Watch out when buying a Kingston V300 SSD

kingston_v300My new media PC has a 120GB Kingstong V300 solid state drive (SSD). I bought it because reviews suggested that it offered excellent performance given its low price. But it seems that since those reviews were written, Kingston has started using cheaper, and much slower components in these drives.
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Shuttle DS437T barebone: Building a silent media PC

shuttle-ds437t-exterior

Actually, “building” may be overstating it a bit. The Shuttle DS437T is a “barebone” system, which means you’ll only need to add a couple of components to create a complete PC. It’s essentially a case with a motherboard. The CPU is soldered onto the motherboard, and has built-in graphics. The barebone also comes with audio, network and wifi. All you need to add is memory, storage and an operating system. But the thing that makes this barebone different from others it that it contains no moving parts. There are no cooling fans, which means you can use it to build a completely silent PC.
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Upgrading your laptop’s wifi might be easier than you think

intel-advanced-n-6235-wifi-adapterIf you buy a laptop computer under €750, chances are the wifi module used isn’t going to be very good. To get to that low price point, manufacturers need to choose cheap components over good ones. So they usually put a decent processor in, and a big hard drive, because customers ask for those kind of things. But from there on in they complete the system with bargain bin components. Most of those are integrated onto the computer’s motherboard, and impossible to replace. Fortunately however, most laptops do let you replace the wifi module. And it’s really not hard to do.
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Roy | May 30, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments (0)
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Linksys WRT1900AC review

wrt1900ac

If I remember correctly, the first wireless router I ever bought was a Linksys WRT54G. I’d had a couple of wired ones before that, and knew from experience that cheap routers can be very frustrating. Many of us now use the internet almost 24/7, and buying a sub-par router is like buying a good stereo with terrible speakers. It’s the central hub in your network, on which all other devices depend. It makes sense to get something decent.
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Case Logic Reflexion Backpack review

caselogic-reflexion2

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become somewhat of an enthusiast photographer. Ever since I got my first DSLR camera, I’ve been proud of some of the images I’ve managed to capture, and I love taking my camera on all sorts of trips. The problem with this is that my Canon 1100D isn’t very pocketable. I used to carry it around in it’s own holster-type bag. But on most trips, my family and I would also take a small backpack for things like snacks. Carrying two bags just isn’t fun. Case Logic has a bag that cleverly combines the two, and they were kind enough to send me one to review.

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Roy | February 28, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments (0)
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Make your Raspberry Pi sing with Volumio

Volumio web interface

In the shared office space where I work, there’s an old 2nd generation iMac that we use to play music. It’s hooked up to a decent set of speakers, and plays music from the web or the local network. Over the last couple of years though, software support for non-intel Macs has all but disappeared, so we’ve been looking for alternatives.

Enter Volumio. The idea is really simple. Volumio transforms a Raspberry Pi computer into an audiophile music player. Simply install it onto an SD card, put it into the Pi, and you’re good to go.
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The case of the missing Lenovo U330 Touch

lenovo-laptop-ideapad-u330-touch-questionmark

I need a new laptop. My trusty old Asus UL30A is starting to feel slow, and I’d love to have a better screen and an SSD. Because I mostly work from my desktop PC, I don’t need anything to-of-the-line. A mid-range i5 will do. Touchscreen is optional, but I do need 8 GB of RAM. Surprisingly, it’s not easy to find these specs in a 13 inch form factor. Which is why I was happy to see Lenovo’s announcement of the IdeaPad U330 touch. Unfortunately, it seems to have all but disappeared…
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Roy | January 7, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments (19)
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Choice is probably still the best reason to buy a PC

coolermaster-silencio-450There are three computers that I use daily. My media center (a Linux box that runs XBMC), my laptop, and the desktop PC in my office. Last week, that last box fired a warning shot across my bow. After a day of processing very large Photoshop documents, the power supply died. When I retrieved the original invoice, I was surprised to find that I’ve been using this machine since April of 2007.
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Roy | November 20, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (8)
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Samsung’s Galaxy S2 Plus is a terrible phone

samsung-galaxy-s2-plus

Last April, in an effort to lure my wife away from the Apple ecosystem, I got her a Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus. Based on the ‘classic’ S2, it seemed like a perfectly fine mid-range Android phone. Dual core processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and a 4.3″ screen, all acceptable specs. But unlike the original S2, the ‘Plus’ only has 8 GB of internal storage. And Samsung has managed to make that into an absolutely terrible problem.
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Roy | November 18, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (50)
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My current routing champion: the Asus RT-N66U

Asus RT-N66U router

A little over two years ago, I wrote an a quick “first impressions” post about the Linksys E4200 router. At the time, I was very happy with it. I needed high WAN-to-LAN speeds, and initially, the E4200 delivered. But the first generation of Linksys’s flagship router (of the time) turned out to have serious stability issues. Mine soon started getting really hot, causing frequent slowdowns and crashes. After two years of frustration, I decided it was time for yet another new router. I picked the Asus RT-N66U, and I’ll try to – cautiously – post some first impressions.
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Roy | September 24, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (9)
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