Technology Today - February 2012
CES 2012 ShowStoppers
Another of my favorites about CES is the ShowStoppers event held each year. They bring together really cool companies in one setting for us to take a look at their new technologies.
An interesting technology that is long overdue was from Fraunhofer, the German leader in sound technology, http://www.fraunhofer.org/ who is coming up with some unique ways of enhancing how we listen to things from the television. A technology to enhance the dialog to allow you to hear announcers over the crowd noise or even better, to turn off the constant grunts of tennis players. I can think of lots of things I would like to filter out of a broadcast. You can see more at Consumer Lifestyle News at http://cln-online.org/.
While ShowStoppers was an event for the media, the technology the companies showed off was for all of us. Some of my favorites while walking through included Sennheiser, www.senheiserusa.com who make a wide range of headphones that are functional, work very well, and look good; especially my favorites for long plane rides, the noise cancelling variety. But what was catching the public eye at CES was their RS220, a high-definition wireless audiophile grade headset. Hard to judge the quality in a very noisy room but these really sounded great.
Otterbox, www.otterbox.com is a company that has thrived on ways to keep your electronics from getting wet, dumped, crushed, and otherwise abused while you work and play. I use their boxes for everything from digital camera memory sticks to medication, to a near bullet proof case for protecting my PDA while traveling overseas. Today, you can get these rugged and nearly indestructible cases for your Smartphones, Tablets, ereaders, and digital cameras. They are available direct and even in Radio Shack.
Neat Receipts, www.neat.com, came out with a very small scanner and database program that you scan your receipts and business cards, and it would not only read them but categorize them and sort them for you to help you keep track of your spending. I thought it was cool when I saw them the first time a few years ago and now they take it one step further with an app for your iPhone to scan a receipt, send it to the cloud, and then imbed it in your data. They are taking that neat approach even further helping you to keep organized.
TripIt, www.tripit.com, has an interesting tag line that says it all. “TripIt drags traveling kicking ad screaming into the 21st Century.” It turns your flight plans into a simple itinerary that you access via your Smartphone or iPad. Neat technology that puts all your travel plans into one easy to use place. What is even better is that it can track all your air/travel miles and points for you to give you alternatives to use those points. It also monitors your travel plans and lets you know if there is a drop in fare prices. Take a look at their YouTube video on their website to really explain why you should take a look. Free to use.
Security is always first on my mind with my computers at home and now the more I begin to use a Smartphone, the more I realize there is very little here to keep me secure as the virus writers spread their wares. NQ Mobile, www.nq.com has a solution for the Smartphone (Android, Blackberry, and Windows for now) and some tablets, that gives you a way to keep your Smartphone secure as well as the data you put on it. According to them, there are 122 million subscribers with a Smartphone. Their Mobile Security protects against the usual malware and hackers but also gives you a means of shutting down rogue or poorly written apps. It is a free service but you really should upgrade to the premium for just $12 per year.
Blue Microphone, www.bluemic.com, has long been one of my favorites because of their Eyeball 2.0, a two megapixel video camera that features truly high quality audio that really makes those Skype calls easy to see and with the better audio, much easier to hear. I have even taken to replacing the internal video/microphone in my notebook with the Eyeball because it is so much better. What they have new this year is the “tiki”, a USB microphone that mimics the intelligence of human hearing by minimizing the background noise that often interrupts the video conference calls. It also has an intelligent muting feature that can shut itself down when there is no conversation taking place on your end. The other cool product they had was the “Mikey Digital” an external microphone for use with your iPhone or iPad. It won a CES Innovations award.
Watching a movie in 3D has often been difficult for me. I happen to be one of the 25% of viewers that suffer some sort of malady watching a movie in 3D. It just wasn’t that pleasant an experience plus it seems that the glasses they give you in the theater are often scratched, fogged, or just plain cheap and of course, they probably pay a nickel apiece for them. So when I was walking through ShowStoppers, I ran into EX3D eyewear, www.ex3d.com that was showing off a really cool travel piece in 3D and so had to stop and see it. The glasses they gave me really surprised me. The images were incredibly clear, easy to see, and the 3D just popped out of the screen. Now as 3D technology gets better, the viewing experience will also get better but these glasses were the best I have seen. They use a proprietary passive 3D technology to make these glasses and they are compatible with the RealD 3D technology used in most theaters today; except for Imax, or Dolby 3D, or any active technology system. For more on the differences and what you can get, go to Allure 3D’s site at: www.3dallure.com .
If you are buying a 3D television for your home, be sure to look them over closely. For instance, Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung all use the Active 3D technology and so these glasses won’t work but I think you will find them wonderful for the visit to the movies. See more info at: www.samsung.com/us/3D/, also take a look at Real D’s website: www.reald.com
You will see more from some of the other ShowStopper companies like Escort, Corel, Sennheiser, and others when the product reviews come out.
How about a 1 Terrabyte memory card from Kingston. There were a lot of interesting things to see at ShowStoppers this year and look forward to next years.
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