TEDxColumbus Review and Videos

How good was my first TED talk and the second TEDxColumbus ? It was a few weeks ago and I’m still thinking about some of the topics, that good. There was a lot of ground covered, too much for me to care about reviewing all of it so instead I’m simply going to mention a few speakers and let you infer that they were the best, or at least my favorites. Videos will be posted at the bottom.

Top Speakers:
Michael Wilkos Michael Wilkos – the most interesting speaker, imo.
David Staley David Staley – the most inspiration speaker, imo.
Matt Slaybaugh Matt Slaybaugh – covered the widest variety of topics. This is probably the best video to watch out of context.


Honorable Mentions:
Phil Cogley – aka Saturday Giant
Meagan Jones

TEDxColumbus!!!

TEDxColumbus

TEDxColumbus - October 22 noon-6pm

I just learned that TED will be hosting an event in here Columbus on October 22.  For those who don’t know what TED is, check out www.ted.com.  To summarize, TED hosts talks about technology, innovations and ideas.  Thats pretty much it but the talks are nothing short of ‘Grammys for Geeks’ and always have a very prestigious guest list.  Even tickets for the TEDxColumbus show require an application, after which an invitation will be extended, if you are approved.  Obviously I submitted my applicaton moments after learning about the event and I even volunteered to help organize the event, Columbus needs it [and it will be fun]!  The application asked about my favorite TED talk [SixthSense by Pranav Mistry] which brought back the memory of watching the video and the chills that followed.  I was truly inspired by the video and I think you might be too.  Check it out below.

I’ll update once I hear back about my attendee and/or volunteer application.  Enjoy the video!

Update: My application was accepted!  I’ll be at CCAD on 10/22/10 for TEDxColumbus, hope to see some familiar faces!

Sony DRBT101 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

Sony DRBT101 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

My latest and greatest gadget purchase, the Sony DRBT101 Stereo Bluetooth Headset are durable, feature packed, dual pairing, and most important of all, great sounding headphones.  I’m no audiophile but its hard to tell the difference between the sound of a movie/game when wearing this headset and listening from my regular surround sound system.  I’m talking about pulling these things off in the middle of a round of Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 fearing that the sound was actually coming from my speaker system rather than the headphones and was waking everyone up.  The explosions are an excellent example of the depth of sound these provide.  I always enjoyed listening to an album on my car or stereo speakers for a while then listening to the same album thru decent quality headphones and hearing all of the new instruments, sound effects, and lyrics that i missed on regular speakers.  The Sony DRBT101 is a perfect example of that same effect but with a wireless capability.  Watching movies and listening through the headphones can dramatically improve the entire movie for me since the sound is more inclusive and full feeling.

Aside from the sound the next best feautre of the DRBT101 is the Bluetooth.  This seems obvious but i’ve gone through a couple pairs of stereo bluetooth headphones and while DRBT101’s are the best sounding of all of them, the others weren’t bad but their downfall was the (lack of) strength in the bluetooth chip.

It can be difficult to determine where the lack of strength originates from in a bluetooth pairing since it can be either end or both ends.  Having multiple devices to connect to, I’ve narrowed any problems i’ve had down to the other end of the connection, not the DRBT101 end.  For example, I have a new tv and being an early adopter/gadget fiend, I found a reasonably priced, top-of-the-line Vizio 42″ 1080P 240Hz Internet Apps (wifi-N built in) LCD TV.  Among the many special features that place this TV a generation ahead of anything else thats out there in its price range, the built-in Bluetooth is one of the most useful.  I’m aware that Bluetooth will soon be releasing the newest version of its technology, Bluetooth 4.0, which will dramatically expand the range of the technology and the data transfer rate.  Whatever the bluetooth version in the Vizio is (i checked but can’t find it anywhere), it is the most powerful version i’ve ever used.  I”ve been all over my house wearing these headphones while connected to the Vizio and i’ve never once had a crackle or skip.  Comparing that experience against when i connect the DRBT101’s to my computer with the $17 USB Bluetooth adapter, I experience skipping and lag at only a few feet and a complete loss of connection at about 30 feet or 10 feet with our thick plaster walls in the way.  This means the connection must be as good in the headset as it is in the TV (and my Droid which also has flawless connectivity at longer ranges than my computer).

