Wearable computing is here, as was evident at CES 2014. One of the most evident applications of this trend is health and fitness gear. There were a lot of bracelets on display, but I already wear a watch and don't want another thing on my wrist. The ibitz is a handy and compact fitness tracker that clips to your belt or clothing and you can forget about it. And thanks to Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, it can last for months without recharging.
As a developer and journalist, I get a ton of email. Every day people want me to review their app or gadget, or some app advertising firm wants me to use their services to "monetize" my apps. And of course I have to support my six million customers, at last count. Usually, I ignore the unsolicited spam, but a "personalized" email came across my computer the other day and I had to pursue it.
The subject was "I bet $1.00 I can beat you in WAR OF GEARS"
Another year, another State of the Union speech. Two years ago, Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, was an invited guest. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook was Michelle Obama's guest, and Apple figured prominently in the speech itself. In 2013, the focus was on returning manufacturing to the U.S., and sure enough, the new Mac Pro is now being assembled stateside. The components may come from outside the U.S. but it's a good start. And with a $3000+ computer that doesn't sell in nearly the volumes of an iPhone, the Mac Pro is an easier device to make in America, absorb any potential margin issues, and meet the more measured demand.
Recently, I wrote about the XSPIN, a handy gadget that connects to your stationary bicycle (or traditional bicycle on a stationary mount) but I wanted an expert opinion. My colleague, Dennis Wurster, is both an avid cycler and a Mac and iPhone expert. Here is his expert review:
Whether you want a tiny speaker to boost the volume of your iPhone or you want to wirelessly share your music with others, X-Mini has a speaker for you. Introduced at CES, they offer the X-Mini Me which has an audio jack for connecting to your phone via cable, or the X-Mini We which adds a wireless Bluetooth option.
Updated Article 1/25/14:
WOW. I had to update this previously glowing article of what had been a well-made app and service to reflect the poor business decisions made by LogMeIn. First, they had one of the more expensive apps at $20 to $30, and more recently, it was as much as $130. But I still recommended it because it connected to their FREE service, making the up-front investment worthwhile.
Now, the Free service is gone, and the app has been pulled and is useless. Users have seven days to convert to a paid account of $50 to $100 or more. When that happens to a free or even $0.99 app, it's one thing and understandable, but with $30 to $130 app, that's a bad investment and bad policy.
Apple has improved the camera in their iPhone with each iteration, but the microphone hadn't changed much. Sure, there's noise cancelation, but the position of the microphone is problematic, and it certainly doesn't pick up stereo audio.
I had the opportunity to preview Nommons: Math Universe before it was released, at a press event in Los Angeles, during the App Developers Conference where I was speaking. I'm glad I got the chance, because as it turned out, my daughter was struggling with math at that very time. I knew an app ought to help her somehow, as it can be much more interactive than flash cards.
There are so many phone and tablet cases out there that you have to do something special to stand out, especially at CES. Nuevue thinks they've hit on something different with their cases that clean each time you insert or remove your device. This is possible thanks to the antimicrobial microfiber lining on both sides of the case's interior. A notch at the bottom makes it easy to push the phone out when needed.