Dec 27, 2016
0
As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash. The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues. The Sound DSC01138An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves. Bluetooth Connectivity Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device. Comfort and Design DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash. Gestures/Controls A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem. Other Features DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours. Conclusion So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

Where Are The Best Theaters in The World?

If I asked you where you thought the best movie theaters in the world are you’d probably think Japan or somewhere in North America unless you thought South Korea in which case you’d be correct. In South Korea they have movie theaters that are on another level. Why? I don’t know but they look awesome. Here in Austin we got Alamo Drafthouse which is considered to be one of the best movie theater experiences in the world which I can attest to but I’d love to try one of the Korean movie theaters. I’ve been to many theaters across the United States but never to one that has everything in one place. Theaters will either have a huge screen, reclining seats, or a server whom you can order food from throughout the movie. Check out the Korean Theater video below!

The Jungle Book Movie Review, A Visual Spectacle

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is now out in theaters and if you’ve been on the fence about watching it, I reccomend you buy a ticket and just watch it. I also reccomend not watching any of the clips that have been uploaded throughout the internet since you will enjoy the scenes more in the theater. Most of you are probably familiar with The Jungle Book thanks to the books or the 1967 animated movie by Disney.

 

 

It goes without saying that this movie looks amazing, it’s the most amazing use of CGI that I have seen to date. Everything looks like it was actually shot in a jungle and some animals are so well done that they just look like the real thing. There are a few things in the movie that are different from the animated movie which I find to be a good thing. There are only two songs in the movie and they aren’t even full songs. One is just Mowgli and Baloo kind of singing while the other does have some more instrumentals and a Disney song vibe but neither take you out of the movie. The songs did a great job of paying homage to the originals and provided some relief from the tension throughout the movie.

 

 

If you are unfamiliar with “The Jungle Book” then here is Disney’s description of the movie:

Directed by Jon Favreau, based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat.

That is all you need to know going into this movie, if you know more then you will still enjoy the movie. The main animals in the movie are voice by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken. I enjoyed all of the voice acting in the movie with the exception of Scarlett Johansson who does the voice of Kaa (the python), the problem is that her voice doesn’t blend into the tone of the scene. Kaa has always been voiced by a man and Kaa’s scene would have been much better if Johansson’s voice had been tweaked or if a guy would have voiced it. My parents, who aren’t good at recognizing voices, immediately noticed that it was Johansson’s voice which I don’t see as a good thing. Even Christopher Walken had a slightly different voice which gave King Louie a personality.

The movie is pretty much an animated movie but it’s so well done that at no moment did I say “that’s clearly a prop and that’s clearly a green screen”. Below is a video that will give you an idea of what went into creating “The Jungle Book” but I suggest you watch the movie before watching the video as it might ruin the effect of it all.

 

 

It would take 30-40 hours per frame, and since it’s stereo [or 3D], it requires two frames to produce one frame of the movie — at 2K, not even 4K,” Legato said. “So you can tell how much the computer has to figure out, exactly what it’s doing, how it’s bouncing, how much of the light is absorbed, because when it hits an object, some gets absorbed and some gets reflected.

I think they started using the Google cloud, which has tens of thousands of computers, and sometimes it would take two or three days to render a shot, he said, exasperated at the mere thought of the process. As powerful as the computers were, they ultimately were just taking cues from the human innovators who spent years on the film. via/Inverse

 

 

There is only one living thing in this movie and that’s Mowgli played by Neel Sethi (10 yrs old) who is new to acting. Sethi is able to hold this whole movie together with great acting especially when you take into account that he is just talking to puppets or people dressed in green leotards. In the end, this movie is visually breathtaking and is 100% worth watching in theaters. The story is solid, effects are flawless, and it’s shot wonderfully. As a rating I give The Jungle Book an 85 out of 100 which is 5 points less than I gave Disney’s Zootopia. Basically “The Jungle Book” is a great movie but not one I would buy on Blu-Ray since I wouldn’t enjoy it as much on the second viewing.

