Review - Logitech Wireless Combo Mk520 With Keyboard and Mouse

Keyboard

I recently picked up a Logitech Wireless Combo Mk520 With Keyboard and Mouse to use full time with my Acer Chromebook when I'm using it in desktop computer mode.  

When I am in this mode I usually use the setup with a SAMSUNG T24C550 monitor as the primary monitor and the Acer's laptop monitor as my 2nd monitor off to the right-hand side.

I like this setup because it enables wireless access to both the keyboard and the mouse using one USB port.  Previously I had a dedicated wireless mouse and then a bluetooth keyboard. However the bluetooth keyboard wasn't completely full-size, would periodically drop off connectivity, and was better suited to short-term typing like like periodic emails responses on my Nexus 7.

The only draw back with the Mk520 is that the Function (F) keys are not ideally setup to match the icons on them.

The keyboard uses the basic standard keyboard layout on most Chromebooks. So ESC is ESC (Escape) and:

  • F1: Go to the previous page in your browser history
  • F2: Go to the next page in your browser history
  • F3: Reload your current page.
  • F4: Open your page in full-screen mode
  • F5: Switch to your next window
  • F6: Decrease screen brightness
  • F7: Increase screen brightness
  • F8: Mute
  • F9: Decrease system volume
  • F10: Increase system volume

At the very top of the keyboard is a media control area (3 keys): back, play/stop, forward. Those don't seem to work with videos.  But the sound control area (3 keys): mute, decrease sound, and increase sound do work.  And the WINDOWS button is a dedicated SEARCH button; the STAR button brings up the BOOKMARKS page list; and the CALCULATOR button goes into FULL SCREEN MODE.

Over all the keyboard feel when typing is very good, and I like the pressure the keys have. In addition, I like the ability to tilt up the keyboard and to have it stand-up at 90-degrees for using your desk area for writing if needed.  I would recommend the keyboard if someone is looking for the same feature set.

 

 


DEFCON 22 2014 Conference Report

DEFCON22

A detailed conference report of the sessions attended has been posted: DEFCON22 (PDF).

In addition, here is a summary of DEFCON 22 related news articles of potential interest:

Here are pointers to previous reports: DEFCON 18, DEFCON 19, DEFCON 20, and DEFCON 21.


Review - Asus C720-2802 Chromebook

I recently picked up via Craigslist a "new in the box" Asus C720-2802 Chromebook to use as my new primary system for TechNewsRadio.com.  The main reason was that DEFCON22 is coming up soon in Las Vegas and I needed a "relatively" secure system to attend sessions and take notes for ~8 hours a day.  

Acer_c720-chromebook

My previous note taking system was relatively old ThinkPad that I had 3 sets of extra batteries for. So, I dropped about 6 pounds by moving to the C720.  And I don't have to configure a fresh system to take to DEFCON and then scrub after.

This version (2802) seems like the middle build release (~Feb2014) from the original that was in late 2013 and the most current $199 version that uses the Intel Celeron 2955U processor (2848).  There is also a newer more expensive C720 with an Intel Core i3 processor available.

The positivies:

  1. Keyboard is great.
  2. Integration with my Google account was flawless.
  3. Integration with all my core online services was flawless.
  4. Working offline seems to work as expected.

The negatives:

  1. Can't seem to check IMAP email with an extension or a native Chrome application.

The still to be determined:

  1. Will it get hacked at DEFCON?
  2. How to edit audio?
  3. Will it let me take notes all day at DEFCON?

POST DEFCON REPORT: There is now an IMAP client - CloudMagic.  I am pretty sure I didn't get hacked at DEFCON.  I was able to take notes all day long at DEFCON without any issues.  I have not found a good solution for editing audio.


Solar Power Review - Keeping Your Tech Powered While Camping

I recently picked up from Harbor Freight Tools the following solar power kit: 45W Solar Power Kit (#68751) for just over $150 (including tax).

Solar-kit

Over the course of the last couple of months I've been able to try out the kit on several camping trips were there was no easy electrical grid access.  The camping environment was pretty sunny but not always 100% full sun.  The time of year for all the trips was summer and the location was Southern California.  I ended up setting up the kit on the top of our small camper.

