Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

DesignMi Stands at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 4:25 PM on April 14, 2014

Over the years, I’ve seen lots of innovative ways to hold tablets and smartphones at just the right angle for viewing movies or reading tweets and DesignMi continues that tradition with a great range of stands for all tablets and smartphones, plus a couple of models only for the iPhone. I chat with Bhupesh about these solid UK-made stands.

DesignMi Tablet and Smartphone stands

Machined from aluminium, the stands use microsuction pads to both keep the stand stuck to the table and to hold the tablet on the stand. The larger MiStand has a magnetic ball joint that allows the tablet to be positioned at almost any angle and orientation. There’s a range of colours and the Gadget Show stand had exclusive gold- and platinum-plated versions. POA, as they say.

Platinum MiStand

For iPhone 5 owners, the MiDock is incorporates the Lightning connector so the phone can be charged and synced while in the dock. The stands are currently on pre-order for shipping in May 2014. The larger MiStand is £55 and the smaller MiStand Mini is £18. I’m tempted….

Boosty Your Broadband at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2014

Boosty BoxWhile many of us are fortunate enough to be served by fibre connections to our homes, many of us are still stuck on copper ADSL circuits with single digit download speeds. This isn’t great, especially with the rise of on-line gaming, movies-on-demand and second screening. Most of us have a another high speed data connection in our smartphone and this is where Boosty comes in, seamlessly adding a 3G / 4G mobile data connection to your home network.

I talk to Paul about how easy it is to add the box to your network and the accompanying service which lets you control who uses the mobile data and how much data is used. The Boosty box can use a WiFi connected smartphone or a 3G/4G USB dongle.

Boosty will be available in the next few weeks for £69.99 which includes the cost of the Boosty box plus a year’s subscription to the service. Pre-order at the Boosty site now.

DTS Gave Demo of DTS-HD Layered Audio on Mobile Device

Posted by JenThorpe at 9:46 PM on April 13, 2014

DTS Headphone X logoDTS is a premier audio solutions provider for high-definition entertainment experiences. They brought an exciting lineup of audio streaming innovations to NAB 2014. Many solutions were presented at NAB, including a first time ever showcase demo of DTS-HD Layered Audio on a mobile device.

The DTS-HD Layered Audio enables online services like Netflix, Watch ESPN and HBO Go to efficiently stream audio at various bit-rates from a single encode. This enables it to provide a better viewing experience.

The DTS Headphone: X allows mobile devices to turn any ordinary pair of headphones into an impressive personal surround sound system. One demo showed the DTX-HD Headphone: X streaming content via Microsoft Smooth Streaming from Windows Azure to castLabs media player on Android. Another demo showed the DTS-HD Headphone: X streaming content via HLS from Windows Azure to NexStreaming’s NexPlayer on an iOS device.

DTS-HD Headphone: X can also stream content via MPEG-DASH from Akamai CDN to castLabs media player on an Android device featuring DTS-HD Layered Audio seamless adaptive bit-rate scaling from a single encode. It’s very versatile!

D-Link DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Camera Review

Posted by geeknews at 4:25 PM on April 13, 2014

dlinkcameraIf you have been following this site for any length of time, you will know that I have reviewed a number of Wireless cameras. I also have a wired system in my studio, and home that I use for surveillance on top of commercial security products.

One area that I have not explored is setting up cameras to monitor some external locations not covered by my wired system.  One area I have wanted to monitored is my storage shed. So when D-Link sent me there new DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Network camera to review I thought this would be the best place to place it.

The quick install guide got me up and running in about 10 minutes, with it connected to my wireless network. After I configured it I moved the camera to my shed and mounted it with the included mounting base, plugged it in and went to look at the picture quality.

This is where I ran into a little trouble. The D-Link website requires that you enable Java on their camera viewing pages in order to view the camera. This in my opinion is a major detractor to viewing the camera on their website but after authorizing Java for their site only I was able to view it. The D-Link mobile app was a lot easier for local viewing but a bit more complicated for viewing when I am remote and I am sure will be where I view the camera the most.

Like many wireless cameras you can set it up to record to the cloud upon movement, it will also email you an activity alert. It has a Day and Night Mode, is outdoor ready with a weather proof case.  One thing that is unique to this camera is you can record video to a micro-sd card.  With 720p resolution you are going to be able to get high resolution recordings of any nefarious activity.

If you have a D-Link Cloud Router configuration of the camera can be done with a push of the button which ties into their full eco-system of products and services.

If you looking for a nice outdoor HD Wireless camera this unit priced at $179.99 is a nice choice and will serve your remote needs well.


Blackmagic Rolls Out a New Range of Ultra HD Products

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:11 PM on April 13, 2014

Blackmagic Design logoBlackmagic Design brought a whole new range of Ultra HD products to NAB 2014. It includes converters, routers, DeckLink cards and much more. Here is a quick look at some of the new products from Blackmagic.

Blackmagic URSA Camera is the world’s first user upgradable 4K digital film camera. Its DOP station has a 10 inch fold out on set monitor and separate 5 inch screen for settings, camera status, and scopes. It includes an upgradable Super 35 4K image sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI connections, XLR audio inputs with phantom power and dual Cfast based RAW and ProRes recorders.

DaVinci Resolve has had over 70 new editing features upgraded and added. This includes the dual monitor support, dynamic JKL trimming, audio crossfades, and a fully customizable keyboard for faster editing. The color correction features have been upgraded. Apple Final Cut Pro X is part of the enhanced editing features.

Blackmagic Studio Camera features a very large and bright 10 inch viewfinder, built in 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, balanced XLR phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections. There are two models of this camera to choose from: the Blackmagic Studio Camera (which is an HD model) and the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K.

Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner supports real time scanning of both 35mm and 16mm negative and positive film and it diffuses the patented Cintel diffuse light source to reduce dust pickup. It features Thunderbolt 2, which allows you to plug it in and run the control software on a Mac.

The Blackmagic Mini Converters are upgrades that replace the old models. The new models are Mini Converter SDI to HDMI 4K, Mini Converter HDMI to SDI 4K, Mini Converter SDI to Analog 4K, and Mini Converter SDI Distribution 4K.

iRig Mic Cast Review

Posted by geeknews at 3:08 PM on April 13, 2014

irigmicastAfter reviewing the iRig Mic which includes a full sized microphone. I really did not know what to expect in Audio quality from the iRig Mic Cast for the iPhone/iPod/iPad & most Android Devices. But knowing what the IK Multimedia folks had accomplished with the iRig Mic my expectations where high.

I attend a lot of conferences where  like to record the speakers, the biggest challenge when recording with the iPhone is to eliminate background noise or actually for the recording to be loud enough to hear it on playback. So this is where I really wanted to see if the iRig iMic Cast can help out.`

The iRig Mic Cast comes with a stand & microphone. The Microphone has two settings Low and High you can also plug in a headset to the microphone to get real time monitoring.

I did a test recording with the iPhone then connected the iRig Mic Cast and repeated, the iRig sound quality was cleaner, and 2 to 3 times louder. I ran the mic on the high setting and would only likely go to the low setting during one to one interviews.

I did offset testing as well, where I was about 10-15 feet away from the rig and it picked my voice up fine. The mic records equally well on both sides of the mic. The included stand makes it easy to have it set on a desk or table and will come in handy during panel recordings.

This setup is perfect for conferences, training, and one on one interviews. In a interview situation I would hold the iPhone and position the mic appropriately. I have tested other similar mics for the iPhone, and it works as well as others I have reviewed. The $39.99 price point is perfect for a solution that you can literally carry around in your pocket.

iRig Mic / iRecorder Review

Posted by geeknews at 2:40 PM on April 13, 2014

irigOver the past 10 years I have reviewed over 50 microphones across all price points. So when Don Baine and I stumbled across the iRig® Mic for iPhone, iPad & compatible with most Android phones at CES I really wanted to put the microphone to the test..

The true beauty of this setup is that you can have a podcast studio that you carry around in your backpack for $59.99 be up and running in literally a minute or less.

The iRig Mic is the first condenser mic for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. While there are plenty of dynamic mics out there this mic raises the quality bar for mobile device recording. Personally I have never been able to get the vocal range out of dynamic mics. and have always used condenser mics in my studio.

I am quit critical when it comes to microphones, and I judge a microphones performance on isolation, sound quality, low noise and build quality.

  • Let’s start with isolation, like any condenser mic you have to understand that the mic is actively amplifying what comes into the mic so using this mic in a heavy noise area will result in background noise. But for the price point they have done a great job with isolation.
  • The sound quality was much better than I expected, and comes with 3 level gain settings with the best results mid-range. On the highest amplification setting the mic was susceptible to white noise, and in my testing you will want to stay away from the highest amplification setting.
  • Noise level: Every microphone has what I call a sweet spot in the distance your mouth  should be from the mic. This mic seemed in my testing to have a sweet spot of about three inches. They appear to have some foam or other material inside the mic capsule which will help if this mic is used outdoors to reduce noise that will be picked up with wind. It will be important for the person using the mic to do a test recording and find the best configuration for the mic in position and amplification settings.
  • Build quality the mic is solid, has good weight to it. The body and capsule of the mic appear to be made of aluminum and it has a smooth finish which is very nice to the touch. My only concern was the cable I would not swing this mic by the cable like some rockers do.

It is critical that you utilize the iOS iRig Recorder software for the real time monitoring, most other iOS recording apps will work but you will not get the real time monitoring.  The iRig Recorder software was very simple to use, and great for podcasters if you are going to want to have greater control over effects you will want to download the VocalLive app versus the iRig Recorder.  

I like the iRig recorder because its just simple to use, and perfect for spoken word. It has a mini editing package to trim the media file, and some processing tools to optimize the recording. You can optimize tone, cleanup, brighten voice, smooth voice and even tools to preview what the audio will sound like before you apply it. You can even apply a pitch shift which I thought was a nice touch.

The price point of $59.99 is really hard to beat for what you get with the package. Mic, Mic Holder for a mic stand, and cable with dual mini jack.

LiveU featured LU500, LiveU Central, and LU-Smart HD App at NAB

Posted by JenThorpe at 2:36 AM on April 13, 2014

LiveU logoLiveU is the leader in portable live video acquisition, contribution, and management solutions. LiveU featured three new products at NAB 2014. They are the LU500, LiveU Central, and the LU-Smart HD app.

LiveU Central is a cloud-based management system. It has been designed to be a one-stop destination through which you can control, monitor, and manage all of your LiveU units, servers, apps, and user profiles. You can access LiveU Central through any browser on any computer, tablet, or phone from anywhere in the world.

The LU-Smart HD app is a mobile app solution for video professionals. The app brings out LiveU’s bonded transmission technology to the iPhone or iPad. It combines Wi-Fi and cellular networks in order to reach optimal video quality. The LU-Smart HD app requires a “Smart-Activated” LiveU license including a LiveU receiving server.

The LU500 weighs only 2.2 pounds. It is small enough to fit inside a backpack and can also be camera-mounted. The LU500 offers excellent video transmission up to 14 network links including 6-8 internal modules with LiveU’s proprietary antenna technology. It can support LiveU batteries, Gold-Mount, or V-mount. More details are in the video below.

Ventuz and Blackmagic Presented 4K Graphics Solution at NAB

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:18 PM on April 11, 2014

Ventuz logoVentuz Technology is a company that makes a real-time graphics content creation, authorizing, and playout control software. Blackmagic Design is a manufacturer of creative video technology. The two have teamed up to create a new solution that can be used for 4K Ultra HD broadcasts.

Their solution was on display at NAB. It streams uncompressed 4K video from a HyperDeck Pro 4K SSD recorder or a 4K camera to the Ventuz real-time render engine via a DeckLink 4K Extreme capture and playout card. Ventuz layers channel branding graphics into the live video stream and immediately outputs it through the DeckLink 4K Extreme to a 4K display.

Together, they have created an affordable, off-the-shelf, streamlined solution for people who do on-air productions. The software/hardware integration enables live on-air broadcast graphics without pre-rendering.

GNC #940 What you need to know about HeartBleed!

Posted by geeknews at 9:55 PM on April 10, 2014

What you need to know about the HeartBleed SSL vulnerability sweeping the net and what you need to do as an Internet user. We give away the Amazon Fire TV to one of our Ohana!

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