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ClearOne Launches UNITE PTZ Camera with USB 3.0 & DVI Connectivity

ClearOne-UNITE-100-PTZ-Camera-300pxA year ago I was looking around for signs of webcams that leveraged the faster USB 3.0 connection to a host computer. They seemed to be strange and rare items at the time. We had Vaddio appear on VUC472 to present their Huddlestation product. They hinted at a coming wave of USB 3.0 cameras, expecting to see them in the summer of 2014.

It wasn’t until Q4 that I found a USB 3.0 capable webcam-ish thing trumpeted as available. In a press release issued December 9, 2014 ClearOne announced that its new Unite 100 PTZ camera was shipping.

I say webcam-ish as the UNITE 100 isn’t directly comparable to a common webcam, like my tiny-but-trusty Logitech C920. With a 12x optical zoom lens and PTZ mount, it’s something more akin to the CC3000e. In fact, it’s probably better.

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A Gift For Geeks 2: A Magic Bus

Anker USB3 hubThere are often little conveniences that we deny ourselves. At least, that’s true around here. To the observant, these can be the basis for a thoughtful and unexpected gift.  For example, do you have a high-quality USB 3.0 hub at your desk? Does your intended giftee? Very few people have such a handy little item. I’ve come to think that an exceptionally good one, the sort we would not buy ourselves, makes a great gift.

A USB 3.0 hub acts very much like a port replicator to a laptop. It allows you to have multiple devices connected at once, far more than the number of ports provided on the laptop. In fact, some ultrabook models now offer only one or two USB ports, making a hub even more useful.

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Lenovo – The Day The Dock Died

Lenovo X1 Carbon and Docking StationThis is the tale of my first interaction with Lenovo on a matter of warranty support. As you may know I’ve owned a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook since January of 2013. It’s a nice, light computer. While it’s coming on two years old, it still serves me well enough.

Since a change in career path in April 2013 I’m not the road warrior that I was for so many years. In fact, I’m largely home office-bound. That puts the X1C in a diminished role, secondary to my desktop. Even so, I’ve augmented the little X1C, adapting it to have greater connectivity.

 

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Webcams 4: Hunting a USB 3.0 Webcam

USB2-Webcams-Not-USB3In the last installment in this series I examined the role of USB 2.0 as the primary means of connecting a webcam to a host computer, and the inherent limitations involved. But USB 2.0 is just so 20th-century…what about the newer, SuperSpeed USB 3.0? Doesn’t this lightning-fast (5 Gbps!) bus promise to allow real 1080p or even 4K webcams? Cheap-as-chips!

The answer to that question is a definite maybe (many thanks to Ray Davies.) However, as a practical matter, USB 3.0 webcams basically don’t exist. Even so, it’s worth having a look a the relatively brief existence of USB 3.0.

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Augmenting An Ultrabook

Lenovo X1 Carbon and Docking StationWay back in January when I bought a Lenovo X1 Carbon (X1C) I was a bone fide corporate road warrior. The decision to move into an ultrabook was motivated largely by the desire to have less to carry.

More recently I’ve transitioned into a more stay-in-the-home-office role. Sooooo, I’m not carrying things around very much…but I am living with some of the compromises entailed by the ultrabook class of device. All of this has me wondered when it’s ok to spend a bit more to augment the X1C vs going in another direction entirely?

Allow me to share some of the things that have come to light about the X1C. These are not so much defects as practical realities attached to the ultrabook form factor. For example, there aren’t very many ports. To be more specific, there’s one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port and a displayport.

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Streaming vs Screaming Media: USB 3.0 Tries My Patience

Clarity Monitor-220 Preface: This is a wee bit off topic, but I haven’t ranted in a while, and you may find it worthwhile in the end.

For many months I’ve been toying with the idea of using streaming video as an alternative to some of the training and demonstration activities that haunt me in my working life. Historically, sending staff and gear to some distant location was the primary means of selling the gear, or post-sale, conducting end-user training.

In the past year one of our more experienced sales staff has found that demonstration given by remote means can be very effective. Initially this was merely his response to having limited access to my time, but it’s also become a way for him to get ad hoc demo’s accomplished on very short notice.

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