Hey folks, Valkor here. And along with co-writer and tech editor Alacran, we had the privilege of attending the final Pepcom of 2009. It was jam-packed and loaded with tech goodness. But what made it most exciting is the fact that this year we'll be doing the first annual "TOV Tech Holiday Gift Guide". Alacran and myself are putting the finishing touches on it and we hope it's well-rounded with some great suggestions of presents you may (hope) to find under the tree. But more on that later, let's talk about Pepcom.
Smartfish – Taken from the press release, "A new generation of ergonomics is finally here", best describes their PC Laser mouse, The ERGOMOTION. It's designed in such a way as to move with you rather than work against you. When I tried it, it felt really natural and very comfortable pivoting and tilting to my motion, considering I was standing rather than sitting. The ERGOMOTION is supposed to pervert injuries and lessens fatigue. Look for more of Smartfish, when they dare take the "Val-Cave" challenge.
Bowers & Wilkins – You get what you pay for and with B & W you look to get a lot of bang for a lot of bucks. Sure you gonna shell out some hard earned cash, but for hardware that looks and sounds great, even I'll go that extra mile. First up are the MM1 Hi-Fi PC speakers. is it possible to get great, crystal clear sound, and a rich bass out of just two speakers? I would have laughed in anyone's face if they brought that kinda talk to me. But the MM1 has show that size and quantity doesn't matter as you get great 2.1 sound out of two speakers. And as I was told that if placed the MM1 against a wall you'll get great bounce back, enhancing your sound even further. Next up, there's the Zeppelin Mini, which is a very shiny iPod dock, that's supposed to sound great. It wasn't on but it looked great. Finally there's the Mobile Hi-Fi headphones, which were not only very, very comfortable (the ear pieces were wrapped in leather softer than Tila Tequila's bottom), but also had a nice soft sound. They fold up nicely for storage and comes with headphones that can be replaced if they should wear out on ya.
Bluetrek – Hands-free never looked so good, and Bluetrek definitely has a unique take on Bluetooth earpieces in the form of the Crescendo. The Crescendo isn't just a Bluetooth earpiece, it's everything you need when you're out and about, using voice command that can give you sports, weather, and even Bing411 to look up much needed info. On top of that it's got noise-cancelling, 5 hours of talk time, and even works with Skype. And for 99 bucks, you really cannot go wrong?
Casio Mobile – Casio mobile made the first move by entering the Val-cave with Exilim phone, but the G'z One models look to give the cave a run for my money. Both the Rock and the Boulder are both shock and water resistant, but the Rock comes with outdoor apps, and clear push to talk capabilities, while the Boulder does an E-Compass and Mobile on demand. Both look great and look like they can take some abuse. Definitely look for this one to hit the Val-Cave in the near future.
Hercules – Now here is a name that I haven't heard since I first started getting into PC's back in 95 – 96. Hercules made some kick ass video and sound cards and now they look to make a name for themselves once again in the netbook market with the eCafe. It's loaded with Windows 7, a 1.6 ghz Intel Atom processor, 1 gig of ram, a webcam, and 250 gig HDD. Plus Hercules includes an extra 50 gigs of online storage. All this and more, within a great lookin package; you can score one for 399 when released.
Imation – The first post-Pepcom company to enter the Val-cave, Imation looks to impress with the M-Class Solid State Drive and Upgrade kit. With this kit you'll be able to transfer files from your old HDD to the new SSD, swap it out for the SSD, and then use the HDD for backup. Look for a full review soon. Also from Imation is the Pro WX, the world's first wireless USB external Hard Drive. With this you won't have to worry about being corded with and have to kick around an external drive at your feet or just hangin around getting away. With the Pro WX you can place it on a shelf, top of the TV, or anywhere within 30 feet of your PC and back up and store all your files. How bad ass is that? The Val-Cave beacons you, but first the M-Class looks to take a beating. Will it survive?
SanDisk – This is a company we've met many times from past CES shows. This time around SanDisk was showing off several SD card options first is the gaming cards totaling up to 32 GB. Next are the Extreme Pro Compact Flash cards, totaling 64 GB. Who knew you can get 64 gigs in such a small card. But what impressed Val the most was the SanDisk Sansa Clip+. This mini MP3 player comes in 2, 4, or 8 GB flavors, each equipped with a microSD slot, which utilizes slotMusic and slotRadio radio cards, which gives you 1,000s of songs on one small microSD card. Now that's pretty damn cool. The Clip+ should be out on the market now, but look for a full review of the device in our TOV gift guide.
LiveScribe – Oh man where was this pen when I was in school. The LiveScribe smartpen… is well… a computer… IN A PEN! Using dot paper, the LiveScribe smartpen can be used to keep track of what you write and store the info on its 4 GB hard drive,plus you can upload it to a special server where you can share your documents with others who can view and edit your work. On top of that its got voice recording, games, a calculator, and several other nifty features. The Eyes of the Val-Cave is looking out for this one.
And now a word from Alacran
Directed Electronics – Viper Alarm has an interesting I-phone/I-pod touch app that w/ attached module will let you, Use your normal alarm features from far away via either available wifi or 3G. The module works on cellular service which first year is paid with purchase of the module and to continue service its only 29.99 the people at Directed are working on unveiling new features such as GPS tracking and other phone platform. So for those of us with out the I-phone we will be hearing from them quite soon.
DisKeeper Corp. – Diskeeper 2010 They are all about keeping your HD and Server clean and defragged among other things. I actually would recommend this for the masses that don't know how to maintain a pc. Diskeeper will correctly write the software on the disk so you don't have to defrag. Think of it as defrag' in on the spot! So it will keep your HD running faster and requiring less power. It also is designed so it won't suck up ram/cpu usage. This is perfect for servers since they are all about mass storage and delivering data at quick speeds. If you have contiguous files it will require less power. If you have SSD don't feel left out they have Hyperfast that is specific for SSD and Flash Drives.
i-Luv Creative Technology – i1166 is a DvD/i-pod/phone player it plays all types of burned movies and can play them right off your i-pod/player with similar interface. It can play a DVD Movie for about 3hrs and a i-pod/phone movie for about 5hrs at 680p resolution. The 9" screen is very crisp and clear. This is perfect for when you're on the road. The best thing about this is that it will charge it while it's docked in, regardless if it playing a move or not. If you're like me you like to store movies on SD cards and USB flash drives well the i1166 will play any size SD/USB card. It comes with all types of apple adapters, car charger, AC adapter, headphones and a remote you need. They also showed me the iMM183 a Hifi - Dual alarm clock radio it gives you local weather and all the function of a clock radio but much improved plus 2 docking stations for you i-pod/phone.
Kingston had multiple items on the table one that was very interesting was the DataTraveler Locker it encrypts all the data on it with 256-bit AES encryption. It only gives you ten tries to get it right after that lockdown/reformat. So if they are trying to take what's on there it not going to happen. They also have the DataTraveler Vault – Privacy Edition for all you James Bonds out there this is for you. A tough, waterproof and quick flash drive. I of course took a look at some of the HyperX ram great for over clocking. They also had SSD out and gave me a great tip. Want the speed and Quality of SSD but can't afford it. Well, buy a small SSD and put your OS and app on there and use a regular HD for data storage where you will have speed and quantity on a budget.
Lenovo Idea Center has the media server for those who are not networked inclined. It's a simple way to share movies, pics, mp3s through out the house. It is an easy way to get everything you want around the house from pc to pc wirelessly or Lan. The ideacenter comes 2 ways the basic one for 299 and the HDMI version for 399. It attaches to a TV so you can play movies directly. If you attach a D400 server you are going to have a beast of a setup that's easy to maintain. The D400 is a 4 bay Server box that is good on power consumption and low on noise.
Smith micro - Stuff it 2010 compresses a large variety of files and makes it available for anyone. For example you can compress your back packing trip around Europe upload it and then be able to send it to anyone and not worry about Email size limit. Using a link you can send to anyone you like; and then they can download via FTP. There is a 2GB File size limit and a 4GB transfer limit. The first year is free with purchase after that its paid subscription.
If we missed a company or two, we sincerely apologize, but on the vast floor that was Pepcom, there was just too much going on and so little time to soak it all in. On top of that there was an abundance of wine (The theme of the eve was "Wine and Dine"). Though this is the last year of Pepcom, TOV is only just getting started, so stay tuned to TechView for updates from most if not all these companies in the form of a full review. Thanks again Pepcom, you've made my year and look forward to being in attendance next year.