Refurb’d iPhone for $100 Off

This hadn’t occurred to me till someone mentioned it, but you can save a hundred bucks on an iPhone by getting a “certified” refurbished unit from Apple. I’ve never bought factory-refurb’d from Apple, but I know those who have and they’ve been happy with the purchase. They currently have 4GB phones for US$399 and 8GB models for $499. So you could get an 8GB iPhone for the cost of a 4GB phone. I’m in the market for an iPhone, so this is more than just an intellectual exercise for me. I might go this route. If I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.


MX Air Rechargeable Cordless Air Mouse

It may look something like a NextGen Star Trek phaser, but it’s not, it’s the latest high-end, high-priced wireless mouse from Logitech. For US$150(!) you get a mouse that you can use on your desk or off of it, brandishing it like, well, a phaser. Not really sure how big the demand for such a free wielding input device is, but I guess it’d come into its own as a presentation controller or a Microsoft Media Center remote controller. And speaking of which, it appears to be Windows-only (and Vista-friendly).


Hardwood IPhone Cases: Swanky, Expensive

I’ve always had a strange attraction to wooden cases for high-tech gear. Something about the contrast, I suppose. I’m currently about to buy an iPhone, so I’m looking at cases. I would never spend US$100 for one of these wooden cases from the UK, but they *are* lovely. Not sure if adding an expensive wooden handmade case (which you’d be equally paranoid about banging up) is a very smart way to go. But if money and marring are not issues, knock yourself out… [Via Boing Boing]


WD Announces “Greener” HDs

From DailyTech:

Western Digital today announced a new line of hard drives with greater emphasis on power saving – GreenPower. Western Digital has new GreenPower drives for desktop, enterprise, consumer electronics and external applications. The new GreenPower drives claim power consumption reductions of up to 40%, resulting in $10 per drive, per year savings in actual power costs.

Read the full item here.


Logitech’s Nano Receiver Not Much Bigger Than a Pimple

We’re big fans of Logitech’s VX, their mouse designed for mobile computing. Its wireless USB receiver even stows inside of the mouse body for ease of transport (and so you don’t lose it in the linty recesses of your laptop bag). Even though the current receiver is small (smaller than a typical USB Flash drive), it’s still a significant protrusion on the side of your computer, and that leaves it venerable to getting knocked off, and maybe borking a USB port in the process.

Enter the new VX Nano, billed has having the world’s smallest USB receiver. Besides the USB A plug housing, there’s just enough material extending beyond the port to grab hold of. Really impressively tiny.

The VX Nano goes on sale at the end of next month. It will retail for US$70.


Extending Li-ion Battery Life

Spicy Gadget Roll has a piece with some good tips on how to extend the life of your Li-ion batteries:

Battery Calibrating – There is some benefits to fully discharging your lithium battery periodically, for laptops especially this can be important. If you start to notice your battery meter is becoming more and more inaccurate, it may be time for some battery calibration. By allowing your lithium battery to fully drain, this will help the battery recalibrate allowing for more accurate measurements of battery life. This should be done once every 30 charges or when you notice battery readings are off.

But as they point out, DON’T listen to people who tell you the battery will last longer if you fully drain the battery before the first charging. This is related to nickel-based batts and their “memory effect,” which doesn’t occur with lithium.

[Via Treehugger]


WeaKnees Now Offering DirecTV HR20-700 HD DVR Upgrades

The fine fellows over at WeaKnees, who did the Tech Editing for my TiVo book, emailed to tell us that they’re now selling high-capacity versions of DirecTV’s HD DVR (non-TiVo). This is significant because, until now, it was impossible to get more capacity into this box. Michael writes on their blog:

“Since the HR20-700 was released, people have come to us looking for upgrades. And now we’re ready to upgrade the HR20-700 units! We are now selling two upgraded HR20-700s: a 100 hour HD unit, and a 145 hour HD unit.

We’re still TiVo fanatics at heart, but since the TiVo HR10-250 is out of production and DirecTV’s new channels can only come through this new DVR, we’re upgrading it also.

Finally, if you already have an HR20, and you want to send it to us for an upgrade, we’re doing that too. Just find the HR20-700 upgrade that you want, and once you checkout, we’ll email shipping information. Send us your unit, and we’ll turn it around within two business days (most often the same day, in fact). Due to various complexities, we are not offering self-install kits.”

Phooey on that last bit. But the rest is good news for DirecTV owners, and if you’re going to send your precious box to anybody, you can’t do better than these guys.