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.
More Make your Raspberry Pi sing with Volumio

The case of the missing Lenovo U330 Touch


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…
More The case of the missing Lenovo U330 Touch

Roy | January 7, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments (20)
Tags: , , ,

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.
More Choice is probably still the best reason to buy a PC

Roy | November 20, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (8)
Tags: ,

Samsung’s Galaxy S2 Plus is a terrible phone


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.
More Samsung’s Galaxy S2 Plus is a terrible phone

Roy | November 18, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (52)
Tags: ,

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.
More My current routing champion: the Asus RT-N66U

Roy | September 24, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (9)
Tags: , , , ,

There is such a thing as “enough” pixels


My favorite tech site here in the Netherlands posted a brilliant article (sorry, Dutch only) on UHD television last week. In it, they theorized that in order to see the difference between normal Full HD and UHD, you’d need to be closer than one meter from your 40″ TV’s screen. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I watch TV. I like to sit back on my couch, which is a good three to four meters from the TV.
More There is such a thing as “enough” pixels

Roy | August 28, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off
Tags: , , ,

Google Chromecast first impressions


Chromecast is the first media player I know of that has no remote control and no hardware buttons (except for a reset button, but that doesn’t really count. It’s – literally – a plugin for your TV that adds “Google”. Unlike other media players and Smart TVs, it does not have its own interface. Your Android or iOS device is used to browse media and control playback.
More Google Chromecast first impressions

Roy | August 20, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (6)
Tags: , ,

Ten things you should know about the iPazzPort Pearl


Recently, iPazzPort – known for their wireless media remotes – launched the Pearl. This little plastic ball (seen on the right side of my TV in the image above) and its accompanying remote are designed to be put in your living room and act as a central hub in your digital life. The people at iPazzPort were kind enough to send me one, and I’ve spent some time with it over the last weeks. Here’s what you need to know.
More Ten things you should know about the iPazzPort Pearl

Roy | August 14, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (7)
Tags: , , ,

Note 2 update: Sudden Death Syndrome

dead_androidIn October of last year, Samsung sent me a Galaxy Note 2 phone to try. I blogged about it a couple of time, and have been using it as my primary device since. I like it a lot, and was getting used to its large dimensions.

But then it started to act up. Random reboots and freezes, crashing apps. Not good. I did some research, and my unit appears to be suffering from “Sudden Death Syndrome”. Here’s what I’ve found out so far.
More Note 2 update: Sudden Death Syndrome

HTC One vs. Galaxy S4, which is your favorite?


Now that Samsung has unveiled their Galaxy S4, all candidates for “Top Android Handset” are now out in the open. It’s up to us consumers to decide which, if any, we’re going to get. I’m going to be really unfair to Sony and LG, and discard their efforts straight away. I’ve never been a Sony fan, and I haven’t played with an LG phone since the “Viewty”, which was terrible in every way. I think the real fight is between the current champion Samsung, and the most audacious challenger, HTC.
More HTC One vs. Galaxy S4, which is your favorite?

Roy | March 17, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (24)
Tags: , , , ,