Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]
Parrot, long known for their AR.Drone, was showing off their new products at CES this year, including the MiniDrone and humorously named Jumping Sumo. Both products are remote-controllable with your iPhone (or Android device), with the MiniDrone using Bluetooth Smart and the Jumping Sumo using 802.11ac. The MiniDrone literally will fit in the palms of your hands, and includes (removable) wheels to both help protect the blades as well as to let you drive around the floor. The Jumping Sumo is a hyper-agile device, mainly built to drive around the floor, but it can also jump (by way of a plunger-type device) over two-and-a-half feet in the air. The Jumping Sumo also includes an on-board video camera that streams back to your remote. Check out their quick demo in the attached video we filmed on the show-floor. Pricing has not yet been set and both products will be released sometime in 2014.
Need 4G Internet access on-the-go without breaking the bank? Our deals site is featuring the Photon-branded, Freedom Pop-based 4G HotSpot (think "MiFi") now with a data deal that includes 1GB per month for an entire year baked right into the price. Check your coverage area first, of course, then grab one of these and enjoy connecting up to eight devices simultaneously while on-the-go. These are super-handy when stuck in airports and also to avoid those costly hotel Internet fees. Even if you only travel a few times per year this unit can easily pay for itself (but, again, check coverage of places you visit first, though most common travel destinations we checked are well-covered). If you need more than 1GB of data in any given month, each additional GB is just $9.99, and there is no contract whatsoever. Just pay for what you use.
I've long been a fan of Buffalo's dual-band wireless routers (I run three of them in the house and office) and now Buffalo has shown (and is about to release) a dual-band, 802.11ac-capable, portable wireless travel router. The AirStation AC433 (model WMR-433) is a tiny, two-inch square device that plugs into your hotel Ethernet and then shares the connection to all your devices over either 5GHz or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. It's built to be set-up once and then just work in whatever hotel room you're in. It can reach speeds of up to 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band (hence the model name) and 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. The band is user-selectable via an on-device switch allowing the user to choose which is best (and, in most hotels, 5GHz is where we'll find the least contention). The AirStation AC433 is due out in April and will be available for a street price right around US$50.
Today at CES2014 we got a chance to demo Scosche's new gaming accessory, the smartROLL Bluetooth Smart dice. Built to be paired to a computer or mobile device, these evenly-balanced dice have built-in accelerometers and motion sensors which allow them to be used for all types of applications. Certainly the obvious dice-rolling in games is possible, but you also could use them in a trivia game where you shake the die to "ring in" and then face one of six sides forward to indicate your answer. Scosche is holding the release of these while they're actively soliciting developers. But once developers get rolling with these, the sky's the limit!
In our final Mac Geek Gab podcast of 2013, John (F. Braun), Pilot Pete and I collected and shared our thoughts about our favorite moments from 2013 and also what we're looking forward to as 2014 comes into our respective time continuums. I thought today was as good a day as any to highlight those here, too.
Sure, both Amazon and the US Government have their drones, but you can have your own, as well. Santa brought one of these to our house last week for Christmas, and as a remote-controlled helicopter enthusiast (i.e. the dude that always buys one of these things every year and then forgets about it), I can tell you that this one is the best I've ever used. So controllable, and pretty easy to fly, too. The video pretty much tells the story, and once you're finished watching and are ready to buy, head on over to our Deal store and enjoy!
Dave Hamilton's been a fan and user of Apple devices for as long as you can remember, but he's never been opposed to using something else, Apple has simply been his preference. Recently, though, Dave decided to challenge his preferences and spent an entire week testing Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX as his only tablet. You may (or may not) be surprised at his thoughts.
Cobra's driving bundle includes the Cobra iRadar, the iOS-linked radar (and more) detection device, the Cobra Tag to help you find your keys and the Cobra Universal Mini Mount to hold your iPhone in the car. The Cobra iRadar is something I checked out and mentioned back on Mac Geek Gab 374, and we still use it in the family car to this day. More than just protection from speed traps, the iRadar goes social. Using your iPhone as its wireless bridge, this alerts you to all sorts of things on the road and reports back (anonymously) to create a hive-mind base of knowledge to better inform all drivers, you included. Normally $129.99 at the Apple Store, we have it in our deals section for just $99.99 for the next 10 days.
The iRest iPad stand from Rain Design (recommended by TMO's own Nancy Gravley) is available for just 39.99 through this weekend from our new TMO Deals section in partnership with Stack Social. The iRest is a handy thing, especially for your favorite owner of a full-size iPad. With it you can read in bed without holding your iPad up with your hands, and you can even use the iRest as a tabletop stand. Check it out, this price is the best we've found.
In what perhaps will be my final post before Thanksgiving, I would like to offer my thanks to Smile, this week's sponsor here at TMO. Our focus for this spot is on PDFPen, the all-purpose PDF editing tool for the Mac. Our world lives half in paper and half online, and PDFs are the bridge between those halves. And while we can all create PDFs as easily as we can print them (hint: check the menu in the lower left of your Mac's print dialog), to modify them you need PDFPen.