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CES 2018: Volocopter Dreams Of A ‘Jetsons’ World (Video)
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DwayneD   |  @   |  
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Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter

It’s early 2018 and the year has already seen a match made literally in the heavens. Two days ago, Intel‘s CEO, Brian Krzanich, became one of the first people to fly in German air taxi company Volocopter‘s latest prototype. He did so as he announced a strategic partnership between the two companies, which was met with all sorts of fanfare and applause.

Knowing that everyone wanted a closer look, we headed over the Central Plaza here at CES 2018 to get next to the device, and to hear what Volocopter leadership had to say. More on that and videos can be found below.

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Review: Google Home – Not The Droid You’re Looking For… Yet
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DwayneD   |  @   |  
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Google Home

Google Home is a little device that plugs into the wall and responds to your voice. It can play recorded music or the radio through services like Google Play Music and TuneIn, and it can respond to questions based on the knowledge Google has amassed throughout the 21st century. If you’ve got the correct hardware at home, like a Nest Thermostat, Samsung’s Smartthings, or Philips hue, Google Home can allow you to control some of your home’s functions with your voice.

We’ve had some time to get to know the Google Home and there are a LOT of things to like about it. Its voice recognition is robust and its audio is impressive for being a little tiny speaker. At the same time, when one looks at Google Home through the lens of a smarthome, AI, product, one quickly realizes that the device is not quite where the demonstrations were during the 2016 Google IO developers conference, nor is it a device that delivers on the promise of its advertisements.

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The Drill Down 357: The Future’s So Bright
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Mr. BabyMan   |  @   |  
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Sling TV

This week, the FBI stands firm on the Sony hack, a top VC’s predictions for 2015, Apple unlocks the iPhone, DISH wants you to cut cable, thousands of free games, and drones on demand. All this, and much much more…

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Geek Gear Review: Everpurse, The Purse That Charges Your Phone
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Everpurse #1

One of the confounding problems with modern mobile devices is how to keep them charged. Sure, the battery on your mobile phone or tablet will last all or much of the day if you just take a few calls, or surf the web at the local Wi-Fi hot spot. Sadly, that’s not all we usually do. Set up e-mail on your mobile device, and the battery drain increases. Play a few rounds of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga and battery levels drop even faster. Then there’s that hour-long call with a friend or for business. What’s a person to do? Carry a power supply and cable to plug in to any electrical outlets to be found? Carry a battery-backed charger? Find a device case that contains a backup battery?

Alas, none of these alternatives has been particularly well thought out in the consumer space. Finding outlets can be awkward, especially when traveling. Battery backed chargers can have cables that make them awkward to carry when not being used. Other chargers attach directly to the unit, making them cumbersome to charge while in a pocket or purse. Device cases with batteries can substantially add to the profile of the devices themselves, can deny the opportunity to use a decorator case or skin, and can be more quickly prone to failure before the devices they contain.

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Tech Review: Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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Technology Review banner

Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock
Android & iPad compatible
GearZap.com
Price: £45 UK | $68 US

Recently, the fine folks at GearZap.com offered us the opportunity to review some of the products from their Galaxy Tab 3 accessories line, and I got my grubby little hands on a Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock. I already own a bluetooth keyboard that I use for virtually everything, but I was really curious how this one would stand up to my needs. Too many of these universal keyboards fail to live up to their claims. I’ve tried a few of them and found them wanting. But I try to give everything a fair shake, so here goes.

Now, to be fair, I didn’t expect to see the unit very quickly at all since they are based in the United Kingdom. Imagine my surprise when the keyboard showed up four days later. I have to admit, I was amazed it had gotten to me so fast. It was well packaged and suffered only minor denting to the item’s box. I was less than impressed with the plain white box in which the keyboard was packaged, it looked cheap and generic. But looks can often times be deceiving, especially with this one.

The unit itself is made for up to 10-inch tablets. It’s got a nice weight to it, definitely setting it apart from most other generic keyboards. The slot that holds the tablet is fixed in size, so no moving parts to break. The keys are solid and feel just as nice as the average laptop keyboard, though at about 80% of the overall size. A charging cable was included, but it’s a generic mini-USB connection so you can use pretty much any other one to recharge the unit.

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iPhone App Review: TwitterFon Pro
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Tom Cheredar   |  
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TwitterFon Pro
Mobile Twitter Client
Developer: Kazuho Okui
Price: $4.99

TwitterFon, the popular iPhone and iPod Touch Twitter Client, released a long overdue update to their app that introduced several new features, the most noticeable being ad support for the free version. But if you think you can get around the introduction of advertisements by skipping the update, you may want to reconsider due to the number of general usability issues that slow functionality and often times crash the app.

Alternately, TwitterFon released the first Pro version of the app. Gone are the load time issues that accompanied Twitter’s recent change to how often API’s can retrieve information. The pro version offers the familiar interface with a few changes to accommodate new features.

The most noticeable difference between its free-version counterpart is that it removes the advertisements. Users will also get multiple accounts support, the ability to save search results, four different themes Shake to reload (who cares?), and landscape Keyboard mode. If those features weren’t enough to sell you, the Pro version has user authenticated support for bit.ly, which can be useful if you need to track statistics while on the go, and integration with Instapaper, a site that lets you save links from your feed so you can continue scanning the bulk of updates.

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iPhone App Review: Comic Zeal Mobile Comic Book Reader
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Tom Cheredar   |  
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Comic Zeal
Mobile Comic Book Reader
Developer: bitolithic
Price: $1.99

The Comic Zeal iPhone app offers a way to read comics on a handheld device that conserve battery life much better than other similar applications. While most people may be turned off that it cannot read CBR or CBZ formats, the decision was intentional since CBR files are usually compressed and would require processor power to open (thus also decreasing battery life).

The downside to this is a lack of comics available. However, anyone can use the to upload their own user-created content so its a fair trade off.

The app has a great navigation interface as is storing and downloading new comics. Users can download comics directly from the app itself or upload them if they’ve been stored elsewhere. Version 2.06 offers new “eye-candy” graphics, like the ability to organize collections into comic boxes and bookmark pages for unfinished comics.

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Five *Free* iPhone Apps Every Geek Must Download
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Tom Cheredar   |  
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Most geeks don’t realize Apple’s app store for the iPhone is chock-full of free apps that have nothing to do with a Lightsaber. There are literally thousands of things to download to satisfy nearly every electronic need you may have. Below is a list of five essential apps every Geek should experience…

The Dark Knight: HaHaHa

The Dark Knight: Hahaha iPhone AppRemember when viral marketing began for The Dark Knight? The odd Web sites with Harvey Dent’s campaign all over the place. Billboards with “I believe in Harvey Dent” plastered on them. And then weeks later the picture of Gotham’s would-be District Attorney was defaced with black circles around his eyes and bright red mouthy-lookin’ Bat symbol. The HaHaHa app gives you the ability to tag any picture with the hideously cool graffiti. Literally no one is safe from being Jokerized — not friends, not family, not even your pets are safe from jokerization. I went nuts and Jokerized all my friend contacts for an entire month (which possibly cost me at least one professional relationship and perhaps a dozen evil glares — all worth it.)

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Gadget Review: The ‘Executive Series Fusion’ by Wicked Lasers
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Wicked Laser Executive FusionEver wonder what it might be like to have a Star Trek phaser of your very own? I have. Ever since I saw Kirk and Spock fire at a rock, a Horta, or a crazed crewman, I’ve been intrigued with the possibilities of coherent light. This led to early perusal of The Way Things Work: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Technology for the explanation of how lasers worked and time spent pouring over ads in Edmund Scientific catalogs for real lasers. Eventually, I got to do some experiments with lasers in my college physics classes, but I was still not completely satisfied.

Though the Executive Series Fusion has the size, dull matte finish, and heft of a high quality laser pointer, it means serious business. Meant for the optics enthusiast, it is bright — insanely bright. You can see the beam in darkened rooms. You can also damage objects. You can make holes in dark-colored balloons and dark trash bags and cut black electrical tape. The Wicked Lasers web site even says it will light wood or paper matches.

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Tech Review: AirDrives Interactive Stereo Headphones
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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AirDrives Interactive Stereo HeadphonesIt’s not every day that you see something new in the world of personal stereo headphones. From the lightweight over-the-ear sets that came with the first Walkman to the white earbuds distributed with the Apple iPod, real innovation has been hard to come by. The “look” of the basic product has changed radically over the last 30 years, but the actual mechanics of turning an electrical signal into sound in your ear has remained largely unchanged… until now.

The new AirDrive headphones from InAir Technology represent a significant departure from the design of previous headphones. They do this by placing the drivers that emit sound in front of the tragus of the ear, rather than over or inside the ear canal. Sound from the AirDrive headphones is then caught, reflected, and amplified to the other parts of the human outer ear, allowing the listener to hear whatever those headphones are playing.

The potential benefits of this design are significant. Biggest on the list is hearing protection. Concentrated sound waves are not emitted directly into the ear canal, thereby significantly reducing the potential for hearing damage. Any sound can cause hearing damage if it is loud enough, that is true. The possibility that a sound produced by a personal stereo will reach that threshold is much smaller with the AirDrives than with other kinds of headphones. Another benefit is that the hearing surfaces of the ear are not blocked by the AirDrive headphones while they are in use. It is possible to hear other people and noises much more clearly than with headphones or earbuds that cover the ears. Devices that are brought to the ear (such as a phone receiver) can be used without removing the AirDrives, making tasks like answering the phone less cumbersome.

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