Categories
Tech

Gadget Reviews

I own a lot of gadgets and I do a lot of gadget reviews – here is a compilation of them

My gadgets
My gadgets

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Categories
Tech

I collect small gadgets

If you have read my previous posts, like this one, or my other gadget collection posts, you would know that I love collecting gadgets. In fact I should probably be a full time reviewer from the number of gadgets I collect.

I love collecting small electronic devices, with these criteria:
-The device should be usable for many years. It should not rely on any data servers that might be outdated. For example, the Tmobile Sidekick relied on Danger’s servers for data, else it was a paperweight. I want devices that are just as usable 10 years ago as now.
-It should be really portable, and the screen size <= 7 inches. 7 inches is probably the maximum.
-weighs under 2lbs
-It should have something special or unique about it, either hardware wise and/or software wise. For example, if the tablet looks just like any other tablet out there, then its not going to be as desirable as say, a tablet that can turn into a laptop or has a slide out keyboard.
-Unique software is always a plus. For example, if the device runs Maemo, or Linux or MeeGo or Firefox OS.
-Reasonably obscure and rare. So, an iPhone wouldn’t really score as high as a Nokia N9 for example.

With that in mind, let’s look at the some of these devices:

Casio BE300 (2001)

Casio BE300 Pocket manager
Casio BE300 Pocket manager

Price: $65 on eBay
Device type: Palm sized PC
Special features: touchscreen, special build of Windows CE 3, easily hackable
OS: Modified Windows CE 3.0
related: Casio Cassiopeia Pocket PCs, HP Jornada Pocket PCs

Sony Clie UX50 (2003)

Sony UX50
Sony UX50

Price: $50 on eBay
Device type: PDA
Special features: touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates
OS: Palm OS 5.4
related: Sony CLIE PDAs, HP iPAQ Pocket PCs, Palm PDAs, Handheld PCs

Psion Netbook Pro (2003)

Psion Netbook Pro
Psion Netbook Pro

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special Features: the original and first netbook ever, runs Windows CE .NET
OS: Windows CE 4.2 .NET
Related: HP Jornada Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Psion handheld pcs, Sony CLIE PDAs

Sharp Zaurus C1000 (2004)

Sharp Zaurus C1000
Sharp Zaurus C1000

Price: $200 on ebay
Device type: Handheld PC
Special features: one of the last handheld pcs, runs linux, unavailable in USA, touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates, last Zaurus made
OS: Linux
Related: Psion Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs

Nokia N95 (2006)

Nokia N95
Nokia N95

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: dual slider, camera, one of the greatest non touchscreen phones
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia E series, Sony Ericsson walkman & cybershot phones

Sony Vaio UX (2006)

Sony Vaio UX
Sony Vaio UX

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: most powerful UMPC ever, slide out keyboard, touch screen, runs full Windows
OS: Windows XP
Related: OQO model 2, Samsung Q1, Viliv S5, Vulcan flipstart

Philips PMC 7230 (2006)

Philips PMC7230
Philips PMC7230

Price: $90 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: last Media Center OS PMP, has kickstand, built in TV recording abilities
OS: Media Center OS
Related: Creative Zen Portable Media center, iRiver PMC

Creative Zen Vision M (2006)

Creative Zen Vision M
Creative Zen Vision M

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: The last hard drive based mp3 player from Creative, one of the most best mp3 players ever, touch strip, plays many video/audio formats, FM radio recording and voice recording
OS: Creative OS
Related: Apple iPod, Archos PMPs, Cowon PMPs, iRiver PMPs

Nokia E90 Communicator (2007)

Nokia E90 Communicator
Nokia E90 Communicator

Price: $100 on ebay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: the last communicator made, dual screens, dual touchpad and keyboard
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia N series

Nokia N810 (2008)

Nokia N810
Nokia N810

Price: $50 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: slide out keyboard, runs Maemo, pre-Android tablet
OS: Maemo
Related: Sony Mylo 2

Archos 5 (2008)

Archos 5
Archos 5

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: the last PMP with DVR recording capability, plays many video/audio formats, touchscreen, can go on internet, can be GPS and FM radio
OS: Archos OS
Related: Apple iPod, iRiver PMPs, Cowon PMPs, Creative Zen Vision W

HP iPAQ 210 (2008)

