Project 475 Kits Will Technologically Prepare the Next Generation

Project 475 aConsidering that the younger generation is addicted to tech, it is up to the older one to teach them how to make better tech. This is why there is such a push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics) education, and there have been a lot of educational toys to help with this.

The issue is that many of these educational toys are muy expensivo. As someone who has written a book on Lego MINDSTORMS, I know that those kits cost a few hundred dollars. Wouldn’t it be easier to create a kit that can teach kids about how to create educational electronic kits with nothing more than materials found in the average home?

That is just what the 475 Kits are designed to do, and it is quite a bright idea. Not only that, these kits will be available to users on a subscription basis, so you get a new kit every once in a while around a theme.

Now, this idea is just a Kickstarter project, at least until it can get its proper funding (and you should give to it). The plan is that the first kit be a Home Audio Kit. The first would be a Collaboard for using resistance using graphite pencils, the second is an electric ukulele, and then a DJ Mixing Station, which you can see in the image.

All of these can be done with the Andruino Board and materials like bottle caps, CDs, and a hot glue gun. In fact, if you click on the link below, you will see a video of the next project, which is a hand grasping.

Hand Grasp

Project 475 bYou can imagine what this does for the user as he or she can create something of their own with simple materials. Suddenly, creating some technical creation becomes easier, and you don’t have to buy a lot of expensive equipment, like a 3-D printer and such.

Well, I am looking forward to the day when these kits become available for subscription, as these 475 Kits will make a smarter and more tech-savvy generation. Until then, please go over to project 475’s Kickstarter page and donate to them.

The Pokemon Go Autumn Equinox Celebration!

pokemon_go_equinox2017-600x315I’m sure that I can’t be the only one that feels like they are the only one who still plays Pokemon GO. Yeah, remember how hot this game was in the summer of 2016, but it kind of fizzled out when the weather got cold. Now, over one year later, there is an Autumn Equinox celebration with bonuses for users.

It will start on September 22 at 1 PM ET or 4 PM ET, and according to VG 24/7, users have the opportunity to earn double the normal Stardust for catching Pokemon.

There are also some other bonuses like hatching 2 km eggs that allow the Chansey, Mareep, Larvitar, and much more. I am guessing that you probably couldn’t have hatched those guys from a 2 km egg before, because I think I have only hatched them from 5 or 10 km eggs.

In addition to that, there will be special boxes available at the in-game shop that includes some Lucky Eggs, Lure Modules, as well as some Super-Incubators that can hatch eggs at 1.5 times faster the normal rate.

Then there is another bonus which is that any new registration of a new Pokemon into the Pokedex will earn players triple the normal XP. So if you want to get that Raikou, Entei, or Suicune in your area, you should go an do that.

So if you are the type that is still playing, get in on this before it ends on October 2nd at 1 PM PT (4 PM ET).

I want to see Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Right Now! Darn you, actual release date!

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Wes Anderson, but I love the pastel look of his latest works such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom. Then there is his animated masterpiece of Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I feel is so under-appreciated.

If you haven’t seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, it has an all-star cast and a unique style of animation which features a lot of fur and an odd frame rate. Also, if you haven’t see it yet, then you should.

Looks like Mr. Anderson is up to his old and new tricks with Isle of Dogs. The first trailer popped up today, and it is a film that Disney and Pixar would not touch unless there is some post-apocalyptic future that I don’t know about.

Yeah, this film feels very dark, with it taking place 20 years in the future as a mysterious dog flu hits Japan, forcing the government to banish all dogs to Trash Island. From there, it is about a young boy who journeys to the canine penal colony to find his doggie, because I would do that as an adult.

Of course, I am going to have to wait March 23rd, 2018 to see it, and I’m not certain if I will take my kids to see it. According to W magazine, it features “Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance, Bob Balaban, and several Japanese stars including Akira Takayama as well. The only surprise is that Anderson didn’t find characters for Angelica Huston and Jason Schwartzman to voice, as well”.

Our Review of the eGeeTouch TSA Smart Travel Lock

eGee TouchWe really live in an age where everything just has to be “smart”. I honestly believe that there will come a time when if an object can’t connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth or NFC, it will be classified as “useless”. It seems pretty obvious that the padlock will become smart, and we already reviewed the Master Lock last year. For those of you who want to have some kind of padlock when you are traveling, then you should consider the eGeeTouch TSA Smart Travel Lock.

This is essentially one of those padlocks, but without any combination for you to forget. Instead, you just give it a gentle tap on the eGeeTouch lock with an eGee Touch NFC tag or a Bluetooth device. As expected, there is an eGeeTouch App that is good for Apple or Android smartphones and tablets.

The set-up is easy enough, and it can use IDs to identify each paired device. By the way, you can set up the App to deny access of an old ID in an event of losing a mobile phone or a tag. Speaking of a lost device, there is a proximity sensor in the event of unintentionally leaving your bags behind.

By the way, the eGeeTouch is TSA-accepted, which means that it can bypass TSA authorized personnel at your airport. It is also rated for IP43 for protection of water splash.

In case you are worried about the battery, it is protected so someone can steal it and pick the lock. The battery is good for two years, and that is based on 3 time locking/unlocking. If you are worried about it running out, you can use the battery backup USB.

You should be able to get the eGee TSA Smart Travel Padlock on sites like Amazon for about $39.99 on sites like Amazon. You can find out more information about it on the eGeeTouch site, but you can’t purchase it from there.

The Top 5 Worst Ad Campaigns, Because You Just Got to Read This Obvious Clickbait!

Yeah, there are some days where I just write what I want to write, and so I wanted to write about ad campaigns that I am just sick of. Now, I am certain that there are some people who like these ad campaigns, but for me, some are so bad that I would not buy the product even if it were given to me for free.

5. The Kia Hamster Soul/Turbo Ads

As far as I can tell, this ad campaign started in 2009, as this one that I found on YouTube seems to show. The idea of hamsters spinning in their wheels while another pulls up in a Kia Soul makes its point pretty well, actually.

I think the one that most people remember is the one where the hamsters are dancing to the “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, and this one came out in 2012. It features the hamsters showing up in the middle of what looks like to be a video game like Halo and dancing to the tune.

There is now one for the Kia Turbo with a hamster in diapers. Not only that, he is trying to escape from a hospital, and jumps off the roof of it. However, he saves himself by opening a piece of cloth as a chute. Yeah, here it is, and man, it’s terrible, and it’s over 1:40! What the hey?

Why do I hate these ads? Because I find these little hamsters to be simply creepy, not cute. I actually think that they have made several ads by now, with one per year, and they aren’t worthy of being the Energizer bunny for Kia.

Check out numbers 1-4 after the jump.

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The Good Place Season 2 Release Date, and Why Does It Have One?

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Most Improved Player" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Most Improved Player” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

It is difficult to be a new fall TV show on the networks, as your lifespan is not going to be long, statistically speaking. Television has changed a lot in the past decade, and how we view it online has affected how shows are marketed and distributed. Most shows rely on being a hit from the get-go, such as last season’s incredibly popular This is Us. However, some shows, like the mediocre The Good Place, somehow receive another season, and this is what is known about The Good Place Season 2 with its release date and why it even has one.

If you aren’t familiar with The Good Place, it is a TV comedy series from creator Michael Schur, who also had his hand on such modern-day hit comedy shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office. The show stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, who ends up being in the highest heaven, even though she has spent her life in constant selfishness. As it turns out, her presence in the blissful afterlife is some kind of celestial clerical error, and the first season was Eleanor facing the truth in this “liar revealed” plot. You can read my review of the pilot on another site here.

I started watching The Good Place last season, and I just lost interest after the tenth or eleventh episode. As I said before, TV watching has changed, and if you just forget to TiVo it or stream it online, you just really forget about it. I didn’t really hear about the show at all last spring, and just assumed that it had been cancelled. When I saw the first season on Netflix, I decided to catch the last few episodes, including the finale, which I assumed was the series finale.

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Accell USB-C to DisplayPort Cable and UltraAV Mini Dual Display MST Hub

It has been a while since I reviewed a good Accell product, and I really liked the Powramid. They make a lot of excellent accessories that are good for the office, and I was pleased to review two of them.

Accell 6-Feet USB-C to DisplayPort Cable

Accell 1This first device takes advantage of two ports that have become very popular: the USB-C and DisplayPort. Since there are many displays that have that DisplayPort port, and many devices with USB C (MacBook Retina, MacBook Pro 2016, and Chromebook Pixel, as well as the HTC 10 that I use and have reviewed), it just makes sense to combine the two.

In this case, this is one nice 6 foot cable made to support 4K at 60Hz resolution, at up to 5.4Gbps per lane, which is good for games, video, or just about anything that you want on the screen. Best of all, it works from all operating systems like Mac, Windows, or Google, provided it will support DisplayPort Alternate (ALT) mode.

All that, and it is compliant to VESA DP Alt mode on USB-C ver. 1.0. If this is something that you want or need (or both), head on over to the Accell site and lay down $31.99 for it.

UltraAV Mini Dual Display MST Hub

Accell 2Now, if you are looking to expand your device into two monitors, you can use the UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to 2 DisplayPort Multi-Display MST Hub. Yes, that is a long name, and this particular device is ready-to-use for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, or Surface Pro 2, but will also work for a DisplayPort Windows PC.

The setup of this particular device is simple allowing you to plug it in to Microsoft’s favorite all-in-one PC/laptop, and there is a scan button that refreshes . It uses a multi-stream transport (MST) protocol, which supports up to 2 displays independently at 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz or 3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz with DP 1.2.

For those that don’t have two DisplayPort Monitors, the MST Hub has Dual Mode or DisplayPort ++. This is where it directly outputs with single-link HDMI, VGA, and DVI signals using either an active or passive adapter.

For those that want to get in on this, head on over to the Accell site and lay down a good $79.99 for it.

IOGEAR GearGuard for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8

IoGear GearGuardWell, since we have relaunched our website, I feel it is time to do something that I haven’t done in a while: a review of a tech product. In fact, we are going to do a lot of tech reviews in the next few months due to it being the holiday season and all.

Most of you know that I have reviewed a lot of screen protectors. Most of them are basically the same, and I was pleased to review the GearGuard from a company that I am pretty familiar with, IOGEAR.

Like most screen protectors, you don’t really know it is there. This is pretty interesting, because it has about 5 layers of protection. So it is good for stopping cracks, grease, water, dust, fingerprints, and all of them.

However, one of the best selling points of this products is that it is easy to install. It has one of those pre-installation tools that will insure that you get it right. So if you have a fear about not installing this correctly, I hope that I have assuaged it.

In fact, the price is very small at $10.95, and it can be found on the IOGEAR site at certain stores. By the way, this was made for the iPhone 7, but I’m assuming that it will fit the iPhone 8, because I have heard that the iPhone 7 accessories will fit the iPhone 8.

Apple unveils new Apple Watch Series 3, AppleTV 4K, iPhone 8, and iPhone X Release Date and Price

iPhone 8 1As part of their annual event, Apple announced their new version of the iPhone. It was a little bit different this year as what should have been the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus has become the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Their was also a surprise with the iPhone X (X being a Roman numerial 10, which marks the tenth anniversary of Apple’s smartphone).

The Announcement at the Steve Jobs Theater

The announcement came from the brand new Steve Jobs Theater, which is located on Apple’s big spaceship campus of Apple Park that they have been working on for quite some time. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive took the stage after an audio file from Steve Jobs, Apple’s former and late CEO had words to say. The room was completely packed with reporters, and the entire two hour event can be watched here on the Apple site.

Before Tim Cook spoke about the new products, he said a brief word about hurricane Harvey and Irma. He talked about giving for relief, and then talked about the new Apple campus. The park is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and there is a visitors center inside with augmented reality and a brand new Apple store.

Apple Watch Series 3

It was strange that Tim started with the new Apple Watch, as he usually leads with the newest iPhone. The sales performance of this product has been shrouded with mystery as Apple doesn’t seem to give its numbers about how much it has actually sold. The smartwatch market never really “took off” like the smartphone one, but Apple was pleased to say that their Apple Watch is the number one smartwatch.

For what it is worth, the Apple Watch has built-in cellular, so you can talk with your watch without the phone. Apple music will also allow for “40 million songs on the wrist”. There is also a new dual-core processor, complete for Siri to talk to you.

Apple TV 4K

Next was the announcement of Apple TV 4K, which will “bring cinematic quality to whatever you watch”. They made a comparison of 4K and their new 4K HDR, for the highest picture quality ever. They took the time to show off a new video game for Sky from thatgamecompany, and it looks pretty spectacular.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

It took an hour before Apple finally got to the iPhone. The announcement of the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus was expected, but it looks like Apple is leaving the “S” thing behind (a pattern of a new number every two years, with an “S” model in the second year). The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is essentially the same size as its respective iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus predecessors, even though its bigger battery makes it slightly heavier.

This model will have glass on the front and back, which is the most durable of a smartphone. It is microscopically sealed for dust and water, and the Retina Display with 3D touch technology. It has a new chip with the A11 bionic.

They really went off on how the phone’s cameras are set up for augmented reality. Also, wireless charging is going to be happening. If you aren’t familiar with that, it is just putting that device on a Qi-enabled device, and this flat device just powers it up.

The iPhone 8 will have 64 GB and 256 GB options starting at $699, while the iPhone 8 Plus will have the same options for $799.

The All-New iPhone X

Tim Cook took the stage with his “one more thing” catchphrase, and it wants to re-create the experience of an iPhone. Of course, the big thing is the iPhone X, which is going to be the most expensive phone that Apple has ever put out at $999.

What makes this different is that the iPhone X comes with a huge Super Retina Display screen (5.8 inches), which is thinner, lighter, and brighter than the usual LCD screen. It is also an edge-to-edge display, and it has no home button.

It also has some advanced technology known as Face ID, which could become something that could easily be a standard on all phones. The odds of one person just using your phone with this FaceID is one in a million. By the way, you can use your Face ID to make Animoji to express yourself via face, and this was demonstrated with recorded messages.

New Apple Announcements Release Dates

The iPhone 8 can be pre-ordered on September 15th, and will be available on the 22nd. The iPhone X will be available for pre-order on October 27th, and will be available on November the 3rd. The Apple Watch, Series 3 will be available for order on September 15th, and available on the 22nd, which are the same dates for Apple TV 4K. The newest version of the operating systems will drop on September 19 with iOS 11 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod and watchOS 4 for the Apple Watch.

How Apple’s New iPhone X will Change Smartphone Technology in the Next Ten Years

iPhone XIt is hard to believe that it has been ten years since Apple unveiled the iPhone. Of course, none of us really thought ahead, but it was pretty clear the easy-to-use smartphone technology was the wave of the future and has yet to crest. Now almost every smartphone has a touchscreen that goes from edge-to-edge, with minimal buttons, as even Android has just a few.

Improvements over the last decade have made the original iPhone practically a dinosaur. The idea of an edge-to-edge phone that has no home button is probably going to be the new standard, as well as huge advancements to the display.

Unless someone comes up with some kind of easy-to-use holographic interface or some big new thing, I’m not certain how smartphone technology is going to change, really. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is the one who makes the tech possible for the typical consumer.

Why are Critics and Audiences Split Over Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville

Orville 1Last Sunday night, FOX aired The Orville, a science-fiction comedy show created by the one-and-only Seth MacFarlane, much more famous for Family Guy and American Dad. What is strange is how divided critics and audiences are split on this particular show. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 17 percent, which is quite low and would usually signal a definite cancellation. However, it has a 90 percent love from audiences. How in the world can this happen?

Is The Orville Pilot Recap

I guess since I write online, this makes me a critic. I will have to say that I was less than thrilled at Seth MacFarlane’s foray into space fiction, but I do think that 17 percent is too low of a grade. I would at least give it a passing grade, and yes, that would be a D, something in the 50-65 range.

The Orville opens by showing the New York of the future of 2147, and the world looks very lush and green. I will have to commend the special effects on this from the get-go.

Ed Mercer (MacFarlane), the main character, comes home and discovers his wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), in bed with an alien. The alien is ugly and blue, and spews blue liquid from his head because…it’s Seth MacFarlane, and he is known for pushing the envelope, and why wouldn’t you want to see how an alien has an orgasm?

This is the tone set at the opening, but really fails to deliver for the rest of the episode. The issue is that I am glad, because I would rather see a lot of great science-fiction action rather than MacFarlane’s normal gross-out humor. The rest of the episode is essentially a better-looking episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In fact, after Mercer receives the command of the Orville, which looks to be a brand-new vessel, the crew is introduced rather lazily. By lazily, he just gets his senior officers together and essentially talks to them about their positions. It isn’t very exciting, and it is more tell than show.

The first mission of the Orville sends them to a planet for a supply mission. As it turns out, this planet has some new technology that can age something or someone 100 years in a few seconds. As it turns out, this weapon is wanted by the Krill, a race who travels in green spaceships like the Romulans and look like Klingons.

There’s an interesting way where they stop the villains, which is a mix of technology and strategy. I’m not going to spoil it, but during the credits promises a lot of episodes with a lot of space action.

Is The Orville Worth Watching?

Yeah, the Orville feels like Star Trek, which is the point, apparently. In fact, the only “original” plot point comes from finding our that Mercer’s second-in-command is his ex-wife, creating awkward tension. The problem is that a similar awkwardness was done on Other Space, where the captain had his sister be the second-in-command.

Even the commercial breaks, effects, and music seem ripped off from the late-eighties/early nineties Star Trek era. It doesn’t seem to succeed as a comedy, as there are only a few jokes, and many of them don’t work. If MacFarlane was going for Star Trek parody, it was kind of already done with Galaxy Quest back in 1999, which parodied both Star Trek and its fans.

The Orville feels like a copy, and even though everything looks better, it is not even an superior copy. It feels like The Orville is a vanity project from MacFarlane, who has a track record of success with animated shows like Family Guy, American Dad, and not The Cleveland Show. He also has success with Ted, Ted 2, and not Eight Million Ways to Die in the West. It’s very clear that he is a huge Star Trek fan, and that’s probably good, because who doesn’t like Star Trek?

The answer is a lot of people. Sure, it is a show that probably invented the term “fanbase”, but some think it is only for Trekkie nerds. If that is you, then you will hate The Orville.

So Why Are Critics and Audiences So Divided on The Orville

So what is with the schism between critics and audiences? Perhaps fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation remember that the first season was terrible as that show had to establish its characters and world. The Orville seems to have its characters and setting established with a simple Copy and Paste, and perhaps audiences enjoy what has become Seth MacFarlane’s trademark lazy writing.

In other words, perhaps the audience might like the concept of The Orville rather than its execution, at least until Star Trek: Discovery comes out. Personally, I think MacFarlane is best at parody, which is visible in his Family Guy Star Wars episodes. There was also a parody of Die Hard on The Cleveland Show which was easily the best episode in the short-lived series. Maybe audiences realize that and can’t help but like it, which can be the only explanation that I can think of.