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TeknologikL

"Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it"
TeknologikL is a place for conversation and discussion about new technologies emerging in consumer electronics with a focus on high-definition video and audio. The blog will cover topics including home theater equipment, digital distribution, media streaming, electronic product reviews and more.

The blog's owners are constantly searching for the next device to satisfy their ever growing hunger for technology. Media junkies standing on the edge of reality, ready to take the jump.

Dawn of the Balance Scooter

Posted December 02, 2015 10:30 AM by HUSH
Pathfinder Tags: gyroscope mobility scooter Segway

What did you do on Black Friday? If you're like me, you drove home from Thanksgiving and avoided leaving the house due to the yearly sales armageddon. Instead, any and all shopping was done from my recliner with my tablet.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing gifts of the year is the e-scooter. Or electric hoverboard. Or mini Segway. Is there a consensus on what to call these things yet?

It's this...(video plays on YouTube)

That is perhaps the first advertisement for this product that appeared in China in 2014. Due to China's lax copyright and trade protection enforcement, these self-balancing scooters were rapidly copycatted and have spread to the States. A product that was selling in the U.S. for $600-plus just six months ago can now be purchased this holiday for less than $300.

Prepare to see these everywhere because they seem insanely fun. Pro football players are using them to save their legs precious steps. Celebrities have been posting them on social media for over a year (and big jerk Chris Brown is actually awesome on his).

Overall, the engineering behind these is rather simple. It starts with a two-component steel frame assembled with a short central axis; many scooters can accommodate loads up to 350 lb. Electric motors are integrated into the wheels of the scooter, as are tilt sensors. When the user begins to lean forward the tilt sensors send this input to a speed controller, gyroscope and PLC. The scooter accelerates to catch up with the user's center of gravity. Turning is controlled by pressure or infrared sensors that determine when the user has their feet tilted in opposite ways.

The device also contains a battery pack, typically a 36V 4400mAH, as well as all needed circuits and interfaces. Some balance scooters include a remote for on/off, locking and mode toggle. LED lighting and Bluetooth speakers are other options. A plastic case furnishes the finished look and protects internal components. These scooters top out around 6 mph, so basically the same speed of a brisk walk anyway. Terrain is undoubtedly the primary challenge for these scooters. They typically have 6.5 inch wheel diameters, so smooth or near-smooth surfaces are always needed. Some competing models, such as the FREEFOOT, has a top speed of 10 mph and 10 inch wheels, making it much more useful.

All signs point to balance scooters being a fad, but they're everywhere right now. And never has a fad enabled personal mobility on this scale (if you're an adult who wore Heely's, it's time to reevaluate some other things). Even if the balance scooter is a dead product in two or three years, it is providing a glimpse at how personal mobility is becoming mechanized and interconnected. Surely another company and product will build on this niche of wearable technology in years to come.

7 comments; last comment on 02/13/2016
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How to Root Almost Any Android Device in a Few Easy Steps

Posted January 18, 2014 12:00 AM by CR4 Guest Author
Pathfinder Tags: Android rooting rooting Android

No matter what kind of Android device you use, it can be rooted. You will see how below. Many of you probably think that rooting a device running Android is a very difficult task. We beg to differ. With the right method, even newbies can do this.

Especially since there's Unlock-Root to use. The latter is used in a method known as one-click root. Thanks to it, your Android tablet or handset will be rooted in no time at all.

Unrooting Your Device

But rooting your device has a drawback: the warranty that comes with it is going to become void. Thankfully, there is a method you could use to retrieve it; it consists in unrooting your phone or tablet.

Another method you can use to restore the lost warranty is this: update the device to official firmware. If that doesn't work, reboot the flash counter or restore the old ROM.

If you wonder what good will it do if your Android device is rooted, here's our answer: your handset or tablet will enjoy options to have its battery last more, you will get to flash root-only apps, install custom ROMs, personalize your device, underclock the CPU and much more. On the whole, you will notice a definite improvement of your device's performance.

Requirements for Rooting an Android Device

The rooting of your Android phone or tablet has a few requirements:

  • Your handset or tablet must run Android OS
  • You need to make a backup of the data on your device
  • Charge the battery if it shows signs of being weak
  • Use a laptop that uses Windows
  • Turn on USB Debugging on your gadget
  • Go to your computer and tablet/smartphone to make sure that their security software is disabled

Important Instructions

When you're done with the previous tasks, you should now concentrate on our rooting steps:

  1. The first of them asks you to download this on your notebook: Unlock-Root (the file is available on this page). This tool is available in these two versions: a free of charge one and a premium variant. It's always recommended to install the free one, because if you flash the premium one you may not like it (or it may work unsuccessfully on your device) and your money won't come back.
  2. After the Unlock-Root is installed, you have to do this: flash the file on the notebook and then execute it.
  3. Next up: download, on your laptop, the exact drivers which work on your device. After they're flashed on your laptop, you need to connect the gadget to notebook and go to the Unlock-Root. When you're there, you should tap Root.
  4. The display will then contain a list that will display all the Android devices which work with this tool. Look for the name of the device you own, then opt for it.
  5. The procedure will then begin and, after the tool is installed on your device, you will see a message confirming the end of the flashing. You can now end the guide by unplugging the gadget from the laptop and restarting the former.

We have a comment section below. Use it if you encounter issues during today's tutorial.

16 comments; last comment on 06/02/2016
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From Smartphone to Smartwatch

Posted October 17, 2013 9:00 AM by cheme_wordsmithy

I remember the days when cell phones didn't do anything but send and receive calls. Now calling seems to be more of a secondary function to the text messaging, internet surfing, picture-taking, day planning (the list goes on) abilities that the majority of phones possess today. And now the next phase of "smart" technology has made its way to the market - the smartwatch.

<-- The ancient cellular phone: simple and BIG - Via Hoketronics.net

The smartwatch - Via phonearena.com -->

A smartwatch is defined by its ability to do more than just keep time. The concept is seen in countless spy and action movies where the hero has high-tech wearable electronics (James Bond, Dick Tracy, Inspector Gadget anybody?). The history of the smartwatch dates back to the 1980s, when personal computers made their debut. Watches like Seiko's Data 2000 and D409 in 1983 were the first of their kind to incorporate data-entry functionality. The 1980s also spawned Casio's "computer watches," "calculator watches," and "game watches."

Dick Tracy admiring his awesome watch - Via fossforce.com -->

Fast forward twenty-five years and we enter the next phase of the smartwatch. With the development of the internet and the ability to manufacture much smaller computer parts, the imagined capabilities of smartwatch technology grew more ambitious. But unfortunately, the world just wasn't ready for these devices yet, as failures in the marketplace showed.

One of the most notable of these blunders was Microsoft's SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) software, developed in 2004. It used FM radio waves to transmit content like news and weather to devices running the technology for $59/year. The few watch models that implemented SPOT were canned along with the software in 2008.

Other failures include phone watches such as LG's GD910 and Samsung's S9110 which came out in 2009. These devices were literally touchscreen phones on your wrist. Though they were functional, the idea of taking calls from your wrist just didn't appeal to most.

LG's GD910, a phone watch attempt - Via BusinessInsider.com

Nowadays, the "smart" in smartwatch (and smartphone, smart TV, etc.) has been largely redefined to specifically indicate online capability. And such is the case with this year's surge of smartwatches (including products from Samsung and Sony), which can be paired with compatible smartphones via Bluetooth to perform "useful" functions such as displaying updates, making calls, and taking photos. They also (like smartphones) come preloaded with a number of apps for added functionality.

Sony's SmartWatch 2 - Via PCMAG

To someone like me, today's smartwatches seem like non-essential overpriced luxury items for tech-toy lovers. Gizmo's like Nissan's Nismo make me even more biased. But relevancy and demand are for the market to decide, just as it was for the smartphone just a few years ago. I imagine the smartwatch will eventually become a part of daily life for many people alongside their smartphones.

