Tag Archives: Review

To SSD or not ? How Intel X25-M Solid State Drive performs in a HTPC

I use my HTPC every day to watch movies, but I don’t like to wait until it boots. To be honest, it was never that slow to boot, I have a AMD Phenom II X4 Deneb at 3.0Ghz on a Asus M4A785-M motherboard, and the system is pretty nimble as it is. However, there is always room to grow, so after a long wait I got myself the Intel X25-M SSD.

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At 80GB, the size is perfect for a HTPC, a Windows 7 installation plus various 7MC  plug-ins only takes about 25GB with enough to spare for additional media-related applications.

Installation:

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HP TouchSmart tm2 convertible tablet review

I am lucky, really really lucky. I received a new laptop at work. Like many other people around, I have a long commute. Fortunately I can take the train, but even so, I am more than 3 hours a day on the road (or railroad to be precise). A notebook is mandatory.

Now, I mentioned I am lucky and the reason is that I can decide of what hardware I buy at work. So I looked around really hard and noticed that HP launched their new HP TouchSmart tm2 Convertible Tablet PC, so I bought it. I really like it, so here are the details:

HP TouchSmart tm2 is HP’s first convertible laptop for consumers featuring multitouch technology. This model also adds a stylus to use when the laptop is folded in tablet mode. It uses a 12.1″ LED display with a resolution of 1280×800. The touch-pad is fairly large and the mouse buttons are embedded in it. That means you can also navigate on the mouse buttons surface, as they are part of the touch-pad, but I find myself missing the touch feel of the real buttons.

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Aluratek Internet Radio Alarm Clock with Built-in WiFi – AIRMM01F Review

I suppose I am old fashion, but I like to listen to radio, I always did. I still remember being a kid and listen in the dark at Radio Free Europe with my family when the electricity was cut of by the government to save money. But that was a different country and different life. The nostalgia remained though. So I looked around on the internet to buy a radio that would receive international stations (I already have a Sony World Band Receiver ICF_SW7600GR – who the heck comes up with these names?) which is a very good receiver in its own right, but the reception sucks in my city and anyway, they are very few foreign radio stations that broadcast strong enough to receive them in SOCAL.

Enough ranting, I managed to find two different internet radio receivers, a Philips NP1100/37 and an  Aluratek AIRMMF01F (another weird name). I bought both of them! The last one is the subject of today’s review. Read More…

My new connected TV, LG 60PS80

Well, well, guess what, I got myself a new TV. With the reluctant acceptance of my wife, I went on Amazon (which at the time had a pretty good deal including free shipping and interest free for a year) and I bought the LG 60PS80 Netcast connected TV.

Without going into details about image quality, sound and so on (there are already a number of sites concentrating on this aspect and I am not the type of person to hunt for minor differences) I want to talk a little bit about the connected part. According to some recent articles, about a quarter of the TVs sold/launched this year are connected. That means they have wired/wireless network connection and a number of clients embedded that support popular services.

This particular TV supports the following clients:

NETFLIX – Arguably the most popular movie streaming service in the world. NETFLIX can be accessed currently on a large number of   TVs, set-top boxes and it might come very soon on iPhone.

There are two main interfaces implemented to access NETFLIX. The so-called Version 1.0 displays your current queue and that’s about it. If you want to see something not currently available in your instant queue, you need to go to your PC and add movies to it. Not necessarily a hard thing to do but I don’t want to access my computer when I am watching TV.

The NETFLIX interface version 2.0 (similar with the one implemented on XBOX 360, PS3 and 7MC) allows you to browse and select movies from multiple categories, so you are not limited only to the movies from your instant queue.

Well, unfortunately LG 60PS80 has only NETFLIX 1.0 so you are stuck with the old style interface. Version 2.0 is available on LG 2010’s TV line and they don’t seem willing to update the firmware for 2009 line (even if the price paid, around $2000 would entitle someone to better support, at least during the first year of ownership). From this perspective, LG as a company seems to not care too much once they sell you a product. I have seen this behavior on their DVD/Blu-ray players as well. However, while I can imagine buying a new Blu-ray player every year, especially with the costs going down, I’ll certainly won’t get another TV for the next 5 years (my wife could read this post 😀 ). OK, enough ranting.

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