Category Archives: Information

Milo and Lego Education Brings STEM to School



Lego LogoLego have a history stretching back to the 1930s and for the last few decades, Lego has run an education program to bring Lego to the classroom in relevant way for all levels of schooling. Nick learns from Leisha Hoot about Lego Education and how it gets students interested in science.

At CES, Lego announced Lego Education WeDo 2.0, an elementary level STEM program that uses robotics to work with children in science. Through Milo, a small robotic rover, it gives them experience of programming, sensors and motors. It’s all very easy to use partly because children are already familiar with Lego bricks, but Lego has taken great care in designing the software too. In addition, WeDo 2.0 is going to be part of the First Lego League. The WeDo core set starts at around US$160 and is available now.

Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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3D Sounds Labs Keeps Audio in Place at CES



3D Sound Labs LogoStereo headphones have been around since the middle of the last century and 3D audio in headphones from the 1990s. Impressive as the spatial effect from 3D can be, the sound is still always relative to the listener as the headphones are on the wearer, whereas speakers position the sound relative to the room or other space.

Until now, that is. 3D Sound Labs new headphones keep sounds in their place, even as the wearer moves their head. Scott finds out more from Maxime Sabahec of 3D Sound Labs on how their headphones keep sounds still.

The 3D Sound One headphones use motion sensors to understand the position of the wearer relative to the sound stage. The embedded gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer send information back to the PC via Bluetooth which then adjusts the positions of the sound in real-time as the person moves. This realism increases the immersive experience and while it’s good for movies, it’s great for VR.

The 3D Sound One headphones are available now for US$299 from Amazon and the 3D Sound Labs website.
Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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BenQ at 2016 CES



Todd CochraneBenQ Zowie interviews Ronald Kim from BenQ. They discuss BenQ’s new line of Zowie line of competitive gaming accessories. BenQ brings in professional gamers to help them validate their gaming accessory designs.

Ron shows three models (they offer a total of seven models) of gaming mice that are specifically designed to give the end user the best possible gaming performance. They include the ZA Series, the EC-A Series, and the FK Series mice. Top-level professional gamers still prefer wired mice over wireless mice for the best possible lag-free performance. BenQ Zowie mice offer the ultimate in adjustable precision.

The mice are all priced at $59.99 each and are available now. The BenQ Zowie mouse pads are priced from $25 to $45 dollars on Amazon.

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Fasetto Link Packs in the Features



Fasetto LinkNormally a wireless NAS unit wouldn’t merit a second look, with plenty of choice from big OEMs like Seagate to small crowd-funded efforts. But when this wireless NAS unit is the size of a matchbox, holds 2 TB and weighs 4oz, it’s definitely worth another viewing. Marlo and Nick examine this miniature marvel with Luke Malpass from Fasetto.

The Fasetto Link is a small waterproof cuboid just 48 mm by 23 mm, yet holds a 2 TB SSD along with 802.11ac wireless connectivity. Able to connect to 20 devices at the same time, it can stream to seven of them at once. It has a write speed of up to 1.5 Gb/s so it’s entirely feasible to have multiple wireless action cameras recording simultaneously to the Link. If that’s not enough, it uses Qi wireless charging to recharge in less than an hour.

Now this doesn’t come cheap – the 2 TB version US$1,449 but the price does fall with the capacity and a 256 GB version is only $349. The Link will be available in Q4 2016.

Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch and Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Star Wars joins the top, and most insecure, passwords of 2015



A strong password is often the only thing between a user and a security breach. This is where a good password manager comes in as it can create good, strong passwords for the user. Sadly this knowledge seems of be missing with many users, or perhaps in some cases it is just a matter of being lazy.

Each year a list is issued of the most used passwords, which also translates to the easiest to hack. SplashData. As always, this is a fascinating and scary read.

No change took place in the top two positions, as they are still occupied by “123456” and “password”. New members of the hall of shame this year include “welcome”, “login” and “starwars”, which brought with it “solo” and “princess”.

Even when people attempted to use longer passwords, a trend that is mentioned in the report, the results were less than secure — “qwertyuiop” and “1234567890”, for example.

“We have seen an effort by many people to be more secure by adding characters to passwords, but if these longer passwords are based on simple patterns they will put you in just as much risk of having your identity stolen by hackers”, says Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “As we see on the list, using common sports and pop culture terms is also a bad idea. We hope that with more publicity about how risky it is to use weak passwords, more people will take steps to strengthen their passwords and, most importantly, use different passwords for different websites”.

Mr. Slain can hope all he wants, but this trend is unlikely anywhere close to ending. If you care to read the whole list you can do so here. Hopefully you aren’t using one that you find there.


Vtech to show off its home monitoring system at CES



vtechHome automation, the connected home, the Internet of Things, you can call modern devices anything you wish as they all boil down to the same thing. Security concerns aside, these products are fun to use, though sometimes difficult to set up unless you have a bit of experience.

Now Vtech is preparing to show off its line of products at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. Included in this lineup is a connected baby monitor that lets parents use both audio and video to monitor the little one from an app on a phone or tablet.

A smart home phone system lets users receive an alert on any phone when a sensor is triggered such as forgetting to shut the garage door or when motion is detected in the home.

There’s also HD cameras for keeping an eye on things, smart LED bulbs, wireless wall switches and a hub to control it all.

“Whether at home or away, every homeowner wants to know that their home and family is safe and protected. With so many smart home and monitoring technologies on the market, it can be difficult to know which solution is best for your specific needs”, says Matt Ramage, Senior Vice President of Sales and Product Management at VTech. “That’s why we’ve designed a new, all-encompassing Wireless Monitoring System for the home that’s easy to use, install and customize, making it easy for today’s homeowner to build a smart home system that fits their needs and gives them the peace of mind they want and deserve”

Word on sales dates and pricing has not yet been announced.


Ten One Design’s Timeframe Charging Sleeve at CES 2016



ten-one-design-logo-01_mTech accessory company Ten One Design is bringing its latest innovation, the Timeframe Charging Sleeve for Apple Watch, to CES 2016. The Timeframe sleeve slides easily onto your watch, regardless of size or band type, to deliver a reliable charge without any hassle or inconvenience.
The Timeframe sleeve is expertly designed to fit your Apple Watch snugly
and securely, so you can toss it into your purse, gym bag,
or desk drawer for a guaranteed charge wherever your day takes you. When it’s time to go, just flip the built-in release lever and out pops your fully-charged Apple Watch.

watch2
In addition to providing a quick and easy charge, the Timeframe also provides top-notch protection from bumps, drops, and wear-and-tear, so you have less to worry out and more time to go about your day.

The Timeframe Charging Sleeve from Ten One Design is available for preorder today here. It retails for $24.95 and is scheduled to begin shipping on January 28, 2016.


Limetown



LimetownWhile season two of Serial might be getting all the news at the moment, I’ve been enjoying Limetown, a seven part podcast investigating the disappearance of over three hundred men, women and children from a small town in Tennessee over ten years ago. American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question, “What happened to the people of Limetown?” and starts looking for answers.

Lia doesn’t always like what she finds, with intrigue and secrecy at every turn, getting deeper and deeper into the mystery. Episode six came out on Monday…is it the end?

If you enjoyed the X-Files, then you’ll love this. The podcast is available through the Limetown websiteiTunes and RSS feed. I have heard the future.


Papago GoSafe 520 Review



Over the past month I have had a Papago GoSafe 520 in my car recording the driving environment. In that time there where two close calls with cars cutting me off and one driver that had road rage against another driver, recording everything that was happening while I was on the move. The road rage video was turned over to local law enforcement, as it did provide witness to an accident caused by the road rage.

The video below is on the H3 Expressway here in Hawaii Kaneohe bound around 7:30 in the morning today. While the Papago will record just as well at night, I thought I would share some scenic Hawaii.. Priced at $89.00 this HD 2304×1296 Dash Cam – Car Camera Video Recorder with Night Vision, Parking Monitor, G-Sensor & 3″ Screen is worth every penny. It’s small enough that I put it in front of my rear view mirror, and as you can see in the video it simply does a great job.

With all the crazy drivers out there, and also teenage drivers I can post-drive monitor there driving habits. It automatically turns on when you are moving thus I am guaranteed to have their complete drive time stamped.. While I do not make it a habit to check my kids driving habits, it is also a reminder to them that their actions are being recorded and provides protection from an errant driver.

This is the perfect gift of self protection and for nothing else catching cool things you see on the road on Video.


Pantone Color of the Year 2016



Pantone Color 2016Pantone has announced its Color of the Year for 2016 and for the first time ever, the chosen color is a blend of two, Rose Quartz and Serenity. “Why two?” you might reasonably ask….

Pantone says, “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfil our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

PANTONE-Color-of-the-Year-2016-v5-1080x1920By choosing the combination of girl pink and boy blue, Pantone is making a socio-political statement too.
In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage.” 

For the graphic artists and web designers, Rose Quartz is Pantone 13-1520, #F7CAC9, and Serenity is Pantone 15-3919, #92A8D1. The full colour standards are available from Pantone.

For fashion aficionados, Pantone has prepared a series of desktop wallpapers so you can really show off your cool color credentials.

As ever, we can expect to see these Rose Quartz and Serenity incorporated into fashion and design over the coming year, though given the similarity to baby colors, it will be tricky to spot the real trends. Last year’s color, Marsala, is now officially out of favour.