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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Mar 13, 2018  |  1 comments
A couple of weeks ago, I received a package from Soundcast, the makers of outdoor, water-resistant, portable, Bluetooth loudspeakers, such as the original OutCast series; the smaller, easier-to-carry Melody; and the new VG-series models (including the VG10 and VG7). Inside the box was the "first production press sample" of the company's latest speaker, the latest introduction, the VG5. Along with the VG5 was a sample of Soundcast's VGtx, "a long-range wireless stereo transmitter featuring Bluetooth 4.2 and the aptX Low Latency codec."

I've never had much love for Bluetooth...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Feb 27, 2018  |  0 comments
When I first saw Flexound's HUMU Augmented Audio Cushion at CES 2018 in early January, my initial reaction was "[deleted] gimmick!" But then I sat down for a demonstration followed by a long discussion with Mervi Heinaro, Flexound Systems' CEO. As you might guess, I don't normally spend much time talking with folks about gimmicky products or technologies. (I have enough crazy ideas running through my head already, thank you very much.) As it turned out, HUMU is the real deal-one of those magical products that I always hope to find at CES. A product that's simultaneously unusual, cool, compelling, and ready to ship. At least in this case, I got three out of four, because Heinaro said HUMU wasn't available in the US at that moment. She assured me, however, that Flexound could ship a sample to me by the end of January.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Feb 13, 2018  |  2 comments
Too often smart home technology is more "because we can" than it is "because we should." The Flex House at CES 2018 proved that you can integrate smart home technology that's highly functional rather than mostly hype.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 22, 2018  |  2 comments
Two things delineate the extremes of my life: cleaning out the kitty litter box and drinking coffee.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  3 comments
The folks at WIFIPLUG claim that their WIFIPLUG HOME Wi-Fi-enabled plug is—or will be when it begins shipping to customers sometime around April—the "Smartest Plug on Earth". That's a pretty electrifying statement; and, since I haven't checked out every other smart plug on the planet, I'm in no position to say it's not.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
The audio industry likes to promote the slogan "Music Matters!" I happen to agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment, but the Focused Ultrasound Foundation could be said to have the motto "Sound Matters!" In their case, in fact, sound—specifically, focused ultrasound—matters so much because it can save lives.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
I didn't know who or what the ULE Alliance was when I agreed to meet with them at CES 2018. For all I knew, they might have been an organization dedicated to promoting electronic ukuleles.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
In the WiSA suite, Axiim demonstrated the company's newest WiSA-certified device, the Axiim Link HD wireless speaker system. In addition to the fact that the new system adds to the growing the universe of WiSA-certified products, the Axiim Link HD is exceptionally noteworthy for being "the first wireless home theater solution designed for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs."
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  0 comments
PicoBrew says its the "maker of the world's first line of craft beer brewing appliances"—and who I am to say that it's not?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  0 comments
In Finnish, HUMU means ”humming” or ”commotion”. It's also the name of a new "augmented audio cushion" that the company, Flexound Systems (a Finish tech startup), says is "the first consumer product to add the sense of touch to entertainment."
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2018  |  0 comments
MySmartBlinds new Home Automation Kit for roller shades is a followup to the company's existing Home Automation Kit for window blinds. Both kits are designed for DIY retrofits that turn existing manually operated blinds/shades into wirelessly controlled, motorized blinds/shades.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2018  |  1 comments
Quirky's new SwitchFlip system takes a standard, switch-controlled outlet and turns it into a single-room, multi-fixture smart lighting system.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2018  |  0 comments
ConnectSense's Smart In-Wall Outlet adds a multitude of features not found on other "smart" outlets.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2018  |  0 comments
I met Robbie Cabral, the Inventor/CEO/Founder of BenjiLock, at the end of the final day of CES 2017 while we were both eating along at our respective tables in the middle of the Johnny Rockets at the Excalibur Hotel. (The finest of lodging and dining facilities if there ever was one.) Still unbelievably energetic after spending a week at CES, Robbie stopped by my table and we spoke at some length about tech journalism, what it's like being a startup company, and—of course—why the hybrid padlock, the BenjiLock, he (and his wife, Brach) had invented was so cool. I gave him my card and expected never to hear from him again. I didn't. Well, I did—sort of.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 10, 2018  |  0 comments
After walking into the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center today at around 11:15 AM, I noticed something was amiss. In an industry nearly 100 percent reliant on electricity, the entire hall's AC power was out. It was (and still is as I write this) an eerie feeling to be surrounded by so much AV gear hear only conversations. No loud music. No flashing TV screens. The overhead announcer has helpfully told us that "We are experiencing a power outage. We are addressing the problem." I'm glad they mentioned this, because I at first thought it was the aftereffects of having the flu that was causing my lack of sensory overstimulation.