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FitBit

When I started this blog I wanted to do something fun. I somehow lost interest over time and I sure that happens to everyone. But I want to do something that I can maintain. I like new gadgets and love testing them. I doubt I ever get picked to be a real reviewer or get those free items to review them but that should not stop me.simple.b-dis-png.h4621896b75431a4c9499334fb64c3247.pack

I found a new gadget I really like… No a group of object. So I am making a new run at keeping this blog going. I am not just going to review the product but my progress using it. So I purchased a FitBit Flex and FitBit WiFi scale.

First I wan to talk about the FitBit Flex activity band. I found it easy to use. It comes with a USB charger, 2 bands and the USB wireless dongle. You simply chard the device, install the sync software and then create your online profile. The flex is easy to use because you jus put it on and you are ready to go. Tap it twice to get your current status. Tap it quickly for about 2 seconds to put it in and out of sleep mode. You can at any time sync it to your PC/MAC using the wireless sync adapter or your smart phone.

The software sends your info to the online profile you create and give you the current stats. It tracks these daily so you can see where you are. It tracks your steps, distance and sleep. I have to say it is not always accurate just typing this I am most likely getting some steps in according to my flex but I think overall it will motivate the user to get up and move. It should also be noted that you can get different color bands for your flex.simple.b-dis-png.h90165c3211e4edcba5f3ffc6f98427ad.pack

The FitBit scale is the second gadget. It links through your WiFi Network and transmits your weight and body fat to your online profile. It will allow up to 8 different users. The operation is simple and is a great addition to your flex band. The scale is sleek and clean looking in black or white.

The online profile allows you to add friends and share info with them. You can share the number of steps, sleep, weight ect. The system has a dashboard that you can customize with different

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tiles. You set goals and you are awarded badges for meeting and exceeding your goals. In addition to the dashboard you have a log for food, sleep, activities, blood pressure, glucose levels and journal entries. This allows you to track your entire fitness goals in one simple program.

One thing many people want is a support system or a buddy to workout with. This is like a social media app and allows you to invite friends. You can congratulate your friends when the get badges or taunt them as you beat their goals. It creates a completive buddy system online or support system depending on how you use it. There are also groups you can join on this site so there are a lot of support systems in place to help you be more successful in your goals. The software is very user friendly overall.

So….no I am not a fitness person. In fact I have been told by my doc to loose weight, exercise and eat better. As a diabetic I struggle with this so I bought this to help me. So far in the month I have had this device I’ve kept on track. In fact I have gotten several badges for exceeding my goals. So this device is helping me a lot. I have decided to share some results this next year to help me keep going and may to get me to use my blog a bit more. So if you get a fitbit friend me and help me do better!

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DXG-5F9VK HD 1080p 3D Camcorder

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A 3D camcorder for under $200 US, are you kidding? Yes this is a sub $200 3D camcorder. I first saw this when I was looking for a pro model camcorder to do stock videos with. I dismissed it as I really needed a camera with a high quality lens and sound recording ability. Later I decided to revisit the possibility of 3D video just for fun. The price was right so knowing it was just a fun toy I took a chance on it.

The camera is light weight and I’m sure for most this will be a good thing. I like my cameras to be a bit heavier as the weight helps to steady the camera. The controls are simple as is the menu. It stores video on SD media, I used a class 10 16gig scandisk for my testing. It has an almost instant on. Just flip the lens then open the view screen. The view screen is in 3D, no need for 3D glasses. The only issue is when the lens is open you can’t tilt the screen too much.

The camera has really good image quality. It may be a bit awkward at first because of the stereo lens but that isn’t too bad. Video is sharp and crisp with very nice color and contrast. I was shocked to see what this camera could do. The only real issue I had was a choppy zoom. I really wish the zoom was smooth but for the price and the image quality I can deal with the slightly jerky zoom.

The microphone is stereo and located in the front part of the monitor door. This does well as long as the sound that is right in front of the user. If there was one thing that would really make this camera sell better that would be the addition of an external microphone, but they did not add the plug. Since I did buy this camera to just play around, for me that missing feature was not a big deal.

So here are the pros
· Good image quality
· Light Weight
· Simple Operation
· Live 3D viewer
· Good Color

Here are the Cons
· Choppy Zoom
· No external Microphone jack
· Limited viewer tilt
· Average to poor images in low light

Conclusion – If you want a fun little camera to create 3D video with this is the camera for you. It has a low price and great image quality. I really enjoy using this camera. If you need features like an external microphone and smooth zooming then you may want to look at some other cameras. Again I would recommend this to users who want a fun camera or those who want to dabble in 3D. It would be hard to beat the quality at the price of this camera.

Review – Nikon AW100 water-proof sports camera

A while back I wrote about the GoPro camera. I have used my GoPro for many things and intended to use it for some underwater shots while on vacation. After reading reviews I found it was limited on quality underwater. Further research lead me to the Nikon Coolpix AW100. Water proof up to 33ft and shock proof up to 5 feet. This camera was made for mild sports action yet still remains stylish.

