Articles tagged in gadget

  1. Zettabyte Storage zBox

    zBox Via AWS Blog, zBox is a PowerPC-based NAS box that automatically backs up itself to Amazon S3, so that you have the short latency advantage of LAN storage, and redundancy of online storage at the same time. They can even detect degrading disk drives and send you a new one preemptively. After several disk drive incidents over the years, I think it's a perfect solution. Except it's a bit costly -- $49 a month for a 30GiB drive? Maybe I'll continue to use this hacked rsync script to my DreamHost account.

  2. iPAQ H5550 or Axim x50?

    HP iPAQ H5550 Bought an "almost new" HP iPAQ H5550 Windows Mobile 2003 device this week, via this Deals Direct offer. It got delivered on Tuesday, but I have only managed to charge it up and have a try today. It is my second Pocket PC device.

    Hence my issue. With this new iPAQ, I now have 2 working Pocket PCs -- my Dell Axim x50 is still running fine. I am not that organised, but even if I am, I do not think I will need two PDAs to keep track of things happening. I bought the iPAQ for one purpose -- to sell it. However, after playing around with it for a while, the question now becomes -- which one should I get rid of? The Axim, or the iPAQ?

    Let me run down the things I like and dislike about my new iPAQ H5550.


    • Wireless! H5550 comes with 802.11b, Bluetooth 1.1 and IrDA. You can't have a computer now days without having it connected, and WiFi will be very useful. VNC and SSH into my other boxes, for example. Blog right from inside my PDA. War-driving in the city. Hmmm.
    • Finger print scanner for security. It works. You no longer needs to use stylus to put in password if you want to lock down your PDA. H5550 comes with thermal finger print reader and it is easy to set it up.
    • 128Mb of RAM. That's plenty. Double of that on my Axim x50.
    • 3.7" LCD. It is quite big. Perfect for watching TV/movies on the road. Still QVGA resolution though.
    • "High-end" PDA. iPAQ H5550 was released as a "high-end" PDA for business users. I am not sure what makes it "high-end" but it's probably the ego thing I think...


    • Old model. Yes. iPAQ H5550 was released as a high-end PDA and retailed for $1000+ -- two years ago. Paying $190 for a new sample today is still cheap, but it just does not feel that "1337" today.
    • Old CPU + OS. iPAQ's 400Mhz wasn't that slow in comparison with Axim's 416Mhz. However I think PXA255 is vast inferior to PXA270. It can't even adjust processor speed on the fly. It is also loaded with WM 2003 (my Axim has WM 2003SE).
    • Bulky and heavy. Around 40g heavier than Axim and bigger in all dimensions. Plus the WiFi antenna sticks out. It's big.
    • Touch screen. Though larger, iPAQ's screen actually doesn't feel that sensitive especially if you write alot (I mainly use block recogniser). I found it difficult to write in comparison with Axim.
    • USB sync slows my computer down when I plugged in to charge via USB. Not really sure the reason yet...

    Currently I am more leaning towards selling the iPAQ, except eBay is now populated with many other sellers who tried to sell their cheap H5550 bought from the same place. Might play abit more for a few days first. The only thing that I really want from iPAQ is the wireless (note: want != need), and a CF WiFi dongle would probably cost $80 more.

    Update: Wireless on PDA is fun! It connects directly to my home network. I can pull files out from my samba server. I can browse the Internet (though almost all websites suck in 320x240 under IE). I can even chat on Jabber. I am pretty sure there are thousands of other things I can do once getting connected. However WiFi does chew the juice faster and the battery does get a bit warm after a while. Never mind -- winter is coming.

    Finger print scanning is also quite interesting. It took me quite a few try to know how to use it, but once you know how to slide your finger across the senser it is very easy to use.

    Hmmm... Feel harder to sell it now.

    Update 10 April 2006: iPAQ H5550 -- solid on eBay. I am keeping my lovely Axim...

  3. Need a new wireless access point

    Asus WL-330 The wireless access point that I bought almost 3 years ago is dying! It actually started a few weeks ago, probably around Christmas, that its signal strength just gradually dropping. AP sits inside the study room, and we used to get Good to Excellent connection from our bedroom. But now the signal strength is always "Low" or "Very Low", and sometimes even totoally undetectable.

    And it is not the problem on the receiver end. We have 3 802.11b/g device at home (2x notebook + 1 desktp), and they all have been struggling to get connected to the wireless network. I think it is really on the way to a gradual death...

    For those who have WLAN at home -- you know how useful wireless connection is. Once you have experienced, having Internet connection several rooms away from your ADSL modem, it is very hard to go back and be tied to CAT5 again.

    So I think it is the sign that we need a new wireless access point (right Vivian?! :)

    The harder question is -- which one should I buy? Should I get something cheap that simply replaces our current unit, like this WLAN router for $79? Or should I get an all-in-one unit that that has ADSL modem, wireless, ethernet switch and VoIP, like the popular Billion 7402VGP? This way, I can upgrade my modem to ADSL2+ compatible, and remove all the tangling wires behind my desk. However, neither of my ADSL modem (old Dlink DSL-300) nor my ethernet hub are broken, just that they are a few generations out of date.

    Another one that I am waiting for is Billion 7401VGP, which is exactly the same as the more expensive 7402VGP, but with 1 FXS instead of 2, and no SIP gateway support. The price however, is around $60 lower -- except they won't be one the market for another week, as it is just about to be released.

    Still, the idea of wireless access point failing is annoying me. I know it is almost 3 years, but I would expect my electronic purchases can last forever (not literally, of couse).

  4. Bought a Webcam

    Bought a webcam from eBay for $23 -- yes one of those $0.01 win + $22.99 posted from China. Very average cam at this price point -- 350k pixel CCD that does 640x480 at 15fps or 320x240 at 30fps. Powered by USB with a built in mic, it also sports 6 …
  5. Sony DRX-700UL

    New toy! While Sony has just released their new DRX-800UL double-layer external DVD burner, I have had a chance to grab a used retired model, DRX-700UL, off eBay for around one third of its retail price - delivered. It sports 8x maxiumum DVD±R write speed, 2.4x dual layer speed …
  6. Which One?

    Yeah. Which one? It is so hard to decide... Xbox 360 Or Playstation 3 Both of them running cell processor that is in the same architecture as PowerPC G5. Oh so yummy. I just feel that I can put all those teraflops into good use. But the likeliness of having …
  7. How Lightsabre Works runs a series on how lightsabre works. That looks useful - only if a down 'n' out Jedi Master can sell his one to me for quick cash...