All posts by Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor is Host of TechtalkRadio and its affiliate broadcast. He has been in the Technology Media since 1996 and has served on the Panels at Consumer Electronic Show Las Vegas and Moderated. He has presented a weekly broadcast on New Technology and Gadgets in Tucson's CBS Affiliate KOLD TV as well as been a guest on Radio Segments around the country. He currently serves as resident Tech Analyst for KMSB Fox 11 Tucson

Game On: Steelseries Gaming Mouse “WoW’s” User’s With Ultra Configurable High Res Device

steelseries logo small

steelseries, is best known for making devices to enhance your daily experience using your computer, whether it be for work or play, such as the Z-Board (with customized ‘keysets’) & Iron Lady branded devices.

But if you are one of the 11 million plus gamers addicted to…um…I mean, who occasionally play, World of Warcraft, then you are in for a special treat.

Blizzard teamed up with steelseries to offer an officially licensed and customized WoW MMO Gaming Mouse with ALL the bells and whistles you could ever want…and then some!

The World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse was designed specifically for World of Warcraft® by Blizzard® and steelseries,” claims the websites product description. “The World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse provides remarkable benefits to all MMO gamers, regardless of level or play style. The mouse features incredible customization options to accommodate personal preferences. Seamless integration between software and hardware will provide an amazing in-game experience that provides superior performance, comfort and control. The World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse is fully scalable to meet and exceed the requirements of even the most discerning World of Warcraft® gamer.”

WoW mouse

Quick Overview

– Macros up to 160 characters
– A total of 15 programmable buttons
– Over 130 predefined commands for drag-and-drop macro creation
– 16 million illumination choices with 3 intensity and pulsation levels
– World’s first gaming mouse designed exclusively for World of Warcraft®

Once you’ve downloaded the most recent installation package from the website (a must for Windows Vista users, as instructed by a stand alone, can’t miss, post card inserted in the packaging) setting up pulsating wonder is not nearly as daunting a task as you would think it would be, as I was pleasantly surprised to discover.

The software setup interface is simple to understand, laid out simply and intuitively, and ready to reach out and download your character info from the Blizzard® authorized “WoW Armory” into one of the 10 provided customizable slots. (Note: Characters do not get picked up by the armory until they reach level 10, so if you’ve just started a toon, you can still use all the features of the MMO mouse, but you’ll need to get to work on your skill level before assigning to a slot.)

THE SOFTWARE INTERFACE

As you can see in the screen shot below, all 15 programmable buttons are clearly marked and its assigned action or function is labeled.

WoW mouse setup Each button can then be programmed by simply selecting an action from the predefined drop-down list of WoW commands, change the dpi or character profiles on the fly, or even create custom macros by just “recording” the normal keystrokes you would use in-game and assigning a set of actions to a single button.

While having 15 buttons may seem like more than you can possibly remember, especially if you have multiple characters on multiple servers, all with different actions needed to complete a task, I found that using it on my primary and secondary toons becomes easier and more intuitive the longer I play them…and frankly I find that I use about 6 or 7 button frequently and with good results.

Of course you can always use the mouse for everyday left and right clicking, scrolling the wheel to your hearts content as needed; with up to 3200 dpi resolution available to you, pinpoint accuracy is assured in any game or desktop editing program.

GAME ON!

Interview with Macworld Senior Editor Christopher Breen Posted

We posted an interview with Macworld Senior Editor Christopher Breen at TechtalkRadio sharing information on the new book available as a Downloadable PDF, CD with PDF or Book form titled “Macworld iPhone Superguide Second Edition.” It covers the iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch. Access the Interview here http://www.techtalkradio.com/books/iphoneguide.html

A sample PDF from the Book can also be download from the site at http://www.macworld.com/superguide/iphone2/

TurboTax 2008

Intuits TurboTax is a program that can be used throughout the year to help understand your Tax Situation as income or life changes occur. With many different flavors of the program to handle both Federal and State filing on paper or with e-File, Andy Taylor gives you a look at some of the updates from last years options and what to expect with each program. We even tell you how to use the program for Free! Check out the article at http://www.techtalkradio.com/reviews/turbotax2008.html

Game On: Steelseries Gaming Devices

Got GEAR?

