Tekzilla #18: Kevin Rose is Here, Boost your Cellphone Signal, Custom Stencils, HDMI Switching

Posted in Companies, Mobile, Podcasts on November 30, 2008

DIY Stencils, Cell Phone Boosters That Work, Pownce on the Desktop, 5 Things That Suck About the iPhone, Oppo's Low Cost HDMI Switch, Kevin Rose cohosts.... and did somebody say "Ass cancer?"

Kevin Rose o' Diggnation and Digg fame joins us as copilot for this episode of Tekzilla.

Aaron (and a few other folks) are miffed about us reviewing the DroboShare while DataRobotics was a running Drobo ads in the show.

Have we (or, more specifically, Patrick) no integrity? Trust us, Patrick might read ads in the show, but he'll quit before anybody dictates the content of a product review. You think the Drobo folks appreciated us pointing you towards a less expensive networked RAID device? (Like we said last week, If you don't mind dealing with managing a RAID, you can pick up Buffalo TeraStation Live with 1TB of hard drives onboard for the same price as the Drobo and DroboShare without any hard drives!)

Apple's Time Capsule definitely has potential (we haven't had a chance to review one yet, and we're curious about how well it works with XP and Vista) but, remember, if that single drive inside it goes down, you loose all your data... back it up to an online service or another USB hard drive!

Top Five Things Wrong With The iPhone: No Flash, No Exchange, that stupid headphone jack... Kevin and Patrick rant on a bit on the show.

Yes, Patrick did drill out that narrow iPhone jack with a drill press so he could plug in his beloved headphones without using a stupid iphone adapter. He'd use a Dremel rotary tool next time to make the cuts more manageable... the drill bit dug in pretty deep.

Your HDTV only has one HDMI HDMI input and you want to connect more than one HDMI device? That's the situation Tommy is facing, and he's hardly alone. And, like most of us, Tommy doesn't want to 'break the bank.'

Our fave HDTV reviewer, Robert Heron, is in the 'go to MonoPrice and buy whatever's cheap camp (they're a great source for cheap HDMI cables), but you might want to check out Oppo's new HM-31 3x1 HDMI switch. It's $99, and they've done a great job with their upscaling DVD players... we haven't had a problem with the HM-31 in our testing so far.

Joeseph downloaded the GOM Player, and noticed it's a bit sluggish with high quality Quicktime files... that's cause GOM uses DirectShow to play QT files... but some of the newer QT formats aren't optimized for DirectShow, and that makes for the slide show you're seeing. Best to stick with QT for those files... tho, just for kicks, download a fresh copy and try re-installing QuickTime to see if that fixes the problem.

Free software? Kevin shows off the Pownce Desktop software for his fave way to share files, pics and the news that he's off to lunch.

Daniel's dorm is a black hole where cell phone service dies. Is there a cheap cellular repeater he can pick up? We're not sure if $300 - $500 is cheap, but Wilson Electronics makes some monster 3 Watt amplifiers for cars and home/small office applications. We've used the mobile version to boost our signal from 1 or 2 bars to 4-5 bars. Talk to the folks at Wilson before you buy one; you'll want to make sure you've got the right cell phone frequencies (it's basically Sprint vs. Everybody Else), the best adapters for your phone, and that you can safely mount the antenna somewhere!

Is there a cell phone engineer in the audience? Kevin wants to know if he's like to get the 'ass cancer' if he leaves his cell phone in his back pocket...

While we're talking about protection, you should protect the screen on your new phone, smart phone, iPhone, Zune, media player, well, whatever it is with a shiny scratch free screen. Check out invisibleSHIELD, they've got some pretty good custom fitted covers that are pretty easy to apply and don't feel too bad under your fingers. They do absorb ink, tho!

Stencil's have been showing up on the sidewalks of San Francisco near Digg's offices, and Kevin's been documenting 'em on his Flickr account, so we take a look at how to generate your own stencils on the show. (Tho what Banksy and the folks on Stencil Revolution do with stencils and paint is way beyond us!)

Most of the tutorials on StencilRevolution are down during a redesign, but there's a good tutorial on making a single layer stencil from a color image in the forums there. Instructibles has more some good DIY help for stenciling, too. Search around: there are sources of eps stencil files on line, such as Guerilla Parenting.

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Tags: Apple, Technologies, Hardware, iPhone, Mobile, Revision3, HDTV, Tekzilla, Drobo, Tekzilla Weekly