February 02, 2015
Raspberry Pi 2 Released

Turbocharged Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed.

We’ve given the new BCM2836 Pi 2 a quick blast, with SPB apprentice boffin Katarina having the honour of being one of the first to lay hands on the board. It seems nippy enough but just how it measures up remains to be seen.

Can’t wait to hear what people are going to do with this.

Hardware , Gadgets - Posted by Arcterex at 10:22 AM
March 12, 2014
Neil Young's New Music Player Pono Kickstarter

Neil Young’s Pono kickstarter crushes fundraising goal.

If all I did was listen to what the critics were saying, I would have assumed that Neil Young would have difficulty raising money for his new Pono Player. But contrary to expectations, Mr. Young is crushing it, at least financially.

Currently over $1,000,000 of the $800,000 goal with 34 days to go. However, from what I can tell it’s going to be a bust (outside of the kickstarter backers).

It is an odd shaped (triangles?), FLAC playing (don’t most android phones play FLAC already?), device that will cost $400, and have it’s own store. So you end up having to re-buy all the music you already have from iTunes / Google / CDs again, and hope that the music listening experience is as mindblowingly different than your 320kb ripped MP3s, without having to spend $900 on a pair of audiophile-approved headphones.

Honestly I don’t think that this will be a blip on the radar of anyone outside the audiophile community, who pay $200 for gold plated connectors anyway. Honestly even if it is mindblowingly different, is that enough for the common man to put another device in his pocket, just when he’s gotten rid of his iPod and replaced it with a smartphone?

Guess we’ll see.

The linked critique is indeed fairly scathing, and honestly, not unexpected based on where it’s coming from.

Pono Music was launched by Neil Young and its easy to see that this device was created by old school music big wigs with very little knowledge about technology or design.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:38 AM
January 21, 2014
Backblaze Answers What Hard Drive Should You Buy?

On the Backblaze Blog the question of What Hard Drive Should I Buy? is answered. Backblaze, providing backup services, goes through a lot of drives, and keeps records of failure rates, performance, and so on. Very interesting data, and far more useful than your friend who’s always bought some brand of drive and never has had any problems, so they’re the best.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:06 AM
December 03, 2013
Drool-Worthy $99 Kit Lets Kids Build Their Own Computer

Good buddy and sometimes-contributor Jim sent me this wired article on a Drool-Worthy $99 Kit Lets Kids Build Their Own Computers. It’s a kickstarter for the Kano, a kickstarter campaign to build a computer that’s as easy and fun as lego.

It’s already at $1,000,000 of it’s $100,000 goal, and based on the video, well worth it.

Hardware , Random Linkage - Posted by Arcterex at 03:36 PM
July 18, 2013
GlassUp: Augmented Reality glasses... Pebble For Your Face

GlassUp are Augmented Reality glasses that display messages from your smartphone. Think Pebble for your face.

Thanks Aryk for the link.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:03 AM
July 09, 2013
The 'Tile' Lost and Found Kickstarter

Found Tile via DF.

I’m not sure I’ll back it, but man it does look cool. The Tile FAQ answers most questions.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:11 PM
March 07, 2013
Tired of Waiting For Your Pebble? Check out the Buddy Bluetooth Watch

Maybe a new personal computing revolution is upon us. My buddy Jim sent me a link this morning to the Buddy Bluetooth watch, which seems very similar to the Pebble watch, but allows more notifications and interaction with your smartphone and has what appears to be a much higher resolution color display.

This looks super cool (not sure I like the styling myself, but I’m a bit more minimalist), and if they can deliver (especially on the battery life… “5 days to 2 weeks standby”… please define “standby”?), this sounds awesome :)

Gadgets , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:09 AM
February 26, 2013
Backblaze 180TB Storage Pod

Backblaze (the online backup company), has announced Storage Pod 3.0, their 180Tb storage solution. It’s an open source design with parts list, etc.

Really, isn’t 180Tb good enough for everyone?

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:41 AM
November 02, 2012
Drobo Mini and 5D Storage Arrays Now Available

Drobo announced today that the Drobo Mini and 5D Storage Arrays Are Now Available. You’ll remember I broke this news a few months ago. I’m still on the list to try to get a proper review unit and will see what would happen with a proper hands on.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:22 AM
September 06, 2012
Amazon's Kindle Event

I was out all day today so I missed all the excitement, so if you haven’t heard about it already today, Amazon had their Kindle Event where they announced a bunch of new toys (that you can see on the front page of Amazon):

All in all good looking, though as a Canadian we don’t get any of the amazon services up here, so the only type of kindle I see are the e-reader ones. Still, I’d love to get my hands on a paperwhite one. Hmm… if only I knew someone at Amazon….

Anyway, kudos to Amazon for what looks like a great release, as Gruber notes having actual product, prices, and availability dates is key.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 06:13 PM
September 05, 2012
Meet The Ubuntu 'Keyboard PC'

Ok, this is pretty damn cool: The Ubuntu ‘Keyboard PC’. Really confusing for any potential computer thieves as well :)

Hardware , Ubuntu - Posted by Arcterex at 04:42 PM
July 18, 2012
Western Digital Announces Red Hard Drives for NAS

Via twitter: Western Digital announces new range of Red hard drives aimed at the NAS market:

The WD Red NAS drives balance power consumption, reliability and performance and are “designed to be run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week compared with normal desktop HDDs which were designed to be run 8 hours a day, 5 days a week,” Chang explains.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:07 AM
June 25, 2012
Is The Nexus 7 Google's New Tablet?

Via Gizmodo Australia: Nexus 7: This Is Google’s New Nexus Tablet:

Priced at sub-$US200, the Google’s Nexus 7 will become Amazon’s biggest problem post-launch, threatening the market share of the hugely successful Kindle Fire. The Fire runs a highly modified version of the Android operating system and prevents users from wandering outside the customised Amazon environment. The Nexus brand, however, has always been associated with the purest form of the Android operating system Google has to offer, meaning that it’s likely going to be a better experience. Google is also banking on the fact that the screen is better than the Fire’s, with a higher resolution and 10-point touch capability.

If it’s true, it’ll be definitely interesting to see how this shapes up.

Android , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:36 PM
June 21, 2012
Data Robotics Announces the Drobo 5D and the Drobo Mini

drobo-5dmini-image.png I’ve been a fan of Drobo for a while, and was lucky enough to jump on an invite to a webinar yesterday when @drobo tweeted a call for bloggers to listen in on a webinar where they made a couple of announcements. I’m not sure how much of this has to do with the recent PR kerfuffle, but I thank them for letting me in :)

Anyway, there are two new products that they talked about which I’m able to share here today.

The short version is there are two new Drobo units, the Drobo 5D, a prosumer level storage unit and the Drobo Mini, a, well, “mini” version of the Drobo for people on the go who want to bring their data along with them.

Read on for full details and images of the new devices.

The Drobo 5D

Lets be honest, the Drobo is no longer the revelation it was when it was first announced. Even Data Robotics acknowledges that it’s known as being slow, loud and why the heck isn’t there a Thunderbolt version? Well, they heard and responded with the Drobo 5D.

No, it’s not ripping off the Canon camera, the 5 stands for number of drives, D stands for Direct attached device (ie: no network connection natively, but more on that in a second). Here’s the rundown in point form:

  • Completely redesigned from the ground up to be…
  • Quieter
  • Faster
  • Completely redesigned BeyondRAID technology makes it…
  • Up to 5 times faster
  • Dual Thunderbolt and USB3 connections and will include a Thunderbolt cable
  • Data tiering between Solid State Disk drives and Hard Disk Drives
  • Mini-SATA port for even more speed improvements

The only thing that you might think is a bit new here is the last point, the mini-SATA port. Honestly I’ve never heard of mini-Sata before, but it’s basically exactly what you think. A tiny little electronic chip that is in essence a high performance flash drive.

The new Drobo 5D uses this if it’s present to act as a high performance caching system, and will move data on and off it intelligently to get maximum performance.

Here are some images of the 5D (click for larger (opens in a new window)). As you’d expect it looks great, has the expected ports and the typical look and feel.

Drobo 5D Front

Drobo 5D Back

Drobo 5D Glamour shot

Drobo 5D The bottom SSD Bay (more on that later).

Other Details

  • Cost is not set, but is expected to be under $850
  • Shipping approximately mid-July

So that’s pretty cool right, a new Drobo unit, and the only one with both Thunderbolt and USB3, but lets be honest, it’s sort of an expected next step, right? But then they dropped a bigger (well, smaller) bomb.

