Gadget Bugg: 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update: Vintage Gamers Paradise


What'd you do today? Oh, nothing, just got about 200+ vintage PC games from about 1987-2004. A very nice old man by the name of Dan who has been playing video games since before I was born (strictly PC, none of that darn-tootin' console garbage) has graciously given me just about his entire collection (he hung on to the more valuable/fun ones) but nonetheless, it's still a killer haul. Merry Christmas indeed. Let us know what you think of the collection! While most of these suckers will end up on eBay, there are a handful that I really want to hang on to, for nostalgia if nothing else. And who knows, maybe there will be some giveaways in the future? *wink*,*wink* *nudge*,*nudge*

A few rare beauties in the collection:

-The original Collectors First Edition of Starcraft

-Star Trek 25th Anniversary edition

-The original Half-life & Half-Life Opposing Force

-Sid Meier's Civilization I & II

-Warcraft II Tides of Darkness

SO if I am slow to respond to wave invites and emails etc., you know why!

~Pete


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tech News: Dear Steve Jobs

How far would you go to get your app published in the iTunes store? Ever since the whole Google vs. Apple debate about Google Voice being rejected, many institutions have wondered what criteria Apple uses to reject apps from their online store. One such institution is taking a stand. Fashioned with iPhone costumes and a plethera of Youtube videos, SVT (sort of like the Swedish version of the BBC) is standing outside an Apple headquarters in Sweden in an attempt to make a difference. Their request: approve the SVT Play application. Oh yeah, did I mention they are broadcasting all of this live on their website? They may be making a fool of themselves, but they are even starting to gain the support of this American. So do us all a favor Steve, and "say Ja"!

Click the pic for a link to their site

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Adesso AKB-220 Flexible Keyboard

We've all had this experience:

You are talking to your friend and he brings up a movie that he recently saw.

"It's the most amazing movie in the world; it'll blow your mind"!

"It sounds really cool", you reply. "I guess I'll have to go see it".

He continues to build it up and then when you finally go and see it, it barely even meets the expectations you had yourself. In fact, it downright sucks. That was the experience I had with the Adesso AKB-220 keyboard. I was so excited to get this and play with it, but when I actually tried to type with it I was quickly disappointed.

What?

This keyboard is not the only waterproof, abuse proof, and flexible keyboard on the market, but it is one of the most widely known and written about ones. This keyboards claim to fame is that it can be beaten and brutalized and still come out fighting strong. The keyboard's tamperproof and waterproof characteristics check out, but it has one main drawback:

You can barely type with it.

Why?

I was shipped this keyboard from Intel through a program that they have for employees of retail industries (which I am) so they sent it to me for free after I received some Intel training. I was really excited to replace my current keyboard because it is an old dell keyboard that I snagged from an old Inspiron that has bitten the dust and it is currently to oldest part of my new computer I recently built. However, after using (well, attempting to use) the Adesso, I was thankful to bring out my old Dell keyboard again, and my typing speed increased about 400%.

How?

So how is this possibly the worst keyboard I've ever used? I'm glad you asked. The keyboard has some really terrible characteristics including the fact that when one types on it the shift key (if you use the left shift key primarily like I do) is in a terrible location. I repeatedly found myself typing "zzzz" as I was trying to hold down the shift key, which isn't even that much longer on my Dell keyboard. Also, the rubber keys make it hard to touch type. I type very fast, and I was unable to simply lightly tape the keys in order to get response from them. I literally had to bang on each one before it would register what I was typing. Not cool. What's more, the delete key is tiny and in an awkward position, which is aggravating because you are usually going for the backspace to fix some problem that was caused by the keyboard itself, not because you made the error.

Who?

Don't get me wrong (I don't want a thousand hate emails): the Adesso definitely has its place in the tech world. Those who can use it are people who work in a hazardous area or an area where you are getting your hands dirty a lot. Also it is super portable. It can be rolled up and stashed in a laptop bag for easy storage.

The Verdict:

I do not feel as though the benefits and the general overall "geeky" factor of this keyboard make up for its short comings in ability and response to typing. Afterall, a keyboards first job is to allow you to type, and after that any cool add-ons can come into play. Let me put it this way: I tried to type this review with the Adesso, but I gave up after the first few sentences and relished in the return of my beat-up old Dell keyboard. However, if you are one of the people mentioned above, or are O.C.D. about cleaning your keyboard and want a keyboard that is easy to clean, the Adesso AKB-220 is right for you… Just don't plan on typing with it.

Rating: 2.5/10


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tech News: Batman Arkham Asylum 2 Announced, Teaser Trailer

Just when you thought that Batman couldn't get any cooler, he did. The new sequel looks like it will not disappoint. Don't believe me? Check out the trailer for yourself. Oh, and head on over to "Arkham Has Moved" for some very not much more information.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tech News: How Does the iPhone Make Money?

Our friends over at Gigaom recently posted this interesting little number on their blog. For the most part the title says it all, and the layout is easy to read. Comment bellow and let me know what you think.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Update: h2rtn Invites You to Google Wave

Dear Readers:

We have recently seen our site traffic skyrocket due to the Google Wave invites and we couldn't be more pleased. As many of you have noticed, our posts have come to a screeching halt as a result to keep up with the demand, not to mention the host of side projects and hope to get them posted very shortly. However, as you continue to spread the word around our blog continues to grow! So thanks and keep it up! What's more, Google just gave h2rtn an additional dish of invites that we are more than happy to use up on all of you, so keep the requests coming!

Here's what to expect from How To's, Reviews, and Tech News in the coming months (not necessarily in this order):

-Google Wave Review-

-How To Build a Computer-

-Batman: Arkham Asylum Review-

-Dragon Age Origins Review-

-Pure for Xbox 360 Review-

We will be getting these posted on the site and youtube.com/h2rtn as soon as they are finished. In the meantime, I encourage those of you who have gotten invites to invite others who have commented on the blog if you have extras. It would just keep all of our jobs a bit easier and get our content onto the site faster! If you decide to do so, just shoot us a wave or an email with the persons email you invited and let us know. Sound cool to everyone?

Also, we are trying to get together a user run portion of the review for Google Wave. I have already contacted some of the users who have "waved" h2rtn to see if they are interested, and there are still some spots open. So, if you are interested in being a part of the Google Wave blog experience shoot us an email at pete.h2rtn@gmail.com.

You can also send requests there or comment below for a Google Wave invite. All that we ask is that you let us know how you fond the site and let us know of any improvements that you think that we can make to make your experience better. Let us know if you like the fonts, colors, the design, or even let us know of any requests for reviews or news that you think we should be covering. You can also become a follower of the blog, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, subscribe to our Youtube Channel, friend us on Xbox live (gamertag: h2rtn) or give us a call on our voicemail.

Thanks for reading!


~Pete

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update: Google Wave Invites!

Google graciously granted h2rtn a sneak peek into its still largely developer based web application Google Wave. According to Google, Wave is its "attempt at reinventing the email" and promises to increase the productivity of its users.

H2rtn also has Google Wave invites to give out. If you are interested comment or become a follower. You can also send an email to pete.h2rtn@gmail.com if you have any questions. Also, let me know what you think of the site, and any improvements you think might be made!

A review should be coming up shortly.

Check out or comment on our Google Voice Review for an invite to that too!

