Toughest Mudder Race Sets Live Streaming Video Viewership Record



Mudder LogoThe World’s Toughest Mudder is a race that tests the limits of its competitors athletic abilities. The race takes place over 24 hours. It challenges teams, as well as individual male and female contestants, to complete as many five-mile obstacle course laps as possible. The World’s Toughest Mudder crowns champions in all of these categories. The contest also honors racers who rack up 25, 50, 75, and 100 miles during the competition.

Multiple World’s Toughest Mudders are held during the year. The most recent Mudder event, held last month in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, was streamed live to a record-breaking audience:

…the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder race on Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13 at Lake Las Vegas, drawing 3.6 Million views with more than 3.5 Million minutes of coverage produced across Tough Mudder digital platforms with fans in more than 200 countries tuning in, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, China, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. This is 5X Tough Mudder’s 2016 live stream season average (723,000 views), handily surpassing the company’s largest live stream event to date, Tough Mudder Los Angeles 2016, and setting viewership records in the obstacle course racing and endurance sporting events categories, establishing Tough Mudder as a leader in live sporting event coverage.

The World’s Toughest Mudder competition will have another opportunity to break its viewership record later this month. The next Mudder race will be held on Christmas Day and will be shown on broadcast television along with internet streaming.


TIME’s 100 Most Influential Images



Time 100 PhotosAs it’s still early Advent, it’s not quite that period between Christmas and New Year where “The Best of 2016” features grace the front page of every media outlet. Still, that hasn’t stopped TIME announcing its 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. Fortunately, TIME has done a much better job than most and this feature explores the background and impact of iconic photographs, from “The View from the Window at Le Gras” by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to “Alan Kurdi” by Nilüfer Demir. These are the images which define the human experience for nearly two centuries; too many of the pictures show suffering and pain, but others will reassure and confirm the amazing achievements selflessly done for the benefit all.

Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation” by NASA / ESA / STScI / Arizona State University

Take some time to review the pictures, dig into their history and understand how that captured moment changed the world and perhaps directly affected you.


Enhanced Security Measures Continue for CES 2017



PrintThe Consumer Technology Association (CTA), owner and producer of CES, has announced that it will continue to implement advanced security measures at the upcoming CES 2017 to maximize the safety of all attendees. The security measures are designed to provide a safe and secure environment while ensuring attendees have an efficient and productive experience.

CTA is working closely with law enforcement officials at all levels to maximize security on-site at CES 2017. This year’s security measures include bag restrictions and metal detectors.

Only two bags, each smaller than 12”x17”x6” may be brought into official show venues. Rolling bags of any size will not be permitted on the show floor. This includes luggage, carry-ons, laptop and computer bags and rolling luggage carts. All attendees are encouraged to consider their bag type and use clear bags (mesh, plastic, vinyl, etc.) to expedite the process of going through metal detectors and check points.

While all attendees will be subject to metal detector screening upon entering show premises, CTA will conduct searches at specific points to ensure quick and easy access to exhibit halls and reduce the number of times attendees have to go through security.

For efficient entry on-site, all attendees must have an official CES badge and government-issued photo ID before entering CES show venues. To speed entrance at all venues, attendees are strongly encouraged to register online and to pick up badges at the airport or hotels before arriving at the show.


Link AKC Named CES Best of Innovation Award Honoree



link-akcLink AKC is the company dedicated to improving the bond between dog and owner to make dog ownership easier. It has announced that its smart dog collar has been named a CES 2017 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree in the Wearable Technologies Category.

The Link AKC team is a group of dog lovers, tech experts and designers who have combined the best of design and technology to elevate dog wearables to a lifestyle product category that epitomizes the evolution of the best in breed smart home, wearable and mobile technology. By tapping into The American Kennel Club’s 132 years of devotion to our best friends, Link AKC is able to help owners better understand their dogs.

Link AKC’s smart dog collar, which represents new advancements that combine sophisticated smart home, wearable, and mobile technologies, scored higher than all other submissions in the wearable technologies product category.

The Link AKC’s smart collar is designed to be both fashionable and functional. Providing an aesthetically pleasing look, the smart device is adorned with stylish latigo leather and features a convex-shaped design that comfortably fits the natural shape of a dog’s neck. Additionally, the collar and accompanying app helps dog owners stay fully connected with GPS and location monitoring while also managing their pup’s well being via activity tracking and insights, temperature notifications, vet and health reminders, and more.

The Link AKC smart collar is now available for a discounted pre-order price on linkakc.com as well as on Amazon. Collars are expected to ship by early 2017.


Securifi Named as CES 2017 Innovations Award Honoree



Securifi Almond 3Securifi, a leading provider of devices in the connected home space, announced that it has been named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree for its latest product, Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi System.

Securifi has been redefining next generation consumer routers since 2012. After changing the Wi-Fi game with Almond – the world’s first easy to use and attractive router, Securifi is turning the humble home router into a Wi-Fi, security and smarthome platform. Their mission is to create affordable Wi-Fi and smart home products for the masses.

Almond 3 redefines the connected home by integrating a mesh router and a smart home hub. With Almond 3, homeowners get a device that provides seamless whole home Wi-Fi, a hub to control smart home devices, a built-in siren for home security, and voice control through Amazon Alexa – all in one device. Multiple Almond 3 units can be combined to create a powerful Wi-Fi network that eliminates dead zone across users’ homes.

Securifi’s Almond 3 will be displayed at the company’s booth: #41935 at CES 2017, which runs January 5-8, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada.


GNC #1162 Robot Invasion



Glad to be back in the saddle and I get you caught up on what is happening here and in the tech space. I also do a deep dive on the what happens when Robots Invade and the impact that is going to have on service jobs. Plus regular industry.. Can you be outsourced by a Robot? Many already have been are you next?

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Devolo dLAN 550+ WiFi Mini Review



Devolo LogoBack in June I reviewed the Devolo dLAN 550 WiFi Starter Kit and this time round, I’m looking at the “plus” version of the same kit. What makes it a 550+? Simply that the WiFi adaptor is now bigger and has a power socket pass thru. Let’s take a mini look…

Devolo dLAN 550+ WiFi Starter Kit

As the Starter Kit is broadly the same as last time out, I’m not going to be doing a full review. If you want to see screenshots of the setup procedure, Devolo’s handy desktop software or smartphone app, I suggest you take a look at my original write-up. All I’ll say in this review is that the 550+ WiFi works just as well in terms of setup. The adaptors are paired out of the box so getting started is simply a case of plugging them into power sockets and then connecting a network cable from a neighbouring router or switch. The wireless access point can be then be configured remotely. It’s easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!

Devolo dLAN 550+ WiFi Starter Kit

There’s no real technical change between the 550 and and 550+ WiFi units. Both provide 11n WiFi at 300 Mb/s, whereas the previous generation 500 only transmitted at 150 Mb/s; the upgrade comes from 2×2 antennas which boosts both the rate and Devolo 550 WiFithe range with the 550s. Additionally, the transmission range across the electrical wiring is increased to 400m through the use of all three conductors (live, neutral and earth).

The main change is that the new 550+ WiFi is a bigger adaptor with the same rectangular form factor as the non-WiFi units, including a pass-thru. The picture on the left shows the old adaptor, which was smaller and squarer. My only gripe with Devolo is that the newer adaptors have the network cable coming out the top, rather than below.

Looking at the prices, the RRP of the 550+ WiFi Starter Kit is GB£109.99 whereas the 550 WiFi Starter Kit is ten pounds less at GB£99.99. Both kits do the same job, so if there’s no need for a pass-thru or a smaller unit is preferred, go for the cheaper one. If a pass thru is needed, take the 550+. As an aside, if speed or 11ac is needed, check out the 1200+ WiFi Starter Kit at GB£159.99.

For more detail there’s an unboxing of the Devolo dLAN 550+ WiFi Starter Kit below.

Thanks to Devolo for providing the dLAN 550+ WiFi Starter Kit for review.


GNC #1161 Giving Thanks



I take a little time tonight to talk to the Ohana to express my thanks and reflect on the show.. Be careful on your trips to family and have a great Thanksgiving. I will be back with you next Monday with the next show. Tonight’s show is packed with tech news and information.

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Apple: The Thrill Is Gone



Apple LogoBack around 2006 when Apple switched the Mac to Intel processors, Apple started to gain my attention, and several thousands of my dollars.

The Mac was not only a more secure computing alternative, but it also offered fun. Apple computers of about 2006 to 2011 were just plain fun devices.

Sure, Macs were always more expensive than their PC counterparts, but it was arguably a better platform, offering genuine value with those higher prices.

In one of the Steve Jobs biographies, it was said that after he knew he was dying, Jobs worked to leave Apple with about 5 years’ worth of guidance.

Unfortunately, the 5 years is expired. And it is showing. A few years ago I published an article here predicting that Apple would morph into a caricature of Jobs’ worst traits – knowing what the customer “needed” more than the customer, cutting useful features and calling it innovation, etc. Sadly, my prediction has come true. Steve Jobs was brilliant in being able to predict and surf the waves of the parts of the ever-changing consumer electronics market that he chose to compete in. Steve Jobs was successful despite his worst character flaws.

The Apple of 2016 is no longer fun. Something has gone missing. If Apple were your surgeon, you would likely start missing fingers and limbs.

The Apple of 2016 is obsessed with cutting useful features and then making the excuse that they are doing it because they have “courage.”

Up until about 5 years ago you could plunk your pile of money down on a high-end Mac without knowing a thing about it, and rest assured you were getting all the latest and greatest hardware. In 2016 that is no longer true.

The Apple of 2016 is no longer fun.


iClever Wireless Speaker Review



iClever LogoDesigning out the headphone jack on the iPhone was a brave move by Apple but the price of both Bluetooth headphones and speakers have fallen to the level of an impulse buy. Consequently the change isn’t quite as costly as it would have been a few years ago. Naturally audiophiles may disagree on audio quality grounds. Still, anyone with a Bluetooth equipped smartphone might be interested in this compact portable speaker for music on the go.

On review here is the iClever Wireless Speaker (IC-BTS04). It’s shaped like a small brick measuring 16.2 cm by 6.2 cm by 2.8 cm and weighs a little over 250g. Consequently, the BTS04 can be conveniently slipped into a cargo pocket or a backpack for travel. Unlike some of the more brightly coloured competitors, this speaker goes for understated black plastic and dark grey metal. It certainly doesn’t shout “look at me!”

iClever Wireless Speaker

Along the top there are five buttons for controlling music and managing calls. Round the side is the microUSB charging port and audio input socket, both covered by a rubber flap. There’s some nice details to the speaker, with small hex screws on the metal grilles.

In the box there’s the speaker itself, a carry strap, a 3.5 mm audio cable, USB charging cable and the usual assortment of instructions, guarantees and happy sheets.

iClever Wireless Speaker

Getting started is easy once you figure out which is the power button. Oddly it’s marked with a “minus” sign rather than the usual circle and bar but once that’s pressed for a few seconds, the BTS04 powers up and the LED on the middle multifunction button starts flashing for pairing mode. After that it’s the normal process which ends with a voice announcing “Connected” and the blue LED on the button going solid.

With music playing, the buttons work as expected. Play / pause, next track, previous track. For volume control, the two track buttons are used with long presses: to start with I found this a little fiddly and jumped tracks instead of adjusting the volume but I got the hang of it. In terms of loudness, it’s surprisingly loud for a pair of 5W speakers. It has little sticky feet on the bottom which keep it still on smooth surfaces, otherwise it would vibrate its way across the table at full volume. While the sound quality isn’t going worry Sonos or Bose, it’s fine for a some casual listening in the office.

The BTS04 works as a speakerphone too. When a call comes into the smartphone, pressing the middle multifunction button pauses the music and connects the caller. Pressing the button again drops the call. Don’t want to take the call at all? Long press the multifunction button.

iClever Wireless Speaker

Battery life is rated at 10 hours which sounds about right as I got more than a working day of tunes. The multifunction button glows red during charging or if the battery power gets low.

If I’m being honest, the iClever speaker doesn’t have a single standout feature, but it is a neat assembly of features that won’t disappoint – solidly made, reasonably loud, decent sound, blends in, doubles as speakerphone. Priced at US$27.99 or GB£24.99, it’s a perfect Christmas present for someone who prefers something discrete. I suspect teens and tweens would want something more colourful.

Thanks to iClever for providing the IC-BTS04 for review.