If your network-based applications are slow to load and respond, it may not be the LAN that’s at fault. It could be the server’s hard drives that’re slowing things down. Astute Networks has a provocative idea to speed things up: use solid state storage (SSD) devices rather than slower hard drives. Its ViSX storage devices can speed response time ten-fold while costing roughly what mechanical hard drives go for.
Building a curriculum around the physics of air flight is a great idea because it brings in everything from geometry and forces to navigation and weather. It can be taken a step up with Hot Seat’s Edustation, a self-contained flight simulator that is ready to take to the skies without leaving the ground. The $5,800 system has a 32-inch forward display for a cockpit-eye’s view, a 21-inch instrument display as well as a control yoke, pedals and special simulation software.
If you’re looking for a screen that’s just as good with a fistful of markers as with an interactive projector, Elite’s Universal Whiteboard Screen can fit right in. It’s available in 58-, 77- and 94-inch sizes, has a glare-free 1:1 gain surface and works with dry erase markers as well as all sorts of projectors. A big bonus is that the surface is magnetic.
If the last school concert recording you made with your smartphone sounded like it took place in a shower, you need more than a new microphone. With three microphones at its disposal, Zoom’s iQ5 weighs just over an ounce and plugs right into an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and can deliver high quality audio. It not only has a volume adjustment as well as a way to vary the area the microphones cover, but the iQ5 comes with a recording app, complete with special effects. It’s available in white or black and costs about $100.
With wireless tablet keyboards not making a lot of sense for standardized testing, Belkin’s Secure Wired Keyboard fits right in. Available for Samsung Android tablets as well as old and new iPads, the keyboard plugs directly into the slate, has full-size non-removable keys and doesn’t require batteries or additional software. The Samsung-based keyboard is available for $30 and the iPad versions with the older 30-pin plug or the Lightning plug are coming this spring for $60.
If you have a school full of Chromebooks, Asus’s Chromebox should fit right in. The basis of a desktop Chrome-based system, all the box needs is a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Priced at $179, the Celeron-based box comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of local storage as well as 100GB of free Google Drive space for two years. There will also be Core i3 and i7 versions available later this year. All of the models are so small that they can be attached to the back of a monitor, have both a wired LAN connection and 802.11n WiFi as well as 4 USB ports. The Chromebox can be used as a public kiosk, a library research machine or even as homework systems in study halls and works with just about any recent monitor or projector via either its DisplayPort or HDMI connector.
While Cubify’s Cube was the first out with an inexpensive 3-D printer, MakerBot takes this idea to a new level. The $1,375 Replicator Mini is a desktop 3-D printer that produces items up to 75 cubic inches 200 micron layers at a time. Students can create their own designs or print dozens of premade 3-D designs at Thingiverse.com. It’ll be available in the Spring.
Tired of having all those cables clutter up your desk? Epson’s WorkForce DS-560 is a sheet-fed scanner that can connect over a WiFi wireless network to a PC or Mac. It comes with TWAIN and ISIS drivers, has a 50-page hopper and can churn through 26 pages per minute while creating images of both sides of the sheet. The best part is that in addition to picking up the scans on a computer, you can have them uploaded to online repositories, like Google Docs or Evernote. It costs $449.
The next time the access point near the gym goes down, don’t get up, because it can be managed, updated and repaired remotely via Adtran’s ProCloud platform. The system is based on BlueSocket technology that monitors every aspect of the wireless data network every minute of every day. It features top security, a 99.99 percent uptime as well as a variety of 802.11n access points to choose from.
Rather than packaged as a notebook, the latest computer to use Chrome OS software is an all-in-one that can be an excellent public access terminal for email, Web research and working on assignments. LG’s Chromebase looks like it could be the iMac’s long-lost brother and has a 21.5-inch display that can show full HD material. It’s powered by an Intel Celeron processor and includes 2GB of RAM as well as 16GB of internal storage.