Posts About: Information

Learning Guitar on the Rogue RA-090

I wrote previously about how musically challenged I am. I admire my wife’s ability to play the piano and for that matter am jealous of anyone who can play well. I’m a dedicated consumer of all types of music and really wish I had more talent in that area of life.

From time to time I get the urge to try again, always thinking this time will be different and I’ll finally be able to play. When that impulse strikes, I usually lean toward the guitar, somehow believing that only six strings makes it easier to master. Were it only so!

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The Echo Show Preview

When Bill Gates and Microsoft first ventured into consumer software and electronics, Mr Gates famously said that they were going to “Put a computer on every desktop and in every home”.  It was a vision that spurred the development of Windows and launched Microsoft into a variety of consumer electronic ventures.

That vision evolved sometime in the late 1990’s. Microsoft realized that the onset of portable devices and computing everywhere was going to require a different sort of mindset and a broader approach. That revised thinking still drives the company today and is also the driving force behind most of the other major consumer electronics vendors.

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Top 3 Selling Products for April

This blog hasn’t been around that long, (actually it had a different focus for some years before this new format) but I always find it fascinating to see what our readers are interested in purchasing.  If you’re a regular reader, you might want to know what other readers are buying as well.

It goes without saying that most of you are interested in Home Media products!   I get a little report each month that tells me what was actually bought through our affiliate links.  Don’t worry, we have no idea who bought what.  That’s between you and Amazon.  Thanks to all who clicked and bought something! It helps us to continue to review great products.

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WowWee it’s MiP the Toy Robot

The great thing about covering technology is that we get to be like little kids in a toy store.  I can’t wait to get my hands on new products and the only time I’m unhappy is when there isn’t enough new stuff to review.  I want, no I need to have new tech.

Speaking of kids, among the many things I wanted as a kid were a personal airplane, helicopter, submarine and of course a robot.  Having grown up watching an imagined world of television and movie robots, I couldn’t wait for the year of their arrival.

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Amazon Fire Tablet HD 8

I’m going to do something that I don’t normally do and that’s let you know about a sale item. The reason I’m doing this is twofold. First, it’s Friday afternoon and I’ve spent most of the day trying to get something up here for the weekend. Secondly, I’ve used this product myself for a year and a half and I strongly believe it’s a good product. The fact that it’s on sale, makes it a great time for you to learn about it.

When I purchased my tablet back in 2015, my expectations were pretty low. I wanted something that I could use for basic mobile/wifi functions, like browsing, Skype and playing music. I found out pretty quick that I set the bar too low. In the last year I’ve used this thing for all sorts of activities including gaming, video streaming, voice control and even as a controller for my Fire TV Stick.

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Portable Grand Piano

I was one of those kids who was always musically challenged. I love music, and I can remember the lyrics to about a million songs, but I can’t seem to translate that into moving my fingers along an instrument. It probably didn’t help that when I was 8 years old my mother decided I should learn to play the accordion. It seems we had a cousin who was a big thing on the Steel Pier, and I think she had visions of us wowing the Ed Sullivan show with our hardcore accordion beats.

Needless to say, my mother’s dream never came true. Not only did I never make it to the Ed Sullivan Show, or even the Steel Pier, I never again seriously picked up an instrument. Thanks, Mom. It was only in recent years that I got the itch to try to learn something again, and I’ve now bought and sold or given away those neglected acoustic guitars.

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VR Remote Controllers

There’s a growing number of applications for Virtual Reality Headsets. From Architecture and Engineering to Simulation and Training, the breadth of content is growing rapidly. While the business applications are choosing higher end solutions from dedicated VR companies such as HTC and Oculus, the majority of the consumer market is dominated by low-end devices used in conjunction with Smartphones.

As I pointed out in the last article, VR Goggle offerings from Samsung and Google lead the field in price, performance and functionality. Other makers are quickly jumping in to offer alternatives with even better price/performance and expanded functionality. The one aspect that many of these providers have ignored is an area that I find is key to the overall adoption of virtual reality, and that is human interface or controllers.

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Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets

Any discussion of home entertainment these days is incomplete without mentioning the growing presence of Virtual Reality in the living room.  Officially dubbed VR3, because of the failure of the both the 1980’s and 1990’s incarnations, the new VR is light years ahead of its predecessors both in content and acceptance.

In the 1980’s VR Pioneer Jaron Lanier and his partner founded VPL Research, focusing on commercializing virtual reality technologies.  With much media coverage and attendant funding, the company prospered for a few years, but then filed for bankruptcy in 1990.  The products they created were expensive, and without powerful hardware, the software applications were anemic.  The patents were bought by Sun Microsystems in 1999, and likely archived inside some scary robot hidden beneath Bill Joy’s office.

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LED TV Backlight Accent Strips

Since we’re already on the subject of lighting, I decided to look into something that has fascinated me for quite a while and that’s LED back-lighting. It’s one of those subtle things about a movie theater experience that we take for granted. When you find yourself looking for that missing ingredient to recreating the big screen cinema feeling in your home, it just might be the lighting.

What’s currently on the market ranges from the very simple lighting strips, to more advanced units that can fully interact with your content. Much of the latter is still in the development phase, and far more expensive, but what’s out there now gives you plenty of control over how you set the mood. Choices of colors and schema from remote control is pretty much the starting point for what you want to look for in LED Back-lighting.

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TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb

One of the often overlooked aspects of home theater setups is lighting. I’ve gotten used to using the little lamp in the corner to produce the right amount of light so that I can see whatever I might be snacking on, or to find the controller on the coffee table. Otherwise, I like the room fairly dark. For anyone who’s spent time and money on getting the right gear, the full theater experience isn’t complete unless the lighting is just right.

In the past I’ve had media rooms with recessed lighting and full-on dimmer capabilities, but my space is quite a bit simpler now. Scattered lamps and an overly bright overhead light fulfill the lighting duties of the room. I admit that I’ve been lax in upgrading but I wanted to do the next iteration right, complete with connected devices and voice control.

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