Swimbuds Sport Waterproof Headphone Review

swimbudsHere in Hawaii we are either at the beach or at a pool on a regular basis. My daughter is a lifeguard at a local city pool, and while she is not allowed to wear headphones / earbuds while on lifeguard duty  she does swim laps each day before / after work and loves to jam out at the same time.

Since our review last year of the Water Proof iPod Shuffle she has been using both the shuffle and underwater ear-buds from Underwater Audio. So when I tossed her the new Swimbuds Sport Waterproof Headphones from Underwater Audio she was eager to try them out..

Today was the day that I asked her for her impressions. First thing she did was started gushing about how awesome they where, and how her co-workers where amazed at the sound quality. They had already seen here previous pair and was amazed those continued to work after 7 months of abuse. During the two weeks she has had these she felt the sound quality and the seal was as good or better than the previous version.

She wanted me to emphasize that one of the things Underwater Audio did right on these was to include a huge selection of ear insert styles, everyone’s ears are a little different and she experimented till she found the best combination.

One added benefit was that she said wearing these underwater earbuds also kept the most of the water out of here ears. When she takes them off she does a fresh water rinse shakes them out and lets them air dry. Retail is @ $70.00 for folks that spend a lot of time in the water they are worth every penny and can be used of course on dry land as well.

IClever HIMBOX Bluetooth Car Hands Free Kit

himboxDo you have a vehicle that does not have a hands free system? Well the folks at  ICLEVER®  have the Himbox Bluetooth Car Hands Free Kit, that packs a lot of punch in a small package.  What I love about this Handsfree device is the simplicity and small size.

Setup could not have been easier. 1st insert the dual power adapter plug  in your cars 12/24v power outlet. 2nd plug the audio cable into your cars 3.5mm aux input port.  If your car does not have an aux port you will not be able to hear the callers audio.  3rd you find a level surface in proximity to the driver and mount the control/ microphone button with included magnetic base and adhesive.

You then pair the unit, once that’s done your ready to start making calls, listening to music via Bluetooth. The control button has multiple functions to support play/pause, volume up/down, next or previous track, answer call, reject call and even switch to private talk by double clicking the button during a call.

In my testing the microphone picked me up fine and sounded good to my callers. It was handy to adjust the caller volume with the audio control on my steering wheel.  My vehicle has a hands free system already in it, so I had to un-pair from my car during the test but surprisingly the quality seemed as good as my in car system.

This device is made by the HisGadget team under their iClever brand. Priced at an amazing $35.99  with Amazon Prime free shipping, you really cannot beat the price and for the quality their is no need to go out and buy the more expensive units on the market

With this review they also sent over a ICLEVER® 4.2A/21W Car Charger price @ $9.99 with Prime shipping at Amazon.  The USB charger worked as advertised and charged a variety of devices without fail.

Be sure to check out their full line of products at HisGadget.com


xPrintServer iPad & iPhone Printing Review

xprintThe xPrintServer Home Edition from Lantronix makes iPad & iPhone Printing easy without disrupting printing with your computer. The XPrintServer Home Edition is a  device that simply connects to between your USB Printer Port and your Wireless Switch.

When I see devices come in for review that claim to be easy to setup, I want to make sure it does just that. The xPrintServer came with a Quick Start Guide, the xPrintServer not much bigger than a deck of cards, power cable, and Ethernet cable.

As instructed I connected my printers USB cable to the xPrintServer, connected the network cable to my wireless switch and powered it up.

It took about 60 seconds for everything to sync up, and then the X on top of the device started blinking slowly indicating it was ready to print.  My printer was on their compatible printer list and it had no problem connecting up. I had read that even printers not on the list can be made to work you just need to talk with their support team.

On my iPad I loaded a photo an from the printer option windows chose my now networked usb printer. Clicked print and the image printed fine. I then proceeded to print some Google docs, web pages and various other apps that had a print function which all turned out great.

I had to re-add my printers on my computers though so be aware of this,  the Macs where simple,  if you are using windows you have to install the Bonjour Print Services which was a bit of a pain, but once loaded it detected the networked printer and added it.  For those of you that do not already have a networked printer, this is a great way to get a older USB only based printer to be available on the network versus printing through a dedicated computer via a share.  I had no issues with the device and the whole process took about 10 minutes to have all devices, and existing computers to be able to print through the xPrintServer.

One thing I was not able to test was with a multi-function computer. The existing multi-function printer I already have is a wifi based connected printer that was too far away from the network switch to do a test. Priced at $99.95 from Lantronix this is a great device to make printing available to iOS devices on those USB printers you have in your home.

Evutec Kevlar iPhone 6 Case

evutecWith Bendgate on everyone’s mind everyone is taking a lot closer look at the quality of the cases they buy.   So when I saw that the folks at Evutec have came out with a case embedded with Kevlar fibers I knew they where on to something big.  The Karbon S Series cases are slim yet tough as nails an yet stylish. They come in 4 different colors that are visibly lined with Dupont™ Kevlar®.

When I look at cases today for the iPhone 6 series I look for durability, in the dozen or so cases I have looked at the Evutec line strikes the best balance of toughness and style. Priced at $39.95 they are a little more than other iPhone 6 cases, but in my opinion you are getting your moneys worth.

Be sure to check out their full line of cases @ Evutec.com

Sennheiser has New Portable Speakerphones

Sennheiser SP 20 SpeakerphoneThe Sennheiser Speakerphone Series features portable, stylish, speakerphones that can easily be used by business professionals who need to attend online conferences. It can also be used for personal communication. Each speakerphone comes with its own protective carrying pouch. Plug it into your computer and you are ready for a conference call.

The SP 10 and the SP 20 enable business professionals to easily make personal or small group conference calls. Each model features “plug in and talk” simplicity. The SP 10 connects to the PC/softphone. The SP 20 connects to the PC/softphone via a USB cable, or to a mobile phone or tablet via a 3.5 mm jack plug. The SP 20/20 version lets call participants connect via mobile phone and PC.

Both speakerphones use Sennheiser’s high definition sound quality, voice clarity, and echo cancellation. The “dual talk” button lets users interrupt a conversation more naturally. Together, these features ensure better call interactions.

The interface on the speakerphones is intuitive. There are buttons that you can use to control the volume and to mute the mic. It gives you “hands free” control. When you aren’t on a conference call, the speakerphones can be used to play music.

The Sennheiser Speakerphone Series is compatible with all UC providers. They are also optimized for Microsoft Lync on both Microsoft Windows and Mac. They are also compatible for use with UC providers like Avaya, IBM, and Cisco. Both speakerphones are available now. The SP 10 is $179.95 and the SP 20 is $199.95.

Sorenson Squeeze Desktop 10 Review

I have used Sorenson Squeeze for a number of years and the upgrade to Version 10 takes the software that was a little rough around the edges from a GUI standpoint and really ups the game.. What is already a world class video encoder, media processing application has really been refined. They have loaded this version with a lot of new features I get into later. For those of you looking at this product as a production solution there are many compelling reasons to upgrade and or purchase the software.

What I love most about this software is that it is simple to operate,  upon install you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. But as you dive into the feature sets and possible customizations / job processing you will soon realize how powerful the application really is as a complete end to end solution.

Sorenson Squeeze 10 is a professional encoding product that can be used by a non-pro. Encoding with Sorenson Squeeze is simple, you select a source video or audio file.  Then choose encoding presets or per-configured global setting  and click “Squeeze it”. Want multiple versions of your media encoded in different resolutions, no problem just queue up the encodes you want and walk away.

sorensonOne of the use cases for me is taking a 720p .mp4 media file and using the encoder to convert it to 720p .webm format, it does a beautiful job and my master video quality is maintained. The number of conversion formats that Sorenson Squeeze supports is incredible, I really don’t think they miss anything.  For the full list review their website. Each of these supported formats have a selection of per-programed presets tested by the Sorenson team for best results.. Want a YouTube optimized video encode just pick the preset. They make it easy for you to get you up and running very quickly. If you do not like one of preset parameters, you can clone and change or add a preset and customize your own encode.

