Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hello? Can You Hear Me Now? A Jabra Stone Review

I've gone through about 4 Bluetooth headsets in my life. I find them very practical, and quite useful. I think everyone should have a handsfree headset in some form... but Bluetooth headsets really make things so convenient.

The first one I had was the original Ericsson HBH-10

Then came the SonyEricsson HBH-30

Then the SonyEricsson HBH-608...

Now, for the first time, I'm trying a new brand. Jabra has been in the BT headset business for quite some time now. They seem to have a decent track record, and they have really affordable headsets as well.

I decided to go for their extremely sleek Jabra Stone. This is one elegant headset. More so than the Jawbone headsets... which are beautiful in their own right, but I felt they still extended too far out towards the mouth.

Initial impressions of the Jabra Stone are very good. Voice recognition on my phone works pretty well in a noisy environment, without me having to speak loud. And I like the portable charger it comes with.

I haven't done any tests on battery life yet, will report on that soon... as well as the over-all noise cancellation system.

But for now, I've found a really decent, well-designed Bluetooth headset.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I can't wait for the X10 Mini to be released. Been waiting for quite a while to replace my mobile. Was never impressed with the iPhone, and I was very happy with my Symbian P1i til it died. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long for it.

Google's Android seems to be very stable, and well supported mobile platform now. Finally a decent replacement for the Symbian OS.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

charge up!

Now that almost everything is portable... batteries, both disposable and rechargeable, are everywhere.

Current consumer concerns are usually how to make their batteries last longer... whether it's trying to make you celfone charge last the day, or making your music player's internal battery life longer.

There are a few tips that can help preserve your rechargeable battery.

Try not to leave your device plugged in all the time. Trickle charging shortens over-all battery life. If you have a laptop that you want to use at home, remove the battery, if possible, when it's fully charged.

Do NOT completely drain lithium based batteries. Unlike the old school NiCd, or NiMH, lithium batteries do not like being completely discharged. Doing this can shorten the life of your battery, and in some cases keep it from charging at all.

Rechargeable batteries aren't the best for everything. Low drain, long-term use devices like remotes, smoke alarms, and emergency flashlights perform better when using disposable alkaline batteries. They are also better for the environment since the only need to be replaced every few years. Frequently used flashlights, however, should be run off NiMH for better performance. Wireless mice and keyboards also benefit well from NiMH.

Keep your device away from extreme heat. This may damage your device as well, aside from your battery. Batteries are not fond of extreme temperatures.

If you plan to not use your device for a while, store the battery fully charged. Keep away from all heat sources and direct sunlight.

Use specified chargers only! There is a danger of fire, or explosion, with lithium based batteries when not charged properly. Most electronic devices today have the proper temperature sensors and internal charging cut-off switches that monitor battery health, but some no-name brands, or counterfeit batteries and chargers do not... these are not very safe, and can go dead or cause a fire if over-charged even by a few minutes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



The latest incident in California was a chilling echo of the incident last August where off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor was killed along with his wife, her brother and the Saylors' 13-year-old daughter when the accelerator of the Lexus ES350 they were in got stuck.

Minutes later, the Toyota-manufactured vehicle slammed into the back of a sport utility vehicle at about 100mph, veered off the freeway, overturned and burst into flames. All four family members died."

Ok, most of us have heard the latest Toyota horror stories. Now, just in case this happens to you (even if you don't drive a Toyota)... emergency steps to be able to come to a stop in the event of an accelerator pedal malfunction.

Shut off your engine. You will lose power steering immediately, but this isn't critical at speed since power steering only works at low speeds (usually under 30kph/20mph). You will lose braking power as well, but only after 1-2 hard stomps. Shutting off the car will allow you to coast to a stop without going through some police chase scene avoiding traffic.

Once your car's engine is off, and you use up the remaining hydraulic pressure in your brakes... your car should be slow enough to be able to use your emergency brake (hand brake).

Forget the damage it will do to your engine. Forget that your brakes will probably burn out. Priority is survival. You will do far less damage by shutting of your engine, than by crashing into something.

**Just a special note for newer BMW owners with the keyless entry option, to do an emergency engine shut off, press the START button 3 times, or hold it down til the engine shuts off**

Friday, March 5, 2010

Site of the day: How Stuff Works

Ever wonder:
How an engine works?
How to apply for a loan?
How to save for your retirement?
Or how the UN works?

One of my favorite sites to visit every now and then, How Stuff Works has articles on almost every field of interest. From automotive, to food, to people, to money, to science. Very informative, and very concise. Great source of useful, and trivial, information!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

flu season...

Is your computer protected? Beware of those pop-up ads that claim your computer is infected. Those are usually false ads that install malicious programs onto your computer.

Be careful when opening email attachments... even from known contacts. Unless you're expecting one, always confirm with the sender if they really sent out an email to you.

That being said, these are 2 of my favorite anti-virus programs. One for PC, and the other for Mac. Now that Apple has gained more market share, their claim of being virus free no longer stands... this holds true specially for the new breed of Intel based Mac. Although not as susceptible to viruses as PC, there are a growing number of Mac specific viruses out there already as well.

AVG is my all-time favorite anti-virus. It's small, fast, and best of all, free for home/personal use. I rarely get false positives with this one (unlike some other popular AV programs that think EVERYTHING is a virus) and it doesn't consume much resources from your computer. If you don't have an anti-virus program installed on your PC, I highly recommend AVG Free.

iAntivirus is one of the free programs for Mac. Although my Mac hasn't been infected by anything (at least not anything iAV knows of) it's a small, quick program that should give Mac users a relatively decent virus protection. Again, since Macs have only recently started to gain virus susceptibility, AV programs are still in their infancy and not all Macs can get infected (older ones less likely) ... but, for the little resources this program takes up, it's a good option if you think your Mac may have a virus.


I've always preferred Firefox as my internet browser. I try to keep my add-ons to a minimum to keep things streamlined. But being a GMail user has led me to one of my favorite add-ons. Gmail Manager by Todd Long.

It's a very small and discreet program that works in the background and notifies you of any email you have received. It can work with multiple accounts, including Google Apps email.

What's your favorite Firefox add-on and why?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's... not magic...

Small gripe. I bought a Magic Mouse to work with my Mac Mini, which is my HTPC... as I learned the hard way...


That's kinda retarded. Apple (of all companies) should have a custom script that recognizes any Apple Bluetooth mouse in the area and auto pair. I don't expect the scroll to work without the new software, but I did expect basic mouse functions.

It was kinda annoying to have to dig out my old mouse just to set up my new one on my Mac Mini. Although I know it's an inherent design flaw in Bluetooth mice and keyboards, but I would've thought they fixed that in the BIOS by now.

Past Tech Gospels

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