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January 15, 2018

2017-01-15 WSVA Show Notes & Podcast

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was last week.

Today Jim and I look at a few of the items that we enjoyed – hearing and seeing about.  No we were not there but the internet is a wonderful thing to use.

The Podcast is available here, listen and enjoy. You can also visit all of the WSVA Podcasts.


 

Samsung has come to CES 2018 with an enormous 4K TV it’s calling The Wall — and it’s also claiming The Wall to be “the world’s first modular TV.” The Wall measures 146 inches and uses MicroLED technology to produce its picture.

MicroLED shares many benefits with OLED; each microscopic LED can emit its own light — no backlight is required — and that creates the deep blacks and lush colors normally reserved for OLED sets. It also gets incredibly bright.


Just one day into CES 2018 and the future of technology is already pretty spooky.

Convention Center on Tuesday, it was hard to miss the crowd gathered around around the “PsychaSec” display. Hosts draped in all-white were showing off two artificial bodies that, “in a few years,” humans could pay to trade their own crappy body for. At the same time, the host touted the company’s ability to plant chips into a person’s head and download every experience and memory they’ve had.

Sounds pretty trippy, right? Unfortunately, PsychaSec isn’t real. But even the CIA would’ve had a hard time getting the booth hosts to admit it.


Toyota outlined its e-Palette platform, which mixes mobility, commerce, and autonomous driving in a customizable package, and the idea could be used by multiple enterprises.

CES showcases the tech trends that will shape the year ahead. See the most important products that will impact businesses and professionals.

At CES 2018, Toyota President Akio Toyoda outlined the e-Palette concept vehicle. This vehicle is meant to be a blank slate that combines connected and automated driving with commerce.

Initial launch partners for this e-Palette platform, which uses Toyota’s mobility services technology, include Amazon, Mazda, and Pizza Hut. If you take the everything-as-a-service theme and extend it, you can get to Toyota’s Automated Mobility as a Service.


Samsung has come to CES 2018 with an enormous 4K TV it’s calling The Wall — and it’s also claiming The Wall to be “the world’s first modular TV.” The Wall measures 146 inches and uses MicroLED technology to produce its picture.

MicroLED shares many benefits with OLED; each microscopic LED can emit its own light — no backlight is required — and that creates the deep blacks and lush colors normally reserved for OLED sets. It also gets incredibly bright.


The Somnox sleep robot helps you fall asleep effortlessly, get back asleep when you wake up and helps you sleep feeling safe. Making it the ultimate sleep companion that induces sleep.

Nowadays we track our sleep. Knowing about sleep is nice. But isn’t it time to actually do something to get you to sleep? That’s exactly what the Somnox sleep robot does. When spooning the sleep robot during the night you will be soothed to sleep by the following functions, tickling the senses to relax body and mind.


A team of college hackers was disappointed with the selection of secure purses available. Nearly every purse on the market is attractive, secure, or neither so they are designing their own security purse with some style. Instead of just brass or leather clasps keeping unwanted hands out, they are upgrading to automation and steel.

Everything starts with a fingerprint reader connected to an Arduino. Once an acceptable finger is recognized, a motor opens a coffin lock, also known as a butt-joint fastener, which can be completely hidden inside the purse and provides a lot of holding force. That is enough to keep quick fingers from reaching into an unattended purse.


See you on February 19, 2018 for the next Tech Show on WSVA!

Ron

January 21, 2014

Chromecast

This is a very popular way to convert your "almost" smart TV into a fairly intelligent one…at a very low cost.

If you have not heard about it yet the item is called Chromecast which was developed by Google. It is a dongle…STOP!  Some of you may need to know what a dongle is so let me explain.  

A dongle is a relatively small device which plugs into a computer and can take on different jobs depending on what the dongle was created to do.  For instance, it could be used as an adapter to allow a specific device to be used like an external hard drive or a game controller.  A dongle could also be utilized to allow you to plug one sized cable into another size, like converting an USB plug to a micro USB plug. 

The Chromecast is a small device measuring roughly 2.8" x 1.4" x 0.5" and looks a lot like a thumb-drive (another dongle type device).  It is very light weight, too at about 1.2 oz.

Chromecast is a digital media device which you plug into an HDMI port on your computer.  HDMI is the larger USB plug present on many newer digital televisions.  It allows you to transfer uncompressed video data and compressed/uncompressed digital audio data from one device to a compatible computer monitor, digital television, or audio device. In other words, instead of plugging your new Chromecast into your TV you could plug in your notebook computer and do about the same thing.  However, you would be putting wear and tear on your much more expensive computer to watch streaming shows on your TV.

Once plugged in and the easy five minute setup is done, you can stream (watch from the internet using your home’s wi-fi) movies and your favorite TV shows to your large screen television.  This is much better than watching from your small computer monitors like many people do now.  There are many other devices out there which already do this; however, the prices range from $70 to close to $200 and some have a recurring fee.  Chromecast costs only $35 and has no future expense.  It is very inexpensive and Google updates it with new features regularly which allow it to do more.  Now for you Apple folks out there it does not work with Apple TV, sorry.

Once you plug your Chromecast into your TV it has a small port on the other end to plug in the power cable.  Most televisions will have a power port on the back, if not you can plug it directly into a wall socket. 

If you have accounts (some requiring a fee) with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and/or Google Play Movies or another you can watch them on your TV now.  If you listen to music on a site like Pandora you can run that through your TV speakers too.  Even better, if you can play something in your Google Chrome browsers on the computer or phone you are broadcasting from, you can watch it on your TV using Chromecast. 

One example of this is what happened with a buddy of mine and his wife who are big "Castle" fans.  They do not have cable TV so every week a few days after the original broadcast of the show they would watch it at ABC.com on their notebook.  Now they start it up on the same computer at the same site and it is then sent to their big screen TV.  This is much more comfortable and easier to see.

Here is the bad (or good) news.  In my opinion you will not have to use Chromecast in the future. It and devices like it will become obsolete.  I believe that in the very near future you will only be able to purchase Smart TVs and they will already have wi-fi capabilities already built into them.  A large number of new sets today are already set up that way.  But until you buy your new TV, $35 is an easy way into the future.

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