Category Archives: Gadgets

Battle for Azeroth Pre-Patch Goes Live Soon



The upcoming World of Warcraft expansion is called Battle for Azeroth. It is going to launch on August 14, 2018, worldwide, at the same time. Before that happens, a pre-patch will go live. This is going to happen on July 17, 2018.

Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, points out that players will need to update their drivers for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.

To make the most of Battle for Azeroth and avoid potential issues, it’s important to update to the latest DirectX 12 drivers. Please note that AMD and the Intel GPUs will default to DX12, while NVIDIA drivers will remain at DX11 with the option to update at a later time.

Some of the new features of the pre-patch have been revealed. Others will be revealed later in the official patch notes (which, at the time I am writing this blog, is described as “coming soon”.)

Features that are arriving with the pre-patch include:

  • War Mode, PVP Talents, and More: War Mode tears down boundaries and server rule-set distinctions, allowing players on any realm to decide when they want to jump into a world PVP experience full of like-minded players in the ongoing battle between Horde and Alliance.
  • Legion PVP Post-Season:Join in the PVP action and earn some new gear just in time for the launch of the Battle for Azeroth.
  • World of Warcraft Communities: Bring your friends and family of the same faction together cross-realm through our new World of Warcraft Communities feature.

Get in the Spirits with PicoBrew’s PicoStill at CES 2018



At CES 2017, PicoBrew showed off their personal beer brewing machine and this year, they’re back with a little something to take home alcohol production to the next level. Todd finds out more from George.

For existing PicoBrewers, the PicoStill brings an opportunity to “up their game” and start distilling small batches of spirits safely and more precisely. 500 ml takes about 4 hours to produce, and up to 180 proof is possible with will multilevel distilling. Alternatively, the PicoStill can capture the essence of hops and other oils to give unique flavors and aromas to food and drinks.

The PicoStill is on pre-order for US$249 ($349 SRP) but it’s an accessory for other brewing appliances (Pico S/Pro/C) so check compatibility before ordering.

Also on show is the Pico C, a smaller and cheaper beer brewing machine for US$549.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Sengled Pulse Solo Review



Sengled LogoLast year I reviewed the Sengled Pulse, a pair of Bluetooth-controlled LED lights with built-in speakers. The Pulse pair sounded surprisingly good but were somewhat indiscreet, being big and bright red. For those wanting something a bit more subtle, Sengled have developed the Pulse Solo, a smaller single LED bulb in white and silver that still provides stereo sound. Let’s take a look and see if the new Solo still delivers big impact from a small space.

I was recently on holiday in Mallorca and used the trip to test out the Solo. Never one to pass up a few gratuitous body shots, here’s the Solo soaking up the sun by the pool.

Sengled Pulse Solo

Sengled Pulse Solo

With a standard E27 screw fitting (B22 bayonet available too), installation is simple and the smaller bulb size makes it much easier to find suitable lamps. The dimensions are 72 mm x 142 mm, weighing in at 340 g, which is hefty enough for a light bulb. In terms of lighting, the bulb is more of a spotlight than anything else, though it’s not tightly focussed. As a result the Solo casts good light if the lamp is high up or intended to be directional, but I wouldn’t use the Solo in a side or table lamp. The brightness is rated at a maximum of 550 lumens which is slightly less than the 600 of the original Pulse lamps but is comparable with other LED smart bulbs, such as Philips Hue.

The LED light is on the warm side of white at 2700K – that’s extra warm white according to some commentators. Here’s the Solo powered up in one of Ikea’s finest illustrating the light colour and distribution.

Sengled Pulse Solo in Lamp

Once screwed in and powered up, the Solo is available for Bluetooth pairing in the normal way. I paired successful with a couple of devices, including a OnePlus 2 smartphone and Nexus 9. Once paired, the Pulse Solo works as a Bluetooth speaker without any further intervention. For greater control of the volume and brightness, there’s the Sengled Pulse app available for both Apple and Android devices. The app appears to connect to the Solo via a second Bluetooth device but the app handles that pairing by itself.

Sengled Pulse Sengled Pulse Sengled Pulse

The app’s changed a little since the last time and it’s now possible to control both the brightness of the lamp and the volume of the speaker from the same screen. Overall, this is an improvement but there’s no visual feedback on the volume level. You do end up with two volume controls, though, one for the Solo through the app and one for the mobile device itself.

As with the bigger Pulse, the Solo’s speakers are “JBL by Harman” and Sengled have managed to squeeze a pair of 1″ 3W speakers into the Solo. Obviously these aren’t going to be hifi quality as the stereo separation is neglible, bass is limited and they struggle with the treble (“esses” suffer) at maximum volume. However, it’s easy to focus on the negatives when the Solo is actually very listenable and fills a small room at full blast. It’s also quite fun when people can’t work out where the music is coming from.

To summarise, the Sengled Pulse Solo is a smaller less obtrusive solution than the larger red Pulse, but the reduction in size is at the expense of audio quality. Aside from my foreign travels, I found the Solo was a tidy solution to desk clutter too, as I could put the Solo into my work lamp, providing both warm light and musical entertainment without cables everywhere

In the end, I think that people who like high quality sound for listening will find the Solo wanting and should perhaps considered the larger Pulse, but for many people who want a little casual backgound music, the Solo will work out fine. The Pulse Solo can be bought direct from Sengled for €59.90 though the bayonet version (B22) is available for only GB£27.93 on Amazon.co.uk.

Thanks to Sengled for the review Pulse Solo.


Playbrush Brings Fun to Toothbrushing at Gadget Show Live



Playbrush LogoGood oral hygiene is important for everyone but getting children to brush their teeth can be a bedtime battle. Playbrush should help win the war, bringing fun into the bathroom. I get the toothpaste out with John to find out more about Playbrush and continue coverage of the British Inventors’ Project.

The Playbrush is small bulbous gadget that slips over the handle of a manual toothbrush and turns the toothbrush into a game controller. Communicating via Bluetooth, the toothbrusher plays a game “Utoothia” on their tablet or smartphone, encouraging correct brushing technique and duration. The Playbrush can be shared among a family with game apps supporting up to six people. It’s rechargeable and will last around four-to-six weeks on single charge, depending on use. The games are in both the Apple and Google app stores.

Playbrush with app

Originally a Kickstarter Project, the Playbrush launched back in November and is available now from the Playbrush store for GB£31 (says the store). There’s a bathroom kit for an extra £8 which is a vinyl pocket to hold the smartphone during brushing and keep it toothpaste free. It sticks to tiles or a mirror using suction cups.

I think this is neatly executed idea that’s very affordable, especially as it can be shared with more than one child, though I think Playbrush need a neutral colour that’s not blue or pink!


TPN Crew Picks at 2016 CES



iklip_av_main_image_20151229Jamie Davis is joined by Daniel J. Lewis and Michael Day. They discuss their personal picks from 2016 CES.

Michael talks about a spoon that is designed to automatically compensate for involuntary movements, allowing people with Parkinson’s Disease or Cerebral Palsy to feed themselves.

Daniel talks about the IK Multimedia iKlip A/V, a sophisticated mounting device that allows a smartphone to be used as a light-weight, single hand-held video recorder with a wireless lav microphone and real-time audio monitoring. It should be available in the second quarter of 2016 and should be priced around $100 or under.

Nick Demayo’s pick was the GymWatch Sensor, a Bluetooth-enabled device that you can clip on your arm that is able to detect range of motion, speed, etc. to ensure you are exercising properly and can report data back to an app on your mobile device. The app can graphically display your range of motion on your mobile device and also tell you verbally if you need to speed up, slow down, etc. to ensure maximum exercise impact. The GymWatch Sensor sells for $149 and $289 depending on model.

Jack and Michael like Dog and Bone Bluetooth LockSmart, a Bluetooth-enabled padlock that sells for $89.95.

Jamie found a ThinOPTICS flat smartphone-shaped pod that sticks to the back of your phone case that stores flat built-in reading glasses. Through the use of FlexGrip technology, the ThinOPTICS teading glasses securely stick to the bridge of your nose without arms and stores flat in the back of the phone case when not in use. The ThinOPTICS pod sells for $24.95. Or choose a phone case version to fit your phone for $38.95.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Eton Solar Powers for Good and Bad Days



Eton LogoEton‘s motto is “Empowered by nature” and in this case, it’s powered by nature too, with a full range of solar powered gear. Scott gets charged up with Sharon Cook, Eton’s VP of Marketing.

First up is the Rukus Xtreme, a solar powered Bluetooth speaker with USB charging ports. Five hours of charging gets around eight hours of playing time and with an IPX-4 rating, the Xtreme won’t mind a few splashes either. Available for US$179 (MSRP $199).

Next is the the Xtreme’s baby brother, the Rugged Rukus, which is perfect for camping or hiking weighing just a pound. Retails for US$79 (MSRP $99), it charges and plays for similar times to the bigger Xtreme and has the same IPX-4 rating.

On standby for emergencies, Eton have the Scorpion II, a “rugged, portable multi-purpose digital radio, that charges smartphones with crank power back-up and weather alert”. Think of this as being the information equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife or Gerber Multitool. You need one of these in your emergency packs and at US$50 you’d be a fool not to get one.

Finally, FRX5 is the big brother of the Scorpion II, with all the emergency features you can think of from torches to emergency beacons, am/fm radio to NOAA weather alerts and SAME regional alerts. Powered by solar, crank, rechargeable batteries or three AAAs, you can charge via USB if you need to. Perfect for the home or car at US$100 (MSRP $129).

Note Eton is known as Soulra in some countries.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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TikTeck Sells Direct to Consumer



tikteckTikTeck are coming to market with the sole purpose of bringing affordable products direct to the consumer and cutting out the middleman. With only a few gadgets available, Daniel chats with Rex Chen, VP Product Development of TikTeck to find out what’s in store.

In the first wave of products, there’s a Bluetooth-controlled smart LED bulb displaying 16 million colours for only US$9.99. You don’t need me to tell you what a bargain that price is. The companion smartphone app runs on both iOS and Android, providing group controls and timers, much like some of the market leading apps. Available for pre-order now with delivery expected end of February.

TikTeck RoverCombining both security and fun, the next product is a wireless camera rover. It’s a digital video camera on a remote controlled buggy which can be steered and monitored by wifi from a smartphone. US$69.99 when it goes on sale. I want one – the black version in the interview looks positively menacing.

Finally, TikTeck have a smart finger ring that measures heart rate and tracks activity and sends the data back to the smartphone by Bluetooth. It looks far more like a man’s ring than it does a fitness tracker. Price not finalised but likely to be in the $50-$100 range.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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