Tag Archives: gadget

Sennheiser’s sophisticated CXC 700 earbuds tout three levels of noise cancellation

Sennheiser has a thing for trotting out< titillatingnew wares at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and this year is proving to be no different in that regard. The audio specialist has just introduced one of the most fully-featured headsets we’ve seen in quite awhile, with the CXC 700 boasting not one, not two, but three levels of noise cancellation. The newfangled NoiseGard] /digital technology gives owners a trifecta of noise-cancelling profiles, with each one optimized for something different. In fact, we’ll let Senn do the explaining here:

“Mode 1 absorbs low-frequency noise in particular (100 to 400 Hertz), such as engine noise from trains, buses or small passenger planes. Mode 2 focuses on cancelling noise in the medium frequency range (400 to 3,000 Hertz), which is caused above all by air-conditioning systems in large passenger aircraft or office buildings. Mode 3 has a particularly wide frequency range (100 to 3,000 Hertz), and combines the noise-cancelling effect in the medium and low-frequency ranges. As a result, background noise with different noise components, such as that which occurs at airports, railway stations or underground stations, can be effectively suppressed, although with a slightly lower noise-cancelling performance than in the first two modes.”

In case that’s not enough to convince ya, these offer a frequency response of 20Hz to 21,000Hz, and they’ll function just fine (albeit sans noise cancellation) even if your AAA battery keels over. Controls are embedded in the cabling, and users are able to activate the TalkThrough function if they’d prefer to conduct a conversation with someone without actually removing their earphones. Furthermore, changing between the NoiseGard profiles and activation of the TalkThrough function are indicated by both an acoustic and a visual signal. The company will be shipping these with a 4.5-foot long cable, an in-flight adapter, 6.35mm jack plug adapter, a small carrying case and a diaphragm protector, with sales to start later this month for around $320.(from engadget)

Laptop charger adapter

Interesting idea…

YikeBike, foldable electric bicycle

YikeBike is an electric foldable bicycle which is unique in design. Take a look:

Helicopter? there is an iPhone app for that

Ardone has released a quadricopter that can be controlled with an iPhone or iPod touch. Take a look at the video, it is a super cool gadget… it works with wi-fi and has two cameras…

iFixit tears down the new nexus one

AbmdgbxvixKMDxrb.large.jpeg

Interesting to see how to waste $530 just to show up how is it made…

See it at iFixit

Last day of 2009. How was it?

For me (us) it has been a great year.
It all started in December 2008. Nuria got a new job at The Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. A considerable jump in her career in a place where most of us would love to work for what they do, which is to save lives. 4.9 million to be precise.

Once we learnt that, I was working at Shelter Centre where I was the Web Communications Chief, I asked for leave without pay, so we could have a dream trip around the world February and March. They accepted. The new Drupal website was up and running now it was just a question of fine tuning it.

Shelter Centre | the NGO supporting the humanitarian community in post-conflict and disaster shelter and housing (20091231).png

We bought a round the world ticket with roundtheworldflights.com very nice people (thanks Jarvis) and very good price.
We did Geneva, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tahiti, Auckland, Christchurch, Hong Kong, London, Geneva. All flexible. In Tahiti we bought internal flights to Moorea, Bora Bora and Huahine (see photos at http://norai.net)

Well we blogged every day in our TDM (tour du monde), so you can see our adventures, skydiving, and 9000 km driving in New Zealand. IMG_1614

There we conceived Kai. Our Christmas present for 2009.

Once back in Geneva Nuria started her job, and I was called by my former employer (the ITC) where I worked nearly for 5 years as a consultant and they asked me to join them, so I finished the site at Shelter Centre and joined ITC in July, where I have been an Advisor in Export Strategy and Competitiveness up to present, traveling extensively to Africa (Liberia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Rwanda…).

When kai was born, 23 days ago, we also got our new car. We said bye to the 1989 red Golf GTI and said Hi to the new Fiat 500.IMG_1610

Now I can go to work in the car rather than in my Ducati. It is pretty cold and rains often. I’m very happy with my new little car too. Pack of technology by default (bluetooth for mobile, reads mp3 from USB key, vocal commands, … etc…)

So as you see, even if for most of the world it has been a bad year, not for us.

My brother lost his job. Nuria’s brother’s too. The economy is in pretty bad shape, but 2009 has been a very good year for us.

Now it is coming to an end. In less than 6 hours in fact. It is also the end of a decennium.

What happened this decennium technologically speaking?

This decennium has been a huge change in technology. Internet has changed the world. We carry our computers in our phones, specially since the iPhone came out. Internet is fast web2.0 has brought us video and ajax. The web experience has reached unthinkable limits. Google has become bigger than General Motors and one of the most profitable companies in the world… and it is in internet… who could have imagine something like that 10 years ago! They are even on the phone industry!

Information is now at the tip of the hands. Mobile phones have spread like mushrooms and have given Africa a huge step towards development and poverty reduction.

Now the big media companies (CBS, CNN and so) are not that big. Internet has provided real time news and information has been democratized with tools such as twitter or Facebook. We know what it is going on firt by social media tools than from BBC or CNN. We are the writers and we control the content with tools such as digg or delicious. Now we have millions of people feeding the news. It is a user generated era, even companies have started to learn that they should have API’s or be open source (google). Look at the contribution in kind done to the iphone platform! nearly 100.000 apps!

The hardware has progressed a lot too. My iPhone 3GS has 32Mb. Solid state memory has increased at huge steps too. Who could think 10 years ago that a mobile phone could have 32Gb or/and a 8Mp camera? 10 years ago we had 3Mp with a terrible screen. Now cameras like canon 5d mark II provide video at a HD quality with the plus of professional lenses.

What else have we seen… the web… the web has gone from a showroom to a two-way collaborative tool making our live more efficient. We buy all via internet now. I bought not only my car via internet but most of the stuff I own. And I have been doing that for a while already. My 42 LCD TV I bought in ebay in 2003. In my house, the shower with sauna, the massage chair, all the kitchen appliances and most of the stuff I bought via internet.

Last that I can think of for this last decade, having kai and Nuria sleeping on my right, is that finally the LHC (at CERN) is working! I am proud as I worked for 3 years in the conception phase of the LHC 10 years ago. To see it now running is great, specially when I contributed to it.

What can we expect in the next 10 years?

Obviously the hardware will continue to explode. Hard disk, processors, screen technology (LED or something new, ebook readers, tablets), internet speed and connectivity (wimax, 4g)… that will make information easier to access and to share. Now a smartphone has GPS, accelerometers and a lot of sensors. I foresee a step towards this sort of uses: location, using the camera of the phone to take a photo from anything and have image recognition, reviews, who is there, where is cheaper, banking, payments… all!!. Search engines will go one step further and they will have other ways to search than text, photos videos, voice… everything indexable. With my phone I will be able to see where my friends are, what they are drinking, etc… reviews are important. I use internet to review and read reviews of what I buy, the hotels I go (tripadvisor), google, tell me where, etc… so location, location, location.

But not everything are flowers… I think that because Internet is going to be so big, Internet Governance is going to be a big issue. Now the US controls ICANN and a lot of other stuff. Internet Governance is going to be a difficult topic. Also Internet as a human right. ISP (internet providers) will try to get the maximum out of it, by capping, limiting connectivity, filtering content (like in China) and so. If this is the case, Internet could be in danger. It should be a 100% open platform. No restrictions. I hope governments intervene to avoid this sort of issues that we are already starting to see in the US with ISPs. Access to Internet should be unlimited and unrestricted. Government should be careful also not doing like in Finland where they are going to filter content at ISP level… a biiiiig mistake.

Privacy is also going to be an issue, but I guess we will be living in public. There is no problem for me, but privacy should be seriously managed. Specially when companies are outsourcing for instance email to google apps, or google docs and calendars…

Cloud computing will be big, and I don’t know if computers will trend to be more like terminals and run all the programs in the cloud. I do use google docs a lot I must say. Online photo services, backups, etc… I can’t wait to see how it progresses. The combination of cloud computing and terminals with strong browsers with offline technology could be a way. If you think about it, why not log in at any computer/terminal and have your files programs and so? Well this could be achieved with good connectivity and good cloud computing. But again, if this is where we go, we will start to see issues of compatibility and standards. Exporting things from a cloud to a computer or to another cloud… it should be standardized.

But the I wonder… when I bought my fiat 500, I printed out the price I was getting in internet and went to my local Fiat dealer. The salesman was furious. He said he could not compete with that. They have cost of personnel, stocks, training, etc… while the guy in internet buys bulk and gets incredible prices… so it made me think. There is no point in having shops or car dealers. They are simply not competitive with internet. So where is the business? Well, services I guess. Garage to repair. Warehouse to collect parts. Advise… but not in selling goods. I told the guy in Fiat that his business model was condemned to die.

There is another ethical question you could ask yourself. If you could buy cheaper 98% of people would buy cheaper. What about paying extra if it manufactured at home, or uses organic stuff, or is environmentally better? It is a difficult question. Specially for our generation. I hope next generation will think differently. Developed countries can not live from services alone, and the rest is more expensive than to do it abroad. So what to do? Free trade has given a lot of opportunities to developing countries, but we have seen with Doha failure that one size does not fit all. What about free movement of people? Goods and people are not strangers. If I am a farmer in France and all farming goes to … China (just a stupid example), then what happens to the french farmer? Should he go to China? Move to something else? Should we cluster activities wherever they are more productive? I don’t know. That would not be sustainable for the environment. Look at Indonesia, they have destroyed the forest to put palm oil plantations. It is so sad. Al fauna is dead and most of the country is monocorp…. but this is where we are going! Look at the farmers in the US. Maybe it should be studied where the environmental impact is lower and do it there.

If you go to Africa you will see how developed countries have destroyed. We imposed the capitalism there. The richer continent in earth is the poorest. Before people there did not have to work. If they were hungry they would take it from the trees. No effort. Simple and happy life….

The end of it is that we can not avoid to spread wealth with this model, meaning that developed countries will have to lower their living standards, otherwise I don’t see how this is sustainable. Closing borders? Big mistake… Anyway that is whole new story.

Happy new year!!!

New Pogoplug

sideimage_plug_1.0Pogoplug has released a brand new improved version of the original Pogoplug. Now it looks like a snail…. cool.

The Pogoplug connects your USB drive to the Internet so you can easily share and access your files from anywhere.
The Pogoplug is the perfect accessory to your connected life. Imagine accessing all your files and media at home from any laptop or desktop computer, anywhere in the world, or sharing this content with friends and family without having to upload. There’s even an iPhone application so you can always “phone home” to get your files!

Connect the Pogoplug to the switch/router and then connect a Hard Disk to it. You can access from any browser and via https if you wish. With the iPhone app you can also have access to all your files. Pretty neat! No need to have a NAS.

Mini NAS from Addonics

The Addonics Mini NAS is a small portable Network Attached Storage enclosure solution in the market. Come built in with fast Ethernet 10/100Mbps connection, any 2.5″ SATA hard drive or Solid State Drive (SSD) can be installed into the Mini NAS and become instantly sharable over the LAN. A USB printer can also be shared over the LAN simultaneously when attached to the Mini NAS. With a size equivalent to a VHS tape cassette and weight less than a pound, the Mini NAS can be easily moved around or installed into a very small space.

Similar to the NAS adapter, the Mini NAS supports both SMB (Server Message Block) and the open source Samba network protocols, allowing for cross-platform access of all shared data for most versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and various Linux distributions. For remote users who are not connected over the LAN, the Mini NAS provides FTP access for up to 8 simultaneous users anywhere in the world with an internet connection. In addition, the Mini NAS can also be configured Bit-Torrent downloading appliance or as an iTune media server..

Mini NAS front view



Mini NAS rear view with top cover removed

Illustration of a Mini NAS connected over the network

Product Feature

  • Install a 2.5″ SATA hard drive, SSD (Solid State Drive) or Compact Flash (with Addonics hard disk CF adapter) and access it over the network
  • Support Fast Ethernet 10/100Mbps.
  • Simple to install
  • Small and light weight. Size equivalent to the size of a VHS tape cassette. Can be installed practically anywhere
  • Low power – can be powered from USB port when SSD is installed (require optional USB power cable, model- AAUSBPCP24)
  • Can be set as DHCP server or client.
  • Support Samba server, maxima create 16 users and total 64 TCP connection can read /write at the same time.
  • Support FTP server, maxima create 32 users and total 64 TCP connection at the same time..
  • Can be set as a print server to attach any USB printer to the network
  • Built-in Bit Torrent client for direct download to the Mini NAS
  • Can be set as a UPnP AV server to share photo/music files stored on the file server with XBOX 360 video game consoles connected to the LAN
  • User management to allow read only or read/write access to folders
  • Administrative management access via web browser with password security.
  • Compatible with all Windows OS, Mac OS (10.5.x and earlier), Linux 2.6.x and above

Sonos S5

The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 is a high-performance wireless music system with 5 speakers powered by 5 dedicated digital amplifiers. With 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer, the S5 delivers crystal-clear, room-filling sound that rivals much larger, more complicated audio equipment. Plus, the all-digital sound architecture provides precise sound reproduction, just as the artist intended. With the S5 you can quickly add a room of music anywhere you want — simply plug it in and enjoy. And thanks to the S5’s superior wireless range, no room is out of reach.

When it comes to controlling your S5 and the vast array of music on your computer and the Internet, you can simply reach for your iPhone™ or iPod® touch. The free Sonos Controller for iPhone app makes it easy to find and play any song, in any room. The S5 also includes free software for control from your Mac or PC. Or you can get even more control with the dedicated Sonos Controller 200.

Vue is the coolest wireless webcam network

2009-10-09_1333Vue is the easiest and simplest way to remotely view your family, your home, your business…virtually anything, from anywhere, at anytime. Vue lets you create your own personal video network and delivers live video wirelessly for you to see and share from any web browser or flash-enabled mobile device – no software to load. It’s really that simple!

Vue FrameMesh technology – video unplugged.

Vue utilizes innovative patented FrameMesh™ technology to enable wireless live video transmission from battery operated miniature cameras. FrameMesh is an ultra low-power technology that allows a camera to operate for up to a year on a single battery with normal use. With no wires to restrict you, cameras can be positioned and repositioned easily in seconds using our patented peel & stick magnetic mounts.

Just minutes from the box to live video.

Vue is designed for zero-configuration setup. There is no software to load. No hard drive storage requirement. No long string of characters to type. We’ve simplified the setup to remove the need for technical expertise.

Stick. Click. View.

Stick the patented peel & stick magnetic mounts to the wall anywhere within 300 feet of the gateway* and position the camera on the mount. Click a single button to sync your cameras, then click on your personal my.VueZone.com page to register. View by dragging an active camera to the My Vue area on your Watch Page.
That’s it!

View Online From Anywhere

Your personal page at my.VueZone.com.

Vue provides secure viewing of your personal video network online from any browser* or flash-enabled mobile device. Your my.VueZone.com Watch Page gives you complete control for viewing up to 50 cameras on a single gateway…and even multiple gateways. Extend your Vue anytime by adding cameras and gateways.

View. Share.

It’s as easy as drag-and-drop. Your active cameras are visible on your Watch Page. Simply drag a camera icon into the My Vue area and click the Start button to view and share live video.

Record. Playback. Store.

Any video clip or snapshot can be easily recorded and stored for future playback. You can also schedule automatic recording times. Vue gives you 2gb of secure private storage with service plans for expanding.

Share Live Cameras

Let others share live events.

Vue lets your friends and family share the events in your life… at the moment they are happening and at your control. You can share a special event like a birthday party or family reunion. You can also grant share status to specific people so they can check in on your life periodically.

It’s easy to share live cameras – drag and click.

When you want to let others share your live Vue cameras, you simply drag the live camera you want to share into the Share area and click the names on your sharing list. Those people are then notified that they can see what they’re missing by viewing your cameras. Names can be removed from the sharing list just as easily.

So…

(from geekbrief)

The kit comes with two wireless cameras. Four ingenious magnetic mounts, four CR123 batteries, a receiver and an ethernet cable. The battery cover opens with the twist of a coin.

You have to create an account on my.vuezone.com.  You can rename them, drag them into the view screen. Press play the same way you start a YouTube video and the live stream begins. You can choose to record and my account includes 2000MBs of storage that you can watch later and choose to share online. You can share so your neighbor can to view the cameras when you are out of town. If the alarm goes off, you can hop on and see what’s happening without putting himself in danger.

It works as well as they say it does and it couldn’t possibly be simpler to set up. Image quality is perfectly acceptable. The magnetic mounting system is brilliant. You stick it to a wall and then move the camera around to get the best shot. Wireless range is excellent. Signal is good all around the house.  You can add up to 50 cameras!!! Now, that would be expensive because extra cameras are $100 a pop.  $300 for the initial pack that brings two cameras.

2009-10-09_1333_001

Iris Notes

IRISnotes is a pen and mobile note taker that can capture handwritten notes and drawings, as well as edit, save and export them. Your handwritten notes can be instantly converted into editable text in a wide range of languages.

Turn your handwritten notes into editable text*!

Simply write your text using the provided ink pen. Your handwritten notes will be instantly converted into editable text!
Use your pen as a mouse

You can set the pen to mouse mode. In this mode, tapping the pen in the writing area or pressing the button on the side of the pen will act like a single mouse click.

Easy-to-use wireless connection*

Write your notes anytime, anywhere! When you are back to your computer, simply connect the USB receiver. Your notes will be instantly converted!
Works on any paper with normal ink refill

You can write your notes on any kind of paper! Simply place the receiver on the top or the corner of your document and you are ready to write!

*Only on Windows

Home automation

There is a company called Savant who designs, develops and manufacturers deliver home control and automation, multi-room audio/video, advanced digital audio and video processing, extremely flexible and scalable audio/video switching, digital media server and jukebox capabilities, and an array of integrated applications and services.

The fact that I mention this company here is because traditionally this has been a pretty top end set of products which were accessible only to those with a lot of money.

IPicture 1f you’re looking to do home automation, you’ll spend at least $10,000. Savant’s system is called Protege. It’s a box with a Mac Mini that will control a mid size home for $5,000, and you can control everything from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

I also got a look at the TrueImage Control, which is a visual system to control your lights, TV, etc from a touch panel.

sixthsense project: integrating information with the real world

sixthsenseSixthSense‘ is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.

The SixthSense prototype is comprised of a pocket projector, a mirror and a camera. The hardware components are coupled in a pendant like mobile wearable device. Both the projector and the camera are connected to the mobile computing device in the user’s pocket. The projector projects visual information enabling surfaces, walls and physical objects around us to be used as interfaces; while the camera recognizes and tracks user’s hand gestures and physical objects using computer-vision based techniques. The software program processes the video stream data captured by the camera and tracks the locations of the colored markers (visual tracking fiducials) at the tip of the user’s fingers using simple computer-vision techniques. The movements and arrangements of these fiducials are interpreted into gestures that act as interaction instructions for the projected application interfaces. The maximum number of tracked fingers is only constrained by the number of unique fiducials, thus SixthSense also supports multi-touch and multi-user interaction.



Great Plug for Globetrotters

31jul09_miliunicharAre you a globetrotter with a penchant for vivid colorsMili’s got your back with its compact and surprisingly practical Universal Charger. Capable of plugging into US, UK, EU or Australian-style sockets, this unit covers quite a bit of ground and can power a pair of devices at once via USB. Technically then, you’re unloading the chargers from your bag and refilling it with USB adapters, but a lot of UK road warriors would carry live rattlesnakes around if it meant freedom from those humongous plugs. There are nine color options — some of them are even socially acceptable — for the discerning customer with £20 ($33) in his pocket, and pre-orders are being taken now for August 14 delivery.

Review: HTC Hero

Review: HTC Hero .