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The 2012 PhotoPlus Expo: For the Wealthy Shutterbug

During the 3-day PhotoPlus Expo in New York, several exhibitors displayed their latest advances in photography technology. There were a massive assortment of cameras, lenses, printers, clothing, gear, gizmos and gadgets on display. The Expo was heavily bent for the professional photographer and the casual weekend or hobbyist cameraman might have felt left out. However, most of the latest introductions in technology were appropriate for both sections, even though some may be too highly priced.  Here are 3 outstanding innovations showcased at the PhotoPlus Expo.  A more detailed list of products displayed can be found here.

Sony DEV-3 and DEV-5 3D Binoculars

The Sony DEV-3 and DEV-5 3D Binoculars are like a gizmo straight out of the last blockbuster sci-fi movie! The videos and photographs shot from these binoculars products are astounding. Only the more complex model, the DEV-5, was on display.  This multimedia camera boasts several amazing features including 3D binoculars, a 7-megapixel camera, and a 1080i video recorder. Ranging between $1400 – $2000, the DEV-3 and DEV-5 cost a pretty penny. However, if you are shopping for a superior quality, multifunctional digital camera, these binoculars may be a great choice.

Gorillapod Micro 250 and 350

Joby is a brand known best for its bendy camera tripods.  But one of the coolest gadgets at their booth was a tripod that we’re not used to.  Called the Gorillapod Micro, these mini-tripods are stiff, almost like small sticks, which can fold up nicely beneath you camera without adding much weight or bulk at all.  Best of all, they are available in different sizes.  You’ll always be able to catch that perfect sunset self-portrait because you’ll never be without your tripod again.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD Pen Display

The Wacom Cintiq 24HD Pen Display has a unique 24-inch display. The display is ideal for making sharp edits for those in 3D design, animation, game development, and industrial design. The price of $2600 doesn’t seem to be a detractor as they are in sought after and incredibly tough to acquire.

Although the PhotoPlus Expo was intended for professionals in the photography and design industry, many amateurs and enthusiasts still prefer keeping up with state-of-the-art technology. The expo showcased countless other items, such as high-tech lighting, camera accessories, and jackets. Have a look at other articles about the Expo, and see some amazing innovations in photography.

Devices and Apps: Working Together to Make Our Lives Easier

The world is becoming more connected. When we say this, we don’t just mean as individuals. Our devices are becoming more connected to each other as well. This makes our everyday life easier by adding seamlessness to our day that wasn’t present before. Now you can work on a document at work, send it to your smartphone and use a voice transcription app to continue working in your vehicle. This is just one example; this video is Microsoft’s vision of what connectivity will make our future look like. What types of devices, apps, or combination of the two will help produce a future like this? Here are a couple I have found, let us know of any you can think of.

iControl

iControl

iControl is a home security and energy management product that Comcast recently unveiled. With this product, people can control the thermostat in their homes, turn lights on and off, and monitor their homes with live streaming video. Various components work together to give individuals full control over their homes when away.

Air Sharing

This app for the iPad permits you to use your iPad or iPhone as an external hard drive for your computer. Being able to effortlessly access and transfer your documents allows for more mobility in your workday.

AirPlay

Wirelessly stream music, videos, and photos to Apple TV using Apple’s AirPlay. This enables you to flow easily from your walk, where you were listening to a podcast or audio book, to your home without interrupting your entertainment.

Will the future be filled with gadgets, apps, and software that synchronize all facets of your life? In this age of connectivity, we are deeply connected to our devices. Hopefully they will one day be so interconnected that they will even be a few steps ahead of us. If this requires less effort on my part, I’m for it…how about you?

Future-Tech: Is 2012 More like Back to the Future Part 1 or 2?

It’s been 25 years since Back to the Future played in movie theaters.  In the original film, Marty McFly travels back in time to 1955 Hill Valley. While there, he inadvertently disrupts the space-time continuum and his mother ends up falling for him instead of his dad.  Freudian theories aside, Marty is able to salvage his parent’s relationship and his ultimate existence.  After he’s able to return to 1985, he immediately learns that he must travel into the future to save his kids. Through his travels, we see Hill Valley as it was in 1955, 1985 and the future. If you were to step back and look at where we are in 2011, does our existence today look more like the film’s past or the second film’s vision of the future?

Certainly there would be flying cars and hover boards by 2011, wouldn’t there?  But we still have our feet firmly on the ground, riding bicycles, skateboards, scooters and driving gas-powered cars.  As we look around us, the computer is the obvious distinction between the present and the past. Yet, if we take a step back, so much of the technology we employ everyday has existed for years.  The television was invented in the 1930s, cars had air conditioning and radios by 1940, and movies were in color.  If you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz recently, the special effects are still pretty good — and they’re 80 years old.

