small screen to big screen!

Screen sharing is an interesting thing today.  First of all, what it means and second what and how you can share your screen. Apple now includes Airplay, Carplay and other applications in the iOS solution. Those allow you to operate portable projectors and automobile screens as extensions of your iPhone. I won’t argue the reality of cell phones. What you will be carrying with you tomorrow is most likely only a cell phone. All those years I traveled, first with a 12 pound and slowly a lighter and lighter laptop is going way. So the ability to plug your phone into a projector and have it mirror the screen is critical. Let’s dive a little into the overall concept, expanding a post I made more than four years ago now, The Screen as a Service.

Chromecast plugs into an open HDMI slot on your computer and allows you to share your phone, tablet, or computer screen on the device that has the Chromecast plugged in. Prijector is a device that also plugs into HDMI ports and allows you to quickly share your computer screen, iPhone, Android, or another device right on the drive Prijector is plugged into. Another device in this screen sharing world is AirTame. AirTame again uses an open HDMI port on your TV and allows any device on the same network to broadcast anything on your receiving device. I have one in my office television. I can stream live TV, recorded TV, Netflix, Hulu, and any other service to your Television. The last device to consider is the FireTV system from Amazon or the AppleTV system from Apple. Both allow you to mirror your mobile screen on your TV.

But all of this doesn’t help anyone without why. One of the things you can do with Chromecast or AirTame, or for that matter connected projectors and Prijector turns a TV or projector into an advertising wall. Or if you are entertaining friends you can turn your wall into a picture display! It also allows you to create a two-monitor system quickly for your phone, tablet or computer.  The last thing is that many of these devices are continuing to drop in price. You can get a Chromecast for around 40 US right now.  I enjoy using these systems in some ways. AppleTV lets you program what you are going to watch on your TV from your device. AirTame and Prijector let you put anything you are looking at on the larger screen.

I do understand this is probably something most of you aren’t interested in. This is more of an art of the possible post, in case you ever have the need!


shameless review Meeting Owl!

Meeting Owl – the technology of meeting systems for rooms is expanding. I recently had a chance to add a Meeting Owl to my office. The Meeting Owl is a 360-degree camera that sitting on a table can show everyone at the table when personal speaks the Owl shifts to the directional microphone and additionally shifts to the directional camera to show the face of the speaker. This was something new ten years ago, but now several systems can do this.

The Owl is small, roughly 12 inches tall, and at its base around 5 inches in diameter. So it will fit on virtually any desk or table. I have it on my office desk, but I have also used it in my extra downstairs room for conversations and meetings. Using a portable projector, I am easily able to create a moving meeting experience anywhere I am.

Meeting Owl I tested it with:

Zoom, Teams, WebEx, BlueJeans, GOTOMEETING

Meting Owl also includes integration software with your phone or tablet. That allows you to see the meeting analytics (such as how long the meeting was, how many people participated, and so on). Meeting Owl is an extremely interesting tool.

  • The speaker is of high quality.
  • The Microsoft is both mom-and bi-directional. Lets you capture multiple people talking or focus on one person when only one person is speaking.
  • The camera is great, HD quality, and can show 360 degrees or an entire room.
  • Software is easy to use.
  • The device is easy to set up and plugs into any open USB port.
  • It also acts as your computer speaker!

Overall my rating for the Meting Owl is 9 out of 10.


review updates and 360 cameras…

I wanted to start with a few review updates.

iPhone XS, I’ve do use my phone every day. From finding where I am to the reality of backup camera, my iPhone remains a go-to device for me. I would say if you have an iPhone or an Android phone update that device to the latest supported OS!

Headset update, I had talked about a couple of Polycom headsets. I continue to use the Voyager every day!

Finally, the last review to update is for the QooCam 360 camera.

Let’s talk about the ever-evolving reality of 360-degree cameras. In particular the Qoocam. It is the only one I have seen so far, that is its selfie stick. It also, with their latest update lets you contribute to Google Street View maps. While most people don’t care, or wouldn’t think that was critical, I am attributed by the concept of creating street view maps of places I go often. I am not sure, from a security and home safety perspective that I would map my house. But there are parts of our walk that might be interesting to have more detailed street view maps. I updated my camera to the latest and greatest iOS and Firmware (on the camera). They continue to make it very easy to use 360 camera.

360-degree cameras are interesting. I have played with another one the Wunder 360 as well for the past few weeks. The problem with any of these (Bubl, Wunder 360, Qoocam and others) is always how easy is the software to use. Bubl, today has the most power in their software, but it is the hardest to use. QooCam has done a good job continuing to improve its software (iOS), but unlike Wunder 360, QooCam also has a PC and Mac version of their software. The interesting thing that the Wunder Software is going to offer is the ability to use a 360-degree camera as a 3d scanner. That is an intriguing thing when you consider that the various cameras in this space are beginning to add features and functions that are unique.

Now, I would recommend either the Wunder 360 or the Qoocam as your first 360-degree camera the choice being what you intend to do with the camera after you get it!


my review of the Voyager (polycom) headset!

I have two cellular phones. One is the work provided and is an Android device. The other is my cellular phone. Recently for my work PC and my work phone, I’ve been using the Polycom Voyager. I am a huge fan of over the ears headphones. The Voyager fits that bill quite well. I also like headsets that offer noise canceling (what I hear) and noise-canceling (what people were calling me to hear).  Since I have a softphone (using Jabber), and I am frequently on either WebEx or Zoom meetings, I often use the headset to communicate with people. The Voyager allows for that easily. First off the included USB key allows you to connect Voyager to your PC.

