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Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

Make Yourself a Home Network Storage Server

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

“I was recently “voluntold” to clean up several years’ worth of accumulated computer parts in my GeekCorner of the basement. I was generally fine with this, since even I had to admit that things had gotten a little out of hand over time.

The cleanup took a lot longer than I expected, but the resulting local decrease in entropy down there is definitely an improvement. And since most of the bits and pieces were intended for use in various long-neglected projects, getting rid of that stuff meant I could stop feeling guilty about never getting around to starting, let alone finishing, those projects. Like Paul Graham says, your property really does own you.

One item I did save from the get-this-out-of-my-house boxes was an Epia M10000 motherboard. VIA was the pioneer in developing the mini-ITX form factor, and their boards have been extremely popular over the years with those interested in creating small form factor computers.

The Epias are noted for their low power consumption and ability to be passively cooled; consequently they make great silent PCs. I had used the Epia M10000 for a while in a previous project, but it was now idle and ripe for re-use.

I’d been meaning to put together a low-power network file server, and this seemed like a good time to finally make that happen.”

The Pitfalls and Surprises of Amazon’s New Kindles

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

“There’s been some unexpected discoveries in the details about Amazon’s four newest Kindles. I’ve tried to identify the 10 biggest surprises in the list below — starting with five bad surprises, and then five good.

1. There’s No 3G Web Browsing (except on Kindle Fire)
2. Power Adapters Not Included
3. One Miserable Keyboard
4. Your Personal Documents are now Stored at Amazon.com
5. Amazon Prime not Included

Now here’s five of the biggest good surprises about Amazon’s new upcoming Kindles…

1. Kindle Fire will have a NetFlix App!
2. The Kindle Fire Supports Flash
3. The Silk Browser is Incredibly Fast
4. One Special Offer Can Pay for the Cost of a Kindle
5. Amazon’s Selling Kindle Fire at a Loss”

Kinect To Estimate Human Age and Automate Parental Control?

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

“Sorry, kid, but you’ve got the arms of a 12-year-old, and you’re not watching the Spice Channel tonight.

That’s the idea floated by Microsoft in a patent filing made public this week, proposing to use a 3D depth camera (such as the one in its Kinect sensor for Xbox 360) to digitally measure the proportions of a person’s body and estimate age based on the data, such as head width to shoulder width, and torso length to overall height.

The system could then automatically restrict access to television shows, movies and video games accordingly, using ratings for each type of content.

It might sound like science fiction, but it’s actually not a huge stretch, given the detailed skeletal tracking that Kinect already uses to let people control games.

As described in the patent application, the approach would give parents a new advantage over their tech-savvy kids, many of whom can easily circumvent existing parental controls.

But more than that, the technology could work dynamically — detecting when a kid enters the room, for example, and switching to more appropriate content.”

A Portable RAID Solution

October 2, 2011 Leave a comment

“Do you demand portability from your Redundant Array of Independent Disks?

Then you’ve probably already seen Sonnet’s Fusion F2, with its two 1TB drives and eSATA connector.

Today the company introduces the Fusion F2QR, which also features two 2.5-inch, 1TB hard drives — but now comes with four interface options.

You’ve got your eSATA, of course, but also Firewire 400, Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 connectors.”

Smartbook Can Hot-Switch Between Android, ChromeOS, Ubuntu

October 2, 2011 2 comments

“Several OS on the same machine at the same time? Yes, that’s possible and without any performance loss. You can indeed choose and switch between several OSes installed on the device at runtime.

By just pressing the magic AI button, you get a simple menu, letting you literally switch between several OS running at the same time on the same machine on a single processor.

Instant-play, you can take the most of each OS, which means in our case: our AIOS, Android, Ubuntu, and ChromiumOS. Best of all, you can share your documents between those side-by-side instances.”

Samsung’s First Desktop for the US

October 1, 2011 Leave a comment

“There must be something in the water: first Toshiba decides to give this all-in-one thing a whirl and a few months later, Samsung’s jumping on the bandwagon, too.

The company just added a desktop to its Series 7 lineup, making it Sammy’s first all-in-one for the US market.

It’ll be available in two configurations, but either way you’re in for a 23-inch, 250-nit display with 1080p resolution and support for two-finger gestures.

Other specs include four USB 2.0 ports built into the base (along with one of the 3.0 persuasion), a 1TB 7,200RPM hard drive, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth 3.0 and dual four-watt speakers.

And, depending on which config you choose, you’ll get either a 2.6GHz Core i3-2120T CPU and 6GB of RAM or a 2.7GHz Core i5-2390T processor with 8GB of memory.”

Is Kindle Fire The Best Android Tablet?

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

“The Kindle Fire could be the first truly successful Android tablet. It touts a very reasonable $200 price tag, a well-curated app store, easy access to Amazon’s cloud-based services, brand trust and recognition. It’s Amazon’s most ambitious foray into hardware since the original Kindle’s debut.

And the Fire has the potential to engulf all its Android tablet brethren.

To date, Android tablet sales have mostly been lackluster. The Motorola Xoom only shipped 440,000 units in its first three months. Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab fared better, hitting the one million mark before it had been on the market for two months. But there are countless other Android tablets, and none of them are making a big splash in the iPad-dominated space. Many have taken to slashing their prices just to make a tiny grab at the tablet market.

But the Kindle Fire has the ability to change all that.

The failing point of many existing 7-inch tablets as that they thought of the iPad as their competition. But a 7-inch “tweener,” as Steve Jobs dubbed it, is an inherently different device, and Amazon, with the Kindle Fire, has embraced that difference.

The Kindle Fire is a device created for content consumption, not creation — for reading, listening to music and watching video. As such, at least to start, it’ll rely heavily on Amazon’s own apps and services.

Whether Amazon’s 7-inch tablet fires up Android development will depend on the success of the device.”