New & Neat: Redpark Introduces First iPad Ethernet Adapters

iPad-ethernet-adapter-L6-NETPOE-640x458iDevices are getting used in innumerable ways these days. Some years back you may recall my examination of the Mocet Communicator, an iPad accessory that turned it into an executive desk phone. Behringer’s  X AIR XR18 is an audio mixer with iDevice remote control. The Cerevo LiveWedge is a video production switcher with an iPad-centric control scheme. These are just a few examples of iDevices assuming a key role in the control scheme of a more sophisticated device.

What the Mocet device highlighted is that dependence upon Wi-Fi is not always an optimal solution for connectivity. It provides Ethernet connectivity and could be powered using standard 802.11af power-over-Ethernet.

Recently, Redpark introduced a power-over-Ethernet capable Gigabit Ethernet adapter for the iPad. For just $99 this device provides both continuous power and reliable connectivity via the same length of Ethernet cable.

While supporting 10/100/1000 Mb Ethernet networks, the USB subsystem of the Lightning port delivers 225 Mbps. The interface is 802.11af compliant, capable of drawing up to 15.4 watts from the network line to keep the iDevice charged.

A single solution to providing reliable power and connectivity strikes me as massively appealing. I can see this as useful in any situation where an iDevice is in a dedicated application.

P.S. – I’ve also found Google’s combination AC adapter and Ethernet interface for first generation Chromecast to be profoundly useful. It makes the Chromecast dramatically more reliable. The newer Chromecast Ultra includes this optional power supply.

What’s in a Name: Monitors – Part 1

Language is a funny thing. Sometimes there are subtleties that have consequences, yet get overlooked. The impact of language can be both subtle, and profound at the same time. As ever, context matters. As an example, I’d like to consider the idea of monitoring and monitors.

This is going to drift from the simple to the not-so-simple, exploring the term across contexts. I’ll start with what I find to be the most straightforward aspect. The visual.

Monitors on my desk

My desktop computer has a pair of 23” LCD monitors made by HP. They’re not fancy. They were a good deal and have lasted me a long while. There’d be no debate or misunderstanding in using the term “monitors” when referencing these displays. The use of term in this context is commonplace and easily understood.

monitors

Incidentally, my twin monitors are quite vintage. I’m seriously considering a new LG 43UD79-B as an upgrade to 4K. Continue reading “What’s in a Name: Monitors – Part 1”

El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap

Earlier this year I replaced by aged desktop computer.  The rather bulky, traditional HP tower was replaced by a fantastic little Airptop-PC. The Airtop is a fanless wonder. It’s powerful, has multiple (six!) monitor outputs, a massive array of ports, and draws a tiny amount of power.

While the Airtop-PC is a silent thing of beauty, what it lacks is the extra PCIe slot necessary to install my Aver Media C127 HDMI capture card. This has left me considering USB-connected HDMI capture devices.

An early experience with the Black Magic Design Ultra Studio has left me with an aversion to their lower-end products. I hear good things about the Magewell USB 3.0 capture dongles. There’s no doubt they’re very capable, but at around $300, also quite costly. Continue reading “El Gato Cam Link: HDMI Capture on-the-cheap”

A little matter of Ego

Quite recently Dave Michels penned a review of the Konftel Ego for the UCStrategies blog. I like Dave. I especially appreciate his no-nonsense approach to things. If he says something is good, it’s probably worth a look.

Konftel’s Ego is a portable, personal speakerphone device with both USB and Bluetooth connectivity. I see that the Ego is listed under $100 on Amazon. Given Dave’s recommendation, and an attractive price, I may need to give it a try. My past experience with the larger Konftel 300 was quite good.konftel-ego-1-vl

That said, I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of a very firmly held belief. If you truly care about how you sound to the people at the far-end…if their experience truly matters…you’ll choose a headset over any kind of speakerphone or conference phone. When the quality of experience delivered to the other party is paramount, a good headset trumps all else.

A good headset, preferably one with a boom-mounted microphone, takes the acoustics of the room completely out-of-play. It eliminates any possibility of noise, echo, or reverberance, delivering your message as clear as possible to your audience.

No amount of engineering wizardry can make up for sub-optimal microphone placement. Period.

Conference phones and speaker phones simply cannot deliver a comparable experience. You always trade quality of audience experience for your own convenience.

Yes, a headset…When you care enough to sound your very best.

Finally, an Affordable Ambisonic Microphone

twirling720lite-200pxLong, long ago, in a city far, far away I was a college student. I was studying media arts, and somewhere along the line decided to do a paper on an emerging new approach to recording called Ambisonics. This is a most elegant approach to recording conceived by Michael Gerzon, a brilliant, English mathematician. Beyond simply the theoretical, Gerzon developed a microphone in support of his idea, which became the Soundfield Microphone.

How I lusted after a Soundfield microphone, and the four-channel recorder necessary to make field recordings. Manufactured in England by Calrec, the Soundfield microphone cost upwards of $10K on its own. As a not quite starving, but certainly hungry student, this was far beyond my reach.

Continue reading “Finally, an Affordable Ambisonic Microphone”

My New Laptop is a Vintage Chromebook Pixel

Back in June Stella and I took a vacation. Not just time off work, but a real vacation, the first in years. We spent a week in Hawaii. It was great, but this is not about that, exactly. It’s about the computer that I bought to facilitate our trip.

Stella has never owned a laptop. Nor has she been issued one by her employer. As a public relation professional, she lives and dies by staying in touch, but it’s always by desktop or mobile phone.

In contrast, I’ve traveled on business extensively, which means a laptop is a standard part of my equipment compliment. My former employer issued Dell or HP laptops, but for the past several years I’ve owned a Lenovo X1 Carbon.

Continue reading “My New Laptop is a Vintage Chromebook Pixel”