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Random Steven Kippel on 25 Oct 2013

Comcast offering HBO Go without cable box

Comcast offering HBO Go without cable box

Comcast is testing a plan called Internet Plus which will provide up to 25Mbps internet plus (get it?) HBO, XFINITY Streampix and basic cable for as low as $39.99 per month (for the first year). This seems to be the dawn of a cable operator providing à la carte TV channels through internet streaming. An HBO subscription generally runs between $15-$20, so this introductory price is quite a deal.

Obviously, it still includes a basic cable subscription, but never before has a premium channel been available for streaming without a corresponding cable subscription to that channel. Let’s hope ESPN and NBC follow suit.

nob &Random Wes Novack on 17 Apr 2013

Blog My Brain Words with Friends widget

Blog My Brain Words with Friends widget

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of blogmybrain for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Blog My Brain Words with Friends thumbThe casual gaming market has exploded in popularity in recent years, largely fueled by smartphone proliferation along with Internet connectivity becoming more and more accessible throughout the country and the world.

One of the most popular type of games in this surging casual gaming category are word games. Examples of word games include the time-tested and well loved classic, Scrabble and the relative newcomer Words with Friends, which is a smartphone hit. Words with Friends allows you to play a Scrabble-like word game with a friend from afar, taking turns on your smartphones, making it a social, engaged, internet connected game.

With more and more people playing word games, the demand for word finder tools has spiked in recent years. This is evident by the increasing search volumes for related terms such as “scrabble cheat” and “scrabble word finder”.

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Hardware &Random &Software Wes Novack on 14 May 2012

Attack of the prepaid rebate cards

Attack of the prepaid rebate cards

It’s a disturbing new trend in the world of technology retailing — Rebates — but these aren’t the rebates from years ago… these rebates come in the form of prepaid credit/debit cards.

No longer will you receive that fancy paper check in the mail that can be deposited directly into a bank account.

The old paper rebate checks were a treat to discover in your mailbox, as if you were getting a paycheck back for making your tech purchase, albeit a small one. But alas, these days that doesn’t happen anymore, as most rebates now come in the form of a square piece of plastic that is “preloaded” with your rebate dollars. I’ve seen Visa, MasterCard and American Express prepaid cards.

Attack-of-the-prepaid-rebate-cards

What’s wrong with a debit/credit card pre-loaded with funds? You ask…

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Random Wes Novack on 01 Feb 2012

Miniature flying robot swarm performs complex aerial maneuvers

Miniature flying robot swarm performs complex aerial maneuvers

Like something out of a Sci-Fi thriller or perhaps a Stephen King novel, engineers at the University of Pennsylvania have successfully developed “nano quadrotor” miniature flying robots that can be programmed to perform complex aerial maneuvers in collective formations.

A new video showcases the impressive flight maneuvers, with a group of the miniature robots flying in a swarm, exhibiting patterns that resemble that of jet fighters and possibly those found in nature, such as bird flocks, bee colonies and other fliers. Check the video embedded below for the visual demonstration and prepare to be impressed!

From the video:

Towards a Swarm of Nano Quadrotors
“We developed a nano quadrotor capable of agile flight.”

Formation Flight
“Multiple vehicles can fly as a formation.”

Trajectory Planning
“We developed a method to transition between formations in 3D”

“The team can also navigate in environments with obstacles”

Finishing off the video with a smiley face formation was a nice touch. Now the question is, how can I get my hands on one of these things to play with? I’m sure they won’t be cheap on their initial release to the public, if they even materialize as a consumer product at some point in the future.

Random &the web Wes Novack on 13 Oct 2011

A look at DealFun.com online auctions

A look at DealFun.com online auctions

The company dealfun.com is providing its own unique take on the online auction process.

The site is nothing like ebay, as participants at DealFun are bidding on products sold by the auction site itself, not some mysterious, questionable 3rd party seller. All items are brand new and they offer up auctions on a variety of products such as the Apple iPad, iPhone, Amazon Kindle, Laptops, LED TVs, PS3’s, Watches, Jewelry, Toys and many other items.

