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Tech Homie Quick Tips – How to update your smartphone’s operating system

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Smartphones are just like pocket computers.  Every so often, usually once a month to a few times a year, companies will send new versions of operating systems periodically to devices that fix bugs, update various systems within the device.  System updates often add new features to improve the experience for the customer, fix any major or minor bugs, and possibly give a sneak peak as to what will come in the future for mobile technology.  Its definitely an exciting world out there for mobile computing.  But with advances in computing a basic factor of life now,  operating system update navigation is more important than ever.

Continue reading Tech Homie Quick Tips – How to update your smartphone’s operating system

Absurdly Expensive things I found on Amazon; Fathers Day edition

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So I’m sure I’ve said this multiple times before, but Amazon can be an amazing place to purchase items that may be out of the ordinary, or relatively run in the mill. But what the point of today’s post deals with the more premium shopper in our lives. For fathers day, a tie may not always be enough for that special person in our lives.

For this occasion, I bring you, the most insanely expensive things I’ve found while wandering around Amazon this fathers day. I have developed a handy list for you guys. You may decide you want to buy some of these items, but no one would be surprised if you decided to buy a lesser expensive item. Here, you’ll see something tech related, but in multiple categories. Whether its phones, computers, cameras, drones, or maybe even high tech golf equipment. Here you go:

1. Hassleblad H5D-60 Medium Format Digital SLR Camera: $43,000

Have a dad who is an avid photographer? I’m sure he would love this model from Hassleblad, the Swedish company known for exceptional camera quality and an even more exceptionally expensive prices. THe H5D-60 is a 60 megapixel DSLR with a 40.2×50.3mm CCD (charge coupled device) sensor. The LCD screen stands at 3.0″ with 460,320 pixels (resolution, you know). The specifications for this camera are insane, albeit overkill for the average run in the mill photographer taking pictures at the annual family reunion.  Here are the rest of the specs:

  • 60 Megapixel Resolution
  • 40.2 x 53.7mm CCD Sensor
  • 3.0″ 24-Bit Color LCD w/ 460,320 Pixels
  • True Focus II and Focus Confirm
  • 16-Bit Color Definition
  • Hasselblad RAW 3FR File Format
  • Compatible with H-System Components
  • DAC Automated Lens Correction System
  • Digital Spirit Level
  • Phocus and Lightroom 4 Software Included

It basically sounds like a little too much for the every day dad, when there are DSLR options that range from 500 to 1000 dollars that could be just as capable for their needs.

2. Cisco CTS-MX800S-2CAM-K9 TelePresence 70″ Dual Camera Video Conferencing Kit: $59.090.93

So, your dad wants to video chat with family.  This is a very acceptable request.  Your dad also may not be a fan of the iPhone; which is also acceptable.  Skype, Tango, and whatever other video chat options are available for electronics will give dad an ability to chat with loved ones whenever he wants.

However, most webcams that are built in are either usually placed in awful spots, are terrible quality, or both.  But with the Cisco CTS-MX800S-2CAM-K9, worrying about webcam quality will become a thing of the past.

Here’s the product description taken from Amazon.com:

The MX800 system comes standard with a built-in amplifier and speaker system for the ultimate high fidelity sound. This camera delivers the best possible video imaging with up to1080p60 resolution. Premium resolution and dual display are also standard features on the MX800. The intuitive Cisco TelePresence Touch 10 provides an ever so easy-to-use interface for MX800 systems. Industry standards compliance lets the MX800 support calls with any third party, standards-based system. Support for H. 264 SVC also means the MX800 can interoperate with software-based video conferencing solutions. And, as the industry’s only H.265-ready systems, the MX800 lays the foundation for future bandwidth efficiencies made possible by the standard.

Here are the specifications  for the TelePrescence videoconferencing kit:

  • 70-inch TFT-LCD monitor, edge-lit LED with Dual Camera
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
  • SVGA (800 x 600) up to 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • 20x total zoom (10x optical,2x digital zoom)
  • Integrated full-range multichannel and bass speakers

I’m going to say, a professional grade 2 camera videoconferencing kit could be full blown overkill for some video chats with your loved ones, unless you and your loved ones are both C-Suite level employees of fortune 500 companies.  It could happen!

