Friday, January 15, 2021

This Covid masks plays music and takes calls

Two things that don’t play well together in this pandemic world are Covid masks and earbud headphones. 

Adjust your mask and your buds might go sailing our of your ear. Trust me, I’ve been there.

That why the MaskFone caught my eye. It’s among the new gadgets that made its debut at the all-online CES trade show this month.

It’s a stylish black mask that has a built-in microphone and lightweight Bluetooth earbuds.  

The washable mask has a slot for replaceable PM 2.5 filters. The earbuds 12 hour battery life with function controls built into the front of the mask. The buds are IPX5 water and sweat resistant.

MaskFone costs $49.95 and is available on the MaskFone website.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

EIG PRO unspools high-end cabling projects

My cell phone, tablet and laptop computer bring me email, text messages, news reports, stock prices, and a stead stream of photos of my darling grandchildren. And they all arrive without wires or cables.

But be assured, there are plenty of wires and cables involved in producing the magic of the Internet. They just tend to congregate out of sight, under the floor or above the ceiling tiles in commercial buildings and education centers and in nondescript rooms packed with sophisticated switching equipment. 

Getting Internet service to my home is a relatively simple process. I just needed one small wire run from a utility pole to a junction box mounted on the side of the house. 

But wiring a business office or an educational institution requires a miles of cables and a cadre of highly-trained installers and technicians. 

People like those at EIG PRO.

EIG - Elusive Integrators Group - is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area where it specializes in a wide range of audio-visual integration projects and high-end cabling work. 

The company doesn’t lay down the thousands of miles of underwater cables that connect the US to the rest of the world, but it knows how to bring data from those cables to an office building, hospital, research lab or college campus.  


As the EIG people like to put it: 

Data cabling makes the world run

EIG projects include cable structure planning and installation, data network troubleshooting, fiber installations and WiFi and cloud integrations.

Some of the EIG projects featured on the company’s website include executive boardrooms with individual data terminals; audiovisual displays in a football locker room; indoor and outdoor audiovisual and device controls for luxury apartment complexes; and business conferencing “Zoom Rooms.”

For a closer look at EIG PRO, check out the video below and find the company on Facebook and Instagram and @eig_pro on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Plug-in lets Google Forms collect payments

It's the season for giving and sharing and that means my email inbox is stuffed with requests from various worth causes asking me to make a donation or purchase some of their merchandise. 

As I click through to their websites, I'm often surprised to see how many organizations could be making it easier for me to give them money. They could cut out unnecessary clicks by building their payment platform using Google Forms and a new plug-in from the developers at Payable.  

The Payable add-on delivers easy online commerce tools to any website. For example. author Flora Isom-Marion uses the Payable form to sell her latest book. The form collects customer information and lets them choose either a e-book or physical book and lets them pay with a credit card or with PayPal. 

Other organizations are using Payable forms to take registrations for events such as a game, musical performance or sports clinic.

The Payable add-on uses themes and colors from the user's Google Form. Users can incorporate a variety of elements into their payment form including taxes, shipping information, handling fees or upgrades.     

In addition to PayPal, the developers say they plan to integrate other digital payment options like Venmo, CashApp, Zelle and even Bitcoin.

To get a closer look at all the options, visit the Payable website

Friday, December 4, 2020

New app will show you've had a COVID shot

Vaccines to protect us against COVID-19 are expected to arrive in a matter of weeks and before long, we'll all be lining up to get one. 

But amid that good news, there are still some unanswered questions about how we will function in a vaccinated society. Tiara Lyons had some of those questions after she gave birth during the pandemic and as she prepared to search for a babysitter. Ideally, the sitter would be someone who had been vaccinated. 

"I felt it was too risky for me to simply take the babysitter’s word they were vaccinated, yet also felt it was too invasive to ask a stranger for medical records," she said.

That's when she got the inspiration to create an app that would allow people to share proof of their vaccination certification. Today, Lyons is the founder and CEO of Vaccertify, a Seattle-based start-up that has created a prototype app that is also called Vaccertify. 

Once vaccinations are available, users can create a digital certification by uploading their vaccination record, a government-issued identification document and a selfie photo. Vaccertify then creates a ID screen that includes a scannable QR code linked to a profile in the Vaccertify database. The system also uses a private PIN that must be entered in order to view the certificate.

Like Lyons' babysitter concerns, Vaccertify is designed to be used in social or business interactions. 
For example, a homeowner might want proof that service providers are vaccinated before allowing them access to their home. A party host might want only vaccinated guests at an event. Visitors to a group home could be screened using Vaccertify. And certification could soon become a connection point for online dating.

