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D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router

March 2nd, 2015

D-Link LogoWith wifi routers and access points, there’s a subtle game of one-upmanship based on the number of aerials sprouting from the device. If unit has only one aerial or it’s embedded in the unit, it probably comes free from the broadband or cable provider; two aerials is soooo 11g, three aerials and the router’s got some chops; six aerials….now you’re getting serious. Todd gets up to speed with the AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router from Daniel Kelley, VP at D-Link.

The AC3200 is a serious piece of kit. To start with, it looks like something straight out of a sci-film, a red stealth fighter fully armed with six laser cannon. And while the laser cannon are really aerials, you get the point – it means business. The AC3200 is a tri-band router using one set of frequencies in the 2.4 GHz range and two sets in the 5 GHz. It intelligently assesses the bandwidth and QoS (Quality of Service) demands of the connecting devices and allocates them to the most appropriate channels, and if necessary, can aggregate all three bands giving a maximum theoretical transfer rate of 3.2 Gb/s. No matter that the actual data rate will be much lower, it’s still screaming fast.

Additionally, the AC3200 uses beam-forming technology to focus the wifi signal to where it’s needed, rather than transmitting uniformly everywhere. On the wired side, there are four gigabit ethernet ports and two USB ports (one USB3, one USB2) for connecting up storage (DLNA server built-in) or printers. The AC3200 can be the hub of a connected home.

The AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (aka DIR-890L/R) is available now on-line for around $300. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Kinivo Music and Video Gadgets at CES

March 2nd, 2015

Kinivo LogoKinivo have a range of consumer-oriented music products from headsets to speakers, including several with Bluetooth. Don chat’s with Henry Wong, Kinivo’s Director of Product Management to find out more.

All of Kinivo’s products are competitively priced – for example the ZX100 Mini Portable Speaker with rechargeable battery costs less than $20. The BTH360S Bluetooth Stereo Headphones which supports wireless music streaming and hands-free calling costs $69.99 so these are good value products. There’s also an interesting HDMI switcher, the HS420 which has four inputs and two outputs, at just under $65. Could be very handy for advanced gaming or home cinema setups.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.

Sponsored in part by: GoDaddy
Save 30% on new orders at GoDaddy.com by using Promo Code: GNC30
Get a $1.49 .com @ GoDaddy geek149.

On3 PowerCliq Smart Battery Case

March 2nd, 2015

PowerCliq LogoCombo battery cases for the Apple iPhone are commonplace from no-name clones to well-known manufacturers whose brand is almost synonymous with the product. On the other hand, combined case, battery and Bluetooth headset packs with smart battery management are really quite rare. In fact, On3‘s PowerCliq is the only one I know of, so watch Don get a hands-on demo from Brad Yasar of On3.

The PowerCliq is a 2700 mAh battery case for the iPhone which has two additional features. The first is a Bluetooth 4.0 headset that slides into the back of the case for both storage and charging. The second is that the charging features of the external battery can be controlled by app on the iPhone. When plugged in, most battery packs simply charge until the smartphone is fully charged and then keep it topped up; there are some schools of thought that suggest this can be detrimental to the long-term performance of the battery.

On the PowerCliq, the app can be used to set a minimum battery level such that the recharging doesn’t kick in until the iPhone’s battery falls to that level and once fully charged, turns off. This larger discharge / charge cycle is supposed to improve the life of the battery.

The PowerCliq is fundraising on Kickstarter with early birds getting in at $88.  Update: since CES, the Kickstarter campaign has been cancelled. There’s a note on Instagram saying that this is to allow for new developments and the campaign will restart soon.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor for the TechPodcast Network.

Sponsored in part by: GoDaddy
Save 30% on new orders at GoDaddy.com by using Promo Code: GNC30
Get a $1.49 .com @ GoDaddy geek149.

DXRacer Showcases Six Unique Chair Designs, Tailored to You

February 26th, 2015

DxRacerThe most comfortable interview of the International CES found us at the DXRacer booth, talking about their recent line of gaming and productivity chairs. Before making DXRacer chairs, the company’s roots were in manufacturing high-level racing seats, which is where the attention to quality, comfort and detail came from for these chairs. The company also owns its own factory and has some of the oldest patents for a style of chair that they create.

There are six different series of chairs, starting with the Formula series, then the Drifting series, the Racing series, the Max series, the Universal series and lastly the King series. With so many choices, DXRacer goes above and beyond to understand their customers and tries to tailor the purchase to the body type of the customer and the use of the chair. Because a premium chair like this is an investment, it’s important to make sure you get the right one that fits your needs.

DXRacer has also partnered with Major League Gaming and debuted the design for the MLG chair at CES. The company is diversifying its reach by getting involved in a new line of desks, to create a whole home office solution. After this interview, it was hard to get to the next one because after five minutes in the chair, Nick did not want to get up.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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AspectSolar Brings the Power, in Several Different Form Factors

February 26th, 2015

When it comes to solar power, there are a lot of options for you to choose from. However, if you’re looking for a company that makes a broad range of products to fit your varying needs, then you may want to give AspectSolar a bit more attention.

AspectSolar had several interesting things to show off at the International CES. First, the company’s turnkey solution and entry to solar is the DuoFlex 2. It’s a 13-watt panel that is flexible and made with monocrystalline silicone. What that means is that if one panel breaks, the unit will keep working, only at less power. The unique design of the DuoFlex 2 is what makes it special. Several zippers and loops allow you to configure the device however you want. And for $179, you can pick up a DuoFlex 2 and a 10,000 MaH battery today.

The other product that has me excited is the Power Rack. Its batteries are not the standard lithium-polymer and instead use LiPO4, making the unit weigh almost 40% lighter than its competitors, under 60 pounds. The batteries, of which there are five, are all 300 watt-hours, pushing a total output of 1000 watts in order to replicate the most natural A/C output possible. You can also pair it with two slave units to be up to 4,500 watt-hours total. The Power Rack will launch later this year at $2,500.

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Vysk Makes Your Smartphone a Secure Phone

February 26th, 2015

As expected, one of the tech trends this year revolves around the topic of security. Be it computers, the Internet and of course, our personal cell phones. In line with that, Vysk, a smartphone security company, is on a mission to make sure that everyone can have access to privacy. A smartphone case paired with an app makes this all possible.

Vysk introduced three different levels at CES. The entry-level option gives users private text messaging, private photos and a shutter for their camera, all within the case. The next level gives consumers all of those features, along with 120 percent extra battery life, to give you that extra juice you need. The final selection, the QS1, stands to be the world’s most secure form of voice communication. Sliding a switch sends you into privacy mode so that someone cannot listen in on conversations, like in a private business meeting.

What’s really unique about Vysk’s encrypted photo gallery is its combination of three codes. The first code opens up one gallery, the second another, and then the third initiates a self-destruct process, destroying the contents of your photo gallery. A last resort indeed, but definitely a good option to keep in your back pocket.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Qualcomm Flies Into Robotics with New Snapdragon Processor

February 26th, 2015

QualcommQualcomm has been involved with robotics quite a lot over the past few years. A key reason the company set up their own mini-booth in the South Hall at CES was to show off how the Snapdragon processor is the perfect SoC for the robotics space. On display and demonstration was the Snapdragon Cargo – a robot that could fly, drive, pick up objects and see the world in 3D.

The processor is small enough yet still packs a huge punch, all while being extremely lightweight, which is important for robots, especially flying ones. We saw some interesting technologies specifically demonstrated by Qualcomm. One of them was depth-from-stereo, taking stereo cameras and creating a depth map, allowing the robot to see its world. It also knows where it is in 3D space. Based on these maps it draws, it can fly autonomously without crashing into objects. This is perfect for the drones that have been popular as of late. The range can essentially be as long as you wish, all based off of how far apart you space the cameras.

Another demonstration included a robot that could pick up toys and sort them into appropriate bins, all by looking at the color, shape and density of the toy. The bins could be placed anywhere in the room and the robot was able to find them without problem.

More information can be found at Qualcomm’s Robotics website.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Intel Shrinks Down the PC with New NUC Line

February 26th, 2015

IntelNucIn a screening at Intel’s suite, the company showed off their latest Next Unit of Computing devices, or NUCs. These super tiny PCs feature the latest Core i3, i5 and i7 Broadwell processors, with some of them even running Braswell chips, all within a 4-by-4 design.

This latest series of NUC has ditches the mSATA storage interface and moved into M.2, allowing for lightning fast read and write speeds to the disk. USB 2.0 ports are also a thing of the past, and the NUCs all feature USB 3.0 ports only. Some of the higher-end models also feature a mini-DisplayPort v1.2 output, giving the ability to connect three monitors to this mini PC. All of this power packed into such a small frame means that it can not only replace your home theater PC, but could easily replace most users’ desktop PCs.

There are three distinct enclosures for the NUC, depending on which processor you select. The two that will be commonly sold are 115mm x 111mm wide and are either 29.8mm or 48.5mm tall. Your differentiator there is going to be whether or not you want to fit a 2.5″ SSD inside the NUC.

What I found most intriguing was the customizable lids that can be interchanged on the NUC. One of the prototypes on display was a Hauppauge TV tuner that was attached to the top of one of the NUCs, allowing full TV capture and playback, built right into the top of the PC. There was also a NUC that wore a lid that had NFC capability built into it, and Intel said there would be another dozen or so lids to choose from in the near future, with hopes that more partners will join in to create other lid styles.

One surprise was saved for the end, and that was the Intel Compute Stick. Donning Windows 8.1 with Bing, 32GB of storage, 2GB RAM and a Baytrail processor all within a device that can fit in your pocket, the Compute Stick can plug into any TV or monitor. Intel looks to sell this extremely compact computer for only $149.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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Can I WeMo That? Yes, I Can

February 26th, 2015

WeMoHome automation is a growing and popular category of tech, but the problem still persists that most of the products out right now are fragmented, in that they don’t speak to each other or to one universal system. There are only a handful of solutions doing that, and we can now add WeMo to that list.

WeMo is a home automation system under the Belkin umbrella. With over 25 products under its belt already, ranging from switches to lighting to sensors and coffee makers, you can absolutely WeMo anything. The difference with WeMo is that you don’t need an overly-expensive kit to get started. You can simply begin with the devices that you want and grow from there.

Beyond the simple light switch turning on and off, WeMo is scalable so that if you want your electricity, temperature and even water being monitored and controlled by WeMo, it can all be achieved, giving you a fully smart home.

All of the products live in the same WeMo app. By partnering with top manufacturers in several categories, WeMo can make the smart features for the product, while companies like Osram Sylvania can continue to make the best lights, which is what they’re good at. It doesn’t stop there, as appliances like coffee makers, crock pots, heaters and air purifiers can now all be smart with the help of WeMo.

Unlike most systems, WeMo uses if this then that (IFTTT) technology, which it will be rolling out to almost all of its devices throughout the year. Using IFTTT, WeMo’s Insight Switch allows you to monitor energy usage, which can be activated based on different events, like it being too hot outside.

Lastly, WeMo Water is a device that installs easily under your kitchen sink without any professionals required. It monitors your water usage from one single point in your home, including all your sinks, toilets and even sprinklers. WeMo Water can also detect leaks, which is especially useful while a user might be away from their house and not have the ability to get home right away. Home automation is not only convenient, but it keeps you safe.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
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Beam Adds a Real Human Touch to an Otherwise Robotic Interaction

February 26th, 2015

BeamPlsIf you want a unique and totally different interview, you have one right here. Nick stands with a Beam, a product by Suitable Tech that brings real human interaction to a robot. Beams are controlled by pilots, which are simply people who control the Beam. Standing at about five feet tall, a full, crystal-clear display sits on top of the Beam, along with 360-degree cameras (even one at the bottom of the Beam) and two microphones, allowing the pilot to see and hear everything going on at the Beam’s location.

Beam is easy to use. Simply grab a laptop and connect to your Beam via WiFi, then all you have to do is control the device with your arrow keys. The Beam also has many uses. If you simply want to not be tired while roaming the show floor at CES, the Beam is perfect for you. Or, if you’re needing to always monitor activity at your grandmother’s house, the Beam can move around with her as she goes about her daily routine. While some may be okay with having Facetime or Skype on their phones, the mobility and personality of a Beam is what makes it so special.

Battery life on a Beam is about eight to ten hours, and comes with a docking station that it moves into to charge. While charging, the Beam is fully functional and communications can still take place. A hefty price tag of $19,995 will get you a Beam+ and allow you to teleport wherever you decide to ship it to.

Interview by Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
From laptops and Lumia to Surface and Xbox, get it at the Microsoft Store.
Welcome to the Eureka! Factory, where great programs, projects, events and creative spaces and places happen!
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