Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Our Review of the Go Puck 6XR

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Go Puck product , as the last time was the Go Puck 5X, and I have been waiting a while to review the GoPuck 6XR.

Yes, this is going to be another mobile battery review, so I’m going to talk about what makes the 6XR different. I could talk about how it has two USB ports, but so does the MyCharge RazorUltra.

No, the reason why you want the 6XR has to do with the speed. The 6XR comes with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology, which means you are going to get four times faster charging.

So, what else does it have? How about a large capacity? It is a 9,000 mAh capacity, which means that it is good for about four charges on a smartphone and even more on a GoPro.

Then there is also the fact that the 6XR has a mount. It’s made for straps and belts, and it appears to be “born from racing” as it says on the box. This makes sense, as GoPuck products appear to be made for life on the go, so why not make them lightweight and give them the ability to keep them close?

In short, I’ll recommend the GoPuck 6XR among the highly saturated market of mobile batteries. You can get it on the GoPuck website for about $99.99.

Posted by on February 1st, 2017 No Comments

myCharge Part 3: RazorUltra

MyCharge RazorUltra 1Okay, it is time to conclude this myCharge trilogy with the RazorUltra. I don’t know if it is related to the Razor Platinum, but it has “Razor” in the title, so…maybe?

It doesn’t look like the RazorUltra is made for charging a laptop, but it is cable of charging two tablets at the same time, because it has two USB ports. It has about 12000 mAh worth of power, with 3.4A output, and it is rechargeable via included micro-USB cable that can plug into the wall.

So, it is good for 90 hours worth of power, and it has the myCharge ultra-fast charging up to 65 percent fast of its competitors. It can also recharge up to 50 percent faster than its competitors. Oh, it can hold power for up to one year.

All that, and it is made of anodized aluminum. It is available on the myCharge site for $59.99.

Posted by on January 28th, 2017 No Comments

Our Review of the Bio-Key EcoID and SideTouch

bio-key ecoIDOkay, I am going to be very honest with you and say that this is my first foray into Biometrics. I consider myself an expert in tech, but I will have to say that I really struggled with this one. I was able to review two of their products with the EcoID and the SideTouch.

The EcoID came to me without packaging, so I have no idea if it even came with instructions if it were to come to me in whatever packaging that it comes in. I connected it to my computer via the included USB cable, and my Windows 7 computer did recognize it.

From there, I wasn’t certain what I was expecting after I installed the EcoID. I was hoping some software would show up and let me know what was up. You know, so I could lock certain folders, but it’s actually difficult to figure out how to work.

Something tells me this is user error, because I had to do a little research to discover how to get it to work, and I’m still having troubles. In all honesty, I think my inexperience with Biometrics hopefully echoes what others have experienced.

bio-key SidetouchI mean, what if I somehow lock myself out with this thing? That didn’t happen, but only because I couldn’t really figure out how to use it.

I am told that EcoID and Windows Hello will allow customers to use their fingerprint to sign-in to websites and applications using FIDO 2.0/W3C Web Authentication.

So let’s talk about the SideTouch. It’s got a different aesthetic than the EcoID, as it is made for plug-and-play action and it is made for Windows Hello, presumably getting the Microsoft seal of approval.

If you are wanting to purchase these fine Bio-key products, I hope that you will know how to use it. The EcoID can be purchased on Microsoft and Amazon for $39.99. The SideTouch can be purchased at the same price from Microsoft and Amazon as well.

Posted by on January 17th, 2017 No Comments

Merkury Innovations unveils Geeni Line of Smart Home Products at CES 2017

Here’s another post about CES 2017, and this one is from Merkury Innovations, who is making some Geeni Line of Smart Home Products. These smart home products include a range of smart bulbs, cameras, and some other things as well.

Let’s start with the smart bulbs, which means these lights can be controlled from anywhere. Part of the series is the Lux Series, that include the 800 and 1050: 800lm (60W-equivalent) and 1050lm (75W equivalent) which costs $24.99-$29.99. There is also the Lux DROP 750lm (65W equivalent) for ceiling fixtures for $29.99, and the Lux FLOOD: 950lm (75W equivalent) for floodlight fixutres for $29.99.

There is also the Prisma series with customizable white or color settings smart bulbs, and you can chose from many types of colors. The models available are 450 (45W equivalent) and 1050 lm (75 equivalent) at prices of $24.99 and $34.99 respectively.

gn-ww103-199_cThen there is the smart power category, which gives some smart plugs for turning any plugged-in electronics on and off from just about anywhere with the Geeni app. There is a Sport series which costs $19.99, and the Energi series with a smart plug and energy meter for about $24.99. Oh, there is also the Surge series, a smart surge protector with 4 outlets and 4 USBs, which costs $49.99.

In addition to this, there is the Vision Smart Camera. It has a 1080p full HD camera with night vision, as well as some motion notification. There is a built-in microphone and speaker, and you can record footage with some microSD cards. It will cost about $89.99.

Check out their products on the Geeni website.

Posted by on January 4th, 2017 No Comments

VESA Unveils Two Big Announcements at CES 2017

vesaRight now, in Las Vegas, is one of the biggest tech shows in the world. Yes, I am talking about CES, and for the first time in eight years, I will not be attending.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be covering it, and I fully plan to with VESA.

If you don’t know about VESA, they are an international non-profit corporation, and they support and set industry-wide interface standards for the PC, workstation, and consumer electronics industries. Generally, I usually cover tech or gadget companies on this blog, but I thought I would cover something that they are showing off at the show.

They actually have two announcements: the first is an early certification program for video source and display products using DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3), the highest data link rate supported by the DisplayPort standard version 1.4 published in March 2016.

So what does this mean? Well, DisplayPort interfaces with HBR3, which are now available on consumer products, and it can drive 8K video resolution using a single connection, not to mention 4K displays. Yes, 8K video is a thing, and I’m guessing this is one more step to bringing 8K to you formally.

The second announcement from VESA is the completion of its compliance test specification (CTS) for products incorporating the USB Type-C connector and the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) standard. These new CTS documents allow VESA members to have Authorized Test Centers (ATCs) worldwide, or completing self-testing and posting their certified product information to VESA’s database.

This is a move toward more USB-C, and I can’t say that I am too surprised by that. Man, my phone charges so fast with USB-C.

You should keep your eyes on VESA, and I’m wondering what they will be doing in the future. Head on over to the VESA site to find out more information.

Posted by on January 4th, 2017 No Comments

Ready the Cannons by William Gurstelle

ready-the-cannonsAs you have no doubt read from all my other posts, I am essentially reviewing gadgets for the rest of the year, particularly for the holiday season. Still, I like to do some book reviews every once in a while, and I will have to say that I really enjoyed William Gurstelle’s Ready the Cannons.

Ready the Cannons is a book that gives the user step-by-step instructions on how to create really cool weapons. Just to let you know, everything that you would create from this book would be non-lethal, like the guy in Mystery Men. You are not creating guns or artillery with lethal force, but wiffle ball launchers, beverage bottle bazookas, and other fun stuff.

As you might have guessed, the first part of this book is a disclaimer saying not to use these creations against someone. As much as this doesn’t need to be said, it is probably good that it was said. I hope that by purchasing this book, I am not put on some kind of watch list.

It is pretty clear that author Gurstelle doesn’t want to inspire any rampant destructive behavior. He is trying to foster creativity, and this book can be appreciated by readers of any age.

Each chapter talks about shooting devices, and it also gives some history about them as well. Did you know that the bazooka was named after a musical instrument that had the same shape? I had a good laugh on the nuclear cannon, which is a definite low point during the cold war.

It’s very clear that this book is a way for the reader to channel their inner MacGyver, and considering that Richard Dean Anderson’s most famous character has been rebooted for a new generation, perhaps this book will have present-day appeal.

If you want to get your hands on this book, check it out on Amazon.

Posted by on November 13th, 2016 No Comments

The Wistiki Volia!

Wistiki VoliaToday, I received something in the mail that was from France. I receive a few things every week, and this one had Voila on it. It was fitting, as this box was from France, and I was pleased to review the Wistiki Voila.

The Voila is one of those devices that you put on your keys or something else that you don’t want to lose. All you need to do is download the Wistiki app and pair the device with the smartphone. It is very similar to two products that I have revealed with the Chipolo and the TrackR Bravo.

These particular devices are starting to become very common, and I am not certain what they are called, but if you are in a habit of losing your keys or something, then this works well. It has a minimalist design with a good battery life of up to 3 years, and powerful ring of 90 decibels which should help you find what you are looking for. By the way, it is waterproof that can resist rain and can be submerged.

If this is something that you want to get, the Voila can be purchased for about $49 on the Wistiki site.

Posted by on June 9th, 2016 No Comments

Does Casting Matter, or Can Anyone Play Anyone?

Okay, after my report on the new version of Ghostbusters with the all women cast, I have been thinking a lot about how casting works. I think in America we are wanting to believe that we live in a society where any race of any gender should be able to do anything, and I agree. However, when it comes to acting, are we allowed to be prejudiced?

Yes, I know that I just gave justification for prejudice, and that is just not good. I mean, people complained about Zootopia having a moral against prejudice that seems…outdated. I mean, I grew up in an age of The Sneetches and other children’s books and programs that told me that prejudice is bad, and I agree.

Yet, there still are complaints about casting, as well as white-washing. The recent casting of non-Asians in the adaptation of the popular anime Ghost In A Shell is creating some controversy. What is interesting is how the new Doctor Strange film has cast Helen Mirren, a white British actress, to play The Ancient One, who is a Tibetan male from the comic book source material.

In addition to the white-washing, there is also the gender-swapping. The female Ghostbusters are a good example, but it isn’t like these females are replacing the original. There are other recent examples like a character Jeri Hograth on Jessica Jones, who was switched out from the comic book male inspiration to be played by Carrie Anne-Moss. Since I am not familiar with this particular comic book source material, I can’t tell if it is an improvement.

However, if someone has a casting call for black or white actors, isn’t this inherently prejudiced? I realize that no one cares in animation, as many famous parts like Bart Simpson are played by the opposite gender. Does it matter? Only the most conservative would protest.

If you look at a film like Cloud Atlas, the film decided to cast actors in multiple roles, occasionally switching their genders and races. Personally, I liked that film, but it could have easily worked with different actors or actresses in those roles. Heck, little people were not used in The Lord of the Rings films unless they were seen from the back. Could we not hire real little people to play the hobbits? Personally, I think that is not a good idea.

I mean, Levar Burton was talking about how he was cast on Roots, and how they wanted a young black man, and it was a risk that they took him, who didn’t have a lot of experience. There is a new version of Roots being broadcast now, but how long before we are casting slaves and not care about the race? In other words, are we going to be casting white slaves? If so, then we are at a point where we just don’t care about the casting.

If that is the case, maybe we just don’t care about race and gender, and I can’t help but think that is progress.

Posted by on June 2nd, 2016 No Comments

Everything Announced at Google I/O 2016

Google-IO-2016-840x472In case you haven’t been paying attention this week, it would appear that Google had been having a big developers conference this week known as Google I/O. There was a lot of announcements going down, and this is just a few of them.

For example, there was a preview of the Android N, the latest version of the operating system. This currently does not have a name of a sweet treat as yet, but it will have a Vulkan graphics processing engine for some better performance. Also announced was Android Wear 2.0.

Then there is the new Google Cardboard, aka the next generation Android based VR program with Daydream. it uses a heavy-duty phone that uses a VR mode for optimizing content.

Also unveiled is Allo, which is kind of a combination of Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Then there is also the Google Duo, video chat, kind of like Apple’s Facetime.

So, yeah, there is a lot, and there is going to be a lot more. I’m sure there will be more about it soon.

Posted by on May 20th, 2016 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Ex Machina

Ex_Machina-368494509-largeIt’s been a while since I reviewed an actual speculative fiction movie on this site. I have no idea why, but part of it might be related to all of the animated shows that I have been watching lately.

Whatever the case, I was pleased that I had a chance to watch Ex Machina. I heard that it was a good film, and it even won an award. Well, it won an Oscar for best visual effects, and this is the same year that Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max Fury Road, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out.

Ex Machina is an indepedent film, and it feels like it. It has some very wonderful sets combined with some excellent scenery, but it still feels on a budget. The money clearly went into the special effects, and you can see on the poster where. Well, you can see that this lady is a robot, and she has transparent skin in some places so some cool techno machinery stuff shows.

I’d better start from the beginning. The story begins when Caleb, a computer programmer, is invited to visit his boss’s estate for a while for a special project. His boss Nathan is the boss of a big search engine company, and he is so rich that his estate is located in the mountains and it is quite a compound.

Nathan is a bit of a recluse, and apparently his company runs pretty well without him, because you don’t see Nathan doing anything work-related. That is, nothing outside research and development. Nathan has created a robot that looks human. That is, she has the flesh of a human on her face and hands, and let’s just assume that it is artificial. Nathan also has a live-in maid named Kyoko that doesn’t speak any English.

Apparently, Nathan wants Caleb to perform the Turing test, and if you don’t know what that is, it is a test from Alan Turing in order to determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from a human. There’s a really cool story about Alan Turing that you can watch in The Imitation Game, but I’m getting ahead and behind myself.

So Caleb goes to meet Ava the robot, and he finds that Ava is a lot more human than he’s expecting. In fact, he finds that Ava is quite attractive, and it is difficult for Caleb to come up with questions for Ava to pass his tests.

Now, the movie is very interesting because it is one of those films where there is little action at first, so it compensates by creating an uncomfortable and claustrophobic atmosphere. Then the music is very tonally perfect as well, and I couldn’t help but feel certain horror atmosphere.

I will have to say that the film is worth seeing, just so you can say that you saw it. It does explore the dynamic of creator/creation that shows up in a lot of good robot films, and I would say that Ex Machina achieves that. I don’t know if it is the best robot film, but I honestly am having a hard time figuring out what is the best. This is one of one of those films that I am going to spoil, so don’t read past the jump if you don’t want to know any more.

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Posted by on May 14th, 2016 No Comments