I meanwhile will be looking at my low-tech digital watch and wondering where the time went, remembering the days when watches did nothing but tell time.

2 comments; last comment on 10/22/2013
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Five Tablet Apps for Productivity

Posted March 09, 2013 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta
Pathfinder Tags: Apps iPad productivity tablets

Initially I said I didn't want an e-reader or a tablet. Now I have both and love using them in certain situations. The e-reader's a great alternative to carrying several books when I travel; the tablet easily makes my work much more portable than a clunky laptop.

Most importantly, the tablet helps me stay connected. There are a number of apps that I use for work, connectivity, and productivity. Here are five:

1. Splashtop - This remote desktop app allows me to connect to my PCs from anywhere. The free version allows connection to any laptop on the same network or one that you can access via VPN. I connect to my work computer by VPN and connect to my home computer from home to access certain files or software.

2. Evernote - I use Evernote to write blog posts, create lists, and brainstorm. It's a great way to save information that can be accessed anywhere, either via the website or an app on a tablet or smart phone. This is an app that I use almost every day, especially when I'm working.

3. join.me - This service allows you to share your computer screen with others. A free, easy alternative to tools like WebEx, it's great for virtual meetings and conference calls. A picture's worth 1,000 words and being able to see what someone's explaining can really help with understanding complex points in a meeting.

4. Dragon Dictation - If you're not the best typist, this app is a great one for converting speech to text. (It's also good for those who like to hear themselves talk!) I've tested it a few times and it understands me quite well; the opposite of the trouble I have with most automated phone systems!

5. HootSuite - Another tool that's available as a web-based application, HootSuite is a social media management tool. I schedule tweets for @CR4_News, respond to messages, and keep an eye on the social media conversation. It's compatible with major social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Apps I don't like? For some reason I can't get the hang of the LinkedIn app. I prefer the experience of using that social network in a web browser. Same goes for Google Reader. I've tried Feedly but I really prefer using the original Google Reader to catch up on my favorite RSS feeds.

How about you? What are your favorite apps? Any that you wish existed?

5 comments; last comment on 03/11/2013
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A Paper Tablet – Back to Shuffling Papers

Posted January 15, 2013 4:03 PM by Chelsey H

Call me old fashioned, but I like to write things down and print things out. Especially as an editor, it is so much easier for me to get out the trusty red pen and draw all types of cryptic markings than for me to read/edit something on the computer. Soon I could have the best of both worlds. Human Media Lab has created a working prototype of a paper-thin tablet computer.

Image Credit: romston

According to an article in PopSci, the paper-like tablets communicate with one another to make working "more like shuffling papers." The product, which comes out of research at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, is named PaperTab.

PaperTab looks and feels like a sheet of paper, except it has a high resolution 10.7" plastic display which is a fully-interactive, flexible, touchscreen. PaperTab can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts. Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other and the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows.

Image Credit: itechmunch

PaperTab has a unique user interface which makes them work more like actual pieces of paper. They are designed to work in clusters of up to ten tablets and the user can control various screens at once. This means that you can have several documents or apps running at once and work across several PaperTabs to execute tasks while moving thing around between them. The whole process sounds very complicated, but it is better explained with this video. Instead of swipe gestures, the corner of the notebook is dog-eared one way or another (i.e. push it forward to fast-forward or turn a page.)

My favorite function is the ability to link multiple tabs together to extend the viewing screen and allowing you to click and drag, as well as draw/write on the screen. As someone who organizes information on a daily basis, I could see the benefit of being able to click and drag text from one line to another without losing my spot (like I always do on the computer). Being able to handwrite my notes on a screen and then link it with the actual task would be pretty great too. People remember 70% of the things they write down, so having that notebook-like functionality would feel seamless.

Image Credit: androidpolice.com

I'm excited about where this product is heading and the potential it has to streamline work and make information more tactile, which is something I miss at work.

10 comments; last comment on 03/01/2013
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