Archive for the 'hardware' Category

Sony Vaio keyboard help needed!

Terrible 2's and laptops!

I have a Sony Vaio laptop (model VGN- SZ3VWP). Unfortunately our 2yr old decided a while back that most of the keys on the keyboard were superfluous and he pried them off (see above). He was so proud!!!

There doesn’t appear to be a Sony repair center in Seville – well the only ones I could find were for audio/hi-fi and didn’t want to know about laptops! The keyboard appears to be beyond repair, (though I’d love to have someone tell me otherwise) so I probably need to find some way to get it replaced.

If I could get my hands on a keyboard, I’d have a go at replacing it myself.

Anyone any suggestions on the best way to proceed with this might be?

Will Audeo be the Universal Translator?

A new prototype device, called The Audeo was demonstrated recently (see the video below). The Audeo is a neckband which you can train to read your brain signals and speak what you want to say!

Why would you want to do that? Is this just the gimmick for the world’s laziest person?

Well, in the video, the presenter gives two use cases, the obvious one is for sufferers of Lou Gehrigs disease, or similar who have lost the power of speech. The other, less obvious is if you are in a crowded situation and want to have a confidential phone call (as demonstrated).

The device is still a little rough (it is very slow, and has quite a limited vocabulary) but there is no doubt that it will improve over time.

The first concerns I had when seeing this was, do I really want this device telling everyone what I am thinking? But according to the New Scientist article on The Audeo, this will not be an issue:

Users needn’t worry about that the system voicing their inner thoughts though. Callahan says producing signals for the Audeo to decipher requires “a level above thinking”. Users must think specifically about voicing words for them to be picked up by the equipment.

Now, if only they could build translation into it as well, you would have the universal translator. I think in English, and it speaks in the language of my audience! 10 years tops it will happen I reckon!

via Mike

Fancy becoming Telekinetic?

The BBC are reporting today that a US/Australian firm Emotiv has developed a headset which:

reads electrical impulses in the brain and translates them into commands that a video game can accept and control the game dynamically

This is the headset in action:

The headset is due to go on sale later this year for around $299.

I wonder though if there are more worthwhile uses of this technology. I’m thinking particularly of applications for people with disabilities…

LCD TV sales surpass CRT for first time in Q4 07

I read a report this morning which said that in the fourth quarter of ‘07, sales of LCD TV’s passed CRT for the first time:

LCD TVs captured a 47% share of the global TV market, which reached 60.8 million units in the fourth quarter of the year. CRT TVs held a 46% share while RPTVs and plasma display panel (PDP) TVs are estimated at 7%.

The only thing which surprised me about this report was the fact that 46% of people are still buying CRT’s! With the imminent move to HDTV, why would anyone investing in a TV now buy one that will be hopelessly out of date in a few short years (not to mention the far larger footprint of CRTs)?

Microsoft Wireless Laser Keyboard 6000 not very wireless!

I bought a Microsoft Wireless Laser Keyboard 6000 V2.0 a few weeks back because I needed an ergonomic keyboard (was suffering from an RSI) and went wireless to avoid cable clutter.

However, I have had lots of issues with the reception on the wireless devices. They report poor signal quality when 2-3 centimeters apart!

Low signal quality?

How hard can it be to get a keyboard and mouse working wirelessly? Apple have been doing this properly for ages. Of course Apple use Bluetooth instead of some bloody proprietary wired dongle which doesn’t work, takes up a USB port and adds a large cable to your desktop!

If only Apple did an ergonomic keyboard…

I was bemused then to note today that Microsoft are bringing out the Wireless Laser Keyboard 7000. It has a glass border around the keyboard to maintain the Vista Aero branding.

I only hope they remember to get the wireless part functioning this time!

Is the iPod Touch the ultimate Internet tablet?

I recorded a video on Seesmic yesterday on why I think the iPod Touch is a spectacular Internet Tablet. It has an amazing screen, great UI, and tiny form factor.

Seesmic now includes the ability to embed videos you record there, so rather than go over it again I thought I’d embed the video here. The quality of Seesmic videos is poor, sorry about that!

A lot of the functionality I’m referring to in the iPod Touch is new and was announced at MacWorld 2008 earlier this week.