Leap Motion is Fantastic

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

My Leap Motion arrived in July, and I have been giving it a try for the last couple week. I love it! I’ve been using it to wake up the computer from sleep with a gesture, and to navigate websites. The gestures required a little learning curve, but nothing too involved.

Image credit - http://www.techspot.com/

Image credit – http://www.techspot.com/

 

THE GOOD: This first generation deice is already very fast and responsive. It is about the size of a lighter or USB stick, much smaller than you would think it would be. It has infrared LEDs and cameras to track your hands with great detail. It recognizes very small movements down to the .01 millimeter (according to the website), and can track each of your fingers independently. You can use default gestures, or create your own single finger, multi finger, or entire hand gestures. This little device creates a 3 dimensional area that you can interact in. Many times and invisible 2-D plane marks the “touch” of a touch screen, behind the boundary, you are using a cursor – cross the boundary, and it registers like a click or touchscreen ‘tap’.

 

The app store looks like it has doubled since I received my Leap controller, and Airspace App store recently published that over 1 million apps have been downloaded for Leap Controllers. I use the app “Touchless” the most – it allows the Leap to work like a mouse or touchless touchscreen all across the computer and any program. There are movie apps, games, productivity and creative apps too, and this is just the beginning. As the Leap gets out into the world, more programmers will be making Airspace apps for the Leap. There are a lot of free apps, in addition to several paid apps.

 

 

 “We’re providing developers and users a powerful platform for creating, playing, exploring and learning, and it’s thrilling to see people around the world take their first leap with our technology,” said Leap Motion CEO and co-founder Michael Buckwald. “We’re already seeing musicians, doctors, teachers, artists, students and gamers find creative and practical uses for their Leap Motion Controllers, and we’re just getting started.”

 

THE BAD: The memory requirements seems to be an issue, it uses a lot of resources to run. I noticed that the longer I have the Leap plugged in and activated, the few resources there are for other programs. Many times there are no problems with speed at all, and I have tested it on a few devices – Windows and Mac. It also isn’t as natural to use as the mouse yet, I use it more as a secondary device than a primary one; (1/100th of a millimeter, according to the literature, but I’m sure that is also just a matter of time picking up.

 

Be A Fit and Healthy Nerd

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I just leveled up after my workout today.

My stretches and cardio plus my sit-ups and push-ups earned me about 200 points, enough to level up.

I’m talking about Fitocracy, of course. The online workout tracker that allows you to collect experience points and level up – just like an RPG. There are Quests and Achievements worth additional points as well.


(comic by XKCD)

I took a few weeks off…… maybe more than a few…. due to the holidays. Now I have no excuse but to get back into my workout routine. Fitocracy helps me do that. Fitocracy is easy to use – you just tell the system what workout you did and how many reps/how much time spent – and Fitocracy will track your points.

Check it out – it is worth a look. It is in a closed beta right now, but if you put your name on the list, they get back to you pretty quickly. I have also requested additional invites.

2 other programs have been helping keep my resolutions. Push Ups pro and Sit Ups pro by NORTHPARK.

These Android Apps follow you through the workout and count your reps. You begin each app with a quick test to see how many push ups or sit ups you can do at a time – then it creates a 5 set daily workout for you. At the end of every workout, you can keep the workout the same way it is, make it a bit harder, or make it a little easier next time.

The real fun part of these apps are the rep counters. The push ups app asks you to touch your nose to the screen of your phone every rep, ensuring that you go all the way up and all the way down. And the sit up counter you hold to your chest while the accelerometer tracks your position and counts reps for you.
You may not have the same problem of losing count of reps like I do – but for me this is extremely useful!

These apps also track your progress over time and encourage you to increase the number of reps until you are doing over 100 sit ups and push ups a day!

These apps plus Fitocracy have given me the push I badly needed to start working out again after the lazy holidays, and it may work wonders for you too.

Cool stuff at CES 2012

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I love living in Las Vegas, NV.


(image by http://www.dailyuspost.com)

We have concerts, special events, and once a year – we have CES!!

Tech heads, Nerds, Geeks, and booth girls pack one of the largest convention spaces in the country. I love it so much.

I got to check out some of the new TVs we might be seeing in stores soon. The OLED TVs were amazing. The blacks were soooo deep, and the colors were incredibly sharp. The 80″ TVs were just ridiculously big. Flat screens are getting flatter – they had some frameless flat screens that had the picture go almost all the way to the edges, and the TVs were not much thicker than your phone!

I don’t like 3D – I just don’t like it – I think it allows directors to dumb down movies more and jack up ticket prices. Plus those stupid glasses give me a headache, every time. Several exhibitors had 3D TVs that blew – most had glasses, and the glasses free ones were horrible. All that known, I saw one 3D TV that blew my mind! You would look at this thing, glasses free and from any angle, and it really truly appeared like things were jumping off the screen!! It is made by Haier, and they had a slot machine video playing, I was at least 10 feet away from the TV, and I felt like I could reach out and grab the coins falling out of the TV. It was a very odd effect.

Cameras were also big this year. I saw several makes and models that were simple upgrades of previous models – which is cool, but not much to write about. 3 cameras really stood out for having awesome new features. Polaroid has a new Digital instant camera – for the people that love the “print on demand” Polaroid – now the camera/printer has 14 megapixels, an editing suite built in, and a memory card slot; I think it is a great improvement on the old school Polaroids. Polaroid also had a “Smart Camera” – which is basically everything in your smart phone, minus the phone. It is a 16 megapixel, internet enabled, ANDROID OS camera – it can download apps, play games, and take better pictures than any smart phone for years to come. Canon surprised me with a fantastic new feature on one of their new cameras: You snap a picture and it automatically grabs a video clip of 5 second after the shot and 5 second BEFORE the shot! Yes, the camera records footage before you snap the picture…… I really like that! Also, the image capture isn’t a frame of video – it is a snapshot image at maximum resolution – and it is accomplished with a duel core processor.

Sony and Casio has some cool “Smart Watches” to show off. I won’t lie – these are pretty cool! I would want to get one if the price was reasonable. They sync with your phone and let you know about texts, calls, emails, and interface with many of your phone’s apps. The Casio one is my kind of watch – G-Shock and tough, it also has a proximity alert that will let you know if your phone is more than a few feet away from you – try losing it now!

“Smart” was one of those words that you would hear at every booth – Smart cars, Smart refrigerators, Smart chargers…….. There was this Smart Window that was pretty cool – a transparent screen that works as your window – it has internet, apps, weather, and will turn opaque on command – acting as blinds. I thought that was pretty cool.

There were some new smart phones and tablets too – but they are not really my thing. I love my smart phone – but I don’t need to see 50 phones that will never go to market. And there are tablets being built by companies who have no business trying to scootch into the tablet scene – really Polaroid??

It was a fun time for sure – and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year.

And if anyone wants to buy me a Haier 3D TV – just email me!

 

–Ryan