The cost to use Vaccertify is $49.99 with the certificate posted in seven days. Users can pay more for faster processing.

For a closer look at the service and to find out when it will be available, visit the Vaccertify website and follow @Vaccertify on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ensellify has market data for eBay sellers

For more than 20 years, I've been selling things on eBay with a sales approach that could best be described as "winging it." If I had something to move - maybe a used phone or some other tech gear - I wrote it up a posted it. 

Then one of my customers told me I should time auctions to end on weekends because that's when potential buyers are more likely to be browsing for bargains. 

Now I've found Ensellify, an eBay-focused market research tool. It offers more tips and data to help sellers their approach and treat their eBay store more like the business that it is. 

For example, Ensellify helps eBay sellers identify popular products and discover opportunities in markets where demand is high but supply is low. Listings for watches, it seems, get more traction  in period just before Valentine's Day. 

The service also assists sellers with competitor research in a specific product niche. It provides data on product pricing and it suggest keywords to use in a listing title to help boost a listing's visibility. 

Ensellify is a subscription service with pricing that ranges from $15 for one month to $70 for six months. 

To get a closer look at the service, visit the Ensellify website.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Face maker tricks out Android watches

I have two adult children who both thumb their noses at Apple products in general and the Apple Watch in particular. They are all in with Android phones and Android watches.

One big reason why they favor Android is Andros give them much more control over their devices than the other guys. They especially like to personalize their watch faces.

That’s why I told them about Live The Times. It’s a development house that offers more than 30 faces for watches that run Wear OS. And a lot of them are pretty slick.

The Courser face caught my attention. It offers multiple complications such as moving bezels and an analog and digital stopwatch. , and custom complications. The bezels rotate and work with the analog hands to add functionality. 

The Executive Gold Earth shows some serious style and the Cyber Red Tech tells time down to the second, for someone who wants to make every second on this planet count.

The most popular face in the collection is the Flames watch face. It has a detailed fire animation and complications such as weather updates and heart rate sensor support.

Live The Times faces support a variety of Android watches including models mad by LG, Asus and Fossil along with fashion brands such as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade and Emporio Armani. To see the full collection, visit the Live The Times website and companion store on Google Play

Monday, October 5, 2020

Eco village practices sustainability

We’ve all heard talk about creating communities built on the principles of environmental management, renewable energy and a reduced ecological footprint. But I’ve run across an organization called Eco Futures that plans to be put that eco-friendly philosophy to work.

The group's goal is to create "eco-village" on a track of land near Strathaven, Scotland. Like a similar village that is growing near Findhorn, Scotland, the new residents of the new community will share a common goal of becoming “socially, culturally, economically and ecologically sustainable.” 

The town will have the things you would look for in a modern agrarian village: bountiful gardens, orchards, organic food production and a bee-keeping operation.

But planners say it will also use a newer generation of renewable  technology to create a sustainable village for the future. 

Eco Futures says it intends to use intends to use SUDS ponds to collect rainwater, solar, wind and hydro power to generate electricity for its residents and underground heat sources to generate heat from the earth.

Small wastewater treatment plants will use “living machines,” tanks that contain bacteria, algae, micro-organisms, snails, fish and other living creatures to treat the water.

More information about Eco Futures and its Eco Village can be found on FacebookLinkedIn and MeetUp.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

CloudCat helps gamers build to win

If you're a gamer, CloudCat says “We understand what you are struggling with.” 

You love playing mobile strategy games like Clash of Clans or AFK Arena. But you don’t have time to do all the grinding background work like farming, building or adding to your meager stockpile of gold. 

It's a dilemma that CloudCat calls the vicious P2W cycle: 

Only way to win is to cough up your hard-earned cash. You need tons of gold and elixir just no way of getting it. So if you want to build up your village quickly you need to pay for resources, and that sure ain't cheap.

You may be a player who wants to get to the good stuff quickly but your life requires that you devote time to other things, like maybe work, studying or sleeping.

That's where CloudCat wants to help. It's a mobile game helper service that takes over much of the grunt work that online multiplayer games often require. Think of it as a robot that will plow your simulated farm fields while you're asleep.

The service is completely cloud-based, so there's nothing to install or configure on your gaming device. CloudCat is designed to be used on any device that has a browser - a mobile phone, a tablet or a desktop computer.

Cloud Cat currently supports Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and AFK Arena. The company says it plans to support more games and it invites players to make suggestions through CloudCat's social media accounts.

To get a closer look at the service, visit the CloudCat website where you can watch an introductory video. CloudCat is also on Facebook.    

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