Monkey Bidouille Showcased Beautiful PC Cases (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

When it comes to PC computers, there are basically two styles to choose from: a plastic box, or a flashy case with LED lights for gamers. What if neither of those two options fits your personal style? Monkey Bidouille has an aesthetically pleasing solution for you.

Don spoke with Antoine from Monkey Bidouille at CES 2018. The company is made of just two people. They have created a PC case that is made of wood and aluminum. It uses noble materials, and is handmade in France. Their PC case is designed to sit horizontally. You can put whatever components you want to inside the case.

Monkey Bidouille brought a prototype of their PC case to CES 2018. They launched a Kickstarter shortly before CES 2018, with a limit of 50 units. Their plan is to eventually make it possible for people to customize the design of the PC case when they place their order on the website. The wood can be screen printed, in a similar way to how the designs are placed on skateboards.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Get the Whole Screen for Multiplayer Gaming with MirraViz (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Having friends round to your house for multiplayer games is always fun, but the more there are, the smaller each player's screen becomes as they share part of the TV. Split even a big screen into quarters and the immersive effect is lost. But what if all the players had the same large screen? MirraViz have got it covered. The MirraViz projection screens are highly reflective but brightly reflect the light back in a tight cone, rather than scattering the light widely as a nomal white screen would do. When used with a video projector, this means that only someone sitting close to the projector sees the image. Think of the screen like a reflective street sign in the distance lit up by headlights: only the driver and passengers see the bright reflection from the sign.

As light beams don't interfere with each other, the screen can reflect light back from multiple sources without distortion, so several projectors can be used with one screen. As a result, each player sees only their gameplay, but on the full sized screen. Whoa! It's kind of hard to imagine, but think of walking around in front of the screen. Only one gaming screen is seen at a time but as you walk round the screen changes between players. Don't worry, it takes Don a little time to get his head round it too. It's similar in concept to the old PlayStation TVs, except you don't need glasses to make it work. The screens are entirely passive - there's no electronics - and the video projectors don't have to be massively powerful because the reflectivity is so good. Personal or pico projects with less than a thousand lumens are fine.

MirraViz sells combinations of hardware and screens for home entertainment or gaming setups, and they sell the screens on their own too. A 52" screen costs $699, 75" is $899 and 94" is $1299. They also offer full experience setups.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Manage Diabetes with DiabiLive App (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Diabetes is a disease that affects increasing numbers of people in developed countries where obesity, lack of exercise and genetics are causing epidemic levels of the condition. Simplistically, the pancreas becomes unable to manage blood sugar levels as it (usually) can't to produce the right amount of insulin. Don and Nicholas discuss the problems facing diabetics and how DiabiLive's new app can help manage the disease.

Winner of a CES Innovation Award, DiabiLive have a developed a smartphone app which calculates the correct amount of insulin to inject based on three parameters (physical activity, diet, sugar level). In addition, the app plans ahead based on past history to warn of possible low sugar levels. The app's algorithms are based on medical science and protocols: the app is awaiting FDA approval, hopefully within 2018.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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March 18, 2018 - Episode 495 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Google brings life to wearables, EA removes microstransactions from Star Wars: Battlefront II and streaming music has its ups and downs.

Tech Support Showdown 2018 - Episode 163 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch brings us the results of the LAPTOP Magazine Tech Support Showdown 2018. Once again, Apple takes the top spot, but they only took it by 3 points. Tying for #2 was Dell and Samsung. Coming in last was MSI. Avram tells us what went right and what went wrong.

Google Renames Android Wear as Wear OS, Renewing Hope of a New Focus

This week, Google made an announcement that was not expected: Android Wear is no more. The product is not being shuttered, but instead it has been rebranded as Wear OS by Google. Google claims that the reason for the change is related to a change in their customer base.

As our technology and partnerships have evolved, so have our users. In 2017, one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone. So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we're announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all-the people who wear our watches. We're now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone.

It makes sense that Google would be moving away from the Android brand. The general iPhone owner is, for one reason or another, anti-Android. Calling the platform Android Wear has likely limited sales to iPhone customers, despite iPhone accounting for a third of sales last year.

Unfortunately, the name is the least of the brand's issues. In reality, the brand needs a lot of attention, which Google has not given it for some time. Devices running the OS require a lot of interaction to get any information, for a number of reasons. For one, there is no way to pair down which notifications you receive from an app. You can either get all notifications from your email, or none. There is no way to only be informed if you get an email from your boos, for example. Second, the interface is way more complicated than it needs to be. Tons of swiping to move through apps and notifications makes the 2 seconds you save not pulling out your phone seemingly not worth it.

Hopefully, with the change of name will come some actual work from Google on the platform itself. This would not be the first time a brand change or revamp has come before a product revamp. For example, before Google modernized the nearly abandoned Google Voice product, they modernized the logo. While the product category of wearables has mostly languished of late, perhaps having some innovation and competition in the space from someone other than Apple and Samsung will revitalize demand.

