GRACE NOTES

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 29, 2011 0 comments

You know the story: an unscrupulous robe maker tells the king how wonderful his new, expensive, invisible robe is, king believes it, and king shows his butt to the world. A timeless tale that gets repeated over and over. And maybe a new version has just surfaced.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 27, 2012 0 comments

When I first saw the AfterShokz headphones at the 2012 International CES, I knew the company was onto something. Instead of going in or over the ear, these use bone conduction technology, borrowed from the Navy SEALs. AfterShokz rest in front of the ear, and use the jawbone to convey sound into the middle ear. I had a suspicion my father —a retired electrical engineer with a background in aeronautics, an audiophile from way back, and one of the original gadget gurus —would love them.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Dec 23, 2013 1 comments
Hitting the market this late in the game, Amped Wireless better have something special with their BTSA1 Bluetooth speaker adapter. Yes, like so many other adapters, it lets you to turn any audio playback system into a Bluetooth-enabled system. But the adapter also delivers a few unexpected, and welcome, surprises.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 22, 2014 2 comments
While all the Apple Kool-Aid drinkers could talk about last week was the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, an interesting tidbit of news was mostly overlooked, but we feel it’s rather exciting. (Is it just me, or is it really hard to get all that thrilled about yet another iPhone launch?) Along with a sleek new interface for the set-top box, Apple TV has added Beats Music streaming.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 12, 2014 3 comments
Any second now, confirmation is expected on Apple’s buyout of Beats Music for a reported $3.2 billion. That’s billion with a “b”. There’s no doubt that Beats is a valuable commodity. They did for headphones what Nike’s Air Jordans did for sneakers: No one cares if they’re the best product, they just care if it’s got the right logo. Is this a smart business move for Apple? Frankly, I don’t give a damn.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 11, 2013 0 comments

The 2013 Grammy Awards have safely come and gone (is anyone else amazed that no one was electrocuted during the onstage rain shower?) and all anyone is talking about after the show is how Auto-Tune is destroying the music biz.  Put performers on a live stage without technologic backup, and many of them will fall apart, in ear-shattering glory. Fun. had some issues with pitch that were hard to ignore, and Frank Ocean’s performance was a little shaky without the benefit of pitch-correcting software. People are up in arms that without Auto-Tune, many current artists would be crooning on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea. But have things really changed?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 09, 2012 0 comments

Although the rumors have been flying for months, it's now official: last week Beats bought the music streaming service MOG, paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jun 23, 2014 0 comments
On the heels of Apple’s buyout of Beats, it’s unfair to expect Beats to suddenly stop production of anything that isn’t Apple white. The newly designed Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 headphone actually comes in a rainbow of colors, including, umm, white. This is a revision of the original Solo headphone. While I was unboxing, I wondered, did Beats dial back the pounding bass that plagued the first generation of their headphone lineup?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 25, 2014 0 comments
Look around you - wires are so passé. If you’re in the gym and your earphones are connected to your phone or iPod, you might as well trade in your Crossfit membership for a circa-1989 Step aerobics class. How can you complete your WOD with a tangle of wires getting in the way? The new Powerbeats2 in-ear earphone from Beats By Dr. Dre is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible, and other than the snag-free wire connecting the left and right side, it’s completely wireless. You couldn’t connect it to your iPhone with a wire even if you wanted to - plus and negatives to that situation to follow.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 11, 2014 0 comments
Just when I thought the wireless Bluetooth speaker market had finally run out of new ideas, bēm wireless announces the Speaker Mojo, a 2.5” speaker cube with a nifty charging base. Sure, there are tons of other portable speakers, but the Speaker Mojo features a wireless conductive charging base that houses a 1800-mAh power bank to charge not only the speaker, but also whatever else might need a boost via its USB power port. Neato. Gotta love a device that can multi-task.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 25, 2013 0 comments
48 years after its release in 1965, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” finally has an official music video. Well, actually, it has an infinite number of videos. The digital media company Interlude Studios has created a totally unique interactive video for Dylan’s classic that turns channel-surfing into a mind-blowing experience.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 28, 2014 2 comments
Bose, the pioneer of noise-cancelling headphones, has filed suit against Apple’s latest and largest acquisition, Beats Electronics. Bose alleges that the Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones use noise-cancelling technology that infringes on five patents held by Bose. They have also filed with the International Trade Commission requesting a cease-and-desist on sales and imports of Beats in the US. They are requesting an undisclosed amount of compensation for damages. Considering how long the Studio line has been available, did Bose wait until it could go after the deeper pockets of Apple?

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 23, 2011 0 comments

Sometimes you go into a movie not knowing how it's going to end. Sometimes, you know exactly how it's going to end. Conan the Barbarian definitely falls into the latter category, but getting there is still worth the ride.

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments

It's really hard to feel sorry for any of the major cable providers. Shout out if you absolutely love your cable company. Anyone? So, when Time Warner Cable announced a significant drop in subscribers and a corresponding decline in their earnings last quarter, you didn't see a lot of crocodile tears. In fact, anyone who's spent an hour or five dealing with cable customer service will likely feel at least a bit of glee to hear about TWC's corporate woes. But what does this say about how we're all watching TV?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 23, 2012 0 comments

Above all, we admire mastery. A painter, sculptor, athlete, musician, actor, scientist — whatever the profession, there is nothing quite like witnessing someone working at the top of their game. The expression of professional confidence, ease, and poise is a joy to behold. You sit back and let it wash over you, and think to yourself — this is really good.

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