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Archive for July, 2013

Day One: A Journal for the 21st Century

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2013

day one iconDay One is a journal for the digital age. I decided several months ago to start keeping a daily journal. Many people were recommending Day One on the Mac and iOs but I resisted, thinking the price was too high. It is $9.99 for the Mac app and $4.99 for the iOs version. I tried a couple of free journals including vJournal, but I wasn’t satisfied. Finally I decided to put down the money for Day One on both iOs and the Mac.

If you are going to start a digital journal and are in the Apple ecosphere then Day One is well worth the price. The first thing you will notice when you open up Day One is that it is well made and designed app. Along the left hand side you have a plus button which opens up a new entry window. Below that you can pull up your previous entries either in list form or by calendar date. You can also find the post you have starred as important and also set a daily reminder. Across the top of the window , you can add tags, location and images.

You can use Day One this way and it is worth the price.  However by combining a script by Brett Terpstra called Slogger, with Dropbox or iCloud and IFTTT along with Hazel you can do so much more, including having any image you post to Tumblr, InstagramFlickr or Facebook go into your Journal. Drafts an iOs app will also work with Day One. To set some of this up does require working in the terminal and some work with a script. If you take your time and follow the directions provided in the links in this post, you should be ok. Once you have it set up though, you can have things sent to Day One automatically,personally I love this option.

As you can tell I have become a big fan of Day One. I use it as a personal journal, however I do know some people who use Day One as a business journal. There are some problems with Day One, first is there is no trial version, I think a lot of people stay away from Day One because of the price. If there was a trial version I think they would be hooked. The second problem is security. You can set up a password to lock down Day One, however you cannot encrypt the entries. If you are on a Mac or iOs and are interested in starting an electronic journal I would recommend Day One.

New Nexus 7 Review!

Posted by geeknews at 3:23 PM on July 30, 2013

nexus7I was very excited to get my hands on the new Nexus 7. Straight out of the box I knew this was a different animal. First and foremost it is as light as a feather compared to the prior model. Frankly I was shocked at how much lighter it is compared to the first model.

The second thing I noticed was the screen, it seemed dark and I attributed it to the background that Google selected to deliver with the device. Choosing a new background really helped, but that first impression of the default background was not flattering.

Doing a head to head though and you can see the resolution difference immediately. My son loaded his Ingress account on the old Nexus 7, and I loaded mine on the new one and the graphics delta was so obvious that my son has been begging me for one now for 3 days. We will be playing Ingress on several new Nexus 7′s in the coming weeks.

My wife lives with her iPad, so when I handed the Nexus 7 to her. I said mess with this the rest of the day, load some apps and let me know what you think. She loves the size and the graphics, she commented it fit in her purse better than the iPad and she may consider a switch when she is up for a new device.

Lucky for all of us, the price on the Nexus 7 is the best part. In my opinion this tablet has the most bang for the buck! The processor is fast, they have a decent amount of internal ram and storage. The size is perfect for everyday use and for those using a iPad Mini your going to want to get to a store and try this device out. Buy one Today.

Chromecast Outlook & Review

Posted by geeknews at 2:34 PM on July 30, 2013

chromcastThere have been a lot of sites already talking about the function of the Chromecast, I would like to focus on how it is going to be used, and the impact it is having in my living room.

I introduced Chromecast to my family on Saturday, my wife was wanting to watch a series of short YouTube videos on the Ghost Cities in China.. When I plugged in Chromecast I went over basic functionality and then handed the Nexus 7 to her and showed her how to play an queue videos up..

She went crazy and was talking about how smart this was, at the same time my kids loaded the chromcast app on their phones and got connected to the device. Once she was done we had three kids queuing up videos. It got pretty entertaining to see the 9 years old’s choices versus the 16 & 17 year old..

This continued for a couple of hours, all the time they where having a blast and everyone’s media needs where getting met something interesting happened. We all participated in down voting some clips and we just pushed the next video in the queue Google should track that.

My experience with pushing web pasges was mixed. I could push a web page to Chromecast with my Chromebook or standard laptop, but for the life of me I have not been able to push a web page to the screen with my Nexus 7.

My goal was to visit video podcasters sites, start playing their video, and push the web page to the Chromecast and full screen the video.. That worked really well from a laptop, all we need now is a queue function for that and we will be golden. Podcasters that still unwisely have flash players need to get on the HTML5 bandwagon.

I must mention how elegant Google has made browser duplication on Chromecast. They really thought this through and was one of the most surprising finds of the device.

The best part is that Chromecast is cheap $35.00 and I expect their will be rapid development of the platform and with the number of units sold so far tells me that adoption will be rapid.

Diamond Wireless Range Extender WR300NSI Review

Posted by geeknews at 2:14 PM on July 30, 2013

diamondOver the past couple of years I have had mixed results with Wireless Range Extenders. In many cases I have become very frustrated as the performance has been bad, or they simply refused to hook up to the existing network.

In receiving The Diamond Multimedia Wireless Range Extender, I really did not know what to expect. What shocked me the most from the time the unit was unpacked till it was extending my wireless signal was all told about 5 minutes.

To really hammer these things I always put the extender at a location in my home where I have trouble, which in my case is my Garage where typically I get a 1 bar on a laptop or cell phone. So while I did it my way the first time and has success the folks at Diamond have done something cool to take the guess work out of where to place the extender!

Their is a Received Signal Strength Indicator LED that intelligently determine the wireless signal strength, by reading the led indicators users can assess the best area to plugin the extender. By following the extender recommendations versus mine, I placed the extender in a location I would not have picked as a first choice, and found that I got much better performance out of the device.

You can do the following with this extender:

  • Eliminate Dead Spots in your Home
  • Create a Wireless Access Point while traveling, (Love This)
  • Wireless bridge device connect it to a Internet Ready TV etc.

It supports all the major wireless protocols including Wireless-N, supports MMIO & has WPS support as well. All for the low price of $49.99 Best part of all it’s small and will fit in the palm of your hand..

Overall great product, for a great price.

 

Duracell PowerMat Review

Posted by geeknews at 1:53 PM on July 30, 2013

Wireless charging has come a long way in the past couple of years, the first year we saw Wireless charging at CES a number of years ago we did not know how long it would take for the technology to become mainstream.

powermattWhen Duracell jumped into the Wireless charging space we knew the product had come of age. Duracell introduced the Duracell Powermat some time ago, but I recently had the opportunity to test one.

I received a 2 device base station $39.99 and a PowerSnap Kit for my iPhone 5 $99.95.  This package is really slick, the PowerSnap kit which is two parts includes an AccessCase which allows wireless charging, and a SnapBattery which gives you 2x the battery powersnappower without the bulk.

You place your iPhone or related product on the PowerMat, and the phone gets charged without plugging anything in. The PowerMat and the PowerSnap Kit are sold separately so you can order the combination you need..

This is really the only way to charge a phone. I do not have to worry about cables. All I need to make sure is that the phone is put on top of the elegant base station. The charge times are comparable to plugging in

I know there have been a lot of initiatives to place wireless charging stations at major venues and some food outlets. You just have to keep your eye out for the Wireless Power symbol.  See the box for details.

GNC-2013-07-29 #878 Storm is Coming

Posted by geeknews at 1:13 AM on July 30, 2013

GNCLogo3_1_1400x1400AudioWe give away a Chromecast, and on the next show we give away two great prizes listen to win. I have a storm bearing down on me here, lots of wind and rain should be fun.

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New Media Show #14 Rick Calvert (New Media Expo)

Posted by geeknews at 6:45 PM on July 29, 2013

TheNewMediaShowVideoIn this episode we talk with Rick Calver of New Media Expo.

Rob and I have new email addresses for this show so feel free to drop us a line at Rob or Todd @ newmediashow.com

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Facebook Hashtags Lack Engagement

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2013

HashtagFacebook added hashtags as a new feature a little more than a month ago. How is that working out for them? Not quite as well as they hoped it would. Somehow, this does not surprise me.

It seems that the idea was that adding hashtags would allow Facebook users to add some context to their posts. It would also allow other users to “discover content” by searching for a particular hashtag. Facebook was hoping that people would choose to post things like “I love #Starbucks”. The point was to encourage people to engage more with the brands that advertise on and through Facebook.

What happened? Part of the problem is that many of the brands on Facebook aren’t good at using hashtags across social media platforms. In other words, they might have used a particular hashtag on Facebook, and a different one on Twitter. Or, they use hashtags on Twitter, but don’t use them in Facebook. It is a lack of cohesiveness.

I think another problem is that people who are on Facebook don’t necessarily think to add a hashtag to their posts. If they don’t use Twitter, they may not have a context for using a hashtag in the first place. Also, just because Facebook adds the ability to use a hashtag doesn’t automatically mean people are going to use it to emphasize a brand that they like. They could be posting things like #Friday instead.

Simply Measured put together a lot of data about the effectiveness of the brands on Facebook. The top 10 most engaging brands average 19.9 million fans. Those brands post something 2.5 times per day. The top three most liked brands are: Facebook, Coca-Cola, and MTV. However, the group that has the most engagement with fans on Facebook is the automotive industry.

The study also found that brands that do not allow Facebook users to post onto the brand’s timeline end up with a 15% dip in engagement. The brand may be trying to avoid negative posts. The result is people stop engaging completely. Those brands probably need to improve their use of hashtags.

SoundCloud Gives You More Control

Posted by JenThorpe at 10:28 PM on July 27, 2013

SoundCloudSoundCloud just got a little bit easier to navigate. They have added some new features that people have been asking them for. It’s always nice when a company not only listens to feedback from its users but also makes changes in response to requests.

SoundCloud released their brand new play controls earlier this week. To use them, you need to begin by selecting a song to listen to. Any piece of music will do.

In the upper right hand corner of the screen on your browser, you will find the new controls that were released. You can now hit pause, an incredibly convenient button to have if you need to get up from your computer for a moment. You can now pick up exactly where you left off in listening to a song.

You can also skip to the next sound, or go back to a previous one. In short, you now have the control to pick out the exact portion of any song on SoundCloud, and begin listening to it from that point. I can see where this would be handy if you were trying to catch lyrics or to discern what type of instrument was playing in the background of a song you were listening to.

SoundCloud users can also make use of the “previous” feature to return to a song that they were listening to before the one they are currently enjoying. All of these new features make it easier to navigate through SoundCloud in a way that is tailor made for your personalized listening preferences.

Sleep Time by Azumio Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2013

Sleep Time I work from home, and although I don’t have a required schedule I like getting up around the same time each weekday morning between 5 and 6:00 AM. My goal is to get between seven and seven and half hours of sleep. Anything less than that I feel like a zombie all day and anymore then that my day always seems out of sorts. In order for me to get up this early consistently I need to use an alarm clock. The trouble with most alarm clocks is that they tend to jar you awake and you get “that where am I feeling.” It then takes several minutes to feel normal. The solution I found to this problem is an app call Sleep Time by Azumio.

Sleep Time is available both in the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store. With Sleep Time you set the time you want to get up and the alarm goes off by default within 30 minutes from when you set it. You can adjust the window of time under Settings then Wake Up Phase from thirty minutes down to zero minutes (which has Sleep Time working like a normal alarm). If you set the time period for anything other than zero then Sleep Time will wake you up during that window at a time when you are in light sleep status. This way you will wake up feeling refreshed and rested instead of like a zombie. Under settings you can change sound of the alarm or set it for vibrate only. You can also change or turn off the snooze time under settings.  Sleep Time measure your sleep status by using the phones accelerometer which measures how much you are moving. Sleep Time also keeps a record of how you have slept during the night, showing how much you were awake, in light sleep and in heavy sleep.

I like the Sleep Time app and have been using it now successfully for several months, however it is not without it’s faults. The first is that in order for it to work properly you must have it laying next to you on your bed. If you sleep with another person or animal Sleep Time will still work as long as you keep it close to you. It is also recommended that you keep the phone plugged in so the battery doesn’t go dead. So if you don’t sleep near an outlet you are kind of out of luck. Also some people may feel uncomfortable sleeping with an electronic device so close to their head. The second issue is if you are a restless sleeper there is a chance you could knock your phone off your bed. The final issue is that on rare occasions I have had the app freeze up on me, but this doesn’t happen very often. Despite these issues I like the Sleep Time app and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alarm clock.