Update: If you guys would let me know how you found the site too, that would be superb.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: Google Chrome OS (Chromium)

Google recently gave a sneak peak into it's new operating system Chrome OS. The developer version is named Chromium, and it is available all over the internet although Google itself has not yet supported it. At the moment, it is expected that the final version and the version that is out now will be wildly different. Check out the video below for some hands on experience.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Tech News: Microsoft Office 2010 Beta Available for Download


It has been a whopping two years since Microsoft released its last installment of its office software, but apparently its already time to upgrade again. Microsoft Office 2010 (beta) is now available for download here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tech News: Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune HD Come to Xbox 360



Yeah, you read correctly. Xbox 360's most recent Xbox Live update includes support for some of the most widely used social networking and media streaming sites on the internet. I got to tell you, it's sweet. For those of you out there who rarely use your 360 as a gaming machine anymore, you will be happy to know that now you can view slideshows of all of your Facebook pics and stream great audio straight into your home theater experience proving the already fine line between PC and TV is that much thinner. Hopefully I will have a hands on review of the features in the near future.

~Pete

pete.h2rtn@gmail.com

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tech News: Antitrust Lawsuit Filed Against Intel, AMD Claiming Monopoly


The processor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) filed suit Monday against chip giant Intel claiming Intel's shady business arrangements are illegal. Intel, who has been giving computer manufacturers huge rebates and discounts on its chips has recently settled with AMD for $1 billion dollars (that's billion, with a "b"). In a normal market, the courts argued, Intel's actions would have been legal, but because there are only two major computer processor manufacturers (80% of which is owned by Intel according to IDC) Intel is teetering on the edge of monopoly.

The fact that Intel gained control of Apple and up until recently had manufactured the only processor for consumer "netbooks" didn't help it's case. According to cnet.com, Not only was Intel's foothold on the American trade, but in Japan the deals were getting so vast that it convinced Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba to not buy or vastly limit the purchases of chips made by AMD.

Experts say, however, that this wasn't the first bite AMD took at Intel and it certainly won't be the last. In 2000, AMD claimed that Intel was violating European anticompetition laws through its marketing. AMD has even taken the liberty of creating a website pleading its case.

As for now, it seems as though the battle will keep drudging on, Intel devouring the competition while AMD struggles for breath. Well, at least AMD still has HP, right?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tech News: Warhammer Online Converts to Indefinite Free Trial

I woke up this morning, as many gamers did, to a surprise in my inbox. Warhammer online had sent me an email notifying me that my 10 day free trial had been converted to a "new ENDLESS FREE TRIAL Account."


This could do big things for Warhammer online, who seems to be following in the footsteps of Dungeons and Dragons online's recent transformation as a free to play mmorpg. However, the level cap on Warhammer's FTP version may dissuade a lot of people from getting excited about this.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tech News: Wal-Mart selling signed copies of COD4 MW2 on Release 11/10/2009

As you can guess, there has been a lot of hype about the release of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 being released this Tuesday.


One of the new rumors circulating by a number of sites and blogs is the fact that at Wal-Mart's across the nation (24 hour ones only) the first 20 people to show up and purchase the game will be receiving signed copies by the developers. Pretty cool, eh? Oh yeah, and another one of those annoying Wal-Mart ads featuring the guys from the Wal-Mart Madden ads has come out. I admit, I chuckled...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Unboxing: Xbox 360 Elite

H2rtn's first unboxing video is now online! It has been a bit of a struggle to get it up to Youtube in a quality I was happy with, but now it is a finished masterpiece. Check it out!



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tech News: Intel USB 3.0 Release Pushed Back To 2011

According to major GPU giant Nvidia, Intel will not be supporting the much anticipated USB 3.0 standard until at least 2011.

This comes at a big shock because benchmark tests were released by various sites stating that USB 3.0 does in fact perform 6x faster then its predecessor.


Why is Intel pushing off support? Hard to say. Sites are rumoring that Intel's huge eSATA support may have something to do with it. But with USB 2.0 nearing old age and Apple dropping much of its support for Firewire, it seems we are about due for a new standard.

For now, however, the standard is already being adopted by major computer manufacturers, namely ASUS and others, so we may be seeing 3.0 finding its way into more consumer notebooks and PCs.

~Pete via Engadget

pete.h2rtn@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tech News: Dragon Age Released 11/3/09

Dragon Age, one of the most anticipated releases of all time was released today alongside with one of the most extensive toolsets ever given with a game.



