Hands Free BoomerTech And Episode 1704

Last night while driving home Brenda and I were driving home from Sacramento and listening to Leo Laporte’s “Tech Guy” show on my iPad.  He mentioned about being to listen to his podcast on Amazon’s Echo.  Sometime back someone…we don’t know who…put our show on Tune-In Radio.  Well, got home, walked in the house and said in my best Captain Picard tone:  “Computer, play boomer tech radio on tune in”  I should add that as soon as the word got out that you could totally Star Trek your Echo I did.  Have to admit to just a tiny bit of an ego-bump at being able to call up the show without clicking a dozen links.

Speaking of which, here’s the latest:

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Episode 17-03 January 20 2017

This broadcast was recorded late at night at the KCNR studios after we got back from Sacramento.  It’s either the worst ever, or one of the best.  You decide….

 

 

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Episode 1702 Podcast

Our first podcast recorded in our home studio features commentary from the Belongie Family Pets, the effects of not enough sleep, and several excellent interviews from our Las Vegas CES show wanderings. We’ll hear from people who want to help you get to sleep, and keep your gadgets awake, and getting new products in the pipeline. Enjoy!

Episode 1702

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Episode 17-01 BoomerTech Radio Broadcast January 7, 2017

Our first show of the year, and our first of our regularly posted and soon to be Podcast episodes LIVE from the Broadcast Tower in the North Hall of CES.  Interviews include Jim  Barry, spokesman for the Consumer Technology Association, and Starr Ackerman, with IK Multimedia.  We also give an overview of the show and comment on how far things have come in the 50 years of the show.

Download the show:

 

 

 

 

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The Fat Lady Sings

For all intents and purposes, CES2017 is history.  Most of the media is headed home, the exhausted exhibitors are meeting with a few more people, some last minute deals are being inked.  Brenda and I had a very fun show live from the CES floor that I’ll post here in the next few days, and I’m getting ready to work on the launch of our official Podcast of BoomerTech Radio.  It’s been quite a week and we are more than ready to head home.  To all the folks we met, a huge thanks and see you next time.

 

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Kickstarter isn’t just for obscure things.

We have been shopping video stabilizers to improve the quality of the stuff that we shoot, and CES has been a great show case to see them in action.   Many of the media here are using smartphones along with products like the DJI Osmo Mobile which sells for about 400 bucks, but can be found discounted through various outlets.  We wanted to see what the folks from Tiffin, makers of the Steadicam line of products, had to offer.  Steadicam has become synonymous with those silky smooth walk-along shots in just about every Hollywood movie for the past 20 years, but the rigs were shockingly expensive and took a lot of training to operate correct.  Interestingly enough, the last time we were here, Brenda wore a $5000.00 rig and took to using it like a natural.

While we were checking out the products from Steadicam, we were told of a new product, the Steadicam Volt, which is being offered to the public via a Kickstarter campaign.

Now, normally I’d be very shy about investing in a product that has yet to begin actual production, but after a lot of consideration, we decided to go for it.  The Volt is expected to retail for about $200, but early backers can get one, if they are willing to wait until June, for $119.  Even better?  How about TWO Volts for $249+$20 shipping? OK, we’ll give it a go.  There are only a limited number of these offers available and there is a small risk that production might be delayed, but we are told we won’t be charged until the item actually ships.  The campaign will end in 54 days as of this writing and you can find out more here.

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CES2017 Friday Morning

No post yesterday because by the time we got back to the Vacation Rental we were pretty well needing downtime.  The evening was also punctuated by sirens and a helicopter buzzing overhead.  Life in a big city.  Not my thing.  Today we have a full slate of stops as well at “Tech East” the Las Vegas Convention Center where most of the major players will be showing off their goodies.  This place is huge,  Really huge.  It’s just not humanly possible to see everything one wants to see.  We will present the things we did see and thought worth passing along during Saturday’s BoomerTech Radio broadcast from the LVCC Broadcast Tower.

Security has been very noticeable at this year’s event, bag checks for most, although media tends to be passed through because electronic journalists pack around scary looking things with wires in their bags as part of their job, and the organizers are probably being careful not to stress people out more than they already are due to the huge crowds and absolute chaos.  To their credit, the Association is doing a very good job of making sure that media professionals are being well taken care of.

Time to get ready to face the hordes again.

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CES 2017 opens with Unveiled.

Walking…lots and lots of walking.  Crowds.  Noise.   Hype?  Yeah.  Such is the nature of CES, the annual orgy of tech that descends upon Las Vegas each January.

This is the 50th Anniversary of the event, which debuted as the Consumer Electronic Show in New York in 1967 with just 117 exhibitors showing off black and white televisions, radios and not much else.  It wasn’t even legal to own your own phone back then,  “Bell System Property, Not For Sale”  Only the boomers remember that one.  It was a BIG DEAL if your friend had a color TV to watch the few offerings from the two or three channels via rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna.