In addition to advance range and transfer rates, the DRBT101’s allow for dual pairing which means i can have a stereo audio connection with my TV while simultaneously having a mono audio connection with my phone.  When someone calls, the TV audio pauses until the ringing stops or I answer, then TV audio resumes after I hang up.  Its a liberating feeling compared to using corded headphones all the time and since i can tell if i’m getting a call without seeing my phone, i can leave it in the other room while i watch TV and/or play on my PS3.

One thing to note that is slightly disappointing, these headphones don’t play nice with the PS3, despite both being manufactured by Sony.  The stereo sound works with the PS3 but it will not connect to the microphone at the same time.  The PS3 must not be set up to support stereo bluetooth connections but i’m sure that will change with software updates in the future.  Other than that, I have zero complaints about these headphones.

I first saw these at Target for the steep price of $80 but thanks to Droid awesomeness, I used the Shopper app to scan the bar code and find similar items online.  This lead me to Amazon where i found them priced for $30 + $5 s/h.  I decided to buy them from Target to test them out and when i realized i couldn’t go without them, i ordered them from Amazon.  Once the package came in the mail, i returned the original pair to Target and saved myself $40!

Final Words:  The Sony DRBT101 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is an instant ‘BUY’ and depending on how many devices you have in your home that support stereo bluetooth, i would also say they are a ‘KEEPER’.

3 Cords

Mini,Micro&iDevice

Mini, Micro & iDevice connectors

I love gadgets and I realized that I tend to have several cords with me at any given time.  On my way to work I realized that although I have many cords, there are only three cords I need to connect to any device/gadget: Mini-USB, Micro-USB, and iPod/iPhone (iCord?).  I realize there are other types of cords that are required to connect to some devices but i think most mainstream devices use one of these three cords.

I think this says a lot about the gadget industry today.  On the one side, you have the micro-usb and the mini-usb.  The mini-usb was first and is on the larger majority of my gadgets such as my digital camera, mini webcam, Bluetooth headphones (stereo), PS3 controllers, Logitech Harmony remote, netbook, wife’s BlackBerry and several others i’m forgetting at the moment.  The micro-usb is a very small evolutionary step for the usb connector series as it hardly requires less space on a device but is still progress i suppose.  This connector is used for my Droid, portable backup phone charger, and Bluetooth ear piece.  I can’t imagine connectors getting much smaller than the micro-usb but i’m sure there will be one more evolutionary shrink before wires are phased out altogether.

Now for the other side of the aisle: Apple’s independent standard.  The iCord so to speak is only used for iDevices like iPods and iPhones yet it is found on more consumer-friendly electronics than micro-usb and mini-usb electronics combined (speculation).  Alarm clocks are the easiest example of my point since there are virtually no alarm clocks that are made for anything but iDevices by default (some do come with connectors for other devices but marketing is still focused on iDevices).  There are several reasons why this is interesting but to avoid a (more) drawn out rant, I’ll move past those reasons for now.

The reason I find this so interesting is that micro and mini usb are not brand specific or at least many brands use the either or both types of connections on their devices yet Apple still has a larger market share than all of those brands combined (again, speculation).  It is frustrating to me because a standardized connector would be very economical for everyone but would reduce profits for many 3rd party manufacturers as well as Apple and could also stifle innovation in connector evolution.

At this point the iCord is so prevalent that one can usually be found beside a mini/micro usb cord in any Target/Wal-Mart type store and that’s what really matters.  Ease of access is what’s most important to the average consumer which is why the iDevices continue to be more and more successful with each new model.  Other standards will always be around but eventually there will be two with such a percentage of the market share that most consumers will forget what the others are.  Then, of course, we’ll move beyond cords – most likely to something similar to the new ‘wireless charging pads‘ that transmit electricity through magnetic fields and are apparently safe in any household.

Poll: Which type of connector do you use most often?

Mini,Micro&iDevice

Mini, Micro & iDevice connectors

iphone

World: don’t buy an iPhone 4.

Buildabrand

Just want to thank buildabrand.com for the invitation to their limited beta preview.  The layout and logo for this site are from their service (which is awesome btw) and it was stupid easy to create.

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