Archive for the ‘Electronics’ Category

Case Lighting with the CorsairLink Lighting Node and h100i CPU Cooler

March 31st, 2014 5 comments


Feeling like my computer needed some modifications I decided it was time to add some lighting to it.  With that big window in the side of it, adding some lights to show off the hardware inside just made sense.  In the past I had used a cold cathode tube to light my case which worked well but was limited to a single color.  Today, multi-color or RGB LEDs are common for case lighting and these would be my light source of choice.  With them I could light my case with any color I’d like and be able to change it on the fly. Definitely cool stuff!

When I built my new computer last fall I installed a Corsair h100i water cooler to keep the CPU cool.  One of the features of this cooler is Corsair’s CorsairLink which allows you to monitor the temperature of the water cooler, set the fan speed either based on the temperature or at a fixed speed and even change the color of the little LED that illuminates the Corsair logo on the pump block (color also can be based on temp or fixed) all from an application installed on your PC.  CorsairLink is not limited to just owners of the h100i however.  Corsair sells a module they call the CorsairLink Commander which allows you to control up to 8 channels of CorsairLink accessories like fan controllers, temp sensors and even LED case lighting.  For my computer it was the LED lighting accessory, the CorsairLink Lighting Node, that I was most interested in.

When I first looked into the CorsairLink Lighting Node it seemed like I might need to buy a CorsairLink Commander to use it.  While the lighting node is only $30, the commander runs about $55.  With no plans to use it to control fans (I use the Asus AI Suite software along with the fan headers on the motherboard) the Commander seemed like a lot of extra money to spend just to use the lighting node.  I thought to myself, “maybe I can use the h100i to control it?  It does seem to have a port that isn’t being used that looks just like the ones on the Commander.”  Of course Corsair’s website was no help in determining if the h100i could be used to control the lighting node but, the users of the forums seemed to be indicating that it could.  With fair confidence that it would work I went ahead and ordered it and guess what?  It works!


Unpacking the Corsair Link Lighting Node

The CorsairLink Lighting Node comes in OEM packaging, simply a small pCorsairLink Lighting Node Kit Contentslain brown box with the Corsair logo and a sticker to identify the part. In side the box you will find the following: Read more…

iPhone 4

September 14th, 2010 No comments

iPhone4I’ve had my iPhone 4 since July and I gotta say, it’s pretty great!  Now that I’ve had the phone for a couple months I thought it was time to post a brief review.

Before I ever seen the phone in person I already knew everything about it.  I watched the entire hour long video of the Apple announcement and after I was finished I knew I needed to upgrade from my 3G!  Sure, nothing in the release would I call truly revolutionary, but seeing the number of improvements to the phone from the 3G I just knew I had to have one.  The big question was would I be eligible?

From the video I knew that if I were eligible for upgrade anytime within the year that I could upgrade immediately.  I had bought my 3G in March of 2009 and I assumed that I wouldn’t be eligible for two years so I figured I wasn’t eligible and have to wait until March 2011.  I put the phone out of my mind for a month or two, but it called to me.  I had to go and check it out!

I went to the local AT&T store shortly after to go see the new phone first hand.  The first thing I noticed was the new sleek design.  The phone looked thinner and much more sleep.  Kind of like the difference between an IBM Thinkpad and your average Dell or HP laptop.  The second thing I noticed was the screen.  I of course already knew the screen had a much higher resolution; a resolution so high you couldn’t see the pixels, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal.  Wow what a difference!  Everything on the screen is so sharp!  The edges of the text, the icons, the buttons… they are all so smooth!  It was really incredible!  Of course after a couple months now I’m used to it, but it still is somewhat stunning.  Especially when I take a look at my old 3G.  The screen on that phone looks terrible to me now!

After I got past the beauty of the screen, the next thing I noticed was the responsiveness of the phone.  Everything reacted faster to my input.  The web pages loaded twice and fast and all the animations were super smooth!  After loading my 3G with over 100 apps, it definitely felt a little slow and the 4.0 update didn’t help.  The iPhone 4 made the 3G feel like Windows Vista on a Pentium III computer with 512 MB RAM!  The speed improvements alone were enough to sell me!  I talked to the AT&T representative at the store to see if there was any chance I was upgrade eligible.  When the answer came back yes I put in my order!