Tool Set

The toolset promises to give you full editors for cut scenes, audio and visual effects, conversations, and level creations. The community innovation for this game could be really cool with Bioware giving you all of these design tools to play with.

Head on over to the Dragon Age Origins Website to learn more, and stay tuned to h2rtn for extensive reviews for Batman: Arkham Asylum as well as Dragon Age.

Tech News: Google Maps Navigation (Beta)

Ok, ok, I'll stop updating and reviewing Google products just as soon as they stop making fully functional, easy to use, free products for all my devices. This, unfortunately, does not seem to be the case. At least not any time soon, as the interwebs are throbbing with Google's latest invasion into the GPS industry. At the moment, it doesn't seem like there is a single tech industry that Google hasn't managed to wiggle into then improve, at least not at the moment.



Google Maps Navigation (Beta) has been released but currently the turn by turn navigation is only available on Google's operating system for mobile phones, Android, and Blackberry and iPhone users have minor updates. Nonetheless, this guy cannot wait until it is released for Blackberry so he can review it for all of you lovely readers to sink your teeth into. In fact, if you already have an Android device there is probably an update available to convert your boring Google Maps app into a turn by turn voice activated GPS with constantly updating traffic reports and points of interest. If you don't, you can go download your own copy here, and let me know what you think! And by the way, TomTom and Garmin, two of the leading GPS software and hardware manufacturers in the industry, are seeing their stocks plummet. A good sign for the future of Google Maps Navigation (Beta), a bad sign if you just invested your savings in Garmin!


~Pete

h2rtn.gmail.com

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: Hulu Desktop Beta

If you are anything like me (and by me I mean you use hulu.com to catch up on missed episodes of "the Office", "Modern Family", and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") then you spend a good chunk of your internet time on the site. Recently released (10/29/09) is Hulu Desktop, a one stop shop for all of your Hulu content you normally surf to their webpage for. I downloaded the gadget and gave it a spin to see how the experience was compared to the traditional hulu.com experience.

The first thing you're going to want to do is to travel on over to the Hulu Desktop Beta site and download yourself a copy of the software. After the quick download and install you will instantly be cast into the world of Hulu on your desktop complete with all its fame and glory. The user interface is definitely a winner in my book and reminds me of the UI of Windows Media Center among other things.

One downside of the program is that my Hauppauge! T.V. tuner remote for my WinTV HVR-850 that works great with Windows Media Center doesn't do a thing when in HDB, which is a shame because the UI is set up in such a way that you can navigate through perfectly without a mouse and just using the directional keypad on your keyboard.

After using your existing Hulu account you can also keep yourself signed in to watch TVMA content, which is great.

I felt that the quality of the video was crisp and clear and no different from what I got from the .com version of Hulu, which is basically what I expected. Buffering was fast and easy and I was watching my favorite episodes in no time.


Final Thoughts:

Will I be using this instead of Mozilla Firefox to view my hulu.com content? Hard to say. There is not much of an insentive to unless you are using your PC specifically as a Media Center PC. If so, you will be drooling all over this. Also, I really feel as though Hulu Desktop Beta is really great, and hope that Microsoft has an update to integrate it into the Xbox dashboard. This would be a match made in heaven, but would most likely draw business away from Microsoft's "exclusive" partnership with Netflix, even though Netflix is thinking about cheating on Microsoft with Sony's PS3.

Usability: 8.5

User Interface: 10

Speed: 10

Footprint: 9.5

Rating: 9.5/10

Update: Back to the Future Rap Video

As many of you know I am a very avid Back to the Future fan, so this video really tickled my funny bone, and I just had to post it on my blog. I know it's not tech news or the like, but I have to give this guy props, it just seems like something I'd do.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review: Google Voice

What?

There are only a few times in a geeks life when he comes across something that is so revolutionary, so completely unique that he cannot just sit there while the rest of the world remains in silence. Google Voice is that something.

