CableMod AIO Sleeving Kit

Okay so just about everyone and their moms have AIO kits in their PC these days. They have gone down in pricing and when it comes to the nicer builds there are now a lot of good options available. A lot of the companies even now pre-sleeve their kits for an even cleaner look. But if you are running an AIO, the one thing you can’t do that you can with a custom water cooling kit is change the color of your coolant. Well, CableMod came out with another option last year and I put it to use in our D-Frame Mini build this week. They have sleeving kits for your AIO kit available in a few different colors. Today I’m going to take a quick look at them and see how easy they are to install and find out if they are worth picking up.

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LanReel

For anyone unaware, when you go to a typical LAN party one of the things you need to bring along with your PC is an ethernet cable. The length of the cable depends on where your seat is and where the switch is located but most events just recommend bringing a 25-foot cable. Any cable will get the job done but you want to be able to spot it and you want to be able to pack it up quickly when the event is over. For me I use bring orange cables for both my wife and I so they stand out at the switch and then I just use Velcro cable wraps on the cable to keep it all bundled up. This gets the job done and helps maintain my cable, but it isn’t the fastest to pack up at the end. I do have to take my time winding it up to prevent damage and to make sure next LAN I don’t have a mess. Well a while back a good friend of ours Matt who you might know better as Vector from PDXLAN introduced me to Nick aka Vaelin who has been to PDX events from the beginning. Long story short, he has designed a solution to all of this in what he calls the LanReel. It is a 25-foot network cable that can quickly be spooled back up and packed away in your LANbag. He sent one over and I’ve been playing with it for a little while now, today I wanted to talk a little more about it and show everyone what it is all about.

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Dropping cable with the Nvidia Shield TV

For years my wife and I dropped cable television simply because we didn’t have the money for it in our budget. Then eventually we added back a basic package and were okay with that. Fast forward 6 years later and we are spending a fortune and have every channel under the sun. What happened was they slowly offered us deals that added additional channels, we started watching shows on those channels and then when the deal went away I would call and tell them I was going to drop it all and they would add even more channels to get me to stay. When we bought a new house though it was finally time to find a better option to save some money and it just so happened that Nvidia had sent out their Shield TV to us and it was sitting unused. So today I’m going to talk a little about how I dropped cable by using the Shield TV and I’ve been loving it.

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Nest Thermostat and Protect

As you guys have most likely noticed, things have been slow around here for a few months now. In addition to being sick a few times and hurting my back. We also bought a new house and had been working on the move and later doing work around the house. One of the best parts about moving and getting a new place is that I finally have an excuse to take a closer look at more of the home automation and smart home products that have been coming out. Even before the move I had a few things already planned and upgrading to a smart thermostat was one of them. Well, I reached out to Nest and they sent over a new Gen 3 Thermostat as well as one of their Nest Protect smoke and CO detectors. I finally have some time with both and wanted to run through what they do and how they have performed for me so far.

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TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi

Over the past 10 years having wireless access in your home has gone from being nice to have to basically a requirement if you have internet. Of course wireless has been around longer than that, but just looking recently with the growth of mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and smart home devices it used to be just a few devices in a home where now it is easy for a family to have 20 or more devices connected without getting into smart home devices. It's amazing how quickly even a good router or access point can get over loaded with that number of devices on them, not to mention just being able to get a signal in all of the corners of the house. I live in an older house, combine that with a very high number of PCs and electronic devices, the wireless range in my house is really bad. I upgraded years ago from a basic router to a PF Sense setup and recently I added a long range wireless AC access point. Well at CES this past year mesh networks were all the rage and TP-Link seems to be one of the first out with their Deco Mesh Wi-Fi system. Today I’m going to see what they are all about and then do some in depth testing, comparing a mesh setup with one long range access point. I’m excited to see what is going to give me better coverage and better speed in all of the rooms in our household.

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Alphacool Eisplateau Anti-Static Mat

You would think with a few desk, a large photo area, and a full sized workbench I would have room to work on things around the office. The truth is though that the workbench fills up with projects quickly and everything else overflows into the photo area because of the space it provides. That isn’t a problem in itself, but the damage I have done to our past photo backdrops when everything was white was an issue. With the new wooden setup the idea was that dings, scratches, and scuffs wouldn’t be as big of a concern and for the most part they haven’t been. But I want to take good care of the space when getting into big projects. I’ve been looking for a mat to work on for a while and it just so happens that Alphacool has one that was perfect both for protection but also with nice information on the surface to help with projects. Today let's take a quick look and see if it ended up doing what I needed it to do.

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TP-Link LB130 WiFi LED Bulb with RGB

The idea of a smart home really started to pick up in the late 90’s but it really wasn’t until recently when wireless technology got small enough to be integrated into various devices around your house. The whole idea that every device and part of your house would be wired together was expensive and took a lot of work. Recently though you start to see lots of devices come with wireless integration, hell even my humidifier connects to my wireless network. But the whole idea really comes together when LEDs, wireless, and smartphone all come together. That is why you are starting to see new lightbulbs that can be controlled remotely that plug into standard light sockets. TP-Link has jumped on board with the whole idea and has a whole mix of smart home products. They sent over their LB130, a WiFi capable LED light bulb with fully integrated RGB lighting as well. So I’ve been messing around with today we are going to check out what it's about. Is the smart home finally here? Let's find out!

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Autonomous DIY SmartDesk Kit Business Edition

My office space has been evolving for a few years now, going back to when I first upgraded my desk to a solid wood desktop and cleaned everything up with new audio hardware, monitors, and a monitor stand. Recently I also upgraded my photo area and added a proper workbench as well. Both of those are set to a standing height to get me on my feet more during the day. With testing and writing though I still spend far too much time sitting each day and over the past few years of me doing all of this full time it has played a big role in my health. To start working on that, a while back, I reached out to Autonomous about upgrading my desk to a SmartDesk 2 Business Edition. I’ve been living with it for a while now and I want to sit down, or in this case, stand and talk a little about how the whole process has worked so far.

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OPSEAT Master Series Gaming Chair

At this point, there is a whole list of companies who are now selling their one racing style gaming chairs and it is starting to make it hard to figure out who you might want to go with. One of the new companies that reached out to us about checking out their chairs is OPSEAT. Unlike some of the other brands, the OPSEAT has a brand name that is taken right from gaming. OP is a term used in games to describe a champion or weapon overpowered. Their Master Series is their first line of chairs, but I’m curious to find out if they really are overpowered. One thing is for sure though, they do seem to be one of the only brands with a chair priced where a lot of people can afford it. If the OPSEAT is good, this could end up being a good buy, so let's get it put together and see what it’s all about.

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Arozzi Mezzo

So when it comes to office chairs, just a few years ago most of your options were going to be just what you might find in an office supply store, electronics store, or a department store. None of them were built for the extended use that you might put an office chair when gaming or even just working at your PC day to day. Today though there are more options than you could possibly consider, all in the gaming chair market. I’ve had the chance to check out a few different options over the years. Recently I took a look at Arozzi’s new Arena desk and when they sent that they also sent one of their chairs, the Mezzo. So now that we have been using the chair off and on over the past month or so I can finally “sit down” and talk a little more about it and see how it fits into the market.

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Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk

It’s funny how we spend sometimes thousands of dollars on our PCs and peripherals but at the end of the day don’t give much thought to our actual desk setups. I bet a lot of you are using the same desk that you used years ago, I know I did. But a few years ago I started thinking about options for new desks and frankly there really aren’t that many out there. Sure you can pick up the cheap desks at your local discount store, but is there anything out there that’s better. Are there any options focused on gamers? Well if you search around you will find a few options that are “gamer” focused, but none were very good. So when I saw the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk online it caught my eye. They didn’t just add colors and call it a gaming product, it actually has a cloth mouse surface over the entire top of the desk. With all of the people buying large desk pads and putting them under their keyboard and mouse, the Arena seemed like an extension of that so I reached out to Arozzi to take a closer look.

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Tenda AC15 AC1900 Router

When it comes to networking nearly all of the companies that come to mind have been around for what seems like forever. It is rare to see new companies bust into the market. Well recently a new company called Tenda reached out to me about covering their latest router. I found out when researching them that Tenda has actually been around for 16 years, even though their name isn’t exactly a household name. The AC15 router that they wanted me to check out caught my eye though and I figured I would see what Tenda has to offer and find out if their new AC1900 router has what it takes to be the router you go with when moving to Wireless AC.

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Bit Fenix Alchemy 2.0 Magnetic LED Strips

When case modding was getting started everyone who wanted to light up their PC turned to cold cathodes for lighting. Things progressed and we later saw LEDs starting in plastic pucks and then later on strips becoming popular. While I don’t use lighting in every build, I have used them in a few. A few years ago we even took a look at lighting options from Bit Fenix. At the time they were still a relatively new company and they were starting to expand their product lines. Well a few years later Bit Fenix reached out, excited to show off the latest version of their LED lighting, the Alchemy 2.0. This time around they dropped the adhesive and went with magnets to keep the lighting in place. Considering how much we liked their first kits, I couldn’t turn down taking a look at the new design. So today I’m going to take a quick look and find out what they are all about. 

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Favorites from SGDQ 2015

Summer Games Done Quick is the latter of two events hosted by Games Done Quick, a charity speedrunning marathon. Throughout the week of non-stop gaming, viewers donate to benefit Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid and relief to individuals without health care due to varying unfortunate circumstances. I look forward to these events each year, and I’ve highlighted some of my favorite runs from SGDQ 2015 that I hope you will enjoy too.

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2015 Chevrolet Trax LTZ AWD

It’s funny I spend so much time in the office playing with hardware and tech and gaming throughout the year that completely miss out on some of the cool tech that requires me to get outside a little. When we plan out trips I sometimes take that chance to bring things along with me that require a little more time out of the office. Well for the second year in a row my wife and I decided to make the trip down to Florida to visit family. Along the way we spent a few days at the Mid-Season Invitational League of Legends games, snuck off to Disney World, and spent a few days on the beach in Daytona. Well I decided this would be a great time to check out something completely different.  As an old school car guy and a tech nut I keep my ear to the ground when I can and I have seen GM pushing their OnStar with 4G LTE. I thought it would be interesting to see just what they have going on the tech side of things. I reached out to GM and they were surprisingly happy to drop of a 2015 Chevy Trax with all of the bells and whistles. We took the Trax down with us giving us a great chance to check out what they have going on.

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Netis AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Adapter

While a lot of us still run wired networks at home, you really can’t avoid running a wireless network in your home or office. There are just to many devices that only use wireless like mobile phones, tablets, portable game consoles, and a lot of today’s thin laptops as well. Hell in our house in addition to the regular devices you will also see a printer, at least one IP security camera, and even our whole house humidifier. This is all of course in a house that is completely wired as well, imagine how many devices you might see on a house that runs completely on wireless. With that the move to wireless AC becomes more and more important. The additional bandwidth it allows on wireless is huge, especially when a lot of households are actually getting faster internet than their wireless can provide to their devices. So today I’m going to take a look at a wireless AC adapter from Netis that allows you to hook up that PC all the way on the top floor to your new AC router or if you want you can even use it to run your own wireless network.

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LanOC at Gamers for Giving 2015

This weekend we’ll be braving the cold weather headed North to Ypsilanti, Michigan to game in the Grand Ballroom of Eastern Michigan University. The LanOC crew will be a few of the 300+ gamers taking part in the BYOC LAN that is Gamers for Giving 2015, as well as several cash-prize tournaments totaling over $20,000 in prizes. Augmenting the free and competitive play will be other staple activities such as a case mod contest, and an impressive list of industry icons including eSport founders and guest streamers will also be joining the cause. The team behind Gamers for Giving 2015 have done an excellent job teasing us with pictures and posts on their social media over the past few weeks leading up to the event, we’re very much looking forward to it!

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In Win iEAR Headphone Hanger

I don’t know about everyone else but finding the best place to put my headset when I’m not using it can be a challenge. Over the past few years there have been a few options popping up. We have seen cases have headset hangers built into the side, desktop hangers from Thermaltake and Silverstone, and even some of the people who come out to our LANs use banana stands to hold their headset. Well In Win has also been on the hunt for a solution. I’ve seen their glass table top headset stand as a prize at a few of the LANs we make it out too. They recently introduced a new option as well, their iEar Headphone Hanger. This is a simple product that allows you to hand your headset on any flat surface like your PC, the wall, or even the side of your desk.

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A look back at 2014's top picks

So it’s 2015, we made it. 2014 was a little crazy at times but a few interesting things happened right? Well here at LanOC every year I like to take a quick look back at the past year and revisit all of the products that I slapped the Editors Choice badge on. It’s not something that I take lightly. I only put the badge on products that stand out and are something that I would like to put to use in my own office. You see, over the past year we have published exactly 100 reviews, there just isn’t any way for all of that to make it into my office. Of those 100 reviews this year, 12 of them ended up with this distinction. So let’s kick back for our new years and take another look at each of them, along with that I will update you guys a little on how things worked out after the reviews and if the product is still that spectacular months later.

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DXRacer K Series Office Chair

You might know the saying “for every butt there is a seat” well I get the feeling DXRacer recognizes this with their wide selection of seating options. I have taken a look at a few of their chairs in the past and after visiting their US office I can say for sure that they have a wide selection of seats. They have seven different chair series as well as a ton of colors in each series. When it was time to upgrade my wife’s office chair I decided to go with DXRacer’s latest line, the K Series.  The high weight capacity wasn’t needed for her but the large size is great for when she sits in her chair Indian style. On top of that, the high weight capacity means when we have people over for small LANs we won’t have to worry about big buys like me breaking the chair.

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