Dell

Gear Games Retrospective: Gothic 3 (RPG, 2006)

I am an admitted fanboy of the Gothic franchise, with Gothic 2 listing near the very top of my ‘all time favorites’ list of games. It had been a while since I replayed Gothic 3 to any extent, so when Good Old Games added it to their lineup a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t help but buy it … for the fourth time! I have the DVD version sitting somewhere, and have bought it on both Steam and Direct2Drive to get the full Gothic Collection digitally (at the time each only had a subset). Gothic 3 is a game…


The Gammatech’s U12C Durabook Review

It takes a certain type of laptop to stand up to certain jobs. Most laptops find comfort on a desk, in a padded bag, or possibly in the local coffee shop around the corner. Gammatech sent me a laptop suited perfectly for all those tasks and a whole lot more. Usually the worst that happens to most laptops is polished keys and touchpad, where your fingers have rubbed the finish off. Possibly it could fall victim of a flight off of your bed or the table after you happen to trip over your power cord. Luckily for those accident prone…


A Relevant Thought About ‘Free’

This week we learned that Samsung will be the latest Android licensee paying huge royalties to Microsoft, and a general sense that the final nails in the ‘Android is free’ coffin have been hammered. We also heard the uproar about the Spotify-Facebook linkage, and even though Spotify now has a ‘private listening mode’ they still require a Facebook account and connection. Finally, Facebook itself has gotten criticism for its practice of tracking users even when they are logged out of the service! This is yet another security issue for online services, something I talked about in Invasion of the Super-Cookies….


Notebook PC Review: Toshiba Satellite L755-S5258 Laptop

In my review of the Toshiba Satellite S4250, I highlighted the almost maniacal devotion to delivering serious audio performance. With the Satellite L755-S5258 (hereafter called the S5258), Toshiba is offering a larger (15.6″!) screen, full-featured numeric keypad, same processor, and a stylish design – for $100 less! So let’s take a look and see how the S5258 performs! The Hype: Generous High-Def Viewing Don’t compromise when it comes to watching movies, juggling tasks or building complex spreadsheets. The Satellite® L750 laptop comes with a broad and truly brilliant 15.6” diagonal TruBrite® HD display that brings out color and clarity you…


Notebook PC Review: Toshiba Satellite P745-S4250 Laptop

Normally in laptop reviews I try to apply some generic context about where the laptop falls in the market in terms of segmentation and price, then invite the reader into the main body of the review to find out how it fits in that segment and the value offered. For the Toshiba Satellite P745-S4250 (S4250 from now on), I will just come out and call the segment the HOLY-CRAP-DID-YOU-HEAR-THE-SOUND-ON-THIS-THING-IT-IS-UNBELIEVABLE-FOR-A-LAPTOP … and the price is just under $800 nicely equipped. With my hand fully tipped, come on along for a look at this wonderful 14″ laptop! The Hype: No-Nonsense Multimedia Performance…


TV Goes Back to the Future With Digital Ad Placement

The other night we were watching Castle, and in the show he was signing books – the book was then advertised in a commercial right at the end of the episode! That same night I was playing ‘Stand O’Food 3’ and there was a poster in the office for ‘Supermarket Mania 2’. Neither was obvious or over the top – certainly nothing like the previous evening when we saw a bit of General Hospital with a woman making chocolate milk for a young boy, but saying things like ‘wouldn’t you like some HERSHEY’s chocolate milk? I know when I’m sad…


Movin’ to a Mac

Recently, I was laid off from my day job.  As a result, for the first time in my life (literally!), my main system will be an Apple system, specifically 15″ MacBook Pro running OS X “Snow Leopard”.  And as I’ve made the move, copying my iTunes library over, setting up a backup disk, and all the other nonsense in which one must engage when one makes a big move of this type, I’ve noticed a few things.  If you’re someone who is considering making the jump, but has been hesitating for one reason or another, maybe my experiences here will…


Linux Netbook Review: ZaReason Teo Pro Netbook

It has been a while since I looked at ZaReason’s Terra HD Netbook.  I liked that one, but the integrated Intel graphics still held it back from those netbooks that are now shipping Nvidia Ion or Ion 2 cards for graphics.  Today I am checking out one of ZaReason’s smaller netbooks, the Teo Pro. The Teo Pro is yet another netbook running Ubuntu Linux and equipped with the venerable Atom N450.  In fact, spec wise the Teo Pro is almost identical to the Terra HD except that the Teo Pro has a 10.1 inch 1024×600 LCD and one less USB…


First Impressions: U.S. Cellular HTC 7 Pro Windows Phone 7 Smartphone

  I am very fortunate to have landed a review HTC 7 Pro unit from U.S. Cellular. A month or so ago I wrote about the 7 Pro launching as the first Windows Phone 7 device on U. S. Cellular. I will be doing a full review in the coming weeks, but wanted to give a few first impressions on (a) the phone, (b) the operating system, (c) the apps and (d) the service based on several hours of use this weekend. The Carrier – U. S. Cellular It probably would have made sense for me to check out the…


Google Needs a “Parents” Button

  My parents are reasonably technologically competent. They’re not big geeks, but my dad has an iPhone and my mom has both a Blackberry and an iPad, so they generally are self-sufficient when it comes to computers. However, what should have been a simple installation of Google Earth on their aging Dell set off a chain of unexpected consequences, all because they’ve been conditioned to trust Google and not question instructions. Apparently, when you install Google Earth on a Windows PC, Google asks to install Chrome as well. No biggie, except that in her “just click-through because Google said it…


