Published Date
01 - Jun - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jun - 2006
The willing slave, the workhorse, the friend(?); we all have a strange and undefined relationship with our boxes. Most of all, we're all tired of their dry, boring classic forms. 'Tis the age of cool, and all PCs have started queuing up for a makeover more suited to these crazy times of indulgence.

Listen And Obey
We've been tied to the same old keyboard and mouse for nearly two decades-and rightly so. There have been several alternative input devices for the PC-from strange claws to incomprehensible foot-pedals, but in the end, we all return to the warm fuzzy safety of our keyboards. QWERTY is our religion and WASD its gaming sect!

Create your own keyboard
True, we love our keyboards, but that still doesn't mean we should remain content with the layout. The DX1 input system lets you create your own personalised keyboard layout for that perfect key-punching experience. What starts out as a blank pad becomes your own personalised keyboard as you attach keys on it. Hardcore gamer or just plain keyboard warrior, this one's for you-just slap on a key where you want it, assign a combination of keys or a macro and be done with it. It even lets you add new keys in the heat of a game, so you can add new action as soon as you discover you need it!

The Hand-the next input device?
Ever wanted to grab a window and throw it into a corner à la Minority Report? Researchers are working on a device that will enable you to do just that: the DataGlove, originally developed by VPL research. Sensors in the glove detect your hand movements, completely immersing you into the world of file and window handling.

For more information on the original DataGlove and similar devices, head to the site below. It's not clear where one can be bought, but prices of such devices are reportedly falling rapidly.

URL: d/thesis/node33.html

Falling laptop prices have almost made it a realistic substitute for the desktop PC, especially with most of them getting faster than your entry-level machine. To the average geek, a computer is only about how much juice it has, and to the geek on the go, it's about how much juice you can carry around with you.

The Dell Inspiron XPS M1710
This runs on an Intel Core Duo processor, has 2 GB of system RAM, a 100 GB SATA hard disk, a killer GeForce Go 7900 GTX with 512 MB of RAM, and will cause the people surrounding you to spontaneously combust in uncontrollable jealousy. With a setup like that, you'd probably expect the battery to fizzle out in the first five minutes of gaming, but you'd be wrong. The 9-cell battery can take an hour and five minutes of continuous gaming, which, given the nature of its extreme use, is very impressive, and a goodish bit beyond what other gaming laptops would give you. Moreover, the fact that it's a laptop just makes it easier to take to a LAN party and brag.

No more tears
A nagging "feature" of laptops is their incredible penchant for going pfft after a couple of hours of continuous use-and this just with regular PC use. Try playing a game and you'd barely make it past level one! To counter this tragic occurrence, companies are in a mad race to create the next fuel-cell battery for the laptop. At CES 2006, Panasonic showed off a fuel-cell powered laptop that had enough juice to last nearly 20 hours at a size that was just slightly bigger than current battery packs. Throw that into an XPS and international flights won't be so long and boring any more, will they?

Stuff It

Most of us here at Digit have invested in 250 GB hard disks for our homes-they're so affordable now! Of course, figuring out what to put into that much space does take some thinking. Storage is becoming cheaper by the day, and huge hard disks will have lost their ooh value quite soon.

In May 2005, Hitachi announced its Deskstar 7K500, which holds a respectable 500 GB of data using the standard recording technique that all hard disks use. But this is probably the limit for hard disk recording-no more data can be stuffed into those disks without overhauling the way data is recorded. So they overhauled it.

The Hitachi Travelstar 5K160
With their revolutionary new Perpendicular Storage technology, Hitachi have managed to squeeze more bits onto hard disk platters, opening the doors to a world where hard disks get smaller in physical size while remaining bloated enough to hoard your data ten times over. While bits today "lie down" on hard disk platters, occupying more space, the perpendicular technique stands them up, allowing for more data to fit into the same area of the hard disk.

The Travelstar 5K160 is Hitachi's first 2.5 inch drive with a capacity of 160 GB-60 GB more than the current longitudinal storage disk-and comes with new "travel head" technology that will double the drive's reliability. They will now turn their attention to the smaller 1.8 inch to see how much they can get onto those-will we see 100 GB drives on our cell phones soon?

The 5K160 will launch later this year, and will cost around $269 (Rs 11,500).


The Swiss Army Drive
Standard USB drive not doing enough for you? Get your hands on this Swiss Army knife that packs in all the goodies essential for survival in the wild: a red LED light for night-time jaunts, a ballpoint pen to, well, write stuff, a knife, a pair of scissors, a file with a screwdriver, a key-ring, and a USB flash drive! You can choose from 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB, and the drive's detachable if you want to be boring as well. 
Order it from: gadgets/tools/6b3b/

Mine, All Mine!
When you're on the road with your laptop, you need to (a) keep other people's noses out of your business, and (b) ensure that your business stays well clear of others' noses. These two USB devices will make sure that the things happening around your laptop will stay in the vicinity of your laptop.

The USB Flex Light
Want to work on your laptop on a night-time journey without bothering your fellow passengers? Just stick this flexible light into your laptop's USB port to illuminate the keyboard or any surrounding area. Its flexible neck lets you change its position to best suit you. It drains very little power from the battery, so is ideal for the  road warrior who cares.


The FlyFan USB Fan
This one is the ultimate tool to make your fellow travellers burn-both in jealousy and in the heat. Perfect for unforgiving summer travel, connect this fan to your laptop's USB port to sit back and enjoy a steady stream of cooling air and a view of the others wiping the sweat off their foreheads.



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