High Resolution Technologies makes some of the very best and most affordable digital-to-analog converters on the market. The company's newest model, the MicroStreamer, is a tiny thing, just 2.5 inches by 1.2 inches by 0.4 inch, and since it's USB-powered it doesn't have a power supply or require batteries. It works as an external sound card for computers, tablets, and some smartphones. It's also a high-quality headphone amplifier. It was designed in the U.S., and the little guy's circuitboard's components are mounted in Southern California. The aluminum case is made … Read more
A Wi-Fi-enabled USB drive seems like an odd idea, yet the Automatica serves an excellent purpose in the car. Inrete, maker of the Automatica, sets up the device to automatically update content such as music or podcasts.
There are some limitations, however; for example, the Automatica only works if you have a USB port in your car. It may be useful in some other settings, as well, but in a car seems the most likely.
The Automatica would make the most sense for drivers who park their cars within reach of a home Wi-Fi network. Every time the Automatica makes … Read more
I hate to use the term "sexy" to describe a gadget, but if the myIDkey isn't "sexy," at least it's "damn fine." It takes the concept of a USB drive that protects all your passwords and does it up right with voice-activated search, biometric fingerprint identification, and Bluetooth.
Making a USB password protection device sound exciting? That's pretty hot.
I'm not the only person who thinks myIDkey is worth a look. It just launched its Kickstarter project and already has pulled in more than $87,000 (and rising fast) toward its $150,000 goal. A $99 pledge gets you a myIDkey with two different protective sleeves.… Read more
Air bags, antilock brakes, and stability control. CD players, power locks and windows, and air conditioning. These are all features that at some point were optional (and sometimes costly) in vehicles, but over time we've come to expect them in every new car on the road -- whether that's due to legislation or changing buyer tastes. As cars continue to evolve, so grow our expectations of what should be included in the sticker price. I've rounded up a few optional car tech features that I'd like to see make the jump to being standard equipment.
Bluetooth … Read more
At CES last month I encountered Digital Innovations' ChargeDr, a small USB dongle that promised to do the seemingly impossible: boost the power output of a typical USB port, thus allowing it to charge an iPad (or other tablet).
I got it home, tested it, and discovered that, hey, it actually works! Technically speaking, there's no actual power boosting going on, but who am I to argue with this weird science? Without the dongle, my iPad says "not charging." With it: "charging."
And my tests bear out the claim. My iPad 3 went from 30 percent to 75 percent in about 2.5 hours. Not bad for a lowly USB port.… Read more
Let's do some math, shall we?
When it comes to portable storage, you can get a 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive for $39.99 shipped. Or you can take advantage of RedTag's today-only deal: a Western Digital My Passport 320GB USB 3.0 hard drive for $39 (plus $1.95 for shipping).
Update: Dang! Already sold out. It's worth checking back throughout the day in case RedTag releases more inventory. But, interestingly, I'd say few people were scared off by the drive being a refurb.
Pricewise, they're a wash. But the Western Digital drive … Read more
MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which I answer Mac-related questions e-mailed in by our readers.
This week, readers wrote in with questions about a system not loading past the gray Apple screen, an external DVD player not working, how to switch to internal speakers with headphones attached, and trouble enabling X-Ray folder view in the Finder. I welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, please post them in the comments!
Question: System not loading past the gray Apple screen MacFixIt reader Greg asks:I can start my system, and hear … Read more
The Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies is one of the most beautiful audio products I've ever used. For my money it approaches a level of design grace comparable to that of Apple products. The 5-inch cube headphone amplifier has two vacuum tubes protected by a thick glass cover. The WA7 also has a built-in 32-bit/192kHz USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and lots of custom-made parts, including dedicated nickel alloy output transformers. There's a 6.3mm jack for home-style headphones, and a 3.5mm jack for portable ones. That's noteworthy, as few headphone amps have both jack sizes. The … Read more
Schiit Audio's very first product, the Asgard headphone amplifier, left me shaken and stirred back in 2010. It sold for $249, looked and sounded amazing, and to top things off, it was made in the U.S. -- not just assembled here. Most of the Asgard's parts are sourced from U.S. companies.
The Asgard is still in company's product line, and it's still $249. But Schiit has grown since then, and now offers a full line of more expensive headphone amps and USB digital-to-analog converters (DACs) -- which is great. But the company's most recent offerings sell for just $99 each! The Magni headphone amp and the Modi DAC are also made in America, and they sound spectacular. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Want to charge your tablet while traveling? Hope you brought along a power brick, because a simple sync cable won't do the trick. That's because most laptop USB ports don't put out enough power for a tablet's big battery -- which is why you typically see a "Not Charging" message when you plug an iPad into a laptop.
The Digital Innovations ChargeDr promises to boost the power output of both laptop USB ports and wall adapters. Car chargers, too. The result: tablets can charge up to four times faster, phones up to two … Read more