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Randy Savicky
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Computer Hardware

Smartphone Shortcomings - Graphene Supercapacitors to the Rescue!

January 8, 2014

It's the start of a new year and surely we've all read several "Best of 2013" lists ad nausem. But I thought I'd share an interesting infographic I was sent titled 'Smartphone Shortcomings', which examines one of the biggest complaints about smartphones - namely battery life. Count me in as a complainer. Nothing worse than playing Hill Climb Racing or Jetpack Joyride and feel your smartphone getting hot enough to fry an egg (sorta) due to the higher CPU & GPU utilization and watching the battery drain from full to zero in just 3 hours of game play.

Microsoft Store Sells Out Dell Venue 8 Pro in Minutes & Website Crashes

December 9, 2013

Microsoft has a sweet $99 deal for a $299 Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet. However, it was only the first 20 at each Microsoft Store will have these tablets available at that price, after which it becomes a still pretty reasonable $199 for the next 10 units and then full price after that. Well, the deal got some pretty good press coverage, and everyone was looking to cash in on this door buster deal, which is part of Microsoft's Christmas "12 Days of Deals".

I went to the Danbury Mall's Microsoft Store at 8am this morning to try and snag one but the line was already 40 people long , so I headed to work to try and get one online, since the promo also applies to the online store, with the $99 price for the first 100 orders and then $199 for the rest of the day while stocks last.

I had multiple Google Chrome tabs open http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Dell-Venue-8-Pro-Tablet-32-GB/productID.289455200 to try and get the $99 deal and the Microsoft Store website was unbearably slow!

Check out the errors I received from the website:


First the tantalizing red spinning arrow, indicating it's adding me to the placeholder.








Odyssey Telecommunications The Mecca of Used Telecom Equipment?

September 24, 2013

Odyssey Telecommunications is a relatively new company started up in Buffalo, New York. Odyssey Telecommunications helps telecommunications and VoIP manufacturers, resellers and service providers liquidate overstock, used and new equipment through its online and offline channels.

Odyssey Telecommunications was recently named to Inc Magazine’s annual list of the fastest growing companies in the United States. With three year sales revenue growth of 1,140%, Odyssey Telecommunications was ranked the #388 on the list and had $3.3 million in revenue in 2012. Ironically, VoIP Supply is also in Buffalo, NY, so I pondered to myself, since when/how/ and why did Buffalo, NY become the mecca of both used (Odyssey Telecommunications) and new (VoIP Supply) telecom equipment?

To find out more I interviewed Justin Wekenmann, Co-Founder and EVP of Odyssey Telecommunications.

1)      Tell me a little bit about your founding members, where they came from, and how Odyssey Telecommunications got started





Logitech H650e Headset Review

June 28, 2013

The Logitech USB Headset 650e "corded" stereo headset is the sister to the H820e "wireless" headset I recently reviewed. Both models target unified communications (UC) with some call control functions like mute and answer call. Like the H820e, the H650e sports a call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, as well as wideband audio. Curious how the H650e compared to the H820e I took the H650e for a spin.

One of my observations when testing the H820e was that the bass response - low frequencies was missing from the speakers when playing music.

Logitech Wireless Headset H820e Review

May 9, 2013


The Logitech Wireless Headset H820e targets the UC space nicely, sporting an amazing 300 foot wireless range, call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, and wideband audio. The H820e is available in mono and dual versions and I took the dual version for a spin.

After initially charging up the headset I made a test call using Skype. After putting on the headset the first thing I noticed was how well this headset seems to block out ambient noise. They did a good job with the speaker padding and it's also worth mentioning they were kind enough to put padding on the underside of the TOP of the headset so you have some cushion and comfort when the headset is on your head all day. 


Logitech UC Solution for Cisco 725-C Launches

January 17, 2013


Logitech has now integrated voice, video and messaging controls into the Logitech UC Solution for Cisco 725-C, a UC keyboard (K725-C), wireless mouse (M525-C), and HD camera (Logitech C920-C) combo designed for Cisco Jabber. Cisco Jabber is a unified communications software client that gives users access to presence, instant messaging (IM), voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing.

The keyboard features illuminated control buttons for call answer/end, mute video, mute audio, and volume controls. The keyboard LCD screen displays Caller ID, call duration and receives calls for the user currently signed into the system, making it ideal for hot desking work environments where users don’t have a permanently assigned desk or phone.


Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam Review

January 3, 2013

The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam is an innovative product marking a trend away from high-end in-room video conferencing systems toward smaller, inexpensive video systems that leverage desktop PCs or laptops, along with inexpensive USB cameras. These USB cameras often have the same if not better optics than higher-end video conferencing camera models but at a fraction of the cost.

The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam actually fills a niche between large room conferencing systems and computer webcams, offering a plug-and-play videoconferencing system that sports a Carl Zeiss lens, 1080p HD video, 30 fps, high-quality omni-directional microphone/speakerphone with a range of 8 feet, and the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom from the unit itself or the included remote control. It uses UVC H.264 so no driver installation is needed on PCs or Macs to get up and running.

I tested the BCC950 ConferenceCam on a Windows 8 x64 desktop PC with an Intel i7 3.07Ghz processor and 16GB RAM. I was very impressed with the feature-set and performance.



Microsoft Store in Danbury Fair Mall Is No Apple Store

July 9, 2012


The new Microsoft Store had its grand opening in Danbury Fair Mall recently and I wanted to check it out. I happened to be in the Danbury Fair Mall to (ironically) visit the Apple Store to have my busted iPhone replaced. [Side note - none of the Apple Store employees had ever seen my shaking screen problem and they were all oohing and ahhing over the oddity.]

Anyway, after getting my iPhone replaced I headed over to the Microsoft store, which had just opened a couple weeks earlier. I fully expected the Microsoft Store to be a cheap knockoff or clone of the Apple Store and to smirk at the audacity of Microsoft copying Apple's retail idea.


Text-to-Speech (TTS) on Kindle Fire!

February 22, 2012

Text-to-speech (TTS) for the Kindle Fire is a long sought after feature. Having TTS on your Kindle Fire enables you to listen to your e-books using text-to-speech without having to buy expensive audiobooks. Some people may be vision impaired and want TTS to supplement or replace their manual reading of the text. Sure TTS isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

Now if only the Kindle Fire supported TTS like other versions of the Kindle, then life would be grand.

Gadget Bans On Airplanes Due to Possible Interference is a Lie!

December 28, 2011

Gadget bans on airplanes due to possible interference is complete bull according to New York Times reporter Nick Bilton. I always knew it was a crock due to my engineering background and some basic-level physics. If a tiny mobile phone or tablet can bring down an airplane, then by golly, we are screwed! The FAA claims gadget devices can cause interference with the airplanes equipment, which is designed to handle 100 volts per meter of electrical interference.

Well, the Kindle was tested and it only put out less than 30 microvolts (0.00003 volts) per meter when in use.

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