3. Microsoft Surface Hub 84″  : $22,356.84

For the father who has been rocking that Compaq desktop since the Windows XP days, a new computer could be on tap for Father’s Day.   We have the Microsoft Surface Hub 84″ for you, with Windows 10 installed on an 84″ touch screen with 4K resolution.   Here are the rest of the specifications:

  • 4K, 3820 x 2140 Resolution @ 120Hz
  • 4th Gen Intel I7 Processor
  • NVIDIA Quadro K2200
  • WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)/ Ethernet 1GB / Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • NFC/Miracast
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB SSD (Solid State Drive)
  • 2 1080p resolution cameras
  • High performance 4 element array microphone
  • 2 front facing stereo speakers
  • Windows 10 with business optimized apps like Skype for Business, Office, and Whiteboard

The Surface Hub is best fit in Conference Rooms, Command Centers, and workshops.  Essentially any area that has a huge need for collaboration and innovation.  Dad could possibly use this to plan many things for life, including a family vacation, or well, anything that may require any sort of planning.  But, you could also use a lesser expensive device such as the Surface, or the Surface Pro.

4. Aerialtronics Altura Zenith ATX8 Base | Professional 8 Motor Carbon Airframe Drone: $23,499.00

I’ve noticed a lot of guys roughly my dad’s age either have a drone, have played with drones, or want drones.  This means drones end up becoming almost perfect gift for Fathers day. However,  spending nearly $24,000 on a drone, that could be insanely fragile.  The Aerialtronics Altura Zenith ATX8 Base model is a highly professional drone. It is also not a drone for those who are casual drone fliers.  The specifications, as seen below, are as slick as they come.  But maybe not acceptable for a person who would be flying a drone for the first time.

Specs:

  • Base drone unit only; Includes:- Carbon monocoque airframe – 8 (X8) Motor propulsion system – Built-in flight control computer – Built-in high accuracy GPS receiver – HD encrypted video transmitter (5.1-5.8 GHz)
  • Take-off Weight: 6.65 kg / Max Payload ATX8: 2.9 kg
  • Max Flight Time: Up to 35 minutes / Battery: 22.2V – 20.000 mAh / Max Wind Speed: Up to 12 m/s
  • Applications: Phone mast inspection, Wind turbine instpection, High voltage instpection, Search & Rescue (SAR), Accident & Traffic monitoring, VOC & Gas Detection drones, Surveillance, Fire Fighting, Anti-Poaching, Crop heath monitoring, 3D Volumetrics, 2D Orthomapping, Aerial cinema & photography
  • Max Cruise Speed: 20 m/s / Average Cruise Speed: 5 m/s (adjustable)
So this was a random rambling of expensive things I noticed on Amazon.  The grand total of the items listed above is $184,125.93.  This is 4 items for nearly 250,000 dollars.  Possibly fathers day presents, but there may be some more options available to purchase as well.  Of course, feel free to check out the Amazon Fathers Day Gift Guide that I chatted about last week.

Get the Amazon Echo for the lowest price of 2017!

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Here’s your chance to get the Amazon Echo, the Echo Tap, and the Echo Dot for the lowest price of 2017!

Sure, the Homepod has been announced, and maybe some folks will be Google Home loyalists for life, but maybe you might want to either check out the very popular Amazon Echo, or get another Echo on sale for your home.  Sales have not been as forthcoming for the Echo in 2017 so far, but this sale could make it a little easier to go for the Echo if you have been keeping an eye on the Smart Home Speaker.

For a limited time, the Amazon Echo will be on sale for $139.99.  The sale price for the Echo is the lowest that it has been in all of 2017.  The price is definitely easier to take than the regular 179.99 price for the Amazon Echo.  Take a look at the price from Amazon here.   You can (and should) pick up an Echo for fathers day, and the father figure in your life will definitely be excited for the device.  For tips and tricks on the Echo, check out this guide from Android Central.  Also, I’ve found some more tips and tricks from CNET over here.  There are tons of ways to check out the benefits of having an Amazon Echo in your home.

The Amazon Echo Dot is also on sale for 39.99 from a regular price of 49.99, and the portable Amazon Tap is on sale for 99.99 from a regular price of 129.99.

For those who do not know, the Echo is a Smart home speaker powered by Alexa AI.  The Echo can assist with everything from adding personal reminders to turning the temperature down in your home.  The Echo has been out for the masses since 2015, but broke into mainstream popularity in 2016.  The Amazon Echo is incredibly popular, but connecting the echo to other devices such as smart lighting, or smart thermostats, can make the smart speaker practical as well.

