I mentioned in my original review that WiFi connectivity doesn’t appear to work as you’d expect when it comes to the various power options. Having now had a chance to read the manual it appears that it isn’t functioning as it should. The manual states…
You can put your system into standby mode by pressing the power button.
When your system is in standby mode, Wi-Fi and mobile networking remain enabled.
I noticed that when downloading large files from the PlayStation store that if I put the device into standby via a quick touch of the top power button then WiFi would disconnect. However, if you simply leave the device on and let it naturally go into standby (depending on your power settings this timeout will be different – I have mine set to the minimum of 1 minute) then the WiFi appears to remain on.
If you have wifi running and want it to keep running, let the vita go to sleep on its own.
I should also add that, in what I think is actually a nice touch, when the WiFi isn’t being used it does disconnect itself, reconnecting when needed again. This has meant that, left on the main menu in standby, the battery on my Vita has lasted a good long while.
On the day that I received my Vita I also had an issue where although WiFi was active I couldn’t get an internet connectivity – all other devices in the house were fine and a reboot of the Vita resolved the problem. I mention it because I’ve heard of people having the same problem. I’ve not had any such problems since, though.
Hopefully a future firmware upgrade will resolve the WiFi issues.
Having tinkered and replaced PCs over the years I’ve been left with a number of hard drives. In my case I have 3 SATA and 1 PATA. For years they’ve been sat in a corner inside anti-static bags. I could buy a multi-bay NAS or caddy to put the SATA ones to use, but these are expensive (often £200+). However, having them as spares that I can make the occasional backup and drive clone to would be useful. Normally, people would buy a cheap external caddy, which would involving swapping the drives in and out of this each time they want to use one.
A German company named Convar have come up with a novel alternative.
It’s cheap, environmentally friendly and, no matter what you may be thinking, won’t burst into flames when it gets hot.
The Convar product, known as BytePac, consists of 3 cardboard boxes – specially designed to snugly hold a hard drive (2.5″ or 3.5″) – and a set of cables and power adapter to allow you to easily connect the drive to your PC. With the hard drive in the box, you can close it all up and, when not in use, stick it on a shelf (it even comes with some stickers for labelling). When in use, there’s a flap on the side to improve air circulation and another on the bottom for cable connection. The cable plugs into the SATA port and goes to a special thumb sized adapter. Also plugged into this adapter is a cable that connects to your PC via USB 2 and a power supply1. It’s a bit of a mess with 3 cables heading off in different directions and not the neatest solution.
None-the-less, it just works. I plugged it all together and my drives each burst into life as I connected them up in turn2. When finished with them, I simply unplug them and put them in the shelf above.
I mentioned previously that I have a PATA drive. The BytePac, by default, doesn’t work with these but there is an additional connection kit available – you will need one for each PATA drive. This kit consists of an additional box (slightly modified to take into account the modified drive) and an adapter that you screw onto the bottom of the drive – this converts the drive to SATA so that you can then connect it up using the cables that came with the standard BytePac . This does mean that if you only have a PATA drive you can just buy this kit – you must have the standard BytePac as well for the connection cables. For some odd reason Western Digital PATA drives are slightly different and need a modified adapter – this is also included.
As well as all of the above you can buy additional boxes for a reasonable price.
For my setup it cost me about £30 for the standard BytePac kit and then £15 for the PATA connection kit. Additional boxes cost £12 for 3.
Summary of BytePac Kit
A good quality solution to ad-hoc hard drive storage. The box works well but the cables are a bit messy and the price is a little high, particularly the PATA converter. However, if keeping them stored away is not a concern and you don’t have many drives, you could probably find metal hard drive caddies on eBay for the equivalent of each of these.
Reviewed by David Artiss on 28th March 2012.
which has an EU connector on it, but they provide a converter socket for this [↩]
with the exception of one, which I believe is dud! [↩]
Here’s something I can across recently based upon some recent research. It shows how the instant gratification of the internet is making us impatient.
The study was US based, hence it’s American reference – however, there’s nothing to suggest that’s not as bad in the UK or anywhere else in the first world.
What do you think? Has the internet made you a less patient person?
I am a less patient person, although maybe not to some of the extents highlighted in this. However, is it the internet or just the world generally that we live in now where everything is quicker, smaller, better than it was just months previous (yes, I’m looking at you mobile phone manufacturers!)? Is this evidence of a damaging effect by the Internet or society in general – the Internet is a product, after all, of that.
ReTrak, popular in the US, are now selling their range of products in the UK at retailers such as PC World, Dixons and Amazon.
You may have come across retractable cables before – often found on portable mice for laptops, they wind excess cable into real which is suspended half way along the cable length. What ReTrak have done is improved upon this, added other new technologies and then created a huge range of products. Basically, what you get are a range of electrical accessories that take up as little space as possible.
Their range includes computer, visual and audio cables along with power supplies, headphones, iPhone and eBook products, mice and even a retractable mouse mat with built-in USB hub!
Up until now my ReTrak reviews have mainly been of basic retractable cables. However, this is different – a Kindle charger that works via USB, mains or car power outlet. It’s a meaty box with lots of options for the Kindle owner.
In the box you get a retractable a Micro USB cable that you can use to connect your Kindle to a USB device to charge. The cable is up to the usual high standard of ReTrak devices – it works smoothly and is well manufactured.
However, you also get a power connector. This is made of black, glossy plastic and has a number of functions. On one end are 2 USB sockets – you can not only connect your Kindle to this but something else as well. The output of these is 1.2A, which I assume is each, not across the two. This would make this over twice the power of a “standard” USB charger, so you will find your device charges quicker than usual. Pull the pointed cap off the end and there’s a plug for a car power outlet so you can charge your Kindle (and other devices) whilst “out and about”. Lastly, fold down the red pin on another side and you have a mains plug. As with other ReTrak products this uses the ThinPlug technology to reduce the plug’s footprint to a minimum.
All of this will work with Kindle 2, Kindle 3, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX and Kindle Fire.
Once again I passed this onto my daughter to try out and she immediately came across the one and only issue – because of the horizontal design of the adapter when plugged into the left hand side of a double mains socket it will obscure the right socket. Plug into the right socket and, although it doesn’t obscure the left socket, it’s very difficult to access the USB connector on the left of the adapter if something is plugged in next to it.
My only point of note is that with this device I can’t see the advantage of the ThinPlug design – normally it allows the earth pin to be folded down allowing the resulting device to be shortner, much better for mobility. However, for this adapter the physical charger unit limits the height and the folding pin doesn’t make the unit much smaller. Indeed, because of the other pins sticking out at right angles to the main unit the device isn’t as practical as other ReTrak products for packing away in a bag.
A brilliant all-in-one charging solution for the Kindle. As it works with other Micro USB devices as well (and, in fact, you can plug any USB charger into the actual charging device) you can also use this for all sorts of other devices too. Well made, only the the fact it tends to block other mains sockets being a weak point.
Made by RJM Accessories, Poundland sell a one-size children’s glove that works with capacitive touch-screen devices. The gloves I bought were a nice blue with silvery grey finger ends on the thumb and index finger. And they work really well. I gave them to my 13 year old daughter – they’re a bit of a tight fit but they work wonderfully well on her iPod Touch. They’re reasonably well made, not brilliantly thick so won’t keep your hands too warm but they do their job well.
The only issue here is the size. Intended for kids the “one size” is actually quite small – as I said above my 13 year old daughter struggled with them. So I can only assume that these are intended for the under 10′s with touch screen devices. At least they can be washed as normal, though, in the washing machine.
Summary of RJM Accessories TouchScreen Gloves
Reasonably well made, these actually work well. You’ll need small hands, though!