Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Battlemodo of Highest Res Video Goggles: Zeiss Cinemizer vs. Myvu Crystal

Despite the stigma, I've always wanted a pair of video goggles. I never did mind the nerd factor accompanying any piece of gear, at least not after admiring sci fi heroes like Cyclops of the X-men and Geordi from ST:TNG. But they've never been cheap or high-res enough until now. The Zeiss Cinemizer ($400) and the Myvu Crystal ($300) both do 640x480 resolution, which is best in class. And so today I'll try to figure out which one is better headset. During it all, I will suspend all disbelief when it comes to the practicality of wearing a second screen for your video iPod on your face. I mean, what are you really saving here but neck cramps?

Visual Quality
I watched lots of snowboarding videos on both setups. Both sets have the same resolution, but the screens look bigger and with less ambient light and distracting reflection in the Zeiss. It's supposed to simulate a 45 inch screen at 6 feet away, but all I know is that it's a lot more in your face than the Myvu. The Zeiss and Myvu's brightness, contrast and black levels were on par with each other. I do wish they came in 16:9 versions, but the 4:3 ratio is probably more practical. There's a 3D setting on the Zeiss, which is to be used with clips provided on their website, but as most content isn't 3D, it didn't factor into my testing. Update: Eyestrain isn't bad at all at the 30 minute mark, but I'll do some more testing today to make sure.

The Zeiss has adjustable head pieces, and a large and narrow nose piece. It's a much heavier set up, however, and so the Myvu is much more comfortable, with its adjustable nosepiece. I'd be more likely to use the Myvu out of the house, given their weight.

The Zeiss has mounted earbuds on adjustable plastic sticks that don't actually interface directly with your canals. (They float over them.) The Myvu's buds go into your ears, isolate a lot more sound and produce better audio, although the dangly wires add to the clutter.

Jordie Factor
The Cinemizers are far uglier than the lighter Myvu Crystals, partially from the bulging faux-eye pieces packed with the eyesight correcting diopter glass (+/-3.5D) and knobs, partially from just being too damn far apart. The Myvus are also a lot easier to walk around with, as you can see easily above and below the screen making driving with these a lot safer. (I kid!)

The Zeiss has a really nice rubber remote with contrast/brightness settings, volume, FF/RW, Play/Pause buttons and a nice clip. That leads to the battery dock, which holds the iPod and has a power button. The Myvu's controller has individual brightness and contrast settings, plus volume, but no navigation.

Compatibility and cabling
The Zeiss comes with a number of click in plastic holders for the touch, 3G Nano, Classic 80gb, 5th gen 60/80GB iPod, and Classic 160GB. There's no case for an iPhone the Classic 160 fit fine. There's a 1/8th inch jack for audio/video input, but a cable is not included. The Myvu comes in iPod or universal kits, but the universal kit excludes the iPod dock connection. The universal kit has adapters for regular composite jacks, Zune, Gigabeat, Archos, and 5th gen video iPods. The Myvu's cabling is also a mess, since you've got a separate battery/remote jack which interfaces with the iPod through another cable. The Zeiss's design bundles the battery with the already bulky iPod and so the only spare part is a remote. Very nice.

Battery Life
Both claim 4 hours of life. It's worth noting that other headsets from Myvu with 320 pixel wide images can do 10 hours of battery life. Both charge via USB, with the Zeiss charging a minimum of 2.5 hours and the Myvu finishing in 4 to 12 hours. (Rated.)

The Zeiss has a really nice case, while the Myvu has a mere bag.

If visual quality is your ultimate requirement, and you're married to an iPod, the Zeiss makes better sense. But the Myvu's ability to play with other video sources out of the box and its $100 cheaper price tag make it a little bit better for the general buyer. Both will give you a charisma penalty of 3-4 points, but you know, we don't care about that kind of thing around here.

Suspension of disbelief off: I guess there's a bigger question here of whether or not any of us need such a set up. I can imagine using one on a plane so I don't have to drain my iPhone's battery displaying a 3 hour movie on the 3.5 inch LCD; instead, I can avoid neck cramps and stare wherever my anatomy feels I will be most comfortable. Likewise in bed or on a couch. A few years ago, the quality was worse and these headsets were closer to $500. From here, at $300, I guess those limited scenarios are a decent value. Ultimately, most of you who decide to take such an advanced plunge will be doing it to bleed at the edge. What's nice is that going forward these things can only get better and cheaper, and I hope, less imposing to wear.