We do, however, have technology prophesied in movies made decades ago. In Total Recall, the protagonist walks through a full-body x-ray machine to board a plane. As seen in most major airports 3D monitors and holograms are either implemented already or on the very near horizon. Virgin Atlantic has taken a page out of 2001: A Space Odyssey to make space travel practical for the common man — or at least the common man who can spend $200,000 for 5 minutes of weightlessness.

Today we can communicate with Jetson-like videophones, talk to the other side of the world on your personal computer for hours – for free. We have such science-fiction movie staples as cloning, genetic engineering, laser surgery and more. Yet are we closer to 1950’s tech or the science fiction dreams of the 2050s? In the mental picture so many of us had about the 21st century, we’re no closer to flying our car to work as Dorothy was to finding her way back to Kansas when she first landed in Oz.

Where does that put us?  The future is truly happening everywhere. Its seen in video billboards, the Internet tracking our every website click or online purchase, and 3D TVs and binoculars.  We can still go to the movies – only now it might break the bank if you have a household of four.  Still, the old axiom is true:  the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Chevrolet is still producing gas-powered convertibles, Universal is still making bad sequels, and you can still watch Back to the Future.  Only now you can watch it on your phone.

 

The Web of Perfectionism: How Not to Get Stuck

Do you find yourself agonizing over every little detail? Does it take you 3 times as long to finish a task because you are trying to get it “just right?” If so, you might be a perfectionist? It’s not an uncommon personality trait to see in the business world and it can be an aid to push people to attempt to do their best. In extreme cases, though, it leads to wasted time and resources.  The outcome usually doesn’t justify the immense effort that went into it. If you find yourself in the web of extreme perfectionism, here are a few tips that can lead you out.

Make a Decision and Stick to it
When you choose on a direction to take and announce it to your employees, stick to it. One of the pitfalls of perfectionism is wasted time second-guessing yourself. If you are constantly changing gears after your team has started the project, then you have wasted those recourses. You might never know if your third, fourth, or fifth decision would be any better.  As the saying goes, go with your gut!

Trus t your Employees
When you tell your staff your plan and what resources you’ll need from them, listen to their input. They will let you know if it’s possible and if they think it’s a good idea. Paying attention to their insight will help keep you from sliding into another guessing game. Another piece to this is, trusting your employees to do their part well. You hired them because they are skilled, right? Lastly, before you start implementing your plan, just in case…

Have a Plan B
You never know what’s going to happen! An obstacle may arise that can’t be overcome, so make sure you have a plan B. A backup plan can help you from getting entrenched to deeply in your first plan and devastated if things go wrong. The more flexible and ready for change you are, the easier it is to adapt to things life throws at you.

Perfectionism could have a beneficial effect as it can make you endeavor to be your best, but that pressure can lead to stress and wasted time. Try to stay flexible and strive for your personal best. If you find yourself caught up in perfectionism, the steps I’ve outlined above should help. You can also read this article to learn how to avoid perfectionism pitfalls all together.

Some Interesting Winners at the T3 Gadget Awards

As new technology pops up around us daily, it’s human nature to want to know which is the most innovative and revolutionary in the gadget world.  Well, the T3 Gadget Awards quench that thirst.  The awards, voted on by more than 960,000 online users, were given out last week.  Because the tech community is primarily casting the votes, “obvious” winners to the masses weren’t the case.  Below we’ll show you a number of interesting and even ironic choices – and be sure to check out the full list of categories and winners.

Ironic Winners

The categories for the T3 Awards, from Best Retailer to Gadget Personality of the Year, the awards span an array of categories.  It is interesting to note the winner of the Gadget Personality of the Year Award was Mark Zuckerberg.  Of course he’s a monumental figure in the communication world, but hardly exhibits the charisma of George Clooney.  Another interesting category is Best Commuting Device, where anything that aids your travel from here to there is considered. One of the competitors was an electric bicycle; but the winner, in fact, was the Amazon Kindle. True, it makes the time pass quickly while commuting, but maybe something which actually travels might have been a clearer choice?

Influential Winners

Perhaps another surprise winner this year was found for the Digital Media Service of the Year award.  Yes, Mark Zuckerberg won Personality of the Year, but it was Twitter that walked off with the more important gong.  Twitter beat out the likes of Facebook and Google .  Certainly the heads of Apple, Google and Facebook are certainly not crying themselves to sleep over their crushing defeats. It is important to consider that these awards are voted upon by the tech community and therefore the very people who are most in tune with and most influential in this realm and should be taken seriously by the giants in the industry.

