Lenovo purchases Motorola from Google

Motorola Mobility/Lenovo Acquisition DayYou know what’s interesting about big companies? They can buy other companies. Today, Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google, for a price of about $2.91 billion.

It appears that Lenovo owns the Number 3 smartphone maker, and I believe they will own all the cool phones that are out now like the Moto X, as well as the Droid series. Just so you know, Motorola’s HQ will still be in Chicago, and I’m guessing they will keep the name. I guess that means that I’ll be visiting two booths at CES as usual.

By the way, Google originally bought Motorola for about $12.5 billion in 2012. So I guess Lenovo got a deal here, or is Motorola not worth as much as it was before?

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Digitial Innovations Part 2: SkipDr, CleanDr, and ScreenDr

SkipDrAh yes, it is time for Digital Innovations, and we’ll be reviewing three more of their innovations today. I’ll start with the SkipDr, a motorized Disc Repair System that can repair CD, DVD, Xbox, Wii, PS, and PS2 discs. I’ll explain what to do if you want to clean a Blu-ray or PS3.

If you have one of these discs that is having trouble playing, or skips or freezes from time to time, the SkipDr is the device for you. The kit comes with this device that looks like a fan and runs on 6 AA batteries (there’s also port in back for an AC cord, but it doesn’t come with that). What you do is shine the disc with the included spary, put the disc on this thing and allow it to rotate twice. The SkipDr removes a microscopic layer within the “safe buffer zone”, which renews the disc.

The FlexWheel is good for 25 discs, and you can repair the same disc multiple times. You should be able to purchase it for about $39.99 on the Digital Innovations site.

CleanDrRemember how I said that if you had trouble with the Blu-ray or the PS3? Well, if you want to clean that system, you will need the CleanDr.

The CleanDr will help fix those Blu-ray discs that skip, freeze, load slowly, or simply just don’t play. There is a 10-brush Cyclone Clean Process that can remove dust, dirt, and debris, and this is safe for all players, including the newest version of the Xbox.

If you need this, go ahead and check it out for about $19.99 on the Digital Innovations site.

ScreenDrThe last item is another cleaner, but it isn’t for discs, but it is for screens, like those for phones, tablets, and cameras. The ScreenDr is a Portable Screen Cleaning Kit that is a cloth and a spray that fit in a compact container that you see here.

The ScreenDr is made to remove grease, smudges, fingerprints and other things. Considering that most phones and tablets have just filthy touchscreens, the ScreenDr can be in the house for about $9.99 on the Digital Innovations site.

Gabriel Knight celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Gabriel KnightI had a chance to review another point-and-click adventure off of Steam, and I took full advantage of that, let me tell you. Gabriel Knight: Sins of our Fathers, was released about 20 years ago from Sierra On-Line. If you aren’t familiar with Sierra On-Line, they created some of the best point and clicks with the King’s Quest series. If you haven’t heard of those, I can’t help you.

Just to let you know, my usual schtick for reviewing a video game is to play it for a few hours and then write about it. This one, I have been playing all week, and I honestly don’t want to quit until I solve the mystery.

Gabriel Knight is about a struggling author who lives in New Orleans. I can relate to the first part, but the game spends a lot of time immersing the player in New Orleans mysticism. The game is a lot of history into voodoo, and you need it to solve these voodoo-related murders.

The game is the usual wandering around, collecting items, and then using them to gain more puzzles. What makes Gabriel Knight different is there a lot of subtlety involved. You really have to pay attention and ask a lot of questions to get points. At times, the dialogue can get tedious, but I respected that there is a lot that I didn’t know about the history of voodoo that I learned here. Not that I really wanted to know, but let’s just say that I have more more knowledge if I ever encountered the dark side of voodoo before.

I really enjoyed playing this game, and it can be purchased on Steam for about $19.99 as well as the Phoenix Online Store.

Digital Innovations Part 1: SoundDr, ChargeDr Pro, and DeviceDryer

SoundDrToday, I want to talk about Digital Innovations, as they are a company that has created a lot of terrific products. The last product that I reviewed was the Nest, an excellent way to store headphones without tangles.

I’ll start with the SoundDr. I suppose that this product is made for those who want a low-budget Bluetooth speaker without the Bluetooth. Simply put, the SoundDr is a platform that you just place your mobile device on, and bam, you have instant amplification.

