Archives For Gadgets

Waterproofing Your Gadgets

Dave Zatz —  March 24, 2014

waterproof-kindle

The Digital Reader is out with a post covering yet another waterproofing coating. While I wouldn’t roll the dice with aftermarket “nano” coatings on devices not designed for immersion and I don’t trust Lifeproof after evaluating two cases, the broader hope is that major manufacturers would directly integrate water resistant technologies… as we’ve started to see from Samsung and Sony tablets and smartphones. Of course, an obvious use case would be taking your Kindle to the pool or tub. And protecting your device from minimal splashes and the occasional, accidental dunk may not require a significant investment of money or cutting edge technology… as both I and the Geek Tonic household have been using inexpensive Zip-loc sandwich bags to protect our “books” in moist environments for years. However, I will tell you that wiping away “screen” condensation (in that steamy shower) works way better with non-touchscreen Kindles since the plastic transfers touch pretty darn well.

dlink-motion2

As the story goes, D-Link demonstrated a variety of home automation products under NDA at CES. While we weren’t privy to those talks, all sorts of goodies have starting springing up on government and publisher product databases as the company attempts to one up Belkin’s WeMo line. And next in line for its close up is the diminutive WiFi Motion Sensor (SDH-S150) shown above. The 802.11b/g/n device works in conjunction with the upcoming D-Link Smart Plug and is controlled via smartphone app – also revealed a bit prematurely. The idea is motion detection would be linked to whatever lamp, fan, or other gadget is drawing power from D-Link’s smart plug, or simply fire off motion push notification to one’s mobile. However, we’re currently evaluating the agnostic Staples Connect home automation hub, and are hopeful an inexpensive D-Link motion sensor could be leveraged to trigger say my new collection of Philips Hue lighting.

Mar 11

AppleTV Gets Jiggly With It

Dave Zatz —  March 11, 2014

appletv-jiggy

Along with the massive iOS 7.1 update, Apple TV also sees new software. And version 6.1 is significant given a rare UI enhancement that somewhat mirrors app management on Apple’s mobile devices. Highlighting a content provider, followed by holding the select button down will ultimately get the icon jiggling, at which point the play/pause button provides an option to banish the app from your home screen. While it’s a rather tedious exercise from remote, and only marginally better via the iOS Remote app, it sets the stage for better app management as Apple continues to bring on new partners … amidst rumors of a new Apple TV. For comparison, Roku hides “channels” in a “Store” that can be pinned while WDTV Play offers customizable genre screens/tabs for app management.

WeatherNation TV, who got some attention recently as a Weather Channel alternative given the DirecTV retransmission spat, wrote to remind us their Roku channel is now available. Beyond regional interactivity, the app also provides live video… which looks pretty good windowed, but there’s work to be done on full screen resolution/quality. The virtual channel was last updated updated about a month ago and has garnered over 2000 reviews, as this is exactly the sort of content cord cutters are searching for — and pairing WeatherNation with SkyNews is a pretty powerful combo for 24/7 news junkies (like my wife).

bww-tablet

By way of Engadget, we learn that Buffalo Wild Wings has begun swapping out their existing NTN gaming stations for far more interactive (and less bulky) Android tablets. Beyond gaming, these new devices also provide a conduit to the serving staff:

Buzztime’s BEOND tablet lets Buffalo Wild Wings Guests order food, request songs and television programming, play games (both multi-player and arcade-style), and pay the bill. The seven-inch Samsung Galaxy touchscreen tablets are pre-loaded with games and music options. With a mix of complimentary and paid content, the BEOND tablets enable multi-player, multi-location gaming; guests may play popular trivia and poker games against other individuals, another table or even other restaurant locations.

Fortunately, BWW tables are already stocked with hand wipes… as we imagine this could get messy fast. (Might it make more sense to use our own devices?) And, having flown Virgin America, I do like the idea of summoning drink refills via touchscreen. However, we suspect the primary reason for visiting a Buffalo Wild Wings outpost is still for the food… yet, sadly, both Sriracha wings and Coke Zero were recently dropped from the menu.

ceiva-homeview

Remember Ceiva? One of the original digital photo frames… that incorporated Internet connectivity (!) to receive pushed pics from remote family as we did about 10 years ago for Mom. Apparently the company is still alive and kicking, having just pushed the Ceiva HomeView widget station thru the FCC.

ceiva-homeview-apps

While the Ceiva HomeView (SHR558) is capable of displaying photo slideshows, its primary selling point is a window into your home, via partnerships with energy companies and new wireless capabilities.

Homeview’s hi-res display ensures your personal photographs are always beautifully presented. Our clever use of ZigBee technology means you’ll also have access to your home’s energy use in real-time. CEIVA Homeview gets instant updates directly from your electricity smart meter through a wireless connection. Of course our whole system, from photo sharing to thermostat adjustments, is available remotely through our free Homeview and photo apps.