• Cooling Ball -- simply passive notebook cooler

    People might think of it as what an idiot idea or what you can do yourself, but if you know it’s only a buck, that might give your attention. Yes, it costs less than what you can get ping pong ball and do that by yourself. Let’s see what you will get.

    Ball Notebook Cooler

    Honestly I didn’t expect this to be much more efficient or better than any others when I bought it, but for $1!? why not? Well, actually I have both passive and active notebook cooler (w/o fan and w/fan one). Indeed, active notebook cooler is much better when temperature is what you are concerned. Sometimes, it’s just too bulky and/or dust keeper. Also the extra cable is another annoying thing. And when you move around a lot, all big notebook cooler is crap. You shall see how these little balls turn out to be such a good alternative.

    Inside the ball
    Inside the ball
    ball attached
    ball attached
    ball attached
    ball attached

    So far, I don’t have any scientific proof of how it can cool your laptop, but I can feel that it’s a bit cooler. On the back side, which is usually hot like hell, it’s not so hot anymore. That’s expectable.

    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action
    Cooling ball in action

    This crappy balls lift the laptop up around an inch or so. That’s such a nice slope for typing, I like that. Also, the ball would help a lot when you use the laptop on the bed or crouch. It works perfectly in any places and allows air flow underneath. For people like me, I like to use laptop on the bed/crouch, the temp issue and all ports sunk bug me a lot. This little balls can help alleviate the issue quite well.

    Although this might not the only way to solve the problem, it sure is one of the cheapest solution =) and I like cheap stuffs haha!

    Pros:

    • Cheap!
    • Work!

    Cons:

    • For a buck, what can you ask for more?
  • SanDisk Extreme III SDHC review

    SanDisk Extreme IIII hadn’t shopped for SD for quite a while. SanDisk, esp. Extreme series, is considerably one of the most expensive SD in the market. Anyway I got a good deal for SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s. So I have a quick test to show if it’s really worth premium.

    SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s
    SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s
    SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s
    SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s

    SanDisk Extreme III 20MB/s

    There is nothing special physically as expected, but SanDisk gives us a little pouch and USB card reader in the bundle too. Well, when it comes to performance, let’s see how good it really is.

    Performance

    SanDisk claimed that this is 133X speed which should be equal to 20MB/s both read and write. We’ll see if that’s true. I will use 2 benchmarks: CrystalDiskMark and AttoBenchmark.

    • Testbed: Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet
    • Card reader: SanDisk MicroMate [card reader which is included in the package]
    • SD cards [both are class 6 SDHC]: SanDisk Extreme III 4GB & Transcend 4GB

    Note: I tested with Thinkpad X61T internal SD card reader, the performance drops about 2MB/s overall.

    SanDisk Extreme III - CrystalDiskMark Transcend SDHC 4GB - CrystalDiskMark

    As you see, read performance is almost the same on both class 6 SDHC, but sequential write performance on Sandisk Extreme III is so much better than regular class 6 SDHC.

    SanDisk Extreme III - AttoBenchmark
    SanDisk Extreme III - AttoBenchmark
    Transcend SDHC 4GB - AttoBenchmark
    Transcend SDHC 4GB - AttoBenchmark

    Atto benchmark gives basically the same info [you may click to see full screen capture of Atto’s]

    Conclusion

    It might not up to 20MB/s for both read and especially write speed, but that’s up to many factors. By the fact that I use Thinkpad X61T as a testbed could be one big factor here, but it’s proved that Sandisk Extreme III has something extra to offer indeed. For digital camera, this might be very helpful reducing writing time since it’s going to be pretty big file anyway. If you got a good deal, you shouldn’t miss this.

  • Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 review

    Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook 5000Mouse again!! This one is not from Logitech, but Microsoft. I’ve got this mouse long time ago, but I haven’t had time to write about it yet. For this model, you would be able to get one at the price from $28 to $50.

    Microsoft Bluetooth 5000 Microsoft Bluetooth 5000

    I’m not so sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing that this is a Bluetooth mouse since I found both advantage and disadvantage of it. The good thing about Bluetooth mouse is you don’t need to carry any USB receiver as the wireless one. You just need to pair your Bluetooth mouse with your computer, and you don’t lose any USB port for mouse. The disadvantage of Bluetooth mouse is that it lacks sometimes: especially the first time you use after turn it off. Bluetooth mouse needs a bit of time to warm  up.

    A nice little thing of this mouse as a Microsoft mouse is the clicking sound. When you click the mouse, you’ll hear only a little bit of soft sound which won’t bother you at all. In this case, you won’t disturb anybody else either. Not only the clicking sound is low and soft, but also do you feel very soft touch. Even though a lot of people think it’s hard to press the wheel, this model doesn’t have such problem.

    Microsoft Bluetooth 5000

    However, the mouse doesn’t have many functions, only non-customized back button. This is enough for my use anyway, but someone might like a more complex mouse. Also Microsoft is kind enough to put side button (backward) which is located is comfortable place for thumb.

    Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse 5000 Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse 5000

    About battery, this mouse use 2 AAA battery. As I’ve used it for a while, it lasted about 3 months which I thing pretty good. And, there is the light displayed when battery’s almost gone. Thus, you’ll have time to get new battery.

    Microsoft Bluetooth 5000 Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse 5000

    The last thing I’m going to write about this mouse would be the shape of it. Usually, Microsoft comes up with hand support mice, but not this one. It’s a bit too short for me. I’m not so sure if it’s because it’s a laptop mouse, so Microsoft might wants it to be as small as it can be or what.

    Kensington Ci65m, Microsoft Bluetooth 5000 Logitech VX Revolution, Microsoft Bluetooth 5000, VX nano, G5 Logitech VX Revolution, Microsoft Bluetooth 5000, VX nano, G5, Razer

    Issue: [added: 2009-06-27] One thing Microsoft mouse is not as good as Logitech one is usable surfaces. All Microsoft mice, except BlueTrack which I haven't tried yet, is working fine with every surfaces, but any glossy surface, even glossy/slipper fabric. While Logitech one will only have a problem on highly glossy surface such as Granite and Marble.

  • Microsoft Arc Mouse review

    Microsoft Arc MouseIt seems like we are mouse-freak nowadays haha =) think of this as mouse review festival, there are still more to come, not over yet. Today it’s Microsoft Arc Mouse’s time which is the newest mouse released to date and projected to overcome any other notebook mice by how small when packing in the bag, yet comfortable in hand while using. Does Microsoft achieve what they really want? You'll see in a bit.

    Design

    Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse

    Well packaging is nice enough for $50 MSRP price, but you'll be impressed much more when taking the mouse out of the box. All surface both on the back and bottom are coated with rubberized material giving you really nice texture feeling, really nice to touch--I don't know if anyone like it, but I really do. Wheel on this mouse is basically the same as all Microsoft’s, no horizontal scroll or anything besides vanilla wheel. There is nothing wrong with it, but it does feel more like a toy comparing to Logitech or Razer.

    Microsoft Arc Mouse | Bluetooth 5000  Microsoft Arc Mouse | Bluetooth 5000 | Vx nano in the bag

    Moreover, the pouch looks so good comparing to Microsoft Bluetooth 5000 and Logitech VX nano.

    Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse

    Obviously folding design is a main strategy to go for portability. Microsoft has done pretty good on the hinge (?) It feels solid and doesn't look like it's going to break anytime soon. But if it does, I hope 3-yr warranty can compensate comfortably haha =) Also, it acts like on/off switch as well, aka. when you fold it, it’s off.

    Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse 

    With thin design, it’s impossible to have any storage for receiver. I thought it would be better to make it as Bluetooth mouse, but almost all manufacturers don’t seem to agree with the idea. Nonetheless, Microsoft manage to get away with storage place with magnet. Yes, on the mouse, there is a magnet, while the receiver is only some sort of ferromagnetic material, just good enough to stick in place safely. It’s such cool idea.

    MX Rev | VX Rev | Arc | VX Nano - receiver Arc | VX Nano - receiver

    2.4GHz receiver size is also another good improvement from other Microsoft mice. Although it’s not as small as Logitech nano receiver [and not good to stay on the port at all time], it’s small enough not to block anything at all when plugging on the side, and big enough to pull it off USB port easily.

    Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse 

    In action mode, this little guy is as big as desktop mouse. Its size is almost about the same as Logitech VX revolution.

    Usability

     Arc Mouse - claw grip Arc Mouse - palm grip

    As same as any mouse, it’s truly plug-n-play. There is nothing required in order to get it work. It’s funny when you see Windows Vista Certified along with Mac, and Universal logo on the box though. I don’t know if people still ask whether mouse can work on Mac or not these days since they all are the same apparently, just different flavor in term of look. I gotta get back on track again before this will be something else, besides Arc mouse review… Without tweaking, sensitivity is considerably fast—might be too fast for some, but I’m ok with it. Wheel is normal, nothing fancy—3 lines per click which is really pain in the ass when you have to scroll a lot and in my case, I used to use Logitech’s hyper-fast scrolling wheel which can do like 10k lines in matter of seconds. Side button (or back button) is positioned badly--too far forward. I don’t know if Microsoft designed this to be claw-gripper-mouse or index-finger-friendly-button. In the end, I will not bother using this button since it’s far from comfortable. However, what Microsoft always do the good job with their mice is how soft and quiet buttons are. This arc mouse is even better; it’s almost like whispering buttons [wheel needs more pressure and gives more noise though] in my opinion. That’s fantastic.

    intelliPoint 3.0If you are tweaking kind of guys, Microsoft also gives you a chance to do so with IntelliPoint which is well integrated with Mouse in Control Panel, but will destroy any touchpad/trackpoint driver if you have. What you have to do to keep both is installing IntelliPoint then reinstall your touchpad/trackpoint driver afterward. That works fine for me on X61 Tablet. With IntelliPoint software, you can change *any button* to almost *anything* as shown below. That’s great—unfortunately I wish it had at least horizontal scroll buttons on wheel to use all this features. Better than that, there is advanced scrolling feature which can set how fast the content acceleration as you roll the wheel as well. It’s sort of like Logitech MX revolution which will change to free spin when you do scroll as enough and the trick Microsoft selected here work pretty well. It really compensate how ordinary the wheel is physically to be as functional as fancy wheel from Logitech.

    intelliPoint 3.0 

    Microsoft Arc MouseLittle Teflon feet under Arc also give surprisingly smoothness when moving mouse. There is no problem whatsoever as I expected at first since their feet size are only 10% of others. However, by the fact that it’s so light, esp. on the back, and there is nothing on the side to hold, I do feel odd & unbalance & uncomfortable which cause imprecise movement because my pinkie has no where to rest but under the mouse. Think of something holding mouse underneath--that is likely to be your pinkie. I guess it would take quite a lot of time to get used to. If you consider it as on-the-go mouse, it should be fine, but as regular mouse, I might have to think about it real hard. It’s just like why would you use weird/uncomfortable mouse like Mogo if you have full-size mouse laying around. This Arc mouse is just big and nice enough to give a pause to consider more.

    Issue: [added: 2009-06-27] One thing Microsoft mouse is not as good as Logitech one is usable surfaces. All Microsoft mice, except BlueTrack which I haven't tried yet, is working fine with every surfaces, but any glossy surface, even glossy/slipper fabric. While Logitech one will only have a problem on highly glossy surface such as Granite and Marble.

    Battery life

    So far, I couldn’t tell, but with 2*AAA battery, it’s supposed to last at least 4-5 months by nature of Microsoft mouse. I’ll get back when it’s out of battery =)

    Conclusion

    It’s innovative, it’s nice as on-the-go mouse. What can I say more? IMO, it is not meant to be regular mouse on the desk, so I won’t compare it with that directly. If you feel you need something nice when you are on site, Microsoft Arc mouse is definitely one of the good options along with very good ones like VX revolution or Microsoft Bluetooth mouse 5000. Nonetheless, if comfortable is the first priority, try VX Revolution in store. You'll get the idea.

    Pros

    • really nice rubberized coating surface
    • acceleration scrolling feature
    • whispering ‘click’ sound
    • small & very portable on the go, yet big enough while using.
    • all customizable buttons

    Cons

    • Side button is too far/hard to reach
    • too light, need quite some time to get used to
    • not that comfortable without grip to hold on the side
    • horizontal scroll wheel would be nice addition.
    • not working on any glossy surface
  • Logitech VX Revolution Review

    Logitech VX Revolution

    At the first time I saw Logitech VX Revolution, what in my head was “what an expensive mouse!!” (about $60) However, I have no doubt how good it can be as a Logitech mouse because Logitech always comes up with great and easy to use mice. However, the price is as high as the satisfaction.

    Logitech VX revolutionLogitech VX revolution

    Logitech VX nano, VX RevLogitech VX nano, VX Rev

    What I like the most about this model is the shape of it. It’s just perfectly fit to your hand, and that makes me feel free like I hold nothing. It’s like I put my hand on the armrest, and I can control the cursor on the monitor at the same time. How cool is it? Comparing to Logitech VX Nano, VX Revolution has a much better shape in my opinion. Left hand people would prefer VX Nano though because Logitech creates that model for two hands use, apparently.

    Logitech VX RevolutionLogitech VX Revolution

    USB receiver storage of VX Revolution is very impressive. It’s easy to use, and when you take the USB receiver out, the mouse turns itself on automatically. Similarly, when you put the USB receiver back in its place, the mouse turns itself off just right away.

    Logitech VX RevolutionLogitech VX Revolution

    Making you life easier by some additional buttons from Logitech on VX revolution such as backward, forward, search, zoom in, and zoom out. In addition, you’ll be able to manage all buttons yourself, so it’ll be your own mouse really.

    Logitech VX Revolution

    Moreover, there’s something Logitech calls “microgear” at the bottom of the VX revolution that you can change the way of the wheel to the smooth & fast way or the regular one.

    Logitech VX Revolution

    In short, this model is one of the best mice from Logitech. Try it yourself, you’ll never regret. Good job Logitech!!