DJI Drones Banned #1218



The US Army has banned the use and purchase of all DJI Drones. Something is big time amiss and the Army is not saying why. Makes you wonder if DJI Drones are calling home to mama with snaps, audio and or GPS position which would be really bad information to be sharing with a Chinese Company.

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1More E1001 Triple Driver Earbuds



As I unpacked the box for the 1More E1001 triple driver headphones, I realised that there was good chance that these earbuds might be something a little bit special given both the attention to detail on the packaging and the price at just under GB£100. Was I disappointed? Let’s take a look and find out.

Starting with the E1001’s box, it’s designed to look like a much-loved hardback book, with detailing on three sides to give the impression of pages. Held shut by a magnetic catch, opening the outer cover reveals pencil-drawn draughts of the headphones construction. On the right are the earbuds, and lifting the tray reveals accessories in neat boxes.

The largest box holds additional eartips for the E1001s. In total, there are six sizes of silicon earbuds going from 10 mm up to 14.5 mm, plus three sizes of foam tips at 11, 13 and 14.5 mm sizes. With having a range of sizes, swapping based on use is realistic: one size for listening at home on the sofa and a larger size for walking in the park.

Other boxes contained instructions, a pleather case for the headphones, an aircraft adaptor and a clip for holding the cable in place. The clip does make a big difference when using the E1001s on a call as otherwise the microphone picks up too much background noise. Both the adaptor and the clip are finished in brush gold effect.

Returning to the headphones themselves, the body of the earbud is made entirely from metal; there’s no plastic here.  With two contrasting colours on the earbuds – soft gold and blue grey – the E1001s live up to expectations with a lovely finish. If gold’s not your colour, there’s a silver version to lower the bling level. The earbuds point forwards slightly and I had no problems with comfort and fit.

The cables running from the earbuds are equal length, and the right side has an inline control for volume, next track and taking calls. The control sticks with the grey and gold colouring. 1More keep it simple when it comes to the control – don’t expect to be able to manage two calls or anything fancy, but it does work on both iOS and Android. The lower part of the cable is braided and ends in TRRS 3.5mm jack. The total length is about 1.2 m from jack to earbud.

With the physical review completed, let’s move onto the important bit….what do they sound like? In one word, stunning. Tuned by a Grammy-award winning sound engineer, Luca Bignardi, they deliver an accurate listening experience which is frankly wasted on smartphones and mp3s. I hooked up the E1001s to a Yamaha amp with Pioneer CD source and listened to albums all over again. I particularly enjoyed listening to acoustic tracks, especially R&B like Keb’ Mo’ where you can hear every slap of the guitar, every nuance in the vocals, every thump of the bass. There’s tremendous clarity and detail in the sound coming out of these earbuds and the triple drivers deliver where it’s needed. Unless I’m going to the gym, these are my current favourites for listening.

Priced at GB£99.99 and US$99.99, these aren’t cheap but in terms of bang for buck, the E1001s are great value. If you are interested in buying from the UK, there’s currently a coupon on the website to get 20% off, which is an even better deal. When you consider 1More released its first headphones in 2015, it’s astonishing that it’s now producing earbuds of this quality in 2017: the established players in this market should be concerned.

Thanks to 1More for providing the E1001 triple driver headphones for review. Unboxing video below.


Unboxing and Review: iXCC Stand for Apple Watch



iXCC StandEarlier this year, I bought a refurbished Apple Watch Series 2 from the online Apple Store. It’s a cool device. But it shipped with the bare essentials, including the watch, a small manual, and a magnetic battery charger.

That meant that, when I needed to charge my Apple Watch, I had to set it on a table like this:

Apple Watch on table

And doing that technically works. But it’s kind of an inelegant solution. It also looks just plain awkward. That’s why I was excited to receive an iXCC Stand for Apple Watch. The manufacturer of the stand recently sent me a review model in exchange for posting my thoughts on the device here at Geek News Central.

The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch works with both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches (I have the 42mm version). The iXCC Stand comes in a white box that contains the stand and a small booklet that shows how you can connect with the manufacturer online, if needed.

iXCC Stand original box iXCC Stand and booklet iXCC Stand and bookletUsing the iXCC Stand for Apple Watch is a straightforward process. The stand itself doesn’t have any built-in electronics. Instead, the stand has a path molded into its design that allows you to run the Apple Watch’s stock magnetic charger thru the stand, with the magnet at the top. This diagram from the back of the box tells you everything you need to know:

iXCC Stand Diagram

It takes a little time and effort to get the magnetic adapter cable to slide into place. But once it’s in, it’s good and doesn’t feel like it’s just going to fall out of place. When that’s done, all that’s left to do is to place the Apple Watch onto the stand. Tuck the lower part of the watch band underneath the head of the stand, and the Apple Watch easily magnetizes to the charging adapter.

iXCC Apple Watch charging

That looks a lot better than just resting the watch on the table! I know for sure the watch is charging because the charging indicator is lit on the watch, and the watch also made its signature charging tone when I placed it onto the stand.

The only negative I’ve found with the design of this stand is that, when you go to remove the watch from the stand, the magnetic adapter slightly pops out of the stand. But it’s easy enough to just push it back in. Also, it might be possible to alleviate this condition by placing some pressure down onto the stand next to the watch with one hand while removing the watch from the stand with the other.