The camera looks like a simple point and shoot. Many of the features you would find on most with a couple differences. First the button for the shutter and video are separate. Each has a unique texture so you can feel what is what. Next the batter and memory card door had a rubber seal but also uses a double lock to be more secure from accidental opening. Next the camera has a built in GPS allowing you to GEO tag your images or use it as a functional ground GPS. Finally you will find a underwater setting in the presets for diving.

Dolphin Flight - Discovery Cove, Orlando FL

Going through the presets and doing some tests I found the “simple” mode to be annoying. I switch it over to “auto” for playing. During vacation I used several presets like “underwater”, “Beach” and “Night Portrait”. These are easy to change using the scene mode button on the back of the camera. All in all I found the scenes to be quite adequate for most of my images. Remember this is a point and shoot. The zoom range work well for most situations. The one drawback was the speed between shots. The manual boasts 2.5 frames per second but even with my extreme 30MB/s SD card I could not get shots that quickly.

The image quality during daylight was above average to outstanding in the point and shoot category. I think the color and contrast in the daylight images were spot on. I also could not see any real issues with noise in these images. I was a little disappointed in the night images. They seemed to have a lot of noise and took time to fix in photoshop. I would say a 5X7 would be the largest you could get a usable print from using night settings. Overall for a point and shoot the camera performance was above average. ** note I tested the zoom lens but did not use the digital zoom feature.

Video was also handled very well with this little camera. It takes 1080p HD video with great color and contrast. I also took several night videos and amazingly the quality of night video was much better than the photos. I was able to snorkel taking video and stills again with great results. The camera was easy to manage underwater. I did notice one difference here that should be noted. Using the underwater mode the still images look nice, corrected color but to me look a bit dull. The video looks great, especially compared to the GoPro but the color looks off a bit. I have included a video shot entirely using the AW100. (stills and video use the Coolpix AW100, Edited in Final Cut X Pro)

My overall opinion of the Nikon AW100: If you need a camera that can take some light abuse and for all weather situations I would recommend you check this camera out. The image and video quality are excellent in most situations. The controls are simple to use and it has safety locks keeping the camera weather tight. The drawbacks are minimal unless you plan to do lots of low-light images. For under $300 (USD) this camera is well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!

Service and Support a thing of the past….

Customer service is becoming a thing of the past. In today’s market many companies claim to provide great customer service but the cold hard fact is money is more important to them than the consumer. We buy a technology product and the first time we have issues we are on the phone with the help desk in India. You try to explain and all they do is say “sorry”, offer no real solution or resolution. If you manage to talk to someone who does understand and can assist you then you have more than likely spent hours on the phone repeating the same thing over and over. To me this is happening at more and more companies. I have to say ANY company that subjects their customers to these call centers just doesn’t care or value that customer.

Help desks and call centers are not the only places I take issue with. The other day at a popular electronics store I witnesses one of the “Nerds” who should be an expert having to get a supervisor because she didn’t know how fast PC3200 memory was. I thought really, it says it right on the back of the package 400MHz. I guess I will really think twice about EVER buying one of the store warranties or allowing them to work on my PC/MAC. In fact I was buying my iMAC at the time and they wanted to load Norton AV. I declined to allow it. I said “just give me the key I can do it”. I know I’m just a lowly MCP but I will manage over your “Qualified” people, um “Nerds”. I ended up buying my firewire drive and memory from another reseller because the techs were much more knowledgeable. I paid more but the service was worth it.

The corporate world is no different. Customer service managers are now called “Service Managers”. No room for customer in that title. They are all about fix what is under contract and not making it right for the customer. You might hear “we can’t load that document reader even thought you paid for it because it is not covered in your contract”. Followed by “we can’t give you rights to load software again because that is not in your contract”. It is this foolishness and lack of respect for the customer that drives me crazy. I have been in the IT field for over 15 years and it gets worse and worse when companies outsource support. Outsourcing companies have no respect for the customer and make the customer wait on them sometimes for hours just because the “contract” allows them too. To them it all about money not about the customer.

I have been in customer relations and service for over 30 years. I consider being in IT support the same as customer service. I don’t understand why companies think customer service doesn’t matter. If you take care of your customers they will come back. Do you need a quick lesson? First, have a call center in the country that the product is sold. If the hold times are too long then provide a call back system using outside resources to “log calls only”. Next train your “Nerds” and make sure they have at a minimum basic “industry” certifications. In store product training is for sales people not professional technicians. Only certified tech’s with customer service training and experience should be allowed to work with customers directly. It is just that simple!

Finally take care of the customer. The customer support person should be fluent in the language of the customer and understand the culture. Customers you are NOT always right but it is the job of the customer service and support person to resolve the issue in a calm manner. Customers you should not take out your frustration on customer service person but calmly ask for a manager and start by saying “your customer server person tried very hard to resolve my issue but I felt I needed someone with more authority”. No point in taking poor company policy out on the service person, especially if they tried to help you. If the company, be it retail, support or corporate doesn’t respect you and take the time to understand what you want or need then go to a company that does. If you are a business reading this take note that you better have trained people. As a customer you have many options so use them. Post on social media be experiences. That tells 100’s of friends not just 10. File a complaint with the better business bureau because companies have to follow on these or loose ratings. If we don’t stand up and expect, no demand better customer service it will become a thing of the past.

