Home monitoring is so much more accessible now than it used to be. Now with smartphone integration, it’s pretty easy to keep tabs on the homestead while you’re away. We reviewed the Belkin Netcam HD a while back. Now meet a home monitoring solution that’s suitable for the great outdoors as well as indoors: the D-Link DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera, a network-enabled camera that is flexible, effective, and resilient in our Canadian climate.
There are many things in the world that are a big mystery to the average consumer. Straddling the line between alchemy and sorcery, these secrets lead to much head-scratching and face-scrunching, due to the mystical nature of these odd occurrences. One of these puzzles is the “check engine” light that occasionally pops up on the dashboard, indicating some issue with your car, which leads you to drive to your local garage and pay for a diagnostic and a fix (if required). Lemur Vehicle Monitors helps to fan away the fog of mystery with the BlueDriver diagnostic tool, which turns your smartphone into an automotive information center.
Audio is a very important part of the home theatre experience. Without effective audio delivery, movies and videogames become a ho-hum affair, and they lose their immersive quality. It makes sense; so much work goes into creating realistic sound fields in films and video games – even movies that don’t have a lot of “special effects” still have a fair bit of work done in the audio production. In my opinion, having discrete speaker outputs (5.1 minimum) is the way to go; but what if you can’t run wires? What if you have a small space and you can’t justify spending a lot of money on a number of different speakers? What if I told you that there is actually a great product from VIZIO (which we first saw at the Future Shop Smart Loft) that allows you to have a great 5.1 surround sound system that doesn’t require complicated installation – but still delivers a powerful and immersive experience?
I’m used to France-based Parrot making toys that soar – namely the AR Drone series; but earlier this year, I attended a media event that demonstrated that Parrot also made remote-control ground vehicles. The Jumping Sumo is an interesting two-wheeled oddity that is capable of far more than just driving. Using your iOS or Android phone (or tablet), the Jumping Sumo is a toy that is easy to pick up – but it’s not without its quirks.
Google Glass is all the rage – but there are others entering the fray. Take Optinvent’s ORA, for example. It definitely takes a bit of a different route – but still looks to be quite functional and interesting, as per their Kickstarter. We shot a few questions at Kayvan Mirza (CEO & Co-Founder of Optinvent) – and he sent us a return volley of answery knowedge!
If you like remote-controlled vehicles, then our review of Sphero probably tickled your fancy last year. Who wouldn’t be fascinated by a remote-controlled sphere (which actually moved at a decent clip)? Well, Colorado-based Sphero (formerly known as Orbotix), has released a follow-up product in the form of the cylinder-like Ollie. Sphero was kind enough to let us check out their product and I have to tell you, if you found Sphero to be a fun ride, wait until you try Ollie!
The following article was written rather unprofessionally in the tipsy haze following Evan’s return from a consumer tech trade show at the Westin Harbour Castle. In his defense, though, his week was packed and he had to get this out or risk letting it slip through the cracks. His drink was red wine and his soundtrack was The Naked and Famous. He recommends both for most occasions.
Trade shows are a bit of an odd place for journalists. The events are set up so that salespeople from consumer product companies can rendezvous with buyers from all manner of retail outfits. The salesfolk make their pitches and the buyers buy wares. It makes sense, sure, that critics should attend to have a look at the next big thing to make its way to the shelves – except the brand booths are often staffed by people trained on pitching products to retail buyers rather than media or consumers. I felt a wee bit out of place, but I still saw some really cool stuff and I’ll give you the breakdown from each company that I was brought to.