Tag Archives: monitor

The Future of Biking

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During a recent Bluetooth SIG event in Seattle, I learned how easy it is to keep track of your biking habits using Bluetooth technology. The demo bicycle wheel was spinning at about five miles per hour, even though it wasn’t really going anywhere. It was being measured by the little piece of plastic attached to the spokes, which is about the size of a thumb drive. The Velo Computer by Sound of Motion measures wheel rotation with a 1-degree precision.

So why is one degree important? What you can do with that information is important. You can calculate your acceleration, torque and watts. People who are training for biking marathons rely on information such as this to help them. “This unique sensing technology is at least 360 times more accurate than traditional sensors. It accurately measures distance, cadence, spot speed and acceleration within 1 second comparing up to 7 seconds delay in traditional cycling computers.”

When you finish your ride, you can post your information to the site. It will publish to Google Maps and Twitter for you so that you can share your ride with everyone. Sadly, the device won’t be available until later this summer. If you are a bike enthusiast, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for its launch.

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Pixel Qi Screens Work Outdoors

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Imagine being able to combine the Laptop, Tablet and e-reader into one convertible device, then having a screen technology that enables you to take it outside in the sun! Geeks outdoors in the sun, how cool is that going to be? Imagine also being able to turn off the backlight, increase up to 5x the battery runtime of your Tablet compared to for example the iPad.

At Computex 2010, Pixel Qi is finally releasing the 3Qi screen, here demonstrating 10″ capacitive touch screen support and with half a dozen or more major partners.

Here are some details from Mary Lou Jepsen, CTO of Pixel Qi, about the current status of the mass manufacturing of this technology.

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LED and LCD Monitor Questions and Answers

Graham Walters has a series of monitor questions (some of which are near impossible for anybody to answer with objectivity):

Do you think Eyefinity will be released for the Mac Pro anytime soon?

I don’t think I can answer that question. You’d have to ask AMD / ATI.

What aspect ratio is best for eyefinity? (two 24in monitors)

According to AMD’s Shane Parfitt: “ATI Eyefinity technology is incredibly flexible in its setup options. We can support a wide variety of aspect ratios and resolutions. For the best experience, we recommend widescreen monitors. For gaming, the most popular display configuration is three widescreen monitors in a 3×1 landscape configuration. In this configuration, we can support individual display resolutions up to 2560×1600, for a total resolution of 7680×1600 (a 48×10 aspect ratio). We’re seeing many people choose 1920×1200 or 1920×1080 displays for budget reasons – this also works very well, and looks great.”

Is $300 – $350 a good price range? (Apple LED Cinema display is $900)

“Good” is relative. Apple’s displays are (indeed) wonderful, but you’d likely be paying ~$100 more for the brand on that particular piece of hardware. It’s more accurate to compare their Cinema Display to something in the $800 range. If your budget is in the $300 range, you’ll still get a decent monitor, but it may not have a high optimal resolution, decent response time, or DPI.

Are LED-backlit displays worth the money? (seem to cost twice as much)

Depends on what you want from a screen. Looking for a wider color gamut, better illumination, longer display life, better power efficiency, etc. – go for an LED backlit display. If your needs are meager, LED-backlit displays aren’t worth the money. If you favor quality, spend the money.

Do you have any other monitors in mind?

I’m looking at one right now. Is that what you mean? 🙂

Do you have any advice on buying LED monitors? (specs you look for)

Yes. Do your research! Read reviews from a variety of sites, try to observe the exact model in person, and be wary when a sale sounds too good to be true. That, and you know I set up http://coupons.lockergnome.com/ to help you save money on anything you happen to buy online.

I’ve never had the problem of having a dead pixel; how obvious are they?

Sometimes, painfully obvious. Other times, hardly noticeable. Understand that a dead pixel (a point on the screen which will never illuminate) is different from a stuck pixel (a pixel which is stuck on a single color). I suggest reading more about it on the Wikipedia page for defective pixels.

Do you know of any websites which accept returns if there is a dead pixel?

That’ll vary from OEM to OEM, vendor to vendor, etc. Again, do your research. I appreciate you reaching out to me to nudge you in the right direction, but unless you’re going to pay me to be your personal shopper, this is where I tip my hat and send you on your merry way.

Monitor Your Macs With iStat Menus

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Billy has done several screencasts in the past for our channels, and has received some pretty good feedback. Today, he’s going to show you how to monitor your system if you’re using OS X, using an application called iStat Menus. Remember, if you want to submit a screencast for possible use on our channels, see the information in the link at the beginning of this description.

iStat Menus can monitor many different things on your system, including:

  • CPU – Realtime CPU graphs and a list of the top 5 CPU resource hogs. CPU usage can be tracked by individual cores or with all cores combined, to save menubar space.
  • Disk Usage – See used or free space for multiple disks in your menubar. More detail for all your disks is only a click away.
  • Memory – Memory stats for your menubar, shown as used and free memory or wired, active, inactive and free. The memory dropdown menu shows a list of the top 5 memory hogs, as well as other useful info.
  • Disk Activity – Detailed disk I/O in your menubar, including a variety of different read and write indicators.
  • Network – The realtime graph will keep your finger on the pulse of what data’s being sent and received for all network connections.

iStat Menus is fully customizable, and each menu extra comes with many different display modes, each featuring customizable colours, font sizes and widths.

Thanks for an excellent screencast, Billy! This little application is sure to come in handy for many Mac users!

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How to Add a Monitor Using USB

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During CES recently, Traci Toguchi was kind enough to cover the events and parties for us, as I was unable to attend. During this interview, she’s talking with Seb Hochmuth from DisplayLink. DisplayLink allows you to easily add additional monitors to your PC. You do not need to add a new graphics card, or be restricted by your laptop’s hardware, such as a single VGA output. Some laptops don’t even have video outputs these days!