Google Voice is a service that Google has recently announced that has literally changed the way that consumers can communicate. When Google took over the search engine industry, it did so by being the fastest, most reliable, most accurate search engine around all while operating smarter. I predict that Google Voice in this way will completely take over the telecommunications industry.

Why?

So what does Google Voice do, and more importantly, why do you care? Google voice bought a company called GrandCentral, and basically added its own little something and made it public for free use. It issues you "one number to rule them all." It's primary function is to allow you to bind other numbers to that one number, so that if you get a new cell phone number you don't have to create one of those "I Got A New Phone Here's My Number" groups that everyone just loves joining on Facebook. All you have to do is give everyone your Google Voice number and link your phones to that number. That's it (check the video below for details).



Furthermore, you can actually link multiple numbers to the one Google number so that if someone calls you, you can have all of those numbers ring, or you can screen that contact so that, for instance, just one of your phone numbers rings and has a specialized voicemail. Keep in mind, it does all of this completely free. Oh, and did I mention that all text messages delivered to your Google Voice number will be stored on Google's servers for you to archive? Same goes with voicemails, and guess what, it transcribes them into text! Sweet!


Ok, so does it make sense why I'm so excited about this service? That's just the tip of the iceberg. Google Voice's secondary, and perhaps more controversial purpose is that it allows you to actually send and receive SMS text messages right from your computer or Google Voice app for free. Yeah, that's right, no more having to pay .10 cents/text or worry about your 250 text message limits. If a SMS is sent to your Google Voice and you check and respond to it from their website, it sends free (it also sends the SMS to your mobile phone and if you check it from there you will be charged a txt message fee, but if you respond using Google Voice, no fee). As far as calls go, you can make a call directly from your Google Voice account. All you have to do is it the call button and Google Voice calls your phone, and then connects you for free.


That's kind of a big deal, and this is where Google began to lose its support from the greedy hands of certain aspects of corporate America. At first Apple accepted it into its App store, but then later removed it and is currently in discussions with Apple and AT&T about the legality of the application, as it duplicates some of the services that AT&T provides to iPhone users.

Where?

So, if you were able to catch it before it was blocked by iTunes then you are currently enjoying your Google Voice app and all is well with the world. If you have a Blackberry or Android based phone, then you can get it now. If you don't have a smart phone, you can always use Google Voice's site to manage your Google Voice account.

Of course the million dollar question is: Wow, Pete, this Google Voice thing sure does sound cool, but where can I get my very own Google Number?

Well, loyal h2rtn fan, I'm glad you asked. You can obtain an invite directly from Google by the URL below:

Google Voice Invite





This will put you in the pool for an invite directly from Google. However, Google Voice just recently gave me some invitations to give out!

Who: Google Voice Invitations

As promised in my first blog post, I will be giving out my Google Voice invitations to my loyal readers. All you have to do is become one of the first 6 followers and I will send you a Google Voice invite. Not a bad deal, huh?


The Good

Google has begun a service that can completely revolutionize the industry. Free SMS, free calling, and a free number is something that no other company has ever done before. Google is currently making their money from low rates it charges for international calling. A hidden perk of Google Voice that I discovered is that it allows you to finally start managing all of your contacts in a place other than your phone. Google does a decent job synergizing your contacts from Gmail and Google Voice into one big pot so that you can have an online backup of your acquaintances. Google will allow you to pick whatever area code and phone number you want. You can even try to customize it if they have a specific word available. I was able to get (636) 22H-TRTN which is also (636) 224-8786. Feel free to send h2rtn a voicemail!


The Bad

Throughout my tests for this review, I was able to add my AT&T number to my Google Voice number without a problem. I downloaded the Google Voice app on my Blackberry and am using it without a hitch. However, it does sometimes get confusing when I forget who I have given my Google number to and people don't answer because it is from an unknown number. Texting from your computer is great! You have a full keyboard and can type texts at super speeds. However, the text messages still get sent to your phone which sucks if you have had a 20 text message conversation and you have to go in and delete all of those text messages.

