TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Kool Tools

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools

by MacTech Staff

Plantronics CS50 and CS50-USB

What is it?

If you are a Skype user, or a heavy phone user looking for a good headset, then you've likely heard of Plantronics. We took at a look at the Plantronics CS50 and it's cousin, the CS50-USB. Both are wireless office headset systems that gives users the ability to roam up to 200-300 feet. Both use digital 900MHz technology and a noise-canceling microphone to deliver clear and digitally encrypted secure calls (between the headset and the base station). CS50 comes with a customizable headset, weighing 26 grams that can be worn over the ear or over the head. An optional behind-the-head model is also available. The headset also contains an online status indicator light. CS50 is powered by a Lithium Ion Polymer battery that offers eight hours of talk time, gets fully recharged in less than 3 hours and 80% recharged in 1.5 hours, and its standby time is up to 70 hours. The battery is compatible with most office or PBX-based telephones. CS50 is equipped with an integrated IntelliStand base unit that features the capability to automatically answer or end a call and it includes power, online, and charging status indicator lights. The optional Plantronics HL10 Lifter allows taking or ending calls remotely. CS50 also features one-touch volume control, mute button, and call answer/end functions.

The Plantronics CS50-USB is specifically designed for softphones, and other VoIP applications. The cradle is a bit slimmer than the CS50, making it easy to travel with if you need VoIP in your hotel room.



Plantronics CS50-USB

What we thought?

We've been using the CS50 and CS50-USB in real life use for several months. It's lightweight headset can be worn all day, and the battery life is substantial. Clarity is good, and it's nice to have a headset that puts the microphone close to your mouth rather than have the volume loss with a shorter boom.

If you need a headset for your phone or softphone, you should definitely consider these products.

- by MacTech Staff




FAST DVD COPY 4

PC users have a variety of ways to work with store bought DVD materials. While some are using pieces of software like this for nefarious reasons, others may want to simply backup up their DVDs, or make a copy to use for travel or kids.

If you do need to copy DVDs, and other types of digital content, FAST DVD COPY 4 is a digital technology copy software for Mac platform that can be used to copy DVD video collections, Audio CD collections, PlayStation 2 games, DVD-ROMs or CD-ROMs, without losing quality from the original. This software also allows copying of almost all DVD videos to blank DVD-R(W) discs, PlayStation 2 games to a DVD-R(W) disc, almost all Audio CDs to a CD-R(W) disc, a CD-ROM to a CD-R(W) disc, and a DVD-ROM to a DVD-R(W) disc.



It features one-click copy interface, leverages Macintosh dual processors for faster processing, removes CSS encryption and Macrovision protection, and guarantees privacy with no digital mark written on the copied discs. Free update patches for FAST DVD COPY 4 are available online.

FAST DVD COPY 4 comes with a number of DVD specific features such as copying an entire dual-layer DVD video to one single-layer DVD-R(W) disc, New Rip Only and Rip & Compress modes, support for ARccOS-protected DVDs, RCE protection handling, duplication quality viewer, option to send copy logs to technical support, fully copying multi-channel audio (Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, THX), Apple iDVD compatibility, and freedom to choose all items or specific items to copy including menus, trailers, audio streams, subtitles, bonus material, and special features. Other DVD specific functionalities of FAST DVD COPY 4 include, movie only feature, to copy only the main feature without menus or bonuses, enabling playback of copied DVD videos on any recent DVD player, support for NTSC and PAL formats, support for Widescreen and Full Screen sizes, and region free DVD copies.

The minimum requirements for installing FAST DVD COPY 4 are any Mac running OS X, 17 GB free disk space, Apple SuperDrive or any DVD burner compatible with Mac OS X, blank discs (DVD-R(W) or CD-R(W)), and Internet connection for activation of the software.

Their activation method is a bit of a pain, but you can get through it. Not all DVDs will copy and play, but most will. Other than that, the software pretty much does as you would expect.

FAST DVD COPY 4 costs $99.95 for a single computer specific license, and is available from <http://www.fastdvdcopy.com/>.

