Chilipad Cube for the Queen Size Bed

I have been wanting to review the Chilipad for a long time now, as it was a device that I saw at CES 2018. Generally, I don’t get a chance to review anything like this, so I’ll try and just summarize it, in case the picture doesn’t make it obvious.

If you share a bed with someone, then you might have an issue with one feeling too hot, while the other feels too cold. In all honesty, I don’t know if my wife and I have ever had this problem, but we have been in a car where I was too cold and she was too hot.

Well, you can see where this is going, can’t you? The Chilipad is a way of regulating two zones of climate control on your mattress, so the hot stays hot and the cool stays cool. Think of it as the McDLT for the bed, and honestly, I am not certain what age group wouldn’t understand that reference.

Now, when this thing came to me, the box was huge. I wanted to do an unboxing video, but it didn’t really work out on this occasion. Needless to say, I opened the box to find the pad itself folded on top, and this particular product isn’t like an electrical blanket or cooling. No, this is a pad that lays atop the mattress itself, and I will explain how it works later.

Once I opened the product and took out the Chilipad itself, I saw two boxes within the big box. Each of them said this: “Inside this box is your solution. No more sweating, tossing, and turning. Only Sleep Nirvana.” Within these two boxes are a cube, cord, and a remote control.

Now, these cubes are the key to how the Chilipad works. The Chilipad itself doesn’t work with the power of electricity, like an electric blanket, but water power. Yes, there is water being pumped through the Chilipad, and the cube allows that water to be either hot or cold, depending on what side of the bed that you are on. So there is now plumbing going through your mattress, but not near as much water as a waterbed. I didn’t really want to test how strong these pipes were, but you need to attach a weird pipe to the cube. I don’t know if you should let a dog or cat on the Chilipad due to their claws.

Yes, there is a Single and Dual Zone option on this, but I have said this before. I don’t know if I need to say this, but the cubes have to be filled with water into order to work. What was funny was how I couldn’t figure out how to fill them at first. There is thing that unscrews that I actually thought was a dial.

Of course, a dial is not needed, as the heat and cooling function are controls by buttons on the cube. Of course, they can also be controlled by the remote controls, which require batteries, as I found out. Honestly, I am not certain why the remotes are needed, for you are going to have to sleep with these remotes to work them. I think it might just be better to just have the burden of leaning over and playing with the switches rather than stashing the remotes under your pillows or something.

So, is the Chilipad worth it? I don’t know, as it really depends how much comfort means to you. I used to love sleeping with an electric blanket, but I had settled for sleeping near a fan or a space-heater, depending on the weather. However, I can’t guarantee a temperature of 55 or 110 F. Not only that, it uses less power.

Yes, I agree that getting a good night’s sleep is important, and if this is of paramount importance to you, then the Chilipad is for you. Still, I need to let you know that it costs a pretty penny at $999.00 on the Chilipad site. At this point, you are going to have to ask yourself how much comfort is worth to you. It certainly is quite a product, and I would not be surprised to see more from Chilipad in the future.

Our Review of the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit

We have had the opportunity to review a lot of great products related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) technology before, and the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is up there with stuff from UBTECH as well as LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. Those are some plugs for my books, by the way, but I wish I had more time to write about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

It is difficult to talk about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, but for those of you who are familiar with the aforementioned STEM toys, it might seem run-of-the-mill. Please don’t think that comment as this is a bad review, but the fact remains, it would probably take me a proper month to review the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit. As it is, I really only afford a long day to review this.

I’ll try by describing what is in the box, or at least on top of the box. There are these blocks, one of them is for power, and even has the international power symbol on it. There are other blocks labelled “Buzzer”, “Gyro Sensor”, “Servo Driver”, “Bluetooth”, and “Funny Touch”. There are others here that I won’t go into for now, but needless to say, connecting certain blocks together allows different things to occur. You can see what the individual blocks look like here:

For example, I found that I could connect the Power to the Gyro Sensor and that to a Buzzer. What did I get? I device that, if moved, will buzz. This is essentially what programming is, linking together all the individual tasks until they can successfully perform one big old task.

