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November 18, 2018 - Episode 513 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Samsung wants all your cash, Sony wants a way out, and China wants a virtual anchorman.

Reyets Helps to Determine the Best Course of Action for All (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

In the Information Age, one of the things we have learned is that no one seems to know what their actual rights are, and that includes law enforcement. This gets even worse when you travel across the country, as things can change from town to town, not to mention from state to state. All of this combines into an environment where you may not know what you can and cannot do in any particular scenario.

Fortunately, thanks to mobile technology, we now have a product called Reyets (pronounced rights). This system is designed specifically to give you a heads-up on what your rights are wherever you are. Imagine walking down a sidewalk and being approached by a police officer. The officer begins to ask you questions that you feel are inappropriate to your current situation. Can you refuse to answer or are you required to interact with the officer? Can you simply walk away, or should you ask if you are free to go? Those requirements change based on location, but Reyets can tell you, based on GPS, what you can do and how you should react to the situation.

We all know that a simple situation can go from calm to chaos in the blink of an eye. We've all seen a simple traffic stop get out of hand and end in tragedy. Reyets knows this and includes the ability to record your incident. In fact, in areas without required two-party consent, the app will automatically record while the app is open. Afterward, you can decide what to do with the recording; you can share it on social media, contact the press, find a lawyer, and more.

Reyets is available now for iOS with Android coming in the future. Check out the company's website to learn more about the platform.

It is important to remember: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Use caution and your best judgment in all situations.

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Have we reached the breaking point? Can an $1800 phone be a success?

For months, the tech industry has been focused on the inevitable announcement of Samsung's foldable phone, the first of this generation's multi-screen Android devices. Unlike the last generation, the Samsung device is designed to eliminate the seam between folded and unfolded modes, making it a far better concept than the Kyocera Echo and similar devices. Last week, the device, officially dubbed Samsung Galaxy F, was finally announced and shown to the world with all of the expected features in tow.

Two important pieces of information were missing, however: release date and price. Thanks to South Korean news site Yonhap News Agency, we now have a report that March 2019 will be the release window, which is in that perfect period immediately following Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The report also contains information about price, and it is not going to make many people happy. According to internal sources, Samsung is planning a price tag of two million Korean Won, which is the equivalent of about $1,770.

Phone prices have certainly been on the rise for the past few years, thanks in great part to Apple's iPhone X rocketing its price to over $1000, and its successors doing the same. With Apple's price increase came other manufacturers increasing the price of their flagship devices, including Samsung, whose Galaxy Note9 also has a price point upwards of $1000.

The question remains: How long can this continue? When will a manufacturer breach the breaking point for consumers and release a phone that is too expensive for consumers to consider? It will likely depend on the manufacturer. We saw the launch of the Essential Phone met with relative indifference until the company cut the price in half. What will be the tipping point for Samsung owners, though? Is it possible that Samsung has already hit that point with the Galaxy F?

Would you spend $1800 on a smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

Flaregun AR Helps You to Locate What Matters Most in Real Life (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

Imagine being at an event, like a music festival, with your friend or family member, with thousands of attendees. You each go different directions and agree to meet back up in an hour. When that hour comes up, you cannot find your friend, so you call them to try and sync up. You each try and describe where you are in a sea of similarities, making it nearly impossible, and definitely annoying, to finally find one another. Most people can relate to this scenario, and we have all wished there was an easier solution to the problem.

Enter Flaregun AR, an Augmented Reality platform that is the middle ground between making AR useful and helping you find your friends at an event. Reimagining the previous example, when you cannot find your friend, rather than calling them and giving vague directions, you simply open the Flaregun AR app, request to find your friend, and use the camera and GPS built-in to your phone to locate your friend. It works very similar to Pokemon Go, in that you can see through your camera on your screen, and arrows point you toward your "target," only in this case you're not looking for Pikachu. Once you have your phone pointed at your friend, you can begin moving toward one another.

Obviously, this is way better than trying to call, for a number of reasons. First, you're not dependant on your friend to give you accurate location information. Instead, the Flaregun platform does all of the work for you. Second, at a concert, festival, conference, etc., the noise is going to make it more difficult to hear. Even better, it works for more than just finding friends at an event. You can drop waypoints for things like your parking spot and never fight over which section you parked in at the mall or theme park.

Flaregun AR is available now for iOS, with Android capability coming soon.

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Exciting New Breakthrough in Medical Field with DAT (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

Sirli Roosnomm, who represents Horizon Business Hub, has brought us a new and exciting device for health care. There is now available a test to detect astigmatism early in children long before other machines can. This is called DAT, which is the Direct Astigmatism Test. That is a very important thing to be able to do. There are other machines out there that will do this but the children are as old as 7 or 8. This machine will catch this problem as young as 3 or 4.

The DAT will also be able to find an undetected issue such as a heart problem which could result in a serious or fatal heart attack if not found. Myasthenia Gravis, a genetic disorder, is an abnormal weakening of certain muscles and is difficult to detect because there are so many other disorders which also have those symptoms. Just going to a doctor sometimes doesn't get results early enough. Most people do not even go for a checkup unless there are real problems and many times it is too late to correct them. With DAT you can find any issues and talk to your doctor about them.

With children, having them take an eye test is difficult because they may not be old enough to read an eye chart yet. DAT uses LED lights and colors to assist with their results. It asks them what do they see and they respond by answering simple questions. In adults, they are asked about textures of surfaces as well as colors. Since they say the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, there may be underlying health issues that could go unnoticed until too late.

Sirli sees that there are many people that could use this early detection whose very job it is to use their eyes specifically, such as pilots, truck drivers, or even surgeons. This test is very easy and can be self-administered if needed, although it is not being marketed for home use. The price point is somewhere around $1,500.00. They are hoping to be able to make an app for it to be available for a mobile device. For more info go to the company website.

