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How To Get a Personalized, Tech-Shopping, In-Store Experience at a b8ta Store

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

If you don’t have a b8ta store near you, unfortunately, you are really missing out. What is b8ta? It’s what I call a click-and-mortar, but it is slightly different that what you might think. Honestly, when I discovered the b8ta store which recently opened in Hayes Valley in San Francisco, it instantly became my new favorite store. For starters, it’s packed with gadgets and gizmos, many of which I have reviewed on HighTechDad.com. And, these consumer electronics are swapped out with new ones every month. So if you are a techy person, you are probably going to plan to visit the store fairly regularly. There is also a website that showcases many if not all of the items in the stores. But what makes b8ta really intriguing is the expertise of the sales associates. Let me explain.

HTD b8ta shopping - store logo

b8ta sales associates are actually called “b8ta testers” and there is a solid reason why this is. First though, you need to think about your shopping experiences you may have had at one of those big box electronics stores. More often than not, the salespeople in those stores are either on commission, under some sort of quota, or both. That means they are trying to turn a sale as quickly as possible to be able to move on to the next victim…er…customer. And often, their knowledge of a product is not very deep, elementary at best. If you want to ask complex questions, you’ll probably get a half-baked answer or lose eye contact as they scan for another opportunity. Honestly, it’s not that great of a shopping experience.

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*Privacy Not Included…But Should be Required! Mozilla’s Connected Shopping Guide

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, HTD Tech Tip, Review, Safety, Security, Sponsored, Tech News, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article, “Those New Connected Holiday Gifts May Be Spying On You.” It discussed privacy and security concerns about connected devices, specifically, the devices we are or will be rushing out to gift during this holiday season. The funny thing is, suddenly there seems to be increased discussion around this topic. It could be the season of gift giving, or perhaps people are starting to pay attention. Regardless, this article goes into some details as to what Mozilla is doing to educate the gift-giving and receiving public via their site *Privacy Not Included. (*Disclosure below.)

HTD Mozilla *privacy not included - title page

Interestingly, in just the couple of weeks since I published my first article on this topic, I have come across two other articles discussing the same concerns.

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4 Gifts for Guys: Fitted Hat, Cooling Shirt, Streaming Stick, & a Mystery Tackle Box

In Clothing, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Sponsored, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to holiday shopping, I’m sort of a strategic shopper. I actually hate going out and browsing through department stores. My wife and girls, on the other hand, will spend hours going store to store. I think about the gifts I want to give in my mind, and then just go straight out to buy them. But, there are times where it helps to get some ideas and I’ll read about different products online ahead of time. So, to make your research and idea shopping experience a bit easier (and faster?), I was super excited to get my care package from Babbleboxx. This one is geared (literally) for guys – or not, honestly, I think any of the gift ideas I am writing about here would be great for anyone, guys OR gals.

HTD Babbleboxx Gifts for Guys - box contents

Note: This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx.com.

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Framing Your Life, Digitally – Review of the Nixplay Seed Digital Frame

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

My kids have been taking the same route inside the house to the front door for years. But recently, this trip seems to be taking a lot longer. They are getting distracted by something new along the way. I just installed a new digital frame, a Nixplay Seed, specifically. Now, sitting on the bookshelf is a portal to times past, a quick glimpse at history. (*Disclosure below.)

Over the years, digital picture frames have evolved. I remember setting up one and having to connect it to a computer via a USB cable to move over only a handful of photos due to limited storage source. Later versions allowed for SD cards to be used to pull the photos from. But still, the process took some work. And if you had of these frames like I did, the process was enough of a pain in the butt that updates to the photos were fairly infrequent.

Nixplay Seed Digital Frame Review - on the shelf

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Those New Connected Holiday Gifts May Be Spying on You!