Captain America: Civil War Official Trailer Teases Black Panther

The official trailer for Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War has finally been released. The movie is set to release on May 6th of next year and will, of course, focus around a Civil War between our favorite super heroes. The trailer features Captain America, Falcon, Bucky, Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlett Witch, and Black Panther(at 1:51). Check out the trailer below…

 

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia with some more details on the movie:

Captain America: Civil War is an upcoming American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Daniel Brühl, and William Hurt. In Captain America: Civil War, Captain America and the Avengers continue to protect the world, but the team becomes divided after extensive collateral damage prompts politicians to pass an act regulating superhuman activity.

Source: JimmyKimmelLive (YouTube)

Nike Has Finally Revealed Sneakers with Powered Laces!

It’s been nearly four years since Nike released the Air Mag which had no powered laces and were sold at auction for charity. As you probably know, today is the day that Marty McFly goes back to the future and puts on the sneakers in Back to the Future II.

 

The new Nike Air Mags look just like the shoes released in 2011 but not have a hidden mechanism that will tighten the laces once you insert your feet. The shoes will also have an option to do this manually just in case the battery dies out. Unfortunately the shoes don’t tighten themselves as smoothly nor as quickly as they do in the movie but it’s a step in the right direction.

 

 

These shoes will also be sold at auction in Spring 2016 and all proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease. We still don’t know how much they might cost but odds are that they will go from anywhere around $5,000 to $15,000 or even higher. The original auction raised $4.7 Million towards parkinson’s research and this should be no different. Hopefully this sparks more interest in the shoes and leads Nike to release a full consumer version of that shoe or just a shoe with powered laces.

Source: Nike, MichaelJFoxOrg

Official Trailer for the Upcoming Steve Jobs Movie Released [Video]

The first offficial trailer of the upcoming Steve Jobs movie written by Aaron Sorkin has been released. If you’ve read Walter Isaacson’s book then you’ll definitely notice that the movie is keeping to actual events in Steve Jobs life.

Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

Steve Jobs is directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle and written by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, working from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of the Apple founder. The producers are Mark Gordon, Guymon Casady of Film 360, Scott Rudin and Academy Award winner Christian Colson.

Michael Fassbender plays Steve Jobs, the pioneering founder of Apple, with Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet starring as Joanna Hoffman, former marketing chief of Macintosh. Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple, is played by Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels stars as former Apple CEO John Sculley. The film also stars Katherine Waterston as Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ ex-girlfriend, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original members of the Apple Macintosh development team.

Source: YouTube

MoviePass Locks You Onto a One-Year Contract, Charges Termination Fee and More – Too Good To Be True?

The other day we wrote about MoviePass, a subscription based model for moviegoers, which I was very excited for. The monthly price varies depending on the city you live in. Today, I signed up and was charged $30 which is a fair amount depending how many times a month you go to the movies. I signed up for the service to try it out and provide some feedback, one thing I didn’t notice is that they lock you onto a one-year contract. There is no option for paying month to month you get charged $20 if you decide to cancel before the year is up as it is mentioned in their terms of condition.

After the 30 day trial period, the user will be charged a $20 cancellation fee to terminate their account, provided that the cancellation does not fall under ‘legitimate grounds.’

But wait there’s more! If you pay $30 for signing up, watch $50 worth of movies that month, and decide to cancel the service that same month then you will be charged the $20 termination plus another $20 for going over what your subscription service covers. A representative put it this way…

The fee is $20.00 PLUS anything over what your subscription covers. In other words, if you have seen $120 worth of movies, but have only paid $50.00 so far in subscription fees, you would owe us 20.00+70.00.

And their terms and conditions put it this way…

 In addition, if the full cost paid by MoviePass of any tickets redeemed during the length of subscription exceeds the total subscription fees paid thus far, the user will be responsible for the difference. If the full cost paid by MoviePass of any tickets redeemed during the length of subscription is less than the total subscription fees paid thus far, than the user is only responsible for the $20 cancellation fee, and will not be refunded the difference.

I had high hopes for the service and while I will be using for the first month, I will not be continuing after. The service is pretty much rendered useless and isn’t what it really should be. They should really let people know before signing up because I can see this causing many people problems, especially in todays society in which most people do not read terms and conditions. This reassures us that from time to time it is good to read them to see what you are getting into.

 

Source: MoviePass

Next Event – SXSW 2017

Search

p98

Minimal Wares

(Sponsor)

Recent Posts

Stay in The Loop!