Archive | March, 2010

Top connected DVD/Blu-ray players of 2010 – a buyer’s guide

In case you haven’t heard, Blu-ray won the format war and the prices are finally at the level where everybody should be able to afford them. Streaming movies becomes increasingly popular and the mighty NETFLIX appears on more and more connected devices. Today, we will take a look at the latest and greatest mainstream connected Blu-ray players from major manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.

Before going into details, we’ll talk a little bit more about what a connected device is and what you need to take full advantage of its full functionality.

As more and more entertainment Internet services started to get popular, and I am talking about movie/music streaming and pictures, a lot of people figured it out that it makes a lot of sense if they somehow can be integrated in the home theater systems. At the beginning, the most technologically gifted consumers used HTPC (and they still do) but having a PC in the living room is not for everybody. A lot of media streaming doesn’t require a lot of tinkering and configurations so the big electronics manufacturers  looked to embed various clients into their connected Blu-ray players or TV lines. The first big company to push for such clients was, you guessed, NETFLIX. The first NETFLIX set-top-box was provided by Roku, and made history, but Read More…

Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack 600 Jump Starter & Emergency Power Source with Radio Review

I promised in my previous post that I will review Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack, a pretty nifty device, useful both around the home and while camping. I bought it from Amazonabout a year ago, with the intention of using it while camping. But let me tell you first what exactly it is:

Duracell DPP-600HD Powerpack is exactly what its name suggests, a power pack. That means a battery in a box, although a fairly big 28 amp-hour sealed non-spillable rechargeable AGM battery in this case. Also included in the box is a 12v-110v inverter that will provide you with 110v power for various appliances. Let’s go into a little bit of details:


Battery: Sealed, non-spillable 28 amp-hour deep cycle AGM battery Read More…

New iPhones in the work, Verizon might finally get one

According to Wall Street Journal, Apple is busy building new iPhone models and Verizon might be lucky this time. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. whick produced the previous iPhones will manufacture one model, the other one (CDMA) will be made by Pegatron Technology Corp (subsidiary of ASUSTeK). The CDMA version destined for Verizon might be released in September.

Now, the only question remains:

Would you jump on a new iPhone or wait to see what Microsoft has in its sleeves with the new Windows Phone 7?

What phone would you get?

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AMD introduces 8 and 12-core Opteron 6000 Series processors

AMD announces availability of a new server platform featuring the world’s first 8- and 12-core x86 processor for the high-volume 2P and value 4P server market. The AMD Opteron™ 6000 Series platform addresses the unmistakable needs of server customers today – workload-specific performance, power efficiency, and overall value – while delivering more cores and more memory for less money. Leading OEMs including HP, Dell, Acer Group, Cray, and SGI are introducing new systems based on this highly scalable and reliable platform.

“As AMD has done before, we are again redefining the server market based on current customer Read More…

How to automatically back-up and e-mail your WordPress database – WP-DBManager plug-in

I was looking around for an easy solution to automatically back-up the database that powers my blog and I stumbled on this very useful plug-in called WP-DBManager. The plug-in allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database. the current version (2.50) runs without any issues on my WordPress blog version 2.9.2. One of the features I like the most is that it can automatically back-up your database regularly at scheduled moments in time and e-mail the backup at a e-mail address of your choice. Very handy!

Camping the green way – LaVieSolar 60 Watt Solar Folding Panel with 12V Charge controller review

I love to go camping (but I don’t have enough time to do it as often as I would like – what else is new?) and I can’t wait for the hot days to return to start going again. Many campgrounds don’t have electricity though and if you have kids, you might need to entertain them when the beauty of the nature doesn’t help. With this article I’ll start a mini-series that will describe some of a more hi-tech camping equipment that I use in the hope it might prove useful to others as well.

As I said, many campgrounds don’t have electricity, and the batteries are expensive and don’t last forever. I needed something renewable to supply power to my portable DVD player or to my Tablet PC while camping. I looked around and it seemed the best way to do it and also feel good about yourself is by using solar energy. Clean and free (except of course, the initial investment). I love shopping on eBay and it was the first place I started looking. After several days of searching and reading the reviews, I found an interesting solar panel folding design, sold byLaVieSolar, that is very easy to carry. The 60W advertised power seemed adequate, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy it (helped in part by the 8% Bing cash back currently offered).

Read More…

Advances in ‘spintronic’ – ultra low power devices could revolutionize the future of portable devices

Spintronics , also known as magneto-electronics, is an emerging technology that exploits the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices. The spin is encoded into electrons through the mechanism of ferromagnetism.

This enables ultra-low-power operation for nonvolatile devices, that remember their states even when switched off. Look at it as a flash memory, but with a much higher density and potentially much lower energy requirements.

Read More…

AT&T improves their crappy iPhone reception inside your home – MicroCell is out

It is finally happening. Starting next month you will be able to have better reception inside your home using the new MicroCell device. What is MicroCell ? Well, nothing more than a wireless access point for cell phones that will provide 3G voice and data services routed through your internet connection. So you basically pay for the Internet and to AT&T for their MicroCell just so you can have the privilege of using your phone inside your house…where everybody knows – reception sucks! At least mine does, and I don’t think I am alone.

Let’s go into a bit of details:

Starting last September, AT&T started to test MicroCell service in collaboration with Cisco (which also manufactures the hardware). MicroCell is basically a box similar in size with your wireless router which, will re-route your 3G and calls and data from your cell phones through your phone network. The price will be $150 per device. One MicroCell supports a maximum of 10 lines and 4 people in the house can use it simultaneously.
This is all nice and fancy. The problem in my opinion though, is that AT&T is making you pay to improve their reception and to help reduce the usage of their spectrum. This strikes me as a bit unfair, but I am willing to bet that, if you call them and complain a lot about the reception quality inside your house, you can probably score one for free.

NetFlix Wii streaming discs shipped, also HD content for PC this year?

Today we got some interesting news from NetFlix. The first one is related to Wii. It seems that finally, the streaming discs that would enable NetFlix access on Wii are shipping, so expect to get them by tomorrow (if you requested them, of course). If you didn’t, you can do it right now here.

The second news is actually more a rumor. A Hacking NetFlix post mentions that HD content could be available on the PC this year, and that, the lack of availability now is due to content restrictions. We’ll wait and see how this one will turn out to be. A while ago, NetFlix also mentioned for this year the availability of 5.1 digital sound, so it might actually happen. The technology is here, in any case. I think the best NetFlix experience is via the Windows Media Center plug-in, so let us hope that HD content comes soon.

You can also request NetFlix PS3 streaming discs here. By the end of the year though, PS3 should have a native application that wouldn’t require a disc to stream NetFlix content.

Silverlight 4 Facebook client

According to NewTeeVee, Microsoft’s Silverlight client reached critical mass being installed on more than 60% of all Internet devices according with Microsoft exec. Brad Becker, director of product management for rich client platforms at Microsoft. Beside GPU acceleration, Silverlight 4 offers a bunch of useful features like multi-touch, accelerometers support, video-camera and mic support to promote voip solutions inside the web browser, etc.

Silverlight client is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash and as we all now, is the technology behind Netflix’s movie streaming. Recently launched is the Silverlight 4 client, RC version and a new Silverlight client for Facebook that offers photos, feeds, Read More…