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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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What’s Unexpected about HomePod?

By now you’re either sick of hearing about HomePod, or you’re so curious about it you’re paying attention to this. I thought it might be fun to talk about what has surprised Steve and me about HomePod.

I’ve read the reviews, I’ve heard the hype, and I’ve heard the naysayers. I would suggest to you that you think about HomePod as a speaker. A really awesome speaker that has great sound. And it also comes with a frequently recalcitrant, always myopic, and slightly dimwitted assistant. How about we avoid the word “smart” altogether?

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CES 2018: Nite Ize Cordcollar & Steelie Mobile Mount

Allison interviews Jan Greenspan from Nite Ize about a couple of their new products: the Cordcollar and the Steelie Mount System. The Cordcollar is a durable cover to reinforce cable ends where they bend the most to help prevent fraying while providing color coding to help distinguish similar cords and cables. The Steelie Ecosystem is a family of products that make it easy to mount and view your mobile device just about anywhere. Featuring magnetic mounting technology, this two-part ball and socket system creates a hands-free viewing platform with continuously adjustable viewing angles in your car, at home, and on the go. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.niteize.com/

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CES 2018: Guardzilla 360 Security Camera

Allison interviews Greg Siwak from Guardzilla about their new 360-deg security cameras. Guardzilla’s family of security cameras deliver live HD video, inside and outside of the home, up to 360-degree views, automatic arming, night vision, two-way audio, instant motion alerts, and cloud video recording. Guardzilla also offers an accompanying easy-to-use app to control and monitor their cameras. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.guardzilla.com/

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CES 2018: OWC Thunderbolt 3 Storage and Docks

Allison interviews Andrew Gerth and Larry O’Connor from OWC about their Thunderbolt 3 storage and docks. The OWC ThunderBlade V4 SSD RAID supports capacities from 1 to 8 TB for Macs and PCs and offers screaming data transfer speeds up to 2800 MB/s over Thunderbolt 3. It is rugged, portable and comes in a custom-fit ballistic hard-shell case. OWC’s new Thunderbolt 3 Dock is similar to their previous TB3 dock except it now supports Windows as well as Macs and the Firewire port has been removed. The setting is CES Unveiled at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at https://www.owcdigital.com/

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Charge Your Apple Watch and Phone with Belkin Valet Power Pack

Belkin valet power pack showing LED endWhen Steve and I were retiring, many people asked us if we were going to travel. I said, “no plans at all to travel.” Evidently I was wrong! It seems we travel an awful lot these days, to both foreign lands and locally to go see the grandson.

I’ve gotten so that I can pack in my sleep, grabbing all of the necessities. There are of course two lists in my head. Silly things like clothes and toothbrushes, and the more important list of things like laptops, tablets and of course chargers.

The one thing I often seem to forget though is my Apple Watch charger. I even have two of them, one on my desk and one by my bed, but every 3rd trip I forget to bring one. My theory on why I forget the Apple Watch chargers is it’s because the little charger pucks are threaded into a stand and so they’re not so easy to make easily portable.

In a pinch, you can usually drum up a lightning cable and a USB-charger block to charge your phone, but there’s no way to piece together a charger for the Apple Watch.

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CES 2018: Fortem TrueView Radar for Drones

I interview Timothy Bean from Fortem Technologies about their new, compact radar designed for use on drones. The TrueView radar is lightweight (< 1.5 lbs), draws little power (37 W) and enables beyond visual line-of-sight autonomy for drones. This radar allows the drone operator to quickly and easily detect objects from the air at long range to avoid manned aircraft or other non-cooperative objects such as birds or other drones. Optional modules allow for complete end-to-end integration for tracking, classification, command and control, and pre-integrated autopilots. Using TrueView-equipped drones, companies can provide safe and cost-effective package delivery services, large infrastructure inspections, border patrols, etc. Once federal laws are modified, a drone equipped with the TrueView radar and a net gun can be used to locate and take down other drones flying in unauthorized areas. The setting is Pepcom at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Learn more at http://www.fortemtech.com/r20.html

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Security Bits – Spectre/Meltdown Update, Strava Heat Maps

Followup — Spectre & Meltdown News

Security Medium — Strava Heatmaps have Unintended Consequences

The popular exercise tracking app Strava regularly produces a really cool heat-map that shows where most people run, cycle, swim etc.. The data is anonymised, so it all seems like some innocent fun. The latest version of the heatmap was published back in November, and no one thought it was a problem.

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