HP iPAQ 210
HP iPAQ 210

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: Pocket PC
Special features: touchscreen, one of the last and best Pocket PCs, last iPAQ made
OS: Windows Mobile 6
Related: Dell Axim pocket pc, Palm Treo pocket pc

Microsoft Zune HD (2009)

MS Zune HD
MS Zune HD

Price: $60 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: Last Zune model, multi touch screen, can go on internet, inspired Windows 7 Phone OS
OS: Zune OS
Related: Apple iPod Nano

Fujitsu UH900 (2010)

Fujitsu UH900
Fujitsu UH900

Price: $500 used on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special features: smallest and best netbook, runs full windows, 2 usb ports, 2gb ram and SSD, multitouch high res screen
OS: Windows 7
Related: Sony Vaio P series, Asus EEE PCs, Viliv S7/N5

Toshiba Libretto W100 (2010)

Toshiba Libretto W100
Toshiba Libretto W100

Price: $700 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: Last Libretto PC made, one of the last UMPCs, dual 7inch touchscreens, virtual keyboard
OS: Windows 8
Related: Netbooks, Fujitsu LOOX, Fujitsu Stylistic

Dell Venue Pro (2011)

Dell Venue Pro
Dell Venue Pro

Price: $40 on eBay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: Dell’s last smartphone, multitouch screen, slide out keyboard, one of only 2 windows phones to have a keyboard
OS: Windows 7 Phone
Related: HTC 7 Pro

HP Pre 3 (2011)

HP Pre 3
HP Pre 3

Price: $80 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: slider, camera, keyboard, the last phone to use WebOS
OS: WebOS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Nokia N9 (2011)

Nokia N9
Nokia N9

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, camera, only phone to run MeeGo
OS: MeeGo
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Sony Tablet P (2011)

Sony Tablet P
Sony Tablet P

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: the only tablet that can be folded, dual screens, multi touch screen
OS: Android 3.1
Related: Apple iPad, other Android tablets

Pandora console (2012)

OpenPandora Console
OpenPandora Console

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: combination game console/pda/umpc hybrid
OS: Linux
Related: Pepperpad 3, GCW Zero, GP2X Caanoo

Samsung Galaxy Golden (2013)

Samsung Galaxy Golden
Samsung Galaxy Golden

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special Features: dual screens, flip phone form factor, phone keypad
OS: Android 4.2
Related: LG Wine Smart

Nvidia Shield Portable (2013)

Nvidia Shield Portable
Nvidia Shield Portable

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special Features: combination game console/tablet, built in controller, multi touch screen, game streaming from PC
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Wikipad, Archos gamepad 2, Sony Xperia Play

Blackberry Passport (2014)

Blackberry Passport
Blackberry Passport

Price: $500 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: Square form factor, gesture enabled keyboard
OS: Blackberry OS 10
Related: Apple iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry Classic

Amazon Fire Phone (2014)

Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon Fire Phone

Price: $200 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, dynamic 3D perspective, Firefly, Mayday, runs Fire OS
OS: Fire OS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Neptune Pine (2015)

Neptune Pine
Neptune Pine

Price: $300 on eBay
Device type: smartphone/smartwatch
Special features: Smallest phone/tablet to run full Android, touchscreen, camera
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Moto 360, Apple Watch

I’ll have pictures and video up soon for these gadgets, as I own most of them. Stay tuned!

Edit: review is up!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UdDM83Spm0

Second edit

One of my pipe dreams is to build one of those old school like UMPC devices except with modern components. The problem with new tablets these days is that they still can’t match up with the old UMPC form factor – like the old OQO model 2 or Sony Vaio UX, its just cool to have a 5inch Windows PC with keyboard in the palm of your hand.
Its fully possible to build a much slimmer, much faster PC, with better battery life these days using modern components. Unfortunately with Windows 8 tablets, there’s still no tablet thats 8″ and below and has full USB and keyboard support. You can use bluetooth sure, but thats not the same. That’s 2 devices you have to carry. I’m talking about one device. If I build a device it would have the following components:
-5″ IPS FHD capacitative touch display (1080p)
-a sliding keyboard form factor a la the OQO model 2 / Sony Vaio UX or a convertible display a la the Sony Clie UX-50 or Fujitsu U820
-an HD front camera for web conferencing
-an 8MP back camera for pictures
-micro-HDMI output
-miniUSB for charging
-SD card reader
-2 USB 3.0 slots
-Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac wireless
-fingerprint reader for security
This won’t be a tablet.. its a full PC running Windows 8.1
Running internally:
-Intel broadwell processor ensuring its fanless – speed should be ~1.3-1.6Ghz
-4GB RAM
-256GB SSD
…I’m sure if Lenovo can make a fanless 13″ convertible, then they can make this.

Categories
General Tech

10 tech things I’m nostalgic about

A lot has changed in 12 years. This year is 2014. I started My first website in 2002, 12 years ago. A lot of things have changed since then, technology wise and culture wise. But for me, I miss some things that we had back then but less common now. Here’s 10:

1) Phones with long battery life

Motorola RAZR
Motorola RAZR

Remember the candy bar phones? Remember flip phones and slider phones? The Motorola Razr? All those phones couldn’t play apps or games, and had a crappy web browser, camera, and texting interface sure, but – their batteries lasted a long time! I remember the old candy bar phones lasting weeks on end without having to charge. These days we all have to charge our smartphones at least once a day.
Also, remember cellphone charms?? That used to be the way to customize your phone. Now its turned to smartphone cases.

2) Payphones

very rare these days
very rare these days

Yeah, do you see any payphones anymore? No, because everyone has a smartphone now. But what if I lost my phone or ran out of battery? Well tough luck, because payphones are all gone now. They are ‘legacy’ artifacts.

3) Internet Chat rooms

The old Yahoo Chat rooms
The old Yahoo Chat rooms

Remember when people met random strangers in chat rooms powered by Java applets? Bots? People getting kicked? Meeting ~hottiebabe13~ or ~darksoul_12~ online? Well thats not common anymore, these days I don’t see any internet chat rooms anymore, its all just been replaced by social networks, which isn’t exactly the same. I did find some sites like sharedtalk and habbo hotel which brings me back, but most chat rooms have disappeared.

4) ICQ/MSN/AIM/IM clients

MSN messenger
MSN messenger back in the day

Who uses IM clients anymore? Now everyone just uses apps on their phone like Wechat, Whatsapp, Kakaotalk, SMS, etc or Skype/Facebook/Twitter. So when people ask me ‘hey what did you use to connect with people before Facebook?’ I’ll just say, yeah there was this “app” called MSN and I would just ask people for their MSN id… thats how we kept in contact back then. Ditto for ICQ and AIM.

5) PDAs / Pocket PCs / Palm / Blackberry

This was a PDA
This was a PDA

These are all grouped together, but anyways these are all ‘legacy’ technology. For you young people, PDAs were basically personal organizers that served as calendars/calculators/reminders/contacts and they kept track of all those things. They are basically the core functions of a smartphone. PDAs and Pocket PCs disappeared when smart phones came along, but I still remember using my Palm / Pocket PC to keep track of notes, and some even had some basic games on them! And yes Blackberry is dead, so it goes here too.

6) MP3 players (especially HDD based ones)

An HDD-based MP3 Player
An HDD-based MP3 Player

Yes Mp3 players! Remember back in the day when people carried two devices, an Mp3 player and a cellphone? Well they’re gone now! Yes some companies still sell basic Mp3 players, but most people just use their phone to listen to music now! I used to carry around a Creative Zen Vision M, and that thing stored 30 GBs, which was a lot. Now, umm my phone has 32GB but it needs that space for apps too. Some iRivers, Zunes, iPod classics and Creative Zens used to store up to 120GBs of music!

7) Physical Media (CDs, DVDs, Floppies)

Floppy disks
Floppy disks

Yes, everything from the 5.25″ floppy disks, 3.5″ floppies, zip drives, to 2x/4x/8x/24x/50x/100x CD-ROMs/CD-RWs/DVD-ROM/DVD-RWs drives, what happened to physical media? Yes I know it still exists, but less and less computers have optical drives now, and no tablets ever have them. More and more software and “apps” as its now being called, are being downloaded from the cloud now!! While thats not a bad thing, I still like being able to share my physical media with other people and knowing I have a backup somewhere. In fact PC makers don’t even ship OS backups unless you pay extra now. And no, no one I know owns a blu ray writer. Whatever happened to burning CD/DVDs and giving it to your friends? Remember MP3 CDs? Same thing happened to cassette mixtapes too… speaking of which…

8) VHS, Cassettes, Film Cameras

A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of 'legacy' tech
A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of ‘legacy’ tech

Do you know the biggest advantage of VCRs and Cassettes? The fact that you can record over them! I spent alot of my childhood recording my favorite shows and movies on my VHS and music onto cassette tapes, and now its obsolete technology. But you can’t do that these days! You can record to digital media sure, but you can’t record directly to a physical media anymore. Also, Film cameras… analog photography instead of digital photography. We tend to think of everything in megapixels, but back in the day we had to develop film in dark rooms, and the quality of that film is still much better than your average facebook photo.