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Safety, Security, Sponsored, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that many people this 2017 holiday season will be getting or giving some sort of connected device. When you think about it, with electronics becoming smaller and less expensive, more and more manufacturers are figuring out creative ways to add connectivity to a wide variety of devices. From toys to speakers to smartphones to home automation to appliances to just about anything, the Internet of Things is here, and there is a huge push to connect everything with anything. And while connected things open up new opportunities and capabilities, it also potentially enables companies to do things you might not want them to do, like have access to private data, location information, or even audio and video. And you might not even know this is happening. But while some gadgets are clearly labeled with “batteries not included,” not many are showing anything like “privacy not included.” Mozilla is doing something about this, you’ll be happy to know, with their appropriately named holiday buyer’s guide: *Privacy Not Included. Read on to learn more! (*Disclosure below.)

Connected gadgets spying innocently

When it comes to the world of connected gadgets and devices, there truly isn’t that much regulation from privacy and security standpoints. And often, it is up to the consumer to understand what devices connect to what services and know how their data is being used. Often, companies make it difficult to know how information is shared, or they may not disclose it at all. While smartphone and tablet apps do have increased scrutiny by Apple or Google, for example, in terms of how the data is accessed and used, and the types of services used (location, media, data, etc.), outside of the app itself, it’s a wild, wild world.

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Ring Floodlight Cam Review & Install Tips – An Easy & Smart Security Upgrade

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, How To, Review, Safety, Security, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I love security cameras! As does my wife. My kids, however, are a bit on the fence about things. While they like being protected and knowing who’s coming or going, one of my daughters complained, half-jokingly, that she can’t sneak out at night. “Dad, you guys had it easy before all of this tech. How am I supposed to sneak out when you are always watching?!” Ah, the miracles of technology – preventing the life passage of being a teen! Now, she has one more security camera that she will have to sneak around, and good luck with that! I just installed the Ring Floodlight security camera. (*Disclosure below.)

The reality is, she’s a good kid. And, as far as my tech will tell me, isn’t sneaking off anywhere. I’m much more concerned about the “strangers” that happen to be in or around my property. And while some people may think it is an invasion of privacy, I have had numerous occasions where I have caught someone late at night testing the car doors on my driveway, or even crouched by a window hiding and making a phone call. I have captured many nocturnal creatures making their journey around my home (raccoons, skunks, rats, cats, etc.). I feel that when it comes to home security, you can’t have enough technology to protect your family.

Ring Floodlight Cam - mounted

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Here’s What Logitech is Showcasing as 2017 Holiday Tech Gifts & My Thoughts

In Audio, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

A few week’s ago, I got an exclusive press preview of some of the tech goodness coming from Logitech, Jaybird, Astro, and Ultimate Ears for this 2017 holiday season. From cameras to speakers to headsets to remotes to mice and keyboards, just about every possible drool-worthy home tech gadget was on display. And while I know many of the previous iterations of many of these products fairly well, the upgrades and new products are just as drool-worthy as their predecessors. Also, Logitech continues to fold new companies into their brand, each with compelling products for a variety of lifestyles. In this article, I will go through a few highlights for each. Do note, I haven’t had that much hands-on with the new stuff apart from some demos at the event (or from experience with a previous version)! (*Disclosure below.)

As I visited the various booths set up in the swissnex offices on Pier 17 right next to the San Francisco Exploratorium (great venue to have a media event, by the way), I realized how many older Logitech devices I was actually carrying with me (a true testament to the fact that I enjoy their products). I carry and use a Logitech MX Master wireless mouse, I use a pair of the previous generation Jaybird Freedom, and I have an old Logitech Bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad mini. Coincidentally, this past weekend I just hooked up a Harmony Ultimate remote control and hub.

But this isn’t about the past. This is about the new products coming for the 2017 holiday season, some of which are already available! Let’s take a quick look at the devices that particularly got my attention at the holiday media preview event. (And note, I have provided Amazon links to many of the items as well as the current Amazon price as of this writing – they are affiliate links.)Read More