Archive for the ‘Electronics Reviews’ Category

Skype Video Calling from a mobile phone

Some of you have been wondering how to make a video call from the Skype app on a mobile phone. The way to do this did not seem immediately obvious to us either. After some googling and updating the Skype application to the latest version, we have been able to get video calling working on an HTC Evo V 4g and the process should be similar on any mobile phone. A mobile phone with a front facing camera is required.

Make sure the Skype application on your phone is fully up to date by checking in the App store, the basic Skype app is free. Then sign in to Skype or create a new account if you don’t have one:

Linksys cable modem stands the test of time

Linksys BEFCMU10 Version: 3 Cable Modem

The Linksys BEFCMU10 version 3 cable modem was our solution to a strange bandwidth problem. We noticed our Internet was impossibly slow at certain times of the day. Charter Communications (ISP at that time) sent techs to diagnose the problem, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. The signal was fine, they even swapped modems with another one they had with them.

This had us stumped until we realized there had been large powerful thunderstorms in the area around the time we started to notice the trouble with our bandwidth. Turns out the Charter techs had swapped my fried modem with another one that the storms had fried. So both had the same low (made dialup seem fast) bandwidth.


Heavy duty battery protection


The APC BACK-UPS RS 1500 LCD is indeed great protection. This is a very nice looking unit with a large and bright LCD screen. Both buttons on the front light up as well. It can handle heavy loads up to 865 watts (1500 VA) and it has Automatic Voltage Regulation. These features make it great for applications where battery backup and surge protection are critical to maintaining stability and up-times.

This unit is quite large and heavy and it is from one of the most trusted, if not, the most trusted, name in the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Source) industry.

A great example of why people trust APC is the customer service they provide. Several years ago we ordered a battery backup from APC and received a defective unit, APC sent a new UPS to us before we had even returned the defective one. We were very impressed and we recommend paying the higher prices for APC products due to the high quality of the products and customer support.


Vonage gives away V-Portal VoIP adaptor free

Vonage V-Portal VDV21-VD
For many years we have been using VoIP (Voice over IP) technology due to the low cost and extensive features. VoIP is perfect for world travelers who want to be able to call friends and relatives from where ever in the world we may roam.

We use VoIP services that allow a standard telephone to route calls over the Internet using a special VoIP adapter. Our old VoIP adapter had been mostly reliable over the years, except for some infrequent issues with calls going directly to voicemail without ringing the phone and trouble calling certain numbers in certain areas of the country. These were minor annoyances, but we wanted to see if there was anything better available, so we decided to take a look.

After finding out that Vonage is currently providing new customers with the V-Portal VDV21-VD at no cost, we signed up.


Solid Full Gigabit Router with SPI and DoS attack prevention

TRENDnet TWG-BRF114 (Version 1.0R)  4-Port Gigabit Firewall Router

We’ve seen a number of posts across the web requesting a review of the TRENDnet TWG-BRF114 (Version 1.0R) 4-Port Gigabit Firewall Router.

We happened to be upgrading our network and were in need of a high throughput router to replace our aging Linksys BEFSR41 v3. The old Linksys seems to max out at around 16mb down. It served us well for the 5-6 years we’ve been running it.

The new TRENDnet TWG-BRF114 arrived from Amazon with next day shipping via FedEx all for about $110. The unit arrived in perfect condition and on the next business day.

We were surprised to find the router is cased in steel, heavy and very solid feeling build quality. Nice first impression. The back panel port ethernet and power ports seem very solid as well.


Motorola makes fast DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem

Motorola Surfboard SB6120 SURFboard® eXtreme

We recently found out about the new Motorola Surfboard SB6120 SURFboard® eXtreme. This modem supports the new Docsis 3 standard for cable modems. It is also backwards compatible with older systems. It uses a new channel bonding technology to increase bandwidth.

Also Comcast and other ISP’s have been deploying Docsis 3 and Comcast claims they will have it deployed to 100% of the U.S by the end of 2010. We had been using a Docsis 1.1 Linksys BEFCMU10, which is about 6 years old by now. With all these new possibilities and our speedtests showing only 3mb/s download we decided to try the new Motorola out to see if we could get more bandwidth for our money.