Friday, February 27, 2009

Kingston DataTravel 8GB Review

A lot of us have a good sized CD collection. MP3 players make it easy for you to take your audio collection on the go. Whether you use it for walking, bike riding, or jogging, MP3 players are very portable and easy to take your audio collection with you. They can be your portable stereo on the go. But for car stereo fans, the issue may not be to have a portable stereo on the go. You already have a car stereo for that. But what you do want is to bring your audio collection with you. Kingston can help you with that.

Many car stereos now have hook-ups for an iPod, or other MP3 players. But why spend all the money on an iPod or other MP3 player just as a storage device for you music collection. Depending on your car stereo you may not have the need for a nice color display or headphone jack. All you may be looking for is a storage device. My Kenwood KDC-X991 has a built in USB input. No need for an expensive iPod. Enter Kingston’s DataTraveler 8GB flash drive. You read right. It is just a regular flash drive. But it is portable, and can hold a lot of tunes with 8GB worth of storage. I would need about 16GB to fit my entire music collection on it and take it with me. You may only need 4GB for your music collection. But with models with up to 64GB in storage capacity, Kingston would have you covered.

The Kingston DataTraveler 8GB was easy to use. Since it is a USB device, all I did was connected it to my computer, and created my own folders. I have used other smaller capacity flash drives in my car. I make folders for different music types, like rock, pop, jazz, etc, and save those types of music in the folders. Then depending on the music I want to listen to, I go to that folder. I set up different folders on the Kingston DataTraveler, but for some reason it did not read it as different folders. Instead of being able to access my 100 or so CD’s in 5 different folders, I have to scroll through a long list. But it still works, and when I pick an album to listen to, all of the info shows up on my car stereo display, such as artist and song title. And as I am scrolling through the list of albums on the flash drive, I can see the artist and album info so I know which album I am on as I go thru the list. It may not give you as many features as an MP3 player, but it is a lot cheaper. And in today’s market, that is what many of us are looking for.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ZBoost YX510 Cell Phone Signal Booster Review

They say when it comes to real estate it is all about location, location, location. When it comes to cell phones, it also tends to be about location. There is a growing trend of people dropping their land line phones for just their cell phone. For a lot of people it makes sense. But it only works if you have good cell phone signal where you live. So in a way, it is about location.

I have not been able to take the option of dropping my land line. While I have cell phone coverage and a signal in my house, the strength of the signal depends on which room I am in. And if I am roaming the house while I am on my cell phone, I occasionally drop calls. ZBoost has solved that problem. They are a company that does just what the name implies. They take a cell phone signal, and boost or amplify it. Unfortunately they cannot make something out of nothing. In other words, they cannot create a cell phone signal from nothing. They first need a signal to be able to amplify.

There are multiple different types of cell phone carriers. Because of this zBoost has multiple models. There are also models based on the size of home you have. The product I tested was the YX510. It works on homes up to 2500 square feet. It was simple to set up. The zBoost YX510 came with what looked a bit like a router, a long thick antenna, and a line of coaxial cable to connect the two. Depending on how much signal you get, there are a few different installation options for the antenna. For the best reception they recommend the antenna at a high point in the house such as in the attic. You can also install it next to a window on the inside of the house for a simpler installation.

I had enough of a signal so I was able to install the unit on the inside of my house. After the install, I found that the unit performed as advertised. I now have two more signal strength bars than I had before. I also am able to walk all around the house and not have a dropped call. The performance for me has been great. If you have had problems with weak signal and dropped calls in your home, I would suggest you give them a try. I certainly am glad that I did.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Speck Port Pack shoulder bag review

It can be rather difficult to keep up with all of the changes in the electronics industry. Whether it is cell phones or laptops, new and improved models continue to come out and replace the old ones. As the trends continue to bring out fancier features, a new trend has developed. It is to have models that appeal to who we are and our personalities. This started with cell phones that you could download different ringtones. Now you can get cell phones and laptops in different colors and designs. A company called Speck is continuing in the trend.

Up for review is a Speck Port Pack shoulder laptop bag. It is not your traditional looking black laptop bag. It is a great looking coffee and cream plaid colored laptop bag. And when you see it, some of you will just say “now that’s me.” And that is part of the point.

The other part of the point is the bag is also very functional as well. I think it is the perfect sized bag for a laptop. It holds more than just the laptop, but does not have too many pockets to make it too bulky. This particular laptop bag fits a 15” laptop nice and snug. It also has a lot of functionality. There is a nicely padded shoulder strap that conveniently detaches from plastic quick release tabs, and you can instead carry it from the cloth handle that stores in a zippered pocket up top.

Speck shows a lot of ingenuity in the bags design. As I mentioned above, the shoulder strap works great, but if you would rather carry it in your hand than on your shoulder, just pop off the straps and put them in the bag, unzip the pocket on the back and pull out the handle. There is also a long pocket on the back to hold a magazine or folder. Inside of the bag are two big pockets, one that is padded for the laptop, and a second section to hold whatever. There is also an interior zippered pocket. The interior pockets are covered by a large flap that also covers some exterior pockets. These interior pockets consist of a large zippered pocket, two pen holders, and two smallish Velcro pockets. One of which is a two way pocket for your MP3 player- the inside pocket holds your player and exterior see through mesh pocket holds your earbud headphones. And when you are on the go, the large flap is secured in place with Velcro and a snap-in tab. The bottom of the bag even has a couple hard rubber feet.

This is one amazingly functional laptop bag. It is fairly small in size having plenty of storage without being too big. There are some convenient features and pockets. Not only is it very functional, but it is pretty trendy with the plaid colors. It is stylish looking and will appeal to many individuals. I think many will have the same reaction as my wife. The first thing she said when she saw it was “now that’s mine!”

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