Hate the Glare on your Unibody MacBook Pro? RadTech has a solution.

Radtech_ClearCal_MacBook_01

Who was the brilliant mind that thought glossy screens were cool? Add glossy and reflective together and you have a recipe for a lot of frustration by a lot of users. Not all users mind though. But I’m not one of them. If you have the display angled just perfectly away from lights from the ceiling and from windows, the glossy & reflective displays looks quite nice. If you don’t have that option the glossy & reflective display can drive you nuts. But don’t worry, RadTech has a solution for you.

RadTech’s ClearCal is an “anti-glare film for computer displays.” I received a ClearCal that is “Perfect for Apple MacBook” with a 13.3-inch display. The claims of the company are:

  • Eliminates Glare on Glossy Displays
  • Reduces Eyestrain & Distractions
  • Protects Screen from Impacts & Abrasions
  • Reduced Smudging when Touched

You see the picture above? That’s a nice reflection of the square light coming from the ceiling. Now look at the picture below.

Radtech_ClearCal_MacBook_02

That picture-perfect reflection has been nicely diffused. The ClearCal does a very good job of getting rid of glare and reflections. But. There’s always a but. I have extremely sensitive vision. My wife, who is an optometrist, says that I’m very picky. Although glare and reflections are greatly reduced, the ClearCal film adds a bit of, shall I say, speckle. I’m not sure if that’s the right word. A bit of noise is introduced to the display, similar to when you increase a DSLR’s ISO setting from 100 to 400. The rocks that you see in the picture are a bit less smooth. You’ll have to see it with your own eyes, if you can see it at all. Fortunately, the ClearCal film doesn’t reduce the brightness of the screen. For US$19.95 this a very affordable solution if you’re getting annoyed by your glossy & reflective unibody MacBook Pro and you can’t see the speckle I’m talking about, most likely you won’t. You can find more information about RadTech’s ClearCal at its website.

Note: As some of you may have noticed, the picture shows a white 13.3-inch MacBook. The ClearCal that came was much bigger than the 13.3-inch LCD. Necessarily so since it was designed for the unibody LCD glass covered MacBook. Since RadTech doesn’t make a ClearCal for non-unibody MacBooks, there is no other choice. I did put the ClearCal on my white MacBook and it worked very well. If I had the nerve to cut it down to size the glare & reflection problem on my white MacBook would definitely go away.

Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905a: 8.1 Megapixel Cameraphone on AT&T

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Wired: The Sony Ericsson Cybershot C905a will be the highest resolution cameraphone on AT&T with 8.1 megapixels. Of course, you and I know better to think that picture quality is higher just because there are more pixels. It is often the opposite. We’ll see when reviews come in. Specs for the C905a’s camera: face detection, autofocus, Xenon flash, GPS tagging. I would like to see more companies move toward high ISO image sensors rather than adding a flash. The reason being that using flash generally makes for less-than-ideal pictures. My moto when it comes to photography is to use, whenever possible, natural light. But that’s just me.

According to Michael Woodward, vice president at AT&T mobility, the C905a is “the best camera available in a mobile phone today…” I’m not sure if Woodward’s claim has any merit; I’ll let the professional reviewers to tell me whether the C905a is the best or not. But I’m inclined to believe that the C905a’s picture-taking abilities will be pretty good.

The 2.4-inch scratch-resistant LCD on the C905a looks to be slightly on the small side. For a quick comparison the iPhone has a 3.5-inch scratch-resistant LCD. The resolution is 240 x 320 (portrait), which is on the low side. Again, to compare, the iPhone has 320 x 480, twice as more. Even if the C905a takes great pictures, I have a feeling the experience will be less than spectacular thanks to the small and low-resolution LCD. And I guess Sony will never learn. Just throw away Memory Stick and ‘stick’ to SD. Is it that hard to internally kill Memory Stick?

US$230: That’s the price of the C905a out the door. You do get a $50 mail-in-rebate in the form of a AT&T promotion card, whatever that means. Just sell the C905a for $199 and trust me AT&T you’ll get more sales. Of course, with a $99 iPhone 3G right next to it, I’m not sure how much more you’ll sell even at $149.

Samsung SyncMaster F2380: 23-inch LCD Monitor

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Vertically Capable 130mm or 5.12-inches. That’s the vertical range that the SyncMaster F2380 has. The smaller 20-inch F2080 has it too. Samsung incorporated a telescoping mount, which I think is a wonderful idea and much better than other height-adjusting methods. Looks good too.

S-PVA Viewing angles are 178/178. Contrast ratio is 3000:1. Samsung says that dynamic contrast ratio is 150,000:1, but that’s just marketing speak–don’t put too much faith in that. The 178/178 viewing angles suggest that the F2380 is using the company’s S-PVA LCD panel. And that’s important when you pivot this 23-inch monitor. Monitors using TN (like the one I have: HP w2408) is simply terrible in portrait mode.

Thin Bezel I do not like thick bezels, which reminds me of monitors of yore. The F2380 has a bezel that is just 15mm or 0.59-inch. The LCD is also almost flush with the bezel with the difference at just 2.5mm or slightly less than 0.1-inch. These specs might not sound that big of a deal, but when you put these next to thick-bezeled monitors the difference is night and day. A thin bezel makes multi-monitor solutions much better: there is less of a break between content and the physical chassis takes less space.

16:9 This is unfortunate. Samsung bills the F2380 (and F2080) as a business monitor and yet the LCD sports a 16:9 aspect ratio. I’m not sure what Samsung’s product planning team was thinking. I don’t think IT managers or any executives in a company would want workers to be thinking that they should watch 1080p HD content on their brand new 16:9 monitors from Samsung. I’m guessing the resolution is 1920 x 1080 for the F2380.

100% sRGB Color professionals rejoice: color gamut is improved, I think, to 100% sRGB. What is it in NTSC? Or is that spec not important anymore?

The price is KRW450,000 (about US$345) for the F2380 and KRW378,000 (about US$290) for the F2080.

Source: Samsung (Korean) via Engadget

Matrox M9148 LP PCIe x16: Four 30-inch at 2560 x 1600 via DisplayPort

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Need to drive four 30-inch monitors at 2560 x 1600? Don’t want to get two graphics cards? Don’t have the motherboard that supports two PCIe x16 connections? Matrox has the solution: M9148 LP PCIe x16. It has four DisplayPort connections that can each drive resolutions up to 2560 x 1600. Beautiful. The M9148 comes with 1GB of memory and features a low-profile form factor. Thanks Paul for the tip!

Source: Matrox

Apple iBook: 9.7-inch Slate

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9.7-inch Multitouch Slate The rumor is back. Apple’s iBook, a solid name IMO for a device geared to compete against Amazon’s Kindle and other ebook readers, will sport a multitouch 9.7-inch TFT LCD integrated into a slate. I don’t think it will be netbook like many others are guessing. I’ve guessed that too. But I’ve changed my mind. Why? When Apple was building the thinnest notebook PC in the world the company could have gone with a smaller display, say a 12-inch or 10-inch, but decided not to and go with a 13.3-inch. There were probably a million reasons but one critical reason was that a full-sized keyboard could be integrated into a 13.3-inch LCD-based chassis. Most will agree that one of Apple’s main mantras is usability and that goes against the concept of a netbook as we know it today.

No E Ink I don’t think Apple is using an E Ink-type display either. There are too many disadvantages compared to a regular LCD. Sure it lasts a long long time and readability is excellent, similar but not quite like paper. But the advantages ends there. You want look at a picture? Only in black and white. Yes, E Ink and others are working on color displays but you’ll need to hold your breath for a good long while. Video? Out of the question. Want to zoom in by pinching? It won’t look pretty if at all possible due to the slow response times. Instead, Apple will use a TFT LCD. Power consumption is down so you can get a full day’s work on those with the current battery technology. Most of us get back home (or somewhere else) that has a plug at the end of each day. A TFT LCD is fast and is color and can be integrated with multitouch. I see this as a no brainer.

