Hardware

The Kindle 3 Has Arrived!

August 27, 2010

Yesterday, much to my glee, the new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Reading-Display-Graphite-Globally/dp/B002FQJT3Q/?void=fidelis” title=”[amazon] Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6” Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally - Latest Generation">Kindle 3 arrived. With the Kindle 3, comes the new option of getting the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Wireless-Reader-Wifi-Graphite/dp/B002Y27P3M/?void=fidelis” title=”[amazon] Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6” Display, Graphite - Latest Generation">Wifi only version or a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Reading-Display-Graphite-Globally/dp/B002FQJT3Q/?void=fidelis” title=”[amazon] Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6” Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally - Latest Generation">Wifi+3G version. As I do love my ability to buy books ANYWHERE (like when you are standing in line to board a plane), I bought the Wifi+3G version (in Graphite). In case it wasn’t already abundantly obvious, I’m very excited about this unit. I’ll admit, I’m a Kindle fanboy. After receiving and playing with it, I’m even more impressed. Unlike the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Reading-Graphite-Globally-Generation/dp/B002GYWHSQ/?void=fidelis” title=”[amazon] Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 9.7” Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally – Latest Generation">Kindle DX, I know this one won’t be returned to Amazon. I’ve had more than enough time to get a good idea of how the Kindle 3 works, and how it compares to the Kindle 2, so I thought it was time to share.

Today In: Initializing a new hard drive

September 23, 2009

So, I haven’t done this in freaking forever. The last clear memory I have of setting up a brand new drive is sometime in the late 90s and doing everything in DOS (fdisk anyone?). Because of this, I had forgotten all about the joys of doing this. But first, a little background info. Earlier this month, I got a Newegg combo deal for a <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-3520963-10440897?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FProduct.aspx%3FItem%3DN82E16822136351%26nm_mc%3DAFC-C8Junction%26cm_mmc%3DAFC-C8Junction-_-Hard%2BDrives-_-Western%2BDigital--22136351&cjsku=N82E16822136351” title=”[newegg] Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5” Internal Hard Drive - OEM “>1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green drive plus <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-3520963-10440897?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FProduct.aspx%3FItem%3DN82E16800999175%26nm_mc%3DAFC-C8Junction%26cm_mmc%3DAFC-C8Junction-_-Gifts-_-Rosewill--00999175&cjsku=N82E16800999175” title=”[newegg] Rosewill 2.5” & 3.5” SATA to USB2.0 Hard Drive Docking - Gift - Retail “>dock for $84.99 Shipped That deal is no longer available, but a similar deal now available for $79.99. Though it uses a <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-3520963-10440897?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2FProduct%2FProduct.aspx%3FItem%3DN82E16822148411%26nm_mc%3DAFC-C8Junction%26cm_mmc%3DAFC-C8Junction-_-Hard%2BDrives-_-Seagate-_-22148411&cjsku=N82E16822148411” title=”[newegg] Seagate Barracuda LP ST31000520AS 1TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5” Hard Drive - OEM “>Seagate Barracuda rather than WD Caviar. The dock arrived before the drive, so I tested it out with a spare SATA drive Jon had on his desk. Plugged it in and worked great, no problems. The next day the drive arrives, I plug it in and then nothing happened (other then the standard windows installation for new devices being plugged in). I try it on another computer before harassing Jon about it and then realize “Oh yeah, have to format it!”

The AMD Experience Event aboard the USS Hornet

September 11, 2009

<img class="serendipity_image_left" width="110" height="73" src="/uploads/2009-09-11_10-14-54.serthb.JPG" alt="" /></a> The AMD Experience “Badge” A few weeks ago I was contacted via Twitter to see if I was interested in attending a bay area “tech/gamer blogger event”. I was a little bit suspicious, but eventually I acquiesced (thanks to John’s constant harassing). As it turns out, I got an invite to the “AMD Experience aboard the USS Hornet“. I didn’t know what to expect because I wasn’t told anything about it in advance. <img class="serendipity_image_right" width="110" height="73" src="/uploads/2009-09-10_18-03-16.serthb.JPG" alt="" /></a> “Mood lighting” on the hanger deck. So last night I went off to visit the USS Hornet, which I had visited previously about a month ago (and never got around to blogging about it). I got accosted by a security guard asking if I was “here for the event”, sigh. I fully expected that and I’m used to it, so It doesn’t upset me. I got inside to find that they had turned off all the regular lighting and replaced it with what I can best describe as “mood lighting”. It was amusing, but made it somewhat difficult to get any decent photography done for the evening. Not that it stopped me because I have ISO 6400 to abuse on my camera, and abuse it I did.

