Betamax is officially dead; Wait, wasn’t it dead already?

BetamaxI mentioned in my article about the BlackBerry Priv that I am often surprised that certain tech companies still exists. Today, the Internet was all abuzz that Betamax is now dead.

Seriously? I mean, I barely remember Betamax from the early eighties, as an alternative to VHS. This was back when VCRs were beginning to be in everyone’s house, and this was essentially a format war that was the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray conflict of that day.

Yes, apparently Betamax is alive in Japan, who must have a completely different type of tech than in the United States. Why in the world is it there? I’m not going to question this, because I have never lived in Japan or even visited it. Still, if you were to give me a Betamax of a film, it would be as useless to me as an 8-track.

I am very surprised that it took thirty years for Betamax to go offline, and it just shows how tech can still hang in here after all those years. The lesson here is don’t make fun of your neighbor because he or she has a flip-phone.


The Helmet from iFamCare

iFamCare HelmetWhat you are seeing here is not necessarily a helmet, and I am not really certain why it is called that. I guess it kind of looks like one…anyway, the iFamCare is a good way of watching your connected home.

The iFamCare Helmet has 360 degree coverage on the horizontal and 70 degrees of vertical. You can install the Wi-Fi to your home network and view anywhere on 3G, 4G, and WiFi. It shoots video in 1080p, and you have a MicroSD card for media storage. You can communicate to whoever is on the other end via two-way speakers, and there is something made for you pet as well.

The helmet has a three laser movement patterns so you can play with your pet from a distance. There is an application so you can “go public and let the world see your video feed”.

I don’t really see a place where you purchase the Helmet, but I see that it has had a successful Indegogo campaign. You can also find some more information on it on the iFamCare site here.

Squito 360-Degree Throwable Panoramic Camera

squito-throwable-cameraThis is going to be another time where I’m going to talk about how 360 Degree cameras are just going to take over, and how we are all going to need some Oculus Rifts to view it all.

This is a pretty fascinating thing called the Squito, and it isn’t a toy ball but a panormaic camera that you can just toss around. There are three separate cameras, which involves video and images that can be captured directly to a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Now, the camera is capable of capturing, re-orienting, and then putting it together. Now, this could be interesting, as it is difficult to get some really coherent footage on a 360 degree video.

Now I once heard that someone wanted to make a these balls that soldiers can hurl into a room and view any unpleasant surprises inside. Of course, I don’t know if that was ever put out of something.

This Squito is pretty good, and I’m sure that I’ll see more things like it.


Just Watch the Nostalgia Critic if you aren’t already.

Picture 36Yes, that is me in the middle, and the Nostalgia Critic on the right. On the left is Rob Walker, the Nostalgia Critic’s brother, and this picture was taken at MomoCon 2015 in Atlanta two weeks ago.

Okay, about a few years ago, I remembered hearing of a movie called Delgo, and I had never heard of it. Apparently, it was one of the worst computer-generated films of all time, and I thought that I could probably find a way to watch it for free online. I could not find it, but I found an Internet critic of it. From there, I became hooked on Internet critics, and if you are not familiar with them, it is essentially when a critic reviews a movie by showing quite a few more scenes than Siskel and Ebert, and really makes fun of it.

I found one of the best known as the Nostalgia Critic. The Nostalgia Critic, aka That Guy with the Glasses, aka Doug Walker, is a man that I could easily watch every day, and he has been doing work as an Internet critic since around 2007. In his early years, he would take movies that were not well-received, and he gave these films a deserved beat-down.

Some of the films he has done in the past include Batman and Robin, Space Jam, Patch Adams, and usually a lot of nineties ones that some have considered treasures from their childhood, but Walker disassembles these films for how bad they actually are. He has done other more recent films, and the most recent, to this writing, is Jupiter Ascending.

Picture 50What makes the Nostalgia Critic so interesting is that he has a lot of charisma and excitement when talking about film. He has the exuberance of Weird Al Yankovic, and he can get pretty loud when ranting about how stupid scenes from blockbusters can be. He is at his best when he is reviewing bad films, but he has discussed good films as well, and a few editorial comments where he just shares is opinion. He has also done several Top 11 lists (why 11, because he likes to go one step further).

He has several other running gags on his show, which has really upped its production values since its popularity. It used to be, his show was filmed in his house with a single camera in front of a blank background, but now he has his own office and goes out of his way to create various parody sketches around the movies that he reviews.

The Nostalgia Critic has his own channel called Channel Awesome and there are many Internet Critics that are under his wing including Angry Joe, who reviews video games, Linkara, who reviews comic books, and various other critics who review other mediums. Doug is no one man show on his own program, as he also has a few assistants who work with him like Malcolm and Tamara, as well as his brother Rob.

I have no idea why I like watching the Nostalgia Critic so much, but perhaps it is that is as excited about TV and movies as much as I am, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a way, he shows fanboys like me that we aren’t alone, and we have a voice. Catch him on Channel Awesome with a new video every Tuesday.

Bjork’s newest video goes full 360

I have to admit that I might know a few contemporary songs here and there, but I rarely watch videos these days. I also have to admit that I have barely heard of Bjork, but I think I heard that she attended some event in a swan dress.

Her newest video is in 360, and I can’t seem to understand the lyrics, but it is quite interesting to see what can be done with it. I have to admit that it seems very minimalist, at first. It does help to see Bjork walk around the camera as it forces the watcher to pan to see her.

What is really strange is how there ends up being three Bjorks in the video after a while, and I can’t help but wonder how difficult this effect was.

I have said before in my review of the V.360 that this type of video could be the latest thing, and it is only a question of how it will be used. I suppose it feels a little at an early stage.


My Review of the V.360, a 360 Degree Camera

V.360I’m going to be honest with you and say that I have been wanting to review the V.360 from VSN Mobil for a long time. In fact, I may have received it before CES 2015, and I was hoping to take it with me there. My plan was to film events with it, and then do a lot of videos that you could watch by dragging around a 2D video so you can view an event from all angles.

This would be my first time that I have actually done a hands-on review one of these things. I first saw something like it at CES 2013 with the Geonaute 360 camera, and it never surfaced. Now there were two similar cameras at CES 2015 that I had a chance to see.

When I first had a chance to try it, it told me to download and app. This was a few months ago, and I couldn’t get the app to work with the lantern-shaped camera that you see in the image. Last week, I was going to see something cool and wanted it on 360 degrees, so I deleted the app that I had and downloaded it again.

From there, I had to charge the camera and have it sync with my smartphone. There were times when I tried to sync the camera and it didn’t work, but when it worked, you can see the results here on a beta site known as Littlstar. Yeah, I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video in HTML so you can see it here like I do when I normally do YouTube or other videos.

Just to let you know, I did a video of Palouse Falls. I even got a shot of someone asking me about the V.360 camera. That was a bonus. What wasn’t a bonus is that I should have tilted the camera down so you can see the drop where I was. Yeah, that wasn’t smart, but the only way I could see the footage was a weird ring-shaped window on my smartphone. I couldn’t figure out how to do 360 degrees on my touchscreen without that weird ring-window.

You might notice that there is some weird fog on the video as well, and this is because I think the glass got fogged up. The video is at 6480 x 1080 HD, and it is possible to get some still shots in 8 Megapixels. The V.360 can do videos with time lapse options as well as a surveillance mode. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0 with an included remote control, WiFi for syncing with the camera, USB 3.0 charging, and a slot for a micro SD Card capable of 128 GB.

You should be able to purchase the V.360 on the VSN Mobil site for about $449. That might be a lot, but honestly, I think that 360 degree cameras are the wave of the future as we enter the realm of the Oculus Rift.

CJ 4DPlex could create some interesting theater experiences

4-D filmWhen Avatar first hit the theaters in 2009, it was a terrific way that 3D got people back into the movie houses. People actually saw that film several times, and I can’t remember when that has ever happened. There were a lot of 3D imitations after that, but the fad (which has happened several times in several eras) has passed, honestly.

The only thing left to do after 3D is 4D, and CJ 4DPlex recently showed off their 4D tech at CinemaCon, a tradeshow in Las Vegas. The purpose of a 4D show, as seen in amusement parks, is to create a sense of stimulation while watching a film. I remember seeing Honey, I Shrunk the Audience at EPCOT center, and it had moving seats and spraying effects to simulate what was happening on screen.

Here is the problem with 4D, the story around it is all effects. I don’t want to be in an era where all the films require a rainstorm, wind, or some other kind of thing to really use the 4D. Can you imagine the conversations with the screenwriters, where theater owners just have to have certain effects in film? Come on, you can shoe-horn in a storm in this scene, can’t you?

Well, as long as your movies are audience-pleasers, then I suppose the CJ 4DPlex is the way of the future. Oh no.


Google releases YouTube for Kids App for Android Devices

YouTube KidsWell, I think we all know that Google owns both Android and YouTube, so it stands to reason that they have created a YouTube app for Android devices, for kids! Oh wait, it also delivered this kid-friendly YouTube app for iOS devices too.

Considering that my kids spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos, it stands to reason why they would do this. It is full of age-appropriate videos, channels, and playlists. The application has big buttons for easy scrolling and one-touch fullscreen.

The videos included are for Sesame Street, Thomas and Friends, and Dreamworks. Many of them are educational with music, science, and so forth.

By the way, parents will like how they can quickly notify YouTube to see if there is anything questionable from the application. That is right, there are parental controls and all that.

Again, I have to question YouTube’s reason for creating a channel for kids, because I thought YouTube was supposed to screen out non kid-friendly stuff. In other words, one of its biggest audiences is getting some kind of specialty market.


The Avegant Glyph Media Goggles

Glyph Media GogglesThis is a product that I saw at CES, and I have to admit, just seeing it says something about our society. It’s almost as if this is some performance art piece showing how our headphone-wearing society is blinding us. However, these are the Glyph media goggles from Avegant.

Just to let you know, the Oculus Rift this is not. However, it does have some DLP display technology to put an image on your eyes. The image is 720p, and earcups definitely bring the noise. The content comes from standard HDMI input from a smartphone, game console, or TV.

Now, I have seen products like the Glyph before. A few years ago, there was a fad with these, and there was a company called Myvu that advertised big at CES at that time, but it didn’t really caught on. I think the reason is that people just don’t want to wear a pair of goggles out in public. I’m not certain if Google Glass is going to change that. My Source talks about another company named Vuzix who makes similar products, and they had a similar product on display at this year’s CES.

What you are seeing here is a prototype, but they will probably look different when the product is released in the fall, for a price of about $499, raising to $599 after January.


AeroMobiil 3.0 Flying Car

From now until Christmas, I am probably going to be writing about whatever products that I can get my hands on. However, I do like to write about a nifty gadget every once in a while, such as the AeroMobil 3.0 flying car.

What can I say, it is a flying car! Surely we have to have that by 2015, along with the hoverboard. The Aero Mobil 3.0 has recently been certified by the Slovak Federation of Ultra-Light Flying and it can transform from land to air mode.

I see very little reason to talk about the AeroMobil 3.0, because you can just watch the video. It is possible that the Mobile 3.0 will be the first flying car, and could be available for testing soon.

Source1 and Source2