Surprising Winners

For many, the iPhone 4 would most likely be guessed as the runaway winner of the Phone of the Year award. Instead–and more importantly–because more serious tech fans cast the votes, Samsung’s Galaxy S II walked away with the award. In the Tech Brand of the Year category, Google was the big winner, beating out rivals Facebook and Apple.  Again, it’s “just the T3 Gadget Awards”, but as always, it’s better to be the winner than the runner-up.  And when millions of dollars rides on person to person advertising and brand recognition, every tiny bit helps.

Ultimately, The 2012 T3 Gadget Awards offer an interesting insight into how much and how fast technology is evolving.  If you were to go back to the first awards given in 2008, some of the heavy hitters of the time are no longer viable, while some upstarts were just getting their feet on the ground and are huge players today.  Although these awards are given annually, with the speed that many of these items are created, they may want to make it a semi-annual event.

 

Intel and Toshiba: Energy Monitoring

Becoming “greener” has been a hot topic nowadays, not only amongst the general public but also in high-tech companies. Many companies are looking into green tech as a means to save energy , save the environment, or to simply save money. One of the primary things you must know when looking into conserving energy is what uses the most energy?

At the CEATEC conference this month in Japan, Toshiba and Intel announced some of their upcoming plans to better allow companies to monitor their energy usage. In this “Green Age,” it’s no surprise to see major players in the technology world coming forward with big developments that allow more regulation and monitoring of the amount of energy being used. Here are some of the ecologically-forward changes and additions these two companies announced they will be implementing in 2012.

Intel

Intel has created an application that permits PC users to monitor the energy consumption of their PC. The application has an easy-to-read dashboard that organizes the information into graphs, charts, and statistics, which make it very user-friendly.

Toshiba

Toshiba is using it’s recent acquisition of Landish Gyr as part of its “smart home” offering. Landish Gyr specialize in smart-meters for homes. With this offering people can monitor the quantity of energy consumed throughout their homes. Also on the agenda is the development of “green cloud” technologies for a number of different industries which range from city infrastructure to healthcare.

Japanese technology companies are presently highly focused on monitoring energy consumption. That being said, it is interesting that many companies in the US are pulling away from this. Microsoft and Google are just two examples. Microsoft announced in June that they are discontinuing their energy-monitoring service called Hohm. While Google announced it is taking a break from the green game by shutting down Google Powermeter.

Will the green technology world head in the direction of energy monitoring or something else entirely? If you have any speculation or ideas on the direction this may take; please share them with us.

 

The iPhone 4S: Revolutionary Or Evolutionary

The first time we heard the news that Apple was coming out with the next iPhone, we were as giddy as schoolchildren.  We all hoped that that it was going to be a game changing iPhone 5.  But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Instead, and with much fanfare, we got the iPhone 4S and we could only help but ask – is it just an iPhone 4 with a few more bells and whistles? Would it truly be worth the long wait in line?. Was the 4s destined to be revolutionary or evolutionary?  Listed here is a brief look at the 3 most noticeable upgrades found in the iPhone 4S.

Software

Maybe the most noticeable of the iPhone 4S upgrades is found in its speed and power.  The 4S features a dual-core A5 chip found in the iPad 2, which makes opening apps, loading the browser, scrolling through home screens and countless other operations much faster and smoother.  Apple states that the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the iPhone 4, and exhibits seven times its graphical prowess.

Siri

Probably the most compelling reason to upgrade to the 4S is the addition of Siri – a “personal assistant” who can parse the information you tell it through a mere conversation. For instance, should you tell Siri, “Please tell Jodi that I’m running late”, it would know who Jodi is and which meeting you’re talking about, and contact her to reschedule. It’s a pretty cool feature when it works.  However, when Siri doesn’t work, it makes you realize that it’s still a work in progress. Although Siri shows its personality in its humourous answers to questions it can’t yet answer, you just want it work.  For more on the topic, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/benzingainsights/2011/10/17/is-siri-seriously-awesome-or-seriously-flawed/

iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s replacement of MobileMe.  It is available on all new iPhone, iPad and Mac purchases, and automatically and securely stores everything on your device’s hard drive.  Access to music, apps, photos is much simpler from any other device.  One downfall, though, is that some MobileMe users are finding that after MobileMe created its own user ID, it has been difficult for them to “sync up.” Equally frustrating is the fact that iCloud doesn’t recognize other mail accounts that don’t contain a me.com email address.  Again, like Siri, one would hope these issues were hashed out before the launch.

