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I've used several of these PCI network cards to connect a Desktop PC to a wireless network.
Although this model can connect at 802.11g 54mbps and backwards (b, a), it still offers a decent speed and more importantly reliable and solid connection so long as your router has a good range.
I have found that even when the signal strength isn't the best, the Cisco Aironet card and its ariel will connect where other cheaper adapters won't.
It also has a length of cable for the ariel (which has a stand to sit on a desktop or where ever). Other cards have the ariel connected directly to the card itself and I've found that sometimes does offer the best chance of getting the strongest wireless signal.
Components and built quality, as you'd expect with Cisco, are high quality. Installation is straight forward, just a case of popping in the driver disc to install.
If you want to be sure you won't have issues connecting to your wireless network, I'd recommend this and other Cisco adapters.
If you have run out of network ports or need a small compact but high performance 100meg switch, you can't go far wrong with the Netgear FS105.
It's a really well built piece of kit with a metal construction and will take the knocks and perform for years at a time. The weight of thing gives you confidence that decent quality components have been used and you really are getting what you pay for with this model.
It runs via an external 7.5v power supply (supplied) and has five RJ45 Ethernet ports (one auto sensing uplink and four 10/100 switch ports) along with corresponding data transmission led's both per port and traffic/collision light to the side of the ports. It also has a power light.
There isn't a power switch, so if the power supply is connect, it's on until you either pull it out or switch off at the plug.
With rubber feet it will sit on a shelf nicely, but it's small enough to go pretty much anywhere being only 16cm wide, 10cm deep and 3cm high.
I've never had any problems with this switch and it hasn't ever seemed to need a reboot like some others I've experience over prolonged use. It's also very quiet.
I'd recommend this to anyone who needs a small switch for their business or home network. Plug it in and go.
If you look after networks, or other network devices such as routers or switches, then you'll need no introduction to the Console cable.
What this does is allow you to connect via the serial connection of your PC (normally a laptop) to use what is called the CLI (command line interface). Out of the box, a cisco will come with either basic config, or no useable config so the first job you have is to connect you console cable and get started on the configuration.
I'm not sure how many cable's that Startech sell, but due to the fact that you get an official Cisco cable with every new device, not many. However, it does exactly the same job as the official cable and is around a foot longer, which is handy when you are out in the field. Most Cisco console connections are at the rear of the device (expect the larger core routers) and so having the extra length allows you more felxability to work.
The only downside to using this cable is that Cisco now produce thier console cables with a RJ45 at one end and a Serial 9pin at the other, ready to go 'as is'. This cable has a RJ45 at both ends, meaning you also need a serial 9pin adapter to use it with your PC serial port.
I would expect one to be included, but it doesn't seem so.
There is another version of this cable that does have a serial at one end. Buy that instead, unless you have a need for RJ45 at both ends.
If you read my full size dual layer DVD reviews on Dooyoo and Ciao you'll realise that you have to be very careful what you buy.
It's been my experience that only Vertbatim Dual Layer DVD's work without any issues and I half expected the smaller 8cm discs to be the same.
However, I've used other brands such as Memorex and they seem to work equally as well as these Verbatim discs. That said, if I had a choice between these discs and another make, I'd always choose Verbatim. I've used a lot of discs to record important footage and I've not had a single problem so far.
They have a 'hard coat' which offers protection from scratches and these discs will always be my first choice for dual layer 8cm discs.
The discs are sold in a box of five and as most people will now be recording in HD, I normally find that I get around 40 minutes recording time per disc.
If you are going to print anything more than letters and emails etc for your HP printer, you have to buy the XL version of the 350 cartridge.
It offers a good amount of pages, even graphics heavy print outs.
I don't buy the 350xl very often as I refill, which works well with this cartridge (although the manufactures recommend against doing it etc). Normally I get at least three or four refills and because it's high capacity and holds a good amount of ink.
I do have to admit though, that there is nothing like the quality of an original and 'virgin' print cartridge for top notch print out, especially photos. I'm not saying there is a massive difference, but I can always notice the difference when comparing.
Therefore, it is true when HP say that you get superior quality buy using genuine ink cartridges.
Not cheap, although the price is coming down if you shop around, but very high print and build quality
The problem with this cartridge is not its quality of print, which is excellent - it's just that it has such low capacity that it run's out really quickly.
You really can't do much more than print letters or emails for any length of time without running on empty.
What makes matter worse is that the cartridge is still quite expensive even at less than £10. I'm not sure why HP produces these low capacity cartridges as most people who buy them must be surprised to find how little they print before running out.
The cynic in me says that they produce these low capacity cartridges to make the ongoing costs seem more affordable, but that's not really the reality unless you are an ultra-light user just print the odd letter or whatever.
The answer really is to bring down the price of cartridges in general and not have to produce cheaper low capacity options just to make seem affordable.
So, unless you really do get a great deal, are prepared to refill or have very light use in mind I'd steer clear and purchase the larger XL capacity version of this cartridge - but that will cost you a lot more.
I've used inkjet refill kits for years now.
It all started when I bought an Epson way back when. I remember hearing about how you could refill your printer cartridges rather than have to but new, which ramped up the costs of printing considerably.
The costs of ink cartridges has increased even more over the years and the printers themselves tend to be sold at what would seem a 'value' price. It's only when you realise that ink cartridges cost a small fortune that you realise the printer itself is almost a lost leader to get you into what tends to be a cartel of expensive.
The ink in these cartridges costs more than gold in weight terms if buying a branded product, I really have to wonder how people afford some of the cartridges you see for HP printers, they are seriously expensive compared to how many pages you'd expect to print.
The standard capacity cartridges you can buy, again on the HP range, are next to useless if you are printing photos. They run out so quickly.
Even compatible cartridges are fairly expensive.
But I'll stop ranting about how expensive print cartridges are... the answer is a refill kit. The product that the manufactures warn you against using... and I wonder why?!?... I've never damaged a printer by using a refilled cartridge, has anyone else?
Anyway, the average refill kit will allow you to reuse a cartridge a few times. I've found the process is fairly straight forward, but can be quite messy and frustrating on occasion.
Refilling cartridges (in my experience) works best before they run out. Look to refill the first time your printer warns of low ink. If you refill after the ink has run out, leave some time for the ink to 'work though' the cartridge and settle before using it for anything more than a short print run. Again, just my experience - mostly with HP printers which I have used for sometime now.
Ok, so the quality is not quite as good as buying a brand new branded cartridge, but it's not that different to justify the increased cost in my opinion.
I will continue to use refill kits until cartridge prices become affordable.
A live near a Tesco store and always buy this value ream of paper for every day use in my printer. It's actually quite decent quality for the price, which is only around £2.50.
It's thick enough to be able to print fairly well on both sides without a huge amount of 'see through', which is a surprise as its only 75gsm.
Quite obviously, having this loaded into your printer for all the standard everyday uses such as printing a booking confirmation or email is a great choice and very economical compared to 'branded paper'.
Anything that you need printing in a higher quality for presentation use or a photo, then you'd use more suitable more specialist (and more expensive) paper.
When I've got a lot a printing to do, this is always a great choice to keep the costs right down.
Overall, you can't really go wrong with this paper. I works really well and is surprising good quality and great value. I can't fault it for £2.50.
So, you've got a camcorder, a phone or a keyboard that could do with that annoying dirt and dust removing from the hard to reach places?... this is marketed as the solution.
Is it? Well, this is a soft putty and is similar to a pot of green slime you've probably seen in a toy shop (it can't be that far removed from that product to be honest but I'm no expert in chemistry!).
It's sold on two main benefits; one being that it can clean cavities where conventional cleaners fail and also kills germs while it cleans. Apparently an average computer keyboard harbours more germs than a toilet seat... and this will help resolve that nasty little problem.
I have no way of testing if it does significantly reduce germs on your keyboard but I assume it's fairly effective.
That said, I'd recommend you give whatever you are cleaning a bit of a traditional clean as best you can prior to using the Cyber Clean putty otherwise it will soon get 'gunked up' with dirt. Nasty!
I've tried this on a phone and my video camera's and it worked reasonably well. It does get into the areas you just can't normally reach such as a very narrow indent or small button. You fo get a slight residue after use, but its not really a problem.
If you are looking to 'spruce up' something to sell on ebay or whatever, this is also useful to get gadgets things looking fresh and clean.
Give it a go, you'll know if you need it or not by the devices that you own and the state they get into it!
Works well on a keyboard, but that's not the only use.