Drobo Mini

This is particularly exciting for myself as a photographer is something that I’m hoping could help myself and others in my position for the “on the go” workflow, the Drobo-Mini, which will let you travel with a drobo in a much simpler setup. It’s still the same power of the new 5D, with 4 hot swappable drives, but a way smaller form factor.

Here are the specs:

  • 4 Drive Bays
  • Dual Thunderbolt and USB3 ports and will include a Thunderbolt cable
  • Same solid state drive Mini-Sata
  • External power supply (bleah) but very small (yay)
  • Custom carrying case (keeps people from hacking their Pelican cases up to travel with their Drobos)
  • Disks have a system for easy snap in and out

Here are the press release images:

Drobo 5D Front

Drobo 5D Back

Drobo 5D Glamour Shot

Drobo 5D Comparison Size

Drobo 5D Inserting the drive (not as dirty as you think)

Drobo 5D Looking sexy with a Mac setup

Looking at the images, the front of the unit has been redesigned with a better LED display and I can’t wait to see it in action.


  • Expected cost will be under $650
  • Shipping approximately mid-July

Other Thoughts and Notes

More About SSD and Caching

The new version of BeyondRAID will continue to do the data tiering that their current higher end units, do. If you only put in a single SSD drive to the array it will act as a caching unit, and intelligently store data on it so it can seamlessly act as a cache and give you a speed boost. However if you only have one SSD drive it won’t use it for additional storage, so this is a perfect opportunity to grab a cheap 60G SSD unit (they’re under $50 these days) and use it for a performance boost.

It sounds like the wear on the SSD drive in this scenario will be done smartly to reduce “SSD wear”, and cold data eviction will be done in large chunks to avoid reading and writing tiny bits of data all the time. To help manage this the percent of remaining life of the SSD will be displayed in the new version of Drobo Dashboard as well.

The new system will also be smart enough to detect a stream of data (for example an image ingest from your camera or a backup) and send them straight to the HDDs in the system (which are good for streaming data operations like this). If it looks to be more random, then the SSD will be promoted as the primary data store. This is especially important for small IO operations, so even a small (ie: 60G) SSD can greatly improve the experience with the Drobos

Other Performance Notes

In a bit of an unusual show, Drobo will be showing off actual performance numbers, something that as I noted above, has plagued them in the past. They’ll show up closer to the shipping date though. I assume this means that they are much more confident about the performance of their new products.

Having more internal memory means that in the event of a power outage any unwritten data will be flushed to disk. A nice touch, though I haven’t had this affect me before, but I’m sure that customers who have been bitten by data loss will appreciate it.

Drobo claims that the 5D will be fast enough to store and work with a Lightroom catalog directly from the unit. As someone who tried doing this off of the original 4 bay Drobo I say, “bring it on”.

Better performance for if you were to use just a pure SSD solution? Yes. Does it make sense from a cost/performance basis? Probably not. Best bang for the buck seems to be a single solid state drive.


Neither the 5D or the Mini are compatible with the DroboShare, but this isn’t surprising as the DroboShare unit has been mostly eclipsed by newer FS units.

The upgrade path sounds like you can more drives from your Drobo 4S directly into either the 5D or the Drobo Mini unit. I believe they mentioned that they were wanting to be able to move from the Drobo 4 bay version 2 to the two new units, but weren’t ready to commit 100% to that just yet.

The USB3 ports are, of course, USB2 compatible.


The units will ship with a Thunderbolt cable, which is a minor thing, but they feel that the cost of the unit and the benefit of having a great “out of box experience” it’s worth it. And frankly who wants to get their brand new toy tool only to find you have to go out and buy yourself another $50 cable before you can use it.

It looks like Drobo is making a fair commitment to Thunderbolt, not 100%, but fair. It’s not going to be going across all units, but you will see it become standardized (along with USB3) for their prosumer units, leaving eSata for the higher end top tier business units.

Warranty will be announced in July when the units are announced. They are aware that their current polices with warranty and DroboCare aren’t optimal for some users, and are looking to increase the standard 1 year warranty and make DroboCare more affordable and available to people (their current DroboCare is a bit pricey for many people so this is a good thing.

You may wonder why this isn’t my usual “CompanyA just released ProductB, here’s a link to it” post, but that’s because I’m stretching my legs as a writer and reviewer, and hope that this post is well received, so that I can continue to do more of these.

(Disclaimer: I received no compensation from Drobo for any of this outside of the information and a press kit 12 hours early.)

Drobo , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:01 AM
April 03, 2012
Lumia 900 From The Verge

The Verge has a Lumia 900 review (the Lumia 900 is the latest US offering of the premier Windows Phone 7 experience from Nokia). Overall though, it seems it doesn’t deliver.

I’ve already said this, but it bears repeating. I really wanted to love this phone. From a design standpoint, the Lumia 900 was immediately enticing. I’d already been salivating over Nokia’s N9 and Lumia 800, so knowing that a slightly larger (but more feature packed) version of that device was headed our way was fairly encouraging. But while the hardware — at least externally — delivers, the phone as a whole does not.

Gruber also pulled out some key points from the review. However it’s best to read it yourself as a whole, as not to be tainted by a few cherry picked phrases. As Josh says in his review, the phone has some excellent points in it’s favor.

Hardware , Hardware , Microsoft - Posted by Arcterex at 09:41 PM
March 29, 2012
The Tricorder Project

The Tricorder project. Presented without comment. You know you want this. NOW.

Hardware , Random Linkage - Posted by Arcterex at 10:01 AM
February 22, 2012
Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 high ISO comparison

For all the photographer pixel peepers out there, have at it with the Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 high ISO comparison. All I can say is “wow”. I’m not saying that the high (25600 ISO) is noise free, but it looks a bit like my 4 year old DSLR’s ISO 800.

Note that images under ISO 3200 aren’t included in the comparison as there is “no visible noise”. Amazing.

Hardware , Photography - Posted by Arcterex at 09:39 AM
February 13, 2012
Porsche Design P'9981 BlackBerry Review

The Verge has a review of the new Porsche Design P’9981 BlackBerry. Spoiler: even as a super-sexy bit of hardware (hardware keyboard aside), it still sucks.

In case it wasn’t clear from the foregoing, this phone has excited a deep level of antipathy in me. BlackBerry 7 was an uncompetitive OS the moment it launched and hasn’t aged well since then. The one thing that RIM really got right with the Bold 9900 was actually its design, which was attractive, contemporary, ergonomic, and durable.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:40 AM
January 10, 2012
Intel fakes Ivy Bridge graphics on stage at CES

Intel fakes Ivy Bridge graphics on stage at CES via SemiAccurate (course, you can take the article at whatever value you give to a site called "SemiAccurate.com".

Intel Ivy Bridge graphics are still so broken that company executives have to lie about it to the assembled press. Yes, I did say lie, and it is a direct deception, as intended.

Don't you hate it when you lie and get caught?

Update: The SemiAccurate site is a bit slow, here's another link with more / better info.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:51 PM
January 03, 2012
Nest Thermostat Teardown

This link has been sitting on my desktop for a while so I figured Monday morning is as good a time as any to post it. A nice tear down of the Nest thermostat that I linked to in October.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:07 AM
October 28, 2011
Touch Based Concept Camera

The video of this WVIL concept camera actually made my heart beat faster, and the desire to stand up and scream "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!" was almost unbearable.

Other than the fact that most cameras with touch interfaces are horrible and that it's not always the better user interface compared to just having a button or dial that you can feel with your fingers and change without looking up from the viewfinder, this thing seriously gives me a full on geek-on. I also didn't get that the user was able to move the digital back (the iPhone like part) around without the view of the subject changing was because the lens was remotely sending it's view from the table. Impractical for some situations of course, but still....

We're not that far from this, the software basically looks like a combination of a bunch of smart phone photography and video apps, so it's just a matter of the hardware working.

Can you tell how much this excites me? Full details here from Artefact.

Now shut up and make this camera!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:43 AM
October 18, 2011
Motorola Motoactv

Motorola has released their new Motorola Motoactv touchscreen device for music playing and vitals tracking for exercise.

Looks oddly familiar as I'm sure anyone who has seen the iPod Nano I'd guess.

From the intro post:

It's official, Motorola's just officially unveiled Motoactv (not to be confused with these guys), its very own music and fitness device. The little running mate sports a 600MHz processor, runs Android and weighs a healthy 35 grams. It'll apparently track your heart rate, and log running, walking and cycling statistics, and packs GPS to track your exercise routes.