There is no wires, no pairing, and it works. Trust me, as I have tried it out, and there is a noticeable increase in volume after putting my phone on it. It can put out about 2 watts per channel of stereo sound, but it does require 3 AA batteries. You should be able to get it on the Digital Innovations site for about $29.99.

ChargeDr ProThen there is the ChargeDr Pro USB Charge Booster. This is an interesting high-speed charger made for laptops. This is a two-way USB dongle that you plug into your laptop, and then connect the charging cord to that and your tablet or phone.

In case you are wondering why you are needing a product like this, you should know that the ChargeDr Pro USB Charge Booster can increase your charging speed to 4 times for a tablet and 2 times for a phone. Considering how slow my phone charges from my USB port on my laptop, I could use a little speed.

The ChargeDr Pro USB supports all kinds of connectors, and it has a switch for toggling between synching and high-speed charging. It’s a very helpful device to have, and it is available for $29.99 on the Digital Innovations site.

DeviceDryerNow, the last device I tried out, but not in a serious emergency. This is the DeviceDryer, and it can effectively dry out all kinds of mobile devices in about 24-48 hours.

These are some moisture absorbing beads that will suck out all water in your phone should the unthinkable happen, like dropping your phone in the bathtub or toilet. I’m going to make a disclaimer and say that I did not purposefully do that before testing this out.

However, I will say that I admire one feature of this product, which is the way the moisture absorbing beads change color to show that they are working. If you want to get in on this, you can buy it for $9.99 on the Digital Innovations site.

We’re going to cover Digital Innovations and other products tomorrow, so I guess I should say something like “stay tuned”.

Dexmo Exoskeleton allows the user to “touch” VR items

DexmoIn case you are wondering what you are seeing here is not some device that you hook up to your hand and forces you to type. I’m not looking forward to the dystopian world where that exists, but I’m not certain whether or not a work with the Dexmo Exoskeleton by Dexta Technologies will be a perfect utopia.

The Dexmo Exoskeleton is designed to track the position of your fingers and wrists, and then stops their movement when you are about to grab a virtual object. That is right, my friends, this is the device you have been waiting for, as it allows you to feel what exists in a virtual world. I suppose that those who want the VR of the Oculus Rift are really going to love this particular product.

In case you get too excited about this new technology, then you should know that it is somewhat limited. Apparently, it only works on the thumb and index finger, so you can pinch something in a virtual world, but you cannot feel it with all fingers. It actually doesn’t surprise me that this technology has limits, because in all honesty, I think we want something more. You might think it is great to pinch things in your game, but you are going to want to touch on all places on your skin. That’s right, we aren’t going to be satisfied until we have perfect replication of the technology of The Matrix.

If you want to get in on this technology, it is selling cheap at just $65 per pledge on its Kickstarter site, with a more complete version going at $159. I think it has a chance to hit its financial goals, so we will see how much of a “game-changer” this is.


Razer Leviathan is the Ultimate Soundbar

razer soundbarI’ve reviewed Razer’s products before, and their name is synonymous with cool gaming accessories like the OrbWeaver. It seems strange that the company would be going with a soundbar, but the Leviathan is that and a subwoofer combo package.

The Leviathan has a 2.1 channel design with two .74-inch tweeters, two 2.5 full range driver, as well as a subwoofer. This all comes out to one terrific tool of surround sound, and it just rocks. I will have to question the company as to what this has to do with gaming, but who says that it has to be used for just gaming?

The Leviathan will cost the customer $200, which is not a bad deal. It should be available sometime in November, and I hope that we at The Geek Church will be allowed to try it out before it sells out for the holidays.


VU Solo Wireless Charger from TYLT

VU-Solo-GREENIt would appear that our friends from TYLT, makers of the Alin, are up to their old wireless charging tricks with the VU SOLO.

Now I have covered wireless chargers before, and I might as well go into the whole schtick I do about how every family should have a wireless charger because we can just put the mobile device on the charger and forget about it…blah, blah, blah. So yeah, the VU SOLO plugs into a USB, the micro USB plugs into the pad, and then you put the mobile device that is Qi powered.

So what makes this different? Well, different phones have their charging coil in different places, and sometimes, if you don’t set the phone down in the right way then it won’t charge at all. Fortunately, the VU SOLO has an adjustable “fence” on its cord so you can place it right. Okay, that didn’t make much sense, so I’ll just let the video after the jump explain it.

In addition to that cord feature, the SOLO has some kind of sticky stuff on the surface so it will hold still on the table, or wherever it is.

Okay, if my press contact is correct, the VU SOLO should be out right now. It is available here, and this probably won’t be the last time that I write about it. I plan to do a hands-on review of it, right before the holidays.

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The Dash-A Portable Bluetooth Speaker from Soundmatters

Soundmatters Dash AI’ve reviewed Soundmatters products before, such as the Dash7, and I had a chance to review a similar portable wireless speaker, the Dash-A.

As you can see, the Dash-A is flat, and can pair with a mobile device from about 10 meters away. Apparently, it was designed to work specially with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, but not the first version of the Kindle Fire, as that didn’t have Bluetooth.

Godehard_Guenther_Portrait_Name_yearI’m not certain what kind of bass the Dash-A has, but it is all about it. Seriously, it is loud and a party-maker. After a few seconds of pairing it to my smartphone, I had an instant party in my house with my kids. They bought in the disco ball.

Well, if I wanted to have a party for 10 hours, this is the wireless speaker to have. Best of all, it is portable. If you want to get in on this, be sure to head on over to the Soundmatters site and lay down $149.00.

Okay, I know that I did the good news first, but I do have some bad news. The Soundmatters founder, Dr. Godehard Guenther, has recently passed away. I bring this up because I like Soundmatters a lot, and I know how hard it is when someone that you looked up to dies. You can read more about this man here.

Video Game Hatred could cross the line for video-game violence

You know, I’m really sick of people who blamed video games for violence. I mean, if you are playing a video game so you can kill people without any consequences, then you go out and do it, has the video game that “inspired” your real-life murder to blame? I would ask why you want to kill people in the first place?

It would appear that Destructive Creations has created a game known as Hatred. I have placed a video of the trailer here so you see what it is. Personally, I think this show is in the same vein as Frank Miller’s Sin City.

Here’s the checklist:

1) Overly pretentious narration. Check. If you’ve read Frank Miller’s work, then you know his trademark style of using captions for a character’s thoughts. Characters like Batman and Daredevil used to just think these really cool and angst-ridden thoughts, and it is meant to be escapism.

2) Stereotypical look at rampant shooters. Check. Frank Miller’s Sin City took views of typical views of hit men and prostitutes and just ran with them. I don’t know if there is any world where people live in some underworld where they go above the law. I certainly hope not. This is not to say that his characters were not relate-able, but just less morals.

3) Black and White, with as little color as possible. Check.

I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard the stupid narration at the beginning, but I will have to admit that I would find very little joy from killing people who aren’t trying to kill me, especially when they beg for mercy. I noticed I didn’t see any shots of the main character killing any children.

Is it possible that giving someone the ability to virtually kill someone can prevent them from actually killing someone? I would like to think this would actually make it worse. Does that mean you should outlaw it? Here’s the thing: I could easily write something with more violence then you can stand. Here’s the thing, if you can’t stand it, why would anyone would read it? I think we would probably see the attempt at that as nothing but humorous.

So hey, I don’t know if Hatred is going to cause violence or prevent it. The issue is that I’m not going to put any effort to stop it being marketed. If I do that, it’s just going to increase sales. What a world we live in!


Orcas Wireless Headphones from Outdoor Tech

orcasI’m sure you know that I have to go to the companies themselves to receive product reviews, and I contacted Outdoor Tech to receive the Kodiak and the Orcas. I reviewed the Kodiak, and it took a while before they sent the Orcas wireless headphones to me.

The first thing that I want people to know that I had forgotten that the Orcas earbuds were wireless. So when I got them, I thought they were a pair of wired headphones. After I opened them, I saw how light they were, and you can barely feel them on your ears. Incidentally, there are some serious earbud options within the Orcas package itself that allow them to stay in the ears well.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the Orcas are designed for those who are into fitness. Like similar products from Jaybird or Jabra, this is sweatproof and splashproof.

All in all, it has some pretty good sound, and has a play time of 6 hours with standby time of 150 hours. It’s easy to pair, and hard to unpair from your ears.

You should be able to purchase them the Orcas wireless earbuds on the Outdoor Tech site for $99.