It's been almost a full week since the release of Splatoon for the Nintendo Wii U. I'll admit, this was the game that pushed me to the edge and made me buy a...
While we are in the midst of the college and NFL playoffs, there is a major event that just ended in Las Vegas. One of the biggest conventions in the world takes place at the beginning of the January each year. The Consumer Electronics Show has literally anything you could expect to see in the world of technology. I had the pleasure of attending and working at the 2011 CES event, and it was one of the most fun weeks I have ever had (even if my feet were killing me at the end of the week). CES is almost like going to a different world. Las Vegas itself is a strange place to go and is like nothing else in the country, but add CES on top of it, and it's a great mix of technology, gambling, nerds, and a fun time. When I was at CES (working for Samsung), the big thing was 3D TV's. That fad seems to have passed and moved on to 3D printers instead. Taking cool technology on a screen and putting it into real life is what it's all about between 3D printing and wearable technology. As usual, this year had the coolest gadgets and gizmos on display, most of which we won't see in a store or available for purchase for a while. Here are some of the items that stood out to me:
Best Tech TermOne of the big things this year was the phrase "Internet of Things". As boring and vague as that sounds, the IoT is a phrase that was coined for the communication that your tech has with other tech. It's the ideal that major companies such as Samsung, Intel, and more are using as they all try to grab a piece of the pie in creating the network that your whole life communicates with. Basically, it's almost a form of artificial intelligence that you as a user control, but that helps ease your life. Some things already exist, such as being able to change the thermostat or lock your door with your phone. However, those are all controlled by us. The IoT will be the platform that all of those devices use to communicate with each other, and the next big step is to make it where your devices use the IoT to communicate with each other...on their own. You don't have to unlock the door, then come in and turn the lights on, change the thermostat, turn the TV on, and start pre-heating the oven. When you pull up to your house, it will know, and "something" will do all of that for you. Creepy, right? More like inevitable, so get used to it. Another area where this is taking place is in your cars. We've already seen the creation of cars that drive themselves from the likes of Google, but now that technology is looking to grow even more, by communicating with your other devices and help "ease" your way of life. As long as the IoT doesn't become self-aware, then it's all cool.
Best Wearable TechWhen you think of the phrase "wearable tech," you typically think about the new futuristic watches, or t-shirts with heart rate monitors, or something like that. But I have to give it to a pair of ear buds that have changed what ear buds or headphones have ever been meant to do. Usually, we rely on our phones to help us keep up with our music, and maybe be a GPS while out running, or have a pedometer on it. Now, a company called Bragi has created ear buds that can do all sorts of things, wirelessly. "The Dash" are not only wireless headphones, but they also are a heart rate monitor, a hands-free device, a personal trainer, and have intuitive touch-based controls. This is the next evolution of wearable tech, and it's wearable tech that you actually might want to...wear.
Best Home Entertainment ProductI've written about this already, but Sling TV is the way of the future for TV. Dish is offering a package for $20 a month that gives you TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Disney, ESPN, and ESPN2. No contract, just TV channels for way less than your cable bill. Check out my full write up here.
Best InnovationThis is a piece of technology that can change the way we interact with everything. Energous has created a system called WattUp, which wirelessly charges your devices from up to 15 feet away. Imagine that you had one panel in your room, and it could charge your phone, tablet, camera, computer accessories, game devices, and more all by just having them in the room with you. Wireless charging before has existed, but only if you at least made contact with a device. Energous has created something that sends out a charge to your devices by bouncing it around the room until it finds it. Before you think the charges it's sending out are radioactive and will deform your skull or something, it actually operates on the same waves that wi-fi does, and we've been around it for a while now and haven't died yet. This product isn't out yet, but it's coming and will change everything.
Best Celebrity AppearanceNick Cannon was there, Kanye was there, Snoop Dogg was there, Tony Hawk was there. But I have to give it to will.i.am for actually working on a piece of tech and showing it off. He's not the first celebrity to jump in with a company and help design a product, that happens all the time. But while most people just slap their name on something, or just show up to CES to sing a song or too, will.i.am has created something unique. His smart watch, i.amPULS, is basically a smart watch that doesn't need some other device to run on. It runs on it's own, and plays music, makes calls, reads your heartbeat, and shares all this information socially. He's also working on products that can be added to other pieces of clothing to communicate with the watch, and let the watch be at the center of it all, instead of a phone or computer.
Best Game TechRazer always has great products. I was able to check out some of their cool stuff at CES when I went before, but they always come up with something new to steal the show. Never mind that I'm typing this from a Razer keyboard and mouse. However, the Razer Turret is something to keep an eye on. PC gaming isn't going anywhere, but as the offerings continue to increase, the Razer Turret makes it where you can game from your couch on your PC with ease. It's obviously wireless, but the mouse stays put a little better due to a magnet in it keeping it on the pad. The whole thing is long enough it fits on your lap and with a full keyboard and mouse to control with, it makes gaming a breeze no matter where you are in the room. We'll see how the magnet holds up as it might make control a bit harder, but it's supposed to keep the mouse from flying off the pad when you shift your body. I also have to mention the Steelseries Sentry Eye Tracker. It may not really hold anything special for anyone because no one really cares where on the computer you're looking, but it might help with gamers who need to be focusing on the right things at the right time. If you're raiding in World of Warcraft, you need to make sure to look at certain things at the right time. This can help train you. It might not be a great piece of tech now, but it's possibilities down the line are great.