DealFun touts their customer service as one of their main focuses, claiming that it is “Absolutely fantastic, prompt and courteous customer service.”

dealfun-com

So how do these auctions work exactly? Let’s take a look…

To participate, essentially you must register an account, buy a bid pack (at 60 cents per bid) in order to be able to bid, choose products that are up for auction and then place bids to attempt to win. Once you win an auction, which they claim can be up to 95% off retail price, you then purchase the item.

DealFun also wants to let everyone know about a few other site features. There is no weekly or monthly win cap. A buy it now feature allows you to purchase an item even if you don’t win the auction, with a discount off retail price equal to the value of the bids you’ve spent on that auction. A Beginners auction area allows newbies to polish their skills and test out the new service. The site also features a win guarantee: If you don’t win in the first 24 hours, all of your bids are restored for future use.

Disclosure: This article was a sponsored, paid post.

nob &Random &Software Wes Novack on 08 Feb 2011

Could new tech improve the horse track experience?

Could new tech improve the horse track experience?

I live in the northern part of Phoenix, Arizona. This municipality is spread out far and wide, with lots of different attractions scattered across the city. One of those attractions is the Turf Paradise horse track, which happens to be right across the street from my neighborhood.

I’ve been to the track a few times, baring witness to the spectacle that is horse racing and partaking in the occasional gambling.

Horseracing (Custom)

So what is a visit to the horse track like? It’s normally a take-it-easy type of experience. Most visitors typically attend with some friends or family, find a table or a spot in the stands to post up and kick-back to enjoy some horse racing betting. Whether you’re indoors in the lounge or outside on the sunny grand-stand, it’s customary to grab some grub, drinks and analyze the race booklet of the day, which gives you information and stats on the horses and jockeys that’ll be participating in the upcoming races.

After devising some sort of horse betting strategy or just willy-nilly choosing some horses based on the coolness factor of their names, you can run up to the cashier/betting booths to place your bets.

I’ve had a somewhat enjoyable time on each occasion that I’ve visited Turf Paradise, but I wonder if the experience could be improved with some technology enhancements?

Smartphone apps

A suite of smartphone apps would drastically improve the horse track experience. With iPhone, Android and other mobile OS apps, participants might be able to quickly view and sort horse stats, place their bets from the comfort of their seats, discuss the upcoming races with fellow gamblers and enjoy a much richer and more interactive experience.

Now I’m not saying that this type of interactive horse track app would be easy to develop or integrate into existing systems, but I can certainly foresee a future where most of the bet placing occurs on phones rather than at a cramped cashier’s booth, with a messy line of folks waiting their turn to vocally proclaim their bets to an attendant.

Touchscreen betting terminals

If smartphone apps aren’t feasible or the track just isn’t up to the task, the next best thing would be touchscreen terminals located at the lounge booths and in other areas where the spectators gather. It’s all about automation right? Why force the customers to high tail it up to a betting booth in between races when all transactions could be easily accomplished on an iPad-like touchscreen device in a self-service fashion?

Maybe the tracks don’t want to invest in this type of tech at their facilities right now, but I’m betting we’ll see it at some point in the future. Until then, I suppose we’ll continue to be forced into ambling up to the cashier’s booth to place our bets manually, per regular horse track etiquette.

How do you think new tech could improve the experience at the horse track?

Disclosure: This article was a sponsored, paid post.

Hardware &Random Steven Kippel on 03 Apr 2009

Sony's new waste of time

Sony’s new waste of time

I saw this video today and thought it was hilarious. I almost told everyone in the office we should start carrying the new Sony SFPOS, but then realized we’ve been selling it for years.

Warning: This video contains more profanity than a ship full of drunken sailors trying to program a VCR.

Sony releases new stupid piece of $h1t that doesn’t f###ing work.

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