Quick, call Maxwell Smart. We’ve identified a KAOS plot aimed at destroying American worker productivity. Now thanks to 3DConnexion, that evil plot to have 90 percent of Americans flying all over the globe using Google Earth—instead of working — just got easier, and thus more KAOtic.
When we reviewed 30-inch desktop LCD monitors from Dell, HP, and Samsung back in May 2007, we were left saddened by the large-screen state of affairs. These monstrous widescreens offering unparalleled 2560x1600 resolution seemed like the perfect fit for power users—if not for their inherent limitations. Unlike high-performance desktop LCDs of lesser size, these 30-inch panels lack an internal scaler (and Apple’s 30-inch Cinema Display is no different). The problem is that conventional monitor-scaling technology isn’t powerful enough to drive these screens’ 2560x1600 pixels.
We like Netgear’s EVA8000—a lot. Its industrial design fits in with the rest of our AV gear, its user interface is as elegant and polished as it is easy to use, it supports resolutions up to 1080p with an HDMI port, and that’s just the beginning. But if you buy one, make sure it has the latest firmware update before you do anything else. We couldn’t configure our review unit at all until we updated the software. With that housekeeping accomplished, we were on our way to streaming bliss. Although the EVA8000 has dual antennas, it’s still limited to 802.11g speeds and cannot reliably stream high-definition video content without a wire, but it delivered excellent image and audio quality.
We found some innovative ideas inside the MediaGate MG-350HD, but this streamer’s shortcomings far outweigh its assets. Designing the shell to accommodate an optional 3.5-inch hard drive, for instance, is brilliant; ditto for including logic enabling it to operate as a USB 2.0 host. This means it can not only behave as a NAS box but also copy images off your digital camera without you having to first fire up your PC. But we’re less enthused about having to do a reach-around to access the USB port, and the hard-drive interface is old-school IDE.
We received a ton of feedback on our reviews of Audio-Technica’s AT-PL50 and Ion Audio’s ITTUSB turntables in our May 2007 issue, but since we concluded that neither of those products was fabulous, we brought in this more upscale Stanton model for a look.
This month, we also reviewed the larger of iControl’s two starter kits, which consists of a wireless camera, a motion detector, an Intermatic Z-Wave lamp module, a door/window detector, a motion detector, a keychain remote, and a control module that plugs into your wireless router.
We nearly slapped WiLife’s Spy Camera Starter Kit with a Geek Tested: Disapproved label when we checked it out in our May 2007 issue. The camera was poorly disguised in the massive body of a fugly digital clock. But the company’s software was so impressive that we called in its Indoor Camera Starter Kit ($300) and an add-on outdoor camera ($230) for a full review. Each of WiLife’s cameras uses HomePlug powerline networking, so you need only plug the cameras into wall outlets, hook a USB receiver to your PC, and install the software. We had a two-camera system up and working within 15 minutes.
It’s hard to look at Thermaltake’s Big Typhoon VX cooler and not think one of two things: the most horrific joke you can make about size mattering and the current market price of the Dremel you’ll need to cut a hole in your case to make room for this Godzilla of a cooler.