Sort of like an Nano + Nike+ on steroids, but at a fair premium over it. $249 vs $129 (though the more expensive Motoactv has a built in GPS).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:54 PM
August 26, 2011
Amazing Gaming Laptop

Aryk pointed me to the Razer Blade gaming laptop article on Gizmodo. All I can say is "wow" to the specs. Oh, and it has a built in adaptable touch screen on the right of the keyboard, in addition to the i7/8G/2G video card specs already. And under $3000.


Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:57 PM
August 04, 2011
Rapid DHCP: Or, how do Macs get on the network so fast?

Great look at how do Macs get on the network so fast? Someone did some packet captures and tried to figure out just why it takes a mac less time to get back on the network from sleep than a similar windows/linux computer or tablet.

Interesting is that this is not all that dissimilar from the IE "hack" that lets it connect and talk faster to IIS servers by cheating in the network stack.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:14 AM
July 07, 2011
Shawn Blanc Reviews The HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad 1.0 over at Shawn Blanc's site is a great look at the new tablet from the hardware and software perspective.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:46 PM
May 30, 2011
Reverse Engineering Firmware

Really cool article on reverse engineering the firmware for the Linksys WAG120N.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:03 PM
May 04, 2011
Coding Horror: The Hot/Crazy Solid State Drive Scale

Jeff has a nice look at SSD drives and in particular, how much they fail. Interesting stuff, especially for someone who is looking to buy a new computer at some point soon and it seems that having an SSD as the boot drive would make the most sense.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:02 PM
February 23, 2011
Demo of Light Peak/Thunderbolt

Since the iPad 2 event has been announced for a week from now the rumors of new MacBooks with LightPeak (called "Thunderbolt" by Apple) being integrated. With this in mind, 9-5 Mac has pulled up a video with A good demonstration of Light Peak/Thunderbolt.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:59 PM
February 17, 2011
Why Can't Tablet Makers Just Freaking Ship?

Aryk send me this link: Why Can't Tablet Makers Just Freaking Ship?

My reply:
Arcterex: my answer (having not read the article) is that what apple did *was* pretty amazing and everything thinks they can throw android onto a slimline computer and call it a tablet for $300, but realize they can't, or if they can, it's seriously hobbled by batter/power/cost/memory/etc

There's also something to be said for the Apple way of not pre-announcing anything until it's ready to go, with price and release date set.

Good to read the article though too :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:49 PM
February 16, 2011
UFies Hardware Status

Ok, so I thought I was long past this "hey the server blew up" type posts, but...

Hey, the server blew up :(

About 11:30 last night it went down, and this morning myself and Fred went in early and fought with it but the thing wouldn't even POST. So we luckily have the current server, with a mirror backup from 2am the night before (the crash was inconsiderate enough to happen just before the nightly backup).

So the last day has been fixing what I can and getting services slowly up and running. Here's the status of various bits:

  • Apache is up and running, most sites seem to be up and running, with exceptions of course. Email me or tweet me at @arcterex or @ufies if you find things broken.
  • User logins and home directories are up and running (look for any files in your home dir not owned by you though, some uid/gids might be messed up)
  • Incoming mail - working
  • Outgoing mail (ie: sending mail from the ufies server out) not working, seems everything gets a "relay denied" error, and I have no idea why (still)
  • MySQL database is up and running. Check your tables for errors though.
  • FTP is running
  • DNS is running

It's been a hell of a day for me even with having a backup server and a full mirror of the original server ready to go on it, mostly due to that the new server is Ubuntu 10.04 not 8.10 (old server) so lots of little compatibility errors are cropping up.

My main concern now is the mail, and I hope to have it up tomorrow after at least a few hours sleep.

Keep an eye for things broken if you have services running on the server, and email me or tweet me at @arcterex or @ufies if you find something.

Thanks for your patience.

Hardware , UFies.org - Posted by Arcterex at 10:37 PM
February 09, 2011
Palm Announcements Today

Found on Everything Pre about the Palm Countdown showing (currently) just over 3 hours until the future of WebOS to be revealed (noon PST).

This actually interests me way more than the latest batch of Android tablets. WebOS had a unique interface (definitely not me-too iPhone-like UI) and was sadly hobbled by horrible (IMHO) hardware and (as I understand) horrible carrier contracts. I'm intrigued to see what they do with this.

Also isn't this OS going on the "iPad Killer" that HP announced last year that was going to run Windows 7?

Update: Some news on the release, and the Live feed link from Engadget.

Update2: A few quick thoughts. They have the Veer (tiny smartphone) the Pre 3 (bigger, "business" phone) and the Touchpad. I'm not a fan of the slider keyboards, and I hope that the Pre 3 doesn't suffer from the horrible "feel" that I had from the original Pre. Also the 8/16G sizes are ok, but compared to the 16/32G on the iDevices... well, I like lots of media lets just say, but I know I'm not the norm.

Also for a company that claims to innovate, this shot looks really similar to something familiar.... Their "stacks" way of doing multitasking and showing running apps is pretty awesome though, as does the "Exhibition mode" the phone OS goes into when you put it down and the fact the tablet and phone work nicely together.

These are available summer/fall, and that's a long time. In theory the iPhone 4s or 5 and iPad 2 will be out by then, both with probably bumped specs and more refinement in the OS, meaning that while the new Palm/HP warez look good for now (maybe even a bit ahead if you look at the tablet having front/rear cameras), in 6 months when they actually see the light of day, they could be fairly behind the Apple/Android leaders of the pack.

However it's great to have a 3rd (or 4th if you count Windows Phone 7) horse in the smartphone/tablet race.

Hardware , Palm - Posted by Arcterex at 08:40 AM
January 03, 2011
The SmartBook: Kitchen Sink of Computing Appliances

So my first thought when I saw the SmartBook: Tablet, netbook, MID and more in one was "wow, that's cool", and my second thought was "this is the exact opposite of what apple is doing with the iPad".

The design has some obvious pros (tablet, laptop, etc all in one) and cons (all in one means you take it all everywhere (why not just have a laptop) or have to leave or take parts (what if I forget the keyboard part somewhere when I need it). What's more interesting is it runs Android, both a cool thing, but if you've got a kitchen sink for a device, why not give it a full Linux or Windows OS, otherwise users may feel hobbled having a "full" computing device that "only" runs a smartphone/tablet OS, Android.

Any of you find this intriguing? In the "I'm going to buy it" way I mean, or are you like me and really want to see how it works and looks in real life before even considering it?

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 05:00 PM
November 16, 2010
Nook Color Review

If you're looking for a ebook reader and feeling constrained by having only the Kindle and iPad as choices, you will want to look at the Nook Color review over at Engadget.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:01 AM
October 19, 2010
HP Launches WebOS 2.0

9-5 Mac has the scoop on the new webOS 2.0, along with a nice laundry list of features in press release such as multitasking, "just type" to start creating content without opening an app, Flash, Skype (verizon only wtf), plus more.

I'm not sure if this will bring Palm HP back into the game for mobile smartphones, but it's definitely good to see it giving a go. I wonder if this is now their last last chance?

Hardware , Palm - Posted by Arcterex at 08:41 AM
October 05, 2010
Realtime Sound Processing on a C64

Cool live footage demo of realtime sound effects done on a Commodore 64, with some commentary about how it can't be done, especially not on something with 64k of ram!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:46 AM
August 19, 2010
Snap-on Keyboard for iPhone 4

Tired of trying to tell your non-Apple friends how awesome the iPhone is, only to have them say "but I don't like touch keyboards, I need a physical hardware keyboard!". Well now, instead of sighing in frustration and then "accidentally" rolling over their toes when you drive away, you can point to the Snap-on keyboard for iPhone 4. The keyboard wraps around your phone and gives your phone what (as the original story notes) look like pants.

This week, industrial designer Altamash Jiwani has imagined what such a device would look like for the iPhone 4.

Very cool! Some interesting questions come up, like will auto-correct still work (it connects to the dock connector and will disable the software keyboard), and how good or bad the build quality and "heft" is, but mostly I think it's a cool solution (though if you're not buying the iPhone cause you want a hardware keyboard, you'll be getting an Android or Blackberry instead of an iPhone and a set of keyboard pants to use it properly).