The other part is pairing, via Bluetooth with your computer. That is accomplished by simply turning on the Voyager, and pressing the power on button to the very top of the slide. That puts the headset into pairing mode, You then capture it with your phone or Bluetooth enabled tablet, and away you go! You can listen to music, take calls, and participate in UC and other Voice over IP conversations like Skype. The important thing for me is easy over the ear abilities of the headsets. I prefer that the headset support over the ear. I know, I should like the in the ear headsets more, I do like the other in the ear headset I reviewed, but that is one ear only (the Polycom 5200 UC).

Voyager is nice as it covers both ears. It also has a comfortable covering over the headset earpieces. I like to walk when I am on calls with my cell phone. The thing about headsets is they get a sweat on them. Part A is are they easy to clean (the Voyagers are). The other part is done they at least breathe and allow some airflow so that your ears don’t get sweaty (the voyagers do). The issue of sweaty ears is probably my problem. I like to walk around outside when I am on my cell phone. I don’t like pressing my phone against my head. Having headsets like the Polycom Voyager makes all the difference.

My rating of the Voyager headset is a solid 10 out of 10!


My review of the Polycom 5200 UC headset!

One of the things I struggle with is the reality of over the ear versus in the ear headsets. I have considered many times. I don’t always like the in-the-ear headsets. Although the Voyager 5200 UC fits snugly in my ear and because it wraps around the ear, I don’t feel like it is going to fall out of my ear. I have a VOIP phone (at work) and two cell phones. I have the Voyager connected to my work computer. I know, as someone that has many times talked to someone, that I thought was talking to me, because of hidden earbuds, I suspect that will happen. But the Voyagers fit nicely and free you from your desk.

A call come in, you can quickly switch to the call. Currently, I’ve used the device in the following:

1. Zoom meeting

2. WebEx

3. Jabber Call

It works exceptionally well in all four. Reasonable noise-canceling abilities also. The setup is straightforward, and you don’t have to install software on your computer. Just plug in the paired USB dongle and away you go.  One thing that I haven’t tried yet but is going to happen is talking on the phone when the other phone rings. I have been on my work phone, and when I got a second call, I was quickly able to put the first call on hold and answer the second.

Overall I am very impressed with the Polycom Voyager 5200 UC. It fits in my ear well, and the overall sound quality is very good. If you are in the market for a multipurpose small earbud based voice system, this one is a good addition to your arsenal.

It comes with a great small case for carrying.

Overall my rating for the Polycom Voyager 5200 UC is an 8 of 10.


follow up on Littlebits, and selecting a digital camera (or not)

Follow up on a previous review is the picture today, the Littlebits R2D2 robot. It was fun to put it together. If you are interested in the Littlebits education products, their website is here http://www.littlebitscom.

A friend of mine reached out the day before yesterday. He was trying to figure out which camera to get. We talked through the process I’ve used in the past, to pick a new camera. He said and I quote “why the heck haven’t you published that.” So without further adieu, my camera selection process.

  1. First, you have to figure out, BEFORE, you look at cameras how much you can spend. This is important!
  2. Consider the following:
    1. The type of pictures I take
    2. The number of pictures I take
    3. What I take pictures of
  3. For me this next one is critical – I need a rugged camera
  4. I like to be able to focus manually
  5. I prefer everything to be automatically focused

These five simple rules help you. First of all, with the recent cameras in cell phones, your cell phone can be your camera. It is, however, less convenient for people that are always on the phone. I can take a picture and talk on the phone at the same time with a camera. It can be done as well with my cellphone, but it becomes less convenient.

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have pulled a camera out of my bag. Now, not always sometimes I don’t have a camera with me. Now there are many pictures I only capture with my cellphone. But that got me thinking, and I will add some poll questions to figure out if I am alone in this. I will also ask the question on MyLot.

  1. Are there situations where a camera functions better than a cell phone?
  2. Does holding your cellphone and capturing the image on the screen create more movement in the actual picture?
  3. I have a rugged camera because I can’t afford to drop my phone!
  4. While my iPhone has many cool video features, my Olympus and my Canon have much better quality video.

No set answers here just trying to figure things out!


My Review of the Pico home brewing system

One of the things I need to do is finish the Acoustic tiles in the media room in the basement. It is a project that I started three years ago, and finished half of it.

Today, a review of something not many people will find they need. First, let me explain how it is technology, then the review and on we shall move — the product connects to your home Wifi network. Using their application, you can track the progress of your project. It isn’t a 3d printer. It isn’t a printer. It is a system to make your beer. I’ve talked about doing that, make my beer, for more than 20 years. Like the project mentioned above, it hasn’t well been started until Sunday of this past week.

PicoC is the product I have. I backed the product on Crowdfunding, and now that I have had a chance to use it I am really happy.

  1. The product connects to your wifi- that means that your system updates the web with information about what you brew is doing.
  2. Right now my brew is fermenting.
  3. The system is easy to set up and use!

You log into the PicoBrew site and buy the beer kit you want to make. They call the beer a PicoPack. You the type of beer you like, and then away you go!

Once you get to the Wert stage, you add yeast (and a little sugar). 12-36 hours after that (I am 24 hours since adding the years) The process starts fermentation.

Now the reason it is easy – until you add the yeast to the wert, this is a completely automated process.

The product is called PicoC.

Overall my rating is 10 of 10!