According to China Times, Wintek and Dynapack has already received orders from Apple and Foxconn will be the main manufacturer. Engadget is stating that this iBook will be available in October and go for around US$800.

Review: Casio EXILIM EX-FC100

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I want you to know a couple of things before I start this review. First, I am not a professional photographer. I have spent a bit too much money on a DSLR and a nice lens but I had to get them. Second, I simply like taking photos but most of the time I wish I had a smaller camera than my Canon 20D. A compact camera that takes DSLR-like pictures seems impossible to get. I think the new Olympus E-P1 is very promising but is quite expensive. With the 17mm that I would get, the total price comes to a whopping US$899.99 at Amazon. With that out of the way, I got a chance to review Casio’s EXILIM EX-FC100. Now, I don’t have all the tools to give you detailed specifications so what I will do is to give you a layman’s review of the EX-FC100. Let’s start with the conclusion.

Conclusion The EX-FC100 is a fine compact camera if you take pictures mostly when there is a lot of light. The HD record feature is pretty good but again only when there is a lot of light. Low-light performance for both pictures and videos is simply terrible. There is too much noise. My Canon IXUS 70 (bought it in Korea; in the US is PowerShot SD1000) does a much better job. The EX-FC100 retails for US$349.99 and can be found on Amazon for US$278.95. With the conclusion out of the way, let’s get into more specifics. Continue reading →

Coca-Cola Freestyle Up Close

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Here is what Coca-Cola’s new Freestyle looks a bit closer up. The company’s Freestyle is a new beverage dispenser that incorporates a touch LCD. As you can see it is pretty nifty: you simply touch the beverage you want (water is on the bottom right) and then I’m guessing you click the ‘POUR’ button. And off you go sippin’. Cool.

Vizio LCD TVs Do Not Infringe Funai Patents

On July 8, 2009 the United States Customs and Border Protection agency issued a ruling stating that all current Vizio TVs do not infringe Funai Electric’s US Patent No 6,115,074 (‘074). That means Vizio can go about its business of importing its TVs into the US. What is oxymoronic is that Funai’s ‘074 patent was issued a Final Rejection by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) back on March 13, 2009. Not surprisingly Vizio has filed a lawsuit against Funai for unlawfully and unfairly discriminating against Vizio. FYI, Funai is the company that bought the rights to the Philips TV brand for five years in the US and Canada.

Source: DigiTimes

NEC Versa Pro J UltraLight Type VS: $1000 Ultra-Thin Ultra-Light Netbook

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Photo source: Akihabara News

NEC‘s Versa Pro J UltraLite Type VS (what a model name!) is a netbook that is just 15.8mm thick. In inches that’s just 0.62. The Versa Pro J UltraLite Type VS’ weight is really ultra-light at just 752g or 1.65lbs! Yes, it is extremely thin and weighs almost nothing, for a netbook. But there is a problem that I can already see.

No Trackpad I know there are many folks who like that little joystick next to the J key, but there are a ton more who don’t. NEC will need to stick on a trackpad by moving up the keyboard to get more sales. The keyboard is a typical Japanese keyboard with the vertical enter/return key and I hope if NEC decides to bring this UltraLite to the US the company will make sure that the right shift key is large, about as large as two alphanumeric keys.

Versa Pro J UltraLite Type VS Specifications

  • Display: 10-inch
  • CPU: 1.86GHz Atom
  • GPU: Intel GMA500
  • Storage: 64GB SSD
  • Availability: Japan in July
  • Price: About US$1000 (introductory)

Astronomical The price that is. $1000 for a netbook?!? Not very tempted (I am a bit tempted just to have it in my bag but not actually to use) even if it is ultra-thin and ultra-light. I’ll take my full-blown $999 MacBook any day over this.