Hardware , iPhone - Posted by Arcterex at 12:47 PM
August 04, 2010
BlackBerry Torch 9800 Hands On

BGR has their BlackBerry Torch 9800 hands on, via Daring Fireball, where Gruber also has another link. He was mildly smarmy in his dissection of the announcement :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:09 AM
June 30, 2010
Terrafugia Flying Car Gets FAA Approval

Terrafugia Flying Car Gets FAA Approval.

No... words.....

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:55 PM
May 17, 2010
How-To Replace Your iMac's Hard Drive

If you're wondering if you should buy the low end iMac and replace the drive, or are a bit nervous about doing it yourself and figure the extra money for the larger drive is worth it, this How-To on Replacing Your iMac's Hard Drive might help you make a decision.

Apple/Mac , Computer , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:05 AM
April 27, 2010
RIM Shows Off BlackBerry OS 6 Video

Video is a sneak peek of the new BlackBerry OS 6. The article notes that they do have a case of iPhone envy, but we'll see if they do any better this time. My experiences with the Storm have not been good. Actually it was about as annoying as the fake-dancing people in the video.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:46 AM
April 19, 2010
Sexy MacBook Docking Station

For you bastards who just got themselves a new MacBook Pro (you know who you are) you will of course need to check out this well designed docking station for Apple's MacBook line over at Engadget.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:20 PM
April 16, 2010
2TB HD Roundup

Looking to upgrade your HD to something a bit more sizable? Check HotHardware's Definitive 2TB HD Roundup. Or skip right to the conclusions.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:42 PM
April 08, 2010
Fusion Garage JooJoo Review

Engadget has a Fusion Garage JooJoo review. This is the "CrunchPad" web tablet that was going to set the world on fire. Interesting stuff for sure, and some of the things in there (*cough* flash performance) is a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes, some design decisions are done for a good reason :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:04 AM
April 06, 2010
Data Robotics Announces Drobo FS

Another month, another drobo model. TUAW was where I first saw
the announcement.

Short story is dual core, super fast, 5 bays, option for double redundancy, built in gig-E NAS, Time Machine compatible, plus all the other magic that Drobo does.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:53 AM
March 30, 2010
MacBook Pro SSD/HDD Performance Comparison

Holy crap! After seeing this MacBook Pro SSD/HDD Performance Comparison I'm thinking that if a 200G SSD drive wasn't $799 CND I'd be picking one up in a second!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:00 PM
March 29, 2010
World's Most Stunning Data Centers

Via S comes this fantastic collection of images of the World's Most Stunning Data Centers. Ah, I can dream...

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:04 PM
March 22, 2010
Build your own Drobo-Replacement based on ZFS

Nice little article on how to Build your own Drobo-Replacement based on ZFS. Of course, there have always been ways to replicate what a Drobo does in Open Source, and lots of criticism about the high cost of the Drobo, but the fact is that I have one and recommend it freely (though if DR wants to pay me I'll pimp it out more!). You are paying for the ability to plug in a black box (in the literal sense as well as the software sense) and have it Just Work and do what it should when you pop in some new drives, instead of mucking around at the command line to expand your raid sets or deal with resyncing.

If you can't afford the drobo though it's a good article on how to set up something that does mostly the same thing (in some ways better, in some ways worse).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:47 PM
March 10, 2010
"Unlimited Detail" Technology Video

Cool video on the next stage in computer graphics, called Unlimited Detail Technology, where we can (theoretically) stop using those boring old polygons and start using point clouds.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:13 AM
February 17, 2010
Modern CPU Comparisions

The Tech report does a great test of tons of CPUs, from a lowly P4 to i3 to i7, with prices ranging from $87 to $999. Lots of tests. Extensive tests. Lots of them. :) I started reading here.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:02 PM
January 29, 2010
Lost Case Mod

The LostMod looks like a pretty epic casemod.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:24 AM
December 14, 2009
International Backup Awareness Day

Coding horror has, after their mishap last week, declared International Backup Awareness Day. Speaking again as someone who has had this happen more than once, I have learned about backups and disaster recovery. In fact, I'm happy to say that the last time I had issues, when a bad controller brought down 3 drives simultaneously in my 5 disk RAID5 array, having an "offsite" (read: USB HD plugged into the back of the server) backup saved my ass. Previous times I haven't been so lucky :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:39 PM
December 11, 2009
Coding Horror.com 100% Data Loss :(

Coding Horror has a message that I'm pretty sure I've put up more than once. Sorry to hear about that, hope you get things back soon.

If you can help Jeff out check out his @codinghorror or hit up his recovery thread at superuser.com.

As a note to everyone, I'm trying to establish the @ufies twitter account as an alternative notification method for people if the server goes down or is having issues that I can't communicate through it. Please follow!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:38 PM
December 08, 2009
Buy 200GB of Google Storage, Get a Free Eye-Fi Card

Aryk pointed me to a deal that Gizmodo blogged, where you Buy 200GB of Google Storage, Get a Free Eye-Fi Card. The eye-fi geo card details are here.

This pains me a bit. On one hand, I don't need extra storage from Google. On the other hand, 200G of online storage would be kinda nice. On one hand I know this deal is basically hoping that you forget to cancel the 200G of space and keep on paying the $50/year, but hey, you get a $60 wireless eye-fi card for $50, plus online backup.

Some more info here as well, including some of the fine print. One of the items indicates ("...includes one free year of Web Share and Geotagging ($24.98 value)") that the Geotagging is actually a service, not built into the card.

Google , Hardware , Photography - Posted by Arcterex at 10:13 AM
The Boxee Beta

Boxee Blog announces the official Boxee Beta. New hotness, changed underlying graphics library to aid in 1080p playback, support for Linux Karmic and Snow Leopard, and lots more. 9-5 Mac has some news on the Boxee Box hardware.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:07 AM
December 07, 2009
Crunchpad (Now JooJoo) Details

Venture Beat has details on the new CrunchPad. Now it's renamed to JooJoo, will launch Friday at $499. Post title pretty much says it all. Wonder if it'll live up to the hype. Keep an eye here, the net, Twitter, etc for details from those who might have gotten a hands on with it.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:29 AM
Fusion Garage's 'Crunchpad' Unveiling Liveblog

Gizmodo has the details for the Fusion Garage's 'Crunchpad' Unveiling Liveblog.

Basically this is the the company that TechCrunch worked with to create their cheap media pad, then a week before the release of it decided to boot TechCrunch out of it, and now is somehow releasing it or unveiling it. I was under the impression that TechCrunch owned enough of the IP of the product that Fusion Garage couldn't release the CrunchPad, but apparently not. Read the liveblog for more details.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:18 AM
Camangi WebStation

Via Aryk is the Camangi WebStation, which claims to be a 7" Android powered Internet tablet. Pricey ($399) and pre-order only, but if it's real, it could be cool. Wonder if this has any heritage in the now-dead(ish) crunchpad?

Android , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 05:41 AM
November 23, 2009
New DROBO Units Announced

Data Robotics, Inc. just released two new Drobo units (and right after I bought myself a cheap-ass little NAS to backup my existing version 1 Drobo too!).

The first is the Drobo Elite (press release) for a pricey $3499 USD. They claim this unit has the fastest throughput of any Drobo unit, and is aimed clearly at the SAN market, and has been tested with VMware and has some better volume management technology. The other tick list items are:

  • No headache dual-disk redundancy
  • Multi-host connectivity with LUN affinity
  • Best-in-class performance
  • Up to 8 disks of instant expansion to 16TB and Beyond
  • Dual high-speed iSCSI interfaces
  • Virtues of Smart Volumes™ - supports up to 255 Smart Volumes
  • Simplify your VMware environment

Secondly is the Drobo S (press release) for $799 USD. This gives you what looks like the "normal" drobo unit, but with an extra drive tacked on (total of 5) and you can choose (and change on the fly) if you want single or double disk redundancy (ability to lose one or two drives).

  • Multiple interfaces: eSATA, FireWire 800, USB 2.0
  • Up to 5 drives of instant capacity expansion to 10TB and Beyond
  • Protection from up to two hard drive failures
  • BeyondRAID self-managing and self-healing technology
  • Works with Windows, Mac, or Linux

The "S" doesn't look all that bad, but not a huge significant jump over the previous Drobo, with the exception of the eStata interface, which will make things nice and fast for access. I'm not even going to look at the "Elite", but then again, it's not aimed at me as a user.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:23 AM
November 13, 2009
ioSafe Torture Test and Recovery Demo

Great video demo of the ioSafe Torture Test and Recovery. The ioSafe is a 2Tb water and heat proof hard drive enclosure. More info here. Even if you don't care about the unit, there's flames and destruction involved!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:40 AM
September 29, 2009
Lighthouse SQ7 Tablet

Along with the latest round of Apple Tablet rumors, Aryk pointed me to the Lighthouse SQ7 which is a 7" tablet used to post to your social networks via voice recognition and transcribing, and will ship early October for $249. Gizmodo has more details. It runs on Ubuntu so it will be infinitely hackable.

The idea is very cool, but I'd like an onscreen iPhone-like keyboard and a touch screen (stylus? how 2001!). The price is a bit high also. I think at $99 I'd snap one up in a second, as this is perfect for my sitting-in-front-of-the-TV-surfing needs

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:20 PM
Thermaltake Level 10

I've seen stories about the Thermaltake Level 10 computer case around the net all yesterday, and yea, I'd take it if offered. Not Apple-sexy, but more Sci-Fi sexy. WANT!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:25 AM
September 25, 2009
New Phoenix BIOS Starts Boot In 1 Second

Slashdot story about a New Phoenix BIOS Starts Windows 7 Boot In 1 Second. Technically this has nothing to do with Windows 7, but more about the BIOS getting to the point where it can start booting the OS, whatever it is. I think that this type of BIOS (EFI) can boot MacOS on Intel, so this would really apply to whatever OS you want (though MS has definitely optimized their WIn7 bootup).

That said, I'm not sure how really relevant this is anymore. When was the last time you booted a machine? My windows server at work stays on 24/7, my MacBook just gets it's lid closed when it's not being used, and my Linux server is... well, a server. All my machines really only are rebooted when they have software updates that require it, so reboots are pretty few and far between. Not that I wouldn't mind a 20 second boot when it does happen of course :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:42 AM
September 18, 2009
Wither RAID?

Neat look at what may or may not be ahead as RAID's Days May Be Numbered. Basically RAID is old tech, and CPU and hard drive capacity has grown a lot since it was first around. Question of course is what's around to replace it. ZFS maybe? SSD?

Via OSNews.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:26 PM
September 02, 2009
What Does It Take To Get a Petabyte

The fact that there are articles out there about Petabytes on a budget tells me that they're coming, and coming soon.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:35 PM
August 24, 2009
Doubling Your MacBook HD Capacity

No, not by some sort of space doubling compression utility, just by creating a machine with dual Internal SATA Hard Drives!

Apple/Mac , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:45 AM
July 31, 2009
Olympus Digital Pen Review

DPReview had a Olympus E-P1 Review. The "digital Pen" is a remake of a classic camera, and being a 4/3rds system, is probably of interest to the camera geeks out there.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:53 PM
July 30, 2009
Trying to Like Android

Pointed to by Fozbaca, Jerakeen.org claims It's hard to like Android, and the G1 in particular. This is something I'd love to see for myself, as I live in an area where there aren't any G1 phones sitting around to see. Damn you big city dwellers!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:54 PM
July 28, 2009
Hell of a Monitor For a LAN Party

OK, so if you're going to take your rig to a campus LAN party, why not go whole hog. Translated version here.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:27 PM
Media Docking Station

This is pretty cool... Aryk pointed to the HP Media Docking Station, which lets you plug anything from a hard drive to a USB or flash card into it to play at 1080P. Very cool....

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:33 PM
July 18, 2009
$1k 10TB RAID Array

Sure, it's not as sexy as a Drobo or a "real" SAN, but The 10 TB Array is a hell of a lot more affordable! Via slashdot.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:10 PM
July 06, 2009
CrunchPad Set For Release?

Looks like the CrunchPad is set to release very soon. To quote the article:

Arrington toldThe New York Times that he will introduce CrunchPad at an event at the end of this month or in early August and that the product will be available "as soon as possible" and retail for less than $300.

If it hits at that price.... hey, I'd get one I think.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:47 PM
June 17, 2009
Kingston Has 128G Flash Drive

DPreview broke the note that Kingston has the worlds first 128GB USB flash drive. Prices are high though, with $546 for 128G, $213 for 64G and $120 for 32G. Course, I figure these will be 10% of those prices in a year....

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:30 AM
June 10, 2009
Eye-Fi Pro Announced (Photography)

For the photography geeks out there, the Eye-Fi pro was just announced. The Eye-Fi is the funky little SD card that has wireless built in, and that can upload to flickr from public hotspots, etc. Ed at EZ studios blog notes that the new features in the 'pro' version give you wireless tethering in a card, something that is very cool for those wanting a cheap studio setup. A bit pricey for a 4G card at $149.99, but factoring in the benefits..... makes it more attractive.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:52 PM
June 04, 2009

CrunchPad: The Launch Prototype. This looks potentially awesome. If the 3d model graphics are accurate, it's a larger kindel, with full color, and a screen that goes almost all the way to the edge. Think Star Trek tech.

Course, there's tech demos and there's reality :)

The Video actually makes it look more like the mythical apple touchpad than a kindel.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:51 PM
May 19, 2009
Building A Quad Core Desk

Is it just me, or is this Liquid-Cooled Computer Mod, quad core, liquid cooled desk the hottest thing you've ever seen? Man I want one!!!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:16 PM
Awesome Transformers Flash Drive

So at $42 for a 2G flash drive you're saying that whoever is trying to rip you off with that deal just stepped out of a time machine from 2 or 3 years ago, but when you see the Transforming Ravage Flash Drive, you start to understand (or at least I did) why I would shell out $ for that :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:51 PM
May 08, 2009
User Updates in Android 1.5 ("Cupcake")

The Top 10 features you'll love about Android 1.5 from the user point of view.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:20 PM
April 28, 2009
Time Machine for Windows

The price of this one caught my eye, very reasonable.
Gizmodo - Seagate Replica Is Time Machine for Windows PCs - Seagate replica

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 09:34 AM
April 27, 2009
A NetBook Running Android?

Interesting article popped up on Gizmodo about the Alpha 680, The First Android Netbook Priced At $250. The OS is very limited of course, and it's typical netbook (1G of storage, etc), but for only $250, it seems to be a very attractive price if the hardware is decent enough!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:11 PM
April 23, 2009
Tivo 30 Second Skip Hack

I don't have a Tivo, but those who do who haven't already done this might appreciate the 30-Second DVR Tweak to Speed Up Commercial Skipping. Thank goodness the MythTV has this all built in from the get-go :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 05:37 PM
April 21, 2009
Fon - Open Mesh WiFi Router

Fon releases open meshing WiFi router via Boing Boing.

You can plug it into Ethernet or a 3G dongle. Share your bandwidth with any other router in range that implements OLPC's mesh-networking standard. The Open WRT software is designed to run on just about any hardware so you do not actually have to buy a Fonera to join the fun.

Hit the site for more details.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:07 PM
April 08, 2009
Andoid based OPhone

Since the Palm Pre is probably going to be locked up by Sprint a hundred years, this looks like a very good alternative.
Gizmodo - Lenovo's Droolworthy OPhone Gets Handled on Video - Lenovo OPhone

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 10:15 PM
Wall-E Casemod (Holy Crap!)

Hows this for dedication.... check out this Russian Wall-E Case Mod. That's an amazing amount of work with an amazing end result (caution, image heavy link).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:16 PM
April 07, 2009
New Nikon Camera Leaked?

Engadget has some info as Nikon readies entry-level DSLR with articulating display. Originally via the great 1001 noisy cameras blog. Interesting that the things that people have been saying should come to DSLRs from the P&S world (such as video, and swively LCDs) are finally making it.

Guess we'll find out if the rumored April 14th release is true soon enough.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:34 AM
April 06, 2009
Commadore 64 Laptop

How's this for an awesome hack by Ben Heck. Putting an original C64 into a laptop case. Via Aryk's IM :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:51 AM
April 02, 2009
Where Gadgets Go to Die: Facility Strips, Rips and Recycles

Where Gadgets Go to Die: Facility Strips, Rips and Recycles

Where Gadgets Go to Die: Facility Strips, Rips and Recycles

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 05:54 PM
March 30, 2009
For the geek who has everything.

Sakurako Shimizu

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 11:01 AM
MythBusters' Adam Savage Talks Tech, Obsessions, and Science

MythBusters: MythBusters ' Adam Savage Talks Tech, Obsessions, and Science

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 10:38 AM
March 25, 2009
X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

Weapons: X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 07:41 PM
X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

Weapons: X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

X12 Stun Gun Freezes People From 88 Feet Away

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 07:41 PM
March 15, 2009
Hot Hot Hot BMW Designed Gaming Computer

BMW DesignWorksUSA designs ultimate gaming rig. Hot.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:10 PM
March 09, 2009
Happy 30th Birthday, Compact Disc!

