Gadget Review: Revolights Skyline – Bicycle Lighting System

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The Revolights look like dots when standing still but create a light arc when moving…

The Skyline by Revolights is a bicycle lighting system that provides 360 degree visibility of your bike as you ride with a headlight and rear tail light that sync to your speed to create glowing arcs.

Pros:
Very easy to install, takes a bit to make sure the units line up properly
Bright lights to increase visibility of your bike while you ride
Great battery life – around 4 hours
Easy to charge batteries – uses micro USB chargers
Looks cool
Drastically improves safety – should be mandatory for all evening rides

Cons:
No indicator to notify of battery levels
Cost (Cyclists tend to be frugal folks)
Revolights headlight is bright but I’d recommend a brighter, focused headlight

5 out of five stars – Revolights Skyline is the premiere bike accessory in regards to safety…Easy installation, durable, stylish, fun to use…If you commute on your bicycle after dark or share the road with cars, you can’t take another ride without this product

$199.00 – Revolights.com for additional information and to purchase (also sold as individual front or rear units)
Installation takes about 20 minutes – all parts and required tools are included

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Simple efficient packaging

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Straightforward and easy to understand instructions

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All tools and parts are included

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Side view of bike – photo just after sunset

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Rear view of bike with regular headlight on

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View from on the bike with headlight on

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Battery fits between spokes

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Rear taillight

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Headlight

This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of Revolights for my review. All content and opinions are my own without any influence by Revolights or SproutUp.  Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device. 

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How Panini Won The National

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The 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, IL has come and gone. The show offers many opportunities for fans to reminisce about the glory days of their sports heroes and purchase memorabilia.  Vendors at the show can be split into four main categories:

Autographs – Autograph Alley gave fans a paid opportunity (around $50 each) to meet a former athlete and have an item signed;

Case breakers – The current trend in card collecting is case breaking.  Instead of buying a box of cards for a few hundred dollars, someone may purchase a slot that gives them all of the cards from one team or division out of the box.  This somewhat minimizes the risk while allowing fans to snag higher end cards.

Manufacturers – Companies such as Topps and Upper Deck who make the cards and attempt to push the trends in the current and future marketplace.

Stores – Tables set up selling everything from two cent common cards up to rare game used Babe Ruth bats and uniforms for a few hundred thousand dollars.  This ranges from local mom & pop stores to major Internet outlets and auction houses.

All of the above categories include a transaction interaction: you see something you like, you pay money and the vendor gives it to you. Very simple and mostly impersonal. Even the extended “shows” of case breaking falls into this category.  Despite a large section of the show dedicated to these companies, their main audience is online as the breaking process is live streamed around the globe and participants purchase a slot from the comfort of their home couch.

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The Manufacturers are in a unique position because they actually create products that fans want, not just reselling items.  Plus they are not selling at the show; if you want an item from Topps, for example, you must do so at a card store’s table, not directly from Topps. This gives them a unique platform at an event like the National that has thousands of visitors each year.  The basic activation then for the Manufacturers is their redemption programs: you purchase specific products from a card vendor then return to the Manufacturer’s booth to receive a special pack which includes cards from a National only set and the opportunity to win special memorabilia such as autographs or game used equipment. Leaf, Topps, Panini and Upper Deck all offered this program. However, the similarities of the interactions with these companies stop right there.  Reps from Leaf, Topps and Upper Deck would see your box of cards, hand you a promotional pack then send you on your way.  Their booths weren’t even set up to be welcoming to most fans as tables were set up around the perimeter and all interactions took place across the tables.  This minimized the time spent with the companies and practically pushed you back into the flow of foot traffic and on to the next display.

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Panini America, however, went with a different approach. Everything about the staging and layout was drawing you into their space. Tables were set up at the corners of their footprint with activities planned for the inner section, either on the luscious carpet or the comfy couch.  Yes, they had the same redemption as other companies but they interacted with you about the product you were presenting and asked you to open the promo packs in front of them because they were as excited to see what you received as you probably were.

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Panini’s main focus wasn’t your wallet, it was engaging with the audience and building a relationship.  This was evident in the various programs they had scheduled but especially in their Kids Case Break.  Thirty children, all under age 13, were given a lanyard with a NBA team’s logo.  As each pack was opened, the cards would be given to the child with the corresponding team’s lanyard.  And this wasn’t just the cheapest set possible; the cards given away included autographs and swatches of players’ jerseys.  Most of the kids walked away with 5 or 6 cards, most with a value of $50 or $60 each.  It was amazing to see the smiles on their faces, not because they now each had hundreds of dollars worth of cards, but because someone took the time to create and share a memorable experience with them. Some of the children who were probably too young to collect at age four will still have this Panini memory in their minds in a few years when it is time for them to spend their allowance at their local hobby shop. Tracy Hackler, Panini’s VP of Awesomeness (his real title is Hobby Marketing Manager), said, “This is more than a business…it’s about connecting with everyone, young and old, on their level and getting them excited about trading cards in general.  If they happen to connect specifically with Panini, even better.  Look at how excited these kids are!”

