Review - Logitech Wireless Combo Mk520 With Keyboard and Mouse


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.



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  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.  


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.


 Listen! (Size 2.12 MBs, Running Time 2m10s)
Today's podcast is inspired by the Dog Days Of Podcasting (#DDOP).  It is a single focus recommendation on why I have NMAP in my security toolkit and why you should consider it.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter and/or Google+.  For technology news only updates follow TechNewsRadio @ Twitter.

Tracking News Related To TrueCrypt

Here are some links to stories about TrueCrypt shutting down:

TrueCrypt is a key tool in our toolkit for protecting data and we use it everyday.  If it is actually going to go away then it will leave a big whole in end-user security options for data encryption.


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).


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

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #364 | 2010-07-06 | Having Fun With Your Apple iPad

 Listen! (Size 4.0 MBs, Running Time 3m58s)

Today's podcast is a pointer to an O'Reilly webcast entitled "Five Ways The iPad Can Entertain You" with J.D. Biersdorfer the author of the book "iPad: The Missing Manual." The webcast is going to focus on: Books,  Photos, Movies, Music, and Maps; plus offer time for Q&A.  The webcast is currently scheduled for 10 - 11 am on Friday, June 9, 2010. You can sign up via: REGISTER >

We also play a short promo for Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Stepp's companion podcast called "Teach Yourself WordPress in 10 Minutes ... in 10 Minutes" that is a great supplement to their book "Teach Yourself WordPress in 10 Minutes".

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: TwitterFriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Twitter Updates - ePub, TurboCash, iPad, Windows,, Evernote, etc

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign
  • TurboCASH has released the 4301 Update (5/5/2010) - this is an interesting open source financial mgmt application
  • Just posted on my personal blog "An Apple iPad ~2 Month Later Review & Update"
  • MacWorld has good references on on ePub & iPad
  • Celina Jacobson has an interesting post examining "100 Excellent Lifehacks for Your Long Commute"
  • Mark Minasi's TechNewsletter#89 Secrets of Creating Default User in Windows 7, Cleaning Up Setup's Little Security Hole
  • is now beta testing drag-n-drop functions to the cloud using HTML5, Firefox 3.6, and Google Chrome
  • Possible Evernote User Group Meeting in San Diego being discussed

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #360 | 091124 | Windows 7 Books, Network Programming, Screencast Tips, & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 7.4 MBs, Running Time 10m41s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Today's podcast examines: Windows 7 book recommendations, network programming toolkits from Catalyst, and screencast tips (PDF)  via Tech Smith

In addition the following conferences are highlighted:
Other links mentioned in this podcast includes:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Twitter Updates - Microsoft, Outlook, Power, Mobile, Server, Mac, Security

Over the last week the following were posted to TechNewsRadio @