The Preference menu in Sorenson Squeeze 10 allows you to setup all the standard settings, export locations, VST plugins, set system loading parameters. GPU qualification etc. With Sorenson Squeeze 10 you can apply filters like watermarks, time-code, converting color to black and white, noise removal to name just a few. Within the preview window you can crop the video, select in and out points.

The GPU integration allows to use CUDA supported video cards, to encode media with the GPU on select presets at a much higher rate than using the CPU alone..

sorenson2Version 10 now comes in three version Lite, Standard & Pro with slight feature deltas between versions. There is cost delta between the three so review the options you will need carefully. Their is also upgrade paths for existing customers.

New Codec support includes the new  HEVC/x265  High Efficiency Video Coding,  also new now you can encode and decode with the VP9 codec. New is also Multi-Rate bundle encoding feature that lets setup one preset to output up to 4 presets with one click. Automatically packages files for Apple HLS, Adobe Dynamic Streaming, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, MPEG DASH, and MP4 downloads by only encoding each data rate once and then packaging everything into multiple formats.

Another new feature is the ability to link closed caption files with your media. Squeeze also now supports 4k

sorenson3As in past versions you can automatically push media that has been encoded to content delivery networks like Amazon S3, Akamai, YouTube or a FTP site you customize. If you are working for a client Squeeze also has a notification and review feature that allows automated emails with review and approval forms included to speed up your media production.

One thing I like is that I can take a production quality video recording from Wirecast or my Tricaster and I can import the raw master.  I can then set the in and out points on the video and very quickly encode a full show or break out some highlight segments.

Squeeze 10 can also be used to capture video. It worked with my digital video camera and few other devices, but I could not get it to work with my Black Magic Design Video card.

The option I like the best, is that it has some automated features that you can setup to watch a folder. As soon as the media is put in the folder squeeze will start encoding media based on what you have set in your Global Job Settings. What this allows you to do is produce your master recording in your favorite video editing program and as soon as it is finished squeeze will start building the additional media files automatically that you have designated. With the auto publish feature it will then upload to your cdn etc.

Lets talk about cost.. The pro version brings you an incredible feature set that you will want, I looked at both the lite version and the standard version but really knew I would need the HEVC/x265 encoder. This alone was worth the price of the product. The Lite version is $199, Standard $549, Pro $749. While the pro price may scare you this is a nuts to bolts video encoder that is going to save you a ton of time. Automated Uploading to you CDN or YouTube, Automated processing of watch folders, review and approval management, CC support, VP9 the list goes on. Sorenson Squeeze 10 is a serious piece of my software arsenal.

GNC #993 Net Neutrality

Lot’s to share, trip to Michigan, solar going on the roof, massive GoDaddy month in October.. Plus a ton of tech news to comment and get caught up on.. Plus my reactions to the iPhone 6+

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Raise App Makes Exchanging Gift Cards Easy

Raise app photoGift cards are the “go-to” gift for friends and family. Pick a store, choose how much you want to put on the card – and you have an instant gift. Sometimes, despite the best intentions, people get “stuck” with a gift card for a store that doesn’t match their personal tastes or style. Raise has launched a brand new app that will make it easy for you to exchange an unwanted gift card for one that you will like better.

Raise.com has a gift card marketplace that you can browse from their website. They recently launched an iOS app that is an extension of the full Raise.com marketplace. (There isn’t an Android version of the app at this time). Now, you can exchange gift cards on-the-go. You can also use the app to buy a gift card while you wait in line to make a purchase at a “brick and mortar” store.

Use the Raise app to find a gift card from thousands of brands and stores. Sellers list their gift cards at a discounted price, and this enables users to purchase them at a discounted price. Raise does not charge sales tax, shipping costs, or processing fees. The price you see is the price you will pay for the gift card.

It takes 3 – 14 business days for a physical gift card to be delivered. An eGift card can be delivered to your Raise account within the hour. (It might take up to 24 hours if further verification is needed.)

Want to use the Raise app to sell a gift card? They accept gift cards from any brand, retailer, or restaurant. Physical gift cards must have a minimum of $10.00 on them. The eGift cards must have a minimum balance of $1.00 on them. You can sell a partially used gift card.

If your gift card sells, Raise will deduct a 15% commission from the selling price. Physical gift cards will also have either $1.00 or 1% of the value deducted (whichever is greater). Electronic gift cards won’t have any additional fees added (beyond the 15% commission). None of this happens until and unless your gift card sells. There is no charge placed upon gift cards that do not sell.

At this time, Raise does not support international transactions. The app (and the Raise marketplace) is useful for those who live in the United States. There is potential for that to expand in the future.

Overall, it seems to me that the Raise app provides people with a hassle-free way of exchanging an unwanted gift card without requiring them to stand in a “returns” line at the store the gift card was from. It also provides a unique way for people to buy a gift card, at a discount price, while they are shopping. A gift card on Raise could cost less than buying one from the store itself.

Robot Underpants: 11.12.14 (177) “Probing Kim K’s Assteroid”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, “Starman” Michael Gaines and Kathy Hopkins bring you this week’s riveting recap including topics like: Kim Kardashian’s ass, Comet probing, Interstellar, DARPA flying aircraft carriers, Aunt May movie news, Cosby memes, KKK loves everyone, and more!

* Comet Probe Guy Boobs 
*Kim K Breaks the Internet
* DARPA Flying Aircraft Carriers

* Spiderman without Spiderman
* Bill Cosby Fail
* KKK Opens to Ethnic Groups
* Evil Dead TV Series
*Thrift Store Art

Devolo Launches Gigabit Powerline with 11ac WiFi

Devolo LogoPowerline networking is a great way to spread data connectivity around a home via electrical sockets instead of Ethernet, and today Devolo announced the UK availability of its first gigabit Powerline adaptor with built-in 11ac WiFi: the dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac. The gigabit speeds make it perfect for households that stream 4K and 3D content to multiple wired and wireless devices.

At 1200 Mb/s, the dLAN 1200+ more than doubles the speed of the previous generation 500 Mb/s Devolo dLAN WiFi adapters. The new high speed adaptor features two gigabit Ethernet ports allowing users to hardwire multiple devices to one unit, from games consoles to NAS home servers, while the adaptor is also a wireless access point for laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Borrowing techniques from the wireless industry, the gigabit speeds are achieved using MIMO technology (Multiple Input Multiple Output) which simultaneously uses the live, neutral and earth connectors in the electrical cable. On the WiFi side, the dLAN adaptor uses both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies which is great if the lower frequency channels are busy. Transmission rates are 300 Mb/s on the 2.4 GHz band and 867 Mb/s on 5 GHz.

Devolo dLAN 1200 plus WiFi ac_productpicture_classic_sgl_uk_print_01

Heiko Harbers, CEO of devolo AG said:  “We have launched the dLAN 1200 WiFi ac to accommodate the multiple internet compatible devices people have in their homes today, and in response to the increasingly widespread availability of superfast broadband. All connected devices can now work to their full potential regardless of where they are located in the house. We placed particular emphasis on easy installation when designing the 1200 WiFi ac including the ability to establish a WiFi connection at the push of a button.

The dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is fully compatible with previous Devolo products from the dLAN 200 onwards and all Powerline adapters that comply with the HomePlug AV(2) standard.

Available now, the dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac is available to order online with a starter kit priced at GB£159.99. A single dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac adapter to expand an existing dLAN Powerline network costs GB£109.99 RRP.