Tag Archives: Review

Review: Avantree Bluetooth Music Adapter BTTC-200X

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Bluetooth.

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When it first came out in the nineties it looked like it would end the tangle of cables on my desktop, but the reality has fallen short.

Apple have embraced Bluetooth for keyboards and mice, but the PC world is dominated by proprietary 2.4GHz dongles for wireless communication which gobble up a USB port before eventually getting lost. Unfortunately adoption has been slow so Bluetooth is often at a premium price compared to similar devices.

Bluetooth devices are also far from “plug and play”. The pairing process is often hit and miss, and I defy you to set up a Bluetooth headset without reading the manual – “Hold down button B for five seconds until the light flashed red then enter the code 8888 (maybe…. if you’re asked for it)“.

On top of that, after nearly twenty years there is still no guarantee that the headset you use with your mobile phone will connect to any other device, say a laptop. It’s almost as though the vendors want to lock you into using their headsets exclusively with their phones… No, stop. That’s crazy talk.

That said, once it works it (mostly) works, but the audio quality has never been a high point. The Avantree Bluetooth Music Adapter attempts to fill some of the gaps in wireless connectivity, at least for streaming audio. It allows you to:

  1. Transmit audio to a Bluetooth device from an analog audio source (such as a CD player).
  2. Receive audio from a Bluetooth device and pass it to an analog destination (such as a stereo receiver).

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Elgato Video Capture

Every time I get new computer hardware I think “cool, now I can do some video editing”. And every time I discover it’s still a slow and painful process.

Turns out a dual core MacBook Pro is finally enough to handle it nicely… or perhaps it’s just that the software sucks less nowadays.

I bought an Elgato Video Capture USB widget on Amazon (at half the retail price in Australia by the way, even with shipping) and, in the grand tradition of Mac software, it is trivially easy to use. You just:

  • Plug the three RCA jacks into the Video Out from your VCR (or other video source)
  • Plug the USB connector into a spare USB port.
  • Install the software (Drag it from the CD to the Applications folder)

Whatever is coming out of the video device now appears in a window. Press the Big Red Record Button and you are saving your priceless VHS videos and can edit them to your heart’s content.

Recommended.

Anyway, let’s get on with embarrassing the kids. Here’s a snippet from a VHS recording we did at ScienceWorks back in 1994 where they got to play with video special effects.