Can You Hear the Thunder with OWC? (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

OWC is one of the stalwarts of the Mac world, bringing enhancements and accessories to Apple devices year after year. Let's be honest, this is the team that gives you back the ports that Apple takes away. This time round, OWC is expanding its range of Thunderbolt 3 products. Don finds out what's new with AJ from OWC.

Incredibly, OWC is celebrating its 30th anniversary: the company started when Apple launched the iMac - remember the ones with the fruitcoloured cases? Today, OWC offer products for both Windows and Mac, and in particular, there's a new Thunderbolt 3 dock out with support for both OSes. The new dock "offers 12 ports including dual Thunderbolt 3, five USB 3.1, Gigabit Ethernet, S/PDIF, combo audio, Mini DisplayPort, SD Card Slot, and supports laptop charging". Sadly, there's no Firewire but if you need that, check out the older version. Available in Q1 2018, it's priced at either $279 or $299. Video says one, press release says the other.

Also of interest to speed freaks is the ThunderBlade v4, which is the fastest external drive on the market today, shifting an astonishing 2800 MB/s read and 2450 MB/s write. It's pricey with MSRP from $1,199 (1 TB) to $4,999 (8TB), but you get what you pay for and I'm sure it'll be in demand from video producers. Again, there's a difference in price between video and press release.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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Gamevice Turns Your Smartphone Into a Console Device (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Mobile gaming is fun, but there are limitations. While some video games are specifically designed to be played on a smartphone or tablet, most are not. This leaves gamers with the frustrating problem of trying to play a game that doesn't function very well with touchscreens. Gamevice solves this problem by turning your smartphone into a console device.

Todd spoke with Rob from Gamevice at CES 2018. Gamevice is the name of the both the company and the product.

Gamevice is a controller that hooks onto the lightning port on your smartphone. It gives immediate feedback on any game you are playing. It turns games that are really poor on a touchscreen into games that actually have a chance to be played on a mobile device. Gamevice lets you easily play Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto, MOBA's like Lineage, Street Fighter, and more video games on a mobile device. They have about 1,000 games in their catalog.

Gamevice can be tightened up in the back. It fits anything for a iPhone 6 to an iPhone X, is compatible with Android phones, and can be used on iPads and iPad minis. You can purchase Gamevice for $79.99.

Interview by [tpntoddcochrane" class="UpStreamLink">.

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E-Vone Smart Shoe With Falling Alert System (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Our shoes protect our feet from the environment. E-Vone has created a smart shoe that can provide a different kind of protection. These shoes send an alert when the wearer has fallen down and enables a rescue team to find that person.

Don spoke with Anne from E-Vone. They have created a smart shoe with technology that can detect when the wearer has fallen. The shoe instantly sends an alarm through the secure cloud to a rescue team. After that, the smart shoe vibrates to let the wearer know that a rescue team is coming to help them.

The shoe was designed for more than one population. There is a version designed for workers who work in isolated situations. This shoe is durable and has a steel toe. Another version of the shoe was designed for older people who want to stay in their own homes instead of in an assisted living situation. E-Vone makes comfortable smart shoes in styles for women and styles for men.

To make this work, E-Vone is selling a service. It requires a service fee (of 30 Euros a month). The person pays for the service and leases the shoes. They receive a new pair of smart shoes each year. E-Vone will start selling this service in France and Europe in September of 2018. They intend to release the service in the United States and Japan in two years.

Interview by [tpndonbaine" class="UpStreamLink">.

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iHome Focuses on Wellness and Daily Rituals (PLuGHiTz Live - Special Events)

Many Americans have difficulty falling asleep. The iHome Zenergy line of products can help you take control of your sleep and get some rest. In addition, iHome also created the Reflect Pro, a top of the line vanity mirror that has a Bluetooth speaker.

Don spoke with Jennifer from iHome. She pointed out the important functions of iHome's products that focus on wellness and daily rituals. The Zenergy Candle is a multi-sensory device that can help you sleep. This flameless candle has built-in light therapy and sound therapy. It also has a built-in breathing coach that can guide you through controlling your breathing patterns so you can calm your mind and body and be ready for sleep. The price point for the Zenergy Candle is $69.99.

In addition, iHome has a Zenergy Aromatherapy device that can be used with the Zenergy Candle. The aromatherapy device is unique because it has a tray in the back where you can place some essential oil. You can mix scents if you want to. The Zenergy Aromatherapy device is priced at $99.99, and it comes with a bottle of Lavender oil.

A new product called the Reflect Pro provides crystal clear reflection with no distortion. It is a top of the line lit vanity mirror that has a Bluetooth speaker. It lets you listen to music, or take calls, while you are getting ready. The perimeter of the mirror has LED lighting. It comes with a 10x magnifying puck that attaches to the mirror with a simple stick. The Reflect Pro is priced at $199.

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