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Archive for December, 2013

Netflix New Years Gift? Drops 80 Movies, TV Shows from Streaming Subscription

Posted by J Powers at 9:03 AM on December 31, 2013

Netflix_Web_LogoIf you are a fan of “Titanic”, “Top Gun”, or even “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo” — you have only a few hours left to watch them on Netflix.

More than 80 movies and a group of TV shows including “Saturday Night Live” will be removed from the service on January 1, 2014. Netflix adds and removes movies and TV shows on a regular basis. This is all due to licensing contracts.

Nonetheless, TV shows like “Mr. Bean”, “Dark Shadows”, and “Kids in the Hall” will be removed for the new year. Movies include “Platoon”, “Flashdance”, “Being John Malkovich”, amongst others.

These movies might come back with new licensing deals. In the meantime, new movies and TV shows will be added including “Jack Reacher”, “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”, and “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. TV shows like “Dexter” seasons 5-8 will also be added in the coming weeks.

The full list of Netflix titles ending can be found on this Reddit post

 

Coverage of CES Starts 1-7-14

Posted by geeknews at 6:55 PM on December 30, 2013

Be sure to tune in here or on TPN.tv for live coverage 24/7 of CES 2014. I will be leading the team in covering CES wall to wall. Over 100 vendors are already scheduled to appear live with an equal number having been rejected to appear..

Lock our Coverage into your calendars now!

CES14-Coverage

See you during CES!

CES 2014 Coverage Introduction

Posted by geeknews at 6:50 PM on December 30, 2013

As you all know I am the guy behind Geek News Central. I am also the CEO of RawVoice the parent company of TPN.tv and the Tech Podcast Network.

This will be my 9th year covering International CES, and as always I am excited to be going to cover the show. Take a few minutes and watch the video to get some background on what is planned and the team that will be their to cover CES.

Philips Hue Chrome App

Posted by Andrew at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2013

Hue Personal Wireless LightingWhile researching the Philips Hue Android apps, I discovered that currently there is a single Hue app for Chrome. It’s called Hueful and while it’s fairly basic, it deserves a mention as (a) it’s the only app on Chrome but (b) it shows that Chrome can support this kind of hardware-oriented app. Previously I would have discounted Chrome from being an option but Hueful works fine on my Chromebook.

Hueful isn’t a very advanced Hue app, being limited to setting colours of selected lamps and colour cycling. Sometimes lamps need to be told twice to take on a setting but they usually get there in the end.

Hueful

 

Hueful is free from the Chrome store.

Philips Hue Android Apps

Posted by Andrew at 6:14 PM on December 28, 2013

Hue Personal Wireless LightingLast week, I had a first look at the Hue “Personal Wireless Lighting” kit from Philips. As I mentioned in the review, Philips has opened up the lighting system to developers via an API and this week, I’ll take a look at some of the apps available, both from 3rd party developers. As you’d expect, they run the gamut from “could do with more work” all the way through to “brilliant” but broadly fall into two categories, firstly those that are primarily concerned with setting the colour of the lights, and secondly those that do more interesting things. This review covers the apps that are currently available from Google Play and there are many similar apps available for iOS.

Hue Limited Edition, Colorful, Light Control, Speedy Hue and LampShade are all variants on the “set the colour of the lights”. All offer grouping of lamps into sets and the saving of colour combinations into favourites or presets. Here are a few screenshots, showing the main screens from each. As you’ll see, they pretty much do the same thing in different ways.

Hue Limited Edition

Hue Limited Edition

Colorful

Colorful

Speedy Hue

Speedy Hue

LampShade

LampShade

Light Control

Light Control

All worked as advertised, but I found that in this instance, less was often more. If I wanted to run an app with favourites or presets, I tended to use the Philips Hue app to set all the lights at once. However to quickly set the colour of a single light, I used Hue Limited Edition, rather than anything else. Light Control came a close second and Speedy Hue gets an honourable mention for the inclusion of a scheduler which will turn the lights on and off at specified times.

Speaking of alarms, Hue Alarm Clock takes waking up to the next level. Instead of an incessant beeping, Alarm Clock gently fades in a colour of your choice to wake you from your slumber. The screenshot is from the limited free version, not the paid version which has more options.

Hue Alarm Clock

There are two apps which purport to support voice recognition, and like “Star Trek”, you too can walk into a room and say, “Lights!” and the illumination comes up. Hue Talk takes an almost canned approach to the voice recognition with the user able to predefine the voice commands for  around 20 features, from turning all the lights on, turning the lights up and down, and changing the colour. The suggested voice commands are memorable phrases, such as “Yellow Submarine” and “Purple Rain” turning the lights the respective colours. You can change the commands to whatever you prefer so there’s no real intelligence here but it works well.

Hue Talk

On the other hand, SpeechHue, looks like it supports natural language but I could never get the app to work in the way that I imagined it should work. Some of the comments in the Google Play store say that it’s good once you work it out. Sorry, if I need to work out how the app works, it’s failed. Zero stars.

SpeechHue

LampShade and Colorful (after paid upgrades) work with NFC to set the lights. In theory, each room could have an NFC tag (or tags) such that when the tag is swiped by the smartphone, the app sets the lights just for that room or mood. It’s a neat idea but I wasn’t able to test the NFC features as I don’t have any NFC tags. I’ve ordered so I may report back later.

I’ve been saving the best until last and we come to apps from IJS Design who make the best Hue apps on Android bar none. Currently, there are four IJS apps, of which three – Christmas, Halloween and Fireworks – link holidays into Hue. So for the Christmas app, which includes New Year too, you get sound effects linked into Hue colour changes and effects. Think of it as a soundboard with lights. The apps also have moods which are longer music pieces with light effects and are more atmospheric, which are especially good when the sound is passed through a hifi.

Hue Christmas

Huey New Year

And finally, IJS Design’s Hue Disco is the single best Hue app on the market (IMHO). Simply, you play music on your hifi, place your smartphone or tablet nearby and Hue Disco changes the colour of the Hue lights in time to the track. There’s loads of adjustment possible, including microphone sensitivity, transition speed, brightness, colour temperature and strobe effects. For something more subtle, there’s Mood Control which cycles the lights on themed colours, such as sunrise or Christmas. All-in-all, totally brilliant and money well spent.

Hue Disco

A screenshot can’t show what it’s like in action, so here’s a video showing Hue Disco in action. You really can have a disco in your front room and it’s fantastic when paired with a music service like Spotify. I’ve been playing Christmas tracks non-stop.

That summarises the state of the Android Hue app space which appears to be growing healthily and similar apps are available for Apple devices. For me, the keeper apps are Hue Limited Edition and Hue Disco with Hue Talk close behind needing a bit of polishing. Have fun.

Atari 2600, Colecovision Comes to the Internet Archive

Posted by J Powers at 10:13 AM on December 28, 2013

xenophobeThe Internet Archive is a database of websites, media and more to try and preserve the past. The archive houses a lot of content you might not be able to find otherwise. Now you can add arcade games to the list as the Internet Archive is bringing console gaming to your computer.

The archive has added 70′s and 80′s video games from Atari, Colecovision, and Magnavox Odyssey. It’s part of Archive.org’s Console Living Room. The games currently don’t have sound, but Archivist Jason Scott stated that will be added shortly.

Don’t throw away your MAME console just yet. The archived games are only home-console versions. So Pac Man and Donkey Kong will look and run like your Atari 2600 system version.

Still, there were a lot of games I played a lot in my younger days which never went past those gaming systems. These games on the archive fell into disarray, which puts the game into a grey area – legally. Tablets and smartphones can run these emulated games, which can bring new life into what we played as kids.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just have to find that one game I played on the Coleco as a kid but don’t remember the name…

 

TGP -#137 Rikomagic RKM MK802 IV Android Mini TV Dongle

Posted by Gadget at 9:20 AM on December 27, 2013

Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #137 hosted by Don Baine, produced by Mike Baine.

We’ve Got Technology Covered! The Gadget Professor Show – a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network!

Rikomagic RKM MK802 IV Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Quad Core Mini TV Dongle, RK3188 Cortex A9 CPU, 2GB RAM 8GB ROM, bluetooth

The little computer runs Google Android 4.2 and it’s designed to be plugged directly into the HDMI port on a TV. You can hook up a mouse and/or keyboard to navigate through the Android interface. Featuring the Rockchip 3188 chipset solution the MK802IV is capable of truly blistering performance for games and demanding apps, it also has the smoothest GUI you will find on any TV device, fully utilising the capabilities of Android 4.2.

Highlight:
Rockchip 3188 Quad core, 28nm, 1.8GHz Cortex-A9
2D/3D GPU,GPU Mali-400 MP4 @ 533MHz
GPU offers 3D graphic with OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenVG 1.1
Android4.1,(will update to Android4.2 with Miracast)
Use 2GB DDR3 8GB ROM high capacity memory
With WIFI 802.1b/g/n Wireless to get rid of the wire bond
Build in Bluetooth
Support the latest HTML5,Flash11,etc. network standard
ESD circuit design make sure the stable feature, support soft turn off
Strong Power Manage Unit (PMU)
There are more than 600,000 Google Play apps and games for a great experience
Extension ports support 2.4GHz wireless mouse, wireless keyboard with touchpad, etc, while a micro-SD slot lets you add more storage memory up to 32GB
Ports: HDMI(male),Micro SD slot, USB host*1,USB OTG*1, USB power port; LED(Blue)

Package includes:
1 x Mini PC device
1 x HDMI cable
1 x USB power adapter
1 x USB connector adapter
1 x manual.

We also feature our free software & apps selections.

Sit back and relax while you watch The Gadget Professor.

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GNC-2013-12-26 #916 What Tech Gift Did You Get?

Posted by geeknews at 12:04 AM on December 27, 2013

I hope everyone had a joyful Christmas, I bring you up to speed on what happened with the Ohana here in Hawaii. One more show before we head out to Vegas so make sure you are subscribed to the Special Events Feed on the homepage.

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Gazelle Contest Underway!

Posted by geeknews at 5:33 PM on December 26, 2013

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Visit Gazelle today, see what your device is worth, and trade it in for a chance to win $1 million!

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Vimeo Helps You Avoid What You Don’t Want to See

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:00 PM on December 26, 2013

Vimeo logoWhat’s in that video you are about to watch? Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell, at first glance, exactly what you are in for. Not everyone is comfortable with certain kinds of content. Vimeo has taken that into consideration. Now, you can set your content preferences and avoid the things you don’t want to see.

Start by going to your settings page on Vimeo. You can click a bubble to indicate the types of content that you would like to avoid. Some options include: “Don’t show mature content”, “Don’t show unrated”, “Don’t show violence”, “Don’t show nudity” and more. Those who want to see it all can continue to do so. Just click the bubble marked “Show me everything”.

The purpose of the content preferences was to make Vimeo friendly and accessible to all audiences. I can see where the settings would be very useful for people who are watching Vimeo videos with children. It could also help prevent a person who is in a public place (like a coffee shop) from accidentally selecting a video with content that may be inappropriate for some of the people around them.

Personally, I find that I enjoy using the internet a lot more when I have the ability to control what types of content I encounter. There are certain types of content I would prefer to avoid. I think it is wonderful that Vimeo is including the option to filter out the types of content that you just don’t want to see.