- by MacTech Staff




Brenthaven Fusion MB Messenger Bag

First, there was radio. Then came the golden age of television, and after that? Color! So it was with the beginnings of home entertainment, so it is with the newest additions to the Brenthaven line of cases designed specifically for Apple portables.

The Fusion MB is a messenger style shoulder bag that takes on the usual high quality materials and design Brenthaven is known for. As you can see in the image above, the color comes on the flap, and extends over the back panel of the bag. It's constructed of heavy duty ballistic nylon, and high quality zippers. There are two pouches on the outside, both just big enough for plane tickets or a magazine. The flap is held with two clips (no Velcro, which would have been a nice addition). New to Brenthaven bags is a hidden water bottle holder. A small zipper on the side conceals the pouch that will hold a pretty wide bottle, a very nice new feature. The external features are completed with the padded shoulder strap, and handle.

On the inside, you've got a nice assortment of pockets for pens, PDAs, phones, and all the other little stuff. This grouping sits right under the bag flap, making it very accessible. Further within are two mesh pouches, and open space for files. A removable laptop sleeve is also included, and provides additional padding and shock protection for a computer inside. The owner of Brenthaven routinely takes his bags, and drops them, with computers inside, to demonstrate that the internal sleeve really does work. If you're tough on the equipment, the protective sleeve alone is more than worth the price.



Technically, this case is classified as a messenger bag. It is the heaviest messenger you'll come across, owing to the materials used in it's construction. Being as this is a messenger bag, though, it tends to have less open space inside than other shoulder cases. However, this bag is expandable. Zip the zipper that opens it up, and you've increased the capacity 20%.

My biggest complaint about Brenthaven bags has always been the single available color. Now, though, navy and silver colors are available, along with the always classic black.

The Fusion MB is designed for any Apple portable up to 15", and is available from the Apple Store for $99.95. Other products in the color line up include a color version of the Metro, and the Edge I and II.

- by Michael R. Harvey




NEC Multisync 20WMGX2

To begin, flat screen monitors are really the only way to go anymore. Their cost has come down to the point where they compete favorably with CRT displays. They are energy efficient like no CRT could ever dream about being, and they just tend to provide a better looking display. What's not to like?

The next issue becomes which brand to buy? Well, one very good choice would be the 20WMGX2 from NEC. This wide aspect ratio LCD monitor is packed with features. The front controls are about what you'd expect on any monitor. They feel a little mushy, and the button's a bit too sensitive. It includes integrated speakers along the bottom of the screen, with volume and headset jack on the right side. Interestingly, the power and audio signal lines are accessible, and can be unplugged from the back of the case, so you can attach your own set of speakers if you so desire. The 20WMGX2 includes a three port powered USB 2.0 hub, two of the ports accessible on the left of the case, the third in the back with the other connections. Tack on the usual assortment of DVI and VGA connections, and the back of the case is almost complete. The kicker comes next.

This display is also quite a bit more than just a monitor. Among the many connectors on the back of it is a coax in port for hooking up television. Also, S-video and component video connectors. The 20WMGX2 has the ability to do picture in picture. One screen is your desktop, the other is the TV signal coming in. This is an incredibly good set up for someone who needs to monitor, say, CNBC as well as work, but doesn't have the cubicle or desk space for a separate television. Plus, it's just cool. Oh yeah, and it comes with a remote control.

The image quality is what really sets the 20WMGX2 apart. It is bright. Really bright. So bright, you-gotta-wear-shades bright. In low light settings, it may be too bright. In high lighting environments, though, it's perfect. With NEC's OptiClear technology, and crisp image quality, the screen really shines through in overly lit areas, or with lots of fluorescent lighting overhead. In dark corners, you can turn down the brightness some.

The only thing I didn't like about The 20WMGX2 was that it is not height adjustable. It's not a killer, but there are other manufactures out there who build height adjustment into the stands, and it would have been nice to see that feature here as well. The 20WMGX2 however can be attached to a VESA compatible mounting arm, so all is not lost.

Only the 20WMGX2 has the picture in picture capability, and it runs for about $799 MSRP. There are two other models in the Multisync GX2 series, though. A 17" (70GX2) and 19"( 90GX2), each with a normal aspect ratio screen, most of the same features, and the same quality as the 20WMGX2. The 19" runs $499 MSRP, and the 70GX2 $399. These prices are highly competitive, and the superior quality makes any of these three LCD screens excellent choices.

