We Got Served http://www.wegotserved.com Fri, 22 May 2015 12:12:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Behind the Scenes at Development of the Windows NAS Hardware Platform http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/22/behind-the-scenes-at-development-of-the-windows-nas-hardware-platform/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/22/behind-the-scenes-at-development-of-the-windows-nas-hardware-platform/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 12:11:28 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72532 Thecus lifts the curtain to tell us more about their Windows NAS hardware development.

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Following previous attempts to craft Windows into a value prosumer/SOHO/small business server platform (see Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials) Microsoft are again dipping a toe into the water with their latest effort, Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Two hardware partners, NAS specialist Thecus and storage giant Seagate, have jumped on board this time around. The jury is still out on the results. I reviewed the Thecus W4000 NAS Server back in February and found the software platform to be excellent – simple to use, well featured but let down by underpowered hardware (a mis-step since corrected with the launch of an upgraded model).

Seagate launched their WSS NAS range last month, but declined to send hardware over to us for review. Hardware specifications are similar to the original Thecus W4000.

If you’re intrigued ny the prospect of a Windows Server NAS solution, the Microsoft TechNet blog today is running a “behind the scenes” interview with John Tsai, VP of Marketing at Thecus. He provides some light insight into the development of the W4000 hardware platform and reasons why the company has adopted the Windows Storage Server Essentials platform alongside their Linux NAS range. Here’s a snippet:

What can we expect from Thecus in the future? Can you tell us anything about how Windows Storage Server Essentials fits into your strategy and product roadmap?

We’re already looking at adding new value-added software utilities, which, of course, are easy to develop because they’ll run on Windows. Beyond that, we’re listening closely to initial customer feedback. For example, we recently added the option to upgrade the amount of RAM in their systems to 4 gigabytes.  This will allow users to get even more out of their Thecus NAS devices, all while maintaining optimal performance.

To read more, check out the full interview over at TechNet.

More: Microsoft TechNet

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Review: TP-LINK AV1200 Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (TL-PA8010PKIT) http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/21/review-tp-link-av1200-powerline-adapter-starter-kit-tl-pa8010pkit/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/21/review-tp-link-av1200-powerline-adapter-starter-kit-tl-pa8010pkit/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 14:53:29 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72505 The TP-LINK AV1200 Powerline Adapter Starter Kit offers very fast network performance that is ideal for high-definition media streaming and other bandwidth-intensive tasks. With easy connection and a passthrough power outlet, it's a great choice for AV enthusiasts and other home users seeking a strong and reliable network connection.

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In this day and age, most of our gadgets are Wi-Fi enabled: tablets, smartphones, games consoles, media players, printers and televisions… they all want to connect to the Internet to access the ever-increasing amount of information on offer.

When the wireless signal in homes and workplaces isn’t strong enough for a fast and stable connection, you could turn to a wired solution via Ethernet cabling, but for the majority of people this isn’t a possibility due to complexities of installing extra wiring. This is where the flexibility of Powerline adapters come to the fore. They use the existing mains power circuitry in your home to transfer data over the copper wiring that is already installed around homes and offices.

Powerline adapters are no longer new technology – we’ve reviewed a variety of Powerline adapters over the years, each offering bolder promises of faster network speeds, higher quality media streams and simpler, more convenient connections.  As our demands increase, for higher quality media streamed more quickly to more devices simultaneously, we are expecting much more from networking devices and that means that older and slower Powerline adapters aren’t always up to the job. With so-called “Gigabit Powerline” devices entering the marketplace, maybe it’s time to look for a replacement?

TP-LINK has been at the forefront of the Powerline explosion, with AV500 and AV600-class devices offering strong performance and great value. The company’s latest Powerline kit, the TP-LINK AV1200 Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (TL-PA8010PKIT) promises speeds up to 1200 Mbps on the box. We know that real world speeds rarely meet the claims bandied about by marketers, but can this new kit deliver a better performance than its predecessors and provide true HD streaming?

Let’s find out!

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As we enter the 4K Ultra High Definition era, the TP-LINK AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit (TL-PA8010PKIT) (to give it its full name) makes a point of its ability to stream Ultra HD video – a great test for any network device, but for a Powerline adapter in particular. Built around the HomePlug AV2 standard with MIMO support, TP-LINK’s latest adapter kit is rated for speeds up to 1200 Mbps and while seasoned readers will know not to expect throughput anything near to that figure in the real world, the promise of fast and stable 4K video streaming over Powerline is compelling.

We received the £95.99 TL-PA8010PKIT for review, which includes a single Gigabit Ethernet port and twin adapters. A 3-port version, the TL-PA8030P is also available, priced£10 or so more for those needing additional wired connections to the network.  

What’s in the Box?

The TP-LINK AV1200 Powerline Starter kit comes with everything you need to get up and running. This includes:

 

  • Two Powerline adapters (with single Gigabit Ethernet ports and a passthrough power socket)
  • Two 2m Ethernet cables
  • Quick install guide
  • Resource CD

 

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Seagate NAS Hard Drive Flash Sale Now On http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/20/seagate-nas-hard-drive-flash-sale-now-on/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/20/seagate-nas-hard-drive-flash-sale-now-on/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 15:06:29 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72512 If you're thinking of expanding your NAS or home server storage, looks like there are bargains to be had in the Seagate NAS Hard Drive Flash Sale.

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If you’re looking to expand your NAS or home server storage, then Seagate has announced a flash sale on their specialist NAS Hard Drive range, with crazy prices on offer in North America and Europe.

Right now, you can pick up additional storage in the Seagate NAS Hard Drive Flash Sale at the following prices:

Seagate 4TB NAS HDD: $149.99 (save $100) | £119.99 (save £80)

Seagate 3 TB NAS HDD: $114.67 (save $85) |  £84.99 (save £45)

Seagate 2 TB NAS HDD: $95.99 (save $64) | £64.68 (save £40)

Confused about the differences between NAS hard drives, low-power “green” hard drives and other spinning platters? Check out our comprehensive overview to help you find the right hard drive for your NAS or home server.

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Plex Media Server Arrives on the Western Digital WD My Cloud NAS Series http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/plex-media-server-arrives-on-the-western-digital-wd-my-cloud-nas-series/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/plex-media-server-arrives-on-the-western-digital-wd-my-cloud-nas-series/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:42:03 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72498 Popular media server platform arrives on Western Digital's WD My Cloud NAS range.

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We’ve reviewed a range of Western Digital’s WD My Cloud NAS devices over the last couple of years and have found them to be great NAS servers for users seeking good value, expandable storage from a trusted brand.

While the My Cloud NAS range has offered a suite of installable, open source applications for some time, I know many of our readers have been holding out to hear news of support for Plex Media Server. For the uninitiated, Plex allows you to stream your media to a wealth of devices, such as your Mac, PC, smartphone, tablet, Xbox, PlayStation, Smart TV, Roku, Chromecast – and soon TiVo too. 

Plex Media Server has been available on competing NAS platforms from QNAP, NETGEAR, ASUSTOR and Synology for some time. Today, Western Digital announced that the app is now available for WD My Cloud.

“WD is committed to a robust application ecosystem for our customers and Plex is a key example of our vision,” said Sven Rathjen, vice president & general manager, WD networked content solutions. “With today’s addition of the Plex app, the My Cloud NAS series will now be a one-stop shop to not only store and protect your most precious content, but to organize and stream that content to all your devices as well.”

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The addition of Plex to the WD My Cloud app stable enhances the NAS platform with new media features, including:

  • Stream supported file formats directly from your personal My Cloud to any Plex app.
  • World class DLNA support built right in to the app.
  • Effortlessly sharing media amongst family and friends.
  • One simple interface to organize all of your media.

At this point, the WD My Cloud Mirror, My Cloud EX2/EX4, My Cloud EX2100/EX4100 and My Cloud DL2100/4100 will all support Plex Media Server. To download, simply head to the apps section of the My Cloud dashboard.

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Kick Off Your Wireless Speaker Collection With the New SONOS 2 Room Starter Set http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/kick-off-your-wireless-speaker-collection-with-the-new-sonos-2-room-starter-set/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/kick-off-your-wireless-speaker-collection-with-the-new-sonos-2-room-starter-set/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:21:14 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72494 Limited-time SONOS 2 Room Starter Set promotion gets you $50 off two PLAY:1 speakers.

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If you’re looking for a great way to get up and running with a SONOS wireless streaming network, for a limited time, the company is bundling two PLAY:1 speakers for a special price.

The PLAY:1 is SONOS’ entry level speaker – retailing at $199 ($219 in Canada) the compact device offers great audio output and is ideal for desktop or bookshelf positions. Pair two PLAY:1 speakers in the same room, and you can stream your music in a stereo configuration or alternatively, split the speakers in different locations for a multi-room audio streaming setup.

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The company didn’t share how long the promotion will last, but right now you can pick up the SONOS 2 Room Starter Set with two PLAY:1 speakers for $349 ($379 in Canada).

Look out for the special packs in stores and your favourite online retailers.

More: SONOS 2 Room Starter Set

 

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Garmin nuvi Essential Range Launched With Optional Backup Camera Support http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/garmin-nuvi-essential-range-launched-with-optional-backup-camera-support/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/19/garmin-nuvi-essential-range-launched-with-optional-backup-camera-support/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 16:37:43 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72485 New entry-level Garmin nuvi Essential range offers large-screen satellite navigation with advanced features at a low price.

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Today, Garmin announced the unveiling of their 2015 nuvi Essential range of satellite navigation devices, which for the first time include support for the company’s BC 30 Backup Camera.

The new entry-level line-up consists of four new devices with 5 and 6″ screens, with prices ranging from £109.99 to £149.99. All four models offer Garmin’s Real Directions feature which reads navigation instructions using landmarks and traffic lights and there’s points of interest from Foursquare. Depending on the model, you’ll find maps of the UK and Ireland or Europe (US or US/Canada in North America), with free lifetime map updates available from Garmin. 

Garmin nüvi 57LM (£109.99/$149.99)

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  • Preloaded with detailed maps of UK and Ireland (or USA in North America) with free lifetime map updates
  • Easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator with 5.0-inch dual-orientation display
  • Garmin Real Directions™ guide like a friend using landmarks and traffic lights
  • Find new and popular restaurants, shops and more with Foursquare®
  • Direct Access simplifies navigating to select complex destinations, like shopping centres and airports

Garmin nüvi 58LM (£129.99/$159.99)

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  • Preloaded with detailed maps of Europe (or USA/Canada in North America) with free lifetime map updates
  • Easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator with 5.0-inch dual-orientation display
  • Garmin Real Directions™ guide like a friend using landmarks and traffic lights
  • Find new and popular restaurants, shops and more with Foursquare®
  • Direct Access simplifies navigating to select complex destinations, like shopping centres and airports

Garmin nüvi 67LM (£129.99/$179.99)

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  • Easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator with 6.0-inch dual-orientation display
  • Preloaded with detailed maps of the UK and Ireland (or USA in North America) with free lifetime map updates
  • Garmin Real Directions™ guide like a friend using landmarks and traffic lights
  • Find new and popular restaurants, shops and more with Foursquare®
  • Direct Access simplifies navigating to select complex destinations, like shopping centres and airports

Garmin nüvi 68LM (£149.99/$189.99)

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  • Easy-to-use dedicated GPS navigator with 6.0-inch dual-orientation display
  • Preloaded with detailed maps of Europe with free lifetime map updates
  • Garmin Real Directions™ guide like a friend using landmarks and traffic lights
  • Find new and popular restaurants, shops and more with Foursquare®
  • Direct Access simplifies navigating to select complex destinations, like shopping centres and airports

The new nuvi Essential range is compatible with Garmin’s optional BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera, which retails at £134.99 ($169.99). The BC 30 mounts to the rear of your vehicle and displays images from behind on your GPS’ display. Installation options include a wired connection to provide constant power and toggle easily between camera and navigation modes. Alternatively, the Backup Camera can also wirelessly transmit video up to 45 feet to your navigation device.

 

 

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Review: Logitech Keys-To-Go For Android/Windows http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/15/review-logitech-keys-go-androidwindows/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/15/review-logitech-keys-go-androidwindows/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 12:51:36 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72466 The ultra-portable Logitech Keys-to-Go is a great keyboard for Android and Windows users on the road, with convenient shortcuts to popular apps. James Ray provides the lowdown.

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In April of this year Logitech released two new tablet accessories – the Logitech Keys-To-Go for iPad and Windows/Android. These keyboards are designed to be both portable and durable – helping to dispel any worries that might come from using a keyboard near coffee.

What’s in the Box?

The Logitech Keys-To-Go keyboard comes in box not much bigger than itself, along with a USB cable for charging and a plastic phone/tablet stand. It has a matte black top with a textured, fabric feel to it and while the bottom is smooth it has a non-slip feel to it. The sides have a sort of seamed aesthetic, which to me feels like it wasn’t cut out properly. The keyboard is rigid and solid with a good weight – light enough to happily stick in a bag but not so light that it feels like it’ll break. At only 6mm the Keys-to-Go is thinner than most smartphones and easy to slide into a bag next to a tablet without adding much bulk.

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Connecting the Keyboard

Pairing the keyboard to a phone or tablet takes no time at all. Simply hold down the Bluetooth key in the top right corner for 2 seconds, select the Keys-To-Go AW in your device’s Bluetooth listing, type the pairing code into the keyboard and press enter. This process needs to be completed each time you want to change the device you’re typing on. This is where my biggest gripe with the device comes to the fore. Logitech released a keyboard last year (the K480 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard) which allows for easy switching between up to three devices. The MX Master Wireless Mouse also has this feature. Personally, I would love to see the same feature on the Keys-to-Go to help switch easily from typing on my phone to my tablet and vice versa. That said, the process of switching isn’t hard and doesn’t take a lot of time – but it could be improved.

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Using the Keyboard

As this is the Android/Windows version of the Keys-to-Go, it comes with a few OS specific keys i.e. a Windows key, Android home, back key, running apps and more. Functions like Alt+Tab work on Android devices just as on Windows, the ‘running apps’ key however doesn’t work the way I anticipated. Rather than just showing me the list of cards it does this and then also opens the most recent application. While not behaving the way I expected, it seemed reasonably useful.

There are other function keys available along the top allowing for easy access to an email client, music player, music controls and taking a screenshot. Android couldn’t seem to remember which application to use for the email client and music player keys though; even if I selected ‘use Gmail always’ it would ask me next time. On the X, C and V keys are little icons for cut, copy and paste in case you’ve forgotten your Ctrl shortcuts.

The chiclet style keys are lovely to press and don’t depress too far. Rather than each key having a cover the whole keyboard is covered in fabric which allows it to be wiped clean if you accidentally spill something on it. It is not, however, waterproof so use in a shower is not advised! The power switch is located next to the micro-USB charging port on the right-hand side which is open, so liquid is able to enter the device.

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Logitech claims the Keys-to-Go battery lasts for three months, which I haven’t been able to test in my time with the device, but it hasn’t needed any additional charging when using over the last few weeks.

The plastic stand supplied with the Keys-to-Go is a welcome addition, allowing you to stand your phone/tablet upright. The angle isn’t adjustable but while working on a desk with my tablet in front of me it worked very well. The stand doesn’t attach to the keyboard but the keyboard can slide into the stand.

