Sony Vaio W

When netbooks first appeared the choice was simple- the Asus Eee. While the Asus had it’s fans, I found it less than inspiring and couldn’t imagine it standing up to the rigors of daily use. It didn’t look very good either. Since growing in popularity an increasing number of manufacturers have begun producing their own netbooks, and the quality and design of these mini-laptops has improved dramatically. More choice generally makes for harder decision so now that I am interested it’s tough to settle on one model. Sony may have made it easier.
Their recently introduced Sony Vaio Mini W feature an Intel Atom 1.66GHz processor, a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, Bluetooth, MemoryStick / SD card reader, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. The 10.1-inch LED screen has a higher than normal resolution of 1366 x 768 pixel, which may save you some horizontal scrolling on some sites. Unfortunately the battery life is reportedly only 3hrs which may be a deal breaker.

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Loop memory drive

It’s not the most capacious nor advanced but it does excel at it’s intended use.

Technology comes full circle. A simple geometric shape adds fun and function to this 2Gb USB travel drive. The lanyard and bold shape ensure that it won’t get lost amid your other travel accessories. The sealed plastic shell is durable and easy to clean, and the cleverly-designed shape creates a substantial spot for holding, inserting and removing.

See here.

The Ecoso Powerstick

The Ecoso Powerstick is a dramatic change from the portable power devices I have seen in the past. It’s size and sleek design are probably the first thing you will notice, followed by the equally cool integrated LCD readout on the side. Very useful.
The Powerstick is easy to use – Plug it into a USB port to charge. With the appropriate connector, plug the Powerstick into your device’s charger port, press the start button, and your device has instant power. You can even use the device while it charges. The Powerstick comes with nine free connectors for various possible mobile devices.
The simplicity and portability of the Powerstick make this a great addition to your gear bag. It’s $69.95.


The Wi-Fire is a compact, range-extending USB device that enables you to access a wireless Internet connection from up to 1,000 feet away–three times the range of your internal wireless adapter. Works with Mac or WinPC.
hField Wi-Fire

The Kindle Flop

Amazon’s attempt at a wireless e-book. The distribution model is excellent (US only though) but with an incredibly restrictive DRM it ignores the basic behaviour of the book buyer. People want to be able to own, share, reference, and covet their books. None of this is possible with the Kindle. Nice attempt but hopefully doomed to failure. It’s $400!

A new class of portable computer

Yes I definitely see one of these in my near future. The iPod touch will be for those of us in Asia the closest we will likely ever get to owning an iPhone and really I’m not entirely convinced that the iPhone would be the most obvious choice a for pocket sized mobile. I keep my phone in my pocket or at hand and detest those buckle holsters. But what will be interesting about ths device is whether it will find a use for people like me. People who have long since given up on pdas.
But is this a pda? The most significant aspect of the iPod touch introduction is that it marks the emergence of a class of portable computer that can surf the Web, listen to music and watch video, all from a server. This plus a bevy of media and productivity apps that are extremely easy and delightful to use. Not entirely new but done far better than anything before. If we can get Skype, Mail, an Ebook reader, and the ability to take extended notes then I can imagine seldom needing another device on the road. The laptop would stay home. I’m sure all this along with increased disk space and reduced pricing will happen in time. I know I will be buying one as soon as they are introduced here in Taiwan. So is this an introduction of a portable hand held device that we will actually want to use?

Bedford Smart Recharge Station

In an attempt to reduce all the cable and wire clutter in my office I currently use a section of flexible tubing I got from IKEA to gather all my device wires together. It works fine but it looks like the hack it is. This Bedford Smart Recharge Station is a more elegant solution for those who like to have a more refined look to their office than I have to date. It comes with a little drawer to hide your knickknacks in and is available in a few different colours. If you were enterprising enough you could build (1) your own (2). The Bedford Station is available at Pottery Barn for $79.00US.

Belkin Mouse Trap


Belkin’s Mouse Trap zips up to carry a mouse and other small items around the house, for use with your laptop. Open it up and use it as a portable mouse pad. Mouse Trap is perfect for moving from your bed to the couch to the dining-room table.

A portable work surface that doubles as a bag to carry your small bits of gear. It’s washable and available in a number of fashionable colours. I haven’t seen anyone use a mousepad in years, otherwise it looks useful, but for the café dweller more than in home use. Who needs to be that organised at home.
Belkin Mousetrap (press release)

Belkin Flip: Monitor sharing

The Belkin Flip is a somewhat attractive and more elegant implementation of the ugly brown monitor switch boxes I see in all the diy shops in Taiwan. Though I hate the idea of adding more wires to my desktop this looks like an excellent way to manage both my server and my laptop from the same location. I do wonder if having to use a vga adaptor would be a comprise in terms of quality. From Pop Gadget:

It’s simple. Just place the remote anywhere on your desk and press to flip your monitor from one computer to another. You can also connect your old and new desktop computers, giving you instant access to files, programs, and games on both computers. Besides letting you share one monitor, keyboard, and mouse between computers, it also enables you to share one set of speakers, handy when the good ones are connected to the desktop.
Supports both PC and Mac notebook and desktop computers; features a 2-color LED that indicates which computer your Flip is accessing; comes with 2 cables to connect computers and is also available with a wireless remote.

Prices range from $49.00 US to $79.00 US. Via Pop Gadget.

DriveMate Portable Hard Drive

RadTech recently introduced new models of it’s Drivemate portable hard disk drives. The DriveMate is a “rugged and compact” 1 inch hard drive with an option of hardware-based secure token encryption (independent of platform). The devices slim-head usb cable won’t block adjacent ports on your laptop.
Fast enough for all but the most demanding of applications, this looks like a viable solution for mobile back-ups and secure storage of data while on the road. Just make sure you keep an unencrypted version of your data elsewhere because if the hardware encryption becomes damaged you could lose your data forever.
The DriveMate is available in 2 and 8gb models with prices starting at $74.95US.

Asuka Mobile TV

Visiting the local Sogo last week I wandered bored to the top floor AV department to lust over objects that I cannot afford. I found this interesting gem of a device displayed beside a large Pioneer 42-inch plasma. It would seem like an ill thought way of displaying such a product but whether planned or not it did prove just how good the image quality is becoming on these devices. If you must have Mobile Digital TV than this might be the gadget for you. The company Asuka Semiconductor, a Taiwan-based digital TV (DTV)-module solution provider and system design house, claims that the ARA K-60 is the world’s smallest handheld digital TV.

The ARA K-60 is equipped with a 3-inch low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT-LCD panel display (960×240 pixels) and a built-in telescopic antenna. A polymer battery allows up to three hours of DTV broadcast reception. The ARA K-60 is fully compliant with DVB-T standards and can therefore receive Digital TV and radio broadcasts. The ARA K-60 can also operate as a set-top box (STB), through its A/V output and A/V cord. The unit can also support moderate mobility, between 40-80km per hour. Source.

While I can attest to the picture quality I can’t imagine using the device without an added hard drive. Do people really watch that much TV?
Asuka Semi-conductor.

Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo

I still find myself getting confused with all the Intel processor nomenclature but if you have been waiting on a new notebook then now is the time. The latest Apple MacBook Pro comes with Intel’s latest Core 2 Duo processors with speeds ranging from 2.16 to 2.33 GHz and screen sizes of 15″ (1440 x 900) and 17″ (1680 x 1050). Confusion aside these laptops should be considerably faster. Other features include 1GB – 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 memory out of the box — expandable up to 3GB, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics, a 6x Dual-Layer SuperDrive, and both FireWire 400 and 800 ports. It includes an excellent software suite and if you must it will run windows. Certainly one of the best laptops on the market. Competitively priced at $1999-$2799.00US.

OFFI Overlap Tray

Being mobile doesn’t always mean heading to a café, traveling on a business trip, or working on the beach drinking fruity coladas. The beach part likely never happens. Sometimes it’s great to just grab your laptop and sit on the patio, the couch, or in my case the roof. To keep that productivity churning you need a good work surface and the OFFI Overlap Tray is as solid and attractive a surface you will find. “The overlap tray has ample room for your laptop, a convenient trough for your newspaper and a home for your cup of coffee. The bone shape cutout allows for left- or right-handed use”. The Overlap Tray is available in birch ($99.00US) or walnut ($139.00US). Available at the Design Republic.

Aiptek’s My Note Digi-Notepad

From core77: “Aiptek’s My Note digi-notepad can be taken anywhere, to record notes, doodles or any other info that you need captured to upload onto your compy via USB. The device features an approximate 20-hour battery life and is predicted to retail around USD$150.” As might be expected, Windows only.
Aiptek is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of number of Hand Writing, Digital Video, Wireless Communication and Opto-Electronic technologies products. Based about a 5 minute drive from my studio, Aiptek was previously known to me as a low cost option in PocketDV cameras. Though the My Note digi-notepad looks great I would be weary of their software support. Software (drivers) tend to be one of the weakness’s of companies such as this.

Mobile Power – myPower ALL

Trying to stay mobile with your mobile devices is a definite challenge with the seemingly ever increasing power requirements that these devices introduce. I hate the constant checking of multiple batteries, chargers, and how they all clutter up my bag. While we wait for the next great portable power technology to emerge, there are many companies trying to come up with interim solutions. Tekkeon’s attempt is the sleek attractive and awkwardly named myPower ALL – a universal lithium polymer rechargeable battery pack. It’s designed to power just about any portable device. The myPower ALL is housed in a black and silver case, it measures 3.28″ x 6.8″, 0.92″ deep and weighs a mere 330g. It ships with a leather travel case, with a belt loop on its backside; an AC power adapter, power cord, a set of 8 starter adapter plugs. They don’t have adaptors for every device so you need to check beforehand. Of course like any battery powered solution actual usage dictates it’s effectiveness. I’m not convinced that carrying around one big power brick is more convenient than a number of smaller ones. The myPower ALL retails for approx. $120.00US.