Archives For Gadgets


By way of the FCC (and Brad Linder), we learn of a new player in the streaming space, the Blackloud PoChannel. With YouTube branding and DLNA promises, the Gemtek-produced device looks similar in size and playlist function to the upcoming Qplay TV Adapter… minus the TiVo founder’s social linkages. But unlike Qplay, while PoChannel will ship with both Android and iPhone apps, a traditional remote control will also be included for more traditional control. Yet the questions remain, what sets these guys apart and is the market already saturated (with imperfect products)?


Amidst mounting losses across the board, Sony’s decided to jettison a few under performing businesses. While their exit from computers grabbed most of the headlines, they’ve also thrown in the towel on eReaders. Early on Sony actually produced the best eReader hardware. However, their success was held back due to pricing, marketing, and distribution. Not to mention no one can match the Amazon ecosystem. In a fairly altruistic move, we suppose, Sony Reader hardware will be relinked to Kobo’s digital storefront – so the eBooks will continue flowing. Unless you happened to step up to a 3G Reader, in which case, your cellular data will be unceremoniously cut off next month. At least the USB lights will remain on?


Beep is latest entrant in whole-home audio. But, unlike Sonos‘ key products, their music streaming technology isn’t currently embedded within a speaker enclosure. And we suspect the potential market of people looking to network traditional speakers is rather modest. The $99 Beep appendage is sharp looking blinky, clicky dial … that’ll ratchet up your clutter in the form of dual power and audio cables. But unlike a standalone Bluetooth speaker, Beep quite cleverly implements the DIAL protocol, like Chromecast, to turn your iOS or Android device into merely a remote control – versus a music source, with Pandora streaming directly from the cloud to the Beep. On the flip side, unlike Sonos, Beep is content to use your existing wireless network rather than requiring a dedicated network hub (at additional expense). While Beep is taking pre-orders now (in copper or grey), for an anticipated Fall launch, we suggest those interested wait until they line up a few more streaming partners. Or just take the Sonos leap.

Bringing tech to the corn fields of the Midwest, gadgeteer and cat lover Adam Miarka contributes to Zatz Not Funny when the overlord allows. When not on ZNF, Adam posts pictures to and harasses the public from @adammiarka on Twitter.


Being a Kickstarter for the first generation Simple TV, I’ve always been interested in technologies that could disrupt traditional TV viewing. When the original Simple TV was announced back in 2012, it looked like something that could actually let me break from my current (TiVo) setup while lowering our monthly expenditures.The original Simple TV had one fatal flaw, a single tuner for recording.

Despite this limitation, I decided to back the project to get a feeling for how this new setup might work in our household. The idea of having a device that could basically capture any OTA or ClearQAM signals and then have it playback on a myriad of devices (web browser, iOS devices, Android devices, Roku) was very enticing. You only need to bring a hard drive to get the Simple TV party started! Continue Reading…

The CES 2014 Posts

Dave Zatz —  January 27, 2014

Now that the Vegas dust has settled, we’re finally caught up on the bloggable topics and have collated the bulk of our CES coverage in this handy bulleted list. Until next year!


Smart TV & Streaming

Continue Reading…


As our homes acquire sentience, a few are attempting to traverse the technological silos… in an approachable way, suitable for civilians and geeks alike. While companies like Zonoff, Revolv, and Smarthings each strive to take home automation mainstream with somewhat differing technological and marketing approaches, they share a vendor- and network-neutral approach as they aim to provide an alternative to the security and telecom firms that are likewise pushing into this realm. And, as you might guess from the tweets and pics, I came away from CES quite enamored with Zonoff. Continue Reading…

Anker Saves The Day (Again)

Dave Zatz —  January 18, 2014


As I’ve yet to find that perfect gadget caddy, we’ve gone ahead and implemented Plan B. When picking out a new bedroom set about 18 months ago, we went with a collection that we otherwise may have passed over due to tricked out nightstands housing a power squid in the top drawer (and undercarriage lighting). Turns out, the AC adapters were way too bulky to be practical. But what else could I do with the pre-drilled holes and drawer organizer? Enter Anker’s $20 5-port USB charger. I still need to tidy things up and would prefer most of these gadgets live on/in my dresser or the kitchen, but this seems to be a good solution for the time being.

CES 2014: Oh, The Miles

Dave Zatz —  January 17, 2014


While I mostly classify activity trackers as novelties, with limited actionable intelligence, CES is the absolute best place to put them through their paces (ha, punny). With my buddies Brad Linder of Liliputing and Kevin Tofel of GigaOm each stepping up to the plate. Kevin sports a Fitbit Force wristband and Brad rolls with a Withings Pulse puck – so the comparison isn’t entirely equivalent, but both shed light on the massive scale of CES – which covers multiple convention and expo centers across multiple Vegas venues. Each hiked over 35 miles in pursuit of gadgety goodness and we salute them for their efforts (and cardiovascular fitness).


Speaking of CES tracking, attendee badges (or at least press badges) were outfitted with NFC stickers this year. In my Vegas experience, the feature was used to check into press events and ensure we’re entitled to and received only a single boxed lunch (per day). Missing Remote dumped the Bcard Smartrac data – which wasn’t super revealing, but folks like us clearly enjoy tinkering.