Archives For Accessories

Here at ZNF, we’re very selective in the product samples we choose to receive. Yet, every now and then, gadgets just magically appear – with no indication who sent an item… or how to return it.

As is the case with the Yamaha PSG-01S SoundGadget ($220) pictured above. I’m sure it’s a fine USB-powered PC Skype speakerphone (4 mics, 2 speakers), but it’s not something I’d use. And frankly, reviewing a speakerphone doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun… even though the Sound Gadget does double duty as a computer stereo speaker array.

But, as a public service, here are some related links should you want to learn more:

With that out of the way, if you like what you see, entering the Yamaha PSG-01S SoundGadget giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) We’ll choose the winner at random in a few days.

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Prettying Up the iPad

Mari Silbey —  July 9, 2010

As some fabulous soul on Twitter pointed out, this may very well be the best iPad decal ever. (Discovered and blogged over at The Next Web) But if your tastes don’t trend toward children’s literature, you might swing by Skinit for a look at other options. I didn’t have the best luck with Skinit for my Asus netbook, but I grant that part of my experience had to do with not applying the decal in the right direction the first time. (Odd design to fit an oddly curved computer) Dave had better luck, and Skinit’s got some nice graphics tricked out specifically for the latest Apple machine.

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My cell phone photos live in limbo. I like to take them, and occasionally show them off, but I rarely manage to transfer them anywhere for permanent keeping. So when I saw a tweet recommendation from Brad Linder for a refurb Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer on sale for $25, I gave in to impulse and ordered one on the spot. (Thanks, Brad)

The PoGo printer performs as advertised. It’s got an AC power adapter for charging, and connects to your mobile phone via Bluetooth or USB. After years of owning phones with the Bluetooth disabled, I still tend to forget about the short-range wireless option. But my Droid Eris paired with the PoGo over Bluetooth immediately, and after less than a minute of processing, I saw my first cell phone photo on a 2″x3″ printout.

The Pogo prints are decent quality, and the no-edge format distinctly reminds me of a Moo card. That said, the colors did seem to fade a bit after the first printing, and you certainly wouldn’t use a PoGo printer to win any photography prizes. For casual or craft use, though, the PoGo is great. Want to include a photo with a thank-you card? Or make a family-tree pictorial for a school project? The PoGo printer is a handy solution.

As with any photo printer, the big catch in the deal is the cost of the photo paper. Luckily, the no-ink Zink paper that goes with the PoGo Printer isn’t overly expensive. The cost for a 30-pack of 2″x3″ paper seems to range from just under $9 to $12. The Pogo Printer itself ships at regular price for $39 from Amazon.

TiVo kindly overnighted the new Wireless N Network Adapter ($90) for a ZNF unboxing and giveaway.

Unlike their 802.11g USB TiVo adapter, this is more of a “network bridge” in a pretty sleek package. Other than the serious cable clutter, which won’t fly in my household. As a wireless bridge, the adapter connects to a TiVo (Premiere, Series3, TiVoHD, S2 DT) via Ethernet rather than USB — and needs to be configured beyond the DVR. WPS-enabled wireless routers should provide two click configuration with the adapter in client mode. However, I got this unit going in bridge mode simply by connecting it to my laptop via Ethernet and browsing to 192.168.10.1, where I provided my network details. As I utilize a hidden SSID, of limited security benefit, I jumped out of the wizard and into the manual configuration area. However, setup is quite straightforward and presented much more clearly than my ASUS bridge. (Find TiVo’s adapter manual here.) Those with more than one device to wire and some network savvy may prefer buying or building an access point for the same money. Although you won’t be treated to the TiVo branding seen on the Wireless N Network adapter, splitter cable, and power adapter.

Entering the TiVo Wireless N Network Adapter giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment below. (US residents in the lower 48 only, please.) I’ll choose one winner at random in a few days.

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While it’s not exactly the first TiVo Premiere accessory on the market (that’d be the USB modem or any keyboard), TiVo’s 802.11n wireless adapter is now shipping. Order it online today from TiVo.com and Amazon for $90, or pick it up in person from Best Buy later this week. It should maximize, or at least enhance, the Premiere’s speed boost for those who aren’t hardwired, although $90 isn’t an amazing deal. But it does come in less than the possibly overpriced Xbox 360 802.11n adapter (MSRP $100) that Microsoft offers gamers.

The prototype I saw in Vegas at CES looked like a jumbo version of the orignal TiVo wireless adapter ($45-$60), which isn’t going anywhere. However, instead of a single USB cable that channels both data and power, the Wireless N adapter utilizes a Y-shaped cable, which forks into a Ethernet run and a power adapter. So, it’s not quite as clean a solution for the clutter-obsessed. Given the adapter’s physical network connectivity, it will work fine with prior TiVo units (and probably non-TiVo gear). Although Series3 and TiVo HD owners are never going to see the sorts of transfer speeds that the Premiere offers.

As for me, I have a secondary wireless router (802.11n, AEBS) in the entertainment center which extends my network while providing three Ethernet jacks — one of which the Premiere currently utilizes. The bedroom TiVo (S3) rotates between an original TiVo wireless adapter and a USB-powered ASUS 802.11g wireless bridge, providing significantly faster speeds due to it’s Ethernet connection and related to TiVo’s architecture.

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UPDATE: Engadget is reporting a major recall of Targus adapters. Buyer beware.

Ever been short a power cord? Or an outlet? Targus has a solution. The Targus Premium Laptop Charger comes with one slim power adapter that splits in two for simultaneous charging of a laptop and mobile device. The product also bundles in a car adapter, and a wide selection of tips for different laptop/netbook models. Since I’m often on the go, I took Targus up on the offer of a review unit.

First of all, I tend to be skeptical of any product that includes adapter tips. It can be hard to find the right tip for your device, quality is often questionable, and tips are easy to lose. Initially it seemed Targus was an exception. I snapped up adapter tip L107 (as indicated by the manual for Asus laptops), popped it in to my computer, and it immediately appeared to start charging. Unfortunately, some time later my computer shut off unexpectedly. I didn’t have time then to investigate, but in attempting to charge my Asus again later in the day with the Targus adapter, the same thing happened. I plugged in my regular charger and discovered I’d dropped down to 1% power. There was no low-battery alert. Nothing except sudden shut-down.

As it turns out, I didn’t have the right adapter. Targus shipped me a new one immediately (the L124), and it does indeed charge as advertised.

Putting aside my experience for a moment, Targus does include a lot in its adapter package. The Premium Laptop Charger comes with tips for laptops/netbooks made by HP, Compaq, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Gateway, IBM, Lenovo, Asus, Sony, Panasonic, and Fujitsu. Targus even includes a handy tip clip for keeping an extra tip close at hand – in case you want to switch up your machine. And if you register your product, Targus promises free tips for future laptops and cell phones. That means if the tip you need isn’t in the package, you too can have a new one sent out – free except for shipping.

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On the mobile side, the Targus package includes a mini USB tip, which will power most cell phones now, and a tip for Apple iPods and iPhones. I had no problems juicing up my phone.

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There’s a ton of soulless marketing department Twitter accounts out there, so it’s refreshing to see some real dialog from project management. As Joe Ambeault offers under the Verizon @FiOSTV banner. And a few days back he essentially confirmed they intend to “certify” several off-the-shelf eSATA drives, such as the 1TB Western Digital solution, to expand DVR recording capacity. Maybe not as timely as customers would have liked, but now you know it’s in the works. A sampling of related tweets: