Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mushkin Io 128GB SSD Review

I recently got my first solid state drive (SSD) as a gift from my girlfriend for our 5 year anniversary.  I picked out the Mushkin Io 128GB SSD and boy is it fast.  You truly don’t realize how much of a bottleneck your hard drive actually is until you have replaced it with a SSD.  Specifications wise, the Mushkin Io 128GB SSD features read speeds of 250MB/s and write speeds of 180MB/s.  The 128GB Io drive is built using NAND flash technology and uses the INDILINX “Barefoot” controller, which performs very nicely.

Mushkin’s Io SSD line of products comes in three different storage capacities: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.  The 128GB model is 2.5 inches which will fit in nicely into a notebook computer and even desktop systems (additional parts may be required for certain towers).  For example, with my 2008 Mac Pro, I had to purchase a bracket to hold the SSD in place.  I ended up purchasing one from TransIntl.  The Mushkin Io 128GB also features a nice 512Mb cache buffer.  According to the OverclockersClub benchmark tests, this drive came out on top in many aspects of each benchmark, beating out the Intel 80GB SSD ES and the Patriot Torqx (64GB and 128GB) SSD.

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Bowers & Wilkins P5 Review

A few months ago, I bought a pair of the Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones.  The headphones retail for $299.95 (a bit expensive, but so worth it).  The B&W P5’s are noise isolating headphones and are dubbed as a “Concert for One”.  Let me tell you, these bad boys are just that.  To put it bluntly – they kick ass.  The P5’s ear pads are made with memory foam covered by New Zealand sheep leather and boy are they comfy.  I used to hate listening to my music with headphones for extended periods of time.  Most of the time, I preferred to rock out to my Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 speakers, not so much anymore.

These are the first headphones to come out of B&W and just like the rest of their products, they are top notch, not only in sound but quality wise as well.  As I mentioned the ear pads are made of memory foam and sheep skin, the frame is made of metal – forget the plastic everyone else is using these days.  The light weight, low profile design of the P5’s make for comfortable long term use.  Unlike huge closed cans, such as the Koss MV1’s the P5’s can be wore in public without attracting negative attention.  I only say that because I can’t say that they won’t attract some positive attention.

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Wowd: A New Approach to Search

Wowd is perhaps one of the most interesting search company’s that you have never heard of, at least, yet.  Wowd is a search company but without the giant datacenters.  Intrigued?  Me too.  The way Wowd was describe to me by their CEO, Mark Drummond, is Skype for search.  How does it work?  Wowd offers a downloadable application which you can install on Windows, Mac, and certain Linux distributions and will keep track of pages you visit (don’t worry, everything is configurable and completely anonymous – Wowd knows nothing about its users), it then uses the users computer to process and index results.  By moving the brunt of the processing power to end-users this saves Wowd millions of dollars in expenses and also allows them to have relevant and fresh realtime search results from potentially the entire web before most of the competitors (Google, Bing, Yahoo, OneRiot, etc).

The key to Wowd’s success lies within the hands of the users that download the application.  It’s very important that Wowd is able to build a strong trust with them.  Wowd is well aware of that too.  Drummond, made note to point out their focus on user privacy during our telephone conversation multiple times ensuring that everything is completely anonymous and that all of the data is stored completely on your own computer.  According to Drummond, there have been approximately 100,000 downloads of their desktop application to date.  He also added that approximately 5% of their users end up downloading the software.

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We’re Back, Just Like We Said We’d Be Back.

Well, we’re back. It has been over two weeks, but I think the downtime will be beneficial in the end. While that may seem like an odd thing to say, it has allowed me to have a lot of much needed time off from the site. In the past few weeks, I have been able to relax and just enjoy time spent doing nothing. Something I previously, never could get myself to do. Before this entire fiasco, I was working on some market research (which I will continue to do now that everything is back online) to help improve BestTechie.  I have already received a number of responses which I’m currently analyzing and this input will help determine the future direction of BestTechie.

The downtime also allowed me to make changes to the sites design.  While I like the layout of the design, I felt we could do better.  Webair, the company who provides web hosting services to BestTechie was kind enough to offer their design services to assist with the changes.  Many of the changes are subtle, but we hope they will provide a better overall user experience.  We have redesigned the logo, the navigation bar, the footer, made changes to the headline and featured articles section, increased the image sizes for post thumbnails, and added sharing buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Buzz) on individual post pages.

However, there is some bad news to report as well. Unfortunately, we had to revert to an older database for the forums. The database is from mid-January, so there is a lot of content missing from the forums. While 5 months may seem like a lot of lost data (and it is), it could have been much worse. I’m asking for your help to rebuild what we lost. How can you help? The best way is to participate in the forums, ask/answer questions and join in on discussions. Thank you to everyone who offered their help and/or reached out to myself and the BestTechie community. I say it all the time, but we have the best web community out there.

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How To: Prepare for Travel with Technology

The summer travel season is right around the corner, and many BestTechie readers may be planning vacations and adventures.  However, going on vacation (or any type of trip for that matter) doesn’t mean you have to become disconnected from your electronic life.  This how-to will cover some of the key strategy’s for ensuring you are electronically prepared for whatever may come your way.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider what your primary communications device is going to be during your trip.  While smart-phones and hand-helds are very useful, the fact remains that they’re not as powerful as a notebook computer.  At the same time, while notebook computers are extremely useful, they do not offer internet connectivity without a hardwired or a wireless connection (WiFi or 3G).  Because of this you have to weigh your needs and your options carefully.  Additionally, packing a laptop is very convenient, as they offer USB ports which can charge other devices such as iPhones.  This can be useful if you find yourself in a situation where you have a limited number of power outlets.

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