Category: REVIEWS

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Review: Wacom’s ‘Go-Anywhere’ Cintiq Companion Windows 8 Tablet for Today’s Nomadic Designer

19 Dec, 2013 by in NEWS, REVIEWS
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Lately we’ve been seeing quite a few discussions around various SolidSmack social media outlets discussing the best portable digital sketching tools. Sure, most people will gravitate towards an iPad and the Microsoft Surface based on cost and applications for other uses. However, if you consider yourself a professional designer with the need to have full-blown workstation power, then the Wacom Cintiq Companion is clearly a top-contender capable of knocking the iPad and the Surface out of the water. We spent some time with one to give you the rundown from an industrial designer’s perspective. Let’s take a look.

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Packin’ Heat: The Painful Evolution of Pocket-sized Fuel Cells, and Why I’m Sticking to Solar

18 Oct, 2013 by in REVIEWS
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As many of you might already be aware, some exciting developments have been unfolding in the portable fuel cell market in recent months. Unfortunately, the excitement at the moment seems to be geared more-toward the potential for the technology itself, rather than the strange array of available consumer products which currently employ it. But hey, that’s typical for anything in the beta-phase, and generally the first sign of something groundbreaking, right? We can only hope!

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Workstation Review: HP Z1 All-In-One Workstation

26 Apr, 2013 by in REVIEWS
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Do you ever imagine a day where you won’t have a computer tower tucked up under your desk? Cords wadded in the corner next to a year-old corn chip/skittle/dust bunny mass that escaped the reach of the occasional vacuum cleaning. Granted, the box creates a cozy, warm home for your feet during a cold winter, but if all the workstation you needed was packed into a container the size of a 30″ screen atop your desk, would you be ok with that? The HP Z1 is such a machine, released a year ago this month by HP. We take a look at the footprint, the functionality and see if it packs the punch of a typical workstation tower setup.

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Book Review: 90 Degrees by Andrew Kim

14 Mar, 2013 by in DEAD TREES, NEWS, REVIEWS
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The term ‘Knolling’ has been around since the mid-1980′s and is centered around the practice of organizing any number of objects for a specific purpose in an easy-to-view manner. More recently, design blogs, style magazines, and recipe books have used the practice as a way to instantly communicate a grouping of objects—whether it be items one carries in a pocket or purse, tools used for a specific craft, or ingredients used for a recipe. In 90 Degrees, Andrew Kim takes the reader on an interactive journey into the history of Knolling and why you–as well as everybody, should ‘Always Be Knolling’.

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SolidWorks Updates eDrawings App to Feature Augmented Reality Model Presentation

18 Feb, 2013 by in CAD, INTERVIEWS, NEWS, REVIEWS
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One of the more exciting announcements to come out of SolidWorks World 2013 this year was the addition of an augmented reality-based update to SolidWorks’ popular eDrawings iOS app. What has been a go-to solution for many designers looking to present their models easily to clients and other designers in an easy-to-carry solution has now been recently updated to show full assemblies and parts at full scale on the table directly in front of you. We had the chance to sit down with SolidWorks’ Director of Product Innovation Rick Chin to hear more about what inspired him in developing the AR-feature, what it means for SolidWorks users, and how it may just be the future of CAD modeling and presentation.

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First Look: Caustic Series2 Ray Tracing Acceleration Boards

07 Feb, 2013 by in CAD, NEWS, REVIEWS
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Released last week, the Caustic Series2 accelerator boards are a pair of ray tracing accelerator PC boards that use Imagination Technologies’ ray tracing technologies to bring us the world’s first chipset dedicated to high performance, fully interactive ray tracing in a workstation environment. I had the opportunity to sit down with VFX madman and Caustic user Nick Nakadate in his office at Portland, Oregon’s Animation Dynamics (ADi) to talk shop about how this product has improved his workflow and how it might help industrial designers and engineers in their workflows.

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Pogo Connect Pressure-Sensitive iPad Stylus: After 4 Months of Use, How Does it Hold Up?

29 Jan, 2013 by in REVIEWS
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Having been a user of Wacom pressure-sensitive products for years, my expectations going into testing the Pogo Connect pressure-sensitive iPad stylus were set at a pretty high bar. Up until the Pogo Connect came out, I always asked myself, “Do I really need to sketch something on my iPad or can I just wait until I get to my desk to sketch something like I really mean it?” Well, the Pogo Connect has managed to find itself in the ‘priority pocket’ within my trusty laptop/iPad bag for four months now. How has it performed now that the novelty has worn off?

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The Lenovo ThinkStation S30 [Review]

24 Jan, 2013 by in REVIEWS
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Ah, the smell of fresh workstation sitting beneath your desk. The silent (and sometimes not so silent) arbitrator of workweek tasks determining the speed at which you get your work done and the density of muscle in your slowly atrophying office chair legs. Every computer manufacturer touts speed and performance at the best price, but if you’ve configured a brand name computer, you know price can certainly shoot up quickly. We ran the $2500 Lenovo Thinkpad W530 through its paces, finding it in ample supply of powering your 3D modeling and design tasks when mobile with the recommendation of upgrading hard drive and maxing out on memory to get the best performance. Now we take a look at Lenovo’s mid-range workstation, the ThinkStation S30. Is it priced right for a desktop CAD solution?

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The Lenovo Thinkpad W530 [Review]

07 Nov, 2012 by in REVIEWS
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Next week, we’ll be giving away a Lenovo W530 mobile workstation in the ‘Make your Lasercut Toy’ design challenge. There are a few days left to enter, so be sure to submit your entry soon!

I’m sure you have the picture of the perfect mobile workstation in your wallet–or perhaps displayed decoratively as a collage on your wall–that you show to people who appreciate such things. The search for mobile workstation perfection continues at SolidSmack and this week we look at the Lenovo Thinkpad W530, a laptop that looks like a common chunk of black laptop you would hide away in a shoulder bag, but a laptop with a few words to say about design and performance.
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