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Another great event was the hourly Panini Box Wars.  Since you already had to buy a box for the redemption program, Panini gave another opportunity for fans to do something fun and potentially receive more value from the box.  The Panini rep would list a specific feature of a card and all participants would rip open their packs looking for the card that closest fit the criteria.  All winners would receive a Black Box, a limited edition box of cards created specifically for the National. Scott Prusha, Panini’s Director of Excitement (his real title is Family Cards Marketing), said, “Yeah, we could have people just open boxes, see what cards they get then go on their way. But where’s the fun in that? We want our fans to have fun, to connect with them, with something they love, over a box of cards.”

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Panini did something a lot of companies forget to do: they made the extra effort to make their product more than an item, they made it an experience, an event, a connection.

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Gadget Review: motrr Galileo – Robotic motion control mount

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The Galileo by motrr is a motorized mount for iPhones and GoPros that can be programmed to follow specific paths or controlled by most Bluetooth devices.

Pros:
Very easy to setup and use
Pan & tilt 360 degrees on vertical and horizontal axes
Multiple speeds for varied looks
Solid build

Cons:
Proprietary mount inserts
High cost for cell phone accessory
Must purchase additional apps ($1.99 – 9.99) to realize full potential
Slight hum during device’s movement

3.5 out of five stars – The Galileo is the absolute best at what it does…Great for those who use their iPhone to make movies or video chat as well as creating time lapse videos with the GoPro…it is up to you if there is enough value in this product at the present price.

$149.95 – motrr.com for additional information and to purchase
$29.95 each for additional iPhone 6 or GoPro mounts
$0 – $9.99 Additional features unlocked through purchased apps
Best use requires two devices

Micro USB on the side so you can charge the device while in use

Micro USB on the side so you can charge the device while in use

The motrr Galileo is a fantastic device for those who enjoy being more creative with their smartphone than just the typical selfie or snapshot.  With several apps to enhance the product, there is a use for pretty much anyone out there.

Twist the base to see the battery status

Twist the base to see the battery status

Right out of the box, the Galileo feels and looks like a high quality product.  Although no buttons to press, the Galileo activates with a simple twist of the base and links up via bluetooth to a phone with the app already open.  Easily the easiest Bluetooth connecting I’ve seen and right up there with NFC syncs. Pull up the Joystick or D-Pad options within the motrr app and you will be ready to go right away.  The time from out of the box to operating was less than 60 seconds!

The Galileo can move as quickly as an entire revolution in only 15 seconds and as slow as 25 minutes to cover the same distance.  This variance is great for the times you need a sweeping shot of a vehicle driving by or when you want hundreds of photos to building an extended timelapse video.  Most other mounts travel in only one direction at a constant speed while the Galileo can not only move left and right but also up and down as well!  The sound of the motor can be faintly heard on some videos and if your camera tilts too far down, the Galileo’s base becomes visible.

The apps suite for the Galileo offers a wide range of features including face tracking, movement during video chats, timelapse photos with your phone and even repurposing an old iPhone into a home security camera.  Most of the apps are suitable but the Galileo is much more effective when you control it with one device with another placed in the mount.  Some of the apps, specifically the face tracking for photos, worked well with only one phone but frustration can dramatically increase if you attempt to use the Galileo continuously with only one device.

Rubberized mounts to connect phone to Galileo

Rubberized mounts to connect phone to Galileo

(L to R): Mounts for iPhone 4s, GoPro, iPhone 5

(L to R): Mounts for iPhone 4s, GoPro, iPhone 5

Standard threading for tripod attachment

Standard threading for tripod attachment

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This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of motrr for my review. All content and opinions are my own without any influence by motrr.  Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device. 

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Tweets Go Farther When Lifted By A Sharknado

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I’m happy if a handful of my Twitter follows read my tweets, even more so if some responds or retweets my comments.  It is even more amazing when someone outside of my social network sees my tweets.  Thanks to the pop culture phenomenon know as the Sharknado film series, the water cooler has moved from the morning after an airing to an interactive live experience on social media. It’s amazing to see the traction some tweets have received.