Ok, Now I feel old...*Hides his Tapes...
Happy 30th Birthday, Compact Disc!

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 10:51 AM
What To Do With a Box Full of SSD Drives?

Great video from some guys (probably a viral video from Samgsung to be honest), who got to play with a boxful of Samsung SSD Awesomeness. SSD = Solid State Drive of course. All I can say is "me want".

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:17 AM
March 08, 2009
The Fossil Record Now Includes Outdated Personal Electronics

Modern Fossils: The Fossil Record Now Includes Outdated Personal Electronics

The Fossil Record Now Includes Outdated Personal Electronics

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 02:18 PM
February 18, 2009
The Ultimate Camera Hand Strap

Now this is awesome for the photography folks in the audience... check out this Hand Strap. This one is for a Canon, but I'm sure there are others available :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:02 PM
February 17, 2009
Android G2 Sounds Good!

Gizmodo says in their Android G2 Hands On that the new handset from HTC is "Close to Perfection".

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:03 AM
February 11, 2009
Great PC Building Guide

If you're not one of the types to think that Consoles are where the performance is at and a netbook is all the "computer" you need, then go on to the next story. If you have a PC, enjoy finding the biggest and the best in the budget, and know the difference between core 2 duo and dual core, then read on. Maximum PC has a Build the Perfect PC! Step-by-Step Illustrated How-To Guide that not only places out some good info about what's available these days (Intel i7 anyone?) but gives you a good rundown on why and how much for many different options.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:38 PM
February 09, 2009
Scoble on Kindle 2.0

Robert Scoble talks about Why Amazon Kindle 2.0 won’t suck like 1.0. True as his points may be, $400ish is a bit high to pay for an ebook reader (to me anyway).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:44 PM
February 05, 2009
January 26, 2009
For the Gamers

Tho I don't seem to see the toilet facilities in these things...

Great Geek Gaming Furniture Designs | WebUrbanist

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 07:43 PM
January 12, 2009
Mother of all Gaming Chairs

I think the headline from reddit.com says it best.... Gaming chair? Sounds pathe-... holy christ! From CES... yowza, that's quite a statement :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:19 AM
January 08, 2009
New Toys From Palm

LIVE CES 2009 Palm keynote has details of what's new from Palm. From what I'm told it's a new "WebOS" and a new handset which will immediately be compared to the iPhone, mostly because it's full screen and small.... oh, and the default wallpaper on it looks a lot like the default wallpaper on the iPhone (WTF?). Oh, has a slideout keyboard, so maybe more GooglePhone like.

Anyway, it's a live keynote URL so watch and enjoy :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:22 AM
iPhone / Touch Compatible Reciever

Ces 2009: The iXA-W404 is Alpine's First Touchscreen iPhone Compatible Car Receiver. Thanks Aryk. Also, that's one damn sexy receiver!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:00 AM
January 03, 2009
So you thought your last computer upgrade was pricey?

$2500 15 MB Radio Shack hard drive - Colt Rane

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 09:26 PM
December 14, 2008
December 10, 2008

Two devices that let you feel impacts to your chest and your head while playing 3D games.
3rd Space Gaming Vest
HTX Helmet

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 11:16 PM
December 04, 2008
December 02, 2008
The Nokia N97

It may not look immediately as minimalistically-sexy as the iPhone, but based on the videos and images, the Nokia N97 media that Engadget got their hands on does look damn interesting. The scrolling and touch screen appear to be fast and responsive like it's apple cousin, and lets hope that it learned some lessons from some of the niggles that people have had with the keyboard, responsiveness and accessibility complains with the G1.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:36 AM
December 01, 2008
November 26, 2008
Another Blackberry Storm Review

Via Daring Fireball's commentary comes a brutal BlackBerry Storm review over at the NYTimes.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:45 PM
November 20, 2008
Engadget BlackBerry Storm Review

Engadget has a BlackBerry Storm review. For obvious reasons there are a lot of comparisons to the iPhone... better battery life (though no hard numbers), beautiful design (with some niggles), some issues with the touchscreen, some plusses and minuses with the onscreen "touch" keyboard, etc. The one place where it seems to fail is the software, where they see the OS having had the touch part grafted on instead of being there from the start like the iPhone. Also things like scrolling through lists it sounds like hasn't had the care and attention that Apple gave it on the iPhone. It does sound like a simple thing, but anyone who has used an iPhone or iPod Touch knows just how "good" using the interface and scrolling "feels", and how integral that is to why the iPhone is so popular.

That said my last BB was one of the blue plastic chunks of lead, so I'd be open to playing with one of these for sure if anyone was interested in sending me a review version :)

The Apple Blog has it's own perspective on the whole thing, including the same sort of "it's $200 yes, but what about the $xx per month plus $xx for this and $xx for that" snarkyness that came from the non-apple fanboys when the iPhone 3G came out with it's "reduced" price.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:33 AM
November 19, 2008
Mobile Browser Battlemodo: Which Phones Deliver The Real Web

Mobile Browser Battlemodo: Which Phones Deliver The Real Web

Hardware - Posted by aryk at 09:33 AM
October 26, 2008
Stefan Didak's New Office

If you recall the last iteration of Stefan Didik's office, the sound you made was probably something like "oh dear Jesus" and then your head exploded. Well, tighten your helmet straps, he has New Office Pictures online.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 06:41 PM
September 23, 2008
Engadget First Look at the GooglePhone

Engadget has a T-Mobile G1 first hands-on. So is it good enough to compete with the JesusPhone? Sadly not a lot of commentary, and only a few pictures.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:31 AM
August 26, 2008
PC Gaming Buying Guide

Gameplayer Best PC Money Can Buy guide. Check the high end, includes-a-nuclear-reactor version!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:10 PM
July 29, 2008
Coding Horror on Hardware

Looking to upgrade or build a new PC sometime soon? Check out the very nice guide from Coding Horror: Understanding The Hardware. Very nice look at what to look for and why.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:57 AM
July 23, 2008
Reconstructing an Apple II On an FPGA

Description of a cool project of Reconstructing an Apple II on an FPGA (FPGA = low cost low power computer on a board).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:54 AM
July 02, 2008
Drobo Gets SDK and Hackability

The Drobo got a bit of a boost today, according to the engaget link that Darren threw me. The Drobo gets dev community and SDK beta which will allow it to overcome some of the critisism it's faced in terms of it's lack of hackability and advanced options like running a bittorrent client built in. Only disadvantage is this requires the DroboShare add-on to run. Still, a welcome step in the right direction!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:09 PM
May 28, 2008
Homemade Render Farm

Some dude built a home linux render cluster. 24 cores, 48G of RAM. Hardware porn factor = 11.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:07 AM
May 06, 2008
Canon P&S Firmware Hack

Lifehacker has a nice look at how to Turn Your Point-and-Shoot into a Super-Camera using the CHDK hack. It's a non-destructive hack to turn on a bunch of features on your Canon camera. You can hit the download page on their wiki to get a list of supported cameras, or hit the in brief page to get more info. As usual LifeHacker does a great job of boiling it down.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:19 PM
February 13, 2008
Pentax K20D Review From PopPhoto

Some Pentax K20D porn for you photogs in the audience who shoot pentax (probably only me I figure). Someone posted the Pop Photo K20D review - March 2008 over in the DPReview forums.

I really wish I could understand the complaints about the high ISO performance. I shoot at max 1600 and in that I know that the pictures will not be useful for much more than the web, and people are bitching that the performance at 3200 is "irritating". Maybe I'm just used to "bad" performing old cameras and figure photography should be done in good light. Improved AF in low light performance would be great, I was bitching about slow autofocus last night with my *ist-D. I presume that the K10D, and of course the K20D is much better though.

Here's another article with some more news.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:14 AM
January 31, 2008
EEEPC Upgrades

Think your EEEPC is a bit light on addons like USB ports, bluetooth, or storage? Check out the Eee PC Internal Upgrades page that my buddy Brian sent over. Wow, some dedicated hardware hackers out there....

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:16 PM
January 16, 2008
SDD vs HDD Comparisons

Anyone interested in how SDD (Solid State Disk) compares to HDD (Hard Disk Drive) can check out this (albeit biased) comparision of Samsung SSD vs HDD. Although it's done by a company whose object is obviously trying to sell SDD technology, their comparison appears pretty simple... two computers which look exactly the same, two fingers click the power button and time the startup time, etc etc.