 Here’s some quick links to all of the items that are currently on sale:


Apple HomePod, the rumored Siri enabled Speaker, officially announced

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Apple announced HomePod, the Siri enabled speaker, today during WWDC, the companies annual developer conference.  The speaker has been built to compete not only with quality brand such as Sonos; but with its smart home speaker capabilities, HomePod can also compete with the extremely popular Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers.   As Apple SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller stated ‘Sonos are not smart speakers and Amazon Echo’s aren’t good speakers.  The name ‘HomePod’  is strange, lets be honest.  But with Airpods, and Earpods, and iPods, its not surprising that we would now have HomePod included in the mix.

HomePod is cylindrical speaker that is shaped like a pill.  It has a seven beam-forming tweeter array, with a custom woofer, which is all powered by the Apple A8 Chip.  The A8 chip is the same chip that powered the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.  The color options come in White and Space Grey.  Apple also announced AirPlay 2, which bring multi-room audio capability, which HomePod can utilize through Apple’s HomeKit

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HomePod has been made to revolutionize the way music is played throughout the home. HomePod can use Siri intelligence as a ‘musicologist’ more so than the assistant features that are the main focus of the Amazon Echo and Google Home.   HomePod can optimize the sound no matter where it is playing, and where you are in the home.  Users also have the ability to connect multiple HomePods throughout the home, to further enhance the sound experience.

HomePod was designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, which gives you access to over 40 million songs.   With the perfect blend of Siri intelligence and Apple Music, HomePod will become a sort of musicologist, as it learns music preferences from different genres and moods shared across devices.  Owners will also be able to gather information about the songs played by asking Siri questions via HomePod.

As stated during the HomePod announcement,  quality speakers such as Sonos speakers can be priced  at $300 dollars and up, and most smart speakers are priced in the $100 to $200 dollar range, therefore the $349 price of the HomePod makes sense for the quality of speaker that you will get.

See more details at Apple

Intel’s Credit Card sized Compute Card ready to ship in August

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More information has arrived about the models that Intel has made ready for launch this coming August.  The Compute Card was first unveiled at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) earlier this year,  and now we have a date for when it is coming to market.   The card was officially launched with a host of partners that will use the card in everything from Monitors, to interactive refrigerators, to laptops, and everywhere in between.   The Partners include LG Display, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, although the last three Partners did not have products ready for display at the time of launch.  Ultimately, it is kind of legit to see the possibilities that can come about with the Compute Card.

The Compute Card is the size of a credit card, but in that extra tiny package comes a full functioning computer.  When I say computer, I mean the full gambit of computer goodness;  memory, connectivity, and a SoC.   Imagine having all of that power in the palm of your hand (so I mean smaller than the palm of your hand in theory here).

Here are the products that will be available at launch time (via Intel):

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In the never-ending push to innovate and make technology a greater part of our lives. Intel is taking a huge leap into the world of IoT (internet of things) , Automated Driving, and other forms of technology as its continued push to new computing ideas takes the company into the future.   It will be a matter of time before we see computers that are as small as a dime impact our lives.

Along with the Compute Card, Intel has also launched its Compute Card Design Kit, to help the speed up and simplify the product development process.  Expect to the see the Compute Card make a huge impact on IoT, All in One computers, and other devices in the near future.  The Compute Card Pricing was not made available, but expect to hear more as we get closer to August.

View more info on the Compute Card here,  and the Press Release here.

Don’t know what to get for Father’s Day? The Tech Homie is here to help!

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Father’s Day is June 18th this year, and with how fast the time has flown to get us to this point,  the holiday for the Dads in your life will be upon us sooner than we think.  Here at The Tech Homie, we usually like to make our gifts have something to do with technology in some fashion.  So I’ve taken it upon myself to help out with the buying ideas.  Continue reading Don’t know what to get for Father’s Day? The Tech Homie is here to help!

How to make Podcast listening less confusing. Keep it simple kids!

Saturday is a great day to relax, and take in some information that you may not normally take during the week.  Listening to podcasts are great ways to get news information without dealing with tons of TV commercials, and without the general annoyance of trying to tune into your favorite radio station.  Most radio stations these days even have a podcast channel to make listening to content even easier for you to do.  However, finding ways to listen to podcasts can be tricky.  I’m here to let you know that it shouldn’t be.  I’m here to let you know that it should be easy!

Continue reading How to make Podcast listening less confusing. Keep it simple kids!