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Device keeps your gear cool, and does it quietly

By Mark Baard
September 5, 2011

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Hardware maintenance
I have never experienced problems with an always-on TV or an overclocked PC that I could attribute to overheating, at least not directly.

But that does not mean overheating is not a risk.

If you have ever placed your hand over that hardware in your living room or man cave, the heat - despite the presence of built-in fans, vents and liquid cooling systems - can be worrying.

Recently, Antec Inc. released a device you can add to your hardware stack to cool things down and bring peace of mind.

The device, the Soundscience A/V Cooler, is a simple, flat piece of equipment that cools whatever lies beneath it, drawing in heat with its two-speed fans and exhausting it through rear vents.

The A/V Cooler’s carbon-and-glass frame and its aluminum top plate make it strong enough to support components stacked on top of the device.

The materials also help to prevent heat from rising up the stack, according to Antec.

The A/V Cooler, which costs about $140, has low power requirements (a maximum of 5 watts) and will not add much noise to your home entertainment system - no more than 29 decibels - Antec says.

Health and safety

Be alert when the gamma rays strike

Are you afraid you’ll be taken by surprise by the next natural or man-made disaster? Are you looking to take your preparedness to the next level?

Scosche Industries is only too happy to help.

The company, which makes iPhone and iPod Touch accessories, is now selling a gamma radiation detector for the survivalist set.

Say there has been a radiation leak at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. Scosche’s detector could help you decide when you should start popping your potassium iodine tablets.

The detector, the RDTX-PRO, will cost about $330 when it becomes available this month. Scosche says it will donate $10 from each sale (about .03 percent) to charities helping victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

The RDTX-PRO will detect dangerous levels of gamma radiation with an accuracy of plus or minus 5 percent, according to Scosche. (Gamma radiation is considered the primary risk to health in radiological emergencies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.)

The RDTX-PRO requires no calibration, according to the company.

The app that works with the RDTX-PRO, radTEST, displays radiation levels in digital or analog format. In the analog mode, a needle moving over green, yellow, and red background colors indicates how high radiation levels are. The digital display mode provides exact radiation levels.

Naturally, the app makes it easy for you to share your findings via Twitter and other social networks.

If your electricity goes out and you cannot recharge your iPhone, the RDTC-PRO will still serve you.

With a single AA battery inside, the RDTX-PRO will be able to detect dangerous radiation levels and sound an alarm for up to four days.