This of course relates to the announcment yesterday from MacWorld of the MacBook Air.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:07 PM
November 16, 2007
Intel's New Penryn Processor and Linux

LinuxHardware.org has a nice look at the Intel Core 2 "Penryn" and Linux including what projects will see improvements, and which won't.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:14 AM
October 18, 2007
7TB Server for Auction

Anyone want to get me a really great birthday present? Or need a bit of spare hard drive space for music, movies, porn, or (if you must) real data? If so, check out the Apple Xserve RAID 7TB that's on sale on eBay. If you live in the UK mainland you even get free shipping.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:30 PM
September 28, 2007
600+G Solid State Drive

A super-sexy demo of the Fusion IO drive. 640G solid state drive, 800mb/s read, 600mb/s write.


Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:59 AM
September 03, 2007
Deciding on 2 or 4 Cores

Coding Horror has a great article on Choosing Dual or Quad Core. Nicely done because it's simple, basically a list of screenshots of the CPU meter playing various games and doing various apps, and letting you know how much improvement you get if you go from a dual core to a quad core (something I've been thinking about).

Hint: not worth it unless all you do is run either rendering software (POV-Ray) or benchmark apps. The list of apps isn't huge either, at least, it didn't include my Battlefield 2142 crack. Interesting to see that about half the the apps tested actually lost performance from 2-4 cores.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:31 PM
August 23, 2007
Gizmodo Nikon D3/D300 Impressions

Gizmodo has a Hands On D3 and D300 Impressions (the latest Nikon digital SLRs) from a Nikon event. Both cameras are 12mp cameras, the D300 being APS sensor size with 5fps and the D3 being a full frame body with 9fps. Awhoooga!

...when I fired the D3 on burst mode, I felt like Arnold firing the minigun in T2 between the rapid clacking and the weight.

Somehow my 6mp 2fps Pentax *ist-D is starting to feel very, very wimpy :(

DPReview also has their own previews of the D300 and D3.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:04 PM
July 20, 2007
New Tiny Linux PC

Very cool, this would be (almost) perfect as a little router / nat box... the fit-PC only draws 3-5 watts of power, is the size of a paperback, and still has enough power to be a decent system. The ONLY addition I'd want is a third NIC to allow me to use dual WAN connections. Still, pretty good for under $300 right?

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:47 AM
June 04, 2007
2 New Pentax DSLRs Next Year

Any Pentax users rejoice that after a Meeting With PENTAX there is news of new cameras and lenses.

There will be two (2) you heard it, at least two new DSLR's coming out in the Fall, that will not conflict with the K100 or the K10D!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:28 PM
May 28, 2007
Gorgeous Multi-Monitor Mac Setups

Now these Multi Display Mac Setups have given me a serious woody. 1x30" and 2x23"?!?! I could deal with that easily enough I think :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:50 PM
May 26, 2007
iPod FM Transmitters Reviewed

More for me than anyone, here's reviews of Five FM transmitters for iPods and personal players.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:14 AM
May 24, 2007
Crash Test With a Difference

Man, Top Gear is cool. So for a crash test they decided not to show you the test footage but instead, well, see if the new Renault Megane (a british car) handles crashes in real world situations. So in this video they put a guy in a car and crash it at 30mph... no special precautions, helmet, anything. Super cool, and hell, I'd buy a Megane if it was available in Canada right now. Nothing like putting your money where your mouth is where safety is concerned :) I'd hate to be the guy making that call to Renault about the car they sent over (not to be crashed) :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:18 PM
May 10, 2007
16GB CF Card for $159 (After Rebate)

O'Reilly has a link to a good deal on a CF card, 16GB CF Card for $159. Of course, putting 16G of images on a CF card is a dangerous thing to do (all your eggs in a basket anyone?), it's still a great deal.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:13 PM
May 03, 2007
Optimus OLED Keyboard

Well, the Optimus Keyboard Got a Price Tag of $1500. Ugh. Didn't part of the original hype include a "it'll be expensive, but no more than that of a good cell phone"? Didn't realize they were including the hollywood diamond encrusted versions!

For the two or three of you who does not know what I am talking about, the Optimus concept computer keyboard has a small OLED display in every single key, allowing the user to customize to whatever program or alphabet he is using.

It'd be interesting to compare the pre-and post promises. The images in the linked article look like the original renderings, whereas I thought that the actual keyboard was now with keys all the same size and only black and white. Anyone know or have time to dig that up?

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:47 AM
April 12, 2007
Expensive HDMI Cables aren't Worth It

Post on a PS3 board about HDMI and an answer to the question of the difference between a $10 HDMI cable and a $150 HDMI cable. This post from someone who claims to "live and breath digital and analog signals every day" to help people understand HDMI cables.

That answer is, "No, an expensive HDMI cable will make NO difference in the quality of your picture OR sound"

I'm sure the audiophiles will be up in arms about it, but that is probably just because they feel silly for paying $150 for cables and their $20 diamond studded connectors :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:36 PM
April 03, 2007
Mouse DPI and Polling Rate

Coding horror has good info on Mouse DPI and USB Polling Rate and how to change them.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:42 AM
March 27, 2007
Storage Porn... Wow....

Holy crap... looking through the worklog on HardForums and found the worklog for Project: Galaxy 4.0, including this post with pictures. Look at all those SATA drives. Can't find in the thread what size they are, but 30 x (the potential of) 750G = 22TB. Wow. Wish I had that disposable income :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 04:16 PM
March 23, 2007
RAID Discussion

Found some good links on RAID setup and options. In essence it says that RAID-5 (which this server is built on) isn't the way to go, and RAID1 is way better (even though you lose disk space). I'm now having to re-think my new desktop install dangit!

Links are:

Enjoy! Warning though, much deep-geek stuff in there.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:48 AM
March 08, 2007
New Pentax Lens Roadmap

Pentaxlife points to the new lens roadmap for all you pentax (D)SLR users out there. Exciting for me is the 60-250/F4 and nthe 200/F2.8. Interested also in the differences in quality and size between the DA16-45/F4 (which I have now) and the upcoming DA* 16-50/F2.8 (probably really expensive though.

Sad though there still isn't an "all around" walk around lens of 20-150 or so. Breaking it up at 45-60 (67-90 @ 35mm) is just a bit too close to a range that you'd use all the time. Of course, my dream lens of 10-300/F1.4 in a pancake profile is probably still a ways off :)

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:27 AM
February 22, 2007
More Geek Hardware Porn

Stefan Didak's Home Office. Wow. I want. Rather, I want mine to be that clean. Make sure you check out the FAQ as well :) The comments are great as well:

UNHOLLY BALLS OF SATAN!!!!....I just wet myself.

Thank you, I was thinking that myself.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:12 PM
February 20, 2007
All about Disk Drives

Whoah, I guess Everything I Know About Disks Is Wrong! At least with my constant battles with hardware here on the good 'ol UFies box (all still good touch wood) I know that MTBF (mean time before failure) is more like MTBIARITTF (mean time before it's a really inconvenient time to fail) :) Good abstract of this paper from this slashdot article.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:25 PM
January 26, 2007
Computer Extender from Matrox

On the trail of my own hardware and noise issues I found a link on Gizmodo which promises to Banishes That Noisy PC to a Faraway Closet. Basically it allows you to use a computer that's up to 250 meters away. More details.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 01:55 PM
January 09, 2007
Apple iPhone

Looks like the Apple keynote is now done, and The Apple iPhone is real. A combination full screen video iPod, phone and internet communicator device (has wifi, web browsing, etc). Full screen touch screen, system runs OS/X and has all the sexyness that Apple brings to not only hardware and software. Everything it runs is like the desktop app as far as contacts, safari, ichat (for sms messages), etc. Visual voicemail, imap, push imap, google maps, etc.

Dana's comment is that he has a smartphone already and half the stuff that the iPhone does doesn't really matter (80/20 rule). I say we'll see. The first iPod that was introduced was poo-pooed as well as being useless and no one would ever use one. Personally I am confident in Apple's ability to create a market.

They also changed their name to Apple Inc, from Apple Computers Inc. Change of focus maybe? Something more ominous?

Apple/Mac , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:09 AM
November 11, 2006
ET: Quake Wars Movie (On GeForce 8800)

Not sure if this Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Movie will compel me to dump my just-purchased GeForce 7950 GT for the just-released 8800 monster, but dang, it does look good doesn't it? Personally I can't wait for the niftyness of ET:QW to arrive, how about you? Old ET fans, time to start revving up your engines!