Review: Kindle DX after 2 weeks

July 10, 2009

Two things I need to mention off the bat. Number 1, if you’ve been playing along at home and saying to yourself “The Kindle DX has been out for much longer than 2 weeks”, you’re right, but this post got delayed due to scheduling conflicts. Number 2, I’ve returned my Kindle DX. So, with that being said, let me share my thoughts on the device and why I ultimately chose to return it. The Kindle DX is a great device for what it was designed for. The problem is that everyone equates the brand “Kindle” with reading paperback novels. That was true for the Kindle 1 as well as the Kindle 2, but not so for the Kindle DX. The KDX was designed to be a large reader for textbooks and newspapers. Ok, so I don’t get the newspaper thing as much as the next blogger, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. The center “scale” is that of a textbook, which is going to be larger and heavier than your run of the mill paperback, just as the KDX is larger & heavier than the K2. I loaded up the KDX with a number of PDFs, some of them being documents from work, and some of them being proper ebooks I’d purchased elsewhere. My single favorite use was actually for keeping a copy of manual PDFs from software I was working with at the time. It allowed me to free up a screen (not like I don’t have 3 LCD’s, but that is beside the point) for other abuses. For real ebooks, I gave HDR: An introduction to High Dynamic Range Photography a try. Granted the KDX isn’t the prime device for viewing HDR pictures, but it worked great for the rest of the “book” portion. If your use of a Kindle is for viewing textbooks, the KDX will take care of you fantastically. Of course, I don’t have that type of use these days. Additionally, I realized something. My netbook cost me $100 less, and is a better PDF reader, than the KDX.

Thoughts about the Kindle DX

May 11, 2009

So last Wednesday, the brand spanking new Kindle DX was released. As has now become usual (considering the 2 previous announcements of the Amazon Kindle), the “cat was out of the bag” before the show even started. Amazon doesn’t have nearly as good information control as Apple, or they realized that it drums up interest so they don’t try to cap it; my belief is the latter. The DX is very similar to the Kindle 2. The major changes are: bigger screen (9.7″ vs 6″), more memory (3.3gb vs 1.4gb), Rotation detection (like the iPod, you tilt it on it’s side, and it rotates the screen to match – oh and unlike the iPod you can disable it), and built in PDF support (versus the previous need to submit it for conversion). Other than that the two units are very similar in look physically (excepting the obvious size difference) and run the same UI. So is the Kindle DX the “next great device”? Well… it really depends on who you ask. It seems a good portion of people are upset by the fact that Amazon announced the KDX just 3 months after they announced the K2. A fact that does not get lost on many of the Engadget editors in their editorial on the KDX. Thankfully, it seems there are at least 1 or 2 editors that have some sense left in them. I’m sure you’ll find just as many people angry at Amazon and the KDX for one reason or another, as you’ll find people excited about the KDX (and of course loud, angry people stand out more than the happy ones). What do I think? I think that these 2 devices are targeting very different groups and purposes. On top of that I think it is worth pissing off a few people in order to put out multiple devices quickly in order to snap up a bigger segment of the market (a market which is still considerably small). You can look at the KDX and the K2 as being just like the iPod versus the iPod Nano, they serve typically different markets. Yes, there is some overlap in markets for the KDX/K2, but unless you’re company only makes a spoon and a space shuttle, you’ll probably have market crossover too.