Ultimately, the iPhone 4S was predestined to be a huge seller worldwide – but are its upgrades worth the wait?  The solution mostly is determined by the type of user you are. If you want to have the most cutting-edge product available, with improved hardware, camera, voice controls and iCloud, it may be something to consider.   If the iPhone or other mobile phone you’re using gets you where you want to go, its good to know that the iPhone 4S is more of an evolution than revolution – but its pretty cool none-the-less.

 

Creativity in the Cloud

Many industries have changed due to the cloud. Massive amounts of information can be stored and shared easily in the cloud. And with the popularity of tablets people can access it quickly. This has improved the way creative people do business, below are a few examples if this.

Portfolios
You once had to transport heavy portfolios when meeting with clients.  Those portfolios were limited to the amount of work you could carry within. Portfolios, when stored in the cloud, are not limited to physical size. You can organize your past work into categories that fit the needs of different clients. By accessing your portfolio quickly on a tablet, you can share your work more easily and this can lead to more opportunities.

Creative Collaboration
Collaborating used to be limited to people near you. This meant that highly skilled people across the globe did not have much opportunity to collaborate on a project. If they were a part of the collaboration process, it meant sending large files back and forth, which led to duplicate copies and a slower working pace. When files are store in the cloud, you can work on them simultaneously and update only one copy. Tablets allow you to pull the project up anywhere and work on it, so creative inspiration isn’t stifled.

Brainstorming
Brainstorming and mind mapping are other things the cloud has improved as numerous people can input their ideas into one file. People can access these mind maps on tablets, get input from local collogues, and update the shared file that everyone can see. This kind of connectedness breaks down the distance barrier, which used to be such a limitation in business.

When the mobile capabilities of tablets are paired with the cloud, creativity can happen anywhere at anytime and with anybody.

 

Why Workplace Education is Right for Your Business

Creating workplace education programs (WEP) within your company can be a successful way to improve morale. Whether it is done in a small or elaborate way, education keeps employees sharp, challenged, and inspired. Workplace education also can support employee’s individual goals of furthering their careers and that investment can cause stronger devotion from your employees.

A word of warning: if classes aren’t challenging or interesting, workplace education can be boring and feel like a waste of time to your employees. This will negate the positive effects you were looking to achieve.

Here are some ideas to keep education programs interesting and fun.

Create Teams – Dividing employees into groups will lead to collaboration and healthy competition. This may also build a more supportive workforce overall, as individuals will get to know each other better and develop stronger working relationships.

Use IncentivesIncentives can be a great motivator. They can be used for groups or individuals.

Make Learning Playful – Working games into your workplace education programs helps make learning fun and with help content retention. Games can also develop team-building skills.

Developing workplace education programs for your company can keep the work environment fresh and fun. Sometimes providing full or half-day classes isn’t feasible. Providing something as small as holding an educational meeting can also be effective. You can then implement incentives or games for your employees. The benefits of WEP, when done right, can be great and have a strong positive effect on morale in the office.

Long Live the PC!

Tablets and smartphones have inundated the market, making portable computing not only highly accessible but also extremely practical. It’s easy to see that remote computing is the next big leap in technology, transforming the way we interact with data on a daily basis. But what does this mean for the PC? When the iPad was introduced to the public, many thought it signaled the beginning of the end for the standard PC. However, the personal computer is a foundational mainstay in the way computing is done. Even with these new technologies, we are still living in the PC Age. Here are three of the top reasons this remains true.

 

Desktops Are Still Needed

 

Critics have been claiming the death of the desktop computer for years, yet it remains to be a popular and much used technology. Why is this? The answer is simple: strength. There is no tablet or smartphone that can match the speed and utility of a well-built PC. There may come a day when we can harness the speed and strength of a desktop machine at a smaller scale, but that day isn’t here just yet.

 

Tablets Are Less Practical

 

There is no debating that tablets are extraordinary and useful tools. However, there are certain impracticalities that come with such a portable device that greatly affect operation. PCs are still the preferred machine for typing long documents, surfing the web and using more sophisticated programs. Unless tablets can find a practical way to replicate the functionality of a PC, personal computers will remain a fundamental technology.

 

Smartphones Are Less Functional

 

Any self-respecting tech-savvy nerd has a smartphone. These machines are great for checking email, updating social media or even making a call. Some critics claim that as smartphones become more sophisticated, they will begin to steal some of the standard laptop market. However, the average basic laptop user utilizes laptops to perform higher function actions. Good illustrations of these users are students. Can you imagine writing a term paper on a small smartphone screen? Neither can we.

 

While the portable industry has made remote computing better than ever, it’s still important to have faith in the importance of PCs. For more reasons why the PC age is still alive and well, take a look at this article.