Archive for May, 2013

HTC One ad at the Art Museum really ticks me off

I have talked about commercials that have kind of got my goat in the past. There was that Kia Forte ad that I found rather degrading toward humanity and seemed to favor the conquering of robot overlords.

This one for the HTC One is somewhat offensive to humanity as well. In case you don’t want to watch the video, it shows a woman looking at fine art, and this art somehow becomes Facebook posts.

Now, in all fairness, this is essentially an ad for Facebook Home. If you haven’t tried it, you can make it your Android wallpaper and see all your status updates.

It is handy to have Facebook Home on your homescreen, but isn’t the point of an art museum to look at…I don’t know…art? Instead, the person on the ad wastes the opportunity and looks at pointless updates that will won’t last the test of time, and be obsolete by the end of the day.

Is this what we have become? There is no way you can equate great works of art with what appears on Facebook on a daily basis. Please.

Posted by on May 31st, 2013 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Friday: Total Recall, the 2012 Colin Farrell version

Total-recall-titleLast summer, When I heard that they had made a new version of Total Recall, my first thought was “why”? I then did a video search of scenes from the original 1990 version with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I can see the reasoning.

The original 1990 version looks very dated now. It looks like a lot of early nineties TV shows, like Babylon 5, and looks far too…colorful. The effects have not passed the test of time, like Arnold’s classic Terminator 2.

Total Recall has a pretty high concept for an action film. Both films feature Douglas Quaid, who is an ordinary man who wants to go on a “virtual vacation”. Apparently in the future, they can implant a memory of a vacation without you actually going somewhere. Not only that, this company Recall can implant a memory of some spy thriller where you are the hero.

The hero of both films, Douglas Quaid, is an ordinary working man who goes to this Recall place for his virtual vacation, and this somehow triggers a new set of memories. From there, everyone, including his wife, is after him for some reason, and Quaid has to find out why by following whatever remnant of memory is left, along with clues his past-self left behind.

Total Recall is essentially a high-tech, science-fiction amnesia story, which is quite popular in most video games. The advantage is obvious for video games, as the player enters the empty head of an individual who must go through a series of trials to find out his/her true identity. The original Total Recall came out before this type of storyline had been done to death, and the future it showed was imaginative back then. Sadly, dystopian futures have also been done to death, and they can be done easier with computer graphics.

The original film was done by Paul Verhoeven, who also directed Robocop, Starship Troopers, Hollow Man, Basic Instinct, and the NC-17 classic, Showgirls. As you might have guessed, Verhoeven favors scenes of sex and violence in his films, and I would have to say that he probably overdoes it. Mix that with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it is pretty easy to forget that the original Total Recall actually has a very intelligent premise, especially when the main character goes to Mars.

In the newest Total Recall, the main character doesn’t go to Mars, but the premise seems almost harder to believe. In this version, the air of Earth has been polluted except in two places, Great Britain and Australia (or “The Colony”). I don’t understand why these two areas are somehow safe, and I don’t think anything short of force-fields could do that. By the way, these two last cities are connected by a train that goes through the Earth. Well, I have to admit that I have never seen that before in a movie.

Yeah, I will have to admit that there are some things that the new Total Recall does right. I have a hard time believing that Arnold can play an ordinary guy as he does the barbarian and robot really, really well. Colin Farrell really feels like an ordinary man who would want to a virtual vacation, and therefore feel the need to go to Recall. Now, when Farrell goes crazy at Recall, he ends up looking like Jason Bourne. Eventually, Farrell realizes he has to get his memory back and this leads him not to Mars, but Great Britain.

I like the way the future world looks in this film, and if you see the image, you’ll see how the city is kind of stacked up on itself. This leads to a great chase scene, and then there is another chase scene with magnetic cars that is a more high-octane version of Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Considering that Total Recall and Minority Report are based on short stories by the same author, Phillip K. Dick, it is a little more than coincidence. The tech in both movies also looks very similar.

For the first hour of the 2012 Total Recall, I actually thought I was seeing a superior copy of the 1990 version. Then something bad happened in the last half-hour of the film as it tried to explain itself far too much. The plots of either versions don’t really make sense to me.

I always felt that Total Recall, either version, has the potential to be as deep as the movie Inception, but Total Recall kind of blows it with pointless action. My impression of the movie Inception is that if you start created realities for yourself, you will eventually lose track of it. This is somewhat similar to Total Recall, but anything deeper in theme must be somehow inserted in by the viewer.

Posted by on May 31st, 2013 No Comments

VOXX introduces the Soundboard Portable Speakers

Voxx soundboardSome of you might remember when I covered the Soundflow at CES, and I suppose that it is poetic that I’m covering the SoundFlow Wireless Audio, which was on prominent display at CTIA 2013.

In case you don’t remember, the SoundFlow is a speaker that allows you to just lay your smartphone on it and will play with no wires and no pairing. It apparently supports just about anything, and there are two options of power: 5V DC or 3 x AA batteries.

The Soundboard will be available in August in three different colors. The SP20WHBK (white top, chrome trim, and black bottom), the SP20WDBK (woodgrain top, chrome trim, and black bottom), and the SP20BKGR (matte black top, lime green trim, and black bottom). You can get it for $29.99

Posted by on May 30th, 2013 No Comments

Armortech Force Field Technology can protect your device, quite well

ArmortechOnce again, I am reviewing another screen-guard, and this one is from Armortech, with Force Field Technology.

The Armortech products are designed to withstand everyday wear and tear, not to mention other things that they are planned to withstand like powerdrills, hammers, crowbars, Bibi pellets under high pressure, razor blades, and even drops with a cinderblock. Not only that, it is UV coated to stand up to the best rays the sun can dish out.

You should can purchase Armortech products for the iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, and other Samsung Galaxy products at various prices on the official Armortech site.

Posted by on May 30th, 2013 No Comments

Voltmaker allows you to charge your phone by spinning

voltmaker2_610x549I have seen a lot of cell-phone batteries before, but this particular one by Voltmaker recharges with something that is very easy to access: kinetic energy.

The Voltmaker is very simple to use as you simply take it out and spin it like a nunchaku. It weighs about 10 ounces, and has a length of 6 inches, so it looks like it can fit in your back pocket.

So even though you are out in the middle of nowhere, you can take out the Voltmaker and spin it for two minutes in order to power a telephone call lasting several minutes. You can also just charge it on the wall outlet if you have access to that, too.

This is an Indiegogo project, which means it needs your funds to make it a reality. You can get it for about $69 or $89, if you want the flashlight attachment.

Source

Posted by on May 30th, 2013 No Comments

The TYLT Tunz Portable Bluetooth Speaker

tunz_bg_redI have reviewed TYLT products in the past, and I described them as the accessories that you are looking for. This Tunz is another accessory that we should put under the category of “the Bluetooth Speaker that you are looking for”.

The Tunz comes with two 3-watt drivers as well as a passive radiator for superior base quality. When I tried it out, I was able to feel a pulse of wind on my hand when it put it in front. One thing that helps with the sound is the surface vibration absorbing band that cancel surface-to-speaker rattle, and it comes with red, blue, or black.

The 2800 mAh battery plays music up to 20 hours at 50 percent volume. This battery is so good, it has a 1 Amp output USB port in the back so you can charge a mobile device while you listen to music, or take on a conversation due to the noise canceling microphone.

If you want to get in on this, then I will say that it is a swell speaker. Feel free to go to the TYLT website and pay $149.99 for it.

Posted by on May 29th, 2013 No Comments

Amzer ShatterProof Screen Protector

Amzer Shatterproof Screen ProtectorI am, of course, no stranger to screen-protectors, so I won’t bother trying to explain what they are. This particular one is from Amzer, who has made mobile device cases before.

The Shatterproof is a screen protector that is a 0.2 mm thin urethane film, and it has been certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This means that it is stress resistant, scratch resistant, drop resistant, and it even has a “self-healing” capacity.

There isn’t really much more that I can say about this, other than it protects from dirt and dust. You can get the model for the iPhone 5 on $29.95 here. While you are at it, check out the Shatterproof for other devices, not to mention whatever else Amzer has.

Posted by on May 29th, 2013 No Comments

The iLuv Mobicup Splash-resistant Bluetooth Speaker

iLuv MobiCupFor some reason, I seem to be doing a lot of products that take advantage of the cupholder, like the Hercules Holder. It looks like iLuv is getting in on this cupholder fad with the MobiCup.

The Mobicup is a splash-proof Bluetooth speaker that is capable of broadcasting great sound, and it also has a built-in microphone for taking phone calls. What makes the Mobicup really work well is how it has all the controls on top like track advance, track forward, pause, volume, and others.

This is what I found most surprising about this speaker. A lot of speakers like this increase in sound when put on a tabletop, but this one had the same amount of sound in my hand as on the table.

So here are the rest of the specs, you can get 8.5 hours on a single charge. As for how water-resistant it is, well, I probably wouldn’t submerge it.

If you like this, you can get the MobiCup for about $59.99 on the iLuv website in colors of black, white, red, and white.

Posted by on May 29th, 2013 1 Comment

Looking for some smartphone maintenance? Think Displex.

display_protection_individualI don’t know if you have heard of Displex, but they are a European company that has created a lot of maintenance products for smartphone. I saw them at CTIA last week, and I was able to personally check out the Individual Display Protection.

The Over Armor Individual Display Protection is laser-cut and it has 4 layers of scratch protection for iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5, and the Galaxy S2/S3. It is good for $14.99.

The Universal Display Protection is “one film to rule them all” and it has more than 2,200 downloadable templates. This is also available for $14.99. Then there is the Over Armor Universal Display Protection for Tablets and eBooks, to fit tablets for about $24.99.

Then there is the Revitalizer Display Polish to remove minor scratches from clear plastic displays for about $9.99. Then there is the Super Glide Touch Screen Cleaner for fingerprint removal to protect and seals from dust and dirt, which is available for $9.99. For the same price, you can get the Streak Out Special Display Cleaner and Grease Relief Magic Microfiber Cloth.

Personally, I think you should go see this for yourself. Head on over to the Displex site and perhaps you can download them.

Posted by on May 29th, 2013 No Comments

A review of three caes from Case-Mate

RosewoodI had a pretty good show at CTIA 2013, and just got home yesterday to see an abundance of Case-Mate products waiting for me to review.

I’ll start with the Rosewood model for the iPhone 5. This Rosewood is apparently inspired by vintage automotive interiors. I’m not certain if the wood contrasts or compliments the aluminum, but either way, it works so well as an aesthetic that I am not going to over-analyze it. The official site calls it an “ageless combination”, and I suppose that I can agree with that.

Not only can you get a Rosewood case for the iPhone 5 or other smartphone models, you can get some pretty interesting wood models from the company like Blackened Ash, Zebrawood, and all kinds of other exotic woods. As for the Rosewood model, you can purchase that for the iPhone 5 for about $80.00 right here.

silver carbon fiberThe next case I tried out is the Carbon Fiber or Argento. It is apparently crafted from “technologically advanced lightweight fibers used by Formula One racecars and luxury automobiles”. I don’t recall seeing that type of stuff on those type of cars, but hey, I am not exactly a car-buff.

So I am guessing that there is a target audience for this Carbon Fiber case who are “high-performance automobile enthusiasts”. Who would have thought that a weave of carbon fiber threads with a touch of brushed alluminum could do that?

Apparently, you can get Carbon Fiber case in Black as well, and it is known as the Nero. You can get it for $80.00 right here.

Signature FlipThe last of the cases that I reviewed was the Signature Flip, and it has some pretty interesting and unique features. I am assuming it is called a Flip case because it has a front screen cover that you can flip open.

This Signature Flip is made from genuine leather, and I believe it has front and back protection. I believe the flip-flap is soft on the inside to sort of clean off the screen with microfiber lines on the inside for “extra protection and polish”. I believe that it is designed for the businessmen in the boardroom.

You can get the Signature Flip in black or white for many devices for about $50.00 right here.

Posted by on May 28th, 2013 No Comments