Friday, June 18, 2010

KGW-TV's "The Square" Live @ 7: Bike Tech - 18June2010 (KGW-TV)

(Originally broadcast on KGW-TV's "The Square Live @ 7" on 18 June 2010)

Gyro Bike kids bike wheel:

12”/16” Kids Gyrowheel ($115-155)

Dump the rickety training wheels and teach your kid to ride with the latest in high-tech biking for kids. With three levels of gyro-stabilization, this replacement front wheel helps kids learn balance in safe and staged approach. Available now in 12 and 16 inch versions and powered by rechargeable batteries. or check out their Youtube channel with lots of fun clips at ($115 – 12” wheel, $155 – 16” wheel available soon)

Garmin Cycling GPS:

Garmin Edge 500 Cycling Computer ($250)

Perfect for serious cyclists in the Northwest terrain, a mere 2 hour mini-computer clips on to your handle bar to give instand access to current stats. Quick mount is secure, yet easily removable and when you’re done—link it up to Garmin Connect for a peak at your ride and a map of your route. I’ve seen a few of these reports from my cycling buddies on Facebook, and nothing brags about your 50+ mile bike ride like documentation! (GPS-enabled super cycle computer displays power data from ANT +™-enabled third-party power meters, barometric altitude and vertical profile, tracks speed, distance, calories burned, average and max speeds)

Garmin Forerunner 110 ($25)

Another option for those wanting to track their cycling journeys, especially if they’re also a runner—the Garmin Frontrunner 110 gives access to “just the facts”: distance and speed. But the slim watch-like monitor still has access to the super-cool Garmin Connect website to download, evaluate, and boast your ride, run or athletic activity. Plus, it tells the time!

Garmin Forerunner 310XT ($350)

Combining the best features of the Forerunner 110 and the Edge 500, the Forerunner 310XT does it all—and it’s waterproof. Designed for triathletes, or the Portland weather, the 310XT goes from bike to bracelet in seconds. Giving you access to the essential information via. a wireless ANT+ link to your computer—you’ll have instant access to the hard work you put into your ride in no time. (GPS-enabled personal trainer heart rate-based calorie computation, automatic sync, multisport, high-sensitivity receiver, courses feature, advanced workouts, rechargeable lithium-ion battery)

PrincetonTec Bike Lighting:

EOs Bike ($50)

The EOs BIKE is light enough to throw into your jersey pocket for a late afternoon ride ensuring you’ll have enough light to get home Its use of high-grade materials ensures durability and strong resistance to water/weather and impact Includes helmet and handle bar attachments and headband. Self-contained and rechargeable.

Swerve Tail light ($30)

With two high-powered LEDs, the Swerve creates a 180-degree beam. Flip the switch to go from flash pattern to steady light. The high-tech tail light also mounts on a handle bar, seat pos and includes seat and fork mounts. It also clips on to your pack or messenger bag. ($30)

YUBZ Bluetooth Speakerphone ($150)

A hands-free speakerphone for your bike! 10 hours on 4x AA batteries and an optional bike mount. Listen to tunes while you ride or take a call at a stop sign.

Sanyo eneloop electric-assist bike ($2300)

The SANYO Synergetic Hybrid Bicycle is a next generation bicycle that transports you efficiently with minimal effort. The SANYO Synergetic Hybrid Bicycle features innovative functions such as "loop charging," which charges the battery while riding. "Two-wheel drive" allows for smooth start-up on hills and slopes and ensures a steady, stable ride. For the truly lazy rider, like me! ($2300+)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DirecTV Software Update Causes HD DVR Outage

Earlier this morning the KXL newsroom received a tip from an, understandably, frustrated listener who couldn't get through to DirecTV support... seems the caller's DirecTV HD DVR had locked up and they were unable to change the channel.

Some surfing of the Internet this morning helped me discover the problem was, apparently, a software update overnight blast to the receivers that didn't quite work as planned for some customers.

DirecTV has since responded using their own Twitter account with this simple advice:

HDDVR customers: If your HDDVR will NOT power on, unplug the unit from the wall, wait 15sec, then replug, & repeat 1x to restore service.

(If you have a DirecTV DVR and can verify this worked for you, please comment below.)

Using the above software glitch as a case-study, there are some things you might try before any service call:
  • First off, don't panic. Often you can make matters MUCH worse... we've all torn apart the home entertainment system or ripped apart our computer to discover it was a cable that fell out of the wall, or another simple fix. Take a deep breath, relax, analyze the problem systematically and don't add to your problems.
  • Power cycle everything. Sure, your monitor might appear to be working just fine and your lamp doesn't *appear* to be having troubles, but sometimes it's best to take a few extra seconds to disconnect power (unplug it from the wall socket or power strip completely) from the electronic gizmo causing grief, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in.
  • Check for loose cables.
  • Are others having the same issue? (Ask around your office, check online (do a Twitter search), call a buddy)
  • Gather the necessary information before calling tech support (account numbers, serial numbers, exact description of the problem, what you've tried previously)
  • Be patient. They may walk you through the exact same things you've already tried-- but remember they're trying to help. It will take a few extra minutes, but best to try again and be confident.
  • Disclaimer: The above tips are general suggestions only and not meant to replace your hard-working IT staff and the manufacturer's own recommendations. Actual mileage may vary

And now, just in time for World Cup Soccer, your DVR is back up and running! Right?

For more on this and other tech stories, tune to Newsradio 750 KXL (750 AM in Portland, OR and online at each Friday morning at 6:20am & 8:20am.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Does Sprint's New 4G EVO Work in NA's Tallest Building?

I recently received a pre-release demo of Sprint's new EVO 4G mobile smartphone. I'd heard the device would be the world's first 4G smartphone, operating on faster data networks available in select markets-- but previously only available to mobile broadband cards and routers.

With a freshly-charged EVO in my pocket (I immediately fell in love with the mobile hotspot application piggy-backing my iPad WiFi to use the EVO's faster data connection), I thought I'd bust out of the Northwest and try another Sprint 4G city: Chicago.

Aside from being the ultimate travel companion (often the built-in 4G was faster than the hotel's own WiFi) with it's giant movie-friendly screen, the coverage was much better than I had expected.

Would it work on top of The Sears Willis Tower, 103 stories up and anchoring the Chicao skyline?

In a word: Yup.

Spring 4G EVO at Willis Tower Chicago Skydeck

(In a side note: Ever tried to take a photo of a handset screen, while managing a Digital SLR, in front of a bright window, in North America's tallest building, with a fear of heights? Apologies it's hard to read the screen... but there is, in fact, 4G coverage on the Skydeck... enjoy!)

In other news... I did stand out on THE LEDGE. Those photos will follow at some point.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

KING5's New Day Northwest: Going Handfree Guide 3June2010 (KING-TV)

On June 10, Washington State will start enforcing driving while holding a mobile telephone as a PRIMARY offense. Previously you could be cited, but only if pulled over for another offense (speeding, burnt out tail light, etc.). The new law aims to reduce distracted-driving crashing...

Obviously the BEST solution is to talk when you're done driving... But if you need to stay connected while on the road, there are some technology solutions to make it safer.

Pairing your device via. Bluetooth is actually quite easy... most phones offer on-screen menus, and many manufacturers are offering step-by-step guides to make it simple. Of course your phone carrier's store is a good place to go if you need help (or to try on devices).

Devices are either handsfree headsets or in-car / portable wireless speakerphones. Of course sometimes the simplest solution is the wired headset your phone came with.... nothing to charge!

Some ideas....

(Originally broadcast on KING-TV's "New Day Northwest" with Margaret Larson on 3 June 20100)


Plantronics Discovery 975
  • Minimalist design, one-touch controls
  • Small charging case for triple talk-time
  • Sleek elegant design, great call quality

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC
  • Dual-purpose mobile phone and computer headset
  • Perfect for office / home-office and on-the-go
  • Clear wideband audio for crisp call quality and audio
  • Sturdy over-the-ear attachment

Jabra Go 6430
    Long-range wireless (good for around-the-house use)
  • Useful with mobile phone and computers (video chat, etc.)
  • Switch between a computer and mobile phone easily
  • Comes with travel charger and bluetooth adapter for older computers

Jabra Stone
  • Wraps around your ear, not on your face
  • More comfortable to carry
  • Easy to transport, toss in your bag / purse
  • Designed for right ear-wearing only

Jawbone Icon w/NoiseAssassin
  • Stylish, small headset available in six colors
  • Tank & helicopter technology provides noise-cancelling
  • Talks back to you (recharge me, incoming call, etc.)
  • Fun names such as "The Ace", "The Thinker", "The Bombshell"

Plantronics Explorer 395
  • Latest technology, easy to use with comfortable fit
  • Simple design with volume, power, call answer/end buttons
  • Affordable, solid quality headset for average users

Built-in Vehicle Solutions
  • Most new car vendors now offering Bluetooth speakerphone options
  • Cost varies, can be a few hundred with new cars, thousands to "retrofit"
  • Often has best call-quality- designed with car in mind
  • Integrates with car stereo, speakers, in-dash display
  • Some phones are more / less compatible, check with dealer

BlueAnt S4 Wireless Speakerphone
  • Voice-activated wireless speakerphone (speak "BlueAnt Speak To Me")
  • Clips to visor (no installation costs)
    • Incoming text messages are read using Vlingo SafeReader
    • Bing-optimized (movie times, stock quotes, weather, and more)

    Scochse: solCHAT Solar Speakerphone
    • Announces calls as they come in for hands-free driving
    • Features a simple three button design and automatic, user-friendly cell phone pairing
    • Comes with a USB charging cable and car adapter charging at night and on SEATTLE days
    • Includes a windshield suction cup mount and sun visor clip for easy operation and solar charging

    If you have questions, or need more information... hit me up on Twitter: @BMW or send me an email (listed above).

    Thanks for watching!