Archives For Accessories

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:

The Jawbone Icon. Remixed.

Dave Zatz —  February 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

Last month, Aliph unleashed their latest Jawbone Bluetooth earpiece. And PC Magazine declares the Icon to be “the best-designed and potentially the most flexible Bluetooth headset on the market.”

Of course the Icon features Jawbone’s trademark “NoiseAssassin.” But the Icon should also expand Jawbone’s customer base as the lowest priced Jawbone (at launch) – coming in at $100. Interestingly, Aliph has probably confirmed what we already knew in that Apple is done making Bluetooth earpieces, given authorized usage of the iPhone Bluetooth charge indicator.

However, the most dramatic new Jawbone feature is the five MyTalk voices that ship (or can be downloaded) with your Bluetooth headset. Which Gizmodo calls “laughably cheesy.” I have to agree the personas are somewhat over the top and entertaining. But not quite as amusing as I’d like. And, unfortunately, I don’t have the skills to create the sort of soundboard I was envisioning or to remix the various personalities into something like Revolucian’s instant classic Christian Bale tribute (NSFW). However, Dan Dorato turned me on to Garage Band and I pulled together my very first compilation in about 25 minutes on a flight to Vegas yesterday. Click the triangular play button below…

:http://www.zatznotfunny.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Jawbone-Remix.mp3|titles=Jawbone-Remix

Mari and I recently took a look at Skinit’s line of gadget decals. Which are less about device protection and more about personalization. I skinned a buddy’s Droid with some urban camouflage ($15), while she skinned her netbook with the dastardly Duke Blue Devils ($20).

Our results were a bit mixed. The Droid skin job was excellent – no problem applying the 5 perfectly cut decals, which resulted in a slick looking handset. But Mari’s netbook experience left us a bit puzzled. It wasn’t quite clear which side of the skin was up, given hinge cutouts (?) that didn’t line up with anything, and we observed some crinkling on the edges. It’s possible we ordered the incorrect netbook model skin or the wrong one was sent out. (And Asus doesn’t help the situation with a multitude of similarly named model variations.)

Regardless, our skins were on the house for purposes of blogging. As yours will be. If you’d like to take Skinit for a spin, and they support tons of devices with tons of designs, simply leave a comment letting us know what sort of gadget you plan to adorn. We’ll randomly choose one winner in a few days.

Update: We’ve heard back from the Skinit folks. And do indeed have Mari’s Duke skin upside down in the photos. Although she did place it both ways, and neither looked exactly right. We’ll try another and blog the results.

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Fabulous parties and celebrity appearances aside, the Powermat booth tour may have been my best blogger experience at CES this year. And while I won’t make it out to Mobile World Congress later this month, I do have a few educated guesses on what the wireless-power company will be launching there.

The Powermat folks graciously guided me on a back-room tour at CES to show off several upcoming product lines. In the queue are new single- and dual-position charging mats (charge one, two, or three products at once), higher-powered mats to support netbooks (!), and sleeker mobile device cases. All of these products are officially due out in the spring, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Powermat jump the gun on that projection. The company recently sent out MWC emails inviting media to visit its booth at the show for the introduction of “its next line in wireless charging.” Hmm…

Just as important as Powermat’s near-term product launches, however, are the price reductions on the way (expense being one of my pet peeves), and the innovations planned for later this year and next. Currently Powermat offers a full-size charging mat for $99. That will drop to $79 for a three-position mat, $59 for the dual-position, and $39 for the single-position version.

On the innovation front, Powermat will soon start offering mobile device batteries that do away with the need for a custom case or Powermat charging tip. This is where wireless charging gets good. Imagine replacing the battery in your new Nexus One with a premium Powermat version. Then all you need to do when you get home is drop the phone on your charging mat, and you’re good to go. Best of all, Powermat is working with a programmable chip that lets it take standard silicon and adapt it for new mobile devices as they’re introduced. According to the company, it will be able to bring new Powermat batteries to market in a short four to six weeks – fast enough to keep up with the most popular new phone launches.

Oh yeah, and Powermat isn’t stopping with phones. Camera batteries are in the works for 2011. And I just gotta believe Powermat’s put in a few calls to Apple about that iPad. I can just hear the Power Pad jokes now.

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