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


Tag: Radio

Vertix Raptor Helmet Communicator

Posted by Andrew at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2012

Vertex Raptor II Helmet Communicator

Veteran biker, Andy “Hog” McCaskey, checks out Vertix‘s Raptor helmet communicator. Let’s roll!

Vertix Raptor-i is a Bluetooth-based helmet communication system that brings together phone, intercom, radio and music player functions into a single unit. It’s perfect for any activity where wearing a helmet is the norm including motorcycling, motorport and skiing.

A microphone and speaker are fitted inside the helmet and Raptor unit goes on the outside. The unit’s controls are designed to be operated with gloves on and a remote control will be available in a few month’s time. Noise-cancellation and auto-gain control to ensure that voices can be heard clearly even at speed.

For the intercom function, two Raptor units can be paired together so that rider and pillion can talk or two riding buddies can chat between bikes.

The MSRP for the Vertix Raptor-i is $160 and it’s available now.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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The Master Switch

Posted by tomwiles at 11:01 PM on May 7, 2011

Once in a while, a book comes along that contains ground-breaking insights.  Such is the case with a book I’ve listened to over the past couple of days, the Audible audio book version of ‘The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” by author Tim Wu.

“The Master Switch” is a compelling look into the history of major information industries such as the telegraph, the telephone, commercial broadcast radio, the commercial movie business, and commercial broadcast television. The book points out an identifiable, slowly-repeating cycle obviated by the fact that these industries were able to gain and hold monopoly status. Each in turn became quite adept at retarding disruptive technological innovations that threatened their respective business models.

Today we take an open Internet for granted, but these same and other forces are looking to take over control of the Internet and turn it into a closed, much more tightly-controlled system.

The book is extremely well written and well researched. The Audible audio book narrator Marc Vietor brings the book to life in a wonderful way.

Mr. Wu does a fantastic job of laying out the often-fascinating histories of companies such as Western Union, AT&T, NBC, etc. As consumers, we think we know these companies through their consumer advertising. The real history of these companies is often quite different and very eye opening.

If you enjoy stories about technology and business, you will almost certainly enjoy “The Master Switch” by Tim Wu.

Sony Debuts DAB+ Radios

Posted by Andrew at 12:36 AM on April 5, 2011

Sony has debuted two new DAB+ radios, the XDR-C706DBP clock radio and the XDR-S16DBP portable radio. Both radios can received DAB and FM broadcasts too.

DAB+ is an enhanced version of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), which is being rolled out in several European countries and Australia and the main difference between DAB and DAB+ is support for more efficient codecs such as AAC+ and MPEG Surround.

DAB+ is not currently used in the UK, though may be introduced in the future. The whole digital radio transition has been a bit of a debacle here with only about 25% take up since it was introduced in 1995. The high cost of the radios and little perceived benefit has been the main source of the problem and the current UK government has backed away from a previous commitment to turn off the FM transmissions in 2015.

As you’ll see from the pictures, both devices are stylish and I like the retro looks of the portable radio, though I can’t find any evidence that the “portable” radio runs off batteries – they’re not mentioned anywhere in the blurb.

The XDR-C706DBP clock radio is £59 and the XDR-S16DBP, £79. Available now.

 

Lookee TV Desktop WiFi Internet TV & Radio Player

Posted by tomwiles at 7:55 PM on January 21, 2011

Ted Aguirre talks about the three models of Lookee TV (www.lookeetv.com), a table-top model, a portable model, and a set-top box model that connects to a TV. Lookee TV devices retail for about $150 and are available right now. Lookee TV receives over 30,000 streaming radio stations and over 1,000 streaming TV channels. The company maintains its own strategically-located international content servers. All the content carried on the Lookee TV devices is free. Lookee TV devices are especially useful for international travelers who want to watch foreign television content or listen to streaming radio from other countries.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Etón and American Red Cross TurboDyne Gadgets

Posted by Andrew at 3:45 PM on January 9, 2011

As the Boy Scouts would say, “Be prepared” and the latest additions to Etón Corporation‘s American Red Cross TurboDyne series are a good step forwards for everyone.  Showcasing at CES, the Road Torq, Axis and Rover are all aimed at helping during those unexpected emergencies.

All the devices are self-powered through a hand crank which charges up the internal battery, so there’s never any worry about the batteries running out – just wind it up.

The Road Torq is a roadside assistance tool, with a spotlight and emergency beacon.  As you can see from the picture (left), it’s a little tripod with a hinged lamp so you can put it on the ground or your car roof and direct light where you need it.

The Rover is a combined AM / FM / NOAA radio, torch and USB phone charger. Shown right in the picture.

The Axis, centre, is the slightly bigger sister to the Rover. It too has a AM / FM / NOAA radio but comes with a digital tuner.  The torch is also present as is an additional flashing red lamp.  The Axis can be powered from multiple sources, including the crank, 3x AAA batteries and a DC input.  The USB phone charger is there too.

“Our long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross enables us to provide products that help our friends and families stay prepared for unexpected situations,” says Esmail Hozour, CEO of Etón Corporation. “Our new TurboDyne Series represents a new design and increased functionality, and we are proud to help support the efforts of the Red Cross with its introduction.”

I think this is a great little set of products for emergencies, so I’ll be picking up a Road Torq for the car and an Axis for the house as soon as I can. Available in black and white, and coming soon in 2011, a portion of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, but no price was announced.

Tune In

Posted by tomwiles at 11:56 PM on October 9, 2010

The most useful computer is the one in your pocket.

What really makes any computer useful is the software that you are able to run on it.

When I was a kid in the early 1960’s, one evening my Dad brought home a battery-operated AM transistor radio. I was immediately transfixed. That simple AM radio and I were inseparable. That was the start of my interest in technology and gadgets.

When podcasts came along, I stopped listening to conventional radio back in late 2004. Podcast listening is a much more efficient experience.

Can conventional radio listening be made into a more effective, efficient experience?

The answer? Yes it can. “Tune In” available for free from the Android Marketplace turns your phone into the most effective, amazing radio tuner/playback device you’ve never had.

Want to “Tune In” to local stations? Tune In knows where you are, thanks to your phone’s built-in GPS chip. You are instantly able to pick from all sorts of local radio station streams.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Want to listen to a particular song? Type a song or artist name into the search box, and Tune In will present you with a variety of stations currently playing that artist or song.

Select stations based on radio genre, music genre, or geographic location. In fact, find stations broadcasting from virtually anywhere in the world.

“Tune In” turns your Android phone into a powerful radio capable of searching and tuning in to thousands of conventional radio stations that are broadcasting from across the world.

“Tune In” certainly isn’t the first app to present streaming radio stations. However, “Tune In” does a great job of presenting streaming stations in a format that can capture one’s imagination on a truly portable pocket playback device that is connected to the world 24/7.

I can only imagine if I were a kid today and had access to a smartphone…

Microlink FR160

Posted by Alan at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2010

The Microlink FR160, from Eton, may be a niche product, but it’s indispensable in the right situations.  Which situations would that be?  There are two big ones that spring to mind.  One is if you live in an area where power outages are common.  Two is if you are heading out into the wilderness where there is no reliable cellular connection.

I have been eying it for the latter reason.  My son and I are avid hikers and frequently spend time in areas where cell towers are uncommon, to say the least.  With a hope of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2012, we will need a way of getting, at the least, weather updates wherever we are.  We need something small and light, since everything will be carried on our backs.  We need something that can be charged via solar, since batteries are weight and chargers don’t plug in when you’re in the wilderness.  And lastly, I need a way to charge my cell phone so I can let my wife know we’re alive on those occasions when we are in range of a connection.

So here’s what you get with the DR160:

  • Solar Charger
  • Hand Crank
  • AM/FM/NOAA Weather Band
  • USB Phone Charger
  • Flashlight
  • 2.5″ x 1.75″ x 5.25″ dimensions
  • 0.85 pounds weight

The keys here, for me, are the NOAA Weather band, Solar/hand crank chargers, USB phone charger, size and weight.  That’s everything you need on a trail or during a hurricane.  The flashlight is a bonus, and having an extra never hurts.

The best part is the price – $29.95 on Amazon.  Not bad, considering all of the options you get here.  And, for those who care about such things, it even comes in colors – green, blue, red, and black.

Soon we will be heading into Shenandoah National Park for a hiking and camping trip.  I know from experience that I have no cell connection there.  So, I am hoping to pick one of these up beforehand to test it out.  I have heard good things, but you never know for sure until you get your hands on the product personally.  If it fits in the pack and does what it claims then I will be a happy hiker.

Choosing Influences

Posted by tomwiles at 8:39 PM on July 2, 2010

So now that I’ve cut the cord with Dish Network, I’ve started digging deeper into the instant streaming material available on Netflix. It seems that most of the programs I would have watched on Discovery, TLC or History – the three channels I watched 99% of the time — are available as season DVD sets streaming via Netflix.

There are also plenty of season DVD’s of television programs available for streaming that I don’t have any interest in. Now that I’ve cut my Dish Network subscription, I realize that I was paying dearly for their presence even though I had no interest in watching them.

The bottom line is that I can only watch one show at a time. Having 200 plus channels available simultaneously seemed exciting, but the reality is that at least 97% of whatever was on at any given point didn’t appeal to me in any way. It’s crap looking to influence whoever it can reach out and grab.

With audio podcast listening, it allows me to choose my own influences. The IPTV revolution brings that powerful ability to choose my influences to television.

This revelation shouldn’t surprise me, because I’ve been here before. Back in late 2004 when I discovered podcasting, it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I was suddenly able to pick and choose audio content and consume it on my own terms. I could listen to exactly what I wanted, when I wanted to listen to it. Suddenly, instead of being at the mercy of having to listen to what was mostly crap programming on radio stations I happened to be driving by, I was able to turn that huge amount of listening time I had while driving into a tremendous benefit.

Broadcast television has been traditionally viewed as mindless entertainment. Like audio programming, television programming can easily be used in the same beneficial ways. Now that I’m forced to choose what to watch, I realize that what I choose to spend time watching will be much more personally beneficial.

Broadcast television is potentially detrimental and there’s no question in my mind that much of it is hypnotic. If a TV screen is present and turned on most people can’t help but periodically stare at it, even if the sound is turned down.

It has only been a bit over 24 hours since I cancelled my Dish Network subscription, and I’m already over the emotional separation. Who needs all of those less-than-useless channels?

Eton Emergency Radios CES 2010

Posted by geeknews at 9:03 AM on January 24, 2010

Eton Corp well known for their outdoor radios and gear has introduced a line of Hand Powered Emergency Radios which are Red Cross approved at a variety of price points. Everyone needs a radio in a emergency situation sadly most of us do not always have batteries in the house. So this line of stylish radios covering a variety of reception bands dependent on unit purchased is the perfect thing to have on hand when the lights go out or you need to pack up and move for a incoming storm.

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