Your AT&T iPhone Data Usage Is Unusually High? Maybe This Is Why

Image courtesy of Productivity 501 We all have iPhones in our house. For the kids and Sami, I got the lowest data plans, because they’re all on the wifi all the time. But weirdly, every month, Maggie’s phone was approaching and going over the limit. At first, after talking with the AT&T support folks, it seemed that it was just because she was going outside the range of our WiFi modem–which is not that tough, honestly; it’s only a little 2Wire job–and so the phone was flipping her requests to the 3G network. So I disabled 3G on her phone. But…


Gear Games Review: Fierce Laser Gaming Mouse

Gamers are a funny group when it comes to controllers, and none are more particular than PC gamers with their mice. I remember years ago buying a BOX of Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0 mice … that is 5 mice! That way I had one for any situation or possible computer I would access. The reason? The two side buttons were perfect for games like Jedi Knight II where I could assign them to Force Push and Pull. The question now: is the Fierce Laser Gaming Mouse something to inspire that sort of idiotic devotion? Read on and see! The Hype: We’ve…


The Linksys E4200 Max Performance WiFi-N Router Review

A few months ago Linksys announced their new E4200 Wireless N router. Linksys was kind enough to send out a review unit, which I have been using for a few weeks. The dual band router sports both a 2.4 and 5 GHz radio setup and a six-pack of internal antennas to maximize wireless coverage and throughput. Wireless N is pretty much the standard these days, and as you all know the force behind WiFi N is the need for streaming media. With all the new web connected TV’s and streaming media services, the last thing you want is your router…


Sena’s Lineup of iPad 2 Cases Offers Great Style and Protection in Gorgeous Leather

I love Sena’s leather cases and have since my first Dell Axim PDA. Their quality is first-rate, the leathers they use are gorgeous and, time and again, they find just the right balance between style and function. Well the company has rolled out their offerings for the iPad 2 and they are impressive. I like them all but am especially drawn to the new Florence for iPad 2. This sleek case/stand will have an MSRP of $79.99 but is available for pre-order right now for just $69.99. We have lots more pictures of the Florence but let’s take a quick…


System 76 Gazelle Professional Ubuntu Laptop Review

Even though I work in a technology field, not often do I get a chance to look at brand new technology right after it comes out.  It is even rarer that companies choose to ship laptops with only Linux on them.  Companies like Zareason and System 76 are making it easier and easier to get a system that runs Linux 100 percent with every single piece of the hardware working from day one.  When System 76 offered to send a loaner of their brand new Gazelle Professional based on Intel’s new Sandy Bridge chipset, well I jumped at the chance!…


Desktop PC Review: Hewlett Packard HP Compaq 6000 Pro All-in-One

Recently I have reviewed the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Elitebook 8440w Mobile Workstation and the Elitebook 2540p, laptops with powerful Core i7 processors, solid graphics systems, a business focus, and a price tag higher than what a typical family would want to pay. So when I had the opportunity to look at an all-in-one system with a list price just over $1000, I was thrilled to get the opportunity – but a little concerned about what I might think about the lower-priced system. The Hype: Capable. Integrated. Designed with enterprise class performance, manageability, and stability in an integrated form. Get a desktop…


Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition

I thought of a number of different titles for this post. One was: “No Use Crying Over Spilled Lemonaide”. Another was “MacBook Airs and Crystal Light Do Not Mix”. Another was “Apple, I’m Sorry for all the Nasty Things I Have Said and Thought” Then there was “I’m an Idiot” Eventually I settled on simply using “Adventures in Customer Service- Apple and Spilled Crystal Light Edition”. Here’s my story. I did not have a good morning. I woke up not feeling particularly great and immediately had a number of phone calls with people who are in the midst of challenging…


Gear Diary Rave: Gomadic

I’ve been a fan of Gomadic chargers for several years. Like many of the other Gear Diary writers, I like to switch devices frequently, but replacing desk chargers, car chargers, sync cables, etc., for each gadget gets to be pretty expensive pretty quickly. With Gomadic’s “tip exchange” technology, you keep the same charging cable, but change the tip at the end where it connects to the device.  Here’s how they describe their products: Don’t lug around cords for all of your devices. Buy one Gomadic cable, from retractable USBs to double car chargers and you’re set for years. Simply buy…


Apple ‘Wins’ Product Placement Award for 2010

Tracking Apple products in shows is somewhat of a hobby for many folks, and we even did a number of ‘Apple on TV’ posts here at Gear Diary. Of course, Apple is just one of many companies that spend heavily to get their products featured prominently in TV shows and movies, and keeping in the spirit of awards season the folks at BrandChannel have compiled their annual ‘Product Placement Awards’ … and not surprisingly Apple has come out on top again. Here are some details from the award: Apple products appeared in ten (or 30%) of the 33 films that…


The Hidden Price of Our Gadget Obsession: Child Labor

One item that came through in Apple’s Supplier report last week was a marked increase in issues with child labor in supplier facilities, particularly in China. The report noted that Apple ” audited 127 facilities and found 91 cases including 31 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age, but were no longer underage or no longer employed at the time of the audit.” Before you get out the Apple-bashing hammer, remember that EVERYONE making devices is using these facilities – Dell, Asus, Acer, HP, even Samsung gets loads of stuff from these plants. This means it…


The Valentine’s Day Gift Arms Race

Let’s face it – by this time if you are still deciding on Valentine’s Day gifts you are pretty much in deep trouble with the object of your intentions. This isn’t meant as gift-giving advice. Nor is it a curmudgeonly rant about the ‘Hallmark Holiday’ – while the card-maker and your local florist certainly profit from February 14th, the celebration has historical ties. No … this is about the seeming ‘arms race’ in gift-giving. Initially I had started pooling loads of images from every email I had gotten over the last month touting the ‘perfect Valentine’s Day gift’, with the…