Tag: Tech

The New (and Improved?) Apple TV

apple-tv-remoteApple has finally released the first new AppleTV model in several years.  What was once considered a “hobby” by Steve Jobs has finally matured into an impressive multimedia device!

The 4th version of the AppleTV has a familiar shape and footprint but it’s at least twice the height (and heavier too).  The remote has undergone a major upgraded to include a touch screen and Siri integration as well as an internal, rechargeable, battery that is reported to last up to three months of regular use (charged by the now Apple-standard lightning cable).

I ordered the 64GB unit for $199 on the first day it was available for pre-order (Apple also offers a 32GB device for $50 less).  Being impatient I opted for the next day shipping option in the hopes of receiving a new toy in time for the weekend.

Well it didn’t happen.  My package was stuck on a loading dock in Tennessee and didn’t leave until sometime on Sunday.  Apple refunded my overnight shipping cost which was appreciated (I had to call them to get this done though).  I love the ability to get detailed tracking of packages but this had the reverse impact as the shipment didn’t get updated for days.

While reviewing the Apple forums full of other people waiting for their shipments I learned about a carrier in Europe that not only tells you the status of your package but you can see the progression on a real-time map.  If that wasn’t cool enough you also know the name of the delivery driver along with a 30-minute delivery window (also updated in real time).  Talk about stalking the delivery Guy!

AppleTV 4 Ports
Being an early adopter can be fun but it has its frustrations as well.  Physical setup of the new Apple TV was relatively smooth once I figured out a work around for the missing “optical audio-out” (S/PDIF) I was using with the last model.  The App Store, which is one of the big selling factors of this new model, was not very exciting the first couple of days.  Not a lot of “must have” apps and nothing was categorized so finding apps to download and try out was not as easy as it should have been.

Now that things have been up and running for a few weeks the store is getting better and more useful apps are starting to become available.  The Siri remote is the real star here.  With it you can basically ask for a particular movie, actor, or genre and a list of options magically show up on the screen complete with a list of where you can view the content and pricing (if any).  Right now this search is limited to Netflix, Hulu and the Apple Store but it’s supposed to be opening up to other services soon.  This is a similar feature that Roku has had for a while but dictating with your voice is the new (and better) input method.

App StoreI’ve written two posts about my Cord Cutting project and how it’s been going.  The new AppleTV has made the transition from Cable to Over The Air (OTA) content and streaming media a lot easier and the App Store keeps getting better every day.  I think as this platform matures there could be some interesting capabilities surface that will make the 4th generation AppleTV an integral part of the entertainment stack.

It’s time to start thinking about the next electronic purchase and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a TV upgrade. My 38″ Plasma has served me well for many years but 55-60″ of UHD (or 4k) video sounds very appealing.  And the prices keep coming down to the sub-thousand level which makes it a more attractive buy.

I’m wanting to get a bigger screen and possibly install it over the fireplace.  I’ve heard good and bad things about this mounting location but after seeing an articulating wall mount that allows you to pull the TV down in front of the (unlit) fireplace for a better viewing angle I think that’s the way I’m going to go.

I’d love to hear from any of you who have feedback on the over-the-fireplace mounting option.  Is it that bad?  I’m going to be 15+ feet away from the screen so that makes the viewing angle relatively flat (that was the main complaint from people who chose the higher mounting position).

Thoughts?  Please leave them in the comments section below.

Big Changes in Formula One This Year!

The first race of the 2014 F1 season is over and it was a very interesting race. BIG changes this year with the cars. The 18,000 RPM screaming V8 has been replaced with a 15,000 RPM turbo charged V6. Totally different sound & lots of reliability issues thus far.  The KERS system has been updated to allow for 33 seconds of boost vs the 6 seconds in the past.

Red Bull put together this video (it’s a little corny) that explains some of the changes & the new technology in the cars.  It’s going to be an interesting year!

Ross Nanotechnology’s NeverWet superhydrophobic spray-on coating

This is some pretty crazy stuff.  If it can get implemented into automotive finishes and clothing it will put a BIG dent in the cleaning industry!

How To: Getting Personal Documents on Your Kindle

If you have a Kindle this is a must read…  The Gadgeteer, one of my favorite tech blogs, has a great writeup on how to get just about any document on your Kindle.

Incidentally, The Gadgeteer, founded by Julie Strietelmeier,  is based out of Columbus, Indiana.  Not exactly a place were you’d expect one of the big tech blogs to be located!

There are several ways to convert and transfer documents to the Kindle.  Some methods are free and other cost a few pennies per MB.  Either way you do it if you want the most convenient way to transport and access documents while traveling the Kindle is definitely the way to go.

Blogs I’m Following (Part 1) – Technology

I’m a hug RSS feed fanatic.  As of this writing I’m tracking 199 RSS feeds with Google Reader and using Feedly on top of everything to present it in an organized manner.  I read everything from technology to food to entertainment & a few other genres.

Over the next few posts I’m going to share some of my favorite feeds.  This time we’re going to start with technology.

Lifehacker – If you like to tinker, this site is for you.  Lots of fun things to do with common (and not so common) things around the house and office.

Crackberry – If you use a Blackberry, this is the site that will keep you informed about your addictive little device.  There are several imitators but this one is the best.

The Gadgeteer – A tech blog with an Indiana connection.  I’ve been following Julie and her reviews for years.  This site has a daily “deal of the day” that can save you a lot of money.

IndyGeek.net – A new (at least for me) Indiana tech blog with daily podcast.  It definitely has potential to grow and I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far!

The Wall Street Journal – Technology – My new “national newspaper” site now that the NY Times went to a pay model.  I actually like the reporting better & never thought anyone could dethrone David Pogue.

Engadget – This one just about rounds out (and covers) everything.  sometimes there are more posts per day than I can follow, but a really great source of information nonetheless.

The list above just covers the top tech feeds I follow daily.  There are others that I check out a few times a week.  What are some of your favorite RSS feeds?

Next up…  My favorite Food links!


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