It seems like just when we get used to the devices we have, new ones come along to replace them. Wireless charging has been around 10 years but it is reaching the tipping point in the consumer market now. Same goes for the USB-C connection, appearing as ports on more and more PCs Whether it’s wireless charging, wireless typing, or wireless communication, there are now a cornucopia of devices beyond mobile phones to connect our devices without the tangle of cables thanks to the increasingly available Qi technology. USB-C ports found on new PCs also requires a new learning curve on how to get the most from them. Laptop-Size Portable Keyboard Works for Phone, Tablet, and Smart TV My boilerplate signature on my mobile phone is “Sent from my iPhone so pArdon any TyPos” Really. I am not making this up. And that’s because typing on the teeny, virtual on-screen keyboard all but guarantees email goes out as digital alphabet soup. Same goes, but maybe not as much, for tablet keyboards. That’s why I am thankful for Zagg’s $80 Flex keyboard. Designed in a thin, foldable, portfolio-style, the Flex keyboard and cover attach magnetically. When attached, the folding cover converts … Read More
With malware running amok and hacking of personal files at insane levels, now is not the time to get scared and panic. Now is the time to take steps to protect your data on your PC, external drives, and even in an actual hardware safe. Fortunately, there are numerous data protection hardware and software solutions for wherever you store your data and backups. Some are free, some are inexpensive, and some are pricey, but all make it easy to keep your files safe from thieving eyes Here’s a mixed bag of hardware products and software tools which I can recommend after a few weeks of hands-on testing. Datalocker’s Unique USB Flash Drive Comes Armed with Keypad and Display Security experts always advise us to copy or move sensitive data to external drives or the cloud. But even when you are not making a backup, saving confidential files to an external drive, be it a portable hard drive or a USB flash drive, is essential. But flash drives without some level of encryption are still as vulnerable to intrusion as logging on to a public Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop. Enter Datalocker’s Sentry K300–an encrypted micro SSD drive with an onboard … Read More
Hello everyone! I am taking a slightly different approach this week and not answering a question but talking about an event that happened this week — the introduction of the Microsoft Surface Go. The 10-inch tablet has a surprisingly low entry-level price of $399 – and that is before adding any accessories like a keyboard, pen and mouse. As a 10-inch tablet with full touch and inking support, it could be a very comfortable second screen for consumption, social media and light email, not unlike the capabilities inherent in the Apple iPad. Surface Go (Via Microsoft) This device is going to help grow the Surface brand because it is the first time Windows-oriented consumers can pick up a branded device at this price level. (Apple’s had a low-cost iPad since March 2018.) Even the high-end Surface Go, which based on its specs would be the performance buy, is listed at $549. For what it offers — and the ease with which it moves between light entertainment and serious productivity, thanks to the full Office 365 suite of software — that’s a great bargain. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Thanks to the rise of streaming music, hi-res speakers are now less a luxury than a necessity. This month, I look at two headphones and two speaker sets that offer the dynamic range of sound music playback requires, whether you are by the PC, the TV or on the run. And thanks to Bluetooth, these devices to operate anywhere without the innate distance restrictions set by wires or cables. Logitech MX Sound Bring Premium Sound to PCs – and TVs With its high-end drivers and rear-facing port tubes, the 24-watt MX Sound speakers pump out well-balanced music with the right amount of bass, treble and mid-range sound. The black fabric, silver accented, cone-shaped pair of speakers add a dramatic design flair, and that’s what is particularly appealing about these speakers – they work equally well with my PC and TV thanks to their versatile Bluetooth or wired connections. With Bluetooth 4.1,I was able to connect to external devices like my iPhone, a.k.a. my music vault. But I could simultaneously connect via the supplied cables to my PC to watch and listen video and music streams. Thanks to Logitech’s Easy-Switch technology, it was a snap to seamlessly switch from wired to … Read More
This month, there are three twisty new products that just might jump-start your workflow. We’ll start with a keyboard that’s got a twist: It lets you concentrate on creating documents and illustrations without having to stop in your tracks to remember how to call up frequently used functions in different applications. Next, a twist on Internet security: a tiny desktop box that lets you see and control who is using your network and on what devices. And finally, a power play: a portable power outlet to charge mobile devices and even your laptop. Logitech Keyboard Lets Us Dial in Frequently Used App Functions This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
