ZUtA Pocket Printer

As we all know, printing especially on a deadline can be frustrating. First, you have to find a printer with the paper you need that’s close to you. Then there is the issue of multiple people using the same printer, which can take up a lot of time, and ink, and paper. One solution is to get your own printer, but if something needs to be printed in an emergency, you are out of luck. If only there was a way to have a personal printer that you could have with you all the time, well with the ZUtA pocket printer there is. Here is a short video demonstrating the product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ba5ommDa4

 

The printer has a 10.2cm diameter and weighs 350 grammes. As you have seen, it is wireless and utilises a micro-USB connection to charge. As with anything wireless, we must know the battery life, this happens to be one hour, which with a speed of one page per minute, means at best you will get sixty pages off of one charge. The print quality is the standard 300 dpi, and the ZUtA comes with one ink cartridge, which is about a hundred pages, but this amount is still being tested. Sadly, at this moment in time, the ZUtA can only print in black and white, but it is incredibly likely that colour printing will come in the upcoming years.

 

As the above video is only a teaser, you may be wondering how do you start printing, well these are the steps you will take. Firstly you will turn the device on, then you will align the printer with the top corner of what you want to print on. Now you have a choice, you can either use the “print” button on the product or download the mobile app on your smartphone and print from there. To work with multiple pages, just re-align it to the top corner of the new page, and print using your desired option. If you would like more specific information on the ZUtA, you can visit their website here: http://www.zutalabs.com/.

 

Smartbuses

There is a huge demand for public transportation, whether you can drive or not. Traveling by train, plane, or bus is sometimes necessary, but it can also be a hassle. Wi-fi signals will soon be a common thing in public transportation like buses, this will help students, worker, and everyone else with productivity by using the time that we could never use before.

One of the companies doing this is kajeet, who are more than just an internet provider. Kajeet’s “Smartbus”, is all about adding a router that can be used anywhere on the road. Having wi-fi for the students on the bus will help with homework, and it will also the bus ride less hectic by keeping the students engaged with their phones. Kajeet can customize the school’s plan to their budget and needs.

 

 

Smart buses are fantastic for those would don’t have an internet connection at home. Students are living in a time where everything needs to be done on a computer, and giving all the student a chance to do these assignments is a must. In Coachella Valley, California, the Coachella Valley Unified School District has already rolled out wi-fi in their school buses. Some of the benefits for them were, increase in students showing up to school, more homework getting done, and happier students altogether. Their wi-fi signals also don’t end after school, they park the buses at public places so the students can use them there. All this traffic is monitored, and certain things online can be blocked like a normal internet.

Soon, in larger cities, we will have this same technology in normal buses open to the public. Having a connection to the internet on your way to work, could make a huge difference. Buses could become incredibly efficient, and until self-driving cars with wi-fi, the only way to get stuff done on the move. In a decade or two, we could have internet connections all around us, making us more productive, and more happy.

Electric Bikes

Electric bikes make longer trips, faster and easier. Patents for the electric bike go back as far as 1881, but they were very expensive and dangerous. There are two types of people, ones who think electric bikes are a waste of money, and the others who see their value. Since these bikes go for thousands of dollars, you need to make sure you will get your monies worth. If you feel like an electric bike would assist everyday life, this article will help you chose whether or not to go for one.

Pros

  1. Parking: If you are in a bigger city, parking can sometimes take a long time. With an electric bike, there are many places you can leave it. Don’t worry about someone just taking the battery, as there are security measures to prevent that on almost all electric bikes.
  2. Energy: Since you won’t have to pedal as much as a normal bike, you won’t get sweaty and tired, which is great if you have a meeting after.
  3. Health: The motor won’t do all the work, so you will get healthy.
  4. Environment: If you are currently driving as your main transportation option, an electric bike will help the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
  5. Gas Money: Since you will only need to charge it when it’s low, you won’t have to spend crazy amounts on gas.

Cons

  1. Expensive: As mentioned before, electric bikes are thousands of dollars, so if you are on the fence, even after the pros, you might want to hold off for now.
  2. Safety: Since you are only on two wheels, falling off is a possibility. The max speed isn’t too high, but it could still hurt.
  3. Winter: As we live in Canada, winter can stop you from riding. You could buy a bike made for winter riding, though.

There are more pros and cons, but they are minor and only affect a small demographic. So, if you would like to buy an electric bike here are some of the manufacturers to check out.

 

Trek Bikes.

Gocycle.