The main reason I picked up the kit was to keep all of my tech gear charged so I could keep tabs on email, news, and any tech issue with my sites.  This was usually less than 1 hour a day which worked out well for my needs, and expectations related to being on a camping trip.

The gear I was able to keep operational using the kit included: cell phone, tablet, WIFI card, and a laptop during trips lasting up to 7 days.

I was suprised during the main daylight hours that the inverter could charge directly: the cell phone, tablet, and WIFI card.  To keep my laptop charged I needed to capture to an emergency car battery system, and then use 3rd party car charger/inverter to get the right power levels to keep the laptop charged.  I was also able to keep charged a USB battery pack so I could run my WIFI card during non-daylight hours when needed.

One other lesson learned, was to turn off all electronics while sleeping.  This helped keep all the devices more readily available the next day then keeping them in standby/sleep mode overnight.

All in all the system worked very well and I'd recommend it.

Updated: 3/16/2014


DEFCON 19 Podcast Review

Defcon19-podcasts

DEFCON 19 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 4-5, 2011.  This yearly computer network security and hacker conference is full of cutting-edge research, detailed demos, awesome presentations, and a lot of partying. The podcast coverage was pretty good also. Here are my recommendations:

If you are interested in hearing my thoughts about DEFCON 19 then check out the PaulDotCom.com podcast (08-11-2011).  I am the boring "IT Guy" trying to avoid the topic of "hot" women visiting the PaulDotCom.com booth.  If you'd like to see a copy of my notes (13+ pages) then drop me a personal email to: "s h o l d e n @pobox.com."

Here is a Picasa collage from the Network Security Podcast meet-up at DEFCON 19 that was "infected" by Paul & Larry @ Pauldotcom.com's little red balls from one of thier sponsors:

DEFCON19-PodcastMeetup-2011-08-06


Another Week Of Recommended Podcasts Worth A Listen


Podcast-recommendations-01 Looking through my listened to podcast list for this past week, I'm going to recommend the following as potentially interesting:

 


@technewsradio Posts You Might Have Missed

Here are some posts recently to @technewsradio on Twitter that you might have missed:

  • SitePoint has announced "Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes - Create Versatile WordPress Themes That Really Sell" http://t.co/t9K7dMg
  • iPhone: The Missing Manual, 4th Edition (by David Pogue) covers iPhone 4 & All Other Models with iOS 4 Software http://t.co/SMBNX2d
  • Some great web-based cipher (i.e. encryption) tools posted to: http://t.co/gBerYw6
  • Franklin Covey's Plan Plus Online has been updated for business workgroups that allows for team so collaborate between team members
  • DJ Amber's latest CD release -- neo.maximal -- is available at http://t.co/SkH0LIr
  • O'Reilly & Josh Clark have teamed up for a new Apple iOS programming & user interface design book called Tapworthy http://t.co/dEuvB5T
  • Oracle has released VirtualBox 4.1.2 which improves stability and fixes regressions. Download via: http://t.co/rODJspx
  • Roku has announced upgraded Roku 2 hardware: HD ($60), XD ($80) & XS ($100) #besthomevideostreaming
  • Change your logon screen for Mac OS X Lion via these tips on MacRumors: http://t.co/G5Qf2vq
  • Want to display your hard drives on your Mac OS Lion desktop? Tip here: http://t.co/o9XMKUa
  • Are smash & grab tactics going to be something that grows? I don't think an adversary cares one way or the other http://bit.ly/nygX1B

This Week's Tech Podcasts Worth A Listen

Tech-podcasts-01 Here is a pointer to some recent technology related podcasts that might be of interest:

If you have a suggestion or a link to a good technology podcast to let others know about then drop us an email, message @technewsradio, or leave a comment below.


Excellent Report from Rusty Hodge on STS-133

Rusty Hodge at Groove Salad recently published a great soundscape and news report entitled "The Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery". 

Groove-salad-shuttle-launch-audio
It includes a mix of music and sounds at the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 launch from the NASA Launch Complex 39 VIP & Press viewing area.

It is a great listen with excellent production.  I highly recommend listening with a good set of headphones if possible.