So far there’s not any huge breakout never-before-seen product being revealed this year, and there’s not likely to be an iPhone Moment here.  Apple has not deigned to be part of CES for several years now, and Microsoft backed out a few seasons back to have more control over their launch process as well.  What we have seen is incremental improvements to product lines.

As I write this, Brenda is experiencing frustration trying to get a pair of headphones embedded into a fabric headband to stay connected.  The controls are not intuitive, the bluetooth pairing process is somewhat awkward, and the wires are very thin and may be prone to failure.  Far too many product hopefuls fall into the trap of rushing a poorly thought out design into production.  It might look good on the designer’s screen, but fail miserably when in the hands of the consumer.  And there we have the point of the exercise and the reason that at least 80% of what we have seen so far will never see the retail shelf.

Official Proof that BoomerTech Radio is, in fact, a bona fide Tech Media.  YAY!

Badges?  We don’t need no Badges!  Uhm, yes we do.  Media people operate on vast amounts of caffeine.  The organizers of CES recognize this fact.  Also lots of alcohol.

Nothing says High Tech like a humongous ice sculpture through which drinks are poured.  Open bars were generously scattered through the Unveiled event at Mandalay Bay.  

After walking for what had to be at least a mile through the caverns of Mandalay Bay Resort…NOT an exaggeration…we finally gained admittance to the Unveiled event along with roughly 1500 members of the press and hopeful exhibitors..

Some product lines, like offerings from Linksys, Lenovo and drone manufacturer DJI, were clearly defined improvements over existing products…

Other displays, such as the French company that proudly showed the “Lovebox” a way to “send secret messages to your love” were a bit harder to nail down as to how useful they might actually be.

Many things that debut at CES solve problems you didn’t even know you had.   It’s been reported that VR headsets can make you physically ill with motion sickness because your inner ear and your eyes disagree.  ReliefBand, originally made to help people on boats stop heaving their guts out over the side…also known as chumming for fish…had a presence with a new product that promises a drug-free prevention measure for upchucking all over your computer when you have had the goggles on just a bit too long.

The device purportedly works by stimulating the medial nerve in the wrist, which according to the literature, blocks the “I’m gonna hurl” messages from your unhappy tummy.  Brenda tried it, but the only thing she actually noticed was that it zapped her a good one when she tried to remove it.  We did, however score a prototype model, to evaluate in a more nautical environment.

Finally…when it comes to solving problems you didn’t know you had…nothing so far seen can beat “42Tea”  Because humankind has been making tea for roughly 4000 years, but apparently we just can’t get it right without resorting to a connected gadget that tells you precisely the correct temperature of the water and how much Earl Grey you should use via a smartphone app.  And there is it, CES offering the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything…with apology to fans of Douglas Adams.

 

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Trends to watch. — 1

So far, nothing totally new and unexpected at CES, but Unveiled is in about an hour.  The Consumer Technology Associaton, which produces the show, did have some interesting trends to look at for the upcoming year:

The new Voice of Computing:   Just as the mouse-driven Graphical User Interface (GUI) took computing from a strictly business to a home technology, so Voice Input and Response will make the hardware much less visible.  Interestingly the 50th anniversary of CES is just a year after the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.  We grew up watching Captain Kirk talk to his computer and have it talk back.  But as recently as 1994, the ability of a computer to understand the conversational spoken word with accuracy was pretty much…zero.  Finally this year, Digital Assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Home and a host of others have now achieved “Human Parity” meaning that the comprehension of the spoken word is about the same as a person.  This ability to process spoken commands and context sensitive inquiries has increased by leaps and bounds in just the past three years. After all, consider how many arguments have started over a misunderstanding of words between flesh and blood?  Nowhere to go but up.  It’s predicted that there will be 5 million “Home Robots” by 2020.  We still don’t have Jarvis (Of Iron Man Fame) But we are slowly edging toward that reality.  To be fair, to get to Mandalay Bay, where today’s events are being held, we used Google Now on my Samsung phone to navigate here with a single command “OK Google, Navigate to Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas”.   Think about that just a few years ago the computational power to turn that phrase into turn by turn directions and get us there taking into account traffic conditions, is something that could not be conceived of.  Totally hands off.

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We Are HERE!   We arrived at Mandalay Bay early in order to find an actual parking space and check out the facility before tonight’s Unveiled Event.  As you can see, CES is largely run by vast amounts of coffee.  Security is quite tight at the event, with the usual roller bags or backpacks that are handed out replaced by rather small clear vinyl bags that might be handy for makeup or knitting supplies but not heavy things with sharp edges.   Given the events of the past year, I can understand the paranoia and attempts to head off a horrific incident, but honestly, TSA-esc impositions are going to have a very chilling effect on the quality of coverage.

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