Your Own Personal Weather Station

What’s the weather like today? Each of us asks this question at least once a day. We need to know if it would be a good idea to wear a winter coat, to carry an umbrella, or to put on some sunscreen. Netatmo can reliably and accurately answer that question for you.

Netatmo has created the world’s first personal weather station with air quality sensors. It includes two Stations. Each has been constructed from a single piece of aluminum that is UV-resistant. One station is an indoor module and the other is an outdoor module. The Stations communicate with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch through the Netatmo app.

You can use the Netatmo app to discover the temperature that it is indoors, or to find out what the weather is like outside. It can also show you the local air quality, air pressure, the CO2 levels, and the current humidity both indoors and outdoors in real time. Netatmo will track data for you so that you can discover patterns. The app can give you notifications about the weather as the day goes on.

Netatmo’s Urban Weather Station, (which is active in more than 50 countries), has been named a CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Award Honoree in three categories. The categories are: Tech For A Better World, Health & Fitness, and Home Appliances. Netatmo can be found at booth number 26809 in LVCC South Hall 2 during CES 2013, from January 8 – 11, 2013.

Image by Netatmo

Pogo Connect Stylus is Pressure Sensitive

Ten One Design has created something artists are going to immediately recognize as awesome! It’s called Pogo Connect. It is the world’s first pressure sensitive Bluetooth 4.0 stylus for the new iPad. The stylus can detect if you are pressing hard with it or if you are just barely grazing it across the surface. This is very much like how it feels to use a pencil on a regular piece of paper. Artists won’t have to “re-learn” how to draw in order to use the Pogo Connect.

Another cool thing about the the Pogo Connect is that it has palm rejection capabilities. It means you can draw with the Pogo Connect stylus without worrying about having the edge of your hand be interpreted as the stylus. The act of drawing often requires you to have your hand touch the “page”, especially when you are putting in tiny little details in a small space. With the Pogo Connect, your hand won’t mess up your artwork. The Pogo Connect also works at any angle, which gives artists a lot of freedom in how they create art.

Ten One Design has been named as an International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree in Computer Accessories for the Pogo Connect. Pogo Connect and other Ten One Design products will be available for viewing at their booth during CES 2013, from January 8th through January 13th, 2013.

Image by Ten One Design

What Did Windows 8 Look Like When it was Young?

Windows 8 is here to stay regardless of if you like it or not. Microsoft is now looking to get the operating system boosted to worldwide appeal and doing so through a variety of advertising means. But, regardless of all of that, the company also “released” some early screenshots from the development days to show how far the operating system has come.

The image was published by Long Zheng, who was a member of the Chevron Windows Phone unlock team, and was sent to him by an unnamed Microsoft insider. The screenshot in question came from a UX Week 2012 presentation by Microsoft’s Jensen Harris.

The interface is not vastly different from the new Metro Start screen that we all love or hate. The basic format is already there in this image, but it lacks the now familiar Microsoft apps like Mail, People, Store and the rest.

While this image doesn’t really mean a whole lot, it is a nice insight into the early mock-ups and ideas that Microsoft started with when building Windows 8.

The jury is still out regarding if the OS will be a success or if it will it fail miserably.

GNC-2012-11-19 #818 Road Trip Show

Little extra content tonight for your upcoming Road Trip. For our US listeners enjoy Thanksgiving. There will be no show on Thursday as I am taking the day to spend with family and friends.

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Disney Closing Online Movie Service

Today Disney announced that they are closing their online web movie service on December 31. This service allowed consumers to watch any Disney or Pixar movie that were available.

I have to admit I have never used the service and I don’t know anyone who does. However after reading its limitation I am not surprise it failed. The videos couldn’t be downloaded. You could only watch them on a computer through a web browser. No watching them on an Xbox 360, PS3 or other internet connected devices. If Disney wanted to create a service that was guaranteed to fail they couldn’t have done a better job. In an era where consumers want to watch videos when and on what device they want, Disney created a platform that did the exact opposite. It is pretty clear why they did it they wanted to maintain control and prevent piracy. However in their attempt to maintain control, they drove consumer to other options such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

If you purchased a Disney Combo Pack, you can transfer the Digital copy either to iTunes or Windows Media Player. Disney said they are working on a new service called Disney Movies Anywhere, that would allow consumers to watch Disney and Pixar movies anywhere across multiple devices. No launch date has been announced at this time. Even if Disney has a successful relaunch of their online video service. I wonder if a service that only provides videos from a single studio, even if that studio is Disney and Pixar can survive in an era that include services like Netflix.

My system crash revealed the one piece left in the Google ads puzzle

For the most part I don’t find that Google ads are such a bad thing. They are relatively unobtrusive and they are generally based on such information as location and web history. Let’s leave alone the privacy implications of those two facts and look more at where I recently noticed that it falls short – although, I confess that this will lead to even more of a privacy nightmare for those who are a part of the tinfoil hat brigade.

It all begins with a sad story. You see, although I have purchased Windows 8, I have procrastinated about installing it and have stubbornly continued to run the Release Preview. Well, last night Microsoft reached out and touched my trusty laptop with an update that rendered the system unbootable. Despite several different approaches to fixing this I came up with no solution other than a re-install.

Don’t cry for me – everything is backed up with redundancy. This is more hassle than anything else.

A reinstall was the approach I took this morning, although it did provide me with the chance to finally move to the RTM. After finishing the setup I moved on to installing my usual apps like Chrome, Firefox, Office, 7-zip and a couple of others. The final step was my document backup which is stored on CrashPlan servers.

After visiting the CrashPlan site and initiating the restore I began browsing the web. What I found was that every site I visited that utilized Google Adsense was now displaying an ad for CrashPlan. Yes, they know my location and my browsing history, but what they don’t know, yet at least, is what services with which I already have an account.

That is the missing piece in this whole puzzle. Google earns nothing by displaying an ad that is rendered irrelevant because, already having the product or service, you have no reason to click.

So, how long before the search and advertising giant finds a way pull in this information as well? It’s certainly in their interest to display ads that make you want to click. It will happen at some point and it will certainly set off alarms with privacy advocates everywhere, but is it really such a bad thing to see something that is more relevant to you? That is the real question that needs to be debated here.

Image: Computer Security by BigStock

Windows 8 Mini-Review

Microsoft Windows 8If you are thinking about upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7, my suggestion would be to stop thinking about it and save your money for something else. Cheap as the upgrade is, the user interface is terrible.

It’s like Microsoft have taken the new user interface (previously known as Metro) and smashed into the traditional desktop interface, with the interface layers competing for the user’s attention. Some components have gone completely – the Start button – and other components are hidden in unintuitive places: how do I shutdown the PC? Charms slide in from the right – even the name gives no clear idea as to what charms do. The new front page pops up in the bottom left. The desktop appears sometimes. Apps are windowed or full-screen but you can’t get from one to the other. It’s truly awful.

Before anyone accuses me of being an old dog resistant to new tricks, I have bought every single previous version of Ms DOS and (consumer) Windows as it came out, (with the exception of Windows ME). Not this time, though. I’m sticking with Windows 7.

I like the Windows Phone 7 / 8 user interface and it’s great on a phone or tablet but on a desktop or a laptop with a mouse, it’s a disaster. Here’s my prediction….Windows 8 will be to Windows 7 what Vista was to XP. That’s how bad it is.

Sorry, Microsoft, but you’ve got this really badly wrong.

CarBot : An RC Car You Control With Your Phone

CarBot is the world’s first micro-robotic toy that you can control with your iOS or Android device. It is made by Desk Pets International. To make CarBot go, you must get a free downloadable app and a SmartPhone adapter (which is included with the purchase of a CarBot). The adapter plugs into your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android device. The micro-robotic car has a built-in battery. It also has a USB flip down charger.

There are several different ways to play with CarBot. You can navigate it through a maze, or you can find a way for it to get around obstacles. Race your CarBot against your friend’s or sibling’s CarBot. It is also possible for two CarBots to battle each other.

Desk Pets International has been named an International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for CarBot. You can check out CarBot in person if you attend CES 2013. Desk Pet’s CarBot will be on display in The Venetian at the 2013 International CES, from January 8, 2013, through January 11, 2013. The event takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

All Honorees of the International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards will also be displayed at CES Unveiled: The Official Press Event of the International CES. You can see CarBot in the South Seas Ballroom C at Mandalay Bay on January 6, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. through 7:00 p.m.

Image by Desk Pets International

TMS-2012-11-17 #67 New Media & News

I am join by Rob Greenlee and Mike Cioffi. Mike runs the digital side of for Jimmy Kimmel Live and Adam Carolla’s podcasting efforts so we spend some time talking about that and the new media space.

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Lose It! – Now with Premium Features

You might be looking forward to the holiday season, and all the food that goes along with it. It’s difficult to say no to a slice of pumpkin pie, or a Christmas cookie, or a Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino, especially when you know that these treats are only going to be around for a limited time. Those of you who have concerns about weight gain should check out an app called Lose It!

I’ve used Lose It! myself. It helped me to drop a few pounds before my sister’s wedding and the weight has not returned. You start by setting a weight goal and a deadline by which you hope to have lost that amount of weight. Lose It! automatically calculates the amount of calories that you should stay under per day in order to achieve your goal.

Instead of counting calories, you tell Lose It! the foods that you ate on a given day, and it will figure out the calories for you. You can tell, at a glance, how many calories you have left for a particular day. Lose It! also takes into account the type and amount of exercise that you have done. It charts everything for you. This makes it easy to see the progress you are making, or to see where you can make improvements.

Lose It! just added some Premium features. For $39.99 a year (on sale at the time I am writing this blog for $29.99 a year), you can have Lose It! keep track of more health related goals, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, or the amount of sleep that you are getting. You can connect Lose It! to wireless scales, exercise apps, a blood pressure monitor or a sleep monitor.

Those who have purchased the Premium account will be able to connect to other Lose It! users. You can create a challenge for everyone you choose to connect with to compete in. Or, you can help to keep each other motivated in their weight loss goals. If you end up gaining more weight than you like during this holiday season, I would recommend using Lose It! to help you lose the unwanted pounds.