Logitech headsets and webcams for the business professional

As many of you know, I’m a full-time telecommuter. Although a portion of my work involves some travel, most days I am working from home, and a lot of that involves sitting on conference calls with colleagues and customers/partners.

Until recently, much of that required that I be desk-bound.

Anyone who has to work with VOIP and IP-based conferencing systems such as Skype, Microsoft Lync, Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting knows that voice quality is everything if you’re going to have an effective business conversation.

And that means using devices that typically tie you to your desk, such as a wired headset or an Bluetooth/USB speakerphone, such as the Plantronics Callisto, which I have and think is an excellent product.

While there are many Bluetooth headsets and earpieces on the market which are perfectly suitable for mobile phone conversations, few are specifically optimized for use with PCs that have VOIP “Soft Phone” software, and do not deliver what I would regard as business critical voice quality.

They are perfectly fine for short calls, but not ideal when you are on a VOIP conference for as much as an hour at a time, or even longer, particularly when you need to be an active participant and when paying close attention to who is speaking and the clarity of what you are saying is essential.

As we all know about Bluetooth when it comes to audio streams, the farther you get away from the transceiver, the worse the audio gets. So it’s not practical to stray too far away from your PC.

Logitech’s latest wireless headsets have been a total game changer for my personal work situation since I’ve been using them the last few months. I’ve been using the H820e stereo version which retails for $199 but can be found for considerably less.

Installation and use of the headset is pretty straightforward — you plug the DECT 6.0 transmitter and charging base into a free USB port on your PC or Mac, and the AC power cord to power the base. The headset charges on the base when not in use, and has a built-in rechargeable battery.

The operating system recognizes it automatically, and depending on the VOIP program you are using, you may need to alter the settings to use the headset as your primary audio device.

If you’re familiar with the DECT 6.0 1.9Ghz wireless transmission standard, particularly if you have cordless phones in your house that use the technology, you know that you can get some pretty impressive range and not lose any voice quality. That’s exactly what the H820e headset gives you for VOIP calls.

My home office is a good 60 feet away from my living room and around 75 feet from my “breakfast area” which has my espresso machine and a table which faces my outdoor patio and pool area with outdoor furniture which is about 100 feet or so away from the base transmitter.

So regardless of what VOIP software I am using, and where I am in my house, I get the same crystal-clear voice quality as if I am sitting right in front of my PC. For example, this wearable computing podcast that I recorded with Rick Vanover of Veeam was actually done in my living room, while wearing the H820e using Skype.

So the quality of the audio is without dispute. What about the overall design and using it?

The H820e was designed for use for hours at a time. The stereo version is comfortable and after a while you forget you even have it on your head. While I am extremely pleased with the device, I have only a few nitpicks:

First, the “Mute” button is attached to the microphone boom and is recessed back towards where the headphone is. It doesn’t stick prominently out, so you have to sort of feel your way up the boom to finding it.

If you’re away from your PC and are not near the software controls of your VOIP client, and some sort of unplanned audio distraction occurs that you don’t want to be heard by everyone else, then it could take a few seconds to mute the audio while you fumble around with the boom. It would be better if in the next version of this product that they put it on the exterior side of the headphone holding the boom.

It’s a minor annoyance but it’s still an annoyance nonetheless.

The second is the boom mic’s sensitivity to airflow. Now, normally you don’t have a lot of “wind” in an indoor or office setting but in the summertime in Florida, I like to have a fan going in my office for better air circulation.

If that fan is pointed directly at me, it sounds like I am in an outdoor breeze. And if you are actually outdoors (like sitting on my patio and having a cup of coffee) and a little bit of wind picks up, you’re going to hear it if the mic isn’t muted, no question.

Also, if you are a heavy breather, you’ll probably want to have the boom twisted a lot farther away from your mouth than you think you need it.

Despite what I would call these two minor nitpicks I think the H820e is an excellent product and I heartily reccomend it. I’ve also spent some time with their wired headset, the H650e on business trips with my laptop and also on my Surface RT using Skype and Lync, and the audio is just as high quality as the H820e, provided your bandwidth supports the fidelity of the connection.

Not all telecommuting and conferencing is about audio, however. From time to time I do need to do video as well.

My corporate laptop, my Lenovo X1 Carbon is a great little machine but its webcam isn’t its strong suit. When it’s docked to my monitor on my desk at home, I need something that delivers much more robust and HD-quality video.

I’ve written about small busines and SOHO/workgroup video conferencing products before, like Logitech’s BCC950. While the BCC950 is an excellent product for small meeting rooms and for having three to five people on camera at once, it’s overkill for a telecommuter or just someone in a single office.

Enter the Logitech C930e, a “Business” webcam. Like any other webcam it clips to the top of your monitor and plugs into your USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. But this is no ordinary webcam.

At a street price of $129.00 it’s more expensive than Logitech’s consumer/prosumer webcam offerings, but there’s considerable enterprise-class video conferencing technology built-into this little device.

First, provided your bandwidth supports it, the C930e can capture 1080p video (or 15MP stills) at 30 frames a second because it includes Scalable Video Coding using H.264 and UVC 1.5, the second of which is needed to be certified for use with corporate-grade video conferencing tools.

Second, the camera has a 90-degree diagonal field of view so you get a widescreen capture of the subject without any “fish eye” distortion. You also get a Carl Zeiss lens and 4X digital zoom with software pan and tilt control, as well as built-in stereo microphones

Logitech also offers the consumer-oriented C920 which is about $30 cheaper than the C930e, but it lacks the the Scalable Video Coding and UVC 1.5 capabilities used with corporate applications like Lync and Cisco UC and is more suited towards Skype and other consumer video applications like Google Hangouts. It also lacks the 90-degree FOV of its more expensive sibling.

While the two cameras look very similar, they shouldn’t be confused with each other. If corporate video conferencing capability and quality is definitely what you need, you want the C930e.

Digital Storm VELOCE, 13.3-inch Gaming Laptop With Intel’s Haswell CPU & GPU NVIDIA GTX 765M Plus 8GB RAM

Soon the market will be the arrival of a new gaming laptop models known as Digital Storm VELOCE.
With stretcher panel 13.3-inch screen that supports a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, 1.25 inches thick laptop weighs 4.6 kg and is fully supported by an Intel Core i7-4800MQ who collaborated with NVIDIA GTX 765M GPU and 8GB of RAM.
And even to support jitunya storage solutions, gaming notebooks running Windows 8 has been providing hard drive plus 750GB 7200RPM 8GB SSD. Not only that, this powerful gaming laptop has also been supported by the 3 USB 3.0 ports, a DVD burner, HDMI, VGA, WiFi, Bluetooth, and much more.
Concerning the availability and price, the Digital Storm gaming laptop VELOCE which will soon be released on July 17, 2013, is reportedly going to be priced at $ 1,535 or the equivalent of 15.34 million dollars per unit.

Acer launches new Iconia A1-810

Acer Sales and Services Sdn Bhd (Acer) has recently launched a brand new 7.9 inch tablet that is supposed to be a cheaper alternative to its contenders Note 3 and Mini.

At half the price of an iPad, Acer Iconia comes with a Quad-Core CPU, HDMI output and the latest version of Android 4.2.2.

The design of the tablet is a traditional one noted Ting Meng Hung, regional manager for Acer and noted that it was quite thick compared to other tablets yet it is very light.

As for the hook-up there is a micro SD card slot, HDMI output and both a front and a rear webcam. The rear webcam is five megapixels (MP )and can record videos of up at 30 frames per second.

The tablet has a 7.9’ multi-touch five point widescreen that is intuitive and launches the apps instantly.

“An interesting characteristic similar to other tablets is that if the corner of the touch screen is kept pressed with your finger the rest of the screen reacts to other commands like scroll, launch or zoom,” Ting noted.

The tablet is equipped with a -Core CPU and one gigabyte (GB) RAM, ensuring the smooth rendering of high-quality apps and complex games.

The internal memory ranges starts from 8GB and can be extended via SD card up to 32GB.

For the operating system, it comes together with the latest 4.2.2. that run optimally with the component, Ting highlighted.

For this minimal price we have here a Tablet equipped with HDMI hook-up, Bluetooth and GPS and a Quad-Core CPU as well as a webcam that records Full-HD videos.

“At the moment we are only offering the wifi model and depending on the demand we may bring in the 3G version of the tablet as well,” Ting explained.

The Iconia is priced at RM599 and for more information please call Acer’s office at 082-456700 or visit them at Green Heights Commercial Centre, Lorong Lapangan Terbang 2, 93250, Kuching.

 

Gigabyte Launches Latest Game Keyboard K7 FORCE Stealth with Anti-ghosting feature

Gamers can now obtain the latest gaming keyboard option in the shopping list. The new gaming keyboards come from Gigabyte called FORCE K7 Stealth. And as a gaming keyboard, FORCE Stealth K7 is also equipped with several features gaming supporters.

The main feature on the keyboard is the anti-ghosting. This feature allows players to be able to press 7 keys simultaneously without conflict. But not all of the support this feature. There are only seven buttons, namely the Q, W, A, S, D, left Shift and Spacebar.

In addition keyboard also comes with a three-color illumination that can be arranged. Three colors are blue, green and cyan. Not only that, the keyboard buttons also have a thin structure. With so each button is pressed, aktuasinya very close distance.

SanDisk Connect: Two Wireless Data Storage Solutions

Pendrive and portable hard disk is currently the most convenient solution for storing data. But how fast and large capacity of a flash would have added value if the wireless feature. Well, the idea is now realized by SanDisk SanDisk Connect with presenting line consisting of a Connect Wireless Flash Drive SanDisk and the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive. By utilizing the wireless connection then it will be easier for users to share content and moving data, into the gadget only through WiFi connection.
connect sandisk SanDisk Connect: Two Data Storage Solutions Wireless mobile gadget news gadget accessories
SanDisk Connect: Two Wireless Data Storage Solutions
SanDisk Connect a Wireless Flash Drive with 32GB capacity flash Wi-Fi feature that termini exist today. With this flash, users can directly access the data in them as image files, movies, music or documents anytime and anywhere without having to use wires. Users can also stream video content from gadgets owned by streaming time up to about 4 hours to completely recharge the battery.
While SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive is designed for users who have higher needs. Media Drive comes with the ability to stream content up to approximately 8 hours before the battery must be recharged. Another specialty, SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive can be connected up to 8 gadgets simultaneously and can stream content such as HD movies at the same time for 5 gadgets at once. Its capacity is also greater than the Flash Drive, the 32GB and 64GB capacities. Still not big enough? You can use a memory card slot SDHC / SDXC have available.
SanDisk Connect lines can be used for iOS devices, Android, Windows and Mac. For the price, SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive 16GB version sold for U.S. $ 49.99 and the 32GB version for U.S. $ 59.99. Connect to Wireless Media Drive SanDisk 32GB version priced at U.S. $ 79.99, or about 800 thousand dollars while the 64GB version priced at U.S. $ 99.99 or approximately 1 million dollars. For a while, there is no information when the line of SanDisk Connect will be present in Indonesia.

Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review: Vivid screen barely outshines slow performance

The good: The Asus Memo Pad HD 7 rocks an impressively colorful screen, features a bevy of useful customization options, and comes in at a budget price.

The bad: Its performance is mediocre and the touch screen is sometimes unresponsive. The plastic build gives it a toy-like feel and it isn’t very comfortable to hold. The dull design lacks panache.

The bottom line: For those looking to save a buck, for its low price, the Asus Memo Pad HD 7 has a bevy of useful features, though there are better performing options out there.

With the Asus Memo Pad HD 7, you really get what you pay for. The HD 7 earns its low price with a lackluster design and sluggish performance. It’s not very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, and aside from being offered in a variety of different colors, lacks a coolness other tablets try hard to aspire to.

