This week, a collection of goodies. First up for all of you iPad aficionados, a neat wireless Bluetooth speaker called Zooka from Carbon Audio that fits onto the edge of your tablet and boosts your audio volume by about five times (turned up full, that's a sound pressure of 80dB at 1 meter). There's also a built-in microphone so you can take calls if you've paired the Zooka with your iPhone.
As I note in Backspin, as of the 24th of this month, I've been writing for Network World for 20 years and 6 days. And my first Gearhead column published a mere 17 years, 4 months and 5 days ago (see page 52). I'm going to leave the peering into the rearview mirror to see how we got here to Backspin and, instead, do as I always do: Talk about cool, geeky stuff you need. Today, I have your summer reading assignments.
UPDATE: When I wrote last week's Gearhead, "No more Adobe Dreamweaver, so how about Xara Web Designer?" I had looked at Adobe's online shop to make sure that CS6 wasn't available. Clicking on the dropdown showed:
If you're doing serious Web content engineering you might well choose an all-singing, all-dancing product such as Adobe's Dreamweaver. The latest version of Dreamweaver in Adobe's Creative Suite 6 (released just over a year ago) was really impressive with new features such as an improved user interface, support for jQuery UI widgets, better cascading style sheet Version 3 support and support for PhoneGap. All in all, a very cool and comprehensive Web development platform.
Have you had a IT project go astray? Maybe you were lucky and it was a brief hiccup with minimal financial consequences. Or maybe you had a disaster of biblical proportions, such as the one that befell Levi Strauss in 2008.
How would you like to build a global enterprise-scale data access infrastructure? A daunting prospect, yes? Imagine creating a system that could make any subset of any significant data resource in your organization available where it's needed without incurring insane implementation and maintenance costs ... sounds too good to be true?
Considering the enormous webcam market and the number of products available it's hard to believe that anyone could come up with anything new, novel and useful but, impressively, that's just what Logitech has managed to do with its Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam, a really well-designed webcam for OS X and iOS only.
Business travel is, under the best of circumstances, a royal pain in the butt, and when you're roaming internationally with a smartphone and need to make some calls and keep up with email, you face a zonking great bill when you get home.
Every now and then a company appears that makes a slew of cool products. The latest of these is Satechi, which I think should use the tag line "purveyors of fine gadgets." Satechi just sent me a few very cool items and in a couple of weeks I shall review their remarkable Wireless Mini Router/Repeater. Today, I have two of their presentation controllers, both of which include laser pointers.
The question of whether you're getting the bandwidth you pay for is one that just doesn't go away. Twice in the last few months I've suspected my ADSL connection of running slow and, sure enough, despite the modem telling me I had 3Mbps down and 500Kbps up, for whatever reason, restarting the modem fixed the problem.
When you're talking to a n00b -- say, your CEO or VP of sales and marketing (or maybe even your CIO) -- it can be hard to get them to understand just how big and complex the Internet is. Sure, they hear about the billions of people on the 'Net and all of the companies making money through e-commerce of one kind or another (which hopefully includes yours), but what they will often have a problem grasping is the sheer scale of the Internet and how it's grown. What they need is a visual aid.
OK, lots of interesting stuff for you this week. First up, LinkedIn has open sourced a system called Databus, a real-time database change capture system that provides a "timeline-consistent stream of change capture events ... grouped in transactions, in source commit order."
I feel like some kind of dubious character from a crime movie: "Psst, buddy! Wanna cloud database that's non-stop, geographically and elastically scalable? And it's also ACID compliant, roughly 75% of the cost of using Oracle, good at hybrid workloads, SQL-compliant, ridiculously easy to install, equally easy to manage, and runs on multiple platforms. And did I mention cheap? Oh yeah, I did."
I know why you're excited: You can't wait for your iDevice to update to iOS 6.1 which was just released. Now Siri will be able to misunderstand what movie you want to see and present you with a link to Fandango. Or she may, as usual, think you want to dial the number of the nearest Chinese restaurant. And thus does technology march onward.
"Air pollution is a problem for all of us. The average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day. ... Many air pollutants, such as those that form urban smog and toxic compounds, remain in the environment for long periods of time and are carried by the winds hundreds of miles from their origin. Millions of people live in areas where urban smog, very small particles, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. ... Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and long-term damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems."
Seeing as we're on the run up to Christmas, this week I'm going to cover a few geeky products for travelers, road warriors (gad, but I hate that term), and gadget freaks that I've wanted to cover for a while and that you might wish to give or receive ... and they all get a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5!
I feel like the Grinch. Why? Because I'm massively disappointed in the product I'm reviewing this week, which makes two weeks in a row I've been "bah humbugging" (see last week's excoriation of an Internet thermostat).