Weirdest ProductThe weirdest product has to go to Belty, a belt that auto-adjusts when you need it to. Just eaten a big meal? Belty can sense that and it releases a bit when you stand up from eating. It's basically a motorized belt (with a slightly bigger than I want belt buckle that holds the tech) that senses when it needs to change. It also keeps track of your different waist sizes which can be good for losing/gaining weight. The problem is when Belty becomes self-aware and doesn't let go. You're in the mood, but poor old Belty is hanging on for dear life. You see where I'm going.
Dumbest ProductMy nod for dumbest product has to go to Stir. Stir is basically a desk that auto adjusts at certain times so that you change position while working to get a little exercise. That's just what I want, I'm in the middle of working on a big project and 100% focused on my computer, and my desk starts lifting up in the air taking my computer away from me. Then right when I get situated standing up to continue working, it drops to the ground and takes it away from me again. I just want to sit in peace. If it's healthy to get up and walk around every 30 minutes to an hour, then set an alarm or something, don't take my desk away from me. I'm not saying it's not good to move around, I typically get up every hour or so and go do something else, but come on...
Most Unnecessary ProductThe Belfie Stick. Just listen to some of these testimonials on their website: “I got my squat game down on lock shooting belfies every day to check up on my progress!" - Marcos from Miami “I never again have to take pics in the bathroom. I can't tell you how many times Ive dropped my iphone trying to take pics. I love it! Thank God they invented belfiestick!” Lauren from LA “I can't believe they invented this, it's totally insane! Everyone is hurtin holding their phones trying to get the right precise angle. Bend over, snap a pic & done! Belfiestick rulez!!!.” Ellen from Michigan This was actually a product at CES. Thank goodness I know that someone out there has invented a stick that I can attach my phone to so I can take a photo of my ass. Look out world.
As we arrive at the end of the year, we can look back on all of the great things that happened in the world of sports, entertainment, gaming, and more. Everyone likes to reflect on the greatest moments of the year before we turn the calendar over and start it all over again, so I figured I would follow suit. I dive in and pick the best sports team, player, moment, performance, and more of the year. I also choose the best movie and music album of the year. In gaming, I keep it basic and go with best overall game of the year, and best eSports match of the year. A few of these things I might make individual lists of, such as movies of the year, but here are the best "things" of the 2014 calendar year in my opinion. To keep the homepage less cluttered, check out the list and videos after the jump.
The Elder Scrolls series has made it's latest game open to the media, and I was able to play the first bit of Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) over the past weekend. I played to level 6, which isn't terribly far, but that did represent about 5 hours of gameplay, which is far enough in to determine whether you want to continue on or not. Let me start out by saying that I am a fan of the lore within the Elder Scrolls games, but the series hasn't been one of my favorites in comparison to others. I played a little bit of Arena and Daggerfall back in the day, but really picked up with the series when Morrowind was released. I played it a little bit on my PC, but at the time, my PC was having a hard time playing the game with it's amazing (at the time) graphics, so I switched over to playing it on my Xbox. I played Oblivion on the 360, but went back to the PC master race for Skyrim. One thing that made Skyrim great was it's openness in not only the world in which you played, but the ability to do so many things within the game. You could have many quest lines going at once, you could steal stuff, you could murder everyone, you could mod the game to get married, introduce wacky elements into the game, make your characters settle down and have a family, and even run around naked. All of that gets lost in ESO. Read on to see more of my impressions on the game.
If you ask most people, including some gamers, what games make you a super nerd, chances are you'll hear something along the lines of World of Warcraft, or Magic: The Gathering. So how to you get even nerdier? You combine them! Enter Hearthstone. Hearthstone, a semi-new IP from Blizzard Entertainment, combines the best of both trading card games (TCG) and the Warcraft universe (Warcraft RTS, World of Warcraft) in one game that allows users a different experience than usual from Blizzard games. Blizzard has three universes where they have excelled: Starcraft - The SC universe has two games in it, both real-time strategy titles, with multiple expansions for each either out, or planned. Starcraft has been the pinnacle of competitive gaming until recently when many will say it has been passed by games such as League of Legends and DotA 2, both multiplayer online battle arenas or MOBA games. Diablo - The Diablo universe has three games, all of them being action RPG's, or dungeon crawl type games. The most recent release Diablo 3, is just over a year old, with an expansion planned soon called Reaper of Souls. Warcraft - The Warcraft universe is no doubt the most diverse. None of the other games Blizzard has made has had a mod become more successful than Defense of the Ancients or DotA from Warcraft 3. Also, while the Warcraft RTS line of games was already the largest for Blizzard, the universe spawned World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online RPG which is now carrying the torch for the storyline. And now we arrive at Hearthstone. While it's a new game, it's still using the Warcraft universe. Whether or not it will ever add Diablo or Starcraft remains to be seen, but for now, it is strictly Warcraft. The Hearthstone name actually comes from Warcraft, as a Hearthstone is something every player has, and it transports them to a home base of sorts whenever they need to fast travel. Read more about the game after the jump.
So this is totally random of me to post, and I'll admit, I have paid little to no attention to this whole discussion because I don't pay a ton of attention to gaming anymore...