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Making Life Easier with New Hardware

Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 09 December 2009

New Products Make it Easy to Migrate to Windows 7, Store More Stuff, Etc. 

If you:

-- Have more photos, music and other files than available disk space on your computer;
-- Want to ease the pain of upgrading to a computer using Uncle Bill's Windows 7 operating system;
-- Are seeking an easier way to charge all of your gotta-have-it devices;
-- And want a wireless keyboard that will connect to all of those devices using Bluetooth technology;

read on.

Netgear has introduced a network storage device that will hold more music, photo and video files than the average computer geek compiles in a lifetime. The Netgear Stora ($229.99) makes it easy to store and retreive these files using any of the devices attached to your home network.

Equipped with two drive bays, the Stora works seamlessly with any networked device, ranging from an X-Box and Playstation to a notebook computer. Just attach it to your network's router and you're ready to go.

The one I played with came with a one terrabyte hard drive and was equipped to "mirror" (or automatically duplicate) any files stored on it to a second drive, easing the angst associated with the possibility of losing your data if the first drive crashes or file corruption.

You can also store and access all of your data remotely and stream video to your smartphone by upgrading to Stora Premium for an additional fee of $19,99 per year.

If you don't have a network, or just want a portable backup solution, check out Verbatim's new InSight portable hard drive ($189.99 for 500GB and $129.99 for 320GB). This is the only portable drive I've seen that uses an LCD panel to display how much free space is available. And it comes with a five-year limited warranty.

The drive attaches to the USB port on your computer and is instantly recognized by any Mac or Windows operating system, which makes it truely plug and play. It also comes with Nero backup software that will automatically back up the files on your computer. The backups are encrypted and password protected.

The folks at Duracell have developed the ultra slim myGrid ($89.99 for the cellphone starter kit), which will charge up to four electronic devices at the same time, eliminating the need to use separate chargers and defeating excessive cord syndrome (having too many cords to plug into a minimal number of outlets).

The cellphone starter kit comes with the charger grid and one Duracell Power Clip with compatible tips for Nokia phones and other so-called mini USB powered devices. Power sleeves that are designed to work with the iPod Touch, iPhone, and Blackberry Curve or Pearl are available for $36.49.

One of the great features of the myGrid is its ability to detect foreign objects or moisture from your hand and automatically shut off, eliminating the chances of electric shock and the possibility of shorting out when coming in contact with metal objects, such as keys.

The USB Data Transfer/Upgrade Cable ($23.99) from StarTech makes moving files from your old computer to a new one as easy as clicking a mouse. Just attach the USB cable to both computers; run the Windows Easy Transfer software that comes with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7; and select the files you want to transfer.

StarTech also has a USB Docking Station ($127.99) that will allow you to connect up to three USB devices (including printers and audio devices) to one USB port on any PC or notebook computer. It can also be used to connect a keyboard, monitor and mouse to any notebook so it can be used as a desktop PC.

Adesso has added the Bluetooth SlimTouch Mini ($129.99) to its growing stable of wireless keyboards. This keyboard will work with any Bluetooth enabled device --- ranging from notebook computers to cell phones --- and can fit in a briefcase or backpack.

It features an embedded numeric keypad, a touchpad and full Windows compatability, enabling it to perform all the tasks you'd expect from larger, full-size keyboards.

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