Yeti USB Microphone

This article will be a review of the Yeti USB Microphone from “Blue” and my opinions on it. I bought this mic from Bestbuy for 149.99 Canadian dollars. The price was a bit much for what I needed it for, but the packaging promised professional grade quality, so I went that little bit extra.

The first thing that they sell you on is that it is convenient. Since it using USB, it can be used with many devices, this wasn’t too important for me since I have the ports for the other connectors anyway. The mic is 1.2 lbs and takes up quite a lot of room, so carrying it back and forth is a hassle. When you plug in the microphone, it automatically install the necessary drivers to function, this makes plugging it into a new device quick and easy. With all this in mind, I don’t think I would want to bring it with me everywhere just in case, but rather when I know I’ll need it.

 

The second thing that “Blue” wants you to know, is that the Yeti is the most versatile multi-pattern USB microphone available anywhere. What they mean by multi-pattern is that there are four settings to change the sound pattern. The sound patterns you can switch between are, Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional. The ability to switch the way the mic picks up sound is awesome and allows a multitude of applications. Some of the uses for switching patterns would be if you had a podcast between two people, you could cut off all the sound of one person, and then on a dime, allow both to speak at the same volume.

 

Overall, I still think this microphone is a bit too expensive, but I do really recommend it to anyone looking for a quality mic. Here is their website if you want to check it out for yourself.

 

http://www.bluemic.com/products/yeti/

 

PC Building

The picture above is my new PC, which I built over the Christmas holiday. I got the idea to build this computer when I researched into whether I should buy or build a PC. If you ever looked into building your own PC, you would have heard the pros to doing so, it is cheaper and a great learning experience. The first thing I did was to define my price range, which for me was a little over one thousand CDN, then I went to pcpartpicker.ca, which is a great website for organising your build, along with any compatibility problems. After watching many videos to get an insight into the world of PC building, I started to find the individual components that suited me best. The main parts I finally chose were as followed:

CPU – The central processing unit, is a small little chip that carries out the instructions of the computer. I choose the Intel i5 6500, which is right in the middle on the road when it comes to performance and budget.

GPU – The graphics processing unit is what takes care of all things graphics, I went with the Geforce 1060 which was more than what I needed.

MOBO – Also known as the motherboard, it is the hub of all the parts in your PC. With this part, you can kinda cheap out unless you wanted to overclock. I have the Gigabyte Z170XP.

All the other parts are not worth mentioning, but I can tell you that it took awhile to order all the parts. We wanted the parts to come for Christmas, so we had to get express shipping, if you were to build your own PC I would not suggest this. With the extra money from the Christmas cards, I went to some of the computer stores in Brandon looking to upgrade, there was barely anything in town, online is really the only way to go. I finished building the PC just before we came back for college and it has been running great every since!

If you wanted to build your own PC, take your time to research what you are buying, and ask others for help whenever you can. It was a fun experience and I would encourage anyone else to try it.

 

 

The Amazon Echo

When we think of the future we picture flying cars or hoverboards, but many years ago, being able to talk to an artificial intelligence was the big future thought. As we all know, voice controls have been novel at best, when it works that is. Our smartphones have had voice features for quite a while now, but never once have I seen someone use Siri for something other than for a joke. Voice operation went quiet for a bit, but now Amazon wants a turn, will their new product “Echo” help everyday life, or will it just be another lukewarm vocal product.

The Amazon Echo is currently $180 Canadian dollars, so, what do you get for that money? Well, you can tell it to play music, set alarms, control smart home devices, you name it. While these features might sound useful, they all could be done with a smartphone, which if you’re willing to pay almost two hundred bucks for this, you probably already own one. The Amazon store page lists all the details, but unless you really need to get an Uber without reaching in your pocket, you might not be blown away by.

At this point in my research, I realised that this awesome looking new technology from one of my favourite companies, was not as awesome as I first thought, so I looked at other’s opinions. This opened up my eyes in a major way, people had been using it for help with disabilities! There is this fantastic review that you can read yourselves here if you have the time:

https://www.amazon.com/review/RTRDKUJDZCO4B/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00X4WHP5E&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=9818047011&store=amazon-home.

Though Echo was not made primarily for disabilities, it sure seemed to help. With the use of only their voice, they could turn lights off, search the internet, and much more all without help.

Thus ended my exploration into Echo, and it really showed me how different people can use technology that I would never buy, to help with problems that I never had. In conclusion, if you have the money and the voice features could actually benefit you, then go for it, but this is a product that I’m glad exists, just not in my apartment.