Consumer Technology, Entertainment

REVIEW: Fire TV Stick – two thumbs up

Image Courtesy: Amazon.com

Image Courtesy: Amazon.com

Is Amazon’s Fire TV Stick this Christmas Season’s go-to gadget?! Yes. I bought one in the pre-sale on a whim and obviously couldn’t just wait until Christmas for the install. I’m impressed.

Super easy to install and setup, the Fire TV Stick is snappy, intuitive, and even minimalistic.

We’re a cable/satellite-free family and have been using our Roku for two years running – additionally, I use the Apple TV at Venyu so now with my Amazon Fire TV experience, I can attest to it’s coolness. I like the interface and the tactile interaction  with the little svelte remote (ala Apple TV). Like all streaming devices, the Fire TV Stick basically transforms your dumb tv into the opposite.

Tech specs are hard to argue with too: dual core processor, 1GB memory, and 8GB onboard memory for apps and games. Apps include all the usual suspects like Netflix, Pandora, Hulu, etc and the games selection is not too shabby either although you’ll want to order a game controller. As an Amazon user, you’ll benefit from added bonuses like photo streaming from your Amazon cloud as well as music streaming from Amazon Cloud Player – both native to the device.

All this for $39.00 – and that’s the whole point of this article. Making the leap to a cable-free, internet centric media experience is more realistically accessible than ever before.

Biometrics, Enterprise Technology, I.T. Security

The Beginning of the End for Passwords?

Have you heard of the FIDO Alliance? FIDO stands for Fast IDentity Online, and this “alliance” is a consortium of organizations who are committed to removing passwords from your computing and creating alternative means for identity verification. Its made of some of the top companies in the world, like Bank of America, Microsoft, Discover Financial Services, Samsung, Visa, Google and more.  Recently FIDO released their 1.0 specifications for strong authentication due to the fact that weak or stolen passwords were a factor in many data breaches analyzed. Whats the alternative? Hardware tokens or even biometrics that should interface seamlessly with cloud applications or websites.

I for one am excited for our non-password future. Lets just hope hackers don’t start coming after body parts. Find out more over at the FIDO Alliance Website.

 

 

No Shave November

A Few Good Beards

noshaveafter-Venyu2014The final picture from Team Venyuvians’ NoShave November campaign 2014! We had a lot of fun busting each others “beard growing” chops. Everyone had a good laugh at those of us who shaved our beards to start (Kyle, Adam, and myself). Yet, the most meaningful part of this journey was the brotherhood we fostered. Thanks guys for your faces’ contributions and your donations to the American Cancer Society. Mission accomplished.

#LetItGrow #NoShave

Consumer Technology, Laptop, Windows Tablets

Revisiting the Surface Pro 3

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Sometimes, I am wrong.  The magnitude of which I am wrong varies, but wrong is wrong.

A while back, I wrote an article on the way that Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro 3, which I still stand by in some regards.  The marketing they’re choosing seems incredibly weird to me, as I don’t think a MacBook Air and a Surface Pro 3 are really in the same product category.  If I want a touch screen, why would I consider a Mac?  And if I want OS X, why would I consider a Surface running Windows 8.1?  I’m also still not entirely sure that a Surface Pro 3 can replace your laptop, but more on that later.

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Consumer Technology, Futurism

Shop Small this Weekend

Small-Business-Saturday

I’ve owned a small business and can testify to the fact that there’s something innately special about supporting the local proprietor. It’s good for the community and most of the time, the experience and product has a tangible authenticity.

You need to be an idealist to shop local right?! Or at least wealthy thus making “shopping local” a status symbol. Right?! I say BS – from experience. Local retailers are having to recognize the advantage that the Amazon.com’s of the world bring to the table from a price perspective and they are responding with service, experience, AND competitive price.

Example: I’m buying a bike in the very near future from my local shop because they are offering the same pricing and selection… and relationship for future service.

My family buys a ton of stuff on Amazon.com and will continue to do so. When it’s possible to support the local retailer and local farmer – do it. It is becoming increasingly affordable and has a huge positive impact on the community in which you live.  Learn more about Small Business Saturday here and use #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall

No Shave November

Ways to clean up after No-Shave November – Dollar Shave Club Review

As we reach the end of  the marathon that is No-Shave November, you may want go get back to that clean shaven (or mostly clean shaven) look. Let’s face it gents, going and buying razors in a store is outrageously expensive, not to mention the hassle of keeping up with your inventory of blades and shaving products. But no more! There are some great services out there that take away that hassle, one of these is Harry’s razors , which I have not personally tried, but they look like a quality operation and I wanted to give them a shout out anyway. The razor delivery service that I’ve chosen is Dollar Shave Club (DSC), featured in the above video. I’ve been using DSC for about a year and a half, and wanted to share some thoughts about the service so you can decide if it will fit your lifestyle.

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No Shave November

How to look 15 years younger in just 10 minutes! #LetITGrow

I hadn’t shaved my face in over 10 years aside from trimming therefore my kids only know me as the bearded daddy. So this year for NoShave November, I decided to start fresh with all the other guys on the Venyuvian team. My incredibly talented wife made this fantastic mini-documentary video of my transformation into “high school kid!”

Join us in supporting the NoShave November movement by making a modest donation to the Venyu team campaign.

#LetItGrow