New smart Wi-Fi Router review part two — Linksys EA3500

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This week we’re going to look at the second router in my three-part series on the latest offering from Cisco / Linksys, and for this post we’re going to step it up a notch with the Linksys EA3500, targeted at folks with slightly more sophisticated network needs.

If you haven’t read my previous post on the EA2700, take a moment and do that now. It’ll give you a good framework to build upon, because that’s what Linksys has done with this router series and the EA3500 in particular; taken everything that’s great about the EA2700 and made it better while adding a few new features, at a slightly different price point, of course. Continue reading “New smart Wi-Fi Router review part two — Linksys EA3500”

New smart Wi-Fi Router review – Linksys EA2700

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Since the last time I looked at home Routers, home networking has gotten more complex. These days, folks are hooking up almost everything to their home network, either wired or wirelessly: game consoles, audio systems, tablets, handheld gaming devices… the list goes on. And older routers have occasionally been cranky when mixing brands and types — causing more network headaches.

That being said, home networking just got much easier with the recent introduction of the new smart Wi-Fi router lineup from Linksys.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be looking at three members of this linup — starting with the powerful Linksys EA2700.

Continue reading “New smart Wi-Fi Router review – Linksys EA2700”

Powering your devices while on the go — Morphie Powerstation review

Earlier this year, I attended SXSWi (South by SouthWest interactive) and immersed myself in social media, gamification, and technology. Oh yeah, there was the odd party or two 😉

Being that this was my first time in Austin, I relied heavily on my technology to keep me on schedule and help me navigate this unfamiliar city. Using 4G was a treat, the best I get back home in Edmonton is 3G. But boy, does navigation really suck up the bandwidth. And power!

Yet, in order to be effective at that crazy SXSWi you have to be at all the events all over the convention core. And the tech is on *all the time*.

Which meant that while I was mobile, I was using up my iPhone’s battery faster than I normally do.

Luckily for me, I’d taken the excellent advice of Liz Strauss and picked up a Morphie Juice box — basically just a very smart, fast charging battery box that’s pretty much the same size and shape as an iPhone 4.

And it works, as advertised. Kept me mobile and my devices in use — I wasn’t tethered to a wall outlet for significant periods of time — as many other seemed to be.

Initially charging the 400mAh battery pack took around four hours, using my iPhone charger adapter and an included mini-USB cord. The Powerstation doesn’t come with it’s own wall adapter; use your own.

Then, it’s basically pack and forget it, until you need to juice up your iOS device (yep, it’ll power an iPad too, but it won’t give you a full charge).

I didn’t test it on other devices, but anything with a USB charging system could likely be powered. PCMag.com offers the following detail on that:

With its 4000mAh battery, the Powerstation helped a Droid RAZR get 5 hours, 13 minutes more of solid LTE streaming, and let an iPad 1 watch video for 4 hours, 16 minutes more than before.

Overall I like it. Small, does what it advertises, and (as long as I remember to charge it) is ready to power and charge my iOS devices when I’m out and about, and running low. A good $70 investment.

Review: Drobo FS Network Storage Array

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Wow, that title’s a mouthful — Network Storage Array — but don’t let that technical-jargony sounding term scare you, this Drobo FS device is really as easy to use as your Fridge. And for me, that’s a Holy Grail — something that you use and basically forget the complexity.

Whut?
But let me back up a moment and describe what a Network Storage Array (or NAS – Network Attached Storage) device is.

Basically, it’s a box with a bunch of hard drives in it, and some network intelligence. You connect your NAS to your home or office network, and it appears to your computers as if it’s another computer on your network that’s sharing some drives.

You copy stuff to your NAS and share files with any other computer on your network.

Pretty simple, yet difficult to do well

And this is where things get a little squirrely. Some people have a household with mixed computers sharing the same network. In my case, I’ve got Windows (2 varieties), OSX and Linux machines. And some network storage devices don’t play well with different machines on the same network. Sure, the box may say Win/Mac, but invariably issues arise. Not so with the Drobo FS. Continue reading “Review: Drobo FS Network Storage Array”