DisplayLink is out to change the world when it comes to docking stations! There are many different types of display connectors, and it’s hard to keep track of what kind is on what machine. However, you always have a USB port! The universal docks can be connected to any notebook. You no longer need a proprietary docking station for a specific notebook to add monitors!

With DisplayLink, your computer is extended to include proper plugins for an extra display, speakers, ethernet cord, and 4 USB 2.0 ports! We always need more USB ports, right?! I know I do!

This is definitely something I’m thinking of buying for myself to have here in my home office. At a little under a hundred bucks, you’re likely going to want to grab one for yourself, as well!

Thanks to Creative for sending Traci a Vado 3 to use during CES!

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These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I’m willing to bet that old song is now stuck in your head. If you’re too young to know and remember the song – well, you just missed out. Look it up on YouTube, and immerse yourself!

What are your favorite “things”? You cannot list people, as they aren’t things. We all know your family, friends and loved ones come first… that’s a given! I’m talking about honest-to-goodness things. Is your cell phone the best thing you own? What about your iPod, or maybe even your dual monitors? Heck, maybe your favorite things aren’t even tech-related. That’s ok, as well! I’m curious to see what everyone will list as being their favorite thing.

We’re so wrapped up with using our gadgets and gizmos that we sometimes forget all about human connections. We forget to take the time to really talk to others, and get to know them. Why not spend some time today checking out what the people around you are talking about? Go ahead – join their conversations!

How to Control the Color of Your Monitors

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I don’t get much sunlight – which is pretty obvious. Maybe your computer does get sunlight, even though it really shouldn’t. You need to be aware that the color on your screen will be seen by your eyes differently, according to light in the room. You need to calibrate your monitor. I’ve done that before, using the Pantone Huey Pro. It works really well, on both OS X and Windows.


I decided to try out a free piece of software, in order to keep control of the colors on my monitor. F.lux fixes the issue of your computer screen being too bright – or looking kinda blue. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again. Just tell the software where you live, and what kind of lighting you have. Then – forget about it! F.lux will do the rest for you.

Having proper color calibration is important. It reduces strain on your eyes as well as helping you to sleep better. Yes – sleep! If your monitor is too bright, your brain is going to be fooled into thinking that you’re not tired yet. You’ll get far less sleep than what you should.

If you have the money to spend on the Huey – do so. If not, using F.lux is a great alternative.

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What do You use for a KVM Switch?

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Let’s say that you have a PC, but you don’t have a monitor, keyboard or mouse plugged into it. However, you do have a notebook computer sitting there with Windows on it, as well. You could use that notebook to run the PC with a KVM switch!

Not only are you saving energy by not running another monitor, you’re also saving space by not having another keyboard and mouse. Using a KVM switch is highly recommended for better productivity. You can use one keyboard, one mouse and one monitor for two different machines! I don’t think there’s an easier way to be efficient.

This is ideal for people who own a laptop and an older desktop PC and wish to keep using both for various functions or applications. The KVM features an on-screen toolbar with multiple functions such as file transfer, desktop image scaling and others. The built-in file transfer utility lets the user transfer files, presentations, business information and create backup copies between both computers or from external USB storage devices.

What’s interesting about this particular KVM is that it has an extra USB port built in. That allows you to plug in an external hard drive if you should need to! This is easy to use, and will allow you a ton of new-found freedom when managing your life. Keep and transfer files much faster using the IOGear Laptop KVM. All you need is open USB ports and Windows PCs and you’re ready to roll.

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How to Monitor Twitter Keywords and Conversations

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I’m monitoring one simple keyword that I’m quite attached to – my last name. This isn’t being done by any kind of software you have to install. It’s being done by a web site that allows me to choose keywords to monitor on Twitter. Monitter is a Twitter monitor, it lets you “monitter” the Twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are saying. Cool huh?

Simply choose three keywords that you want to track, and type them into the columns. Heck for that matter, you can add or subtract columns to change up how many keywords you track. Change your search preference, to see what’s being talked about in a particular area (by zip code).

Even if you aren’t on Twitter, you may still be interested in Monitter. When there’s a new product or new trend, follow it easily on Monitter. Even if you don’t like dark backgrounds, change it up and make it lighter!

All of this is brought to you absolutely free. How much better can it get? You can ‘monitter’ anything you’re interested in from right within your browser. There’s nothing to download or install so why not give it a try right now?

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How to Add Even More Screens to Your Notebook Computer

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Let’s say for argument’s sake you want to add two external monitors to a computer that has only one video port. You need a way to connect via another port, such as a USB port. You would need something like the ViBook.

ViBook is an innovative graphics USB–DVI cable; the simplest way to add additional displays to any computer system, desktop or laptop. Several monitors can be connected using more ViBooks, even through a hub.

You can easily connect an external monitor by using your empty USB port. It’s honestly as simple as that. Heck, you can connect more than one monitor, even if you don’t have enough ports. Just check out the ViDock. ViDock Gfx is the ultimate graphics expansion for notebook computers taking advantage of the powerful ExpressCard expansion slot of modern systems, enabling additional displays to connect to your laptop portable computer.

If you’re looking to expand what you already have – and are limited in budget, space and means – these are the options for you. Take advantage of what you already have (USB ports) and expand your lifestyle and video options.

If you’ve never operated with more than one screen at a time, you’re missing out. Your productivity would go through the roof, seriously! Imagine if the largest screen resoluation you have is 1024×768… why not expand by grabbing an old monitor and hooking it up? It’s an extremely valuable solution for just about anyone.

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