Thanks for reading.

ToonCamera – Cartoon Filming with your iPhone 4GS

If you have seen those TV commercials that have cartoon like people and wondered how they created those realistic looking toons then this is your lucky day! There’s an app for that! The ToonCamera app for your iPhone does a good job creating cartoon like images or video without the need for expensive editing programs. There are several modes from color to line (pen & ink) style. This app is easy to use then import into your iMovie for editing. This fun little app has many possibilities and turns the everyday into a bit more fun and exciting. This app has simple controls and does have its limits but for less than $1 (USD) you really can’t go wrong. Go ahead you know you want to be a cartoon character!!
Thanks for reading!

The following movie was shot using ToonCamera and iMovie both on the iPhone 4S

8mm Film made easy with iPhone!!

I found a fun little iPhone app and wanted to share.  This app lets you take video and make it vintage.  You can import or film straight from the app.  It allows you to choose different types of vintage film.  You can change the lighting to include center light, outer boarder, lens flare and others.  The controls are simple to use just swipe to change.  I think it has many fun uses.  I took it to the zoo for a fun walk around safari.  The only real issue I had was the control for shutter/flare is easy to touch and change while filming if you are not careful.  But if you want to have some fun this is an app I really like and had a lot of fun making the video part of this post.  Hope you enjoy my zoo safari!!

Thanks for reading!!

<a href=’http://youtu.be/Jsp-kV94lG8′>8mm Test Video</a>

Week 4 – MAC Post 1 – Reading

We each have the ability to light the spark of possibility.  The practice of enrollment is all about being inspired to participate and ignite the spark.  Being is the next practice as you become the board.  You are now what the game is being played on.  It is up to you to control and manipulate the game and transform your world.  It is important to remember you are not a piece playing the game you are the game board controlling how the game is played to make a difference.  Within each of us we have the ability to be a leader and build the framework of possibility.  Being a leader requires us live our life with differences.  Finally the “We” approach is not about I/you it is about connecting to others.

Week 4 – Publishing_Presentation Project

Sunday, October 23, 2011

t’s settled.  I want to publish something for music educators.  I’m going to shoot for MTNA’s e-journal.  I chose this publication because it seems like a blend of formal research and practical educator applications.  I also chose it because of the format.  The whole intent of the e-journal is to include more multi-media into the reader’s experience.  Past volumes have included links to the researchers’ blogs and videos.  I may be offer something unique in that my research was documented online through the Challenge Based-Research method.

 

MTNA also has a monthly teacher publication called “American Music Teacher”, which might also be for consideration.  It’s their well-established monthly magazine, which is not as research oriented.  Currently I am contacting the publishing director for more information about submission guidelines for the e-journal.  This may lead to a query letter for either publication to see if there’s any interest in the nature of my research.

Copyright Free Images from Morgue File, Dreamstine, and Microsoft Clip Art

1 Comment Manage Comments for this Entry
Allen
It is not only difficult to write the paper for publication but then finding one to publish it in.  I’m still trying to decide between 2 myself.  my paper is in need of some rework as it is a bit long.  I think your approach to talk with the director is a great idea.
Sunday, October 23, 2011 – 06:59 PM

Wk4 Publishing_Presentation Project
I have decided to publish about my Challenge Based Research project to the Journal of Computing in Higher Education. This publication really spoke to me in the questions that it asks when describing the types of things it explores. I was also drawn to the fact that it is geared towards higher education because the learners I work with are college level students. And, finally, this statement, I feel, is speaking directly to me: “Priority is given to the publication of rigorous, original manuscripts concerning research and integration of instructional technology in higher education.”

Publishing/Presentation Project Think-Out Loud Post 1

Publishing/Presentation Project Think-Out Loud Post 2

Document for Publishing
Posted by Kris at 3:50 PM
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1 comments:

Allen G said…

Kris,

I like your CBR project because it something I use often in photography. I like the approach you used showing other how metadata is an important part of media. I think you picked a good place for your work to be published. Great work and I hope to see your publication soon!

Allen
October 23, 2011 6:35 PM

As I finish up this assignment I am looking at 2 publications. I still have a bit of cleanup to do before I can submit the paper. I want to go through it again maybe condense the reflection section a bit and put more detail into the conclusion. I think I need to add more technical information. I need to put more detail in the actual applications the group used. Then the steps taken to customize the vanilla interfaces. I then need to tie this back to community learning needs.

My lit review was based on adults but I could not find a group of adults so I used a youth group. So I also need to focus more on alternative learning for community not just adults in my findings. This should help tie back to my literature review. Both publications I’ve chose are more technical so that is why I think some changes will need to happen prior to submitting.

Link to my PPP Paper

Post 1 PPP Assignment

Post 2 PPP Assignment