This year marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iPhone, which has forever changed the way people communicate, work, and play. While the innovation of the device has created an industry worth over $470 Billion, it seems that Apple may no longer be the center of attention.
Breaking into game consoles is no easy game. These ‘hackers’ aren’t just people that excel at using computers: they have mastered the craft of both reverse engineering computer software, and in some cases hardware, in order to search for vulnerabilities that were unintentionally created by the original developers of the game console. Continue reading How do People Hack Into Game Consoles?→
For thousands of Android and iOS users, Pushbullet is a god send. It lets you “Push” links seamlessly to each other and for Android users it mirrors notifications and lets you send SMS from your PC to your contacts. This in itself has been a blessing for those who work and aren’t allowed to pull out their phone, but also for anyone who doesn’t want to reach for their phone every ten seconds to respond to a text. Continue reading Pushbullet Pro – Pricing Scheme Causes A Scare→
In the past, I have seen Bluetooth LED lamps all over eBay and Amazon and have always been curious about them, although I never knew they had ones with speakers built in to them as well. Thanks to 1byone, I received a review unit of one of these Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker and Smart LED light speakers and was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the product.
The light was sitting safely inside its box and easily slid out. It’s a little bit bigger than originally thought but it is definitely still shaped to fit in most light fixtures. My dormitory didn’t have any lamp for putting this bulb in, so I borrowed my friend’s from the room over, screwed it in and flipped the switch. The light took a few seconds to turn on but it shined a nice bright LED white which did not bother my eyes too much. Since the light was shining, I opened up my iPhone’s Bluetooth to see if it had been broadcasting a signal. I simply tapped it and caused the speaker to beep notifying me that my phone is connected, allowing me to use it in any of my music applications like TIDAL, Spotify or iOS default Music application. The Android app is no different than the iOS app based on my usage of it.
To be completely honest, this was a product on Amazon that had hundreds of versions of, and when there was ‘speaker’ in the title of a product whose main use is to be a light, I laughed. Although, this speaker can generate some pretty good sound and was able to play some music like Foo Fighters, Deadmau5 and Tech N9ne, spanning a range of frequencies that had no problem playing through the speakers. Some of the higher frequency sounds like high-hats and screeching guitars may lack slightly but they still produce some great sound. Since I’m in a dormitory I was not able to test how loud they get, but the speakers in this thing can get pretty damn loud based on my professional experience in accidentally turning it up. My roommate was able to turn the speaker up to really test out the quality of the speaker, and the sound quality got moderately muddy. The music was still identifiable, but the bass and mids sort of swallowed up the high-end and the definition of the music was not of the highest quality. For the given price tag though, the speaker does produce a good sound.
1byone advertises their product to come alongside with their own application in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and while a little buggy and basic, it does the functions it’s intended to do. I find that the application takes a bit of time to connect to the lamp over Bluetooth, although once it is connected you will have the ability to switch the light on and off, change the light color to any RGB color using the color picker, set timers, and set the light to ‘Auto’ mode which will cause it to dance with your music from any audio that plays out of it. The one bug I did find quite frustrating was when I played a song through my music app, closed the lightbulb application, and reopen it. The music blasts at full volume and it takes me by surprise every single time. Personally I don’t recommend using the music picker within the app because it is really basic and quite hard to navigate, so just play your music through another music app. The internal music picker should have more options in terms of sorting and organizing by artist at the very least should be an option.
Interestingly enough, just like light, music is meant to surround the area you’re sitting in and this product does just that. The 1byone Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker and Smart LED is a great product that will not only serve your musical purposes, but also brighten your day.
I cannot count the amount of times that I have bought food with my roommate, and vice versa, only to not realize how much we spent or how much we owe one another. The Splitwise team makes these uncomfortable conversations and money haggling a thing of the past with their app. Continue reading Splitwise – Sharing Expenses Made Easy→
When it comes to digitizing my school work and perfect documents, I needed an application that could be consistent and of a high quality. Many apps were considered, but the app I felt reaches the top is doo GmbH’s Scanbot, their PDF Document Scanner. Through everything I’ve needed it to do, Scanbot has not only fulfilled, but surpassed any and all expectations I have had for a scanner app of any sort. Continue reading Scanbot – Auto Page Detection of the future→
The 1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard by 1byone was sent to me as a review so I will review as honestly as possible. This entire review is being typed with this keyboard on my HTC One M8 using the Android App Jotterpad
When I received the 1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard with Multi Touchpad, I was very surprised initially by the box of the Bluetooth Keyboard. It was really clean, flat, and well packaged. Inside the box was just the keyboard with a small instructional pamphlet on how to connect the keyboard to your Windows machine or Linux or Android device. I was able to get this device up and running within a minute after I inserted the Triple A batteries needed. I do wish that the back panel for the keyboard where you insert the batteries was easy to remove, but it only took me an extra 30 seconds. Due to the keyboard’s stainless steel back plate, it feels a lot heavier and feels all that more durable.
Upon placing the keyboard on my desk, I realized how low the profile of the keyboard really is. It is slightly angled towards the user due to the battery compartment. I liked this because the keyboard is really thin, so the angle of the keyboard works well for the user. It is also worth noting that this keyboard also has a track pad with a two button click implemented into the keyboard. This is the first, and potentially only, keyboard I own that has a track pad embedded into it. It works surprisingly well once you adjust the sensitivity of the mouse to make it a little faster.
I initially synced this keyboard to my laptop for day to day use, but quickly found that it would be better used on my phone for quick note taking in class and on my tablet for larger tasks during class as well. The fact this keyboard has a track pad in it makes it easier to use my tablet without the need of an external Bluetooth Mouse. The keyboard itself is very comfortable and I find it to be just as comfortable as the on-board keyboard on my Lenovo Y510P. The keyboard that I received with my Winbook 802 Windows Tablet was much too small for my fingers to efficiently type, but this keyboard is a happy medium comfort and efficiency.
The keyboard is also very responsive and I like how the keys feel as if they do not bottom out forever. On old Dell keyboards and the older USB keyboards, the keys were large so you could feel them bottom out, but since the keys on this keyboard are flat, you don’t feel them bottom out as much. This is great for me because this resembles my laptop’s keyboard even more, making it easier for me to type. I was also able to successfully test the function keys on the keyboard as well. By holding the function key and pressing the corresponding ‘f’ key, I was able to open my email, pause, play, rewind my music and increase and decrease the volume of my phone. I found these functions to be very helpful in operating my phone when I didn’t want to physically click the buttons on my phone and if I wanted to quickly check my email or go to the desktop of my phone.
I do have a two, although very minor, issues with the keyboard though, the first being that it is not rechargeable. Now, I have not fully drained the battery on this keyboard yet, and I have used it for two-three days pretty consistently, but I do wish it implemented a rechargeable battery cell so that I could charge it over night or with a power bank and not have to worry about buying batteries. The second is that the letters looks very cheap on the keyboard. I dislike the fact that I can see the black outline around the keys. If you click on the image to your right, you can see the outline on the C and F key quite well. It is very minor, but I think it is meant to be there so that the keys do not fade away.
Besides that issue, the keyboard is an absolute $23 price tag it is sold for. I currently use a CM Storm Quickfire Pro Mechanical Keyboard with my laptop, so I am much more accustom to mechanical switches than I am membrane, but if I ever have to use my tablet or phone outside to write our paragraphs or for note taking, I am definitely tossing this into my bag.
If you would like to view more of their products, check out their website at this link. You can buy this product off their website here or their Amazon page here
Believe me, I love Apple and pretty much everything that is thought up by the incredibly intelligent people that run the company. Although there comes a point in time where I become sick of waiting for Apple to make a move, i.e. previously the Verizon iPhone and now the Apple Smartwatch, which they plan on integrating some sort of bio sensors into. While that’s all great and dandy, I would prefer to get my hands on one before I die of old age, so I got my hands on Pebble’s Smartwatch available both online and at Best Buy stores. From the perspective of a near-perfectionist, let’s see if this thing was really worth the $116 from Amazon!
Pebble’s Native Music App
I received the package in the mail about four to five days ago, and opening the package was pretty simple. Shrink wrap off, watch right on top. Assuming the center button on the right side of the watch acted as a power button, which it did, I had the watch up and running in seconds. With the iOS Pebble application already loaded up, after charging it up I was able to pair the watch with my phone in no more than half a minute and it was ready to go, notifications and all. The watch band fits my wrist perfectly even though my wrist is incredibly small. As a matter of fact, I’m using the second smallest notch on the strap! The watch itself is comfortable and non-intrusive, despite it’s strangely squarish shape and button placement. I haven’t once made an accidental button press, and I don’t see that happening in the future either. What’s especially nice is the ability to read the screen in direct sunlight. If anything, reading in direct sunlight is easier than reading in the dark with the back light. As a side note, the back light can be enabled by a flick of the wrist, or by pressing any of the buttons on either side of the watch.
Being that I’ve been an avid iPhone jailbreaker since iOS 1.0, I thought I’d take it a step further and download the Smartwatch+ app by Robert Hesse. The application is available in the App Store, but I got it from the Cydia Store for only $4.99. It had no issues immediately detecting my watch, and I went ahead and installed the Smartwatch+ application to my watch as well as the SmartStatus watch face (which I later deleted and got DStatus, a modified SmartStatus, pictured at the top).
What’s nice about the Smartwatch+ application is the ability to configure the three notification stacks at the bottom. I have the email client set to Gmail, messages set to BiteSMS, and Missed Calls set to the default iOS phone app (this can be changed through your phone). Simply enough, it will let you know when you have unread messages from any of the three applications indicated by the number within. The Smartwatch+ Pebble app also comes with some nifty things like a Bitcoin price checker, weather application, calendar viewer and more (click here for more info). Seriously though, enough about Smarwatch+. Let’s talk about the things I like, what I don’t like, and what could be improved in the Pebble Smartwatch.
Smartwatch+ Weather App
What’s immediately apparent about this watch is its ability to vibrate when you get any sort of notification from your phone. Prior to buying this watch, I’d forgotten about this feature that really makes the Pebble as functional as it is, because who would really want something as useful as a vibrate function replaced by some obnoxious blinking light? I even disabled the ‘Vibrate on Silent’ feature on my phone, which will minutely save battery on my phone. Regardless, all my notifications come through without a beat. My Snapchats, Instagram notifications, Facebook messages, SMS, emails… all of it! Although, if a piece of text is too long for your watch, the Pebble will shorten it just so you’ll get the general idea of what the text message is trying to say. You’re going to have to pull the phone out of your pocket to reply anyway, so I feel that this isn’t really a limitation to the watch. Also, when you have multiple missed notifications, it will let you scroll through them on your watch using the up and down buttons on the right side, and you can then dismiss them by using the center button.
Texts on the Pebble
Another cool feature about this watch is its screen. While it is only 144 x 168 pixels, it’s actually an e-paper display similar the ones you would find in the old Amazon Kindles. Unlike the Kindle, this screen refreshes at 30 FPS which makes the interface very smooth. If you find yourself complaining about the lack of a color display, you might want to turn your attention to the Pebble’s 5-7 day battery life. Since receiving the watch four days ago, I still haven’t charged it up. This is after installing and trying many watch faces, un-pairing and re-pairing the device, turning it on and off, and debugging the watch through Linux terminal. It’s a bunch of power in a nice little package… what more could you ask for?
Well, there are one or two things. A few hours ago, I had a little trouble with my watch, likely caused by my own faults to some extent. The watch kept disconnecting from my phone every few minutes, resulting in my watch to vibrating and pretty much annoying the hell out of me. I tried rebooting the watch, the phone, and re-pairing the device via Bluetooth, but nothing really did the trick. Thankfully, restoring to factory settings is easily achieved in the settings, and only takes about 20 seconds to do. After 10 minutes, I’d already re-installed all of my applications and watch faces. Why did this happen? I wish I could tell you that, although I truly was installing a bunch of stuff on my watch, so I probably messed something up down the roads.
Pebble’s Bluetooth Screen
Another thing I wanted to mention was the watch’s inability to clear a notification from the screen once it is read on the phone’s side. Originally I’d thought that this was due to restrictions in Apple’s SDK, but after speaking to a developer in the Pebble IRC, I’ve come to learn that the phone is sending data to the watch with such information but hasn’t really been implemented where as it could be made functional. Perhaps such a function will be implemented in the SDK later on, but right now it remains out of the range of functionality.
The last thing that has bothered me about the watch is, to my surprise, the charge cable. “How creative!” I thought, to implement magnets into their charging cable similar to that found in a MacBook. What they didn’t tell you is that the magnets aren’t inherently strong, so you have to make sure that the cable is properly aligned or it will fall off pretty easily. The three-hour charge was also a bit of a bother, but it lasts for 5-7 days after that so I mean, who cares?
Back Button and Charge Port
So what you’ve really been wanting to know is, was the purchase worth it? Personally I feel that it was money well spent, since the thing is attached to my wrist from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep. The device is especially useful when I’m in class and can’t take my phone out of my pocket, but am curious about who sent me a text or email. Sure, this isn’t one of those electronics I’m actively excited about since a watch is used rather passively, but the watch is better on my wrist than not and I enjoy the little perks that come along with it. If I were to take the thing off my wrist for a week, I would probably say something along the lines of, “Damn, I wish I had my Pebble on me right now”. If you’ve got $150 to spend on one of these and what I’ve told you has appealed to you, go ahead and pick one up. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
If the widget below shows up, there’s some more images if you’re interested (most are repeated):