Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple's iPhone 5: Launch Day Recap

It was a late night / early morning for those needing to have the latest in a series of Apple iPhones. Today's launch of the iPhone 5 marked the sixth time fans have lined up to own the latest smartphone. And those willing to camp out overnight, and in many cases MUCH longer, did not disappoint. As I've done in the past, I checked out the line for news partners FM News 101 (KXL-FM, Portland) and KGW Newschannel 8 (NBC, Portland). Here's a collection of reports from the (long!) morning: LIVE with Portland's Morning News on FM News 101 KXL: 8:19am. Listen to my reports weekly on FM News 101 KXL. I'll have more on the story tonight at 7pm with Live at 7 with Stephanie Stricklen on KGW-TV.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GOOGLE I/O: Dramatic skydiving entrance with Google Glass & Hangouts 'On-Air'

Google sure knows how to make an entrance...

Today at the Google I/O conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center, the Project Glass team demonstrated a Hangout On-Air using Google Glass. Watch the video.

Also, we now know preliminary availability-- $1500, in 2013, but pre-orders are ONLY being taken by those at the developer conference happening this week in SF.

KING-TV's New Day Northwest w/Margaret Larson: Summer Travel Tech - 27 June 2012 (KING-TV)

If you're like me, summer (or what we in the Northwest like to jokingly refer to as "the second weekend in August") is a time for travel-- and keeping you organized, and connected, while away from the home is what these gadgets do best.

Jumping back on KING 5's New Day Northwest with Margaret Larson, I shared some of my favorite finds for Summer Travel Tech 2012.

To get you there, or around while at your vacation destination, the portable Greenzone folding bike fits in a trunk, suitcase, or stashed away in your RV. Taking up very little room, the bike still retains all the features of a bulky full-size pedeler. Shimano components and a sturdy, yet easy-to-collapse, construction mean you'll be whizzing around the campground and out exploring in very little time. They start at $200 for the "Value" model and each bike comes with a handy carrying bag (helpful to keep your car's carpeting clean from grime and dirt the bike picks up during your adventure). Get yours at or ask at your favorite local bike shop.

Seattle company Brenthaven makes a line of urban-friendly bike and messenger bags for bicyclists and travelers alike. Among the more fashionable is the Kona backpack with plenty of storage, great weight distribution and a rugged construction. The Kona Project 2 Courier Bags are stylish and functional, perfect for your laptop, and start at $150.

The entertaining behaviour-changing Striiv caught my attention as the perfect on-the-go fitness device. More than a pedometer, the digital coach helps motivate activity through game play, challenges with your friends, and real-time performance monitoring. Compete with your friends and raise money for charity (through Striiv's corporate donors!) just by staying active! The Striiv gizmo is $100 and the energy you'll gain by staying active is priceless. [We gave two Striivs away to audience members on the show-- all the more reason to come down to the studio and join us!]

Want to watch movies in your hotel room? backseat of the car? Perhaps on an airline tray-table? Brookstone makes a case for your iPhone 4 that turns the phone into a portable projector! Complete with battery-boosting, the case slips over your iPhone 4 and lets you play movies, slideshows, and more to any surface. While the case works best in lower-light (look for even brighter models in the future), I didn't find the image quality to be at all disappointing. Brookstone's got it for $229 online.

PivotHead puts a FULL HD camera right into your sunglasses. Stay active, record video, capture images and keep your hands free. Simple one-button recording takes full sweeping 1080p video with glasses that are discreet without a lot of extra bulk. Watch the clip above for sample footage. to pick your frames and lens colors/style.

Liquipel in-action: My iPhone 4 gets wet!

If you asked me what one gadget I couldn't live without, I'd tell you my phone. (Camera being a close second.) Imagine my fright at the concept of being without my phone for two days so a company called Liquipel could treat it with a special process that would make my phone completely watersafe?! Today on the show, I dunked my PERSONAL iPhone 4 into a bath of water. And despite being extremely nervous-- the phone survived!! Sending in your phone takes a few days, but having your phone work after falling into the toilet thereafter? Dropping into the pool? Splashing into a puddle? I was amazed when I heard about the technology-- and now that I've tried it? In a word: Impressed. Watch the clip above to see my reaction the very first time my phone got wet. Liquipel has won awards for this technology, and like the water wisking away from the components of my iPhone-- so did my own nerves. Revolutionary technology. Treat your phone at starting at $59.

Keep all your gadgets organized on the road with the Targus Demolition Backpack. Mine's black, and has pockets for phones, tables, laptop, and all the charging cables/accessories that go along with the high-tech traveler. Targus has been making travel gear for years, and you can really tell between the comfortable wear and the durable construction. Check out the entire line at

What travel tech can you not live without? Ready to get your most prized gadget... WET? Let me know what you take with you on the road and as always, find me online:


Monday, February 6, 2012

TECH TIP: How to Spot Fraudulent Email With Bogus Links

A listener forwarded me an email that appeared to be from LinkedIn notifying them of a "new message".

What concerned this gentleman, and quite wisely, was that he didn't know a "Catherine Patterson". While only one of many clues, it was enough to raise the caution flag and seek assistance. Fortunately he asked questions before clicking the links.

I shared the following; perhaps it will be of value to you as well:

You can check the validity of links in Outlook emails by holding your mouse over the link URL. If the URL shown in the mouse-over does not match EXACTLY the URL you’d expect (i.e. -> or at least you can bet this is bogus. In the example you forwarded, the URL *displayed* is but the email code would send you to some crazy amrpartners dot com dot br URL.

While it’s POSSIBLE this is an email re-direct from their email provider, the “.br” domain, among other clues (i.e. you don’t know Catherine Pat makes me confident it’s fraudulent. You can always log in to separately to see if Catherine HAS in fact sent you a message.

Short version: If the mouse-over URL does not equal the displayed URL (and the domain of the site you’ve heard of), simply press delete.

More information on this topic from anti-virus maker Trend-Micro.

What clever tricks have you seen from spammers? If you have a tech question, feel free to reach out: techexpert AT brianwestbrook DOT com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Washington State Broadband Office 2011 Report

Did you know? The "Washington State Broadband Office of the Washington State Department of Commerce" is an actual, it seems, entity? They sent me a press release with information on the use and availability of broadband in the State.

Among the findings: "3.88 percent of all Washington households do not have access to broadband" (that number, the report states, is an improvement from 2010).

The press release follows, and more information is available at:

Washington State Broadband Office Releases
2011 Annual Broadband Report
Access improves, private investment increases

Olympia, WA – The Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) of the Department of Commerce released its second annual comprehensive report today on broadband access, availability and use in Washington State.
Highlights of the report include:
• Just over 44 percent of all Washingtonians have a choice of four wireline providers.
• Gaps still exist: 3.88 percent of all Washington households do not have access to broadband – down from 4.3 percent in 2010.
• Grantees began work on more than $200M of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act broadband infrastructure projects.
During 2011, private investment in broadband increased dramatically, particularly among wireless providers which are expanding their 4G service areas. In the state’s most populated areas wireless speeds jumped from 10 mega bits per second (mbps) to 25 mbps.
The report also outlines the goals of WSBO during 2012 and is available online at: . In addition to the report, updated maps that include broadband availability, upload/download speeds and feedback options are available under the mapping tab at the WSBO website: