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 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

CES 2010 – More Room for Apple Products

We received this Press Release this Morning from the Consumer Electronics Association, It leads me to wonder if Manfacturers that support Apple products are looking for a new place to show products, there has been much talk on the future of MacWorld, could this be a sign of changing times?

2010 INTERNATIONAL CES iLOUNGE PAVILION SELLS OUT IN RECORD TIME; SPACE QUADRUPLED TO ACCOMMODATE CUSTOMER DEMAND
2010 CES iLounge Pavilion to Feature Largest Display of iPod, iPhone
and Mac Technologies in Show History

Arlington, Va., January 29, 2009 – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® today announced that the iLounge® Pavilion, a unified iPod®, Phone® and Mac® exhibition area at the 2010 International CES®, has quadrupled in size since its official launch last week. The iLounge Pavilion, co-sponsored by CEA and iLounge.com, will feature manufacturers and retailers of iPod and iPhone accessories, related products and services, and based on requests from vendors, will now grow to include leading Mac developers and retailers as well. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2010 International CES, the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, is scheduled for January 7-10, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We have received an incredible response from companies interested in exhibiting in the iLounge Pavilion at the 2010 International CES,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA. “In fact, the original space allocated for the pavilion sold out in less than one week – a CES show record – and we’ve quadrupled the space to accommodate the overwhelming demand. This exciting new CES Pavilion brings momentum to the consumer technology industry and reinforces the International CES as the global hub for the latest innovative technologies.”

“Leading Apple developers and retailers are excited to have such an outstanding stage at the 2010 International CES,” said Jeremy Horwitz, editor-in-chief, iLounge. “Whether they’re showing off iPod accessories, iPhone applications, or the latest and coolest new Mac products, they know that they’ll find the world’s largest audience at this great new pavilion.”
The iLounge Pavilion, originally floored with 4,000 net square feet of exhibit space which sold out in the first week following the launch, has increased to 18,000 net square feet. Exhibiting companies in the 2010 CES iLounge Pavilion, which will be housed in the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 2, include Griffin Technology, Mobis Technology, Pro Clip USA, Scosche, Incase Designs, Incipio Technologies, iSkin and GelaSkins.

DD Tests Win7beta on an old Dell Latitude D810

Just thought someone would like to know that I dropped the beta DVD I made into the drive of my 4 to 5 year old Dell Latitude D810. Booted. Ran Full install and was AT DESKTOP and running Win7beta in less than 30 mins!

Not a single driver was requested…So something MUST be busted, right?

Nope. (At least I haven’t found it yet)

Win7beta immediately went online and d/l’d the update for itself…two clicks and two minutes later I was able to join the laptop to my network domain (I’m the ITGuy at Southwest) and was crusin’ the WIRELESS system without a hitch.

Another couple of clicks and I’ve got the company’s enterprise antivirus running (not a single complaint about version issues from Trend Micro’s Officescan) and no noticable performance hit. (will check on that more during an acutal scan)

All the “comes with” programs I’ve tried so far have only barked at me a couple of times about my security habits and seems to be learning quickly when to pipe up and when to shut up! LOL But over all, not a hitch. (What’s the catch? When’s the other shoe gonna drop?)

So now I’m at my HOME…popped open the laptop…signed in. Click the wireless icon in the tray, there’s more wireless networks available then I’ve ever seen before in my neighborhood! And my secure router at the top of the list – click – passkey – internet. Bam!

I think I’ll blog about this and/or try World of Warcraft (from my portable USB drive) next! 🙂

Diamond Dave
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Day One and I decided to install the Windows 7 Beta. I am not normally into running beta’s however have heard some great things about Windows 7 I decided to give it a try. The ISO I installed from the Beta site was just over 3GB in size and downloaded easily. Once I had it I used the Roxio 2009 to take the ISO and create a Bootable DVD.

We installed it on:
Intel Core i7 Motherboard DX58SO
Intel Core i7 Extreme Processor
6GB Kingston DDR3 HyperX 1066 Memory
Seagate 300GB SATA
ATI Radion 4850 512MB
Creative Labs X-FI Titanium
Cooler Master Haf932
Cooler Master V8 CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Ultimate 900w Power Supply

We decided to obviously go with the 64bit install to make use of the memory and see if the issues we had run into with the XP64 Bit version at release would be prevalent with the Beta U7.

Install took about 2.5 hours as we partitions and formatted (Had Windows 7 handle that) and ran through the install process. In set up we had the option to choose a Home Network, Business Network and Public Computer install. We have chosen the Home Group which will allow us to connect and share with other home users in the Home Group.

We have another XP Pro Machine and a Vista Machine on the Network and will check the functionality of this network which seems to be on the surface, similar to the Network Setup when connecting to the Xbox Live Network?

We did not notice any glitches with install which can usuallly be experienced with Beta Installs. We were also able to setup the included Internet Explorer 8 which has a nice new menu feature and was very responsive to the system.

While we are testing this on a Upper End spec system, it has performed flawless through set up. The Famous UAC control was easily located and gave us the option to how we want the User Account Control to respond when Downloading, Installing, Etc. We adjusted the UAC by going into the Control Panel, User Accounts and Family Safety and then the User Account you want to manage. An option pops up that will allow you to adjust the settings.

We visited the Adobe site and Downloaded and installed the Flash Player, No Issues which then showed us the Flash on our Website. There was no prompting that we should download this feature but can assume this will be changed in the full release of Windows 7.

We did notice the sound was choppy with the WDM drivers under Windows 7 so we took the gamble and visited the Creative Labs site where we downloaded the Titanium Drivers Only and fixed the choppy sound on Internet Playback.

We installed iTunes and again, experienced no issues at present. We will atempt to install NOD32 AV and Office, which we hear may have some install issues with the Beta build which is Build 7000.

One issue that will take some getting used to for me is the inability to change out the Menu to the Classic Start Menu. We attempted to located it but read various Web Postings that the Classic Menu Option was not included and getting used to the XP/Vista style task menu may speed up use. I am sure I can get use to this.

There are some customization options for the Menu which allow you to pin programs not only to the Start Menu but also to the Taskbar itself and easily select the screen orientation for the Menu. I didn’t the Gadget Sidebar with this install, a menu offered the Desktop Gadget Gallery however, I would rather not see this feature, and on first look it is not run by default. I like what
I see so far, we’ll report on more later.

Andy