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Text-to-Speech (TTS) on Kindle Fire!

February 22, 2012

Text-to-speech (TTS) for the Kindle Fire is a long sought after feature. Having TTS on your Kindle Fire enables you to listen to your e-books using text-to-speech without having to buy expensive audiobooks. Some people may be vision impaired and want TTS to supplement or replace their manual reading of the text. Sure TTS isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

Now if only the Kindle Fire supported TTS like other versions of the Kindle, then life would be grand.

Winter Wake-up App Wakes You Up Earlier If It Snows

December 29, 2011

Yesterday, I reviewed Zeo Sleep Manager and now today I came across another interesting sleep app created by Boondoggle called "Winter Wake-up", which wakes you up early if it snows giving you time to shovel the snow off your car, de-ice it, and make the slower commute to work due to road conditions. Now you won't have to tell your boss, "Sorry I'm late. I didn't know it was going to snow".

Winter Wake-Up is a smartphone alarm app automatically checks the weather and wakes you up earlier if it snows. You set the number of minutes to be woken earlier for "frost" (a little dusting) and the number of minutes to be woken up earlier if it snows.

Zeo Sleep Manager Review

December 28, 2011


Just about everyone claims at one time or another they don't get enough sleep. Spouses can even argue over who got the least amount of sleep and claim immunity from doing a household chore or offload the task to their spouse due to a lack of sleep. Well, now you can prove you had a bad night sleeping using the Zeo Sleep Manager, which uses a headband to record REM sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and awake times and gives you a ZQ score. Then you can say to your spouse, "See!

iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad Review

November 29, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a cool new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. I wrote about them earlier this month and asked for a review unit to check out, which they promptly sent to me. Here's a photo of the iMainGo XP sitting on a stand on my desk:


As I mentioned in my previous article, "I'd be curious how this product sounds with VoIP applications, such as Skype. With the iPad's decent hardware echo cancellation and many VoIP softphone clients sporting software-based echo cancellation, it might be nice to have beefy speakers with lots of bass and HD audio support to carry the full tonal quality of the remote speaker."

Unfortunately, once you connect the headset jack into the iMainGo XP, the iPad's built-in microphone is disabled and the iMainGoXP doesn't have an embedded microphone.





iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad

November 7, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. It works on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. It sports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it doesn't suck the power from the iPad and delivers at least six hours of playtime between charges. What's nice is that you can play audio and view your iPad without removing it form your protective iMainGo case.

LOREX Live Connect Wireless Skype Home Surveillance Review

October 25, 2011

The LOREX Technology Live Connect LW2031 Series is a cool Skype-powered home surveillance system sporting night vision (via IR LEDs) and full color H.264 video. It can be used both for home surveillance, but also as a baby monitor due to its night vision and its portable handheld monitor sporting a color 2.4" LCD. It seemed like an interesting Skype product so I had LOREX send me a LW2031 to review.



Installation
Installing this was pretty straightforward. Two of the three devices - camera & handheld monitor use mini-USB power adapters, which are included.




Rebtel Mobile VoIP app hops between 3G and WiFi/data Networks

October 14, 2011

Rebtel just launched version 2.0 of its free iPhone app, which allows users to make and receive free international calls using WiFi, 3G, or local minutes. TechCrunch discusses Rebtels's "new proprietary technology called “KeepTalking”, which allows users to transition (mid-call, mind you) from WiFi/3G to local minutes." VentureBeat also writes about them with this headline: "Rebtel’s Voice-over-IP app hops between data/voice networks, a first". Actually, they're not the first. Back in 2010 at ITEXPO Counterpath's Todd Carothers demo'ed switching a 3G voice call automatically to WiFi and a VoIP call to the cellular network.

Andrea SuperBeam Buds Headset review

October 11, 2011

We all have come to love our stereo headsets featuring separate audio channels for both the left and right ear, but what about dual or stereo microphones? If stereo speakers makes 'sounds' better for you, why can't stereo microphones make 'sounds' better for the remote party on Skype or a 3rd party called via your mobile phone?

Well, Andrea believe their SuperBeam Buds answers that question. Featuring a unique boom-less design, each of the two earbuds has a microphone built-in enabling true binaural surround sound recordings. These two mics (one at each ear) leverage Andrea's patented Adaptive Beam Forming to cancel unwanted background noise without the need for a clunky boom mic stretching across your cheek to your lips.

The SuperBeam buds also somes with a HD USB-based sound card, which bypasses a computer's lower-grade sound card for better fidelity and gain.



Toshiba Thrive 7 Tablet Impresses

September 28, 2011



Toshiba today announced the Thrive 7, little brother to their big brother the Thrive 10. Both Thrive models are based on Android and the original Thrive 10 has had some modest success, but the 10" tablet space is a bit more crowded. So it's a smart move for Toshiba to go a bit smaller with the Thrive 7. The Thrive 7 sports Toshiba's AutoBrite™ LED Backlit Display and interestingly has the same 1280x800 screen resolution as the Thrive 10.

$25 Computer Runs Linux on USB stick - Asterisk on a Stick?

May 6, 2011


Imagine being able to carry a PC on your keychain, well imagine no more! David Braben a game developer invented a skeletal computer on a USB stick that runs Linux (Ubuntu), and gets you connected to the Internet. This tiny USB stick PC sports a HDMI port on one end and a USB port on the other.  It comes equipped with a decent 700 MHz ARM 11 processor, 128 MB of RAM, a USB port, support 1080p video and the ability to add a webcam or WiFi module.
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