From headsets to gaming pads, game and gender specific accessories for every gamer, steelseries wants you to know that they’ve got the gear you want and need!

steelseries logo

Their line of headsets is quite impressive and includes something for every gamers personal preferences in size, type and style of device…guys or gals! Like the iron.lady full sized headset is a fav for the gals; fully loaded AND awesomely pink!

And guys, the next time some orc you’ve just pwned with your vicious pyroblast accuses you of having ‘big brass ones,’ tell them “Aw-hells-no! I’ve got the steelseries World of Warcraft custom Zboard, keyset & gaming mouse*!”

WoW mouse logo WoW mouse

* Look for a more in-depth review of the World of Warcraft set next!

Zboard seriesThe steelseries ZBoard is truly an innovative idea that has revolutionized and customized the gaming experience like nothing since the “mouse” was introduced decades ago! And steelseries notes: “With its ability to adapt for any game through removable keysets the steelseries Zboard is a completely unique gaming keyboard. The “anti-ghosting” feature allows for 7 simultaneous keystrokes opposed to the standard 2-4 on other keyboards.”

From the moment I unpacked the Zboard I knew I was about to a have truly unique experience AND expected to travel along a steep and arduous ‘leaning curve’ before I would be able to even use this new toy, let alone master its use…but when I opened the package I found a small folded sheet of paper, with a few paragraphs of simple instructions (in many languages) which included the words “Check for Keyset Updates” (This comes into play in a moment).

I inserted the included CD, which loaded the “ZEngine” software, onto my Vista Home Premium, Q6600 quad-core based gaming rig, and loaded the interface that assists in customizing the board to your personal wants and needs. (Side note: the Zboard comes with a fairly standard QWERTY ‘keyset’ insert AND an advanced gaming ‘keyset’)

Each keyset has its own ROM or ERROM chip so ‘programming’ can really be simply changing the keyset out from one pre-configured keyset (like the FPS keyset included) to another (like the WoW-WotLK keyset) and in and of itself is completely reprogrammable! Once you’ve got your keyset in place, you can customize every key to do whatever is possible in the game to do with a keystroke or set of keystrokes…and you can simply save your setup, naming it whatever you want (CoD4 set) and make another customized set for another favorite game (like Team Fortress 2). Once set up, this leaves the gamer to PLAY the game to his or her fullest potential, without having to remember key combinations for different games…awesome!

My only ‘hiccup’ was that as soon as I plugged in the Zboard, the interface started and failed! But please, don’t take that out on steelseries …the Zboard I reviewed says plainly on the box that it supports UP TO Windows XP…and the instructions plainly say “Check for Keyset Updates,” and a quick trip to the download section of the website and I had the latest, VISTA compatible ZEngine up and running without another hitch. (Darn you RTM folks out there! LOL)

So the next time you get PWND by “EZTarget” in Call of Duty or Team Fortress, you’ll know I’ve traded my ‘big brass ones’ in for pair of steelseries tools…the Zboard and MMO Gaming Mouse!

Game ON!

Pick up the 24" Apple iMac now at $1,499

Apple(R) today announced updates to its iMac(R) and Mac(R) mini desktop lines, including a 24-inch iMac that is priced more affordably than ever before and a Mac mini with powerful new integrated graphics.

For the same $1,499 price as the previous generation 20-inch iMac, the new 24-inch iMac delivers a 30 percent larger display, twice the memory and twice the storage. Delivering up to five times better graphics performance, the updated Mac mini now features the same groundbreaking NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics introduced with the aluminum unibody MacBook(R) family.* The Mac mini is the world’s most energy efficient desktop, drawing less than 13 watts of power when idle.** All iMac and Mac mini systems come with Mac OS(R) X Leopard(R), the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife(R) ’09, Apple’s unparalleled suite of consumer applications for managing and organizing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music.

“Our flagship 24-inch iMac with twice the memory and twice the storage is now available for just $1,499,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “The Mac mini is not only our most affordable Mac, it’s also the world’s most energy efficient desktop computer.”

The elegant, full-featured iMac line starts with the 20-inch iMac for only $1,199 with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 320GB Serial ATA hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. The 24-inch iMac features a beautiful 1920-by-1200 pixel widescreen display that offers 30 percent more screen real estate than the 20-inch model, and starts at just $1,499. The 24-inch iMac includes up to a 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 640GB or 1TB Serial ATA hard drive, and a variety of graphics technology from NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics to the NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 or ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics for ultimate performance.
Every iMac features a glossy display with a built-in iSight(R) video camera, mic and speakers in a thin aluminum and glass design. The new iMac also includes a Mini DisplayPort connector for a pure digital signal to Apple’s new 24-inch LED Cinema Display with adapters available for DisplayPort, VGA, DVI and Dual-Link DVI displays. iMac includes built-in AirPort Extreme(R) 802.11n Wi-Fi networking; Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; Gigabit Ethernet; a total of six USB 2.0 ports (including two on the Apple Keyboard); and one FireWire(R) 800 port.

