Friday, September 4, 2015

We Need Batteries! (Electrification of Everything)

So close, but so far away
In the past few months I took a couple of risky jumps into the world of high powered battery equipment. My first was a Ryobi Snowblower and the second Ryobi Lawn Mower (Heck I already had the batteries, why not!). Using this high powered battery equipment has really changed my thought process on everything. Ryobi and the other battery equipment manufactures really need to license their tech and let all comers use it. This would entrench their brand and spur a equipment manufacturers to build their own devices. You can look at this much in the same way that Android opened the door to many Hardware manufacturers. Most companies don’t want to deal with the time and energy of creating a new battery standard and messing with the chemicals involved, they just want to create great hardware.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Ryobi 40V Lawn Mower Review

UPDATE 8/21/2015: Since this article I have mowed my old city lot. The Ryobi mower blazed through the grass with little effort. The Ryobi batteries have four green LED indicator lights that show power usage and after mowing only one of the lights on a single battery had been used. If you have a city lot this is more than enough mower for you!

ORIGINAL: Again with the utopian energy dream!? Well, yes, I must admit that I am truly excited about the battery/electric revolution. To my consternation it has been taking much longer than I expected… I always repeat the refrain “Don’t worry, the electric revolution will happen in the next couple of years!” Wholeheartedly believing my own prophecy. Last winter I dove into the tepid waters of electrification fully expecting to come out holding my head in pain. Luckily my experience with the Ryobi 40V Snowblower met and exceeded my, admittedly low, expectations. It was exciting to see a battery powered product actually work as its gas powered counterpart! Since then I purchased the Ryobi 40V Lawn Mower. After all, the snowblower gave me two batteries that already work with the mower, why not give it a try?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pebble Smart Watch - Still Relevant Post Apple Watch?

UPDATE: 8/21/2015: Since this article I have been sporting the first generation Android Wear LG G Watch. After the experience of the LG G Watch I now believe my outlook on the Pebble to be overly optimistic. I stand by my praise for the battery life but, the functionality of Android Wear makes the Pebble feel more like a glorified pager. Every time you get a message, it just tells you what you will need to do when you take out your phone. Android Wear is much more intuitive and the microphone makes responding much easier. As a disclaimer, I have not had the opportunity to use Pebble's new interface or the Pebble Time, so they may have improved on the experience since this review. It will be hard for Pebble to overcome the natural integration of the Play Store or iTunes on the Apple watch.

ORIGINAL: Even though Apple has been playing catch up lately everyone still seems to think that when Apple enters a new market, they must have been the ones to create that market. A key example is when Apple allowed 3rd party developers the opportunity to use their own keyboards on iOS. This is a feature that has been around on Android for over 6 years and just came out on iOS 7 months ago. This was a huge improvement and it is still functionally impaired compared to the Android implementation. Another example is Apple's new electronic payment system, Apple Pay. When it launched late last year, it was as if they just created this new technology out of no where! In reality Android users had been using this feature (along with other NFC features) since the launch of Google Wallet almost 4 years prior.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ryobi Battery Powered Snow-blower Review (Does it Blow?)

How did I get here?
About 7 years ago, while working on a article, I purchased a battery powered lawn mower. I thought, “You know, these things are starting to come out, it must be usable…” Well, my hypothesis was wrong… The battery took 18 hours to charge, it only had enough charge to get through half of my yard, and with thicker grass it would start to chug. By the way, my backyard at the time was about the size of a 4 car garage and way smaller in the front. With a regular lawn mower, trimming would take me about 15 minutes and that battery mower couldn't hack it. It used a lead acid battery which made the mower feel like it was made of cast iron and it was unwieldy to maneuver. Once I finished the backyard I would have to charge the mower for 18 hours before I could work on the front yard. Needless to say, it went back to the store.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jay Bird - Blue Buds X (Sings the Blues) Review

This isn’t the greatest way to start an article, I know that, but this was not one of my favorite articles to write. The Jay Bird seems to meet all of my bullet points: music is awesome, wireless stuff is awesome, built in rechargeable batteries are awesome, taut wires that don’t get in your way are awesome, and beautiful packaging is awesome. So… what’s my problem you ask? Well, user experience and price… Oh wait… I mean, read more to find out why!

Jaybird seems to be going after the high-end market. They are ear-buds that cost $170 after all. They put a considerable amount of time into both the packaging and the accessories. The unboxing experience was exciting as it should be and the headphones even

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gamepad for Nexus Player (or Any Android Device) Review

The name: Gamepad for Nexus Player will instantly give you a sense that this new Asus controller is an example of function over fashion. Looking at the  box doesn’t really change your mind. Nexus packaging has been a highlight of purchasing a fresh new Nexus device but, the “Gamepad for Nexus Player” seems to have slipped through the cracks. The box depicts the controller with an orange to red gradient background that goes the top left to the bottom right. The most prominent text on the box is “ASUS” in the bottom right corner. The devices’ name is almost invisible and the unboxing experience is also a bit underwhelming.

As well as the poor showing in the box area,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Shield Portable Christmas Re-Review

Prior to starting we had a Google+ presence. This is where we first showed off our gratuitous pictures. One of our first posts was of the nVidia Shield Portable, it is still one of our favorite purchases. Here is a more in depth look, just in time for Christmas.

Design/Build Quality
When nVidia first launched the Shield (now called the Shield Portable) they were mere babies in the consumer hardware business. True, they had made video cards and showed that they were avid gamers but, they hadn’t spend much time on devices you carry in your hand all day. That is one of the things that really surprised me when holding the Shield for the first time. The quality of the controls made the PlayStation 3 controller feel like a toy.