Conclusion

All-in-all the Keys-To-Go AW is a nice portable keyboard with a great design – although some of the features included with the device could be improved . If you’re after a slim, portable bluetooth keyboard for one device it’s worth taking a look at. It’s available now for £54.99 from leading online retailers.

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New Linksys RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender Promises to Resurrect Wi-Fi Dead Spots http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/14/new-linksys-re6700-ac1200-amplify-range-extender-promises-to-resurrect-wi-fi-dead-spots/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/14/new-linksys-re6700-ac1200-amplify-range-extender-promises-to-resurrect-wi-fi-dead-spots/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 04:01:37 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72454 Linksys RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender launched today with up to 10,000 SQFT wireless range, passthrough power socket, automatic bandwidth optimisation and guidance for the best possible positioning in the home.

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Linksys today took the covers off its new RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender – the latest volley in the company’s assault on Wi-Fi dead spots.

The new $119.99 extender builds on the previously released Linksys RE6500 AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender (see our review) with a range of enhancements to improve performance and usability. Wireless range extends up to 10,000 SQFT throughout the home, with simultaneous dual-band connections rated at 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mbps at 5 Ghz.

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The RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender includes three additional features that were not available on Linksys’ previous range topper. A feature called “Spot Finder Technology” guides you to position the extender in the optimal position to amplify your router’s Wi-Fi signal.

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Handily, there’s also a passthrough power socket which ensures you won’t lose a power outlet when using your extender. Simply plug any device directly into the range extender and you’re good to go.

A third feature, “Auto Cross Band Technology” allows the use of both wireless bands to provide high speed data transfer to help with high-bandwidth music/video streaming and gaming. Explaining the new feature, Linksys said the RE6700 will use the 5 GHz backhaul to relay the traffic from or to a nearby 5 GHz client with strong signals. On the other hand, the new extender can switch to the 2.4 GHz backhaul to relay the traffic from / to a distant 5 GHz client with weak signals. The result promised is reduced dropped data packets, faster media transfer speeds, and a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home.

The new extender arrives to coincide with a joint research study Linksys conducted with IDC called The Home Network, the Neglected Work Horse. The study found that on average, homes with wi-fi routers and at least 3 people using Wi-Fi, have eight devices connected to the network – with five of those devices are in use at the same time.  The majority of those connected devices were smart phones, tablets, smart TVs, set top boxes and computers. As consumers grow increasingly frustrated with limited bandwidth in the home, networking companies are striving to build new devices that offer fast and robust Wi-Fi signals at the highest possible speeds for multiple devices. 

The new Linksys RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender also includes a single Gigabit Ethernet port for connecting wired devices as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for wireless audio. It’s available today at your favourite online retailers from $119.99. We’ll have a hands-on review coming your way soon.

MoreLinksys RE6700 AC1200 AMPLIFY Range Extender | Linksys

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Review: NETGEAR ProSAFE 8 Port Click Switch (GSS108E) http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/13/review-netgear-prosafe-8-port-click-switch-gss108e/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/13/review-netgear-prosafe-8-port-click-switch-gss108e/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 17:46:12 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72424 The NETGEAR ProSAFE 8 Port Click Switch is an insightful attempt to enhance the common networking switch with improved flexibility, convenience and management features.

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Rewind the clock back to January and in amongst the heat and noise of another Consumer Electronics Show in the Nevada desert, the announcement of the NETGEAR ProSAFE 8 Port Click Switch (GSS108E) caught my eye. It’s surprising that news of a device like a humble network switch could cut through the din of endless shouting about the latest smart TVs, premium headphones and the Internet of Things – but on paper, the Click Switch read like a study in usable design. A reinvention, or at least, a re-expression of a device that has traditionally offered little differentiation or innovation for many years.

A network switch with a twist – or at least, a click.

I should admit – I’ve always been a fan of NETGEAR network switches. When I converted our house over to Ethernet a couple of years ago, it was powered by a combination of classics. The 16-port NETGEAR ProSafe Ethernet Switch (GS116), the 8-port GS108 that I’m staring at on my desk now – all sturdy, reliable network devices that have given me not an ounce of trouble. So, I was delighted when NETGEAR offered to send over their latest interpretation of the network switch over to review. 

Today, I’m looking at the $69.99 NETGEAR ProSAFE 8 Port Click Switch (GSS108E). Alongside its big brother, the $149.99 NETGEAR ProSAFE 16 Port Click Switch (GSS116E), it shows a manufacturer using insight to innovate in a category that seemed all but done. If your switches go as fast as consumers need, then you may as well save your R&D budget and just sell them cheaper than the competition. Right? Well, we’ve certainly seen heavy price deflation in consumer and small business Gigabit Switches as more people wire up their homes and small offices – but with the Click Switch, NETGEAR has taken a different approach.

Anyone that uses a network switch will know that they can be difficult to position neatly. They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing of devices, but offer a necessary function, so you want to place a switch where it’s easily accessible, but not necessarily easily visible. To date, manufacturers have offered wall plates and screws so consumers can mount switches to the wall – a reasonably good option, but one that lacks flexibility.

To address this, NETGEAR has created a “1-2-3-4 mounting system” which, in plain English, gives you four options for mounting your Click Switch. Those four options – vertical and horizontal mounts to the rear and side of the device – provide immediate flexibility and, when combined with a couple of additional tricks on offer, elevate the Click Switch from a basic, functional networking device into a consumer product that’s been designed with real people in mind.

Here’s NETGEAR’s explanation of the Click Switch – take a look while I open up the box.

 

What’s in the Box?

Open up the box and you’ll find the Click Switch accompanied by a variety of accessories.

The contents includes:

  • The NETGEAR ProSAFE 8 Port Click Switch
  • Mounting Plate
  • 2 x Retaining straps for cable management
  • Mounting plate
  • Resources CD

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While the Click Switch chassis is an all-new design, it’s disappointingly made of plastic – that’s in contrast to the steel chassis supplied with other switches in the ProSafe range. The mounting plate too is made of plastic and the result feels a little less premium, a little less professional than I’m used to seeing from Netgear switches – particularly those targeted at small business. The moulded plastic chassis feels durable, however – there’s no bend or twist when you’re hands-on, but if you’re anticipating placing a switch where there is danger of bumps and knocks, then be advised.

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With dimensions of 305 x 65 x 35mm (WxDxH), the switch is longer and thinner than other 8-port devices you my have encountered. As we’ll see, that’s helpful for mounting.

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Sonos 5.4 Beta Delivers Enhanced Audio and Easier Home Theater Setup http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/12/sonos-5-4-beta-delivers-enhanced-audio-and-easier-home-theater-setup/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/12/sonos-5-4-beta-delivers-enhanced-audio-and-easier-home-theater-setup/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 14:16:55 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72420 New SONOS 5.4 Beta improves audio EQ, simplifies home theater setup for the SONOS PLAYBAR and SUB, and delivers a range of controller enhancements.

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sonos-playbar

This morning, SONOS took the wraps off a public beta release of their audio controller software, which delivers a varied assortment of enhancements for the company’s speaker range.

SONOS PLAY:1 owners will be delighted to hear that the update enhances audio output at high volumes (do you need a better excuse to crank up your tunes?) and optimises bass performance when the PLAY:1 is paired with a SONOS SUB.

I mentioned in my recent review of the SONOS PLAYBAR (check it out) that the company’s home theater setup required a wired connection to the SONOS network – via a SONOS BOOST, BRIDGE or a SONOS speaker connected directly to the router. Having previously released their PLAY speaker range from this requirement, the new 5.4 beta update also removes this hurdle for the SONOS PLAYBAR and SUB. I’m told that a setup with a BOOST remains the option that will provide the strongest signal strength, but it’s no longer mandated.

Other minor enhancements include new shuffle functionality, which allows you to reshuffle tracks if you don’t like the random playlist created by the controller. Radio by TuneIn has new icons and high-resolution album art and improvements to viewing tracks in an album take better advantage of the space on your tablet.

Note that the update deprecates some features from an older SONOS device – the SONOS CONTROL (CR200). According to the release notes published today:

Starting with Sonos version 5.4, the Room Settings, Add Music Services, Manage Services, Manage Music Library, and Add a Sonos Component options will no longer appear on the CONTROL Settings menu. You will no longer be able to use the CONTROL to:

  • Set up a new Sonos system
  • Add new components
  • Change room settings
  • Create a stereo pair
  • Add/manage music services
  • Add/manage music libraries

Instead, use the Sonos app on your smartphone, tablet or computer to perform these tasks.

Here’s today’s announcement in full:

Tune the Beat Around

Coming soon on Sonos – sound enhancements for the PLAY:1, simpler setup for home theater, and more (now in beta).

We’ve been inventing home audio for the digital age for over a decade. Anyone who’s purchased a single Sonos product knows we work hard to update and improve the performance, even after it’s in your home. Now things are about to get even better.

Our next update for your Wireless HiFi System – Sonos 5.4* – includes a mix of features and enhancements that will be available for all in the coming weeks.

PLAY:1 GETS A TUNE-UP

Our sound experts continue to listen and experiment with Sonos speakers every day. With 18 months of learning since launching the PLAY:1 in 2013, we found a way to take what people already love about its powerful sound and made it even better.

  • We made some slight changes to improve the clarity of the PLAY:1 so when you crank up the volume, the vocals will sound even more natural.
  • We optimized the bass performance when you pair the PLAY:1 with a SUB.

EASIER TO GET STARTED WITH HOME THEATER

Just like our release that made getting started easier last summer, we’ve made a wired connection to the router optional for home theater setups (i.e. surround sound). That means you no longer have to connect an Ethernet cable to a BRIDGE, BOOST, or directly to your PLAYBAR.

  • If you already have Sonos home theater– no need to change a thing.
  • For challenging WiFi environments, a SONOS BOOST is recommended to ensure you get the strongest signal strength.

MUSIC ON SONOS – NEW AND IMPROVED

Music streaming has never been more exciting. The easier we make it for our 60+ streaming partners to build and bring new features to the Sonos platform – the quicker you can take advantage all over your home.

  • We’ve created an updated set of tools to help our partners easily bring new features to the Sonos app in the future like time of day music recommendations, and more. Look for more from your favorite music services on Sonos in the coming months.
  • We’re also testing a mix of other features and fixes. Check out TuneIn’s new look and the improved shuffle feature in the Sonos app.

Head over to the SONOS website to grab the beta update – it’s available for Android and desktop (Mac/Windows) controllers and will be available for all devices later this summer.

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How to: Transform Your SONOS PLAYBAR Into a Sound Base http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/11/how-to-transform-your-sonos-playbar-into-a-sound-base/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/11/how-to-transform-your-sonos-playbar-into-a-sound-base/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 20:43:55 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72411 If you'd prefer to mount your TV on top of your SONOS PLAYBAR, rather than placed awkwardly behind it, check out the Flexson TV Stand for SONOS PLAYBAR. It's a quick and simple upgrade to create a sound base form factor for the home theater speaker.

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flexson-playbar

While the SONOS PLAYBAR is a great solution for those seeking a one-box solution for home theater-style audio, its slim and compact form factor may look a little awkward in your AV cabinet.

You can choose to wall-mount or position the SONOS PLAYBAR horizontally inside your AV cabinet and the premium speaker will cleverly direct its output towards you using an integrated gyroscope. But if, like me, you don’t have sufficient space inside your AV cabinet to house the PLAYBAR and wall mounting isn’t an option, then you’ll need to place the speaker on top of the cabinet.

This configuration, with the PLAYBAR positioned in front of the TV, isn’t the neatest. A sound base configuration – with the TV placed on top of a much deeper speaker housing, looks much neater but sadly, the SONOS PLAYBAR is a sound bar – not a sound base (the clue is in the name, right?).

The SONOS PLAYBAR looks a little awkward in front of the TV

The SONOS PLAYBAR looks a little awkward in front of the TV

Enter Flexson with its TV Stand for SONOS PLAYBAR. The £100/$160 slab of black steel (Dimensions (mm): H85 x W820 x D300), weighs in at a mighty 9 kg but offers a convenient and sturdy housing for the SONOS PLAYBAR, transforming its form factor from sound bar to sound base.

The Flexson TV Stand for SONOS PLAYBAR is 2 mm thick and fits screens between 37″ – 55″ and up to a maximum of 40 kg weight. Unwrap the (heavy!) box and you can see the solid construction of the TV Stand – it’s a hefty piece of kit but ships in one piece, so there’s no assembly required. 

Flip the stand over, and you’ll note plastic feet are fitted to the underside of the stand to protect your cabinet.

flexson-tv-stand-playbar-1

 

Fitting the Flexson TV Stand is very simple. Clear the necessary space on your cabinet and place the TV stand on your cabinet. Slide in the SONOS PLAYBAR and connect the power and optical cables through the large rear hole at the back of the stand. The stand even has a cut out, in case you wish to show off that SONOS logo.

flexson-tv-stand-playbar-3

 

From there, you simply need to place your TV on top of the TV stand, reconnect your cables and you’re done!

flexson-tv-stand-playbar-4

 

Your TV will be raised somewhat once placed on top of the Flexson TV Stand which (may) make for better TV viewing depending on the height of your sofa.

At £100/$160, the Flexson TV Stand is certainly a premium accessory, but certainly creates an altogether neater solution for your SONOS PLAYBAR.

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Belkin WeMo Adds IFTTT and OSRAM SYLVANIA Lighting Support http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/08/belkin-wemo-adds-ifttt-and-osram-sylvania-lighting-support/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/05/08/belkin-wemo-adds-ifttt-and-osram-sylvania-lighting-support/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 16:40:26 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=72372 New internet-fired triggers and support for third-party lighting arrives on the Belkin WeMo platform.

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osram-sylvania-lightify

The Belkin WeMo smart home platform gets a boost today with support added for WeMo-enabled lighting solutions from OSRAM SYLVANIA as well as IFTTT compatibility for WeMo LED bulbs.

The updated version of the WeMo App, available for iOS and Android devices, brings new customisation options for smart home lighting. IFTTT (If This, Then That) compatibility means WeMo LEDs can now trigger or be triggered by a variety of online apps and services, including geofencing, text messages and social media.

So if you want to be notified when the kids get back from school and turn on the lights, you can configure a text message to be sent to you at work. Alternatively, you can now set your porch lights to come on when you turn into your street, flash when you get an email, tweet or even if it’s going to rain. The choice of custom options is endless.

Today’sWeMo app release (v. 1.12) also brings integrated temperature and colour-changing support for the WeMo-enabled OSRAM LIGHTIFY bulbs, previously announced at CES in January. The range includes the LIGHTIFY Tunable White 60 bulb, LIGHTIFY Gardenspot Mini RGB, and the LIGHTIFY Flex RGBW. All are now able to connect to the WeMo Link and be controlled through the WeMo app.

Additional enhancements announced today include improvements to device discovery and a direct, in-app link to the WeMo Community – a forum of WeMo users sharing use cases, DIY projects, and troubleshooting tips.

To grab the new WeMo app release, head over to your mobile device app store – for everyone else, stay tuned as we’ll be reviewing a range of WeMo smart home products in the coming weeks.

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