TECH2

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 25, 2013 0 comments

With no small amount of irony, about a week after I installed the ultra-high-tech Parrot Asteroid Smart, my SVT lit its engine warning light.

I know the sound and feel of my car really well, and it sounded and felt fine. Since a dealer would want $75 just to tell me what's wrong, I figured it was time to invest in an OBD II scanner. This device plugs into the OBD II port that every post-1996 car has, and gives you a code to tell you what's wrong (along with a lot of other data).

But wait! Now you can get a "scanner" that talks to your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth! Now that's some app awesomeness.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 23, 2013 0 comments

Soundmatters didn’t invent the Bluetooth speaker, but it definitely invented the good, compact Bluetooth speaker: the FoxL. The FoxL’s guts became the basis for the much cuter and more broadly marketed Jawbone Jambox. The look and general driver layout of the Jambox were then copied—sometimes subtly, sometimes shamelessly—by practically every audio ODM in China.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments

Speakers are like karate. Subwoofers are like weightlifting. The quality of a speaker is determined by subtleties: well-chosen drivers, just-right crossover points and slopes, and a perfectly tuned, solidly constructed enclosure. The quality of a subwoofer is determined mostly by its muscle: the size of the enclosure, the displacement of its driver, and the power of its amplifier.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments

Things we learned in Part 1: My car is old. It only played CDs. Angle grinder use on dashboards is best left to professionals. The Parrot Asteroid Smart seems to do a lot of cool stuff.

And that’s the thing, right? It seems to do a lot of cool stuff, but there was no way of knowing how cool, or not, until it was installed (quite expertly by Mobile Fantasy).

This is called “a gamble.”

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 16, 2013 0 comments

I love my car. My car is old. Eleven years old this week, actually. When I bought it, in-dash cassette players were on their way out, and CD players were all but standard. Mine even had the upgraded "Audiophile" system, which had an in-dash 6-disc changer.

The stupidity of a in-dash CD changer aside, the one thing my car didn't have was any ability to add an external source. None. So imagine my annoyance, my near-decade-long annoyance at not being able to play my iPod in my car.

Well with one fell swoop, not only can I play my iPod, I can voice dial, hands free talk, stream music from my phone, navigate via GPS, and do all the other fancy things people who buy new cars can do. I got (Asteroid) Smart.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 12, 2013 0 comments

"The book is not a direct influence. That is to say that it did not spur me on to write any sort of song cycle or (gasp!) concept album. Rather, I found myself writing a lot of songs with a sense of a specific space, my hometown of Huntington, Long Island, New York."

So explains Bill Janovitz and about his new album, Walt Whitman Mall, and it seems as apt a description as I can think of.

Oh, and it's also really good. He didn't say that part (obviously).

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 19, 2013 0 comments

When we think about how electronics products are developed, we might imagine huge teams of faceless engineers, executives embroiled in endless discussions in elaborate conference rooms, and an almost Kafkaesque process that no one person really understands or controls.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 17, 2013 0 comments

It's only natural, in the wake of any random act of extreme violence, to look for an explanation: What caused this to happen? What can we do to prevent it from happening again?

While it's fair to ask these questions, the frustrating truth is that most of the time, we'll never know.

Not knowing, sadly, is not an acceptable answer. Instead, "the other" is blamed. When it comes to politicians and lobbyists, this "other" is anything the younger generations are into, that they themselves aren't. Thirty years ago it was rap and heavy metal. Thirty before that, it was rock and roll.

Today, the common scapegoat is video games, and blaming them is just as specious.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 15, 2013 0 comments

I can't recall a game in recent memory that so embodied corporate hubris, a distaste and distrust of fans, or a launch so bungled that it was the story not the game.

Which is too bad, because underneath all the noise and hate are pieces of a great game, one that I've played a lot over the last two weeks.

But you know what? Don't buy it.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments

When testing headphones with multiple listeners-our standard practice at S+V-I've learned that perceptions of a headphone's tonal balance can differ among listeners. Of course, individual taste in sound varies, too.

One solution to this problem is a headphone that can be tuned to the user's taste, a feature we've encountered on in-ear monitors from AKG and Phonak. Both have interchangeable filters that can alter the headphone's tonal balance. But the former costs $1,299, and the latter uses extremely tiny filters that require a special tool to change.

A new company named Torque Audio has what looks like a more practical approach.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 07, 2013 0 comments

 

I'm not sure what to make of the Viewsonic VSD220. I like it. It works as you'd hope, looks quite nice, and is priced well.

But it is definitely a niche product. If you can spot a place in your life for this niche, then I think it's definitely worth checking out.

What is it? Well, you can think of it as a 22-inch Android tablet, with HDMI and USB inputs. Or, you can think of it as a small Smart TV with Android OS.

Got ideas yet? I do.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 26, 2013 0 comments

I am a vocal and unrepentant projector fanatic. I think projectors represent the best value in home entertainment, and wish more people would embrace the awesome as I have (for over 10 years now).

However, projectors aren’t without drawbacks, and the UHP lamps in nearly all of them are a big one. Hot, expensive, and not particularly long lasting, UHP lamp replacement is often cited as one of the biggest annoyances of projector ownership. The alternative, LED lighting, has mostly just been found in uber-high-end projectors, and inexpensive wee little projectors.

But not anymore.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 21, 2013 0 comments

It's hard to write up news about the PS4 when there wasn't any actual news about the PS4. At what best can be described as a "Save-the-Date" event, Sony laid out their ideas for their next-gen console, but gave few, if any, specifics.

What we found out is... interesting. By far the PS4 is being pushed as a gaming console to act as a central hub for a gaming lifestyle, than a hardcore, cutting-edge, gaming machine.

That and other disappointments AWESOME GAMING NEWS after the jump.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 17, 2013 0 comments

Lighting is a powerful thing. Lighting can set a mood consciously, and perhaps subconsciously too. Does anyone like the green, cold bluish look of a florescent-lit cubeland office? How about a candle-lit dinner? By a fireplace? What about a cool winter morning, or a hot summer sunset?

The color of light plays a significant role in our lives, and most of the time, we barely notice. The comely nature of incandescent light bulbs has been disappearing for years, replaced by CFLs that despite a similar color temperature, offer little of their predecessor's warmth (literally).

Enter LEDs: Energy efficient sure, but more importantly, with red, green, and blue diodes, able to generate any color imaginable. If only someone would hook one up to an app. Oh wait!

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 14, 2013 0 comments

I played the first Dead Space because I had to. It was one of my first game reviews for ­S+V. It was inconsistent, regularly annoying, but fairly enjoyable. The sequel was a better game overall, but lacking some of the first game's raw scariness.

The universe, story, and concept were sound enough that I was actually looking forward to DS3.

Here's what I found.

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