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Entries From April 2009

April 26, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Keyboard

Filed under Computers, Gadgets

I have had 6 different keyboards in the last 2 years. I’m always looking for the *perfect* keyboard. My perfect keyboard would have…

  • Backlighting
  • Volume knob
  • Media keys
  • Standard layout
  • Wireless (with *no* dropped keystrokes or delays)
  • Thin profile
  • Pointing stick (so I can use the mouse without taking my fingers off the keys)
  • Small footprint

I don’t think that keyboard exists.

I got a new Logitech keyboard this week. So far, I’m happy with it.

My favorite so far is the Dell Multimedia Keyboard (see end of post).


Here are the last 5 keyboards I’ve had in reverse chronological order and what I liked/didn’t like about them.

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard



  • Backlit
  • Cool looking/thin
  • No wasted “extra” keys
  • Volume keys
  • Function keys have normal operation first (can be changed)
  • Small footprint


  • Non-standard layout (delete key/insert key/scroll lock)
  • Not wireless
  • Uses volume buttons instead of knob
  • Media keys don’t work well with Zune player (opened a support item on this)


Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600

image Pro

  • Standard layout
  • Calculator hot key
  • Volume keys
  • Small footprint


  • Delay with volume keys
  • Not illuminated
  • Not wireless


Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 6000


  • Slight curve to keyboard is nice without being radically different than standard keyboard
  • Wireless
  • Good looking/thin


  • Non-standard function key layout
  • Hard to tell which keys were volume keys
  • Not illuminated
  • Many special keys that I never used
  • Sometimes pressing keys would do nothing, reconnecting USB transmitter fixed issue

Microsoft Reclusa Gaming Keyboard


  • Backlit


  • Big
  • Extra buttons I don’t care about
  • No volume controls
  • No media keys
  • Flakey keyboard management software
  • Not wireless


Dell USB Multimedia Keyboard


  • Excellent volume knob! Can easily turn it up/down quickly by feel. *Much* better than volume keys.
  • Media keys layout around volume knob works well. Track forward/back different size than other media keys so they can be used by feel.
  • Standard keyboard layout
  • Small footprint


  • Not backlit
  • Not wireless


New Feature in Windows 7 Revealed: XP Mode

Filed under Computers, Software


The above screen shot looks straight forward enough, but there is something special going on.

Look at the window decorations. The application on the left is IE 6 running under XP and the application on the right is IE 8 running under Windows 7.

On Friday, XP Mode was announced as a new feature for Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. XP Mode is basically Windows XP emulated within Windows 7, with the added ability to run the XP applications side-by-side Windows 7 applications.

This is a big deal.

One of the reasons companies are slow to upgrade to the latest version of an OS is fear that applications designed for their current OS won’t work in the new OS.

Any company thinking of upgrading to Vista should keep this in mind…

  • Windows 7 runs better on low end hardware than Windows Vista
  • Windows 7 is more compatible with Windows XP than Window Vista

I hope this means we see a very quick adoption of Windows 7…I think it will.

April 10, 2009

David vs. David: Blu-Ray/DVD Taste Test

Filed under Gadgets, HDTV, Movies, Work


First, some background.

I showed David Bullock, a buddy of mine from work, a blog post I did about HD-DVD vs. DVD and how the difference for a typical TV size and viewing distance is not as obvious as you would think.

We got in several “discussions” about the topic. DavidB thought it would be easy to tell the difference between Blu-ray and DVD. I claimed it would be difficult.

Who would be right?

Arguing got us no where. We decided to settle this like they did in the Pepsi Challenge: a “Blu-Ray/DVD Taste Test.”

The loser of the test has to take the winner out for dinner at a restaurant of their choosing.

The taste test had the following rules:

  • 10 popular movies of David Lenihan’s choosing
  • Play a scene of David Lenihan’s choosing
  • May be all DVD, all Blu-ray, or a mix
  • Played in random order
  • No replaying
  • No pausing
  • Played on a PlayStation 3 connected to a Sony XBR3 46” LCD via HDMI
  • TV/PS3 running at 1080p
  • Tuned with Blu-ray Digital Video Essentials
  • 1:1 Pixel Mapping for Blu-ray content
  • Test subjects cannot watch video setup or when video stops
  • Viewing distance of 6ft or more
  • Scoring is as follows:
    • 1 point for each movie identified correctly as Blu-ray or DVD
    • -1 point for each movie incorrectly identified
    • 0 points for blank answer

I invited people from work to join in the fun.


From left to right: CharlieK, Ed, DavidB, Shelly, Greg, An, and Ted.

Here are the movies I showed:

  1. Death Proof - DVD
  2. Matrix – DVD
  3. Dark City – DVD
  4. Pixar’s Lifted – Blu-Ray
  5. Reservoir Dogs – Blu-Ray
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Blu-Ray
  7. Sleeping Beauty – Blu-Ray
  8. Terminator 2 – Blu-Ray
  9. Blade Runner – DVD
  10. Sin City – DVD

I had everybody predict what their score would be on the scorecard.

Here are the results (click on the names to see the actual scorecard)…

Place Name Predicted Score Actual Score
1. Greg 5 6
2. (tie) An (left blank) 0
2. (tie) Shelly 5 0
4. (tie) DavidB 6 -1
4. (tie) Ed 3 -1
6. CharlieK 2 -2
7. Ted 6 -3


Some interesting results:

  • Everyone picked Lifted as Blu-ray, and it was
  • Everyone picked Sin City as Blu-ray, but it was DVD
  • A score of zero is what you would expect if someone guessed on every movie. Only Greg beat the guessing score.
  • Ted did 9 points worse than he predicted, the biggest disparity
  • Greg was the only person that did better than they predicted, by 1 point
  • The average score was –0.14, which is worse than the guessing average

So where should I have David take me to dinner? Post your suggestions in the comments.

This was a lot of fun…thanks to my buds from work for coming out and being great sports!

April 2, 2009

The Digital Bits

Filed under Work

The Digital Bits Web Page 

I did a “photo shoot” last week with fellow ILM-ers JD Hass and Frank D’Iorio for the “The Digital Bits,” a web site focused on upcoming DVD/Blu-ray releases. We aren’t on the front page anymore, but you can find the original photo/burb here.


About April 2009

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in April 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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