Oban’s Penseive

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Archive for the ‘Cool Tech’ Category

Logitech diNovo Edge + Macbook = Cool

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I absolutley love my diNovo keyboard! It just looks so cool in my living room. The thin, sleek design fits perfectly with my new plasma screen. I don’t need to hide it away like my old media center keyboard. In fact, its more of a conversation piece than any art I’ve ever had.

I have to admit that the main reason I got this was because it was expensive and hard to find. Christmas was coming soon, and I have a tradition of sorts of putting the coolest items of the season on my wishlist. I had just bought a new Macbook in November and needed something so that I could navigate while the laptop was hooked to the big screen.

According to Logitech, the diNovo is only compatible with Windows based systems. Well, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Afterall, that guy on the Apple comercials liked to tout now Apple was compatable with everything. Sure enough, when I finally got the puppy, I was able to pair it no problem. I did have some issues when the computer would restart or go to sleeep. In those cases, I’d have to use the laptop’s trackpad to reestablish the blue tooth connection.

When I setup my Macbook Pro (that I upgraded to after the Macbook was stolen), I was pleasantly surprised to find that the keyboard no longer had these issues. I still don’t know if it was just my Macbook that was having issues, or if all would. It seems to me that things should have worked the same for both computers. I tried to find an answer online, but couldn’t locate anything conclusive.

I did, however, stumble upon a useful guide to setting up some of the keyboards additional functionality that wasn’t arouind when I first received it. On his site 5ThirtyOne.com, Derek Punsaian presents a great article and tutorial (with video) talking about the diNovo’s features and how to get the most out of it with a Macbook. The reason Logitech doesn’t make compatability claims is that the diNovo featrues many multimedia and custom action buttons that require drivers that don’t exist for OS X. I honestly didn’t miss any of these functions before I read Derek’s blog. I think the keyboard is cool enough without them. But I understand how many would be hesitant to pay the price for this keyboard and not be able to use all of it’s cool features. The tutorial shows how the keys can be mapped to their correct action using ControllerMate, an inexpensive yet powerful program for remapping all sorts of devices to perform custom actions. It’s pretty slick.

I don’t know why anyone would use this keyboard at a desktop, but for writing your blog from your living room recliner, this keyboard just can’t be beat.

Written by oban89

February 22, 2007 at 11:56

Posted in Cool Tech, Gadgets, myStuff

I want to know nownow!

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I’m really starting to dig Amazon’s new mobile answer service, nownow.com. The concept is to allow mobile users to get answers to questions without having to search the web. They just e-mail nownow from their cell phone (SMS support coming soon), and the questioun is researched by Mechanical Turk workers. Up to 3 answers for each question sent and the user has the option to rate the answers in order to encourage quality over time.

I was a bit skeptical at first. The service is free during the invitaiton-only beta, but the yet-to-be-announced pricing could be as high as $0.25 per question. I can see how something simple like “What’s the phone number of Piecora’s pizza in Seattle?” would probably net accurate responses, but couldn’t see myself paying to receive 3 e-mails with the same number. What I didn’t expect, was the quality of answers for more detailed questions. For example, when I first heard about the lenghtening of daylight savings time in the US, I was at lunch. I sent in a question and within 15 minutes or so had 3 detailed and comprehensive answers on my cell phone.

Workers are paid $0.02-$0.03 per answer. That’s it. I was wondering why they would do such good research for so little, so I sent in a question and asked*. While anyone who goes to Mechanical Turk can answer a question, I get the sense that there’s a sort of community of people who work these on a regular basis. They mentioned the sense of helpfulness, knowing they are providing information that an individual needs (as opposed to something that will be aggregated, etc). There’s also a pool of bonus money that’s distributed each week to the workers with the most “great” answer votes. Unfortunatley, not everyone bothers to vote (one worker estimated about 1/3 vote). It’s as simple as replying to the email you receive with “great”, “like”, or “lame”. I’m going to bet a reminder to vote gets built into the system soon.

Written by oban89

February 20, 2007 at 21:47

Posted in Amazon, Cool Tech, NowNow