Its performance is meekly mediocre, and consistent lagging combined with a sometimes unresponsive touch screen make the tablet best suited for simple tasks like browsing and reading.

That said, the HD 7 is a refreshing upgrade from its predecessor and its best feature is the 7-inch IPS screen that displays an impressively wide range of colors which facilitate a visually richer experience than the original Nexus 7.

If you’re on a strict budget, the Asus Memo Pad is an inexpensive and functional small tablet, but if you can spare the change, a new Nexus 7 is the better choice.

Design
Even though the tablet shares similar dimensions with the Nexus 7, it’s nowhere near as sleek or comfortable in design. The tablet fits fine in one hand, even for people with smaller hands like me, yet, despite its light weight, the design doesn’t lend itself to comfortable holding over lengthy periods of time.

The back panel protrudes slightly, and the corners slightly dig into your palms when holding it in both hands, instead of the flush, smoothly curved edges of the original Nexus 7. I often found myself wanting to put the device down after using it for awhile — not because I was done using it — but because holding it became tiresome.

The Asus Memo Pad HD 7 comes in navy blue, white, hot pink, and lime green. The navy blue version is the only one that has a back with a matte finish. The dark shade of blue attracts a minimal amount of fingerprints that are only highly visible from certain angles. The back panel is smooth and comfortable to the touch but can be a bit slippery without a tight grip.

In comparison, the reflective plastic backsides of the other colors looks less chic, but its texture helps one grip the device significantly better than the matte finish does. I personally prefer a back panel with a grippier texture, like the Nexus 7 (2012), because it enhances my comfort level in a way that extends the amount of time I can hold the device.

Since they’re both made by Asus, the Memo Pad HD 7 and the Nexus 7 (2012) share similar design elements. The power button and volume rocker on the right edge look almost identical in shape, while the rear speakers are similarly located towards the bottom edge of the tablet.

The front of the tablet is typically simple, with an Asus logo on the bottom bezel and a front-facing camera on the top. There is no ambient light sensor, therefore no automatic brightness setting.

The Memo Pad HD 7’s headphone jack, microphone pinhole, and Micro-USB port are all located on the top edge, with the microSD expansion slot — which is expandable up to 32GB — around the corner on the left edge. There are no ports on the bottom edge, but the speaker sits on the bottom of the tablet’s back, keeping the 5-megapixel rear camera on top company.

Asus Application Suite
The tablet comes loaded with the Asus Application Suite and features apps that range from useful to creative. The simple additions include a calendar, to-do list, and file manager, and it comes with 16GB of Asus WebStorage cloud service for one year.

Some of the apps that are geared towards family use include App Locker, which allows you to put passwords on specific apps; Asus Artists, where you can create “paintings” or greeting cards; and Asus Story, which helps you organize your photos into albums, or as they call them, “stories.”

The tablet comes with Power Saver, a battery saving feature that comes in handy if you’re trying to squeeze the most out of a low battery.

The custom mode lets you pick the specific functions that the power-saving option affects. For example, you can set a low screen brightness for listening to music, a higher one for watching video, and no power-saving function for reading books. When enabled, it significantly helped extend the battery life when it was low and the highly customizable options.

Floating apps
One of the most interesting and useful features on the tablet is the floating menu. On the Android navigation bar, there’s a button to the left of the back button that activates the floating menu.

When activated, a small menu pops up above the navigation bar that contains a selection of floating apps that you can quickly access without having to close whatever app you’re currently using. Since the apps “float” on the screen, on top of whatever is already open, it’s almost like a multiwindow option, but they can only perform simple tasks and can’t compare to the multiwindow functions that the Microsoft Surface or some of the Samsung Galaxy tablets provide.

Floating apps are an easy way to multitask, and I liked the ability to use the browser while watching video, but not all streaming video services continue to play while a floating app is open. With the exception of a few floating apps, including the calculator and compass, Netflix did not let me use most of the floating apps while simultaneously watching video, although YouTube did.

Despite providing an easy way to multitask, the floating apps don’t have the same functionality as the fullscreen app and are limited in their capabilities; the YouTube app only shows recommended videos — you can’t search — and the Twitter app displays only one tweet at a time. There is a limited amount of floating apps, and although the floating menu is customizable, not all downloaded apps have the ability to be floating ones.

Speaker features
The Memo Pad HD 7 houses stereo speakers with Asus SonicMaster audio technology and Audio Wizard software. Although the speakers aren’t great, the number of specific audio settings are. The tablet allows you to manually adjust separate volume settings for app audio, notifications, and alarms.

Acnodes’ New 21.5” Ultra Slim Fanless Multi-Touch Panel PC Features 1080P Full HD Resolutions

Acnodes Corporation is proud to release its new fanless touch panel PC, FPC8759. Powered by high performance Atom D2550 Dual-Core 1.86GHz processor and NM10 chipset with two DDR3 SO-DIMM sockets for up to 4GB system memory, FPC8759 ensures adequate performance for end-users while consumes small amounts of power. It’s equipped with a 21.5 inch widescreen projected capacitive multi-touch screen with 1080P Full HD resolutions, ideal for interactive kiosk and control panel for machine in a variety of commercial and industrial applications. Rich I/O ports including dual Ethernet, four serial ports, four USB ports, mini PCI-E connector to support wireless networking modules, VGA port and audio (Mic-in, Line-out) port, provide excellent peripheral connectivity. It supports standard operating systems such as Windows 7, Window XP, Window XP Embedded, and Linux.

Ultra Slim design, with 48 mm thick console, PC features aluminum die-casting chassis and front panel that tested to IP65 water and dust resistant standard. While FPC8759 has an elegant and modern appearance, it is also capable of operating in environments with temperatures ranging from 32°F to 95°F (0°C to +35°C) and relative humidity of 20% to 85%. FPC8759 supports both VESA and panel mounting enables easy installation in various applications with confined spaces. To fulfill different application needs and to secure the system from power input change, the system accepts an 8V to 36V wide range DC power input.

Our product line configurations are illustrated on our web site at Acnodes.com. However, most of the commercial and industrial computers are custom built to customer’s exact requirements. Contact us via e-mail: info(at)acnodes(dot)com or telephone (1-909-597-7588) for more information.

About Acnodes
Acnodes manufactures, designs, and markets industrial computers and display solutions for diverse industries ranging from automation to military. We have an array of technological innovations in the area of rack mount servers, embedded computers, Panel PC’s and rugged monitors that create simpler and more valuable products to the customers. We work closely with our clients to customize computer products to meet their required projects and challenges. Acnodes strives to explore new technologies to better improve life and work.

Intel Releases Low-Powered Atom Chips for Servers

Now that Intel Corp. (INTC) has released new chips for the smartphone market, where it has been squeezed out by competitors like ARM Holdings PLC (ARMH) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), it has elected to restart its initiatives in the server business as well. Intel has three-quarters of that market, by most estimates. Although the opportunities in the corporate server market are not as great as those among consumers, it needs to keep its hold on one of its major franchises.

As it struggles to keep server share, it announced:

Intel revealed new details for the forthcoming Intel Atom processors C2000 product family aimed for low-energy, high-density microservers and storage (codenamed “Avoton”), and network devices (codenamed “Rangeley”). This second generation of Intel’s 64-bit SoCs is expected to become available later this year and will be based on the company’s 22nm process technology and the innovative Silvermont microarchitecture. It will feature up to eight cores with integrated Ethernet and support for up to 64GB of memory.

America’s Worst Companies to Work For

The new products are expected to deliver up to four times the energy efficiency and up to seven times more performance than the first generation Intel Atom processor-based server SoCs introduced in December last year. Intel has been sampling the new Intel Atom processor server product family to customers since April and has already more than doubled the number of system designs compared to the previous generation.

The market probably will not need to wait long to see if the initiative works. Chip companies are fond of release data sales on new products, if they are successful. By the firm’s next earnings call, Wall Street will know if the new Atom product and the servers it runs will replace older ones in which systems were less efficient.

NUC, Small PC but powerful

A few days later, I was tested the Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) that the new board. Even the box is written in Pre-Production Engineering Sample. So still a production example, not yet in production, may not even be sold widely.

If summarized in a few words, then Intel NUC that I use a small computer with the ability of cayenne pepper for approximately 75% of Server Quad Xeon E31220.

Desktop Computer Intel NUC is a very, very small. The size is approximately 11cm x 11cm x 4cm so it can be easily handheld hands. May be quite right if called as handheld computers hehehe …

The outer display is very compact Intel NUC all. It even comes in a hook to stick in the back of a digital TV screen / monitor. Adapter used is ordinary laptop adapter, with a voltage of 19V with 65W power.

For connection to the outside world, Intel NUC equipped with three USB ports. Two USB 2.0 is being a single USB 3.0 so you can perform high-speed data transfer at all. We can include a USB keyboard and mouse to operate the Intel NUC.
intel-NUC-3
LAN connector used is Gigabit Ethernet. I check using ethtool this device has the ability to auto negotiation 10Mbps / 100Mbps / 1000Mbps full duplex, so very fast.

In Intel NUC body mounted Wifi antenna that can be used for a wireless Internet connection to hotspots.

Gorgeous from Intel NUC is the absence of a VGA connector. That there is a built-in HDMI connector Intel ® High Definition Audio 2 subsystem is configured for 8-channel (7.1) digital audio output via HDMI 1.4a. It means we can use the Digital TV as a monitor with an HDMI connection. For those who still use VGA, can buy a VGA to HDMI adapter and it also goes well.

Intel NUC has two SO-DIMM slots for 1333/1600MHz memory with a capacity of up to 16GB. Intel NUC coincidence that I am trying to use 8GB of memory.
intel-NUC-2
Hard drive is a hard disk Intel NUC future generations, using a Solid State Drive (SSD) 32GB, so instead of mechanical hard disk is installed using an mSATA connector.

 

SuVolta’s transistor technology speed-power benefits are validated in ARM processor

The ARM Cortex-M series processor was manufactured with SuVolta’s Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) technology on a 65 nm bulk planar CMOS DDC process. With SuVolta’s transistor technology, designers are able to reduce power or improve performance, depending upon design requirements.

“ARM’s heritage is based on low power, so technologies that can further improve power consumption, such as DDC technology from SuVolta, will always be welcomed by ARM and our Partners,” said Noel Hurley, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “SuVolta has shown that the DDC technology, when incorporated into an ARM processor, can provide additional power reductions or a significant performance boost. As the Internet of Things continues to expand, innovative ultra-low power technology for Sensors and other devices will be vital to ensure that ARM remains at the forefront of this opportunity.”

When compared to an identical ARM Cortex-M0 processor manufactured in the conventional 65 nm process, with a 1.2 V supply voltage, the DDC transistor-based ARM implementation operating at 0.9 V demonstrates a 50 percent lower total power consumption at matched 350 MHz operating speed. There is also a 35 percent increased operating speed (performance) at matched power. In addition there is a 55 percent increased operating speed when operated at matched supply voltage.

“We’ve now validated the benefits of the DDC technology in a complex SoC, by combining the ARM Cortex-M0 CPUs with SRAM instances and various analog components,” explained David Kidd, senior director, digital design at SuVolta. “The results speak for themselves – power-performance optimized CPU cores, with results that hold across process corners and temperature, plus, SRAMs with 150 mV lower minimum operating voltage, 50 percent less leakage power at matched SRAM read current, and more than 5x less leakage power in retention mode.”

“Reducing power consumption and enhancing performance are key to providing next-generation capabilities for a variety of advanced digital products,” said Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO at SuVolta. “By validating the speed-power advantages of the DDC technology in a SoC that includes ARM processors, we’ve reached another significant milestone in demonstrating the value of our technology in a system.”