Also, I have to pick on the transcription service. It does an ok job, but almost as expected it mixes up many words. It usually at least gets it partially right so you can get the jist of what the person is trying to tell you. However, I cannot tell you how great it is when someone calls you to get a transcribed version of that voicemail in your mailbox. It allows you to check your voice mail in a spot where your normally wouldn't be able to (sitting in class, work, etc.).


The Ugly

Google is currently no longer available via iTunes, which brings up the controversial topic of whether or not iTunes has a right to block certain developers. A lot of people are getting really heated up about this. Let me know what you think by commenting below. You can read more about the debate at Engadget:


The Great Google Voice Debate @ Engadget


Also not all carriers are supported. When I first heard about Google Voice I had an image of using a Magic Jack number, or a pay as you go Net10 number and getting free texting. So far, I have not been able to get either to work. I am still working on the Magic Jack number, however, as people say that you can get it to work. I will be posting a Magic Jack review shortly and will let you know how that worked out.


The Verdict

Google Voice is a techies dream come true. The first hackers (Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak developers of Apple to name a couple) began by hacking phone lines, attempting to get free long distance calling via hacking AT&T. Hackers went from hacking phones, to hacking computers, back to hacking phones again with the cell phone boom, and to me this is the next step. Google Voice has enormous potential, and I believe that it will go on to become even greater when it fully launches from invite only to widespread. After all, just look at what Gmail did to email!


Rating: 9.5/10


~Pete

pete.h2rtn@gmail.com

Update: Facebook

H2rtn just took over Facebook! Join our group "How To's, Reviews, and Tech News" for more updates and feel free to comment on our wall!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tech News: Ideum Unveils 100” Multitouch Table

Many have heard of Microsoft's surface before, but a new video was just unearthed by ideum.com showing that Microsoft's not the only one with big dreams. Ideum originally designed this thing for a science center in Tennessee, but the video is worth watching to really see what this thing is capable of. Maybe you aren't into frequency and wavelengths but hey, who doesn't want a 100" computer capable of 50 points of simultaneous touch?


~Peter via Engadget

pete.h2rtn@gmail.com


Friday, October 30, 2009

H2rtn Is Now Online!

Today will be the sites first blog, and I gotta tell you, I'm pumped. Although I will be quite honest, I'd consider myself very fortunate if I even get two hits, but I'm going to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. I will be blogging as if this is being read by tens of thousands of people all across the interwebs.

So what is H2RTN? Well, in short, it stands for "How To's, Reviews, and Tech News" and I hope to do each one of those things justice in my attempt to claim my corner of the internet. I have been working with computers and have been in the IT field for over four years now, and so I like to think I have a good connection to what is going on, and some insider information about what is coming out and what you may have missed. I know that I will never do How To's as well as Expert Village, or deliver technology news as well as Gizmodo, but I feel like I can always put a different perspective on things. And, instead of listing everything under the sun, I am only going to blog about what is most important to me as a consumer, and the things that I consider major breakthroughs or life changing gadgets.

Which brings me to my first post which will be coming soon. My first three projects are going to be as follows:

1) An in depth review of Google Voice and what it can do for you
2)A review of Windows 7 and how it compares to its main competitors (Windows XP, Ubuntu Linux, Max OSX, and the dreaded Windows Vista)
3) A How To of How to Build a Computer

I will be posting the Google Voice Review shortly, and as a bit of insider info for being the first ones to discover my site, I have Google Voice invites to give away (more details on that later, probably having something to do with recruiting or subscribing to the page)!

But for now, I humbly thank you for spending time to check out this new blog, and I have high hopes that it will grow out of this little hole in the wall into something much better.

Please send me an email! Feedback is ALWAYS welcome.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

~Pete

Editor In Chief

pete.h2rtn@gmail.com