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Sprint Overdrive D-79

One of the items I received at CES for review was Sprint’s Overdrive D-79. This is a wireless access point for up to 5 devices, including cell phones, computers, Xbox, etc. The Overdrive offers both 3G and 4G connectivity. I’m not much of a cell phone guru, so I thought it nice, but nothing special. Was I ever wrong about that! Now, I plan on buying one when I send the review unit back.

The first time I tested it was right out of the box at a dinner we attended sponsored by HP and Display Link. We were in a private room, but internet access wasn’t available at the restaurant. I had no idea if the Overdrive was charged or not, but I pulled it out and powered it up. It was charged and ready to go. We had 5 people at our table online when no one else’s cards were working. That made a believer out of several people at the event.

Once I got home, I plugged it in and started testing. We don’t have 4G here, nor do I use Sprint (yet, but will be soon), but the Overdrive quickly found the 3G connection. I got a stronger internet connection than I do with my wireless cable set up, although not quite as fast.

As for the cell phone, I usually have to go about a block away to get a connection where I can actually carry on a conversation without dropping calls. This is the area, not my provider as everyone in this area has the same problem. Once the Overdrive was connected, I can use my phone at home without any fancy maneuvers or holding the phone in a single position. Not only is it about the same price as a cell phone antenna for the house, I can use it for a lot more things.

When cable occasionally goes out, I reconnect automatically via the Overdrive. This is one slick piece of equipment!

The best use I found yet was last week. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, a few blocks from the ocean. We were the first island that the tsunami was due to hit and evacuation was ordered. Of course we took our notebooks with us in hopes of being able to get up-to-date visuals of what was happening around the state. I grabbed the Overdrive D-79 and took it along.

When we went up to the evacuation center in our area, there was no internet available there. I turned on my computer and got right online. I offered to let others log on, including the director of the association. We then passed on information we were getting as each wave hit until the all clear was given. We were lucky in the fact that the waves were much less than expected, but if there had been a disaster, our connection was pretty secure.

All I want to say in closing is “Thank you, Sprint!” You made a pretty scary event a lot less stressful for those of us affected.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB

Have you ever gotten an item that you’ve wanted for some time, but once you got it, you didn’t know how to use it?

That just happened to me when I reviewed a USB turntable. I’ve been a big fan of audio-technica headphones since CES this year, and that’s been reinforced every time I’ve used them. See my review below.

The turntable I have for review is the audio-technica LP60-USB. The packaging is enticing and as I anxiously opened it, I saw several components to put together. I am not an audiophile. I rarely download music, but still buy CDs ready to go. I don’t have a great sound system and I’ve never used any audio software previously. This was simple, simple, simple! Add the deck to the turntable with a simple band, remove the protective cover from the needle and snap on the cover if you want and plug in the power cord.

I plugged the USB cable (included) into my computer and the driver was automatically installed, although there is a CD included with the driver, manual and software. Plug in the audio cables (also included) and I was ready to go – or so I thought. I couldn’t hear what I was recording, even though I could see that the recording was progressing.

A quick call to tech support and even though it was close to closing time, I was given excellent advice with no feeling of being rushed by Chris. The issue wasn’t solved immediately, so I was promised a call the next morning. After I spoke with the Chris, I realized that it was a simple user error. ( I told you I wasn’t good at this)

With some of the things we’d tried during the call, I really was up and running. I copied a couple of old, warped vinyl records and got pretty good results. Then I tried one that wasn’t warped, and the results were phenomenal.

The included Audacity software was fairly simple to use, although remember to set the mic output on a new project correctly still gets me. This was one of the things I would have never figured out on my own. If there’s a section that sticks and records over and over (which one of my warped ones did), just highlight it with the cursor and click the scissors icon to cut it.

The next morning I received the promised call. I was happy to report that he’d pointed me in the right direction and I had things working. Going above and beyond, he sent me the link for the audacity wiki as well as a couple of other documents to help work with the software.

This may not be the cheapest USB turntable available, but in my limited experience, I’m glad it’s the one I got to review. It’s shown me how simple transferring some of my old records can be. The cost is relative as it saves me the cost of replacing the music I already have, much of which is no longer available. The turntable itself is also very simple to use. Not a lot of dials and switches. Just a few simple buttons – Start, Stop, and Raise/Lower the arm - and it does it all. There’s also an adapter for 45rpm records, a lever on the top to select record size and a button on the front to choose the speed.

I’m not going to review the quality of the sound, as there are other sites that have done that much better than I could, so I’ll leave it to them. I will say, however, that pairing this turntable and the included Audacity software made things easy enough that I had very little problem getting my records to my computer. Pairing with the best set of noise-cancelling headphones I’ve ever used, (audio-technica ANC7b) made editing the recordings simple even for someone who had absolutely no previous experience in doing so.

QuietPoint ATH-ANC3 Active Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

CES brought many new products to my attention. Being mobile means carrying along some extras when traveling. One of the things I've always found a must-have on flights is a good pair of noise-cancelling earphones. Everyone has their own preferences, whether type, fit, brand or cost.

At CES, Audio-Technica offered a limited number of press members a free pair of noise-cancelling earbuds just for stopping by their booth. Smart marketing and it worked! Lots of press headed to the booth at the opening bell of CES. I knew I'd be testing the QuietPoint ATH-ANC3 Active Noise-Cancelling in-ear headphones against my Sennheiser headphones on the long flights back home. I'll be doing a full review soon with all the specs, etc., but these definitely worked well for those who may not like the cost of over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphones.

I found a lot of good products there that fit in with the mobile focus of this site, and a few that may not be mobile, but still work with mobile computers.

QuietPoint ATH-ANC7b Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones

One of my favorite items there was a set of over-the-ear headphones. After trying several, nothing else compared with the QuitePoint ATH-ANC7b. I couldn't believe the great sound that came from one of the headphones on display. They blocked out the noise of CES while the music came through with more depth than I'd ever heard before. As over the ear are the type that I generally prefer due to having such small ear canals that most earbuds just pop out - or if they do manage to stay in, they hurt.

I asked for a review of the ATH-ANC7b. I wanted the fold-flat design for travelling. I received them a couple of days ago and the demo at CES didn't tell half the story. They reduce up to 90% of background noise while passing through deep bass, clear treble and great fidelity. Listening to music that I've listened to often had so much more richness and depth than I'd ever heard before.

Knowing that I was doing a review, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't hearing only what I was expecting to hear, so I handed them off to my husband to try on his Xbox 360 while playing Mass Effect. With his other set of noise-cancelling headphones, he could still hear me when I needed to get his attention. Not with these! When he was using them, I have to get quite close and talk loudly for him to notice. It's often much simpler to just tap his shoulder. Now, it's become a matter of who grabs them first gets to use them. I see purchasing a second pair in the near future.

Mobile PC World is pleased to award the audio-technica ATH-ANC7b our Editor's Favorite Award for Best Sound Accessory.


•ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint® noise-cancelling headphones feature ANC circuitry that effectively reduces environmental noise by 90%

•Lightweight, compact, fold-flat design is ideal for travel

•Ideal for use with Apple® iPod®, iPhone™ and iPod touch® portable music and DVD players, laptop computers, in-flight entertainment systems and other devices

•Closed-back headphones feature large-aperture 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnet systems for impactful bass, extended treble and higher fidelity

•Comfortable earcups with generously cushioned padding and a shape that fits easily over any ear

•Audio functions (in passive mode) even without the battery

•Fully integrated electronics—no external modules needed

•Fold-flat design with included 3.5 mm mini-plugs, a full-size ¼” adapter, a specialized airline adapter for connecting to in-flight entertainment systems, and a handy carrying case


Type Active noise-cancelling
Driver Diameter 40 mm
Magnet Neodymium
Frequency Response 10 - 25,000 Hz
Quietpoint® Active Noise Reduction Up to 20 dB
Maximum Input Power 500 mW
Sensitivity 109 dB
Impedance 300 ohms
Battery AAA (alkaline)
Battery Life Up to 40 hours, typical (alkaline)
Weight 210 g (7.4 oz), without cable and battery
Cable Detachable 1.6 m (5.2') with 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo mini-plug;
Detachable 1.0 m (3.3') with 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo mini-plug
Connector 3.5 mm (1/8")
Accessories Included 6.3 mm (1/4") stereo adapter; airline adapter; AAA battery; carrying case with attached accessory pouch

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