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CES 2018: New OtterBox Phone Cases

Allison interviews Beau Paschall from OtterBox about their new mobile phone cases. The OtterBox Symmetry line includes phone cases that are both rugged and stylish. OtterBox has also partnered with Disney to produce a line of Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Disney Park themed phone cases. The setting is the CES show floor and the Las Vegas Convention Center. Learn more at https://www.otterbox.com/

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Security Bits – Google’s Ad Filter, iBoot Leak, iOS Teluga Text Bug

Security Medium 1 — Google’s Ad Filter

On February 15 Google’s Chrome browser gained a nice new feature for controlling ads. It’s been reported on as an ad blocker, but that coverage misses a very important subtlety. Google itself calls the feature ad filtering, and an ad filter describes this feature very well indeed.

Google is an advertising company, it is not in their interest to destroy the advertising industry. They’re trying to solve a subtly different problem — the rise of ad blockers!

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Focos Tutorial on ScreenCasts Online

This week Don McAllister published my video tutorial of the iOS app Focos on ScreenCasts Online. This is an amazing app that works with dual-lens iPhones: iPhone 7+, 8+, and X. I’m really proud of this particular tutorial and the feedback has been amazing on it.

Remember the Lytro camera that took the world by storm because it’s proprietary image format allowed you to change what was in focus after the fact? It never became really popular because it was proprietary. Focos allows you to do the same thing (change the focus point) on portrait-mode photos taken by one of these dual-lens phones.

That’s not all though, you can change the virtual aperture of the image, thereby changing the depth of field. You can simulate an f/1.4 lens up to f/22. You can change how the background (fuzzy) bokeh looks by simulating famous lenses, you can change how far forward and backward the fuzzy part is in the image using an amazing visual representation of the depth data, and you can even change the shape of bright lights in the background to new shapes up to and including Apple logos.

I’ve embedded the video preview into the shownotes, but you can proceed over to ScreenCasts Online from the provided link to watch it for free with his 14 day free trial. Don’t do it though, you’ll get hooked when you see how much amazing content is there and you’ll want a subscription.

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Monosnap – So Much More Than a Screen Snapshot Tool

Monosnap window showing annotation tools
Monosnap Main Window

You know I’m a fiend for taking screenshots and annotating them. I’ve most recently told you about TeamPaper Snap which is a somewhat limited, but still useful menubar app for screenshots. Its big advantage is that it allows you to instantly upload to the web and copy the URL to your clipboard so you can insert the screenshot into any place that only allows text. As useful as that is, the annotation tools are really limited.

Claus Wolf tipped me off to what might be an even better app called Monosnap, from monosnap.com. Monosnap is available for free for the Mac and Windows and has an in-app purchase option that seems useful enough that this could be a viable business. We like that in our apps, right?
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CES 2018: GE Connected Lighting

Allison interviews Alicia Gauer from GE about their new connected lighting products. Alicia describes their voice-controlled ceiling fixture that integrates Alexa and Google Home into an overhead light. She also describes the innovative GE Sol: the first table lamp to integrate Amazon Alexa voice services. The Sol includes a warm-colored light selection designed to help you get to sleep and a built-in voice-activated timer that indicates countdown by radially changing lights on a ring. Finally, Alicia mentions that GE smart lighting will have compatibility with Apple HomeKit by the end of first quarter 2018. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.cbyge.com/

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CES 2018: MirraViz Multiview Displays

Allison interviews David Jiang from MirraViz about their new multi-view display. This innovative display uses DirectedPhoton technology to direct photons from the screen to a specific viewing location. Using two projectors, the MirraViz screen can display two separate, simultaneous images/video to viewers who are located at different viewing angles. Photon utilization is increased by a factor of 100-400 fold compared to traditional displays. Use cases for this display include business display/signage, office and schools, home gaming and entertainment, glasses-free AR/VR, and personalized advertising. The setting is CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.mirraviz.com/

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CES 2018: Wagz Smart Pet Collar

Allison interviews Jenna Rider from Wagz about their connected home for pets. At the center of the connected home is the Wagz Smart Collar with a cell connection and GPS. Using the app that accompanies the Wagz collar, you can track your pet and monitor his speed and activity. The collar also opens and closes a connected pet door, enables automated food dispensing and serves as an invisible leash using gentle vibrations and ultrasonic sensors. The Wagz collar even provides live HD video streaming that you can remotely enable or set it to turn on automatically with bark detection to check in with your dog. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.wagz.com/

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CES 2018: LIZN Wireless Hearpieces

Allison interviews Mads Rugholm from LIZN about their new wireless “hearpieces”. LIZN earphones make it easier to hear in a noisy environment by amplifying sound in the direction the wearer is pointed and by enhancing consonants in speech. These devices are not aimed at those who are hearing impaired but rather those who struggle to understand speech when there is a lot of ambient noise. LIZN hearpieces offer a Bluetooth connection to your mobile device so they also can be used to listen to music, make phone calls and access digital assistants. They are small, simplistic, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive at $199. The setting is CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.lizn.biz/

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Matias Wireless Keyboard – by Terry Austin

Hello, Castaways!

Matias Backlit Wireless Aluminum Keyboard on AmazonTerry Austin here with a brief review of my brand new Matias keyboard. I recently found myself in need of a new wireless keyboard and on the very reliable recommendation of the ineffable Jeff Gamet over at the Mac Observer, I went with the Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard in Space Gray (to match my MacBook Pro).

This keyboard has a few key features that make it invaluable for my home office. I’m a work at home professor who teaches college level anatomy & physiology classes online. On top of that I do some consulting work for a major publisher of higher ed textbooks. My work station is something of a geek’s dream…

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August Smart Lock Pro + Connect

August Smart Lock and ConnectSteve and I have been moving very cautiously into having a smart home. We started with a smart smoke detector with the Nest, then a couple of Hue lightbulbs came on the scene. We added a couple of Wemo switches somewhere along the line, and eventually a couple of security cameras, as I’ve told you about before. The one thing that really gave us pause was the idea of a smart door lock.

But then I heard about how people can take a photo of a physical key and create a duplicate physical key. Heck, there are even apps for that! So, we’re not necessarily more secure with physical keys.

But then I started talking to that crazy Joe Dugandzic of Smarter Home Life, and he talked about his cool August Smart Lock. I was jealous, but I still didn’t jump. Then I listened to a podcast (and I wish for the life of me I could remember which one) where they talked about someone testing a whole pile of smart locks and determining which had good security models. The August Smart Lock was on the good list. Additionally, the August Smart Lock is HomeKit-compatible. It isn’t the only smart lock that’s HomeKit compatible, but that definitely played into our decision. If you’re a fan of Alexa, she can play with the August devices as well.

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