- By Michael R. Harvey




 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Dash 3.0.2 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0 - Font management...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Typinator 6.6 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Arq 4.12.1 - Online backup to Google Dri...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
Gutenprint 5.2.11-pre1 - Quality drivers...
Gutenprint is a suite of printer drivers that may be used with most common UNIX print spooling systems, including CUPS, lpr, LPRng, or others. Gutenprint currently supports over 2000 printer models.... Read more
Dropbox 3.6.8 - Cloud backup and synchro...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Evernote 6.0.15 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.7 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.4 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you design and build sophisticated responsive websites code free. With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of your dreams. Add... Read more
VueScan 9.5.18 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more

Vector 2 is Officially a Thing and it...
Vector is a pretty cool parkour-driven runner that's gotten a pretty decent following since it first came out - although personally I think more people could stand to show it some love. Anyway, Nekki has announced that a sequel isofficially on its... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps:June 22-26, 2015
June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice,... | Read more »
LEGO® Minifigures Online (Games)
LEGO® Minifigures Online 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
World of Tanks Blitz celebrates its firs...
Today marks the first anniversary of the launch of World of Tanks Blitz, the mobile version of the PC tank battler, World of Tanks. World of Tanks Blitz launched on iOS and Android on June 26th last year and to celebrate, Wargaming is giving all... | Read more »
Heroes and Castles 2 Has its Own Standal...
Heroes and Castles 2 is a third-person castle defense game from the same team behind Block Fortress and Bug Heroes. It's cool, it's fun, and now it has its very own free version. [Read more] | Read more »
Formula Cartoon All-Stars Lets You Race...
Ever want to pit your favorite characters from shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and Regular Show against each other in a not quite death race? Well once upon a time you could, but Formula All Stars Touch N' Go doesn't exist anymore. Hope... | Read more »
Retype - Typography Photo Editor (Photo...
Retype - Typography Photo Editor 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Retype is built out of passion for great typography and it's all about adding text to photo with style... | Read more »
Hungry Shark Evolution Celebrates Shark...
Shark Week is almost here, as is Independence Day, so naturally Hungry Shark Evolution is going to get in on the action. Yes, even the fireworks. [Read more] | Read more »
The New Trivia Crack Will Feature a Musi...
It's official: iHeartMedia (you may know them from iHeartRadio) will be in charge of providing music-related questions for Trivia Crack's upcoming sequel. Also Trivia Crack is getting a sequel. [Read more] | Read more »
Toca Life: City (Education)
Toca Life: City 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Welcome to Toca Life: City, a metropolis filled with everyday fun! Customize characters, explore exciting locations and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

OtterBox Releases New Symmetry Series Metalli...
Otterbox’s new Symmetry Series of smartphone cases flaunts the best of both both street style and street smarts with their new metallic finishes and trusted OtterBox protection for iPhone 6 and... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for up to $75 off MSRP
Save up to $75 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ or 11″ 1.6GHz MacBook Air at the following resellers. Shipping is free with each model: 11" 128GB MSRP $899 11" 256GB... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more
Save up to $400 on 2014 15-inch Retina MacBoo...
B&H Photo has previous-generation 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $400 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has new 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1899.99 $100 off - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through July 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $100 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $199, $100... Read more
Newsweek Launches iPhone App
The venerable weekly news magazine Newsweek, owned by IBT Media, has announced the launch of its first iPhone app. The new app is available through Apple’s App Store and will allow consumers to read... Read more

Jobs Board

Architect / Senior Software Engineer, *Apple...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is already changing our pay-habit in a deeper and fundamental level. We are looking for a software engineer with a passion for large scale inte Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Retail New Store O...
**Job Summary** An Apple Retail New Store Openings & Remodels Project Manager is responsible for successfully managing the openings, remodels, and small works of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
Program Manger, WW *Apple* Direct Fulfillme...
**Job Summary** We are seeking a business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Direct Fulfillment Operations team. This role will work closely with related program Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.