It used to be the only data we saved on our desktop computers were Office documents and an occasional photo. Now, thanks to the rise of smartphone photos – easy to take, tough to store on a machine with only 32 GB of memory — PC hard drives have become by default overstuffed repositories for all our digital detritus. Coming to the rescue: versatile storage drives which can add up to six terabytes for an all-you-can-eat media dump, may include multiple ports and even offer the DVD read/write drive most PCs no longer include. We check out a trio of these drives. NewerTech MiniStack Max Offers Four-in-One Solution When I purchased my light, thin Windows 10 Pro laptop, I knew its smaller size meant giving up the DVD read/write drive my previous doorstop-cum-notebook included. I knew that USB peripherals were the assumed replacements most PC manufacturers were relying on. I knew I could easily get an external, USB DVD drive if I really wanted one. But I am glad I waited. NewerTech’s MiniStack Max supplies not only my coveted DVD (and Blu-ray) drive but also: a 7200RPM hard drive, an SD card port, three USB ports, and a couple of … Read More
The word “safety” can imply different kinds of judicious personal protection. Safety definitely is the obvious benefactor with these disparate devices: From an external hard drive that has a double layer of security and a USB fingerprint dongle that makes Windows log in a touch easier to computer eyeglasses which cut out the blue and a pen you can’t lose thanks to Bluetooth, these hardware picks make it clear your personal safety is designed to come first. Keeping Your Data Doubly Safe with Pin Pad Log-on and Hardware Encryption With no software or drivers required, iStorage’s diskAshur external hard or SSD drives all but scream data security. What’s not to like?. I just plugged in the integrated USB 3.1 cable into my laptop and was ready to backup my precious data. Well, almost ready. First I had to create a 7 to 15 alphanumeric PIN on the topside keypad. Without your personal PIN – just like the one you use at an automated teller machine—there is no way to read or write your data. Only after tapping in the right PIN does the drive get recognized by the computer. And that is just the first indication of how security minded the diskAshur … Read More
You might think that there is not much more you could do to improve the capabilities of computer keyboards and mice. And really, what much more do you need to type and point, right? I have been reviewing input devices since the days of Windows 3.1. Sure, there have been many technological improvements, as we might expect over the last 25 years since Windows 3.1 was launched. But what’s amazing that in just the last year alone advancements in keyboard and mouse technology tweak what I thought was already the best. Say Hello to the Mouse Master For example, just about two years ago I praised Logitech’s MX Master mouse [link] for its various, robust features that extend mouse calisthenics beyond just navigating and clicking. Back then I thought this was about as far as a pointing device could reach. But now Logitech has indeed upped its game with the MX Master2 [link]. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
When I mentioned to a friend that I just purchased a new Windows 10 Pro laptop, he asked how much memory did it have. I replied that it had 16GB RAM. When he retorted in shock that 16GB RAM was an awfully small hard drive, it quickly became clear that like a lot of folks he was confused between the different types of memory – the “live” Random-Access-Memory which allows data to be read or written versus the direct-access data storage such as hard disks, CDs and USB flash drives. I thought it would be a good idea to set the memory matter straight, so I wrote this backgrounder to explain the different types of memory, their use, and some of the built-in Windows features created for each of them. Unless otherwise noted, all details explained apply to all versions of Windows from Windows 7 through Windows 10. Remembering memory types won’t make you a certified geek but hopefully it will clear up the confusion of the legion of different memory types and it will help you understand the pile of sales jargon thrown at you when purchasing a new computer. Random access memory (RAM) is the workhorse of a computer, allowing … Read More
As more and more Internet connected gadgets are introduced, our need for ever-stronger Wi-Fi connections becomes essential. Whether it is for our mobile phones and computers, the latest in smart HDTVs, networked set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, or voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon’s Echo, wired connections are so yesterday. Yet there are situations where a Ethernet cabled connection is still the best choice to achieve the fastest, uninterruptible bandwidth . So here are some new devices that show off the best of wired and wireless service. Zyxel’s PLA5236 Extends Wi-Fi Both Wired and Wirelessly My new Sony Smart HDTV was occasionally dropping its Wi-Fi signal – usually at the most suspenseful moment in the movie I was watching on Netflix. But Zyxel Communications hybrid Powerline and AC900 Wireless Extender solved not only the TV connection issues but spread my router’s wireless signal to all parts of the house and even beyond. Powered by the Home Plug AV2 and 802.11ac technologies, the geeky-named PLA5236 [site] extends powerful Internet connections by using the electrical wiring in your house as if it were actual Ethernet cabling. But unlike the other, similar powerline extenders, this devices also has a built-in Wi-Fi extender that operates separately … Read More