Sharknado 2:

Over 2,200 retweets from nearly every time zone on the planet and some even three months later! Not only that, but the tweet was picked up by some media outlets as well:

ET Online
People
NY Daily News

And look at some of the analytics as well:
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There’s no way I could capture lightning, um, a shark in a bottle again, right?

Sharknado 3:

Not as many impressions but still picked up in the media:
Mashable

With Sharknado 4 already schedule to air in the summer of 2016, I have plenty of time to prepare my shark-tastic tweets.

BONUS:

Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Movie:

This tweet was picked up by:
Hollywood Life

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Recon Jet Review – Video

The Recon Instruments Jet is a pair of smart glasses aimed at the active lifestyle with specific focus on running and cycling.

Pros:
Comfortable
Great battery life
Easy to swap out battery and lens
Engage software – amazing for tracking activities

Cons:
High price
Limited 3rd party apps

4.5 out of 5 stars – Great for those who want to keep track of their biking and/or running activities

$699.00 – reconinstruments.com for additional information and to purchase

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My Two Weeks with LyveHome

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These days, it seems as though the last feature described by companies about their smartphones is the phone part.  The main feature discussed? The camera. Megapixels, zoom, editing features, burst shots, etc., etc., etc.. So now that you have a good camera that is always with you, what happens to all of the photos you take? Do they mostly live on your device with a few shared through social media?  The new issue isn’t how you are taking photos, it’s how you are using your photos.

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The LyveHome seeks to resolve this issue.  The easiest way to describe the LyveHome is it is the result of a torrid love affair between an external hard drive and a digital photo frame. The device features a 5” screen with 2 TB of storage and is slightly bigger than a can of soda.  It fits well with the other technology on my desk without overpowering the space.  Setup is simple: plug in LyveHome, connect to WiFi and you are ready to go. You can plug in a a SD card or USB device directly into the LyveHome to transfer photos and videos.  It doesn’t want your Excel spreadsheets or your word documents. No, this is strictly a memory box, not a file cabinet for work items.

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The real magic of LyveHome is not the physical device but the software itself.  You can install the app on your phone (iOS and Android for now, no word on Windows Phone yet), tablet (same OS as above) or computer (Mac and Windows).  Once installed, photos and videos can automatically be backed up from the devices to the LyveHome.  My initial backup of roughly 2,200 photos and 50 videos from my Galaxy S5 to the LyveHome took about 45 minutes through my home WiFi. There is an ethernet port which could speed up the process.  Now when I take a photo with my phone, it is automagically backed up on the LyveHome. (You can change the settings to do this immediately through cell data or to wait for your phone to connect to WiFi.) And it isn’t only a thumbnail of the photo, it’s the full sized file.  

Yes, it really is that easy to set up.

 

The genius of the LyveHome software is that you ALWAYS have all of your photos with you. Looking for pictures from Little Timmy’s birthday party? Check.  Want to share photos from your recent vacation? Check. No matter if it is on your tablet, laptop or phone, you can access your photos on the go.  All of the photos are compressed on your device so they take up a fraction of the space.  When you want to share it through any of the devices options, the full file is available. 

Pros:

  • Always have all of your photos with you
  • Easy set up, simple controls
  • Compatible with most devices

Cons:

  • Can only sort photos by date taken (Update could add theme and event tags)
  • Windows Phone OS not compatible
  • It would be nice to share albums or groups of photos instead of opening up full account to friends

 

Overall, $299 is fair price for a sturdy, easy to use device that consolidates your photos and provides easy access on the go especially when you consider what it would cost in monthly fees to host 2 TB in the cloud.  Future software updates should only add value to the LyveHome. Grade: A- (Could change with upgrades) Must buy for the mobile photographer, social media picture sharer.

 

Check out My Live site for more information and to purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jaguars Jump Off A Building (And Add More Value)

Sports franchises today are constantly looking for new revenue streams while adding to the connection between three of the key stakeholders: the team, the sponsors and the fans. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the right path with the following video:

The hybrid bungee/zipline action highlights non-player assets such as the mascot, cheerleaders and the stadium. Also thrown into the mix is some very prominent product placement for team partner, Panasonic, in the way of cameras and wireless speakers without being a complete Panasonic commercial.

Not only does this video standout due to its action and unique content, it presents a potential product for fans: stadium ziplining. How many fans do you think would pay $100-150 to zipline over their favorite team’s field? Following the skydiving pricing model, teams could charge another $50 for video and photos of the experience. Plus, this draws people to the stadium on non-gamedays which could increase traffic to the team store and locker room tours as well as a potential season ticket sales opportunity.

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