Speaking of which, 2 trends I don’t like right now: having high megapixel cameras like 13MP+ where people take pictures that take up alot of space on their phone and then upload it to facebook where its compressed to a 100kb~ image. There’s no point. And having super high resolution displays (>240ppi) on your phone/tablet/laptop when most of the internet is not optimized for it, your retina cannot distinguish it, and will look horribly pixellated on the small screen. Thanks a lot to Steve Jobs and the iPhone 4 for starting that trend.

9) Old school LAN gaming and FPS gaming and 2D side scrollers

Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games
Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games

Remember those old DOS games? Some of them were quality games, like Commander Keen and Unreal Tournament and Duke Nukem, but these days you don’t find those types of games anymore. You find big budget 3D games like Call of Duty or Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto. I lament the simple days where a game would take hours and hours to beat like Prince of Persia or Dark Sun, or old school FPS deathmatch games like Quake III or UT, and the days where you could set up a LAN network and play Starcraft / Diablo II with your friends without an internet connection. There’s no LAN games anymore! What a pity. Now everything is online, and you have to make an account and have a good internet connection.

10) Graphic settings/cards, Sound cards & PC peripherals

A typical DOS game setup screen
A typical DOS game setup screen

These days people just use phones and tablets for gaming – but back in the 80s and 90s, gaming was all about the PC! When we ran a game, we had to first setup and configure the game. We would specify the graphic settings (often EGA, CGA or VGA), the sound card (usually Adlib or Sound blaster), number of channels and voices, and the peripherals (Keyboard, Joystick, Mouse and Gravis Gamepad). We don’t see much setup these days with games, just boot up and play, but no in those dark days we had to execute some bash scripts to run a game. But it was fun though, because who doesn’t enjoy playing Bio Menace or Jill of the Jungle on a Gravis Gamepad??

On that note, I also miss dedicated graphics on laptops! Whats up with that? My first notebook had a dedicated graphics card. Only Alienware and some high end notebooks have it now. 90% of consumer laptops come with integrated GPUs now. And how about PCMCIA/Express cards expansion ports for laptops? They made those laptops really expandable!

I also miss…

This was the most popular search engine before Google
Kids, This was the most popular search engine before Google

Old shrine sites. Pre-Google old messy search engine domains like Altavista, Dogpile, Hotbot and non-Google search sites. Yahoo! Geocities. Angelfire. Lycos. All those website builders. Guestbooks. Netscape Navigator. Windows XP. Xanga. Livejournal. Myspace. The golden age of Flash/Shockwave games (mid 2000s). It was a part of my youth 🙁 now its just Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter…

I don’t miss…

But overall we really accomplished alot in the past decade technology wise, and things I won’t miss include:

CRT TVs and Monitors
VCDs
Pagers
Answering machines
HD-DVDs
Dial-up internet
Modem jacks
Serial/Parallel ports
S-video ports
Firewire ports
notebooks with < 4 hrs of battery life (this used to be the norm until intel haswell came out) VGA ports (some notebooks still have them) 3.5mm audio jack (we still have them and I wish we can switch to TOSLINK ASAP) WAP browsers Composite connections Netbooks Compact Flash and MMC cards 4200rpm hard drives (and HDDs in general) slow a/b/g wireless wifi single core processors (before Intel Core Duo came out) resistive TFT touch screens (this was the norm for tablets and touch screens until the iPhone came out) 2G phones non built-in wireless wifi answering machines Poorly designed websites with flashing banners and animated gifs marquee, bgsound, blink and other obnoxious HTML tags Windows Vista Printers (and I still hate them) Forums (and I still hate them) Fax Machines Overhead projectors (I blame these with my loss of eyesight) Pay-per-view