Gaming , Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:06 PM
November 02, 2006
Zune TV Spots

So what does anyone think of these Five Zune TV Spots? They are a bit reminiscent of the XBox 360 water balloon fight ads, all ending with "Find your audience".

Personally they are a miss for me. I honestly zone out because there's no focus or anything to draw me in or make me watch all the way to the money shot. Most of the commercials really have nothing to do with the player or any advantages it has. The first three basically are random shots of people socializing in a park, with some of them listening to generic looking mp3 players as a complete aside (to my eyes). The features that the Zune has that set it apart (large screen for video, wifi, landscape mode, comes in black, xbox integration, "social networking", etc) aren't mentioned, or highlighted. In fact, in watching the five spots, other than it's use for listening to music, I saw only one quick reference to watching videos (I think, it was a quick shot of someone turning it sideways, perhaps a reference to the landscape video mode) and perhaps a reference to the filesharing abilities by showing two zunes sitting beside each other.

The videos are very... "amateur looking". Not as if they weren't done professionally of course, but that stylized look. Definately focusing on the social aspects rather than the technology itself (maybe on purpose?).

Compare this to the iPod ads. They are a lot simpler, concentrating on the hardware itself and the enjoyment of music, or at least that's how I interpret it. Following the Apple simplistic style I particularily think that this U2 Video iPod ad is well done. A simple music video, and it just pulls out to show it's playing on an iPod, saying a lot.

Of course, I have a feeling most of the Zune marketing has been the grassroots kind that's over at ZuneInsider.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear what others think about the Zune marketing so far.

Hardware , Microsoft , Music - Posted by Arcterex at 10:06 AM
October 30, 2006
Quad Cores Overkill?

So right on schedule, two days after I order my first dual core computer, quad cores are released (or at least announced to release early November. Luckily, quad-core is overkill!

Well that makes me feel better!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:08 AM
October 26, 2006
nVidia 8800GTX - What a Monster!

Gizmodo has a fondle of the GeForce 8800GTX. What a monster this thing is. A Direct-X 10 (Vista) based car. They say they aren't sure if the pics are faked or not, but the specs say 768mb of DDR4 RAM, water/fan cooler, and what looks like 4 separate power connectors. Oh, and about 3 feet long (ok, maybe only one).

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:32 PM
December 14, 2005
Looking at Monster Cable This is an interesting look at Monster Cable, and basically how they are living the American Dream(tm)(c)(r) of selling not a lot for a huge price by telling people it's worth 1000x what it is actually worth. Selling a simple coax cable for > $100 is quite a feat.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:30 AM
December 12, 2005
Apple Hardware Porn How about a little Apple Hardware Porn for you. More in a Gada.be search for Aperture (the new professional photo management software from Apple, some thoughts on that here and here.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 11:24 AM
October 28, 2005
Omega Radeon Drivers? Anyone ever use the Omega Radeon Drivers? Looks like someone's hack of the ATI drivers, with tweaks here and there. Can anyone comment if they are good, bad, or ugly?
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:15 AM
RAID Pictured for Non-Geeks Ever wanted to explain what the different raid levels, hot swap, and parity are to a non geek? Next time, show them this. Via digg.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 08:37 AM
September 06, 2005
200G for $40? Holy crap, just saw this in a blog (lost it in my aggregator though, sorry I forgot who posted it originally). Anyway, how'd you like a 200G hard drive for $39 (after rebate)? It's a seagate with 8mb buffer.... not a bad little drive. Limited to 1 per household though, or I'd be ordering 5 :)
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:12 PM
June 14, 2005
How To Fix Stuck Case Fans Neat guide on how to unstick stuck fans.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:25 AM
March 08, 2005
SATA Comparisons Slashdot linked to a tweakers.net SATA comparison. These are higher priced and higher performance cards, but it's good to know what's out there and available. Man, technology has come a long way... their highest recommended card, the Areca ARC-1120, has it's own onboard http server to let you monitor your hard drives.... wow. This card also supports RAID6 (RAID5 + another parity drive and the ability to withstand two simultanious drive failures if I read it right). Something to think about for the next incarnation of the server. Of course, I think that the $700 US cost for this might make it a bit price prohibitive for me :)

If you don't think this should be a problem, feel free to contibute via the paypal link though!

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:47 AM
January 04, 2005
Tech Reports Best Hardware of 2004 Tech report has a nice article on The best hardware of 2004
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:24 PM
September 28, 2004
AV Hardware Porn Some audio/video hardware drool material for those into high end AV stuff. Via scoble.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 07:23 AM
August 04, 2004
Doom 3 CPU Comparision at Anandtech Here's a CPU Comparison at AnandTech which compares framerates on various CPUs. The top of the chart is dominated by AMD64 CPUs. Hmm..... anyone spare a (few) dollas? :)

Actually my XP2600+ seems to run it just fine, but I'm sure it could be even better....

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 07:50 AM
June 17, 2004
Cheap Storage Server for Cheap Anyone got a spare $1,600 for me? I'd like to Build a Fault-Tollerant Terabyte Storage Server for Under $1.98. Not that I need the extra power bill, heat in the office, or fan noise of course :)

Funnily enough, the image of the hard drives looks similar to the ufies box full of drives.

Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:10 AM
April 26, 2004
Athlon Powersaving with Linux Found a nifty article on powersaving on athlon on Linux. The main site seems to be down now, here's the google cache.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:28 PM
April 11, 2004
XP Slowing Down? Stuck in PIO Mode? Not along the usual fare for this site, but a tidbit I thought I'd pass along anyway, as it just helped me while trying to figure out why my windows machine was a bit slow. I noticed that my hard drive controller was in PIO mode, and after a bit of research, found that this was the reason. Ok, fine, how to go about solving it? This post helped out. All you have to do is go into the registry via regedit, edit a key, set your controller to PIO mode and then back to DMA if available, and you're golden. The solution is the post by Aeolus, titled "Another Solution".
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:50 PM
March 01, 2004
HyperThreading on Linux A nifty article on hyperthreading on linux has some benchmarks and explanations of what it is and why you want it. Anyone who wants to see the UFies.org box running on a HyperThreading processor feel free to click on the little donate button to the right :)
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:41 AM
January 16, 2004
Free USB Network Adapter Other than there being no option to ship to Canada, what's the catch with this free network adapter (after rebate)? Via boing boing.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 02:57 PM
November 12, 2003
Multiple Monitors Wow, I really want these monitors!
Available in 3 different sizes, 45", 51", and 57" inches, with resolutions up to 3840 x 1024 pixels, 's new Cinerama Displays are the world's largest and most compelling personal imaging devices ever designed.
The resolution seems a little low for a 45", but hey, I won't toss it off my desk for eating crackers over my keyboard. The main thing I like is the (almost) elimination of the seam between the monitors, which is the one thing that I don't like about my dual monitor set up.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 12:11 PM
November 10, 2003
Monitor Black Calibration Nifty link off of Tigert's page on how to set the brightness and contrast of the CRT monitor accurately. Also has links at the bottom for gamma and photoshop color calibration.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 05:29 PM
June 17, 2003
High Tech Beer Cooler BSpudd threw an article to me with a brilliant high tech beer cooler.

While drinking certain dark beers in the sun, I came to think about how to keep the beer cold until I finished it. Normally this isn't a big problem as I usually finish them before they get warm, but on really hot days this can be a problem.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:55 PM
June 05, 2003
Ars System Guide Ooooohhhh.... the Ars Technica system guide has been updated. Mmm...... God Box.....
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 03:20 PM
May 26, 2003
Sexy Case Mod Wow, a very cool and sexy case mod. Bascially a full scale model of a woman, looking a bit like Lara Croft, but not quite, made of styrofoam.... Via Kasia's blog.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:58 AM
May 13, 2003
New Keyboard Cuv found a shot of this keyboard, which at first looks completely bizzare, but if you read the labels, it sort of makes sense..... as he says, I'd love to try it out.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 10:43 AM
March 27, 2003
RAID Definitions Random link from Cat5 with some detailed RAID terminology definitions.
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 09:43 PM
October 06, 2002
SliMP3 Review on Tomshardware Tom's Hardware has a nifty review of the SliMP3, a very cool hardware mp3 player unit that sucks music via ethernet from your collection. The unit itself is tiny, and well, "slim" :) If anyone's buying for my birthday, I'd sure love one of these!
Hardware - Posted by Arcterex at 06:43 PM