Unconventional Input

So, January for me was upgrade month. Altima Network’s LAN infrastructure got a shakeup via new router (the D-Link DIR-625) to replace an aging and crash-happy Linksys, and the addition of an Gigabit ethernet switch to migrate my chunk of the LAN into wired mode. The benefits of the latter aren’t obvious, but it frees up some of the wireless band and, because Yggdrasil and my Slingbox are in wired mode rather than wifi, the former has a MUCH higher in-LAN transfer speed (and can thus better fulfill his role as a server) and the latter can output pretty much as close as you can get to a true HD stream.

And that’s just the LAN! Blastoise and Yggdrasil themselves scored some nice parts. Thankfully none of them involved cracking open cases.

For Blastoise, he gets a new mouse to replace those that were bundled with both tablets (their scrollwheels ground down, one of them stopped recognizing right-clicking and the other thought I was double-clicking everything). Specifically, he now packs a Logitech Anywhere MX. I’d originally eyed a Performance MX, but I was too used to the size of the Wacom mice and thought it better to get the Anywhere since it was closer in size. That and the Anywhere’s cheaper. :P Blastoise also packs a QuickCam Orbit AF, or as I like to call it, “Eyeball on a Stick.” Seriously, it rotates and stuff! (Well, you can turn auto-tracking off, if you are so inclined.) Finally, while this piece is portable, I predict that the Plantronics .Audio 655 USB headset will get much more mileage on Blastoise since using headphones on him is a HUGE pain– I would otherwise have to disconnect my surround speakers every time I wanted to plug in. Now, because he considers USB headphones a separate sound card, I can redirect just about anything there. The webcam and headphones pretty much render me Skype-capable, and I get the feeling I’m going to be using that quite a bit in the near future. :O

Yggdrasil now has a suitable keyboard… suitable meaning one befitting his role as a media server. The Logitech diNovo Mini is a very strange little keyboard, and not just by appearance. It’s a little off-putting to handle if you don’t know what you’re getting into.

First off, if you think you can just type normally on it, throw such a notion out the window, because you can’t… even if you have very small hands. No. It does NOT work that way at all. If, however, you own one of those cell phones with a slide-out keyboard, the diNovo Mini is pretty much going to be second nature to you. I am SO not kidding, this thing was MADE for txt-junkies! It’s essentially a bigger version of those kinds of keyboards, and save for some odd placement of the shift keys and some others, it handles almost identical to those phones.

The diNovo Mini also claims to have a battery life of 1 month at a full charge… we’ll see about that.

You do, however, lose out on F-keys, trading them for the Fn combos (surely a familiar sight for laptop users). I’ll admit that I’ll miss having at least F5 (refresh in Explorer and most browsers) but I think I’ll live. Also clearly absent are the niche keys like NumLock, Scroll Lock, PrintScreen and, oh, the keypad. If any of those are dealbreakers, well… *shrug*

Make no mistake, the diNovo Mini is CLEARLY meant for a media center box. With no F-keys and the touchpad and directional keys being consolidated into a circular… thing… don’t expect to be able to do a lot of heavy typing or any kind of keyboard-based gaming (unless it’s with a gamepad) with it. Things like URL entry, Twitter and IMs are fine, albeit at a much reduced speed than if you had a standard keyboard. On a media box like Yggdrasil, I don’t do much text entry on him anyhow, so this is fine– he is, after all, the ultimate video playback machine and is an old man of few words. ;P

Now, all that said, this little diNovo Mini is AWESOME. Because of the way I use Yggdrasil, I don’t really need a full-sized keyboard that’s quite awkward to handle given I don’t really have a dedicated surface for a real keyboard. The diNovo Mini is small, backlit and gets the job done.

Although not prominently advertised, the diNovo Mini can also be used on a PS3 via Bluetooth if you are so inclined. You have to flip a switch on the back of the keyboard after popping off the battery cover to make it recognizable by the PS3, but the option is there. (Speaking of Bluetooth, for PCs, don’t be thrown off by its mention of Bluetooth. If you lack a Bluetooth adapter, it comes with a USB dongle. It’s pretty much an either-or thing.)

I gotta get Yggdrasil a USB hub, though… I’m already out of slots. @_@ Well, I’m probably going to raid ThinkGeek again in the near future for moar shirts, so I might use my pile of Geek Points to nab a hub while I’m there if I’ve enough racked up. (Speaking of ThinkGeek… are you effing kidding me? A USB-powered electric blanket?! Next thing I know, there will be a USB pet rock… oh wait).

And now, to bed for me, as Kestine is giving me his “I can has pet and hug tiem nao?” mew. You do not blow off that kind of mewing. >_>

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