So yes, the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is made so you can link blocks together and download code into them. Yes, there are other kits that can do the very same thing, but I have to admit the this is the first kit that I have seen that comes with these paper things for some series hard paper crafting. Like most of these kits, it comes with an app, and I was able to see instructions for making an excited rabbit that can make faces.

Of course, you can build a lot more, that’s for dang sure. Of course, the possibilities are infinite, and this is helped as its pieces are compatible with LEGO. Oh yes, so anything that you can make with Technic and MINDSTORMS is good to go for the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

So yes, I am going to recommend the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, particularly if you are into STEM projects. Even if you aren’t this could be the thing that really gets you into it. It can be purchased on the Makeblock store for $119.99.

Simplehuman 8-inch Round Sensor Mirror

I’m going to have to say that I believe that Simplehuman is one of those companies that really can make a home a home. You know how some people have IKEA furniture all over their place, and it makes their home a little less classy as a result? If there was a house with Simplehuman products all over, I believe it would make a home more classy.

After all, I think we all need products like the Foam Cartridge Sensor Pump, another great Simplehuman product that we had the opportunity to review. I believe that there would be many a bathroom that would benefit from this 8-inch Round Sensor Mirror, which we also had the opportunity to review.

The Sensor is for what happens when you get close to it, as the ring of light around it will illuminate. If it is somehow too bright, you can turn down the brightness by tracing your finger around the side, and it will adjust.

Believe me, that light is helpful. It can go from 100 to 800 lux, and the mirror itself is 5x magnification. I’m not one for doing make-up in the mirror, but something like this could really help out if you need to put your “face on”. Just a word of warning, the circle of light that the sensor mirror makes creates this odd ring effect on the eyes. It kind of reminds me of the way the replicant eyes would kind of glow in Blade Runner.

In case you are wondering where the light comes from, it is rechargeable via micro USB cord. I am told that one charge is good for five weeks, which means that you can use this for quite a while before you have to plug it in again.

So, yes, I would recommend this product from the get-go. It is available for purchase without any shipping for about $200.00 on the Simplehuman site.

Our Review of Quantum Storey’s Operation YOU: Morning Nightmare, the “World’s First VR Book Series”

Okay, if you have been to Wal-Mart’s book section, you might notice this particular book/package. This would be a book/VR program from publisher Quantum Storey known as Operation YOU: Morning Nightmare. It is apparently the first VR (Virtual Reality, but you probably already knew that) book series, and it is only available from Wal-Mart.

I’m going to say that their claim is correct, and this book comes with a pair of fold up VR googles so you can connect it to your smartphone. Yes, there is an app that you use for this, and I am very pleased to say that it was very simple to set up.

Personally, I used my own pair of VR goggles with the Powis ViewR 2.0, and I found that this program allows me to step into another world. This is something that I really can’t describe, but hey, this is the lure of VR.

Unfortunately, I am going to say that I wasn’t too impressed by the experience. Now, in case you think I am going to give this a bad review, I’m not. This would be like me reviewing Veggie Tales and saying that it is terrible because it is too juvenile.

Yes, I, a middle-aged man, am not the audience designed for this. This book has the big print of a Dr. Seuss book, and even is told with rhyme.

What is interesting is that while the virtual program was running, it was reading the words in the book. So in all honesty, the book portion of this…program is rather superfluous. Seriously, the program reads the book to me.

Another thing that is not interesting is the book’s subject matter. The title of Morning Nightmare refers to the main character’s experience on a bus, and dealing with bullies.

Yes, this is an anti-bullying story. In fact, I will spoil it and say that the book explains how to deal with bullying. For those that remember the 1980’s, there were constant after-school specials and books that had an anti-drug preaching slant to them. These days, the youth of today are constantly told not bully, as my 15-year-old daughter will attest to from the numerous pep assemblies that she has been to.

