeds (fast and slow). The fast version makes constant large motions that it’s obvious at a glance that it’s working. The slow version makes constant small motions allowing you to use the computer while Mouse Jiggler is attached.

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    REVIEW: Blue Microphone’s Snowball mic

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    Date: Monday, January 22nd, 2007, 08:00
    Category: Accessory
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    The Snowball microphone (US$159) from Blue Microphones is a nice USB condenser microphone for recording podcasts or anything else, for that matter.
    Blue bills the Snowball as “the world’s first professional USB mic” and the sound quality bears that out. It’s dead simple to use, literally plug and play. There’s no software to install and it’s recognized immediately by Mac OS X. The Snowball also works out of the box with Windows.

    With its dual capsule design and unique three-pattern switch (cardioid, cardioid with -10dB pad and omni), the Snowball can handle everything from soft vocals to the loudest garage band — and it’s ideal for podcasting.

    I’ve been using the Snowball microphone to record the last six PowerPage podcasts (usually over Skype) and I’ve been suitably impressed with the sound quality. I don’t usually take the Snowball with me on the road because I prefer a more compact headset-based mic like the Plantronics DSP-400 (which I reviewed in 2005). The sound quality of the Snowball is far superior than the DSP-400.
    One tip: if you buy a Snowball, immediately download and install the firmware update from BlueMic.com for the best sound quality. To find out more check out Blue Microphone’s Snowball product page and FAQ. Although the Snowball lists for US$159 it’s available online from Guitar Center for US$99. Which is an excellent deal.

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