Overall, I’ve found this to be a simple and effective stand for charging and displaying my Apple Watch when the watch isn’t in use. The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch retails for $7.99 at Amazon and other online retailers.


Privacy for Movie Tickets #1217



Your Privacy for Movie Tickets is what Verizon is promoting at the moment. With campaign details that are nothing short of mind blowing you to can sell your soul and user information to all of Verizon’s partners by simply getting some free movie tickets. You are the product when you allow Verizon to track what you do online. This is exactly why we needed net neutrality.

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Apple Sold Out to China #1216



Apple Sold out to China in a very big way by bowing to them to remove VPN apps from the Chinese App Store. Shame on Apple and we know now it’s all about the money. There is no principal left, nor is there any fight left to support the good of common man. Very sad day. I have a solid line-up of news tonight so hold on tight as I have a list of major revelations.

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Samsung DeX



The Samsung DeX Station converts a Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphone into a desktop computer. Plop the S8 in the DeX, plug in a keyboard and mouse, hook up a TV, and you’re set with Android on the big screen. That’s the theory, what about in practice? Let’s take a look.

The DeX hardware is circular device, about 10 cm across, with a top surface that sweeps smoothly back and up to reveal the USB C connector for the smartphone.

Around the base are two USB 2 ports, a full-size HDMI socket, a 100 Mb/s network connector and a USB C for powering the DeX.

Getting setup is simplicity itself. Connect all the hardware up and slot the phone in. There’s no additional software to add as it’s all built-in to the S8 and the DeX itself. I used a wireless keyboard and mouse combo connecting to a USB transmitter. The TV connected to the HDMI port with a cable and I used the WiFi on the S8 for networking.

When the S8 is placed in the DeX, a prompt appears asking whether to start DeX or to only mirror the S8 screen. Choosing the former gets the DeX desktop in its full HD glory and it looks convincing. But what’s it really like?

  

Let’s start with the positives…the DeX desktop is what you’d expect an Android desktop to be like, using familiar apps in a windowed world. It’s fast and all the apps on the phone are available through DeX. Google Maps works and it’s perfect for YouTube and web browsing. Samsung promotes DeX-optimised apps via its app store.

  

But while many apps seemed to be quite happy with DeX and run in both full screen and windowed modes, some apps don’t like DeX and display as if they are on the S8 in portrait. This is frustrating and while this could be expected for games like Monument Valley, it seems odd that Netflix can’t cope – surely this would be seen as a “must have” by Samsung? Some apps don’t have all the necessary controls either – it’s tricky to pinch-to-zoom with only a mouse pointer.

  

Of course, games players and movie watchers aren’t the target audience for DeX. Samsung see this as a tool for business and promote the benefits of Microsoft apps and Office365 in the literature. For example, instead of a lugging a laptop for a presentation, take DeX, plug it into the data projector and you’re sorted. Need to do a quick bit of editing? Steal a desk, connect up DeX, fire up Word and you’re working.

Where DeX also scores well is with VDIs (Virtual Desktop Infrastructures) like Citrix. Connect through to your office backend to run a virtual Windows PC and you can be working as if you are at your own desk. From that point of view, it’s slick. While DeX isn’t going to replace a laptop on an extended business trip, it makes sense for a short visit when you want to travel light.

Pricewise, the DeX station has an RRP of GB£129, though it’s already discounted by £40 in several online stores. It’s still a percentage on top of the S8 and S8+.

Overall, DeX does what it sets out to do and the key question here is not about the technology. It’s whether Samsung’s vision and the DeX Station match your way of working. YMMV, as they say.


Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Free Weekend with Xbox Live Gold



All Xbox Live Gold members can enjoy Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The Ultimate Evil Edition for free as part of Xbox Live Gold Free Play Days. In order to take advantage of this offer, you must be an Xbox Live Gold member.

It’s being called a “Free Weekend”, but the offer actually lasts a total of 5 days. It started on Thursday, July 27, 2017, and will continue through Monday, July 31, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One markets will get a special opportunity to fight back against the hordes of evil. During this time you can also purchase Diablo III: Eternal Collection, the latest version of Diablo III that includes the new Necromancer class and all content from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, from the Xbox Store at 35% off to continue playing after Xbox Live Gold’s Free Play Days concludes.

If you give the game a try, and later decide to come back to it, your saved progress and earned achievements will remain. In other words, you won’t lose the progress you made.

The Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition contains both Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion set, together in one volume. You can choose to play as a Crusader, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Monk or Wizard. You can download Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition by clicking on the Gold Member area on the home dashboard or downloading directly from the Xbox Store.


TSA New Inspections #1215



The TSA is now going to be requiring you to empty more of your computer back out as it introduced new inspection techniques. So those of you that do not have TSA Pre you’re going to be standing in line longer and grabbing more empty bins. I am back in the normal show groove tonight and even go a little long, this one is packed full of tech goodness. Consider becoming a GNC Insider your contribution goes a long way.

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Implant Invasion? #1214



So what if your workplace offered up an implant that would get you into your computer and check out at lunch. Ready for the Implant Invasion? Lots to share tonight on a late starting show.

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