Another month has gone by and spring is definitely springing up in our neck of the woods, er suburbs. Thanks for reading and a special welcome to John (jaekae99,) Zumreed Headphones, Luxury House and Shoudio for joining us on Twitter.
NetZero is now offering free 4G data with its hotspot or USB stick for the first year, $9.95 monthly after that. The Hotspot can be used with up to 8 devices while the stick is perfect for laptops. You then select a plan, from the freebie 200MB to $49.99 for 4G with no overage charges or contract. The service is available in 8,000 cities so head for their site to find one near you.
Once again, Roku is working to make your video life better and is planning to replace their set-top box with an inexpensive "streaming stick" that uses the same interface as their current hardware. After being plugged into a MHL port, you get wireless watching without the cords.
At the recent SXSW, Product Chief Tom Marworth explained the new gadget and the company's continued relationship with cable companies. The stick should become available during the second half of 2012 and possibly could be bundled with TVs.
German computer company Convar Deutschland sent out some "gifts" to prospective clients that resembled time bombs. There were forty alarm clocks with attached hard drives and a note that said, "Your time is running out." Apparently no one got the joke. Police were called, buildings were evacuated and now the data-recovery service is stuck with the bill. However, they did get the publicity they sought and that will certainly be worth the expense.
Previously, one had to use software to create a synthesized voice but now realtime music is possible with the Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard. The player inputs lyrics by entering Japanese characters and music simultaneously, with buttons for consonants and vowels. It turns out that users who tried the prototype could manage it after about three hours. Although it is still a prototype and there is no English equivalent, we suspect both may soon be in the works.
We don't quite get it. The recently released Hunger Games carries an MP-13 rating in spite of its violent plot while Bully has an R for "strong" language and an adult must accompany the age group that is targeted. The film cannot be shown in schools with that rating and although there is a movement afoot to get it changed, that hasn't happened as yet. You can sign the petition online and send it to friends and Facebook to help the MPAA change their mind.
Logitech has a Wireless Touchpad for PCers, at a size of 5.25 x 5.13". You can track with up to four fingers for multi-touch navigation. The 2.4GHz wireless pad can move your pointer on screen and you can scroll and swipe as well. It needs 2 AA batteries (included) and can connect to up to 6 Windows 7 devices.
Apple's alternative is a Magic Trackpad for Mac folks which is about 80% larger than the one on the MacBook Pro. It does everything that the Logitech pad does and also needs 2 AA batteries (included.) It connects via Bluetooth and can run on any Mac or notebook.
Hulu is ramping up its push to gain new subscribers, in spite of the latest glut of iffy commercials with Will Arnett. They have increased the size of the video screen online by 55%, given it a new frame and a drop shadow. The new layout is certainly less busy and accessible to both regular and Hulu Plus members.
Whether you waited in line for hours or pre-ordered your iPad, there are already accesories out for it. The ClamCase was designed for the iPad 2 but will also work with your new acquisition. It comes with a multi-purpose stand with 360º hinge. Also included is a full QWERTY keyboard with 14 specialty keys. Its lithium Ion battery has a power indicator.
Sign up for the Dish Network and you can get their latest gadget, the Hopper. The DVR records and stores up to 2,000 movies and TV episodes. Up to 6 HD movies or other content can be recorded at once and can be watched on up to four different HDTVs. The cost of the Hopper is $99.00 with a $24.99 monthly contract, free with the pricier plans. We should warn you that living in a suburban situation that has a tendency towards nasty weather is not conducive to dealing with a temperamental dish.
Walmart has teamed with five of the largest film studios (Disney opted out) to create a disc to digital service with Vudu, its cloud movie service. Bring in a DVD or Blu-ray disc beginning April 16 and for $2.00 you get a digital copy via Vudu. A second alternative allows a high-def upgrade for $5.00 if available. It all comes down to the struggling Ultraviolet service that still hasn't quite become mainstream. The good news is that movies purchased elsewhere can be used, the bad is that it is not yet available on Android. By the way, the video gets our vote for creepy ad of the year.
If you are still on the sidelines about purchasing the new Sony Vita, here is one more perc that may make up your mind. Music Unlimited is now available with browsing, play lists, and purchase. Given that the portable gaming system already has Netflix, access to the PlayStation Network and social networking, the Vita is certainly worth another think.
Move over, Skymall, there's a new shopping service in the friendly skies. Delta will soon offer free access to Amazon as part of its overall WiFi service. Shop for shoes, watch a film, grab an app or download an eBook. Delta has been offering WiFi service via GoGo for a while now and users can choose between a Day Pass for $12.00, a monthly Traveler Pass for $34.95 and an Annual Pass for $399.95.
Netflix has teamed with Apple to offer 1080p HD and Dolby Digital 5.1 (when available) streaming on the new Apple TV. The latest gadget has a new user interface, and iTunes Match, PhotoStream and Genius support. Available in North America, parts of Latin America, Ireland and the UK, you can set it up and pay directly through your iTunes account.
Addicted to Twitter? Then you will really like Gnzo, a multi-video viewer app. You can keep in touch with family and friends by posting up to 30 video clips at a time, at a maximum of 6 seconds each. Now in beta, you can arrange the photos in whatever order you like, create a search and post them on Twitter or Facebook. The application is a freebie and compatible with iPhone/iPod touch/iPad with iOS 4.3 or later.
By now everyone has heard the news that the new iPad is out with a better display, faster 4G LTE connectivity, a 5 megapixel camera and a price starting at $499.00. That's a huge amount of money for the average human to swallow these days, but the good news is that the iPad 2 has been slashed in price by $100, making it more accessible to the masses. And since the new one has sold out before release, it might be worth considering.
We noticed that the cause of Kony 2012 has caused quite an uproar in the past few days. This is an excellent example of the true power of the internet and networking on it.
But here's the thing. We know someone who made some documentaries in the cause of justice. And although she tried to use them as learning tools, they were not magic bullets. Even with multiple viewings at film festivals, colleges and other public institutions, the problems were not fixed. There are still people who go against the paramilitary in Colombia who end up "disappeared." They continue to struggle over water rights in Bolivia even after thousands fought against it and we bet that if you go into a Walmart, you will not be able to find a soccer ball that was not hand-stitched by a child in India at slave wages.
So watch the video and do what your heart says but remember that large problems do not have an easy fix. Get involved but do not get carried away to the point that you forget that although the medium is the message, it is not a cure-all, no matter how many celebrities back it. And most of all, use this experience to make your own change for the better in the grand scheme of things. Use that energy to fight hunger, work to end a debilitating disease, keep children as children or help those who have even less than you.
Keystone's ECO Booster 2.0 is a super-slim, portable 2000 mAH battery pack with a built-in USB cable for Android and iOs smartphones. It will work with iPod and iPhone with included connector and after attaching with washable adhesive pad, you can open up its built-in stand. LED indicators show that it is charging and power level achieved.
Little by little, HBO is bringing its Go platform to many different platforms, including Roku, iPad/iPhone, Android phones and Samsung Smart TV. Now it is also accessible on Xbox 360. Beginning April 1, the streaming service debuts with its latest season of "Game of Thrones." You can get it as part of your cable/satellite subscription service for now, but perhaps HBO will become more independent in the future as a stand alone.
Digital Innovations has what they say is the first Docking Station for Android. Available with remote, the speaker/dock provides 2.1 stereo sound and a free app with functions such as play/pause, skip/back and volume control. It accommodates your device in both portrait and landscape mode. Micro USB and 3.5 mm audio connectors allow for simple plug-and-play.
Sony's double-screened Vaio P Tablet has arrived. AT&T is offering the device that is 4G capable. It may take a while to get used to the dual 5.5" touchscreen displays but there are plenty of apps to play with. The tablet runs Android 3.2 and can be used for gaming, music, video and reading eBooks. It has both a front and rear camera, WiFi or Bluetooth connection and can transfer to a compatible PC or TV. Plan on a $399.00 price with 2-year contract and monthly data plan.
Simple TV will soon become available for those who want to watch HDTV on any connected device via USB. Stream free networks or basic cable channels to your Roku, iPad, Boxee Box or Google TV via free apps and store content for watching later. Included in the deal is a single-tuner DVR with HD, an Ethernet cable, power adapter and mini-digital antenna. Sign up now for $149.00 and a subscription charge of $4.95 per month.
Take your pick of how to use the Zumreed X2 Hybrid Headphones, whether you prefer them to be a singular noise cancelling experience or as a pair of desktop speakers. The ear cups rotate to stand erect on a flat surface and its Lithium-Ion battery lasts about four hours before needing a recharge via USB. Also available in both black and white, the phones come with both 3.5mm and 6.3 mm gold-plated stereo plugs.
Now that Nextflix has encouraged movie and TV streaming via the Wii and the PS3, Nintendo has created an app for Hulu Plus. A version for the 3DS is also planned. Hulu already has access via Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
A recent Nielsen survey found that 33% of Wii users streamed content with their gaming system, almost twice the amount used for streaming on other systems. So purchasing a Wii system makes it a win-win situation for both gamers and movie watchers.