Kindle 2 Review after a few days of use

February 27, 2009

<img class="serendipity_image_left" src="/uploads/Kindle_2_-_Front.serthb.jpg" alt="" width="85" height="110" /></a> The Kindle 2 As just about everyone knows, the latest generation of Kindle was released this week. All hail our new robotic voiced overlord, the Kindle 2 (K2). Of course, I bought one. It is shiny, new, and I had to have one. Plus my mother really wanted a Kindle after I loaned her my Kindle 1 (K1), so now she’s gotten it. I’ve taken a few days to actually use the device, and I thought I’d share my impressions. Hardware <img class="serendipity_image_right" src="/uploads/Kindle_2_-_Back.serthb.jpg" alt="" width="106" height="110" /></a> Back of the K2 The first impressions you get from the K2 are from the redesigned hardware. It most definitely has an “iPod-esque” feel to it, the corners are rounded, the back is now some sort of brushed steel look. They also flattened the thing, which is a godsend. One of the strangest parts of the K1 was the angled back and the odd slight angle changes. The screen, outwardly, looks mostly the same as it did before (it now features slightly rounded edges). The keyboard has been redone into small circular buttons, and much to my glee, is no longer curved. While I understood the ergonomics of the K1’s keyboard, it was just silly looking and frankly the keyboard wasn’t that useful. One of the largest complaints of the K1 was the fact that the “Next Page” buttons were so damnably easy to hit. Once I got used to the device, it wasn’t a problem, but there was not a single person I handed it to that didn’t immediately accidentally hit one of the page buttons. The new buttons are smaller, possibly a little too small (as they don’t go low enough for my hands), and much more difficult to push. Specifically, they changed it so the outside of the buttons is anchored and the inside “clicks”. This is going to take a little getting used to for me, since I was a fan of hitting just the edge of the button on the K1. <img class="serendipity_image_left" src="/uploads/Both_Kindles_-_Front.serthb.jpg" alt="" width="110" height="77" /></a> The Kindle 1 (left) and Kindle 2 (Right) I will address the couple complaints I have heard: Removal of SD card slot & the no longer removable battery. In the K2, they bumped the usable internal memory up to about 1500 MB, which works out to about 1,500 books. Really, no one needs removable storage at that point. You can look at it this way: Say you were going to be traveling for 4 years straight, you load the K2 up with 1,500 books before you left and read 1 full book every day (which means you aren’t doing ANYTHING else with your life) for those 4 years… You would still have books left over on the Kindle. If you are out of the country, where the wireless downloads don’t work, you can use USB to transfer new books on to it, just like every other ebook reader (so no, you don’t need Wifi you whiny bastards). You have to have the USB cable anyways – as it is the charging port as well. As to the removable battery, yes, I agree that is sort of annoying. Though, most of the batteries these days are designed to go hundreds of charge/discharge cycles before they significantly lose juice. Say the K2 battery was only good for 200 charges before it lost a good amount of juice, if you were recharging it every week (because you read a book every day), you’d still have about 4 years. At that point, the K2 is still going to work, just for less page turns at a time, and there will be a K3 or K4 out by then.

ASUS Eee PC 1000, Ubuntu Jaunty and You!

February 25, 2009

If you follow my twitter feed, then you know over this past weekend I got an ASUS Eee PC 1000. In fact, I spend a good deal of time tweeting about it on Monday when it arrived. I thought I’d spend a little time sharing my impressions of the device and some of the tinkering that I’ve done with it over the last few days (it lasted about an hour before it got reformatted). Please note: Most of this post is in the extended body, so to read it all you need to click the more button. In the past I haven’t used this feature much, but this post is really long. First the system specifications: • 10.2″ LCD @ 1024×600 • 1.6 Ghz Intel Atom • 1 GB RAM • 40 GB SSD (More correctly: 1x 8 GB and 1x 32 GB) • Comes pre-installed with Xandros Linux (of the Debian family) • 1.3 Megapixel Webcam • Stereo Microphones (shows as 1 device, used for noise canceling) • ~5 Hour battery • SD Card reader • 802.11b/g/n Wireless • 10/100/1000 Ethernet • Bluetooth • Multitouch trackpad • Ports: 3 USB, 1 VGA, 1 power, 1 microphone, 1 headphone, Network Hardware Review My first impressions is that this is a nice little package. My unit came in black and I think it looks good; granted it is a glossy surface so it picks up fingerprints. The accent pieces, like the buttons above the keyboard and the mouse buttons, have a brushed steel look (though they are probably plastic), which I think looks really classy. The screen is nice and bright at its brightest setting, though it doesn’t get that dark. The buttons on the mice are a little tough for my preference, but it isn’t really a deal breaker, especially since you can just tap the pad instead (which I have the tendency to tap really hard). Additionally, the important thing is, it is LIGHT, 3 pounds and change with the standard battery. They keyboard is advertised as 92% full size which I think is a fair description, though some compromises have been made in the name of fitting into the form factor. My only real problem with the keyboard is that directly below the Enter key is the Up arrow – right where I expect the Shift key to be. The Shift key has been moved to the right of the aforementioned Up arrow. Since I have a preference to use that right shift almost exclusively, I hit that Up arrow by mistake A LOT when I first started on the device. But like any keyboard that is slightly different, it takes a little getting use to, then it is all good. In fact, I am typing this entry up on the Eee PC itself and I’m not hitting the Up arrow by mistake nearly as often (and I find myself using the left shift some, which is actually a good thing for me to do). Overall, I’m pleased with how it is designed. Semi-update: I got to take a look at Brion’s Dell Mini 9, the shift key/arrow key setup is the same on his machine as it is on my Eee PC. So I’m under the impression that this is actually a fairly common design for netbooks. It makes sense, since most “regular” keyboards have the arrow keys off on their own little island and that wouldn’t fit in such a small form factor.