Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

Computer Hardware

Elektrobit MID Reference Design Aims to put Linux Desktop apps + Smartphone in your pocket

June 12, 2009

Smartphones, netbooks, smartbooks, and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) while very similar feature-wise, each has their own distinct advantages. Smartphones such as the iPhone have been widely successful, while the MID market has been a bit slow to take off. Elektrobit Corporation (EB), based in Oulu, Finland aims to change that with their new MID reference design that combines the "pocketability" of smartphones with the power of PCs/netbooks since it can run desktop Linux applications. Picture an iPhone that can actually run full version Linux applications such as Firefox, Opera, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, SSH client, and more.

Minuteman Aims for UPS Comeback in 2009

February 3, 2009

I met with Bill Allen, Director of Marketing for Para Systems, Inc. at ITEXPO and he was very high on the prospects for Minuteman UPS products for 2009. Although Minuteman isn't as large as APC, they make very good products. He mentioned that Minuteman UPS products have new extended run-time battery packs that are "battery packs on steroids." He pointed out that competitors offer extended run-time battery packs, but they didn't seem to focusing on them and he said Minuteman's extended battery packs have longer runtimes.

He also boasted that Minuteman battery packs and the UPS itself both some with a 3 year warranty. No other UPS manufacturer offers a 3 year warranty on their batteries and always had the longest warranty.

Cost is also an important consideration when choosing a UPS.

SanDisk G3 SSD Memory Blows Away Hard Drives' Performance

January 8, 2009

SanDisk today unveiled its third-generation family of solid-state drives (SSDs). Using multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory technology, SanDisk's G3 Series of SSD memory has incredible performance benchmarks. The G3 SSDs are more than five times faster than the fastest 7,200 RPM hard disk drives and more than twice as fast as SSDs shipping in 2008, clocking in at 40,000 RPM and anticipated sequential performance of 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write. Even the fastest hard drives I've seen to date, which I have installed on serveral servers at TMC, currently max out at 15,000 RPM.

They were designed as drop-in replacements for hard-disk drives (HDDs) in notebook PCs, the initial members in the SanDisk G3 family are SSD C25-G3 and SSD C18-G3 in the standard 2.5" and 1.8" form factors, respectively, each available with a SATA-II interface.

Hard Drives Slow Down With Loud Background Noise

January 2, 2009

Apparently, disk drives are more sensitive to minor vibrations than previously thought. A blog post by Sun Microsystems engineer Brendan Gregg called "Unusual disk latency" discovered unusually high disk I/O latency during a streaming write test. He explains how disk drives latency can shoot up dramatically when someone shouts at them making them perform more slowly.

Yes, that's right, he can make his hard drives slow down simply by screaming at them. We've all been there, screaming at our PCs or Macs, i.e.

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard

December 10, 2008

Logitech today introduced what they deem a "Game-Changing Gameboard" called the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. Hyperbole aside, the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard is an interesting concept. It sports a naturally contoured design, on-board memory, customizable backlighting, and programmable keys. A keyboard with memory?

Gadget Prices Falling This Holiday Season!

December 8, 2008

Ho ho ho!

'Tis the season for steep discounts on gadgets goods on the Internet. According to this article in Electonista, online shopping sites such as,,,, and all are offering big savings. has cut prices on everything from MP3 players and digital photo frames to GPS units and notebook computers. Prices are slashed on everything from wireless routers and printers to wireless mice and Bluetooth stereo headphones at is offering deals on notebooks, iPod docks, game consoles, digital cameras, HDTVs and more as well as gift cards this holiday season.

Until December 31st is offering specials on their HDTV collection and until December 11th enter to win a $5,000 Newegg gift certificate in the Holiday Wishlist Sweepstakes.

Not Even Half of Old PCs Get Reused ... Sad

December 1, 2008

Worldwide demand for used PCs is greater than supply, yet less than half of PCs entering the secondary market get reused.

Only one in five PCs targeted for reuse find their way from a mature to a developing economy, tech consulting firm Gartner said in a report.

Of those machines that actually make it, only 44% get used. Major hindrances include export tariffs and high transportation costs.

"The secondary PC market offers great opportunity to specialized intermediaries, resellers, or vendors, but it is a highly fragmented and competitive market," Gartner analyst Meike Escherich said in a statement.

Refurbished PCs typically offer equal or better profit margins than new PCs, ranging from $10 to $50 for a 3-year-old machine. 

More at InformationWeek.

(And thanks to for the photo.)

Gadgets Help Drive Black Friday Sales

December 1, 2008

Despite one of the worst economic climates in decades, consumer spending on Black Friday hit $10.6 billion, 3% higher than the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, according to researcher ShopperTrak.

Gadgets accounted for nine of the top 10 most popular Black Friday products, PriceGrabber said.

Data from shows that online consumers are taking advantage of promotions on popular electronics, including LCD and plasma TVs, Blu-ray disc players, digital SLR cameras, laptops and video game consoles.

The most popular products on Black Friday:
  1. Nintendo Wii Console
  2. Ugg Australia 'Classic Short' Boot (how about that!)
  3. Sony BDP-S350 1080p Blu-Ray Disc Player
  4. Samsung LN52A650 52" LCD TV
  5. Nintendo Wii Fit
  6. Panasonic TH-42PX80U 42" Plasma TV
  7. Sennheiser HD 555 Headphones
  8. Canon EOS Rebel XSi Black SLR Digital Camera Kit
  9. Acer Aspire One AOA110-1295 Notebook
  10. Canon PowerShot A590 IS Black Digital Camera
And while we are at it, here are the Top 10 categories and percent growth over Black Friday 2007:
  1. Women's Boots - 203%
  2. Watches - 202%
  3. Blu-ray/HD-DVD Players - 147%
  4. Women's Sleep & Lounge Wear - 415%
  5. Games & Puzzles - 151%
  6. Women's Jackets - 110%
  7. Music - 96%
  8. Headphones - 103%
  9. Women's Dresses - 107%
  10. Women's Casual Shoes - 143%
More at and The Washington Post.

Black Friday Results are in!

December 1, 2008

It appears it just might be a Merry Christmas even with the doom & gloom surrounding the economy. I guess President-elect Barack Obama must be the Messiah, since he's already creating miracles and he hasn't even been sworn in yet. Or it could just be that credit card loving Americans just don't know when to quit spending & charging.

Check this out:

NRF Survey Finds Black Friday Gets Holiday Season Off to Energetic Start
-- Great Bargains, Pent-Up Demand Drove Shoppers to Stores, Web

Though the holiday season is far from over, retailers across the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief after shoppers headed to stores and websites in droves over the weekend. According to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, conducted by BIGresearch, more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 147 million shoppers last year.*

Shoppers spent an average of $372.57 this weekend*, up 7.2 percent over last year's $347.55.

Force Skype HQ Video Mode with any webcam

December 1, 2008

Featured Events