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


Tag: app

Remote Monitoring/Home Automation

Posted by tomwiles at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2012

For several years, there has been a small but dedicated group of people experimenting in the world of what has been dubbed home automation. Until now, this field has been fragmented with clunky, often expensive products that don’t integrate well and often make the consumer jump through multiple hoops to even get them to work.

In a recent article I talked about installing a Nest remote-controlled thermostat in my house. The Nest thermostat has so far proven to MORE than live up to the promises made by its manufacturer. The Nest thermostat was remarkably easy to install and makes it amazingly easy to remotely monitor and control my home heating/air conditioning system via iOS or my Android smartphone. Once installed, the Nest simply works. The Nest is worth every penny of its $249 dollar price tag.

Now that I’ve lived with the Nest a while, I’m more excited than ever about the possibilities of remote monitoring, remote control, and home automation.

What I want next is a remote camera system that works with the absolute ease of the Nest thermostat and Nest app combination. The ideal remote camera system would offer at least 4 network-connected weatherproof cameras along with a controller/app system that could be set up with the no-muss, no-fuss ease that the Nest thermostat offers. I want to be able to open an app on an iOS or Android device/smartphone and have my remote camera views simply show up, perhaps with the ability to pan, zoom and tilt individual cameras if I wished right from within the app. Furthermore I don’t want to have to worry about firewalls or port-forwarding to try to get past my home router or ISP firewall

I would also like to be able to use my iOS device or Android smartphone to be able to remotely monitor my refrigerator.

Now that most of us are equipped with smartphones, I see a huge opportunity for a company or companies to step into the home automation/remote monitoring arena and fill the void. The standard to meet revolves around ease-of-use.

Invoxia VoIP Desktop iPhone Dock

Posted by Andrew at 11:51 PM on January 18, 2012

Invoxia Logo

Todd talks with Eric from Invoxia about their latest office product, a stylish dock that converts iPhones and iPads into a VoIP desktop phone. Winner of a CES 2012 Showcase Engineering Award, it’s really quite stunning.

The NVX 610 can use Skype or a SIP telephony provider and control of the desktop phone is via an app on the iPhone which uses Bluetooth to communicate with the dock. The unit has built-in speakers, creating a hands-free phone and a music dock all in one.

Available on-line now for $599. Cool but pricey.

Invoxia nvx-610 Desktop Phone and iPhone Dock

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

Support our coverage sponsors:
Dropcam.com watch life High-Def streaming of your home or anywhere today!
Gazelle - Sell your Gadgets for Cash
25% off your order @ Godaddy.com: Promo Code go25off5
50% off new hosting plans with a free domain! Promo Code: 50host7
50% off 1st year of Business Website Builder & free domain Promo Code: 50wsb7
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today

Official CES Android App

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:08 PM on January 3, 2012

2012 International CES CES 2012 officially starts on Tuesday January 10 and runs through Friday January the 13th. CES started in 1967 with 200 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees it has grown 10 fold since them. It now has over 2,000 corporate members with booths in 17 different categories spread over 6 halls. If you are going and you have an Android phone I recommend you download the official CES Android app.

You can check the location of the various exhibitions that you plan to visit and then see their locations on the floor map. You can also add your own schedule to the app. It allows you to enter a title, time of event, location and notes. You can see who the keynote speaker is for each night and when and where they will be speaking. It also gives you a list of the various events and who will be speaking at them. Twitter set to the keyword CES is integrated within the application, so you can keep up with the latest CES news without having to leave the application. There is also a travel and hotel tab within the app which allows you to make hotel and flight reservations. You can also check the various shuttle and monorail schedules and routes.

There are some problems with this app. If I was going to CES I would want to be able to tap on an event and automatically add it to my schedule. You can’t do that with this app you have to add everything manually. Also the maps are view only, you can’t mark booths or add notes. You can’t add notes to events either. To add friends you have to exchange 6 digit code, which seems a little old fashion. Despite these problems I still think this is a valuable app if you are going to CES.  The app is also available on the iPhone and iPad.

Nest Remote-Controlled Learning Thermostat

Posted by tomwiles at 2:16 AM on January 1, 2012

As an over-the-road truck driver, I spend most of my time traveling. For many years, I have set my home thermostat when I’m away to 45 degrees in the winter and 95 degrees in the summer. The idea is to prevent frozen plumbing in the winter and to keep things from literally melting in the heat of the summer.

This system has worked quite well over the years, with one big drawback. When I do come home, it can take several hours to bring the house to a comfortable room temperature.

For the past couple of years I’ve been looking for a simple remote-controlled thermostat solution that would allow me to remotely change the temperature via the Internet at home several hours before getting home so that I come home to a comfortable house that is neither too hot nor too cold.

