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Computers, Technology, and the Internet
Thursday, 1 February 2007
The Long Ranger
Topic: Technology
Living in this mansion isn't all cups and cakes, let me assure you. It's not easy to find a maid who can reliably clean all 27 rooms. The hike from the billiard hall in the east wing to the wet bar in the western annex does grow tedious. I tend to forget in which bedroom I have left Chunkums, and without my beloved teddy bear I simply cannot sleep. And although the manor is equipped with a wireless network, its reach is far too feeble to reliably cover the manse's ample domain.

Fortunately, a mere crumb of my vast wealth sufficed to acquire the Linksys WRE54G Wireless 802.11G Network Range Expander. It integrates seamlessly with my existing 802.11g router - or do I have an 802.11b? I can never be troubled to remember, since the WRE54G is compatible with both standards. In any case, this marvelous Linksys expander simply bounces along my network signal, greatly extending the network's reach without the fuss of a lot of uncouth wires. And for a person of my lucrative and sensitive interests, the 128-bit WEP encyrption comes in rather handy. (Yes, WPA would've been better, but not even I can have everything.)

For a time, I feared I should never be able to lounge in the solarium and browse the web on my laptop. The firm that made my router was no help: the Hindu gentleman who answered their phone seemed like an amiable sort, but his advice never quite did the trick. The Linksys WRE54G Wireless 802.11G Network Range Expander proves that, indeed, you can find good help these days.

Posted by admin at 12:01 AM EST
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Monday, 15 January 2007
Protect & Survive
Topic: Technology
It’s a ritual for every father sending his son off to college: things got pretty wild in my day too, kid, so have a good time.…but whatever you do - use protection. But these days, the savvy dad makes sure his lad has a Kensington PC Key LE Computer Protection System pressed into his wallet.

This USB doohickey lets you choose which files to lock or encrypt, and using it is as easy as a Tri Kappa girl. Just plug it in and enter a password to get into the protected files.

Powerful 128-bit AES encryption locks everyone else out, and makes hacking virtually impossible even if your notebook is lost or stolen.

If you lose your key or forget your password, 24 hour user support is available through the web to help. Wrap your sensitive data in a sheath of digital security with the Kensington PC Key LE Computer Protection System.

Posted by admin at 12:01 AM EST
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Monday, 1 January 2007
4220 On The Floor
Topic: Technology
You wanna know the real reason nature abhors a vacuum? Because nature is filthy. All that dirt and dust and mold and fungus and bacteria…think about it long enough and you’ll feel like puking. We suppose nature is fine in its place. But its place is not in your carpet.

Stick it to nature and score one for civilization with the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220. This blindly obedient suckbot will patrol your hard floors and low-pile carpets for nasty little nasties. All you need do is sprawl languidly upon the divan, bonbons near at hand. It brushes debris toward its vacuum opening and stows the gunk in a 31-cubic-inch dustbin. Use “Spot Clean” and “Max Clean” modes to give special attention to high-dirt areas, or just let the Discovery SE employ its own soil sensors to seek out and rectify the dirtiest parts of your floor. And when it’s finished, or when its battery approaches its two-hour limit, the Discovery SE finds its own way back to its home base. There, it absorbs more energy and lives to clean another day. As migratory spectacles go, those salmon swimming upstream have nothing on this.

We’d like to see nature come up with something like the two virtual walls included here, which set up invisible infrared barriers to keep the Roomba Discovery SE penned into one room at a time. We dare nature to fully charge the Discovery SE’s battery in less than three hours, the way the APS Fast Charger home base does. Stair-sensing technology and an included remote control top off the Discovery SE’s embarrassment of features.

Man has struggled for millennia against the corruption and crud of the material world – lucky for you, victory in this eternal struggle is just $149.99 away. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, the iRobot Roomba Discovery SE 4220 is, like, St. Peter or somebody.

Posted by admin at 12:01 AM EST
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Friday, 15 December 2006
Our Bodies, Archos
Topic: Technology
Chumps come up to me all the time and ask "Excuse me, Apollo Steel, sir, but can you tell me what it takes to be a true player?" I usually have my bodyguards gently escort them face-down onto the sidewalk, because a player is nothing if not busy. I've always got places to go, and platinum dub-sixes to polish, and empty Cristal bottles to fill with generic sparkling wine. But since I like you, I'll let you in on a few secrets. Observe closely as I illustrate the aspects of being a true player.

With the MXL-581 receiver, we can finally escape the suffocating confines of your hard drive. Just connect it to either your 802.11g wireless or wired Ethernet networks and to your home entertainment system. In seconds, us media files will be free at last! Video files can play in the free, open spaces of your TV. Music files can finally roar through your home stereo speakers in all our glory. Never again will you have to gather around the computer desk to look at digital photos or listen to Internet radio! It supports MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4 video formats, MPEG Audio layer 1 & 2/MP3/WMA audio formats, and PEG/BMP/GIF/PNG graphic formats. More importantly, it supports file freedom!

You wanna talk about living large? Check out that big, bright 16:9 7" LCD screen. You gotta shine to show the world you're for real, know what I'm saying? A true
player is always ready for any situation, and the Archos AV700 can handle AVI,
MPEG-4, and WMV video files, DivX and Xvid codecs, and MP3 audio files. Fully
loaded with a super-size 40GB hard drive and a USB 2.0 interface, this is one cat
that will neither punk out nor cop out. And for four hours of video playback or
30 hours of music playback, its battery won't run out.

It's not easy being a player. Most suckers are not cut out for the life. They
can't hang when things get heavy. But one true player always recognizes another -
and take it from Apollo Steel: the Archos AV700 is the rilly-o dilly-o.

Posted by admin at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007 4:36 AM EST
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Friday, 1 December 2006
It?s A Free Country ? Or, At Least, A Very Cheap One
Topic: Technology
Your master plan worked. While those around you were dropping mad cash on big-ticket GPS systems, you kept your cool. You navigated by your gut, your gumption, and your grainy MapQuest printouts, just waiting for GPS prices to fall below the point at which buying one made more sense than stopping to ask for directions. And now you’ve reached your destination – or, rather, it’s reached you.

The Cobra 1000 DLX is the cheapy-ass GPS you’ve been dreaming of. It packs 12 mean channels of GPS reception, and can store up to 50 routes and 500 waypoints. The 1000 DLX comes pre-programmed with continental U.S. highways, and the included Rand McNally StreetFinder software lets you load more detailed maps from your PC. (Alas, it uses a serial connector instead of a USB connector, but we pass the savings on to you. It’s not like USB-serial adapters are expensive anyway, Mr. Pinchpenny.) This package even comes with its own 32MB SD card, the better to load maps onto, my dear.

And boy, will the 1000 DLX ever annoy those Diamond Jims who shelled out for overpriced on-board navigation systems in their cars. All it takes is the included mounting bracket and lighter adapter, and hey presto, it’s a car-based system. On the off chance some mapmaker’s error leads you into a stream or over a cliff, no prob – it’s made of durable, high-impact ABS plastic and it’s water-resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Now, a careful spender like you will understand that the Cobra 1000 DLX is heavy on the function and light on the frills. That means no touchscreen. That means no voice recognition or voice guidance. That means no color. And, of course, that means no big price tag.

Posted by admin at 12:01 AM EST
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