Starting at $599, the Mac mini is an innovative, tiny desktop measuring only 6.5 by 6.5 by 2-inches. Available in two models, Mac mini features a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory, up to 320GB Serial ATA hard drive, five USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800 and a SuperDrive(R). The Mac mini features NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics for up to five times better graphics performance than before* and now with dual display support can drive two Apple or third-party displays with Mini DisplayPort or DVI connections. Using less than 13 watts of power at idle, up to 10 times less power than a typical desktop PC, the new Mac mini is the most energy efficient desktop in the world.**
Continuing Apple’s commitment to the environment, both iMac and Mac mini extend their leadership in green design. Both iMac and Mac mini exceed current Energy Star 4.0 requirements and are leading the industry as early adopters of the more stringent Energy Star 5.0 requirements which will become effective later this year. Both iMac and Mac mini use PVC-free internal components and cables and contain no brominated flame retardants. Both iMac and Mac mini feature material-efficient system and packaging designs and use highly recyclable materials. Apple’s new desktop lineup joins its recently introduced aluminum unibody MacBook family in achieving EPEAT Gold status.***

Every Mac comes with Apple’s innovative iLife ’09 suite of applications for managing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music. iLife ’09 features iPhoto(R), which introduces Faces and Places as breakthrough new ways to easily organize and manage your photos; iMovie(R) with powerful easy-to-use new features such as Precision Editor, video stabilization and advanced drag and drop; and GarageBand(R) which introduces a whole new way to help you learn to play piano and guitar. Every Mac also includes Leopard, the world’s most advanced operating system which features Time Machine(TM), an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac; a redesigned Finder(TM) that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, the best way to instantly see files without opening an application; Spaces(R), an intuitive feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; Mail with easy setup and elegant, personalized stationery; and iChat(R), the most advanced video chat.

Apple also announced that its popular AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi Base Station and Time Capsule(R) now feature simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual-band networking for optimal performance, range and compatibility. An innovative Guest Network feature allows setting up a secondary network for friends and visitors with Internet-only access so you don’t have to hand out your WiFi password. Time Capsule combines an 802.11n router and server-grade hard disk for automatic wireless back-up with Time Machine, and is immediately available in two models: a 500GB model for $299 and a 1TB model for $499. The AirPort Extreme Base Station is also available immediately for a suggested retail price of $179.****

Pricing & Availability
The new iMac and Mac mini lines are now shipping and available through the Apple Store(R) (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new 20-inch 2.66 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US), includes: — 20-inch widescreen LCD display;
— 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
— 2GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
— NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
— 320GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
— a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R
DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
— Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
— built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth
2.1+EDR;
— built-in iSight video camera;
— Gigabit Ethernet port;
— four USB 2.0 ports;
— one FireWire 800 port;
— built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
— the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 2.66 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes: — 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
— 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
— 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
— NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
— 640GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
— a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R
DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
— Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
— built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth
2.1+EDR;
— built-in iSight video camera;
— Gigabit Ethernet port;
— four USB 2.0 ports;
— one FireWire 800 port;
— built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
— the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 2.93 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,799 (US), includes: — 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
— 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
— 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
— NVIDIA GeForce GT 120; with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM memory;
— 640GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
— a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R
DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
— Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
— built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth
2.1+EDR;
— built-in iSight video camera;
— Gigabit Ethernet port;
— four USB 2.0 ports;
— one FireWire 800 port;
— built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
— the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 3.06 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $2,199 (US), includes: — 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
— 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
— 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
— NVIDIA GeForce GT 130; with 512MB GDDR3 memory;
— 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
— a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R
DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
— Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
— built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth
2.1+EDR;
— built-in iSight video camera;
— Gigabit Ethernet port;
— four USB 2.0 ports;
— one FireWire 800 port;
— built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
— the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

For Specs on the Mac Mini or any of these products listed, check out http://www.apple.com