Data recovery tools

In your zeal to delete your data, you may have accidentally deleted files that you wanted to keep. Lifehacker has posted this handy list of data recovery tools to help you get those files back.

As you may know, whenever you delete a file, the only thing that changes is the file system. The data of the deleted file is still on the hard drive, but the file system sees the space containing the file as "blank" writable space. Data recovery software typically looks into the directory where the file was stored and scans it, finding any files not listed in the file system.

The program you choose for this task will not only be determined by your OS, but also by the specifics of your recovery needs. Do you need to recover a single file? Many files? A whole hard drive? An unbootable drive? A really scratched optical disk? Specialized tools for all of these needs are available, and this article will help you find the right program for yours.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DIY Playstation Portable Usb Charger

Materials Needed

Wire stripper, electrical tape, madcatz psp car charger, and usb cable...optional items...solder gun/solder, and a pair of sharp scissors.

Important Update: The data wires need to be grounded in order for the PSP to charge! Instructions follow.

mad catz car charger for the PSP usb printer cable wire cutters, electrical tape, box cutters

1) Grab all your materials. If using a solder iron/gun plug it in now.

2) Remove the outer shielding of the usb cable. Pull out the tin foil shielding, and reveal the wires.
A naked usb cable! 3) The wires are: red = +5 volts, black = earth (ground), and the two remaining are data cables. The white wire has disappeared because of the paper towel background...=)
Time to strip...! 4) Strip the black (earth/ground), green and white wires (data). Twist them together to form a easy to handle wire.

5) Strip the red (power +5V) wire. Twist it together.
Snip, snip... 6) Grab the car charger. Open it up to reveal two sets of wires, one in white shielding and the other surrounding the white sheilding. Usually when wiring is in this configuration...the inner wire is power while the one surrounding it is a earth wire. Using my voltmeter, I verify this.
Twisty? 7) Strip both wires, and then twist the stranded wire together.
Twisted... 8) Take both usb and charger cables. Join the power to power cable, and the earth to earth cable. Twist them around each other, if you are using solder, join both cables now instead of twisting them together.
Bound in tape! 9) Wrap both wires individually in electrical tape.
Mummy, I'm done! 10) Wrap the whole joint together in electrical tape.

11) Success! I don't have a PSP, but I have tested this with a five volt works! I'd get photos up of my buddy's PSP in motion with this charger soon...!

msn on the psp

finally someone worked out a nifty little system for the MSN for use on PSP.
And it looks good too. MSN isn't as popular as AIM or anything else, but it's great for talking with people who arent in america or just dont use aim. so this is obviously another step in psp advancing technology. there is literally maybe a little more than 2 or 3 graphics and the rest is nice and text based�.very cleanly I might add. so if you have wipeout pure, give it a try and let us know how it works out.

just point your browser to: and you're all set thanks to [kramer11]

PSP downgrader for v3.03 released

While I was on vacation, [Fanjita] and [Ditlew] released a downgrader for PSPs running v3.03 firmware. To get it to work, you'll need an unpatched copy of the GTA:Liberty City Stories UMD. The hack should get you down to v1.5. It's supposed to work on all current PSP hardware. Thanks to [wraggster], [Steve DiRaddo]. [Sean] submitted the same info [via noobz], but they don't appear to have credited the authors. (Unless of course, the authors are part of noobz.)

PSP PS2 controller

[F00 f00] over at acidmods put together this PS2 -> PSP controller. Using some similar techniques to [Ben Heck], he tapped all the control lines on his PSP and broke them out to what appear to be mini-usb connectors. Looking like a matrix subject, his PSP attaches to a dash board suction cup mount. Via pspnews thanks to [wraggster]

Pandora's battery (unbrick your PSP)

[krazywhiteguy310] let me know about the announcement of Pandora's battery. It'll cost you a Sony PSP battery to pull off the hack, but once you're done, you can use it to jump start your bricked PSP to load up a memory imaged designed to unbrick the PSP. (I haven't tested it, so I'm taking this on faith) Excellent news if you've bricked your PSP.