Category Archives: Geek

Tried out: The Amazon Fire TV Stick

With the Amazon Fire TV Stick the mail order company Amazon brings a compact offshoot of its set-top box Fire TV to the market. We’ve taken a closer look to the Google Chromecast competitor and given him a good try.

Design and Workmanship

The Fire TV stick weighs 25 grams and has sleek roughly the dimensions of a cigarette lighter. It is slightly longer but narrower than Chromecast. The Stick comes in a simple, matte black finish. The Amazon-label is engraved and stands out with a piano black finish from it. The workmanship is impeccable.

Technical specifications

  • Processor: Dual-core processor
  • Memory: 1 gigabyte
  • Flash Memory: 8 GB
  • WLAN: Dual-band antenna,  Standards of 802.11 A/B/G/N

This is in the Box:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick
  • remote
  • power Supply
  • USB cable
  • HDMI extension
  • Quick Reference Guide

Installation and Setup

The installation of the Fire Sticks TV is self-explanatory. First, connect the stick over the HDMI interface with an open slot on the TV or monitor. The power is supplied via the included power adapter, which is connected via the microUSB port with the stick. The power supply via a USB port on the TV is not enough. The initial start-up takes about five minutes to complete and will show you the key features and tips in a video introduction.

To use the TV Fire Sticks a stable Internet connection via Wi-Fi is required. The stick tests your connection quality within the facility. On additional ports like an Ethernet port or an audio output as in the Fire TV box you have to live without on the stick. At the conclusion of the initialization, you will still be asked for your e-mail address of your Amazon account.

You can use the streaming stick even without an existing Prime subscription. Free content however can only be watched via third-party apps. A Prime subscription for 49 Euros per year makes sense because the stick was especially designed for downloading movies, series and documentaries of Prime subscriptions. With the Fire TV Stick you have access to all Prime Instant video content and can, like on PC, rent (chargeable of course) films and series as well.

Operation and Navigation

The user interface is very clear, and the taken mainly from Amazon Fire TV Streaming Box. The clean-designed, clearly structured menus are very convincin. In addition, additional apps can be installed, with which you can go beyond the limitation os Amazon Prime. I for example use as well Netflix.  Optionally, the stick can be controlled with the supplied remote or with an app on your smartphone!

With the free Amazon Fire TV Remote app searching is also conveniently via voice input possible. The voice recognition worked well in the test  – no matter whether we were looking for movie titles, directors or actors. The smartphone app further simulates the hardware keys on the remote control – it hence easily replaced the remote easily completely. The navigation via smartphone and remote proved throughout the test more than convincing.

The compatible and separately available game controller comes not only as a joystick for many game apps that you can download. The controller can also be used as a remote control for the video content.

Unfortunately we miss the function to stream web content or streams of not supported streaming services on the TV . This works for Chromecast via an appropriate extension for the Chrome browser. This can reflect individual or multiple tabs on the TV.

Another cool add on is X-Ray. With X-Ray both streaming modules obtain a feature that allows some information appears to actors of the scene or to the currently playing music. X-Ray draws on the extensive database IMDB (Internet Movie Database). To be able to retrieve additional information must be paused only within a film or series. Who wants the inserts during playback, press the High button on the remote in the navigation pane. For more extensive information further submenus can be called. Switching off the function is currently not provided.

Performance and Quality

Amazon promises the highest performance HDMI stick on the market. Videos should be capable of rapid start and even start without delays at all caused by the relatively well-equipped hardware and with appropriate link quality. Videos loaded in the test really quickly, but installations of apps and games on the other hand took some time to complete. The performance therefore cannot fully be described as very good.

The sound and picture quality assessed as good to very good. Videos are available if reproduced in HD resolution. The reproductions of pictures and videos on the Amazon cloud in the test functioned properly. For playing elaborate gaming titles you should, however, rely on the Fire TV streaming box that has better hardware equipment.

Verdict:

The Fire TV Stick made by Amazon is a powerful HDMI Streaming stick, which for Prime subscribers provides particularly true added value compared to the competition models. The supplied remote control and the option on the smartphone or a game controller to access, knew to convince. The total package is right. But  streaming content directly on the web browser is left to the competition from the house of Google (Chromecast) .

All Nippon Airways shows off a Star Wars themed Jet

Alright, yeah It is not quite an X-wing fighter, but this is certainly about as close as you can get to be flying together with R2-D2.

Boeing and Japanese airline All Nippon Airways unveiled a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner with an R2-D2 design on Saturday. R2-D2 himself was on hand for the unveiling at Boeing’s facility in Washington, joined by C-3PO and a few stormtroopers. The R2-D2 jet is part of ANA’s Star Wars Project, a five-year partnership between Disney and ANA.

According to the ANA Star Wars Project website, the R2-D2 jet will make its first flight between Haneda and Vancouver on Oct. 18, before starting its regular route between Narita and San Jose from mid-October through late November. From December on, the plane will fly internationally from Japan to destinations like Seattle, Sydney, Jakarta, Beijing, Munich, Paris, and more. Plus, ANA will be the first and only airline to offer all six Star Wars movies as in-flight entertainment.

Boeing and ANA announced the R2-D2 jet earlier this year, but since then, they’ve also introduced two new plane designs — one with BB-8 and one featuring both droids. The BB-8 jet is scheduled to start flying between Japan and North American in 2016, while the third Star Wars plane should start flying domestic Japanese routes in November. (No word yet on whether C-3PO gets his own jet.)

See more photos of the newly unveiled R2-D2 jet below:

HP’s Star Wars notebook uses the Death Star as recycle bin icon…

Standard or Star Wars: HP has unveiled two gaming notebooks with 15-inch display. The force is very strong in there, ranging from the looks to the sounds up to the recycle bin – no kidding.

HP has released two new laptops for gamers or rather, the Pavilion 15 Gaming and its special version of the Star Wars style. Basically  both devices are 15.6-inch notebooks with 1080p display (touch option), Skylake processors and Nvidia graphics units. But compared to the 2014 HP 15 Omen the two new ones lack a bit GPU performance, the technique, however, is identical.

The new Pavilion 15 gaming and the Star Wars version of Intel’s stuck current Skylake processors (Core i7-6700HQ with four cores in the Pavilion and Core i7-6500U in the Special Edition), up to 16 GB of RAM, up to 2TB harddisk or up to 1 TB of flash memory or a hybrid solution of a 2.5-inch HDD and an SSD C128in M.2 format. Both devices use an optical drive, if desired, there is as well a real sense depth camera.

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Major differences exist in the graphics unit: In both notebooks  a Nvidia Skylake chip is fitted. In the Pavilion 15 Gaming sits a Geforce GTX 950M, in the Star Wars version a Geforce 940M. Aside from the hardware itself they also differentiate by the look, starting with the red and green illuminated keypad. The touchpad is an X-Wing Target Recognition.
The design of the Star Wars version is kept in style of the dark side of the force, on the display lid you find Darth Vader and on the inside a Stormtrooper. In general HP has consistently worked with the old episodes and provides as well screensavers, sounds and wallpaper to match the theme.

Who wants to can even type his emails with the Aurebesh font. But our favorite adaptation is the Windows Recycle Bin: This has been replaced by the Death Star. Ii it is empty, it shows the completed battle planet – is it  full, the Death Star is still under construction.

There is no clear delivery date yet, but you can pre order the Star Wars version already on the HP website. Probably the date for the availbility will be close to the release of Star Wars Episode 7 The Force Awakens. The starting prices of the two devices are at 800 and 900 euros.

 

Jawbone unveils new design and colour lineup for UP

Jawbone® has launched a new design for UP2™ and 10 elegant new colours for UP2 and UP3™, further expanding the portfolio of fashion-focused activity trackers.

In addition, Jawbone released a range of new features for UP2 and UP3 that improve product functionality and reliability through a free over-the-air firmware update.

“We’re excited to expand the design platform for UP2 and UP3 with a sleek new strap for UP2 and 10 eye-catching colours, making our lineup of UP® products even more versatile and jewellery-like.” said Travis Bogard, Vice President of product management and strategy at Jawbone. “We’ve combined our intelligent app – recently voted best fitness app for iOS and Android – with beautiful design and premium materials to create the ultimate fashion accessory for those who want to live better in style.”UP3-Hero-RubyCross.

Live Better in Style

Activity tracking has never looked so good with Jawbone’s new collection of designs and colours. Crafted by leading industrial designer Yves Behar, Jawbone’s new UP activity trackers feature slim and stylish designs that allow for 24/7 wear and can be easily accessorised with jewellery or watches on the wrist.
UP2, previously only offered in Black Diamond and Light Grey Hex with classic flat straps, is now available in 6 stunning new colours, 5 of which feature an all-new design with two lightweight thin straps – giving the slim tracker an even more fashionable and unique look and feel. The selection of new colours for UP2 includes Turquoise Circle, Oat Spectrum, Gunmetal Hex, Orchid Circle and Black Diamond with the new lightweight thin straps, along with Violet Circle with the classic flat strap.

UP3, Jawbone’s advanced multi-sensor tracker, is now available in 4 additional colours, including Indigo Twist, Ruby Cross, Sand Twist and Teal Cross, in addition to the previously available colours, Black Twist and Silver Cross.

Feature Updates for UP2 and UP3

A free over-the-air firmware update through the UP App has been released to UP2 and UP3 users, enabling new features including Automatic Sleep Detection and Passive Heart Rate monitoring.

With this new update, UP2 and UP3 users no longer need to tap the band to enter and exit sleep mode. The UP band now automatically detects when the user has fallen asleep at night and when they wake up in the morning. The system will continue to recognise and track detailed sleep stages, with UP3 still capturing REM, Light and Deep sleep.

The feature update also adds Passive Heart Rate tracking to Jawbone’s multi-sensor tracker, UP3, which previously only measured Resting Heart Rate and heart rate throughout the night. While Resting Heart Rate is one of the best indicators of overall heart health, the addition of Passive Heart Rate throughout the day gives users a more complete picture of their heart health.

Passive Heart Rate is taken periodically throughout the day when the user is still, and provides unique insight into how daily influences and choices such as diet, caffeine, stressful meetings, and other stimuli can affect heart rate and overall heart health. As UP captures a user’s Passive Heart Rate over time, Smart Coach will have a more complete picture of the user’s overall health and patterns, providing more tailored and customised advice based on the user’s baseline heart rate measurements.

These new features were extensively tested in an open beta trial over the past month and have been widely welcomed by the UP community as a significant enhancement to the overall user experience.

Availability

The UP3 tracker by Jawbone is available in September in 4 new colours for AED 690 at Virgin, Jumbo, Emax, Sharaf DG and iStyle. The new colours include:

  • UP3 Ruby Cross
  • UP3 Indigo Twist
  • UP3 Teal Cross
  • UP3 Sand Twist

The UP2 tracker by Jawbone will be available from early October in 6 new colours, 5 of which include an all-new strap design, for AED 479 at Virgin, Jumbo, Emax, Sharaf DG and iStyle.

  • UP2 Violet Circle Classic Strap
  • UP2 Orchid Circle Lightweight Thin Straps
  • UP2 Turquoise Circle Lightweight Thin Straps
  • UP2 Oat Spectrum Lightweight Thin Straps
  • UP2 Gunmetal Hex Lightweight Thin Straps
  • UP2 Black Diamond Lightweight Thin Straps

Violet Circle is now available at Virgin, Jumbo, Emac, Sharaf DG and iStyle

The new firmware update for UP2 and UP3 will rollout to all users and is available on both iOS and Android versions 4.7 or later.

This is cool: Darth Vader And Stormtrooper Star Wars USB Car Chargers

If you like the Empire or not is one thing, but another thing to admit is that the guys on the Dark side definitely have a faible for technology. And lets be honest, The Galactic Empire seems to have it all: Cool Cookie Jars, Toaster, BBQ Sets and Fancy ships. They even got the financial budget to build not just one but two moon-sized space stations! And they certainly got power. Lots and lots of power.

Plug these Star Wars USB Car Chargers into your 12V vehicle power socket (cigarette lighter) to activate the power of the Dark Side. Specifically, you’ll get 2.1 Amps of electricity flowing into your phone, tablet, or USB charged Light Saber. Needless to say that I already placed an order for the Darth Vader version.

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Order from ThinkGeek.com : Darth Vader / Stormtrooper $19.99 each.