That brings us to now.  Past the initial features that really had me sold on the phone, I’ve been very impressed with all the other new feature as well.  One that really shocked me was the camera on the phone.  I had always thought of cameras on phones as more of a gimmick than useful because the always sucked.  The camera on my 3G was the best phone camera I’ve had before, but even it still sucked.  The camera on the iPhone 4 amazingly doesn’t suck!  In fact it is actually really good!  The first time I noticed just how good it was was when I used it on a business trip for work to take some photos indoors.  Even with the flash off, the photos were amazingly clear!  They weren’t duper grainy or blurry like I would have expected from a phone.  They’re remarkably good!  Take a look in the samples below.  (Note: I can’t show you the indoor work photos.  Intellectual Property an stuff.  One from Walmart will have to do!)

IMG_0008 IMG_0028 IMG_0032 IMG_0070 

The quality of the camera didn’t just stop at photos though.  I really liked the fact that the phone included an 720p HD video camera and I was even more delighted to find out how good it is!  The video is smooth and like the photos, very clear!  For a moment I actually felt like I didn’t need my digital camera anymore!  Of course then I came to my senses and remembered that my digital camera is 12 MP and has optical zoom and as a camera is definitely superior.  I will still definitely be using my digicam to take my vacation photos, but for the everyday photos the iPhone 4 camera is really quite good.  It’s certainly much more convenient to keep around since my phone is always on me anyway!  A sample video from the phone can be seen below.

Metroparks Zoo - Rhino VideoTo download the raw video(105 MB), right-click and select Save As…

Overall I’m really happy with the iPhone 4 and for anyone considering upgrading from a previous model, I highly recommend it!

iPhone Review

May 4th, 2009 No comments

The last entry was about how I caved in, went against my anti-Apple stance and got an iPhone.  While I still hold my stance on that most Apple products are crap, I do like this one.  After a month of use, I can now have a pretty solid opinion of the phone so this post is intended as a review.

There are two things that really make the iPhone great: the interface, and the apps.

The Interface

The interface is clean, visually appealing, and very easy to use.  The large LED touch screen makes reading the options and navigating through them a breeze.  So much so that even my Dad wanted one almost purely for this reason.  He was sick of dealing with the tiny, hard to navigate, hard to read menus of the cheaper phones.  The interface on the iPhone was a welcome relief for him and he’d probably have one too if he could have gotten Mom to cave.  (Ohh well.  he can have my phone if the next generation iPhone is worth upgrading to.)  The phone is a platform where there are no standards on how an interface should look thus every manufacturer has something different.  They all work but, none of them compare to the iPhone.  The interface on the iPhone is robust and intuitive, a combination that you just don’t find on most phones.  If they sold a version of the phone that didn’t require a data package thus all internet features wouldn’t work without WiFi, I bet they’d easily sell millions purely because of the interface.

The Apps

While the interface is great, the apps are what really gives the iPhone its power.  Everything on the phone, and I mean EVERYTHING, is an app.  The iPod software, an app.  The clock, an app.  The calendar, an app.  The camera, an app.  Even text, mail, the phonebook, the phone, even the settings themselves are really just apps; they just have access to more

Read more…

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Yeah I Bought an iPhone

May 2nd, 2009 No comments

Well I’ve gone and done it. I never thought it would really happen, but it did. A little over a month ago I was sucked in and got an iPhone.

Anyone who knows me knows I am by no means an Apple fan. In fact I downright despise Apple and their superb marketing that gets every moron on the planet to buy or at least want their inferior products.  To me Apple has always been about looks over actual Apple iPhonefunctionality.  Yes, the casing of the product does look nice but, the software is crap.  They remove so much of the customizability in order to make everything idiot proof and in doing so they make any advanced operation either impossible or a real pain in the ass.  To make it worse they’ll charge you a large price premium over what are functionally much better products from their competitors. To this day I still hold this point of view however, for one product I do make an exception.  The iPhone is Apple’s one unique piece of hardware that I just have to admit is a great product.

Back when the iPhone first came out I thought, "ohh god another crappy product from Apple that everyone is gonna go ape shit over." As people lined up in front of the stores and hailed it as the "Jesus Phone" my hatred for it only grew (Anyone who camps outside a store to be the first to get any product seriously needs to get a life IMO).  As time went by the hype died down, but the sales continued to climb. It picked up again when the 3G came out, but not to the point where it just plain annoyed me like it did with the first generation.  I still hated it because it was Apple, but after it became the #1 selling phone on the planet I thought maybe there’s actually something to this.  Around this time I was getting due to be eligible for a phone upgrade and the iPhone had been out long enough to prove its worth so I started giving it a look.  I heard about all the cool things it could do and how it actually had a GOOD internet browser on it so I became intrigued.