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Servicebot Makes Billing a Positive Experience for Everyone (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

One of the hardest parts of creating a product is getting the billing system together. Creating a pricing structure, then programming an interface to a billing system, and then creating a script to run on a regular basis to charge the customer for the billing level is complicated. Add to that having a customer who wants to upgrade or downgrade their features. What happens when a credit card gets declined? There are a lot of conditions to consider, and getting it right the first time is difficult.

Luckily, Servicebot is here to remove the difficulty. Rather than having to consider all of those billing questions, Servicebot allows a developer to focus on their product's features and, with just a few lines of code, can implement Servicebot to handle all of the billing conditions. All you have to do is create an account, setup your billing options, embed the code on your website and let Servicebot handle the rest. The service supports recurring billing, as well as discounts for paying annually, and add-in features on top of your standard subscription. There is really no standard billing scenario that cannot be handled through this service.

From a management standpoint, companies can see all of their information about subscriptions and purchases in one place. The dashboard shows information like conversions (how many people became customers), churn rate (how many users left the platform), total subscriptions, paying subscriptions, invoice rate and more. These features make Servicebot not just a developer's best friend, but also is an important tool for management, as well.

In addition to the plug-and-play capabilities, Servicebot also offers a full-featured API to implement capabilities in a more customized way. This gives developers the ability to include billing management directly in their product, rather than relying on a website to manage billing. It also allows developers to test the features that a user is paying for to ensure that they are receiving all of the features they are supposed to get.

Servicebot is available now with pricing based on monthly revenue.

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November 4, 2018 - Episode 512 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple is expressing multiple personalities, Nintendo is expressing their love for the 3DS, and Netflix is showing some love for movie theaters.

Prevent an SSDud - Episode 180 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch is here to help you prevent buying an SSDud. This holiday, SSDs are expected to drop in price greatly, but not every drive is a good price. Sometimes, a sale price is higher than the regular price at another retailer. Sometimes, a drive that is inexpensive, is that way because it is not a quality product. Luckily, there are some great ways to spot a bad deal before you spend your money.

Apple Better Embracing Standards While Sticking to the Past

This week was one of several annual "Apple Days" where Apple unveils a collection of new products. This month's event was focused on Apple's computers and tablets. While the company announced new laptops and a refreshed (after 4 years) Mac Mini, the real hero of the event was even smaller than the company's tiny desktop. In fact, it was smaller than an inch: Apple replaced the Lightning connector on the iPad Pro!

While that might not seem like a big deal, it is important to note that in nearly 2 decades of portable products, Apple has only updated the connector twice previously. The iPod premiered with Firewire, which was a technology dead on arrival. They replaced it with the 32-pin connector, which lasted for a decade, but was itself replaced by Lightning. All of these connectors have been Apple-focused (Firewire was a standard, but it was never widely adopted outside of Mac).

This change, however, is not Apple-focused. In fact, the company ditched Lightning for USB-C. Yes, that is the same connector on the HP Elite x3 (Windows Phone), Samsung Galaxy S8 (Android) and beyond, and more. This port is the defacto standard in the industry, being able to universally charge phones, tablets, laptops, and a host of other devices. In fact, we are currently reviewing Bluetooth headphones that charge over USB-C. This brings Apple into the same world with the rest of the industry for the first time - ever. This is not to say Apple has completely eschewed standards - in fact, Apple was one of the leaders in adopting USB-C for the MacBooks.

Unfortunately, the iPad Pro does not support everything that USB-C can do. The device billed as the Apple tablet for creators will not allow those creators to connect external storage. That will prevent photographers from using the tablet to edit photos without bringing a computer with them, which negates the value of the tablet. It prevents video editors from using the device without a computer, again making the tablet less than valuable.

Ideally, this limitation will be removed by Apple at some point in the future. Lightning used to prevent external storage, but now there are many storage options for Lightning.

Shoe Returns Are a Thing of the Past Thanks to itfits! (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

For anyone who has tried to buy shoes online, they have found that each company has its own sizing. This makes shopping hard because customers wind up returning their purchases. In fact, up to 10-30% of online shoe purchases are returned because of improper fit. Daniele Delle Case, CEO of Addi.fit, has come up with a clever and easy way to help solve all these problems. This idea came to Daniele because when he was a soccer player, he had problems finding the proper fit for his soccer shoes because not all brands in his size were fitting him.

The process starts with taking only 2 photos of the top of your feet which creates a 3D model. It then compares the sizes of the shoes. It uses the statistics of the 3D picture and extracts the info and creates your personal data for the selection of your shoes. It then holds this information in a personalized profile after your first purchase for future purchases. This makes your online shopping faster and easier. As Daniele said, "shop faster for the cart!"

This is a process that will benefit many people of all ages. Think of small children whose feet change and grow quickly, sometimes weekly. The photos have to be updated on a regular basis to ensure a proper fit for growing feet. With the elderly, there are many medical reasons to keep up with their feet. The onset of arthritis and rheumatism causes the feet to become misshapen and very hard to fit. Comfort is so very important

to our seniors' well-being.

This is not a platform for the consumer specifically. It is targeted for online retailers to improve the shopping experience of their customers. The cost for the retailer is free and costs nothing until purchases are made. Then it is 1 Euro ($1.13 US) per transaction.

Daniele has plans for the future of Addi.fit. He wants to be able to create his own line of custom-made shoes and at the same time be able to promote their designs with other designers and their ideas. He feels this is a good starting point to help other designers and the economy. He is hoping for this to be happening in 2-3 years out. For more info go to the company website.

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