#CES2014: Gaming, Printing, Excercising

Last week, I was lucky enough to break out of the balmy -20 degree Milwaukee weather and take a trip to Vegas to the Consumer Electronics Show. I had a great time at last year's show, and this year did not disappoint!  

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But let's skip the technobabble. Here are three things that will potentially change the way we entertain, build, and excercise in the next few years. 3D gaming, 3D printing, and fitness.

 

3D gaming

Imagine walking down a street in a video game, and being able to look up, down, left, right.  Now imagine being able to look in back of you. That's what the Oculus Rift. promises to bring to gaming.

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Looks stupid, right? It was. And I loved it.  Reminds me of the horrible virtual reality games in the arcades of the 80s and early 90s. Remember these?

Transient

Also. Display port had an amazing 3 monitor setup. 3 FREAKING HUGE monitors. I couldn't even fit this inside of my apartment, but I want it!

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3D printing

I've blogged about 3D printing in the past, and there was a huge showing at the conference. 3D printing is pretty much what it sounds like - a printer that can print a plastic object such as an action figure, a ball, or a mask.  Tons of cool companies like Makerbot, Kevvox, and Sculpteo were printing small 3D trinkets left and right. Some great examples are below.  3D printing is still a little too expensive ($2000+, plus printing material) to bring into the mainstream, but give it a good 5 years or so and we'll be printing our own toys at a reasonable price. Secret Santa will be even more awesome.

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Fitness

I've been borrowing a Fitbit Flex from Verizon Wireless for review, and it's become my best buddy.  I leave it on my wrist (even in the shower - it's waterproof) and it automatically tracks my steps, active minutes, calories burned, etc.  

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I forget that it's on, which is exactly the point.  The only time I don't forget about it is when I have to charge it by removing a smal part and plugging it up to a computer, which is more often then I'd like (every day or two). For these things to really go mainstream, wireless charging would be a huge benefit. Imagine that I can just throw my Fitbit Flex on a wireless pad like a Powermat. Or even better, placing a wireless charger under my pilow (or make the whole pillow a wireless charger) so that going to sleep instantly charges the device. I know, big dreams, and I could fry my head ... but it would be awesome.

My favorite fitness gadget was the Infomotion 94Fifty - a basektball with a bunch of sensors in it that measure ball rotation, velocity, the arc of your shot, and tons of other variables.  As you dribble, shoot, and pass, you get instant feedback from the voice of a snarky coach.  

For example, when shooting a free throw, you shoudl shoot at an arc of 40 degrees, which is REALLY hard for the average person. All I heard most of the time was the coach saying "Get that arc up" and other remarks. If I had this as a kid, I might actually have been a good basketball player. Maybe it would have helped me grow to 6' tall to.

 

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Keep an eye out on 3D gaming, 3D printing, and fitness gagdgets in the next few years - things are gonna change!

Reefcasting The Google Chromecast

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If you want to watch Netflix and YouTube on your television, you have a few options -  video game console, Blu ray player, smart TV, Apple TV, or Roku Box. Google has developed an alternative that is both more affordable and easier to set up  The Google Chromecast lets any iOS or Android device, as well as any computer running the Google Chrome browser, control video streaming on your television. For $35, it's a steal. Check out my video review below!

CES 2013 Wrap Up Video & Tweets

Last week, I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Below is a video of some footage that I took on the floor. Unfortunately, my microphone adapter broke so I was not able to hold any interviews - gotta get that fixed for next year!

If you can't see the video below, click here.

Also, I've embedded a list of Tweets that I shared if you weren't following the action last week. Check it out! If you can't see the tweets below, click here.

Keep Up With Tech Without Going Broke

So I blacked out and when I woke up I had a preorder for the new Google Nexus 7 tablet lined up and ready to go. I swear, it's not my fault! Ok, it is. The good news is that I didn't put myself in any financial trouble because I already had the money stashed away for emergency gadget buying.

I prioritize what's important by allocating a large part of my take home pay after bills, savings, and regular expenses to spend on whatever I want. As you can tell by this blog, I love tech and science. So I save this splurge money every paycheck until I find something I want that's tech and science related, so that I can get it with no worries.

This only works if you go cheap on things that you don't really care for. For me, a big chunk of that is for clothes. I wear clothes until they die and don't care much about what's the fashionable wear for this year or season. I also rarely go out and spend massive amounts on drinks or other expenses involving in clubbing. I spend minimally on this and other stuff so that I can splurge on what I love.

Don't go broke ... just adjust your priorities!

Conference Tech Lessons: Blogging While Brown 2012

Meeting people like the amazing Adria Richards is a plus for conferences. She approved of my C:\ shirt!

 

I came away from this weekend's Blogging While Brown conference inspired and willing to invest in myself to make this blog the best that it can be.   In the midst of this conference, I came away with several thoughts regarding technology.

Personal Interaction >>>> Virtual Interaction

One of the benefits of a conference is meeting people that you've only corresponded with online. The in person meeting makes a world of difference.   My online persona is a representation of me, but the in-person meeting is just as, if not more important. It must be apparent that your online persona is an extension of your personality, not something totally different.  Otherwise, you can come off as disingenuous and playing a role on the internet that is not real.  Personal connection matters.  You know that excitement when someone like Dr. Goddess, Luvvie Ajayi, or Slim Jackson interacts with you online? Yeah, that's magnified by a thousand when it's in person.

Technology is a Great Conversation Starter

When you're around people that are more successful than you and you're the new face in the room, it can sometimes be hard to approach people.  I was able to start a lot of conversations with talk about gadgets - cell phones, tablets, or my infamous gadget sandwich.   Nearly everyone was on some sort of device - engage people about them.

You NEED an Extended Charging Solution

In this era of social networking, you need access to a cell phone during an entire conference, which can sometimes last 10 hours or more, plus dinner, drinks, etc.  Having an extended battery for your phone is key. Fellow attendee BrothaTech had a several charging solutions for his gadgets. I've been using the uNU Power DX extended battery for my iPhone, and I never had my phone drop out.  Perfect for twitpics of people after they are ... a bit inebriated.

I had a great time at the conference, and I will definitely be attending next year!

 

Pay Attention When Using Your Tech!

 

I walk my dog nightly, and there are a couple of things that annoy me:

  • People that call to my dog without asking
  • People that touch my dog without waking
  • People that wander into my path because they're not paying attention

While the first two are straight up disrespectful, the third is just as annoying.  Whether people are talking on someone walking with them, talking on the phone, or texting, my dog has almost been crush by the raggedy sneakers of some idiot.  

However, fining for texting is just stupid. It doesn't discourage the activity, and I damn sure don't want cops spending their time looking for people walking as opposed to solving real crime. 

I know I've been guilty of texting while walking.  To be fair, I try to be good about it  - I tilt my phone in such a way that I can see what is ahead of me.  However, I lose the sense of feeling when people come up either behind me or directly on the side of me. I've definitely been surprised by people, especially bikers and joggers, that come up quickly behind me as I'm trying to share my latest joke with the world.

Texting is an amazing piece of technology that let's you stay connected with friends without having to have an actual phone call.  No excuse to walk into other people though.

The good news is that I remember several annoying high school kids from Fort Lee, so that's a plus. Ticket them like crazy!