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.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide for Christmas 2017

Well, if you are like me, then you probably are wondering why you put off your Christmas shopping so late in the year. For those that are wanting to get that perfect gift for the holiday season should check out these items. Some of you will recognize this as my Black Friday Gift Guide, but I added a few things that I have recently reviewed.

How about Headphones?

Let’s start with Beyerdynamic’s DT 770 Studio.

You might want to get some when you sleep with the Soft-Tones Pillow Speaker. You can also try the SleepPhones by Acoustic Sheep.

There are models that are wired and wireless from ZAGG’s iFrogz.

You can get some great earbuds from 1More with the Dual Driver LTNG ANC In-Ear Headphones.

Also, Outdoor technologies has a good pair, along with some Bluetooth earbuds you can read about here. Speaking of Bluetooth earbuds…

Need a pair of Bluetooth earbuds?

I would suggest the Jabra Elite 25e for wired action. For wireless action, check out the New Elite Sport, also from Jabra.

The SleepPhones have a wireless version.

Oh, did I mention the iHome Fit (iB71), because that exists too.

Then there is the MOXYO Mission Wireless Earbuds.

There’s a Computer Accessory for you!

I recommend the IOGEAR Compact USB-C Docking Station with PD Pass-Thru and the Thunderbolt 3 to Dual 4K DisplayPort Adapter.

Then there is the OWC Thunderbolt Dock 3.

J5Create has several types that you can read about here and here. There’s some more J5 accessories available here.

You should see what Accell is making.

Need a Case for your Smartphone/Tablet?

UAG has some great ones like the iPhone 8/7 like the Monarch and PYLO, as well as the iPhone X.

Go with brands like Patchworks!

Something really unusual is this thing from Vibes Audio.

Now Toast gives you some good cover as well!

Catalyst also has several of them for the iPhone X and Apple Watch.

BGZ Brands also has the Lander Moab case for protection against the cold!

There are also some great ones from X-Doria. This might not be a case, but I recommend Armpocket for when you take your phone out on the road.

Speck has some really terrific cases, and you can read about the ones for Samsung and Apple.

Oh, you should also get yourself a screen protector, like the type made by Invisible Shield.

Then there are the ones from Nomad.

There are also some from Bodyguardz.

If you want a Folio case for your iPad, check out these two from ZAGG.

Also, UAG has your Google Pixel covered with these cases.

Looking for a gift for a gamer?

There is the Crusher Wireless from Skullcandy.

There is the Custom Game for Beyerdynamic. Then there is always the SteelSeries Rival 110.

There is also the Logitech G433, a 7.1 Wired Surround Gaming Headset.

Chargers are always needed!

There are ChargeHub X3 and X5.

Check out the Kodiak Plus 2.0 from Outdoor Technology.

It is similar to the Nomad 3-Port Hub, Powerpack, and the Charging Cables.

You can also go wireless with your charging thanks to the Mophie Wireless Charging Base.

Check out the RapidX DualX and X5 Rapid Car Charger.

I wish this one is available, but it is the Fingerpow.

Then there is the myCharge AdventureUltra and AdventureMax. Not only that, there is the myCharge Adventure JumpStart.

You can also go solar with the PowerKeep 12 and 36, as well as the Powerkeep Wanderer.

The M-EDGE Packlight, Tech Sackpack, and 8000 mAh Power Bank are also worth it.

Then there is the Bobine Flexible iPhone Dock.

Need to Boost your phones’ reception?

I would recommend the Wilson Drive Sleek Signal Booster for cars.

How about a Bluetooth speaker?

There is the iHome iBT77 Speaker as well as the iBT374. Then there is the iAVS1 for the Amazon Echo Dot. There is also the iPLWBT5 for the Apple Watch and your smartphone.

Oh, there is also two from Outdoor Technology, the Turtle Shell 3.0 and Buckshot 2.0.

Need a keyboard?

Check out the Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard with Backlight.

Cherry also has the MX Board Silent and the G80-3850 MX Brown 3.0.

I also had a fun time with the Snakebyte Key:Board Ultra.

Got a musician on your list?

I’m going to recommend two products from IK Multimedia with the iRig Mic HD 2 and the iRig Keys I/O 25.

Like taking pictures with your smartphone?

Get yourself an Olloclip Pivot!

How about something for a biker?

No problem. Get the SmartHalo.

Want something for the kitchen?

Look no further than the Gourmia GTA1500 Digital Electric Air Fryer, Griller, and Roaster.

You might want to check out the Bedol Squirt Water Clock.

How about a GPS device?

Seriously, check out the TomTom GO 52 Navigation Unit.

Traveling for the holiday?

I recommend the eGee Touch TSA Smart Travel Lock.

Also, there are two great backs from Cocoon Innovations that I will recommend. The first is the Graphite 15-inch brief and the second is the TECH 16-inch backpack.

What a more connected home?

If you want some automated bulbs, check out Sengled’s Classic Kit A19.

Speaking of home, you can do some home improvement with the TapHanger

Speck Christmas, Part 1: Presidio CLEAR, GRIP, and GRIP + GLITTER for Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8

It’s been since the beginning of the year since I reviewed Speck products, so I was quite pleased to be reviewing some of their products for the newer products like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the Note 8. These are the ones with Presidio in their name, presumably after that famous neighborhood in San Francisco.

Speck Presidio CLEAR for the Samsung Galaxy S8

Well, it’s pretty easy to see why this is called the Presidio Clear, because this case is…yeah, I don’t really need to say it.

The Presidio is made of some transparent Impactium, and I’m very certain that I can’t find that on the table of elements. Still, if you want to give your Galaxy S8 some protection from eight-foot drops, I would go with this guy, who keeps it pretty clear as well.

The Presidio Clear is also designed to be very scratch resistant, so should you require protection of this type, I would suggest going for it. You can get it on the Speck site for $19.97, but that might be a holiday discount as it is regularly $39.95.

Speck Presidio GRIP for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8

I’m going to do two reviews for the price of one, because there really isn’t much difference between the Presidio GRIP for the Samsung Galaxy S8 as there is from the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Unless we are talking about size here.

Like the CLEAR, the GRIP is easy to see how it got its name. See how ribbed it is on the sides? Good luck trying to accidentally drop your device when it is wearing one of these.

Oh, and it also has an Impactium Shock Barrier on the inside, and I’m considering calling whoever assembles the Table of Elements and adding it. You can add the Presidio GRIP to your Samsung Galaxy S8 here discounted to half-price for $19.97 or your Galaxy Note 8 here discounted to half-price for $22.47.

Speck Presidio GRIP + GLITTER for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Okay, before I talk about the Speck Presidio GRIP + GLITTER for the Galaxy Note 8, I should bring up something that I should have brought up when I was talking about the GRIP.

That is, it has two layers of Impactium, and it is military grade drop-tested at 10 feet (3 meters). Like the GRIP, it is very soft, and it has the ribbed sides for non-slippage.

So, it is a great case, and it comes with glitter! It sparkles under the light like a vampire, the Twilight kind. You can pick it up on the Speck site for about $49.95. I don’t think there is a discount going on this guy, though.

Cocoon Innovations, Part 2: TECH 16-inch Backpack

And now it is time to review another Cocoon Innovations product with the TECH 16-inch backpack. I will have to say that it is a small step up from the last product I reviewed, but that is good, right?

Oh yes, it is very good. In fact, I decided to show this particular image here for those who are unaware of what the GRID-IT system looks like. Those are those elastic straps I was talking about that hold your individual accessories, and that should make a lot of sense if it hadn’t before.

Unlike the soft briefcase that I reviewed, this product is a backpack, and it can hold laptops up to 16 inches. It also has a dedicated iPad compartment, but it doesn’t really have a furry lining or anything for it. The backpack does have a water-resistant ballistic nylon exterior, so I guess you can feel good about taking it in the rain.

You should be able to purchase the TECH 16-inch backpack for about $89.99 on the Cocoon Innovations site for $89.99.

Cocoon Innovations, Part 1: Graphite 15-inch Brief

There is one thing that I like, and that is Cocoon Innovations. They were the pioneers of the GRID-IT system that I wrote about before here. I was fortunate enough to write about two other great Cocoon Innovations products, starting with the Graphite 15-inch brief.

From the description, you can tell what it can carry with 15-inch laptops, accomodating up to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. When you open it up, their are lots of pockets. One of them is the faux-fur for the laptop, which has some real soft fur on the inside. Then there is a faux-fur pocket good for a tablet like an iPad, a smaller one.

There is a zipper pocket on the inside, but that almost makes me want to say “who cares”. I’ve already mentioned that this particular guy has the GRID-IT inside, and if you are not familiar with it, here is what that is: it is a bunch of elastic straps made to hold a whole bunch of things.

Yes, these straps allow for you to store cables, chargers, and…hey, is that a GoPro on that? Yes, it is, which means you are capable of a carrying a lot, and you don’t have to worry about shuffling through your bag to find anything.

On the whole, I would recommend it, and it can be purchased on the Cocoon Innovations site for about $89.99.

#ChurchToo: Victims Speak up About Sexual Abuse Within the Church

We talked about the #MeToo movement that was initiated by Alyssa Milano after the Harvey Weinstein scandals came out. There’s another important related topic to this that Christians need to be aware of. A new awareness campaign is coming to the light with #ChurchToo.

Yes, sexual abuse happens in churches as well. Not just the Catholics, but LDS, Protestants, et al.

People are taking to Twitter and other social media to bring this to light.

I find in general that people get a false sense of security when it comes to leadership, and most other people in religious settings. Many trust that because one is a youth pastor, or a leader of a church, that no harm can be done. I’ve heard too many terrible stories to think otherwise.

In the church we previously attended, they did make sure to do background checks for those working in the nurseries. Men were only allowed to change the diapers of their own children. I am still trying to decide if that is sexist, but I can see it as the church trying to cover themselves, which is probably smart on their part. Personally, I thought parents should be called to do their own diaper changes, but that was because nursery workers could get stretched thin at times. Of course, nursery age isn’t the only ones needing to be protected, so I encourage parishioners to find out what is being done to protect kids of all ages in their church.

 

Another thing that churches need to stop doing, and I mentioned this in the #MeToo post, is we need to stop blaming the victims. This really needs to stop. Women and girls shouldn’t be told that they need to wear a cover up from head to toe to make sure that they don’t cause boys/men to stumble. Our boys should learn how to properly treat females no matter what they wear.

The list goes on, and I encourage you to check out all the #ChurchToo stories.

Leave your thoughts and stories on this in the comments below!

Thunderbolt 3 Dock from OWC

Once again, I am doing a review of a laptop/desktop accessory with the Thunderbolt 3 Dock from OWC. I am not certain what OWC stands for, but they seem to make a lot of really interesting products.

The Thunderbolt 3 Dock is enough to give your computer 13 ports, provided that it is plugged in with the Thunderbolt 3 cable. On the front is a USB 3.1 Generation 1 for delivering 5 GB data speed and power to the devices. There is also an expanded analog Audio In/Out to connect external speakers and mics. Oh, there is also an SD Card reader, which you can transfer a lot of files.

What is interesting is on the back are more ports. There are five USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, which is once again good for pretty much whatever you need. Then there is this S/PDIF pro-grade digital audio output for an enhanced audio performance, not to mention a FireWire 800 port and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Then there are two Thunderbolt 3 Ports which are good to up to 40 GBs. Then there is also a mini DisplayPort.

All of this is good for up to 40 Gb/s for two ultra HD 4k displays, or a 5K monitor. Oh, and it is great for more than that too, because it is just that good at what it does.

So if you have a home office or business, then this OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is for you. It also comes with a 2-Year Limited Warranty. It can be purchased on sites like MacSales for $299.00.

What is Happening to Christians and our Nation Today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just don’t understand anymore.

Another boycott is happening. Many Twitter users smashing their Keurig coffee makers in response to Keurig and others pulling their advertising from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Why did Keurig cause so much grief?

On Friday, Sean Hannity interviewed Roy Moore, the Republican candidate running for a senate seat in Alabama. He is accused of sexual misconduct with minors as young as 14. Some felt that Hannity went too easy on Moore during the interview, so Keurig announced that they would be pulling advertising for the show in a reply to Angelo Carusone as shown below:

Immediately, war broke out on Twitter, and Hannity fans responded by destroying their Keurig machines. Joke’s on them. Keurig already has their money. Duh.

Keurig’s CEO has since apologized to its employees over the negative backlash they might receive from this decision and said that they don’t usually take sides.

In other news, 53 Alabama pastors have signed a letter supporting Moore. After doing a little research, it seems that the letter, posted by Moore’s wife, Kayla, was written before the allegations came forward, and some of the pastors that signed the letter have said they did not know of these allegations when the letter was originally signed. 

Tijuanna Adetunji of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery said she did not know of the letter and did not give permission for her name to be on it. “I was not asked about this story or allegations,” stated Adetunji.

Okay, maybe my faith in humanity and Christianity hasn’t completely circled the drain; however, I’m still very saddened to see that many people still support this man. We’ll see how many when the votes come out.  Not too surprised considering who was elected into the presidential seat- a man who did say that Moore should step down… but only if the allegations proved to be true.

Again, I ask, “Is America great yet?”

 

Grey’s Anatomy Celebrates 300th Episode Tonight!

Only 4 of the original characters remain, but Grey’s Anatomy has lived on for 14 seasons, and tonight, ABC’s hit show will celebrate this momentous occasion with some hat tips to former characters.

Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey), Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev),  James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber), and of course, Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey will see their former co-workers and friends- Izzie, Christina, and George… at least in spirit, as their look-alikes in the form of patients will bring back some nostalgia.

Through bombs, plane crashes, boat crashes,a mass shooter, and more, Meredith Grey has pulled through like a cat with nine lives to keep us captivated since 2005.  The show has done more than just entertain, though. Pompeo recalled a fan telling her that the show saved her daughter’s life.

“There was one storyline where we had a kid with a heart problem that presents as the flu and doctors overlook it,” said Pompeo. “We got a letter from this mom saying, ‘The hospital sent me home saying I didn’t know what I was talking about and I resisted. Sure enough, my child was diagnosed with this and she’s alive now because of that episode.’ ”

Here is some trivia for you. ER, another popular hospital medical show lasted a total of 331 episodes. Could Grey’s Anatomy top that?

Here’s a sneak peak offered by Ellen Pompeo on The View today.

P.S. Happy 10th wedding anniversary to Ellen and her husband today, and also, tomorrow is her birthday!

 

The Long Road Home Premieres Tonight on National Geographic Channel


As we enter the week of Veterans’ Day, there is a wonderful opportunity to see stories of what soldiers and their families have experienced as the war in Iraq transpired. Martha Raddatz, ABC News correspondent in foreign affairs, had a unique opportunity to follow the soldiers and write the best-selling book, The Long Road Home, which inspired this                                                                                         eight part mini series.

I had the privilege of receiving a truly wonderful press kit, along with a dog tag USB that contained the episodes to preview. The series follows real life events that soldiers experienced on Black Sunday in April 2004, when a platoon of American soldiers was ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad. The initial ambush and the 48-hour rescue mission caused 8 deaths of Americans and more than 60 injuries.

The show has a feeling of movies like Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. Watching it brings all the emotion of what it would have been like to have been there and experience the traumatic events that the soldiers faced, as well as what the families of the soldiers went through as they waited to hear news from them.

Jason Ritter is an actor in the miniseries. You may know him as the son of John Ritter,  an actor in the tv series Parenthood, and currently the star of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. He plays the role of Troy Denomy. Another son of a famous actor, Patrick Schwarzeneggar, plays Sgt. Ben Heyhurst. Other cast members include Michael Kelly as Lieutenant Colonel Gary Volesky, Kate Bosworth as Gina Denomy, and Sarah Wayne Callies as Leann Volesky.

Martha Raddatz says of her experience talking to the soldiers:

“I have been a journalist my whole life, really. I’ve done some amazing things, and I’ve been to extraordinary places. I have been in a backseat of an F-15 on a combat mission. I’ve been in the streets of Baghdad. I’ve been a moderator at presidential debates. There is nothing that has been more meaningful in my career than this story, and not just because of the story itself or the interviews I did, but because I’ve maintained the relationship; because these guys are my brothers and their spouses are my sisters. And for me, it was the first time I had heard those stories of the Iraq War so closely. And to hear Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger — a tough soldier who I thought kept it all in — to hear him talk about what had happened to him with such emotion and such power was remarkable. I had talked about war. I had read about war. But I had never seen it in that way. I had never truly seen the human toll and how much these men were carrying with them, and how much it changed them. They changed from men in a minivan the week before to real warriors.”

The Long Road Home airs its introductory two-hour episode tonight on the  at 9/8 c. I highly suggest it as a must-watch.

Here’s a trailer: