USB 3.0 Specification to be Ready in June

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

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.


Apple Releases Time Capsule & AirPort Extreme 7.4.1 Firmware Update

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

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.


    Review: Pure Digital Flip Mino HD

    Posted by:
    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.


    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).


    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…


    What the heck is a Mouse Jiggler?

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 09:59
    Category: Accessory

    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.


    REVIEW: Blue Microphone’s Snowball mic

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, January 22nd, 2007, 08:00
    Category: Accessory

    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 β€” 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 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.