Up until the iPhone, there had been several "smart" phones before, but none of them really seemed to pull off the portable computer aspect in a way that really worked.  They were all too business oriented containing tons of features that I would never use and while they had the ability to browse the web, their interface for it sucked balls and thus would also probably never get used. If it couldn’t do it well then there was no point in getting it thus for the longest time all I wanted in my phone was the ability to make calls, something the free phones could do just fine.  The iPhone was the first "smart" phone built for the consumer that could not only browse the web, but supposedly could actually do it well!  In fact I had heard it could do a lot of things well so I thought, "maybe this is the first one worth getting," and I started to price one out.

Using AT&T’s site I put a plan together to see what it’d cost.  Ehh.  It’s way more than my calls only plan and I had never really tried the phone out so I couldn’t really justify it so I just let the idea sit.  A few months later everyone on my family plan was eligible for upgrades so I started looking at phones again.  I was pretty set on getting the LG Shine as it seemed to be a basic phone with the additional features I actually wanted so I thought this will be a nice upgrade over the crappy free flip phone I had.  A few days later my buddy then goes and gets himself a new phone. He convinced his parents to buy him an iPhone so of course I had to check it out for myself first hand.  After playing with it for a good 2 hours I was convinced.

I was just amazed by everything the phone could do! I knew it could do some cool things, but I didn’t realize to what extent.  Maps, GPS , weather, news, social networking, and more!  The entire knowledge of the internet in the palm of my hand where ever I go!  This was no meager step up in abilities over a normal phone.  What I was holding was truly the next generation of portable communications device!  It did it all and it did it well.  I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t want to believe it.  Apple had actually made a good product!

I spent the next two weeks debating with myself whether to get it or not.  While it was an impressive machine, it still did cost a lot.  Cost aside though, there was also the fact that I’d be going so against my stance on Apple products that it felt hypocritical to get one.  But after seeing what it could do, I no longer just wanted an ordinary cell phone.  Anything less would feel like settling for disappointment so I rationalized the decision with this: This platform, the phone, is unique.  One where the normal conventions of what an electronic device should be do not apply.  While truly all that a cell phone really needs to be is just that, a phone, with so many different phones available the definition of what a cell phone is has become blurred.  It is no longer about being able to make calls but about being able to communicate in every way possible.  It’s about being able to cram the ability to do as many things as possible into a single device and the ability to do them well.  When you look at cell phones that way, the iPhone is really your only choice.  A couple of product demonstration videos on Apple’s site later and I was sold.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve had the phone for about a month now and I’m still really happy with it.  It’s great being able to lookup the phone number to anything right from your phone and to be able to get directions where ever you are without having to seek out a computer or Wi-Fi hotspot.  Access to email at anytime is also great and the interface to everything is so clean.  I don’t think I’d ever be able to go back to a regular phone again.

Categories: Electronics, Sit Reps Tags:

DVI to HDMI Cables. Must be the Expensive Kind!

February 1st, 2008 No comments

20080131_0074Having the fancy new 1080p LCD TV I now needed a DVI to HDMI cable so I could hook my computer up to it.  I picked one up off NewEgg (great place to get these kind of things for cheap) and about 3 days later it arrived.  I pulled it out of the package and it’s your standard DVI to HDMI cable as one would expect.  It’s hooked up and it works great but, I noticed something strange on the packaging.  Take a look in the pictures and tell me if you can spot what’s wrong. 20080131_0075 It’s something one just wouldn’t expect on a product like this.  Have you spotted it yet?

Notice the USB 2.0 logo.  Why the hell would a DVI to HDMI cable have a USB 2.0 logo on it?  There’s nothing USB about the cable at all.  Even if you look in the diagram on the front, the only connection they show that isn’t HDMI is IEEE 1394 a.k.a. FireWire.  Where the heck does USB 2.0 come in?  I mean if it has the logo that’s suppose to mean the product is USB 2.0 certified.  How can a product that has nothing to do with USB be USB 2.0 certified?  Crazy!  Clearly this cable isn’t made by an American company.  Anyway, I got a kick out of it.  Hope you did too.

Categories: Electronics, Random Tags: