Netatmo, Part 1: The Presence

netatmo-presenceIt’s hard to believe that we are living in a time where anyone can have their own personal security system, and products like the Netatmo Presence make it very affordable. The Netatmo Presence is not only affordable, but it is quite easy to install. Just think of it as another outdoor light.

Yes, all that white space on the Presence is made to be a floodlight, and it is a smart one. You can program it to switch on when it detects either a person, car, or animal, or maybe just all three from up to 65 feet/20 meters. By the way, the application allows for clicking the light on from a smartphone or tablet.

While we are discussing the application, it keeps track of the animals, cars, or people that will be passing by. Since this is a security camera, you can record the footage on the included SD card. You can also store the videos automatically on a personal DropBox cloud or a personal FTP server. If you want to see what happened during the day, there is a timelapse feature, and the videos are full HD quality with a pinch-to-zoom for details.

I am told that the Netatmo Presence has some “bank level” security, but I am not certain how good it truly is. Anyway, this is quite a product, and would make an excellent gift for anyone who wants a bit more security for the holiday season. The Presence can be purchased on the Netatmo site for $299.99.

Hands-on with the Lifeprint


The Lifeprint is a device that I have written about before. I first saw it when I was at CES last January, and I thought it was hands-down the coolest thing that was at the show.

Instead of doing my normal shtick of showing a still shot of the device itself, I felt it was just much better to show this promo video from Lifeprint instead. What began as a crowdfunded project has become a way to make the printed photo relevant again.

In case you are one of the rare ones who would rather read text than watch a video, here is what the Lifeprint can do. It uses the power of augmented reality in order to turn an ordinary photo into a video.

Lifeprint has made a comparison to Harry Potter, and if you remember seeing the moving picture headlines from any one of those movies, the comparison is pretty honest. Of course, Harry and his wizard friends didn’t need a smartphone or tablet to make this magic work.

It is pretty simple to make this work, as the Lifeprint App (for Apple and will soon be available on Android) collects all photos and videos from the camera, and this includes anything on Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, GoPro, and Twitter. For those with Apple Live Photos, this is also an option.

Once you have chosen your video, you can essentially create your “cover”. This is the one still image that will serve as your photo for your augmented reality video. If you want to, you can even touch up the photo using the editing tools and such.

From there, you can print your photo on the Lifeprint printer, and then view it through Lifeprint’s viewer. Your still shot will be still no longer, and your memory from that photo will spring to life.

Now, here is the interesting part: you can print your cover photo from other Lifeprint printers around the world, provided they are on your network. This I didn’t get a chance to try out, as I don’t know anyone who has one of these yet. I have hunch that will change as Lifeprint has the potential to be next thing in social networking.

I also think that it is interesting that Lifeprint realized in advance that people will use Lifeprint for turning possibly non-X-rated photos into X-rated videos. It says on their site that their printer is straight up sexy, but that is not what they mean. Let’s hope that this doesn’t become an issue, as people already talk about sexting so much that spell-checker isn’t even red-underlining “sexting”.

The Lifeprint printer can be purchased for $129.95 on the Lifeprint site, and it requires some special photo paper to work (with a 110 pack costing $49.95). While I’m talking about the other accessories, I should bring up the other specs. The printer is quite small at 5 x 3 x 1 inches, and can print 10-15 photos (2 x 3 inches) per charge. It takes 1 hour for a full charge, and has a 30 second printing time.

Our Review of the D-Link DCS-2530L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Camera

d-link-dcs-2530lOkay, it’s been a while since I reviewed a D-Link product, and one of the last one was the Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera. This particular DCS-2530L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Cmaera is a smaller version of that, and we had a chance to check it out for ourselves.

Just to let you know, you will be hearing some form of 180 in this review. First of all, it has a 180 degree field of view, which allows a 50 percent more view with a very wide angle lens. Oh, it also has a 1080p HD quality video which gives a lot of great clear video. So, there is a 180 listed twice, because 1080p is kind of like 180.

As you might have guessed, it is made for security, as it has night vision for 16 feet with built-in IR LEDs. It has sound and motion detection for some push alert notification when loud noises or movement is detected. You can put the recorded footage on microSD/SDXC slot.

Do you want to view this on Wi-Fi? That can hapen, and there is a remote viewing on the smartphone or tablet. It’s nice, and it has a mydlink Lite app.

Now, I just checked out the original Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera, and that model had most of the same features. The cool thing is that is cheaper at $159.99. You can get it at Best Buy and the D-Link site.

HookUpz 2.0 from Carson (IS-200)

hookupz-2-0_19-600x600So, I’ll be reviewing a lot of iPhone 7 accessories and pretty much everything else for the holiday season, and this particular product is from Carson (or Carson Optical, in case the company has re-branded or something). This is the HookUpz 2.0, which is clearly a sequel, and I tried to use the best picture that I could to show you what it could do.

Simply put, it connects a smartphone to something optic like binoculars, monocular, spotting scopes, telescopes, microscopes, borescopes, slit lamps, night vision and more. How does it do that?

Well, you put the iPhone 7 or other compatible smartphone (it can do many) or even phablets in this cradle, and then you connect it to the optic thing. The HookUpz 2.0 is made to handle anything with a an outer eyepiece diameter of 25-58 mm.

It looks a little awkward, but you can make recordings that are boosted by your optics on your smartphone or phablet. I am sure that this is a thing, because who wouldn’t want to some more magnification on their smartphone?

You should be able to get the HookUpz 2.0 on the Carson site, for an MSRP of $89.

Our Review of Tiffen’s Steadicam Smoothee

Smoothee-Site-2Well, we had a chance to try out something that most smartphone users need, or at least those who use their smartphone for videos. That is the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen.

You can see it in the image here of what it looks like, and let’s just say when I was putting it on my smartphone, my wife came in while I was doing it. Yeah, it looks a little weird, because yes, this thing looks a little weird.

However, it works, what can you say? I’ll talk about what it was like getting it out of the box. First of all, you have put your phone in this brace thing that you put on top, and that is what holds your smartphone there so you can take videos.

Just to let you know, I have to admit that there was an issue with my phone. The clamp things that hold it in was hitting the power button, but I was able to work around it. That was the first issue.

The second issue was that you will need to get this calibrated. For that, you might need to use a weight that it comes with, plus adjust the weight on the front that has the Steadicam logo on it. When I first used it, the thing kept tilting on me. Then it is required to adjust the red horizontal and vertical knobs until it is really balanced out.

Before I get to the small problems that I had with it, I wanted to talk about what it is like to shoot without a Steadicam Smoothee. This is the video that I took while I was taking my dog for a short stroll.

Okay, you can see how shaky it is, so I then put on the Steadicam Smoothee and took my dog for another walk. It’s like one of those bad action films that over-compensates its lack of good fight scenes by just shaking the heck out of the camera.

Now, I want you to notice how that there is no shaking, even though there is some veering from side to side. This is because the way the Smoothee is set up has a handle that balances on it, and unless it is perfectly balanced, it has a difficult time staying in a certain place.

I don’t want anyone to think that this is a negative review of the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen. In fact, I highly recommend it. Like I said on the second video above, it will take a little bit of practice before it is second-nature, which is how everything works, really. In fact, there are some videos that I found about it here, which sound like they are narrated by Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation.

Anyway, if you want this, you can buy it here for $149.95.

Lifeprint is the Coolest Tech that I have seen so far this year

Lifeprint PrinterI realize that it is difficult to say that anything is big deal, and I really should have reported on this when I saw it at CES 2016. Yes, I did say that the future is “mesh”, as if to substitute the last word from “meh”, but honestly, the Lifeprint is very good.

I can’t remember what after-party that I saw this at CES, but some man just came up to me with a photo and then made it into a video. How did he do this? He held up a mobile device, and through the screen, I could see a video. I posted a video of it below so you can see what it is about in case you can’t visualize it.

Needless to say, this was one of those times at CES where my eyes bug out because I am impressed by some new technology. The Lifeprint is able to print Apple Live Photos, vines, and GIFs, and then animate them with Augmented Reality (AR).

I believe that this comes with a printer so you can print out a still shot from a video, and then use the augmented reality function to make it move. The guy at the booth said that “it’s like Harry Potter”, and I have to admit that we really should have the tech to make the newspapers of Harry Potter come to life, perhaps using tablet technology.

This though, it turns a photograph, which is a great memory in and of itself, into a greater memory. This is one of those Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects, so I don’t really have a price as yet. This could be a product that everyone could have around the house, especially if you want to keep a photo album or scrapbook.

The iOttie MiGo Selfie Stick Review

iOttie Selfie StickSome of you might remember that I just reviewed a Selfie Stick from Vivitar, and now it looks like I had a chance to review one from iOttie. Let’s just say that after reviewing my second selfie stick, I was thinking that they are all alike. However, this MiGo Selfie Stick from iOttie is pretty good.

In fact, I hope to review more iOttie products soon, but that is another story that I will hopefully tell at another time. I’ll start by giving the specs, like how it can extend from 8.7 inches to 32 inches. It has the spring-loaded cradle to hold devices that are 1.9 inches to 3.5 inches. Instead of the remote like the Vivitar one has, this one has a button that syncs up really easily with the device that I was using.

The only thing that I can think of that would make this different is how it has a threaded hole that the bottom made to accommodate tripods. The MiGo can also connect to a GoPro in a unique manner, but I am not really certain how that works.

This MiGo Selfie Stick is available on the iOttie site for about $39.95.

Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision

Belkin NetcamI have reviewed many Belkin products and they really have a huge diversity for what they make. This particular product reminds me of the Dropcam, another product that I have reviewed in the past.

This NetCam allows for streaming video just about anywhere to your smartphone and tablet, and there is no computer required, just connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi router. It is as simple as downloading the Netcam App, plug in the Netcam HD+, connect to the camera, and launch the application. It is designed to work with the WeMo family of products from Belkin.

It is able to capture video at 720p HD, which can be seen on a smartphone or tablet touchscreen. It also comes with a wide-angle video format for “big shots”.

In addition to getting video, you can keep it as well, thanks to the power of Cloud+ Premium Services. You can store videos in the cloud to watch them later, and it is also possible to receive notifications on a mobile device when the camera’s motion sensor is triggered.

belkin-dogIt is also possible to communicate with whoever is on screen with the push-to-talk function. This can be used to scold a pet, like in a place where the Chocolate Lab is ready to devour a chocolate cake, like the one in this picture. I personally think that is pretty hilarious.

By the way, the camera has some infrared night vision function with a Day/Night filter to improve the picture on the device for some good images, even in dark settings.

If this is something that you are interested in, head on over to the Belkin site and pay about $129.99 for it.

Apple Watch can work with a GoPro, will Apple buy GoPro?

GoPro HeroThere is a new Apple Watch compatibility application that allows the watch to control GoPros. That’s right, imagine controlling one of those cool cameras that everyone has to have.

This application will allow GoPro users to record videos, preview shots, and adding “HiLight” bookmarks. This has allows a lot of videos to show up on YouTube done with Apple Watches.

You want to hear some more interesting news? As it turns out, it is rumored that Apple is going to acquire GoPro. Now, Apple hasn’t made any formal announcement of this, and this could be a rumor just to get GoPro’s stock price to go up.

Hello rumors! I’ve never heard of Apple buying something like this, but whatever. So, this might not have any bearing, but hey, you realize that I report on news that could happen, not necessarily about what will happen or has happened.

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MokaCam is a GoPro Killer and Everything that Implies

MokaCamGoPro is big. Big, period. Big, exclamation point. This is not a GoPro, but the MokaCam is a “GoPro Killer”. Oh yeah, they said it.

Yeah, this is MokaCam, and it is a 45 x 45 mm with 4K video potential. Yeah, let’s see the GoPro Hero do that! Oh, yeah, it does. There is a battery with magnets so you can stick to metallic surfaces. I don’t think that the GoPro Hero can do that.

The MokaCam is water resistant, and there is some housing that can be purchased in case you want to go fully underwater. There’s a motion detector to make the MokaCam for monitoring your home.

This is an IndieGoGo project, and it should cost $169, which is a small price to pay for killing GoPro.

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