Lenovo Z585 Laptop Giveaway

It’s time for another contest from my friend Justin at DragonBlogger.com. After almost 25,000 entries in the PS3/XBOX giveaway, Justin decided to give away a laptop, too.

Lenovo Z585

Not bad for just sharing a link or following on Twitter or Facebook, right? This one’s open to people outside the U.S., too, but you’ll have to pay for your own shipping.

Lenovo IdeaPad Z585 Features

  • • AMD A8-4500M 1.9GHz
  • • 6GB Memory 750GB HDD
  • • AMD Radeon HD 7640G
  • • DVD±R/RW

Additional Features

  • • Stylish design in premium brushed gray metal
  • • Integrated AMD Radeon HD graphics
  • • OneKey® Theatre, with touch-sensitive hotkeys, for one-touch audiovisual optimization
  • • Dolby® Home Theater v4, with specialized stereo speakers for crisp, clear surround sound
  • • Intelligent TouchPad, supporting multiple-finger gestures
  • • Integrated 720p HD webcam, HDMI
  • • Two USB 3.0 ports, 5-in-1 card reader
  • • AccuType keyboard
  • • 15.6” HD LED backlit display
  • • DVD Drive
  • • OneKey® Rescue for system backup and restoration
  • • Lenovo Energy Management

Sponsors

JoeTech.com is co-hosting this contest, but the laptop comes from the generosity of the sponsors below. Without them, it couldn’t happen.

The Lenovo Laptop Giveaway Contest is being held by Dragon Blogger Technology in coordination with the following sponsors:
Metallman’s Reverie
Blog Engage



Digital Musical Instruments

Is digital musical more than just a play button?

Once, if you went to a gig, you’d see people skilfully (or sometimes not quite so skilfully) play their instruments. But lately, it’s started to become just as likely to see someone back up the ukulele-playing frontman by pressing the play button on a laptop. Technical developments have always influenced the music industry, from the first mass-produced pianos to the electric guitar, but is programming some software on your computer the most innovative we can come up with now? Surely, there must be something more interesting out there?

Laser Harp
(laser-harp – Miemo Penttinen)

There is, but no one wants it. A quick search on the internet shows the huge amount of digital instruments that have been developed in the past twenty years. The Eigenharp, for example: an instrument that resembles an oboe, electric guitar, synthesizer, and drum kit all rolled into one, and is presented as the “most expressive instrument ever made.” Another new instrument is the Chapman stick, which, although not many people have seen it played on a stage or know its name, has actually been used on a fair few records to add texture to guitar, bass and drum sound. It looks like a body-less electric guitar, and is played by tapping with both hands instead of picking or strumming.

Another category is formed by various “sound machines” that seem to rely more on serendipity than skill. They turn images of kitchen appliances into melodies, or contain innovative interfaces that let anyone intuitively play a tune without ever hitting a false note. The mistake that these engineers seem to have made is that they focus on accessibility: they try to make instruments easier to learn so everyone can make music. But most people don’t want music to be simple. If they go see a band, they want to be impressed. Knowing it took years of practice to master those instruments is part of what makes music sound good.

Many videos prove that The Eigenharp and the Chapman stick don’t suffer from accessibility, but require lots of skill and practice. Unfortunately, there is another problem. Digital instruments sound the same. The sound of an electric guitar or bass is electronically amplified and transformed, but is still influenced by the type of wood of the body, the type of strings, different sets of pick-ups, etc. It may be electric, but it still produces an analogue sound, not a digital one. Digital music does not sound different if you use a different operating system or a different way of pressing the keys.

And this is where the laptop comes in. Because if an instrument sounds the same however you play it, why then put your time and energy in improving your expressive motor skills? Instead, you can focus on intricate compositions and harmonies that lie outside of your physical capabilities. And then skilfully press play.

Product Review Follow-Up : 5 Time-Tested Winners

I get a lot of stuff to review and I try to put things to the test before I complete a review, but the best test of a product is to use it over a longer period of time. Will it stand up to real life testing beyond the review? Some products are given away and others sit around in a box, only used occasionally. Below are five six products that I have continued to use over and over again.

1. LED Lenser P7 Flashlight

LED Lenser P7 Flashlight
This flashlight is the best one I’ve owned personally. I still might find it hard to spend $90 on a flashlight, but it sure seems worth the price. Since I posted the LED Lenser P7 Flashlight review nearly three years ago, I have taken it to several states, and used it hundreds of times. When it’s stormy out, my wife goes for the candles and I find my P7. It always ends up back in its case and I still haven’t had to replace the 4 AAA batteries that came with it. I’m sure this thing will serve me well for many more years.

2. XShot iPhone 4 Case

IMG_2574.JPG
A little more recently, I completed an XShot iPhone 4 Case review, in which I demonstrated its ability to hold my iPhone 4 snugly at the end of an XShot camera extender to get some unique video and photo perspectives. Since then, I’ve used the case several more times, combined with a tripod, for steady video. Like the Lenser P7, I know where this is at all times in case I need it.

3. LA Besace Lime Drop Laptop Bag

LA besace Laptop Bag
After my LA Besace Lime Drop review, I decided to keep this good-looking case for myself and what a great choice. Tomorrow, as I have done for every flight in the past two years, I will pack my laptop, crossword books, pens, gadgets, and a couple magazines into my Lime Drop bag to take on the plane with me. It’s unique and fashionable and there isn’t a trip I go on without it.

4. NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse

Avatar Gaming Mouse
I can’t tell you how many hours I spend on my computer every day, but I’ll bet it’s unhealthy. Since I posted my Avatar mouse review over a year ago, I have used this mouse somewhere around 4,600 hours. It’s precise, feels great in my hand, and looks incredible. I have one at home and another at the office.

5. id America’s Brushed Aluminum Gasket iPhone Case

id America - Gasket
iPhone cases don’t get much cooler than id America’s brushed aluminum gasket case. Just a picture of it on my Facebook wall inspired a friend to buy one for himself, but it was more than looks that got it on this list long after my id America review last November. It protected my iPhone for the first time when it was dropped in October, before the review was published. Since then, it has taken the fall for my iPhone many times while still looking incredible. It was after I dropped my phone again the other day that I decided to write this follow-up for items that continue to prove themselves.

Bonus: iBoo

iBoo
My wife wanted the iBoo iPod sound system from the moment she saw it so, after completing my iBoo review, I handed it over and it vanished to it’s new home at her office, where it has remained for three years. Without mentioning why, I asked my wife if she still uses the iBoo. Without hesitation, she replied, “Every day. It rocks!”. She loves iBoo and says she gets asked about it all the time. That excitement about this product made it the bonus sixth item on the list.

I like a lot of the products sent to me for review and there are some that just don’t work well at all, but there are products like the ones listed above that prove to be more than expected and get regular use. Those products truly deserved another mention.