THE BLOG
10/31/2014 11:06 pm ET Updated Dec 30, 2014

What Do a Keyboard, Range Extender and 'Free' TV Have in Common? Absolutely Nothing!

We in Jocgeekland have been playing with a few items that have absolutely nothing in common, other than their appeal to those of us that salivate over technology and seek ways to get "cool" new stuff.

With that in mind we took a look at the new Nixeus Moda Mechanical Keyboard ($79.99), an Amped Wireless High Power AC Range Extender ($99.99) and Simple.TV ($199.99 plus a subscription fee).

Mechanical keyboards have become the go-to items for gamers and so-called PC power users basically because you can type faster on them and can hear a satisfying "click" every time you press a key. They also tend to last a bit longer than keyboards that come packed with new computers and the other so-called "membrane" or touch units. The downside is that they tend to be heavier than non-mechanical keyboards.

The Nixeus Moda Keyboard didn't disappoint us. It is much lighter than other mechanical keyboards we've tested, weighing in at about two pounds versus three pounds or more for the others. The "feel" of the keys when pressed were also less "mushy" -- which we've discovered is a symptom experienced when trying to type on a keyboard with rubber domed or scissor-type mechanisms. In other words, you can feel the response of the keys much better using a mechanical keyboard.

The Moda was also a bit smaller than the keyboards we're used to using. They do this by eliminating many of the extra feature keys (such as dedicated gaming keys or two number pads) found on other keyboards.

But the biggest thing that won us over was the price. You can expect to spend from $130 to $150 for a well-made mechanical keyboard, so being able to purchase the Moda for $79.99 is a pleasant -- and welcome -- bonus.

Other key features include:
  • A key switch rating of up to 50 million keystrokes. Most non-mechanical keyboards are rated at 15 million
  • Six-key rollover
  • Plug and play
  • Pre-programmed media keys
  • Eight blue key cap replacements

The WiFi Range Extender from Amped Wireless can increase the range of your wireless network by up to 5,000 square feet.

This is a dual-band range extender, which means it can work with 2.4 and 5 gigahertz networks. It's also compatible with the newer 802.11ac wireless protocol. Plus it can work as a network bridge simply by connecting a device (such as a TV or PC) into its wired network port.

We used it to add WiFi access to weak spots, including our basement (man cave) and deck, where we often lose network connections and it worked with minimal input from us. We simply plugged it into a wall outlet, pressed a button so it could see our wireless router, and we were up and running.

Other key features include:
  • You can create up to eight guest networks for guests and conference rooms
  • It works with Apple AirPlay and AirPrint plus Microsoft Windows wireless protocols
  • You can restrict access to specific users
  • There's a detachable antenna
  • It features BoastBand technology that doubles the speed and performance of your network

Are you thinking of cutting the cord and dumping your cable or satellite TV service? If so, you may want to consider installing a Simple.TV DVR, attaching it to an antenna and a hard drive and paying a low subscription fee for the privilege. Basically it is a small box that includes a TV tuner (there are two in a more expensive Silicondust model) and ports to attach it to a hard drive or memory stick and an antenna.

The Simple.TV package allows you to record "over-the-air" broadcasts and stream them to any devices connected to the Internet including computers, an iPad or a Roku media streamer. The company says they are also working on a connection for Android devices.

The company also offers free TV, which allows you to stream and record "live" high definition TV, but doesn't allow you to schedule recordings, provide access to multiple users (up to five can record and watch at the same time) or include the company's interactive program guide. Fees for those features are $59.99 per year or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman's Jocgeek fan page at www.facebook.com/jocgeek, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email at jocgeek@earthlink.net or through his website at www.jocgeek.com.