Cobalt Blue BlackBerry now available at Shop BlackBerry

BlackBerry has announced that with beginning of July, the limited edition variant of the BlackBery Classic will be available on ShopBlackBerry for customers in the US, Canada, UK, and as well in the Netherlands. The blue variant packs all of the same specs internally, the only major change here is the color of the device on the outside, and that is what makes it the limited edition.

An expansion of the limited device to Hong Kong and Italy will be following soon. If you have not already, be sure to check out our full review of the BlackBerry Classic, and then hit the link below to pick up your own limited edition Classic.   [LINK]

Wait a second, does Lexus pretend to have build a Hoverboard?

Dear Lexus, if you need Crash Test Dummies for this, I am available – for free! Hit me back!  As well this would be probably the only Lexus I would spend my money on…

It does not look as cool as Marty McFly’s Hoverboard in Back to the Future, but I would take it. Check out the official website of Lexus on this: http://www.lexus-int.com/amazinginmotion/slide/

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This is cool: French Artist Nicolas Amiard brings Star Wars to Earth!

We got around six months to go towards the highly anticipated release of Star Wars VII, The Force Awakens. French artist Nicolas Amiard has just in time revealed an incredible artwork between fiction and reality. What would cityscapes of big cities such as Paris, New York and Rio de Janeiro look like if massive Star Wars spaceships were crashed here ?  This is really stunning work, but how cool would it be to have a Millennium Falcon next to the Burj Khalifa?

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For Geeks: The Han Solo in Carbonite Fridge

This fridge is probably more practical to opt for a standard refrigerator than a carbon freezing chamber (tibanna gas supplies being what they are today).

The Han Solo Fridge really is big: it can hold up to 18 cans of soda. It’s also one of those neat fridges that cools or heats its contents (depending on which temperature you need). And though the Han Solo Fridge be mighty, it’s still made to travel. It’s even got a handle on top for grabbing, which, let us tell you, is more convenient than carrying a huge block of flippin’ carbonite. Whether it’s blue milk or leftover bantha burgers, the Han Solo Fridge is ready for all your late-night bounty hunting.   (LINK)

Windows 10 to roll out on July 29 – Here is what you need to know!

It was clear that Windows 10 will launch at some time in summer, but so far no specific date was known, until now. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has confirmed the 29th of July.


If you already own a device running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you most likely already know that your machine is eligible to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it launches July 29. That free upgrade offer will last for a year after that date, but which Windows 10 SKU will you get for that free upgrade? We tell you.

Microsoft has revealed that information on their Windows 10 specification page.  If you own a PC with Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home or Windows 7 Home Premium, Microsoft will give your machine an upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Owners with Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will get Windows 10 Professional.

Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 with Bing users will get Windows 10 Home, while Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro for Students owners will be upgraded to Windows 10 Professional. As Microsoft has previously announced, owners of Windows RT devices like the Surface RT and Surface 2 won’t get a free upgrade to Windows 10, although they are supposed to get some kind of update that will add some of Windows 10’s features, but which ones is not sure yet..

But is your computer even ready for an upgrade? Here are the hardware requirements.

This here are the very basic things you will require to be able to run Windows 10 on a Windows 7 and/or a Windows 8.1 PC and want to get the free upgrade:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Upgrade
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024×600

Microsoft also lets us know that beyond the above listed system requirements, there are the one or another thing that might prevent your computer from running Windows 10, including “driver and firmware support, application compatibility, and feature support”. It adds:

  • For Anti-virus and Anti-malware applications, during upgrade Windows will check to see if your Anti-virus or Anti-malware subscription is current. Windows will uninstall your application while preserving your settings. After upgrade is complete, Windows will install the latest version available with the settings that were set prior to upgrade. If your subscription is not current, upgrade will enable Windows defender.
  • Some applications that came from your OEM may be removed prior to upgrade.
  • For certain third party applications, the “Get Windows 10” app will scan for application compatibility. If there is a known issue that will prevent the upgrade, you will be notified of the list of applications with known issues. You can choose to accept and the applications will be removed from the system prior to upgrade. Please be sure to copy the list before you accept the removal of the application.

I have tested the Windows Insider version already and can’t wait to have the full version running in July.  Finally, there are certain features Windows 10 has that will require more than just the basic system requirements in order for them to work: Continue reading Windows 10 to roll out on July 29 – Here is what you need to know!