I will have to say that the bullies of this book are creepy. One of them has a pet snake that will attack you, or something? Trust me when I say that you do not want to be trapped in a virtual world with them. Heck, I would rather be a powerless Neo with an Agent Smith than be stuck with these bullies.

Fortunately, this virtual program allows you to do certain actions over again should the bullies overtake you. By the way, these bullies took me out at least twice. When this happens, you end up being with this lady named Ray, or I will assume is a lady. It doesn’t matter, but my point is that this book feels like it is trying to be one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

However, I love the interface of this book, and how I could just look at something in order to interact with it. It ends with me playing frisbee with a dog, but it wasn’t as active as actually tossing the plastic WHAM-O discus with a hyperactive Labrador.

Geez, this sounds negative. I’m going to let you know that I believe that the technology for a VR series is there. The idea of a book that you can walk into is great, but I’m guessing that the programming of that is very complex. Morning Nightmare, the first book in this series, is really more of a proof of concept that this VR series works.

What I want to see is a more developed story that would be much longer. Perhaps the book and story could work together and not just have the program read to you. The issue is that this tech is still in its infancy, kind of like watching those old computer generated videos from the late eighties and early nineties, and then Toy Story changed everything.

I have a message for Quantum Storey. I’m going to come up with a way that this can really work, so you’ll be hearing from me soon.

In the meantime, you can purchase Operation You: Morning Nightmare on the Wal-Mart site for $17.49.

Oh, there is more! Operation You has three books known as The New Kid, The Kings Birds, and A Soldier’s Son. I have no idea what they are about, or even if the same characters will appear.

D-Link Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System

It has been about two years since I reviewed D-Link’s AC3150, and I found it to be quite a router for my home. I first saw it at a CES, and I think the four antennae really just attracted me to it. I’m just going to assume that those four antennae help the coverage.

As you can see, the Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System has those four antennae, and I am guessing that they really help the coverage. Unlike the aforementioned AC3150, there is a router (Covr AC2600 Seamless Wi-Fi Router or COVR-2600R) and an extender (Covr AC1300 Seamless Wi-Fi Range Extender or COVR-1300E). It should be good for 6,000 square feet, and it seems good enough for my home.

According to the website, it can support 4 simultaneous data streams, which is good for “steaming 4K video and games”. Uh, I think you mean “streaming”, right?

Now, the set up works with a D-Link Wi-Fi app, but I didn’t really use it. I had some issues when I set it up with my computer, which was connected via wire. At first I couldn’t get it to work, so I decided to set it up with the extension, which I wasn’t really planning on using in the first place. Then it turned out I didn’t need that extension after all. What was really strange is that nothing was working, so I just turned off my modem and this router and it worked fine.

There are some features that are available like Parental Control as well as the possibility of a guest network as well. Oh yes, there is also DLNA devices for gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, and much more.

Well, as we have been saying before, this was sent to us for an unbiased review, so here’s what I have to say: if you need a router, and you have a huge space, get the Covr AC3900 Whole Home Wi-Fi System. You can get it on the D-Link site for $299.99.

Gamevice launches their Minecraft Edition Bundle for the iPhone

CES 2018 is always a good place to discover new gadgets, and I was pleased to find a company known as Gamevice who makes some controllers for games. I have actually reviewed devices like this before, such as the Stratus XL Controller from SteelSeries.

I am looking forward to reviewing their products personally, but I wanted to say that the company is making a special Minecraft Bundle for the iPhone.

You see, Minecraft is…oh come on, you know what Minecraft is! This Minecraft Bundle for the iPhone includes a special edition carrying case and a code to download Minecarft on iOS.

You can see how it works in the picture, as well as this video. You put the iPhone in the middle and play on it. Surely there are a lot of products like this, but how many have that special carrying case, with sound effects presumably not included.

It can be purchased on Amazon for $89.95.

Lessons Learned from CES 2018

Well, I have returned from Las Vegas once again after experiencing the wonders that is CES. This shot here is from LG, and I forget what they called this, but it is a canyon of displays of some type.

I have discussed a few things about CES, but they are really summaries at best. The thing about CES is that there are so many things to talk about, it is actually unfair for me to discuss just one.

Still, I have bought home some stuff with me, and will be doing some hands-on reviews later. I have made some business contacts that are promising to send me some stuff, and I will review all that.

I have a phone book full of contacts that I will need to get back to. Until then, I’m going to talk about some things that I learned at CES.

1) Wireless Charging is going to be the new standard.

The Samsung S8 can do it. The new iPhone can do it. My LG G6 can do it. I have reported on Qi products many times, and ten years ago it was the Powermat, but you needed a special case. Now most smartphones have that in there, which means the end of charging cables.

2) Will VR ever take off?

Every time I am at CES, I see some amazing advancements in Virtual Reality. Generally, someone has some interesting games, as well a whole slough of 360 cameras. However, no one is talking about how to get this new medium of storytelling going. It is like the difference between the earliest silent films and modern film.

3) Everything will be Alexa or vocally controlled

I saw so many devices that could use some vocal control, from an Alexa device, that or Siri, or OK Google. I suppose that we just want to control all our devices vocally, because we want to live like Star Trek.

I didn’t even mention the power outage on Wednesday, or all of the startups that I will never have time to cover.

CES 2018 with ShowStoppers

For those of you who are not in the know, CES covers many places in Las Vegas including the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands/Venetian Convention Center Areas, and much more. Not only that, there are after-parties to attend, such as the CES Unveiled that I covered two days ago.

Among the most famous of these after parties is Showstoppers, and this one usually requires some kind of special invitation. Here are some of the companies that I had the opportunity to see.

I realize that this photo is a little blurry, but it gives you a good idea of what one of these after-parties are like. Note the elaborate backdrop in one of these casinos, which was the Wynn. Then there are the booths set up, and I didn’t get any good shots of the great cuisine.

Here’s another shot of the room. It really is awesome to be there.

Always glad to see that my old friends at Beyerdynamic are up to their old and new tricks. I don’t remember what the name of this particular headphone was, but I sure as heck want to report on it.

Glad to see that JLab was also on the scene with their headphones.

I always like what Supertooth has in stores, and they are getting into that wireless earbuds game with the TW1.

My friends at Jabra had some great stuff on display, and they never stop with their awesome.

Here is a bag that will give a loud alarm if you attempt to break in to it. It is an idea that really should have happened a long time ago.

This is a combination of a game with an app for something really interesting known as Beasts of Balance.

Speaking of games, I loved this handheld for mobile devices from Gamesir, and hopefully will get to report on it soon.

Electrica Meccanica had their Solo Car on display inside. I am told that they drove it in, and this fully electric vehicle is so skinny that i believe it, don’t you?

This particular robot by Somnox is one you can sleep with. Yes, that sounds a little bad, but it has this comfortable breathing thing going on that reminds me of snuggling next to a dog on a lonely night.

Here’s some Tough Tested products that I hope to review here in the near future.

Uh, here’s a robot. I saw a lot of these at CES this year.

Nothing I like more than some interlocking triangles that can literally brighten up a room.

Yes, that is me, petting a duck. Aflac had this display where they are creating these toy ducks to help kids with cancer. I will report on that later, but I was so glad that I could pet this duck. After years of feeding them bread and never touching them, I finally had my chance. There are some things that technology cannot provide, as nature does.

CES 2018 with China Tech First Look

There is more that goes on at CES than what is shown on the floor. There are after-parties, not to mention the before-parties. I was fortunate enough to attend CES Unveiled 2018, and I was just as pleased to attend China Tech First Look the next day.

I always look forward to seeing new technology, particularly ones that I have never encountered before. I was not disappointed with what I saw here.

I’ll go ahead and start with these. This is the Honeycomb, and they are magnetic blocks that can be programmed. It is part of a STEAM initiative, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Most people just use STEM.

These are some interesting electric locks from WeLock, which are clearly going to be the new standard as far as what will be on your door. They are fully programmable, even from a distance on your phone.

Welcome to a new age of electronic bikes. The Smartcircle S1 has an unusual shape, and I got to drive it down the halls of the Flamingo Hotel. It was as fun as it sounds, but there is a bit of a learning curve on the ride.

Now here is an interesting microphone ready for taking on just about anything, as it is from Sabinetek.

This is quite something. It is a device that allows you to put a picture of anything on a fingernail. I’m not talking about making a fake nail, but putting an image on the nail using a very fine sticker.

If you don’t believe it works, check out this self-portrait on my hand.

I’m not certain what I’m going to write about tomorrow, but it will be certain that it will appear at CES 2018.

First Day at CES 2018, after CES Unveiled

Yesterday was quite a tough day for me. After getting a flight at 6:00 AM and landing in Las Vegas by noon, there was a lot of moving around with “hurry up and wait”.

As you can see from this great shot taken from Mandalay Bay, we are in Las Vegas now. (Thanks to Dan Feinberg for the use of this shot.)

Technically, CES 2018 does not start until tomorrow, but if you arrive two days early, there is an event for the press known as CES Unveiled where you can experience a small percentage of the companies that will be represented there.

This would be L’entrance. I’ll try and show you how big this room at the Mandalay Bay (yes, the one from the shooting) actually was.

Ah, this should give you a better idea of what it was like. Lots of companies represented in rows, with places for folks to congregate in the middle, and tables for food.

Oh, here’s some samples of the food. There is some eggplant caviar in there, and yes, it was worth the trip just to get it.

But enough about food, lets get to the companies. I can’t remember what the name of this company was, but they invented a way of turning ordinary water into mineral water by hitting it with radiation. Yes, I checked, and it is harmless.

This company has a weird name with “Teach on Mars”, but it is an application that if you give it facts, it will quiz you back on them. Very cool.

Here is a company that allows for making postcards with selfies. You can add a filter to make you into a cop or something.

I have seen a lot of companies that focus on monitoring your water. Most of them have an app associated with them, and this Flo is able to really figure out where leaks are.

If you look closely, you can see that these headphones have some weird thing attached to them. These are for monitoring your brain. I think brain-monitoring devices are going to be kind of a thing here in the near future, and I’ll check in on them at CES 2019.

This is an interesting device that I am told can be made for homeopathic medicines and such, including cannabis. I’m guessing that I am going to see a lot of devices like these in the future.

This is a wine rack that you can program, so it will light up on whatever bottle that you are looking for. It was made by French, and I so a lot of French companies at CES Unveiled, and I have a hunch that I will be seeing more.

Now this I just loved. What you are seeing here is the Lovebox, and it has an 8-bit Legend of Zelda heart (or whatever else you want) on the front that spins when you get a message. When you open it up, you will see the personalized message. I like tech that thinks outside the box and inside of it at the same time.

These guys were great. If you had a photo, they could put it on a T-shirt in seconds. This is the type of tech that you go to CES to see, and it is practical, too!

Then there is stuff like this. This is Sniffy, which will allow you to smell what you are watching. I’ve seen this before, and I’ve never seen it come to odoriferous fruition. Good luck with this.

The guy showing this off sure was proud. These are Debussy headphones, and they are quite advanced, and they even have a screen on the earcup. It is quite something, and at one heck of a high price.

This company has made a drone that can go underwater. Now, if you are able to make it go above the water (in the air) that would be something.

This is some awesome technology from a company known as BrainCo. Yeah, I had to get me some video footage, as I like the idea that limbs can be replaced artificially.

Here’s a cool ice sculpture for you. We’ll have more from CES later.