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The Generalist - A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Review of the Samsung Series 7 Slate Stand Case

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I got one of these stand cases for my Series 7 Slate. This is a solidly constructed, simple case. The Series 7 Slate is already a bit large for a tablet and with this case is feels almost like a sleek netbook. The tablet clips into the case at each corner and all ports and the vent are open. The cover folds back to hold up the tablet.

I like this case. It's surprisingly stable standing. In fact, it supports the tablet better than the dock since the support is at the top of the tablet instead of the bottom. It's very solid when using the touch screen while standing. The materials all feel very high quality. It's nice having a lid to protect the screen when carrying the S7S around. As I mentioned, all the ports are easily accessible.

There are a couple problems with the case. You can't use the dock for the slate while it's in the case. I'm actually getting used to just using the case instead of the dock though. This does make an already large slate a bit larger. Unfortunately, there isn't any place to hold the stylus and if you fold the cover all the way back to hold the slate in one hand, it mostly blocks the heat vent. This hasn't caused any overheating for me, but I see it a possible issue.

Unless you plan to dock your S7S frequently, I recommend this case. I haven't taken the S7S out of it yet.


How to Save a Volume Texture (DDS) Using PhotoShop and nVidia’s Texture Tools

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I recently needed to save out a volume texture and it wasn't readily apparent how to do this. The most likely ways seemed to be a strip or a series of square layers. I tried both and neither worked. I kept ending up with just one level of depth in my texture. The trick it turns out was to use a horizontal strip (I had been trying a vertical strip). For instance if you want a 32 x 32 texture with 4 levels of depth, the texture should be 128 wide by 32 high. When you save make sure to choose Volume Texture in the DDS options that come up. I also turn off mipmap generation.

The thing that bothers me about not being able to find the solution quickly is that it should have been simple. When choosing Volume Texture in the save options, a hint could have popped up, or been placed next to the selection box. Or even better, three possible ways to create the texture seem obvious. You could have a vertical strip, a horizontal strip, or use layers. Why not just program it to work with all three. Just putting in a little more effort to polish the feature would make the option much more user friendly.


A Low Profile Dual USB Charger For Your Car

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I like to have a couple USB ports in my car for charging various devices. I just keep a couple of cables that match my devices in the glove compartment. That way I can charge whatever I need to without dragging around a bunch of adapters. I like to use a low profile adapter that doesn't stick out from the cigarette lighter. Since my previous one was lost (not going to name names) I decided to get a Griffin Powerjolt Dual USB Car Adapter. This one works well for me. I get two USB ports each with 1 amp of power and there's no annoyingly bright always on LED. Despite claiming to be a 2 amp device this won't charge the newer iPads or other devices that require 2 amps to charge. This provides 1 amp per USB port.


Fix for Samsung Galaxy S2 (i9100) not Charging Battery Because it is Too Hot or Too Cold

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Well, it's more of a work around. My wife's Samsung Galaxy S2 recently stopped charging the battery. It complained that the battery was either too hot or too cold when it clearly was not. It seems like this is an issue with faulty hardware that requires sending the phone back. I didn't want to ship the phone back with her data still on it though, and she needs to use the phone daily.

To get the phone working again I bought one of these external chargers. For $10 you get a charger and a battery which means you can have your backup charging while using the phone. Not the greatest solution, but it allows you to at least wipe your data off the phone before shipping it back. The battery that comes with the charger seems to be a bit weaker than the one that comes with the phone. For the price it's hard to beat though.


Windows Key Application Search is in Windows 8

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When I saw the Metro interface I was worried that one of my favorite new features in Windows 7 would be gone. To launch most applications I now just press the Windows key and type the first few letters of the program's name. The program pops up at the top of the search since the search field is selected by default. Then I press enter to launch it. It's much quicker than using the mouse. To launch MS Word for example I press Windows Key, W, O, R, D, and Enter. If you haven't try it, you should give it a shot.

Anyway, Metro looks so much different I was worried this feature was gone. It's been integrated into Metro though. It is a bit more jarring to jump out of the desktop to the Metro interface than just having the Start Menu pop up, but I don't think it will bother me once I'm more familiar with the Windows 8 interface.


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