Nearly twenty years ago, the great mechanical keyboards of early computing were largely forgotten, spoken of in reverent tones by the faithful few who clung to them in a sea of mushy, but cheap successors. Das Keyboard stood out as a counterpoint, an attempt to offer a modern, mainstream-friendly board with mechanical switches years before the current resurgence took hold. Do its boards still hold up in a more competitive landscape? And, given that it is Christmastime, would a Das Keyboard make a nice gift?
A year ago — pandemic induced video conferencing mania at the center of it — even a bad web cam was hard to come by and often approached the century mark. Now you can get a webcam for eleven bucks. Will it make you look like a million bucks? No, but it’ll get you on that video conference you have to be on without spending a fortune.
Since its introduction, no one has ever mistaken the Macintosh as the cheap option for computers. Nor would anyone who watched Apple’s launch of its insanely fast M1 Pro and Max chips on Monday argue that the new MacBook Pros are cheap. However, when the dust settles, the previous reigning top Apple Chip — the M1 — will still be the one that created a year when the cheapest Mac was the best Mac and one of the best computers, period.
I shared last week the start of my quest for the perfect keyboard, stopping by the well designed, aesthetically pleasing Keychron’s K2. While less visible than Keychron, Epomaker has emerged as another major purveyor of keyboards suitable for more than just gamers, including the GK68XS — an intriguing board that ticks off a lot of quality boxes.
I’ve been on the quest for the perfect keyboard for a while. What I want is relatively simple, if hard to find: a mechanical keyboard that is oriented towards writing, not gaming. My match would be reasonably compact and friendly towards Macs, too. Keychron, as much as anyone, has arisen as one of the few companies interested in ticking those boxes.
When the pandemic hit last year, it threw me into a world where I was doing vastly more video editing than I did previously. Anyone who has spent time splicing and dicing video files knows those files can fill up storage devices really quickly and they are a pain to transfer between computers. Enter the new class of tiny, pocketable, external SSDs like the RavPower Mini External SSD Pro.
For most of last year, it was nearly impossible to get a name brand video capture card for a computer. These devices help to take video from a camera, video game console or other device and make it usable on your computer to record or stream. In a world that was dependent on streaming, well known cards like Elgato’s were selling for several times over their original price, giving room for a whole range of generic cards. Some of them are pretty good, so let’s consider one of them.
After years on the periphery, Thunderbolt docks are finally becoming a mainstream peripheral. They not only simplify bringing a laptop to your desk by reducing the number of separate things you need to plug in, but provide a means to pump more data from more sources into a laptop than possible otherwise via the limited number of ports on modern, slim laptops, such as a MacBook Pro. More like a drive bay or card slot of yesteryear’s computer towers, docks provide flexibility as we all push our computers further in the post-COVID world. Today, I look at three of the best and what they can offer you.
I’ve been curious about the proliferation of what we might call “generic” wi-fi routers on Amazon from brands other than the big names that are immediately recognizable. Have routers finally reached a point that they are so basic that pretty much anyone can produce a decent one? I decided to take a router from ECPN — a company so generic that it doesn’t even have a live web site — out for a spin.
After hanging onto my trusty (and non-butterfly keyboard equipped) 15” MacBook Pro for five years, when Apple finally ditched the butterfly keyboard and offered perhaps the most impressive Mac upgrade since 2012’s Retina MacBook Pro, I knew it was time to upgrade. Coming from the long forgotten days of 2015 into the present of 2020 means buying totally into USB-C and that meant I was going to face some growing pains with a new system. A good USB-C hub makes the move much easier.