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Archive for Digital Media

Why I Love and Hate E-books

msc I have been an avid reader my entire life.  As a young adult, I would sometimes spend several hours a day reading; I’ve often stayed up past my bedtime to finish a good book; and it’s not uncommon for me to take six or seven books on vacation and read them all.   I was very intrigued by the Kindle when it was first released, because the thought of having access to multiple books,  newspapers and magazines  in one device was extremely attractive.  On the other hand, I like reading the physical book, or curling up on the couch with the paper and a cup of coffee.  During the winter of 2009-2010, when back-to-back blizzards meant no newspaper delivery for a week, I was bemoaning the lack of the newspaper; my husband pointed out I could read it online, but I’ve tried it and I just don’t enjoy it. Read the rest of this entry »

HDMI Cable Hustle

hdmiThe big box store where you bought your HDTV might have made more on the sale of the HDMI cable than the TV. While the margins on big ticket items like HDTVs are small, the margins on smaller ticket accessories can be very fat. How do you sell a $229 HDMI cable when a $29 would work just as well? I guess you mislead consumers by mislabeling them.

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NewerTech miniStack 750 NAS Review

IMG_0107 As part of the home data safety series, I went out and got myself a 750Gb miniStack NAS from NewerTechnology.  There are many different NAS device options available, this is just the one that I liked based on price and features.  At first glance it solves all the problems that plague the other home data security options.

  • Many people/computers can access it at once.
  • There is no limitation on read/write.
  • At 750Gb, it should have more than enough space to fit all your data for a long time to come.
  • The price is more than reasonable at $250.
  • It’s physically small enough to fit into a safe or store with a neighbor when not being used.
  • You have fast access to the data via 100mb network.
  • You have even faster access to the data via USB 2.0 when necessary.
  • Your important and personal data is not housed and secured by a stranger.

Lets look beyond the first impression and see what this particular drive can really do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sugarsync – Online Backup and Storage: Review

sugar_sync Sugarsync ( is one of the online storage system offerings that are out there, and I recently had the opportunity to test the service out. This feature-rich product is more than just an offsite storage system; Sugarsync not only allows you to sync your computer with the online backups, but allows you to sync files across multiple computers, access your data from anywhere, including your mobile phone, and provides both dynamic and static storage spaces.

Everyone knows the importance of keeping good backups of your computer data, especially anyone who’s ever lost data due to a hard drive crash, natural catastrophe, or any other reason. Many people, however, don’t back their data up regularly; it can be a time-consuming process that’s not always easily automated. This is one of a series of articles we’re doing on ways to backup your data. Read our previous article for an overview of different backup strategies available.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sony DPF-900 Digital Photo Frame – Picture Perfect?

My family recognizes my geek side – they may not always embrace it (except when they need something fixed with their computers), but they recognize it, enough that for Mother’s Day they gave me a Sony Digital Photo Frame. Awesome – now I have a cadre_referenceplace for all the pictures that were taken on a recent trip to Australia!

Physical Characteristics: At 9", this frame is a perfect size for a table – however, it’s best to make sure it’s an end table or something against a wall, as it requires access to an electrical outlet. The cord is long, which gives you some flexibility; however, having the AC connector smack in the middle of it makes it more unsightly if you don’t have furniture to hide it behind.

As I would expect from a Sony product, the picture quality is excellent. The sharply focused and clear display will do justice to your best photos, which would be all you would want to display on here – poorly focused and badly lighted pictures will only have those flaws emphasized. The sleek black glass surround means the frame does not detract or distract from the picture. The display is a TFT active matrix, with a 8.6" active display area, and a display aspect ratio of 15:9. It’s compatible with JPEG, TIFF, and BMP formats, and can support RAW, but for preview only.

Read the rest of this entry »

LumaPix FotoFusion 4.2 Review

zoo In today’s world of digital photography and digital presentation methods, it’s not hard to imagine that the old cut and glue method of scrapbooking and photo collages would soon need to go digital. Let’s be honest, who wants to dust off the old scrap book to show relatives your creativity when you can just point visitors to a 15” Digital Photo Frame hanging on the wall scrolling through your work?

The advent of such technologies is great. For too long, people have been required to have a steady hand and oodles of time to be considered creative. With software like FotoFusion from LumaPix, any old Joe can give the illusion of being a pro.

Before I go any further, I have to make a confession. I have never scrap-booked. While many may see this as missing out on a great experience in life, I have just never had the time. I have, however, used programs like Photoshop to create collages in the past. I am an avid amateur photographer, and I shoot with a Canon Digital Rebel XTi. I probably take more pictures in a week than most people do in a year.

When first introduced to FotoFusion, I admit that I was skeptical about the practical application for such a software to the normal home Digital Camera / PC user. Even as a “photography enthusiast” I didn’t see much of a need for this kind of software.

Read the rest of this entry »

Your New Hi-Definition Player will be Blu-Ray… Or will it?

hddisk If you missed the latest round of format wars, consider yourself lucky. Similar to the competing formats of VHS -vs- Betamax, there was recent confusion over the hi-definition format that’s going to replace DVDs. The competing formats were Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD. Toshiba was the primary backer of HD-DVD, and recently conceded defeat in the high-definition DVD battle to Sony backed Blu-Ray.

However, this time almost everyone who bought a player is a loser. People who purchased HD-DVD players will still be able to use them as up-converting DVD players, but HD-DVDs will soon be as hard to find as Betamax tapes. Many early adopters of Blu-Ray also have discovered they won’t be able to enjoy the new features of Blu-Ray’s 2.0 spec, as their players aren’t upgradeable. A notable exception is the PlayStation 3. In fact, if you’re in the market for a Blu-Ray player in the immediate future, the PS3 is easily the best bargain.

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Coming soon to Photoshop?

This is some very cool image resizing technology. Adobe, the publisher of Photoshop has hired one of the guys that worked on this project. Watch the video, it just keeps getting more impressive!

HDTV the new PC?

Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of HDNet and the Dallas Mavericks recently blogged about the TV replacing the importance of the PC in US households. Among his claims are that in 18-24 months every HDTV will have a built-in web browser. That Web 2.0 content like YouTube is better geared toward the 10 foot from your TV experience, rather than 10 inches from your monitor. He’s not the only one, Arnie Berman, technology strategist for Cowen & Company wrote this:

In the past, consumers replaced their PC’s every 3 years and their televisions roughly every decade. Is this trend poised to reverse? Hint: Yes.

Interesting this talk is happening while network ratings are at their lowest point ever, especially among the 18-25 demographic. More people are tuning out their TV, and spending their prime time hours in front of PCs.

What do you think? Is the importance of the PC about to be replaced by the HDTV? Or, is it the other way around?

The Maturity of Web 2.0 and The HDTV is the PC [blog maverick]

Netflix offers instant access

Netflix will start showing movies and TV episodes over the Internet this week, providing its subscribers with more instant gratification as the DVD-by-mail service prepares for a looming technology shift.

The company plans to unveil its Watch Now feature Tuesday. But only a small number of its more than 6 million subscribers will get immediate access to the service, offered at no additional charge.

Netflix expects to introduce instant viewing to about 250,000 additional subscribers each week through June to ensure its computers can cope with the demand.

View: Full Story Via: USA Today