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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Interesting USB accessories


I follow the Personal Technology page of "Economic Times" with interest for their India-centric coverage of gadgets & IT topics.

This week ET listed 10 useful USB accessories. Among them, although a USB-based Hub & Mug Warmer, Cooler, paper shredder, Vaccum Cleaner have some novelty, they didn't appeal to me as much as these -

Jabra Speak 410 - USB powered speakerphone ... with integrated cable managment system. Weighing a mere 250g, this speakerphone also has a headset port where you can plug-in any 3.5mm headphones in case you want the call to be private. (Rs 8,000 from www.jabra.com)
USB Display  - This little monitor is completely powered off USB – just one cable is needed for both the video signal and power. The 7-inch 800 x 480 pixel panel is touchscreen enabled too – you can move certain items onto it to clear space from your primary display.
The best part is that since the display connects via USB, your regular VGA/HDMI out is unused and can be used to output to another device simultaneously. ($229.99 from www.thinkgeek.com)
ASUS CrossLink Cable - Thanks to Asus' Crosslink USB cable and adapter, you can quickly connect and transfer data at high-speeds between two computers.The adapter is shaped like a USB drive, has 2GB storage and a miniUSB port on the other side to connect using the Crosslink cable. You can even share an internet connection and optical drive between two PCs. (Rs 4,000 from eBay Global EasyBuy)
USB Foldable keyboard - If your netbook's keyboard proves too small for you or you just prefer to carry your own keyboard around, this flexible USB keyboard is ideal. Since the keys and base material are made of silicon, it is completely silent.
Even though it has the full 104 keys, you can roll it up into a small package. The added advantage is that the keys are completely waterproof and dustproof. ($23.99 from www.thinkgeek.com)
USB Phone2PC - This handly little device is great if you want to keep a record of all your voice calls. It can be connected to most phones using an analog or digital connection and then it connects to the PC using USB.
A software is required to be installed which provides an easy-to-use interface to record incoming/outgoing calls. It includes an external microphone for recording meetings and interviews directly to the PC as well. (Rs 10,000 from www.ebay.in)

I'm surprised that such phone recording/tapping tools are easily available despite recording/tapping being illegal in several countries including India.

In the same technology section, ET gives Reliance 3G Tab a favorable review & 4 stars (out of 5). Reliance 3G Tab (Specs: 7-inch touchsceen,800 x 480 pixels,1.2Ghz processor,512MB RAM,4GB+microSD slot, 2MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM, accelerometer, Android 2.3, 380 g) sells for 12,990 INR.

The review points out three areas where the Reliance 3G Tab doesn't match up to something like the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab (P1000).

Firstly,the screen has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels the same as what a high-end smartphone offers and lower than the Galaxy's 1024 x 768.This means that the number of pixels per square inch (pixel density) is low.Secondly,the 800Mhz processor is a bit of a step down and it is noticeable at times with certain apps or when you scroll between screens too fast.Finally,the device is locked to the Reliance network,so you can't just use any SIM card you want.

In the end, they offer a nice suggestion -
If you'd rather not spend the extra,you can choose to buy the 3G Tab without a plan and pay just 12,999 upfront.You'll be using it just like a Wi-Fi tablet and later,you can opt for one of the discounted 3G advance rental or monthly plans.

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