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Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
LG Sheds Light on Internet of Things
March 25, 2014
LG Electronics on Monday unveiled a light bulb designed to illuminate consumers lives in a more intelligent way. The Smart Lamp can be controlled by an iOS or Android device over Bluetooth or WiFi. The 10W LED bulb is 80 percent more energy-efficient than other incandescent bulbs, LG claimed, and will last for up to 10 years when used for around five hours per day.
Super Joey Makes Dish Hopper a TV Junkie's Delight
March 14, 2014
How do you make Dish Network's Hopper HD-DVR system even better? Easy -- you supersize it. Introduced earlier this year at CES, Super Joey has officially arrived, and for TV fans it more than lives up to its "super" moniker. Utilizing the same Hopper and Sling technology as previous versions, it now increases the recording power. The Joey units are basically room extenders to the Dish set-top box.
Qplay Puts a Personal Spin on Internet TV
February 26, 2014
TiVo cofounders Mike Ramsay and James Barton on Tuesday launched Qplay, a brand-new company that aims to bring a new level of personalization to Internet TV. Comprised of an iPad app, a TV adapter and a dedicated cloud service, Qplay is designed to let users curate Internet video from across the Web and create "Qs," the company's name for personalized and shareable streams of content.
Recognizing and Defending Against Creeping Violence
February 17, 2014
I spoke last week with a woman who built a house in Belize. Apparently it was burglarized several times. After she moved away, her husband mysteriously died there -- he had stayed to protect the house before they sold it. Then I got a visit from a friend who'd retired to Brazil but badly wants to come home. He recently had his gold chain ripped from his neck while he was on a private beach.
Intel Deal Could Help Verizon Expand Its TV Horizons
January 21, 2014
Verizon will be acquiring the assets of Intel Media, the developer of the OnCue Cloud TV platform, the companies announced Monday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Verizon noted it hopes to keep in house most of the unit's 350-strong workforce and management team. These assets will allow Verizon to provide enhanced next-generation video services for its clients.
Google Buys Nest to Burrow Into Homes
January 14, 2014
Google on Monday announced that it has acquired Nest for $3.2 billion. The deal could help Google make significant inroads into the smart home market. Since its 2010 inception, Nest has been developing a line of smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as thermostats that adjust to household activity in order to increase energy efficiency.
Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Renewed Hope
January 13, 2014
After my Belize retirement update appeared last week, a number of things happened. Most initially were rather painful, but eventually I was placed on the phone with Rod Kazazi, the project CFO who is based in the United States. Since we both had a financial background, he was able to address most of my concerns by informing me of solid programs that ensure the project will be completed.
More to See, Less to Hear at CES 2014
January 10, 2014
CES may have begun as the Consumer Electronics Show back in the late 1960s, but since then its producer, the Consumer Electronics Association, has changed the show's official name to International CES, in part to reflect its expansion beyond TVs, stereos and appliances. At 2014 International CES, now under way in Las Vegas, that shift couldn't be more clear.
Sony Banks On Life Space UX to Regain Faded Glory
January 08, 2014
"A more robust entertainment delivery system will be a hallmark of Sony as we move into the future," Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said Tuesday in a keynote at CES. "We will be offering customers a single source of entertainment that is less complicated, more cost-effective and more accessible than ever before." Sony will be taking bold steps with its future consumer electronics products, Hirai pledged.
With Graphite Electrodes, Heatworks Gets Water to Heat Itself
January 08, 2014
Traditional water heating equipment uses fuel as an energy source to heat a rod-like element in the water tank. The element then warms the water. If you've ever reheated a hot beverage by placing it in the microwave, you'll have an idea as to the alternatives. Microwave ovens heat liquids by moving molecules so that the molecules hit each other. This action creates heat.
Canon's PowerShot N100 Puts the Photographer in the Picture
January 06, 2014
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be what Canon is saying with its announcement Monday of a new PowerShot camera model, the N100, which includes several features popular on smartphones. For example, the shooter has front and rear cameras. A picture-in-picture effect can be created with the image from the rear-facing camera being incorporated automatically into the main image.
LG Bets on WebOS for New Smart TV Line
January 06, 2014
LG Electronics has revived the webOS operating system for its latest line of smart TVs, the company announced on Monday. In fact, LG will use webOS on more than 70 percent of its smart TV lineup this year, the company said. "The beauty of webOS is that it provides so much freedom and is so simple to use," said In-kyu Lee, senior vice president and head of the company's TV division.
Plasma's Fade to Black
December 20, 2013
As the 2013 International CES approached a year ago, it was clear that a showdown between OLED and 4K -- or UltraHD -- was brewing in the TV display market. A year later, that showdown is fully under way, but with a notable twist. Specifically, Panasonic's announcement in late October that it would exit the plasma display panel market in the coming months took many by surprise.
myLifter Turns Smartphone Brains Into Bulk-Hoisting Brawn
December 17, 2013
Having been asked by a neighbor to help haul her kayak onto her SUV one weekend morning last summer and finding it quite difficult -- that's with two of us doing the lifting -- I saw myLifter as an obvious choice for this week's Crowdfunding Spotlight. myLifter is a smartphone-controlled mini-winch now looking for funding through a Kickstarter campaign.
The Maddeningly Painful, Pathetic Apple TV Experience
December 12, 2013
It's damn near 2014, and what's the most baffling computing experience we have? The Apple TV television experience. It's so disappointing. We get new so-called TV channels -- or little Applets -- that give us a kaleidoscopic glimpse into the content available from a particular broadcast network, but it's also locked down so we have to be a cable television subscriber to view it.
Souped-Up Camp Stove Serves Up Device Power on the Side
December 10, 2013
Small, lightweight and efficient solar panels coupled with lithium batteries are making inroads into the outdoor retail market as a solution for charging mobile devices. Flexible solar panels check many boxes, not least seductiveness. However, if you've tried them, you'll know there are drawbacks. Solar charging can take time -- even if you're often in full sun, shade interrupts the job.
Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
Geek Pulse Promises an Affordable Audio Adventure
December 03, 2013
If you've ever had the opportunity to sit through a retailer's comparative demonstration of high-end audio equipment, you'll know that the more expensive the living room audio gear gets, the better it sounds. Amazing, but true -- they're not lying. The big problem is that you're going to come to the unfortunate realization that you need to hand over many, many thousands of dollars to buy the best stuff.
IT at Home: Nexus 5, Mohu Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV
December 03, 2013
My regular job involves writing and talking almost exclusively about business IT, but every once in a while I like to consider how personal technology impacts my day-to-day life. Three acquisitions have come my way in the past couple of months: the Nexus 5; the Mohu Curve 30; and a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV. I'll preface this by saying I've been a Google phone user since the original G1 hit the street.
Steam Machine on Track to Switch Up Video Gaming
November 30, 2013
iBuyPower reportedly is working on prototypes of a commercial Steam machine. Valve recently announced that it was working with multiple OEMs to bring Steam gaming machines to market in 2014. All will run its Linux-based SteamOS. The iBuyPower device is the first Steam machine prototype unveiled by a third party so far, but Valve is said to be working on its own prototype.
Xbox One Party's On
November 20, 2013
Just one week after its biggest rival hit the market, Microsoft's new console, the Xbox One, will go on sale with a series of splashy events to mark the launch. From the stroke of midnight on Nov. 22, a new war will be under way. While Sony is focusing on game play with the PlayStation 4, Microsoft is pitching the Xbox One as a home entertainment hub.
Panono Throws Photography for a Loop
November 19, 2013
Here's a new take on the point-and-shoot camera: It's the throw-and-catch camera. Called "Panono," this throwable, panoramic device contains multiple fixed-focus cameras that shoot simultaneously, allowing you to capture "everything in every direction," in the words of its creators, who are now seeking funding on Indiegogo. Toss the ball-like device into the air and it captures the 360-degree spherical scene.

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