There’s been a while since we heard exciting news from the desktop side of personal computing! But that’s all about to change with the Sprout, the latest HP project in desktop personal computers, a 23-in touch screen Windows 8.1 machine with Intel RealSense 3D camera which combines depth-sensing and infrared cameras for accurate 3D scanning and a second screen projected on a large capacitive touchpad called TouchMat to allow users Kinect-type interactions with the PC. So how does it actually work? The main screen of the Sprout works just like any Windows 8 touch enabled LCD. The Illumintor (that scanner part) scans 2D and 3D objects placed on the TouchMat, transfers them live to a design app on the Sprout and allows users to interact with scans using the same TouchMat as input device and secondary display at the same time! Cool, isn’t it?
The HP Sprout Creativity Station is powered by a 4th gen Core i7-4790S processor and has NVIDIA GeForce GT graphics, 1TB of storage, 8GBs of RAM (upgradable to 16GB) and a 23″ Full HD 1080p touch-enabled backlit LCD display.
Equil Smartpen 2 is a “magic pen” that allows you to take classic paper notes and instantly transfers them to your smartphone or tablet in digital format.
The Smartpen is powered by a rechargeable battery which allows 8 hours of constant use on a 2 hours charge, connects to your iOs, Android, Windows and Mac via Bluetooth for notes importing, storing file management on the device, includes built-in memory and handwriting recognition software to save your notes while not connected to your smartphone as well as cloud sync with most cloud services out-there including Dropbox, iCloud or Evernote.
The coolest part about the Equil Smartpen 2 is that, unlike most similar devices, it does not require a special pad or special paper to work. Simply grab any piece of paper, start scribbling or writing your notes and watch them transfer on your phone in real time! Simply cool, isn’t it?
UPDATE 11/14/2014 – I received a handful of comments from backers of the Equil Smartpen 2 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign notifying me about delivery issues concerning big VAT amounts being charged by UPS on delivery of the smartpen. Please make sure you check these comments here before deciding to purchase the Equil Smartpen.
Microsoft Band is the software behemoth’s latest try to enter the physical gadgetry market! The Band is a dust and splash-resistant smartwatch combined with health and fitness tracker powered by the new Microsoft Health software and designed to work as an addon for your existing Windows 8.1, iPhone or Androidsmartphone.
On the fitness tracking side, the Band tracks heart rate (HRM), steps, calorie burn, UV index, distances and running tracks as well as the UV index. On the smartwatch side, the Band does just about anything other competitors do: text messaging, notification and social media updates, receiving and placing calls and, if paired with a Windows phone, allows direct access to Cortana and it’s wide array of voice activated controls.
With technology evolving so quickly, things that were modern and fancy yesterday, are already outdated today! Think about all those smartphones, tablets, TV sets, laptops and so on … Manufacturers release newer models with improved tech specs every year, sometimes even twice a year!
As I have a box full of older, outdated gadgets in perfect functioning state, I am always looking around for ways to repurpose and give them a new life! This is how I felt onto the Zmartframe.
Available for 19″, 22″ and 24″ screens, the Zmartframe is compatible with Win XP/7/8 PCs an works on a Plug And Play system – attach the frame, connect the USB plug and calibrate the screen the first time you plug it and you’re ready to roll and enjoy 2-point multi touch on your old PC screen! Another cool feature is that the Zmartframe has Android embedded in it! So, without any additional gear, your classic screen can be turned into a modern tablet with instant access to millions of apps from the Google Play store.
The Zmartframe is in project mode at Indiegogo and you secure one for $260 US (the 19″ version).
3D printing made big leaps in the past couple of years. As 3D printing quality increased and prices decreased over the years, more and more people are starting to use 3D printing on regular bases.
A while back we featured the Cube 3D printer from Cubify. which is a smaller, home and office-friendly printer designed to print small scale objects. Today, I want to tell you about another gadget from Cubify, the Sense 3D Scanner, which is designed to help you create and generate the printing plans by simply scanning the object you want to print.