There are a number of Internet remote-controlled thermostats available, but none of them has excited me much. Most of them are downright clunky and require one to jump through a number of hoops just to get them to function.

Enter the Nest Learning Thermostat available at www.nest.com. The Nest thermostat is the brainchild of Tony Fadell, Founder and CEO of Nest. Mr. Fadell led the team that created the first 18 generations of the Apple iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone. The Apple design philosophy is clearly reflected in the simple, clever design of the Nest Learning Thermostat. Obvious care and incredible attention to detail went into the design of the Nest. Like Apple products, the Nest simply works. The Nest has a satisfying tactile feel to its build quality. A lot of thought also went in to the packaging, which results in a very Apple-like un-boxing experience.

The Nest can easily be remote-controlled via iOS and Android apps. The apps are tied to a user account the owner creates at www.nest.com. Once the apps are linked, it’s easy to bring up the app and view or change the Nest’s temperature setting. The design of the Nest allows it to easily sidestep typical ISP firewall issues. Again, the Nest design simply works without making the owner jump through a bunch of hoops.

The acid test was with my Mom, who just turned 87. While Mom has been using a computer and cell phone for a number of years, she questioned me as to whether she or Dad would be able to run the Nest. The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” Walk by, and the Nest’s display automatically lights up displaying the temperature setting. To raise the temperature, rotate the outside ring to right, and to lower the temperature, rotate the outside ring to the left.

More complex settings can easily be accessed by pushing the outside ring, very much like a mouse click, and rotating the ring to select various options.

If you are in the market for a remote-controlled learning thermostat that can help you cut down on your energy bills, I highly recommend the Nest Learning Thermostat.

My Tree Lot Finder: Find Your Perfect Christmas Tree

Posted by J Powers at 10:41 AM on November 30, 2011
My Tree Lot Finder

My Tree Lot Finder

Looking for that perfect holiday tree? The lots seem to pop up within 24 hours of Thanksgiving. But which one do you go to?

A new application has hit the Android market. My Tree Lot Finder ™ can help you find the best tree lots; those “Mom and Pop” lots that use quality trees for best selection. That way, you don’t have to search for hours to find that perfect tree.

The app helps you not only save time and money by locating the perfect tree, but also gives you care instructions for your new purchase. That way, if you are a N00b when it comes to trees, you don’t have to act like one.

“Have you ever headed out after dark to find that perfect tree?  Kids in tow?  The first lot you go to had nothing but dead and dried trees,” says Wayne Irving II, creator of My Tree Lot Finder. “ Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the next tree lot to you is?  So you are not driving further than you have to?”

You can search trees by Zipcode or just scour the map within the app. Target a lot and get driving directions. It will also let you know where the tree farms are and where the non-profit lots (like Boy Scouts, fund-raising lots, etc) are located.

Some lots also have other amenities, such as selling ornaments or if the tree farms have other cool events like hay or pony rides, if they also offer things like Yule logs, wreaths or more.

The application is only available for Android at this time. The parent company – Iconosys - is a member of the National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS).

GNC-2011-11-20 #723 Headed Out

Posted by geeknews at 12:16 AM on November 21, 2011

Rare Sunday night show, my wife’s father is really in bad shape, so my wife left for Okinawa with the boys today, and I head out with my daughter in the morning. next show will be from Salt Lake next week. No Thursday show. I cover all the developments on the show today..

Support our Show Sponsor:
10% off Get Found: Promo Code: Found5
25% off your order @ Godaddy.com: Promo Code go25off5
50% off new hosting plans with a free domain! Promo Code: 50host7
50% off 1st year of Business Website Builder & free domain Promo Code: 50wsb7
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today

Subscribe Today: Audio | Video | Mobile Video | iTunes | Zune
Download the Show File

Follow me on Google+
Follow @geeknews on Twitter
Geek News Central Facebook Page
Purchase GNC gear from the Ohana Store!
Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Links to articles covered in this Podcast on the GNC Show Notes Page [Click Here]

Credits:
Jack Ellis – Executive Producer
Mike Baine – Associate Producer

Move Over Siri, Make Way For Iris

Posted by tomwiles at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2011

Android users feeling a bit left out after the release of the iPhone 4s and its Siri personal voice assistance technology, listen up. There’s a new Android female voice assistant in town and her name is Iris. That’s right, Iris is Siri spelled backwards.

Like Siri, the Iris app for Android has a big blue button located at the bottom of the screen. A single tap brings up an on-screen microphone. Speaking near the phone it is possible to ask questions as well as to direct the Iris app to execute commands, such as to search for something, etc. The voice recognition is quite good, and Iris responds quickly. The heavy lifting for the voice to text recognition happens on the server end, as well as the artificial intelligence involved.

Iris for Android is currently free in the Android Marketplace and is named as Alpha software. Even though it is an Alpha version, I have found the app itself to be very stable. The Iris app is a small download.

Q: “What is a tire?”

A: “Tire (a rubber cover that protects the wheel of a vehicle and absorbs shock)

 

Q: “What is Android?”

A: “Android is a software platform for mobile devices powered by the Linux kernel, initially developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance”

 

Q: “Is Google good or evil?”

A: “Better not tell you now. Ask Lucy if it is.”

 

Q: “Ask Lucy if Google is good or evil.”

A: “They are not available right now, but I wiill ask them later.”

 

Q: “What is the capital of Romania?”

A: “Bucharest, the capital of Romania”

 

Q: “Is blogging real news?”

A: “Signs point to yes. Ask Dancing Alice if it is.”

 

Q: “Who is Dancing Alice?”

A: “They are sometimes a client on the Internet. I will search for it.”

 

Q: “Where do you live?”

A: “I live inside a computer. Where are you?”

 

Q: “What is your sex?”

A: “I am a female.”

 

Q: “Are you a female?”

A: “No”

So as you can see with this random set of admittedly somewhat off-the-wall questions, the answers can be varied.

Iris is not yet perfect, but this is an app that every Android phone owner should immediately download. It’s possible to waste hours on end interacting with Iris.

Neither Iris or Siri are quite up to the standards of their Star Trek counterparts, but the technology is getting there. The real world is never like it is in the movies or TV, but it’s clear that this type of voice recognition/artificial intelligence technology combo has a bright and useful future.

Yahoo Rolls Flickr into New Android Weather App

Posted by Alan at 3:50 PM on November 2, 2011

yahoo weather app

Yahoo is releasing a new weather app for Android and it looks like they have finally found a use for Flickr – not a profit from it, but a use for it, at least.  Yes, there are literally hundreds of weather apps for Android, and there’s a Flickr app as well, but Yahoo found a way to combine the two and make their new weather app stand out from the crowd.

The new app will pull pictures in based on a user’s location and the current conditions in that location.  In other words, if you are in New York City and it’s snowing, the Yahoo Weather app will search Flickr for a picture of NYC in the snow and use it as the background.  Of course every location won’t have pictures on Flickr for every condition, but Flickr is incredibly popular so you may be surprised by how close it can get.

For Flickr users who are concerend that their work may be used without permission, Yahoo promises to only use photos from members who have opted in via their Project Weather Group.  You can learn more, as well as download the app for free, from the Android Market.

Flickr Releases Photo Session and Android App

Posted by Alan at 5:17 PM on September 28, 2011

Flickr today announced two new releases – Photo Session and an app for Android devices.  While the Android app has been wanted by users for a long time, the Photo Session app came as a bit of a surprise and also a treat, especially for those who have family in far-flung locations that they want to browse photos with.

The more popular of the two releases is likely to be the Android app.  The app allows users to take pictures, edit them, and then forward them on to not just Flickr, but also other locations like Facebook and Twitter.  According to their announcement, “Browsing and navigating has been custom designed for Flickr to make use of maps, tags, and activity around your photos.”  It allows users to view comments and also go full-screen and set up and play slideshows.

Photo Session has been overshadowed in today’s news cycle thanks to anything Android being what the media takes and runs with.  It’s a cool release on it’s own though, as it allows users to view pictures, through a web browser, with friends and families who can be located anywhere in the world.  Once you create a new photo session you can send invitations to others.  In turn, you can all get together in real-time and view and discuss the shared photos.  When you move from one photo to the next it changes for all viewers in your session.

You can find the Android app in the Android Market and Photo Session at Flickr.  Both are free downloads.  Photo Session is only available in English and is still in beta.  You can see a preview video below.

Today’s Free Android App – PrinterShare

Posted by Alan at 1:42 PM on September 16, 2011

If you have never installed the Amazon App Store on your Android then let me give you one compelling reason why you should – every single day, 7 days a week, they give away a paid app for free.  Usually the apps are regularly priced in the $1-3 range and often they are games, but nobody says you have to download every one.  Sometimes you will find something you really want, and sometimes you didn’t know you wanted it until then because you hadn’t heard of it before.

Today’s free app is one of the better offerings I have seen from the “free app of the day”.  It’s called PrinterShare and it’s regularly priced at $12.95.  It allows you to print from your device to any network or PC-connected printer on your network via WiFi or Bluetooth.  With the PrintShare app installed on your computer you can even print from a remote location.

If you are interested then you better hurry, because the free app will change again at midnight.  You can read more about it and view screenshots over at Amazon.