I've used one of these energy saving plugs on a cable TV receiver for a while now. The receiver gets very warm even when on standby and that got me thinking how much power it was using. Having looked at the reviews of the unit online it seems that it uses upto 75% of its normal power consumption in standby!
I wasn't having that waste of electricity, so I've grabbed one of the Lime Green saver plugs.
You plug it in, press the button on the unit, which puts it into 'program mode'. This means you point your devices remote control at the little receiver connected by a cable to the plug and choose a button you'd like to turn the power on and off with. I just used the power button, but the choice is yours!
Once you have done that, you can turn the power completely off or on via that button on your remote control.
The receiver comes with a little sticky pad so that you can attach it somewhere around the device or out of the way under your TV or whatever. It doesn't have to be absolutely 'line of sight' of the remote control but it helps. Consider it the same as changing a channel on your TV with your remote control.
There are two main reasons for buying this energy saving device.
1. Save money by ensuring all your peripherals are turned completely off rather than on standby or left on when you turn your PC off.
2. Have a way to have a simple way control the power to all devices at once based on whether you PC is on or off.
An example of this is that I have a PC Jukebox set up. It has a PC base unit, a touch screen and an amplifier all are on by default when they get power. I wanted a way to have a single press that would either turn everything on or off at once.
So, I press the PCs power button and everything will turn on... and when I'm done a single press or the PCs power button will shut down and also cut the power to the monitor and the amp.
This works by having the PC connected to the master socket on top. The adapter knows when the PC is powered on and when it is shut down. It either supply's or cuts the power to the other sockets accordingly.
You can also connect a plug board to the other sockets if you have more than two peripherals to control.
A really good way to avoid having devices powered or in standby when your PC is turned off.
I was looking for a way to mount my Samsung compact HD camera (see my R10 review) that wasn't just a small ridged mini tripod.
At just 15cm high and a few wide, the Gorrillapod looked perfect as it has three 'bendy' legs that can be wrapped around something, or bend on an uneven surface or allow a fairly secure way to put a camera somewhere a bigger tripod just can't do.
An example would be on a stage, wrapped around a mic stand or pole. Maybe wrapped around something from above pointing down or at an angle of your choice (it grips to give you enough confidence it will not fall off!). Perhaps around the branch of a tree, or attached to an instrument... whatever!
This is the kind of flexibility the Gorrillapod offers.
Bear in mind though, that you can't safely mount any camera above the specified weight. Check that before you buy, I've seen different weight specs on the Joby's depending on which you buy.
If you do mount something too heavy, it will become 'top heavy' or too much for the legs to handle. Be careful and don't push your luck on that one!
The design feels nice and strong and the legs are made with interlocking knuckles that can move freely independently. The feet have a rubber cap that sticks well to most surfaces I've tried. This design enables you allow slight adjusts to set the tripod down in a secure way on pretty much any surface even if the difference between the levels of the surface you are setting down on is a few inches, say a step or a rock for example.
The camera mounting plate (standard fixing) is small and has a grips nice a securely. It also has good rotation movement and sits on top of yet another knuckle that also has its own independent movement. That gives you huge flexibility and options for adjustment of camera direction.
Flexible joints bend and rotate in any direction to form the perfect shape
Locking ring means extra security for your compact camera
Slimline attachment stays connected to your camera for nearly instant setup
Ring and foot grips provide extra gripping power to most surfaces
Dimensions: 15 x 3 x 3 cm, weighs just 45.3 grams.
I was looking for a Bluetooth USB adapter a while back for an older laptop that we take on holiday and on the face of it has a half decent spec.
You should find this model has a range of 100 meters, which for a small device like this is very good but others that look identical are listed as having a 30 meter range. Check that before you buy, not that it really matters as you should need more than 30 meters range?
I can't remember exactly how much I paid, but it was only a few pounds and just bear in mind that I also have an almost identical version of this adpater that cost me... wait for it... £1 from Poundland!
You could say that I'm a serial collector of Bluetooth adapters, but I love buying cheap accessories so I can put one in the laptop bag, another with in my connectors / leads bag, another with my travel kit etc...etc. You get the picture. I do the same with memory sticks and audio leads. What I am like!!!
Anyway, the point is - do not pay more than a few pounds for this and expect to find it at a bargin store or sold very cheaply online.
