December 7, 2013
Comments Off on Tech Gifts for the Rich and the Poor(er)
Every year, I’m asked to do a tech gifts guide. Or, wait, do I volunteer to do it? Well, the important thing is that I do my best to approach the guide differently than I’ve done before. This collection of ideas I wrote for the UT-San Diego newspaper focused on five gifts: a version for those on a budget and a version for those who don’t care about price.
Take a look at the story on the UT’s website:
- The Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter, $370 vs. PowerUp Electric Paper Airplane Conversion kit, $16.99
- Eton’s BoostTurbine 4000, $80 vs. Satechi’s Smart Travel Router/Travel Adapter, $50
- Anki Drive race track, $200, vs. Hot Wheels Car Maker, $50
- Brunton Hydrogen Reactor, $170, vs. Horizon’s MiniPak, $100
- Curved OLED TV (from Samsung, $9,000) vs. 4K UHD TVs, such as this 39-inch one for $449
- Lytro digital camera, $399, vs. an FocusTwist iPhone app, $1.99
December 6, 2013
Comments Off on A Kickstarter that doesn’t end well doesn’t mean it’s a flop
Tammy McDonald, Axis Game Factory CEO
Crowdfunding and, in particular, Kickstarter, are still going strong. But in reality, success evades many projects. And you may not know that from, ahem, all the positive media.
“What about the failures,” my editor asked me.
This San Diego business launched its new product on Kickstarter but realized within the first 72 hours that it was going to fail. Still, not all was lost.
Read the Q&A with Axis Game Factory CEO Tammy McDonald:
December 6, 2013
Comments Off on More shopping apps for Holiday 2013
Shopping apps come and go. Here are some of my favorite oldies and newbies, just in time for Holiday 2013.
December 6, 2013
Comments Off on Shopping Apps for the Unprepared
Most of the people I know would rather shop from home than venture into stores on Black Friday. Still, there are those who may be tempted to go outside just because they don’t believe it’s that bad. Well, for this recent big-shopping day, I put together a list of mobile apps that should help anyone who makes this decision at the last-minute.
This story posted last week on TheStreet on the actual Black Friday. But I’m just now getting around to updating the blog. Enjoy!
November 15, 2013
Comments Off on Don’t Buy a New Smartphone unless it’s truly Smart
Want to make sure your new smartphone has the latest wireless technology? Look for this logo.
It seems like every month or so, there’s something new to look forward to having in your next smartphone. Such advances makes techies like me anxious about buying a new phone because we don’t want to settle for last-generation’s tech. I’m talking about Bluetooth 4.0, or Bluetooth LE (for low energy). As the trade group calls it: Bluetooth Smart.
This is the technology that’s been popping up more than a year ago in keyless-entry door locks, fitness bracelets and, ahem, the iPhone 4s circa 2011 (and newer models). The Bluetooth lets phones communicate with another Bluetooth device — such as a Bluetooth sticker on your glasses so they’re easier to find. For those stuck on the Google Android system, Google only began supporting Bluetooth Smart over the summer. So finally more smartphones are getting the technology today.
BUT not all new phones have it. And without, you won’t be able to use a plethora of products and mobile apps that also have Bluetooth Smart built in (like those door locks). And just because a phone may have the new Bluetooth 4.0 chip inside, that doesn’t mean the phone carrier is push out the software that will turn on Bluetooth Smart, said Errett Kroeter, director of global industry and brand marketing for the Bluetooth SIG organization.
So, advises he advised, make sure your next phone is either an iPhone (4S, 5, 5C or 5S), or has Android 4.3 or newer plus a Bluetooth 4.0 chip. Newer Nokia’s (with Windows 8 Mobile) and some Blackberries also have Bluetooth Smart.
Hence, my recent article pointing out the lack of Bluetooth Smart in many of today’s newer phones, plus a chart of what Android phones now are Bluetooth Smart.