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


Tag: IOS

HeartMath Inner Balance for iOS

Posted by Andrew at 6:46 PM on January 30, 2013

HeartMath LogoIt’s a brave man who attempts to find inner balance at CES, but Jamie gives it a go with HeartMath‘s forthcoming Inner Balance.

HeartMath’s Inner Balance combines an iPhone app with a heart rate sensor, providing a feedback loop that helps people control their heart rate, relax and relieve stress. The sensor gently attaches to the earlobe and measures heart rate variability. The app uses a breath pacer and graphical display of the heart rate to help the person concentrate and control their breathing and pulse rate.

The Inner Balance sensor will be available in February for $99 and the free app can be downloaded from the Apple AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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PhotoFast offers an easy solution for getting mobile pictures

Posted by Alan at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2013

These days everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times. Heck, it is not even just smartphones these days — as annoying as it sometimes seems, there are even people in front of you at events who are holding up iPads and snapping images. PhotoFast has a solution to the problem of saving those precious pictures, but it is only for iOS devices at this point.

In fact, PhotoFast has the only officially licensed Apple iOS flash drive on the market at this time. You can then plug the device right into your PC or Mac to grab the images or videos. It goes both ways too — you can also move images and videos from a computer to the iPad or iPhone. In addition, there is a dedicated app, AirPlay support, security and contact backup.

Sizes start at 8GB and range up from there, meaning prices also head up, with a starting point of $99 for the 8 GB model. It will be available through Amazon and a number of other retailers “shortly”.

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

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iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor at CES

Posted by Andrew at 6:15 PM on January 28, 2013

iHealth LogoJamie chats to Adam about the iHealth blood pressure monitor, an FDA-approved device that uses Bluetooth to transfer health data to a smartphone or tablet.

The new version  of the iHealth blood pressure monitor builds takes the original docking device and adds wireless data transfer using Bluetooth. The first version integrated with iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads but the Bluetooth feature expands the potential of the monitor to other smartphones and tablets. A cloud service complements the free app providing tracking and monitoring features and integration with other healthcare systems.

Aimed squarely at the home health market, there are two different models priced at $79 and $99, which is very affordable. Check out iHealth’s online store.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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Griffin MicConnect for iOS at CES 2013

Posted by Andrew at 5:51 AM on January 26, 2013

Griffin MicConnectJeffrey Powers goes all Pop Idol when he chats to Jackie from Griffin Technology about the newly announced MicConnect, which connects iOS devices to XLR mics with phantom power.

The Griffin MicConnect is a small brick adaptor with an XLR socket (input) on one side for the microphone and a 3.5 mm jack on the other to connect into an iPhone, iPod or iPad. A 3.5 mm socket provides for headphone monitoring of the sound source and for condenser mics, the unit takes two AA batteries to provide phantom power (48V).

(As an aside, I’m not 100% clear if this is iOS only – the 3.5 mm jack looks pretty standard and there’s no reference to special apps being required so if Android is your OS of choice, it might be worth contacting Griffin directly.)

Included in the interview is Griffin’s updated Mic Stand Mount, which is now compatible with all iPad models (not Mini), and unsurprisingly holds an iPad on a mic stand. Jeffrey reckons the MicConnect and the Mount are a great combo for the mobile podcaster. Pricing-wise, both the MicConnect and the Mount are $39.99 but the MicConnect won’t be available until June.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine for the TechPodcast Network.

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Pure Jongo at CES Unveiled

Posted by Andrew at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2013

Pure LogoAt this year’s CES, Pure launched Jongo, the world’s most affordable (and colourful) multi-room music system. Vicky tells Todd all about it.

The Jongo range will shortly include a couple of wireless speakers and a hi-fi adaptor, all with both Bluetooth and wi-fi built-in. Music can be streamed using the Pure Connect app via wi-fi to any speaker in range or else smartphones and tablets can stream music directly to the speakers using Bluetooth. Both Apple iOs and Android devices are supported and it uses the existing wi-fi infrastructure: there’s no need for special transmitters.

The S340B speaker will be available soon and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Price is listed as $229.
The stereo speaker (T640B) and the hi-fi adaptor (A140B) will be on-sale in the summer with MSRPs of $329 and $119, respectively.

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

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Amazon Introduces AutoRip

Posted by JenThorpe at 2:07 AM on January 15, 2013

AudioRip logo Amazon has introduced a brand new service called AutoRip. This is a very different way of looking at music storage. In short, it takes the CD that you purchased from Amazon and puts it into your Amazon Cloud Player. It also will make that album available on your PC or Mac, Kindle Fire, Android phone, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Right now, this service is only available to customers in the United States.

This is a rather unexpected move in a time when record companies are screaming about pirating and copyright. Perhaps they aren’t complaining about AutoRip because it only allows users to put CDs that they really have purchased into the Amazon Cloud Player? I’m not sure.

It is clear that gifts of CDs that your friends or family purchased for you from Amazon are not eligible for AutoRip. There is also this interesting piece of “fine print”:

Some record companies require us (Amazon) to insert identifiers in the metadata that accompanies music when you download it from the Amazon MP3 Store or Cloud Player. This includes the music you have purchased from Amazon.com and matched music imported to Cloud Player from your device.

These identifies may include a random number Amazon assigns to your order or copy, purchase date and time, an indicator that the music was downloaded from Amazon, codes that identify the album or song (the UPC and ISRC), Amazon’s digital signature, an identifier that can be used to determine whether the audio has been modified, and an indicator whether the music was purchased from the MP3 store or imported to the Cloud Player.

Look for the AutoRip icon in search results and CD detail pages to find out if it is one you can use with this new service. The MP3 versions of your past AutoRip eligible CD purchases are already available in the Cloud Player, where they are being stored for free. CDs that you purchased through Amazon, from as far back as 1998, are eligible for AutoRip.

Control your home theater with Zmart Remote for iOS, Android

Posted by Alan at 8:44 AM on January 11, 2013

There have been several hardware solutions over the past couple of years that turn your smartphone into a universal remote. I have previously looked at RedEye, which seems to no longer be available, but a new solution was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week — the Zmart Remote from Viatek.

This one involves a small device that you will need to plug into the micro-USB port on your phone. It works with both iPhone and Android. The company claims that “The setup takes less than a minute. Whether you are trying to choose which tv show to watch, need to pause the movie to pop some popcorn or even skip to your favorite song on a CD, now you can do all of this with just your smart phone.”

Setup of the RedEye was clunky and almost felt as if it required a computer science degree. Hopefully the newer technology will improve this process. The company claims it is capable of controlling 200,000 devices and 95 percent of those on the market. The ones it can’t control it can learn.

The package, including the app, will retail for $19.99 and can be purchased now.

Glympse Safely Lets You Share Your Location While Driving

Posted by JenThorpe at 2:38 PM on January 9, 2013

We have all had this happen at one time or another. You are in your car, driving towards you destination, and are running late. Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily let your co-workers know where you are at, without having to pick up your phone?

Glympse allows you to do exactly that. They have created the first location-sharing app for Ford Motor Company’s SYNC in-car connectivity system. It uses the AppLink interface. Drivers use simple voice commands to activate the app and send a Glympse to their worried co-workers or family members. Ford announced this at CES 2013.

It is very easy to use. Press the SYNC voice button on your steering wheel. Say “Send Glympse”. The app will talk you through the rest. You will need the Glympse app installed on an iOS or Android-based smartphone. Your car will automatically recognizes the app when your phone is Bluetooth-paired or USB-connected. You can send a Glympse to your friend’s email, mobile number, Facebook, or Twitter.

When your friend, or co-worker, gets a Glympse from you, it will show him exactly where you are at. He can monitor your vehicle’s process, and estimated time of arrival, via a real-time dynamic map. After the user-defined time limit expires, the location is no longer updated.

This article written @ GeekNewsCentral.com and if seen anyplace else has been illegally re-posted.

This Message Will Expire in Ten Seconds

Posted by JenThorpe at 1:30 AM on December 23, 2012

Poke AppFacebook has a new app called Poke. The name was inspired by the Facebook feature called Poke that has been a part of Facebook since 2004. The functionality of the app, however, is something that people are comparing to SnapChat.

If you log into your Facebook account you can select a friend to Poke. I’ve never entirely understood the purpose of this function, but I suspect it is used as a means to let someone you have “friended” … I suppose be reminded that you still exist and want to communicate with them. Whatever happened to a friendly message that starts with “hello”?

The Poke app, is not the same as the Poke feature in Facebook. The Facebook Poke app was released on December 21, 2012, and is a mobile app. Right now, it is only for iOS devices. One might assume that there could eventually be an Android version, (but there isn’t one right now). You can download it onto your iOS device for free.

The Poke app allows users to send a message, a photo, or a video to their Facebook friends who also are using the Poke app. Which, I suppose, can tell you which of your “friends” are using iOS mobile devices.

The message, photo, or video you send will last for a specific time that you set. You can have it appear for 1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, or 10 seconds. Your friend (or friends, as you can choose to send something to multiple users, or groups, at the same time), must press the screen and hold it in order to see the message you sent. After the time expires, the message disappears.

It is easy to see why Poke is being compared to SnapChat. There is some concern that people will use Poke to send messages, photos, and videos, that are of the “not safe for work” variety, (since it has been said that people use SnapChat specifically for that purpose). Facebook sort of acknowledges this potential. It says:

If you ever see something you’re uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it.

Buffalo MiniStation Air Review

Posted by Andrew at 5:58 PM on November 25, 2012

Buffalo LogoThe Buffalo MiniStation Air is “wireless streaming storage” for smartphones and tablets that provides 500 GB of extra space. Simply, it’s a 500 GB portable hard drive with wifi and complementary apps for Android and iOS. The idea is that the MiniStation Air connects to your PC or laptop via USB 3 and gets loaded up with stacks of music and video which can then be played via an app when out-and-about. It’s a great idea, but how does it stack up against “the cloud” and other solutions such as Pogoplug? Let’s find out.

Buffalo MiniStation Air Box

The MiniStation Air itself is a small black and grey unit, 130 x 84 x 23 mm. The top is a polished black surface with four pinprick status LEDs embedded in it and the sides and bottom are a silvery-grey with buttons and connectors on two of the sides.

Buffalo MiniStation Air

This is a USB 3.0 device which is immediately apparently from the shape of the connector. (Apologies for using stock photos but my own photos were all rubbish).

Buffalo MiniStation Air USB3

Connecting the MiniStation Air to the PC was simply a case of plugging it in with the device appearing as a removable drive. Copying media files took no time at all thanks to the USB 3 connection. It works with USB 2 as well, things just take a bit longer.

Once the Air is loaded up, it can be disconnected from the PC and then powered up on its own. At this point, the MiniStation Air is broadcasting a wifi signal (802.11n/g/b) and it’s easy to connect to it using the SSID and passkey details provided on the bottom of the Air.

Browsing the MiniStation Air

To get the MiniStation Air to work fully with smartphones and tablets, Buffalo provide an app for both Android and iOS which can be downloaded from the application app store. I was only able to test out the Android version, but once installed, it’s easy to browse the files and folders on the Air.

Music PlayerPlaying music or watching videos is just a case of tapping on the file. Photos and music are handled within the app, but videos are handed over to the default video player on the device. Movies started up within a couple of seconds (if that) and music started almost instantly. The music player is basic and as with many of these devices, doesn’t correctly pick up track tags, so albums are arranged alphabetically rather than in track order.

There isn’t a full “HD” app for the tablets, but there is some differentiation between tablets and smartphones. For example, on a tablet, pictures are previewed alongside the folder but this doesn’t happen on a smartphone, even when rotated to landscape. However, the four expanding arrows in the toolbar at the bottom shows that this isn’t a native tablet app.

Tablet Preview

The Edit part of the app allows files to be up- and downloaded from the MiniStation Air. It’s the usual check-box / select operation affair but for the small numbers of files that are likely to be transferred this way, it’s fine.

The Settings area provides access to the SSID and passkey plus other details such as hostname and workgroup. Nothing particularly unexpected here but the MiniStation Air has one last trick up its sleeve. The Air can be connected to another wifi network, preferably one that has a connection to the Internet. This means that although the smartphone is connected to the Air’s wifi, an onward connection to the Internet is provided for other queries or web surfing while listening to music. It’s pretty slick and very handy. It’s also something Buffalo should make a bit more obvious.

Performance-wise, it says that the Air can support eight simultaneous connections with three HD streams. I tested two HD simultaneous streams and it worked flawlessly. Battery life is claimed to be “up to 4 hours” and I wouldn’t disagree – I saw over three hours with a mix of video and music. The Air is powered and recharged via USB so it’s easy enough to hook it up for extended operation.

Any problems? Not really. A couple of wishes, though. First, a Windows / Mac app to use the MiniStation Air wirelessly would be good. Second, some kind of security on the device would be handy as being portable, it’s going to be awfully easy to lose. Finally, an SSD version with longer battery life but perhaps less storage would be interesting but probably too expensive to be considered.

Overall, the MiniStation Air is a good product that will appeal to those smartphone and tablet users who need more-than-average storage…much more than average. The Air is available now from all good retailers with a street price of £100-£120.

The MiniStation Air app was tested on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and a Motorola Xoom 2 ME tablet.

Thanks to Buffalo for the loan of the MiniStation Air.