The adapter is really small and only sticks out of the USB port around 10mm which is slightly more than some of the other micro Bluetooth adapters I own and use (see my other reviews). It also has a nice rounded design which help ensure it doesn't catch on anything (important for laptop use).
I kid you not that it installed via Windows XP in about 3 seconds. Probably the fastest install I've ever experienced for a device like this. It didn't request drivers, it just installed. I ran my Bluetooth software (I use free software called BlueSoleil) and bingo, connectivity not just to my mobile phones, but it can support voice data for skype or whatever.
You will be able to download drivers if you need to and compatibility is listed as all Windows versions except old skool, Windows 95 - but if you are still using that, well...
I can't really offer any criticism of this product due to its amazingly low price to be honest.
On the face of it, it's as good as a 'known brand' cost much more. Ok, the build quality isn't quite as good and it sticks out from the USB a little more, but that's all.
I've taken a look at other reviews of this Bluetooth dongle on Amazon and it seems that people either love this product or they have real issues getting it to work.
Well, in my experience it was easy to install... plug it in and it works, Windows XP and Windows 7. I didn't need to use the driver disc. It may be down to service packs or whatever, but I wasn't expecting any issues to be honest. I've used various makes of Bluetooth adapter and most install 'plug and play' or just request the driver CD, and it installs.
I would assume that you need to have either Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 if you want to be sure you'll not have installation issues, probably with the latest service packs available as well (but this is just my assumption).
So, as the name suggests, this Bluetooth adapter is tiny, and once it's plugged into a USB port is only sticks out around 5mm, so can be permanently installed into a laptop without having to worry about catching it on something and damaging the device, or worse still your laptop USB port.
This has good connection range of around 10 meters (bear in mind you can buy adapters with a larger range if you need it, such as 100 meters) and it's Bluetooth 2.0 which offer very fast speeds (it states up to 3 times faster than standard Bluetooth) if you are transferring data or whatever. That said, you'd not notice the speed difference so much if you are just using a mouse or controller to be honest. For some, that extra speed will be important though I am sure.
Going back to the range, if 10 meters isn't enough, there is a 25 meter version of this adapter (likely at a higher cost).
For a laptop or PC user without Bluetooth installed on your system as standard, this adapter (or one like it) is just the ticket to get you connected to your mobile phone, or to use a compatible wireless mouse or other device. It's so small, you will forget it's installed and it will not get in the way.
Key features (taken from the Trust website):
*Very compact sized USB adapter to add Bluetooth 2.1® wireless technology to your notebook or PC
*Ultra small design that fully integrates with your notebook when plugged in, no need to remove adapter
*Instantly use your Bluetooth mouse on your notebook without (un)plugging the USB adapter
*Create a wireless connection between your notebook/PC and Bluetooth devices
*Bluetooth 2.1 technology: up to 3 times faster than standard Bluetooth
*Also works with previous Bluetooth versions
*USB adapter with Bluetooth 2.1 wireless technology
*CD-ROM with drivers, software and user's manual
*Windows 7, Vista or XP
*Other device (including drivers) with Bluetooth wireless technology such as a Bluetooth mouse
I use two of these monitors for work, and have been happy enough with them.
I have used, and still use, Dell monitors of the same kind of specification and price. The Philip's model is matt metallic silver, in stark comparison to the majority of other LCD monitor's which are black.
This is ok, so long as you are happy with that colour. It will look odd if you have a black keyboard, mouse and speaker for example. That's purely a cosmetic thing, but definitely your first consideration before looking into anything else.
So, if you are happy with the colour.
The quality and functions is pretty much what you would expect from an entry level model like this. It's big enough, but not widescreen. It handles a decent resolution and the screen is fairly crisp and clear without pulling up any trees to make you think "wow!" this looks great.
Brightness and contrast is good and you can manually control what you would normally expect to, but there is a good auto mode that does it all for you based on your system.
Connections are basic, just a VGA cable input and power - nothing else. That offers limited options, but you are getting what you pay for here.
The bottom line is here, if you are looking for a run-on-the-mill but decent quality monitor, this is ok. You'll get the same kind of spec from other manufactures at the same price. They are pretty much the same if you pay around this amount.
Reliability is good in my experience. I've had no problems over three years of day-after-day use.