Oculus Rift: A Bug with Windows Power Plan Configuration

I pre-ordered the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, on January 6th of this year. After following the Rift from its Kickstarter campaign to trying it in person at PAX 2014, I’ve been waiting for the promise of virtual reality for years. Last week, my dream finally came true– I received one of the very first Oculus Rift “CV1” headsets. After plugging it in and launching demos that cannot be explained with words, I noticed something wrong with my PC. The CPU fan was going crazy, and the sensors were reporting abnormally high temperatures.

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The Oculus Rift is finally available for pre-order and many are having sticker shock with the $599 price tag. With tax and shipping costs (really? shipping costs on a $599 device? I suppose I might be spoiled by Amazon), it can come out to almost $700 in the United States. However, this is pretty close to the price of a high-end monitor (such as the curved 34-37 inch models), and you get a decent amount of hardware included: motion tracking, the tracking camera, Xbox controller, Oculus Remote, etc.

LoopPay’s Big Problem, and How Samsung Could Fix It

Today, LoopPay announced that they were acquired by Samsung. This wasn’t entirely unforeseen, considering rumors have been popping up regarding LoopPay’s future integration with Samsung phones. The LoopPay system is a new technology that is tied to the current magnetic stripe credit card system. Using a small loop of wires in a special hardware device, the LoopPay devices essentially mimic the magnetic field caused by a swipe of a credit card, enabling mobile payments at nearly every existing credit card swipe terminal.

LoopPay Devices

The device works like magic– simply place the Fob or Card next to the magnetic swipe slot on an existing credit card machine, press a button on your LoopPay, and the reader will act as if a physical card was swiped. I’ve owned one of these devices for a little over a month (specifically, the LoopPay Card) and it has worked flawlessly every time I’ve used it on a traditional terminal, but there’s one big problem that needs to be solved before LoopPay can become a major player in the mobile payments space.

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Raspberry Pi 2 – What’s New, and What’s the Same

A couple days ago, the Raspberry Pi foundation released the Raspberry Pi 2. The Raspberry Pi 2 comes with some fantastic new features that I’m looking forward to utilizing, including an upgraded processor and RAM. Even better, the hardware comes in at the same $35 as the original model B.

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Microsoft Band

Shortly after the sync applications were leaked early, Microsoft officially unveiled their latest wearable product– the Microsoft Band. The Band is not a smartwatch, but rather a fitness centered wearable device with several smartwatch-like features. The device’s claim to fame comes from its unique blend of 10 sensors that constantly input data and send it up to Microsoft’s new Health platform.

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Looking Through Glass

Over the course of two days in a relatively quiet area of south Seattle, one of the biggest companies in technology took over a quiet building called Sodo Park.

The space, a small, old looking building, is commonly used for events such as weddings, holiday parties, and other corporate gatherings. From the outside, it wasn’t apparent anything was occurring at all– only a few lone parking signs across the street gave any hint of the company’s presence. But as you walked to the front door, flanked by a couple employees in nondescript black T-Shirts, it was apparent that this was more than just a “corporate event.”

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The Fight for Wireless Power

Nowadays, it’s rare that a technology direct from science fiction makes it to a household appliance before your smartphone or laptop. For example, fingerprint scanners, common in some industrial and high-security applications, finally appeared in several laptops, the Motorola Photon, and most recently the iPhone 5S. But wireless charging has been integrated into electronic toothbrushes for over a decade, and yet we’ve seen a minimal number of consumer devices integrated with the technology.

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Nike’s Missed Opportunity

In February of 2012, Nike released the Nike+ FuelBand– a sleek, discreet wristband that tracks your everyday activities and awards you “NikeFuel points”, a proprietary metric designed to consolidate different types of activities into a universal standard. With competitors such as FitBit already gone through several iterations of high-tech wearable pedometers, Nike needed to develop a device that worked well, and looked good.

The original FuelBand received mixed reviews, with many users complaining about reliability over time. Despite the hardware issues, Nike’s FuelBand was a solid entry into the “Quantified Self” movement that seems to be increasing in popularity.

Fast forward a year and a half, and the second generation Nike+ FuelBand SE device is nearly available for public consumption. But, with only small improvements in tracking and an update to the Bluetooth 4.0 standard, Nike has missed a valuable opportunity to differentiate themselves in the expanding field of wearable electronics, and instead spent over a year creating a minor iteration of its existing device.

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Pebble Watch Review

Almost a year ago, a new and innovative project was published on Kickstarter. Expecting to make only a couple thousand watches at most, Pebble was completely unaware of the impact their product would make in the coming months.

Ten million dollars later, the Pebble smart watch shattered Kickstarter’s record for the most money funded for a project and had the task of coordinating the design and manufacturing of over 80,000 watches to some 65,000 Kickstarter backers around the world. Despite selling out of the watch on the crowd funding website, Pebble’s success was reinforced when they continued to sell pre-orders on their website.

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Always Connected: Cookoo Watch Review

Many years ago, I received a Timex Internet Messenger watch. Back then, my parents used it to send me a message when it was time to come inside after a day of playing with my friends in the neighborhood (like I said, this was a long time ago). I loved the thing, and I’m not entirely sure why– it was just a watch.

But my obsession with the Timex was an indicator of a budding obsession for the latest technology. At this point, I didn’t have a cell phone or laptop, and I barely had my own desktop computer for the little homework I had. Yet I was still fascinated with the ability to receive a message on my wrist, and always be connected– even it was just to my parents.

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