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Showing posts from 2007

SI Prefixes and Prefixes for Binary Multiples

A flaming article on Macenstein about the use of GB in describing hard disk sizes and the resultant frenzy at Digg shows the lack of understanding of standards amongst most people. This post is to clear the air. The computer world (especially memory manufacturers and software developers) have "always" used the prefixes kilo to represent 2 10 , mega to represent 2 20 , and so on. However hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturers use kilo to represent 10 3 , mega to represent 10 6 , and so on. The article claims that this misleading advertising by the HDD manufactures since one purchases a 1 GB HDD expecting (2 10 ) 3 bytes (1 073 741 824 bytes) but only gets 10 9 bytes (1 000 000 000 bytes). Most operating systems uses powers-of-2 for the prefixes and will report that HDD as being 0.931322575 GB (from 1 000 000 000 / 1024 / 1024 / 1024). This is being viewed as HDD manufacturers over-reporting HDD sizes by more than 7%. So what is going on and who is "right"? T

Targus Notebook Chill Mat

The Targus Notebook Chill Mat TM is a simple device that provides external cooling for notebooks. It consists of of two metal plates between which a pair of 1500 rpm fans are sandwiched. The fans are powered by a cable that connects to the mat on the middle of the right edge, and any USB port of the notebook being cooled. The cable includes a delicate switch in case one needs to turn off the fans. In my testing with a 15.4" wide screen notebook, I found it to be good at cooling over extended use for several hours. No more burnt laps! As an added bonus, the fans are really quiet. Perfect for any surroundings. The device weighs about 15 oz (425 g) making it fairly portable. The mat consumes about 1 W of power. At 20 USD, this is a great buy. Technorati Tags: targus , notebook cooler , chill mat

Grand Central

Having received an invite to Grand Central 's Beta program I've had the opportunity to evaluate it for a few days During this time, I've been able to play with several of the features that it offer. At first glance, the Grand Central system appears complex and useless. This post should demystify the service and explain its uses. So what is Grand Central? This picture explains the service at the most basic level: Grand Central offers a single phone number, in an area code of your choice, which can be simultaneously forwarded to all of your registered phone numbers - home, work, cell, etc. Think of it as your universal phone number that never changes even if you change jobs, cell phones or your other phone numbers. When a call comes in on your Grand Central number, it is sent to all your real numbers and you can answer it from any one. OK. So you buy the universal phone number argument but what good is it to have all your phones ring for every call? Grand Central allow

Netgear SPH200D Dual-mode Cordless Phone with Skype

The SPH200D Dual-mode Cordless Phone from Netgear offers one of the most convenient ways to use Skype . It's a cordless phone that plugs in directly to a router and allows one to use Skype without a computer. It can also function as a cordless phone for plain old telephone service (POTS). Hence the "dual-mode" in the name. The phone uses Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) to connect up to four handsets to the base station. Based on all the positive reviews and feedback from other users, I purchased the phone from for $165.85 with a $30 mail-in-rebate . The box arrived within a few days with the following contents: Base station with power adapter Cordless handset with rechargeable batteries Handset charging cradle and power adapter Ethernet and POTS cables CD with user guide Warranty It was a breeze to setup the base station and the handset. Once I turned on the handset, the system walked me through a couple of selections for country code

VOIP Services

Mashable has an interesting article on seven disruptive VOIP services : GrandCentral - Unified phone number; recently acquired by Google Jangl - Anonymizing phone numbers Jaxtr RingCentral - Virtual PBX and toll-free number for small businesses Jajah - Flexible, anonymous VOIP Nimbuzz - SMS and VOIP on cell phones txtDrop - Free SMS Of these services, I am looking forward to using GrandCentral once Google opens it up. I see some use for Jangl at times. Nimbuzz doesn't quite work as advertised on my Sony Ericsson T616 while txtDrop seems to have just dropped the SMS. I haven't used any of the others. Technorati Tags: voip , sms , pbx , phone

Lead Tide SIM Reader

I recently came across a cheap little device for reading SIM cards . It was available from Meritline for less than USD 5 with free shipping. Curious to see what it was like, I ordered one. The device came in a small package along with a mini CD containing drivers. The packaging advertised the device as the LEAD TIDE Sim reader . Like most things these days, it's made in China. The device has a USB 1.1 interface. There was no product code or number anywhere on the packaging. Installing the drivers for the device turned out to be harder than I expected. The mini CD's autorun installed some stuff but Microsoft Windows XP couldn't install any suitable driver for the device. The mini-CD had several top level directories with what appeared to be product codes but I couldn't match any to the device itself since it had no product code. Google searches revealed that I wasn't alone in my endeavors to get the device working . Further digging revealed pointers to some thir