The 3D scanner works on all major PC platforms (Windows 7 and 8 as well as Mac OS X 10.8 and later), has a reasonable field of view for it’s size (Horizontal: 45°; Vertical: 57.5°; Diagonal: 69°) and features automatic object recognition and extraction, simple and powerful software cropping and processing as well as full integration with the Cube 3D printer from Cubify for seamless object reproduction.
Smart TV‘s are the new Black in town. Not only they allow you to watch TV shows, but they also connect to the internet, give access to video streaming from Netflix, Youtube and many more as well as allow users instal various apps to extend the TV set “intelligence” and features range.
And this simply cool. I always loved to see independent gadgets interconnecting for a greater and better user experience! But what if you already bought a TV a couple of years back, it’s still working very well, but you want access to this new generation of features? You could change your TV (hey, you already do that every year with your smartphone!!), or you could improve your existing one by hooking it up to your PC, Android device or even your game console.
The Web@TV Wireless Keyboard Trackpad is a cool remote controller designed to help you build your Smart TV and allow you to control your PC, Android phone/tablet or Playstation when outputting on your TV set. The device features a touch pad to mimick mouse moves, switch, scroll buttons, mini keyboard and multimedia keys and works over 2.4GHz wireless frequency (16 connection channels available) from a distance of 16-35 feet (5-10 meters) from your device.
With so much data floating around, backups are no longer a luxury, but a must! Think about all those pics from your smartphone, all those videos with your kids, documents, contacts, personal files, music and the list goes on and on … I am not going to stress more the data backup importance, because I know you do it! Don’t you?
On the other hand I am going to speak about the safety of your backups! Let me start with a little story – a friend of mine, a real geek, used to keep not 1, not 2, but 3 backup sets for all his data (including his smartphone, tablet and his home and work laptops). One day, the inevitable happened, and his apartment got flooded by the neighbor above. He called the guy, they stopped the flood and the neighbor helped him clean the apartment. All good until now. This is when the disaster happened! He opened his laptop but it was not working. It was full of water. He grabbed his girlfriend’s laptop which was not water damaged, he opened his desk to grab one of his backup HDD’s to copy some files and … Surprise! As all three of his backup HDD’s were on the lowest shelf of his desk, they were all water damaged!
So here you have a geeky guy who knew the importance of backups, with 1 set of original data and 3 sets of backups who lost all his digital life because the neighbor in the apartment above! Imagine that!
The good news is that in the end he was able to recover most of his data from the damaged HDD’s! The bad news is that this could happen to anyone, including you!
All this to say that backups are not enough to protect your data. You should also take steps to protect your backup drives from thieves and the elements! You can do this the hard way (as I do it) by using two encrypted HDD’s and always having one at a remote location (work, a friend, family member) or the simple way, by using disaster proof hard drives!
The ioSafe rugged portable 1TB external hard drive is one of the top disaster proof HDD‘s out there! The drive works on MAC and PC (USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt) features a full metal jacket that protects it against the elements, crushes and drops. The HDD mechanism inside the metal jacket is fully suspended in all 6 motion axes, so it will survives extreme shocks under most circumstances. The HDD is rated to with crush protection up to 5,000 lbs (2,267 KG), drop protection up to 20′ (that’s 6 meters), 30′ (9.15 meters) deep submersion in salty/fresh water for up to 3 days, full immersion in various liquids including diesel, oils, fuels, hydraulic fluids, continuous exposure to UV, blowing sand, blowing dust, rain, salt fog, icing or freezing rain. All this without loosing not even one byte of data!
Regarding the anti theft protection, the ioSafe PA51000U3YR features a solid Kensington Lock compatible slot which should be enough to discourage a dishonest person as well as a theft protection software which allows full drive AES encryption.
That’s the good part about it! The bad part is that this ioSafe beast comes with a premium price of $600! Well … you probably see it as premium because you didn’t hit the floor yet, but, if you already lost your data once, you know it’s a real bargain!!! Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I am curious to see how do you manage your backup drives …