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‘Tis the Season: Tech Toys for the Holidays 2015
And we’re back with another year of gift ideas for the tech savvy lawyer. Whether you are looking for a Star Wars drone for… ahem… your children, a computer or printer that you can fit in your pocket, or a whiskey glass to bring to Mars, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway have the inside tip. Tune in to this episode of The Digital Edge for another year of tech toys for your friends, your family, or yourself.
Special thanks to our sponsor, ServeNow.
The New Apple TV: More memory, new interface, search with Siri, and since our fingers are tired of clicking, now with swipe!
The Surface Pro 4: Lighter than ever (1.69lbs) and 9 hours of battery
Intel Compute Stick: A fully functioning computer in a small stick
Microsoft Surface Book: High performance laptop
Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer: Instant photo printer that fits in your pocket
.law: A domain only available to qualified lawyers
FurniQi Wireless Charging Bamboo Side Table: Bamboo side table with two charging pucks in the bottom
Amazon Echo: Alexa is always listening and can play music, answer questions, and control smart devices. Next stop, smart houses?
Swarovski USB Stainless Steel Bracelet: For the lady lawyer in your life (depending on which lady lawyer is in your life)
Roku 4K Video Streamer: 2500+ channels on demand and, more importantly, a lost remote finder
Ring Zero: The world’s smallest input device
Bosch eBike: Electronic motor assisted biking
Panono: 360 degree panoramic photography ball (camera)
Mycestro wearable mouse: Ergonomic and controlled with natural gestures
AKGQ701 Headphones: “The Holy Grail of Headphones”
Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass: To avoid spilling your whiskey once space travel becomes a thing
Steakchamp Thermometer: Cook your steak the way you like it every time
Star Wars Speros BB8: The Star Wars drone with an adaptive personality
Pet Cube: Play with your pets at home while you are at work
Bonus: Which of these products isn’t available to the public yet?View transcript
Advertiser: Welcome to The Digital Edge with Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway. Your hosts, both legal technologists, authors and lecturers, invite industry professionals to discuss a new topic related to lawyers and technology. You’re listening to Legal Talk Network.
Sharon D. Nelson: Welcome to the 92nd edition of The Digital Edge, lawyers and technology. We’re glad to have you with us. I’m Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises.
Jim Calloway: And I’m Jim Calloway, director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance program.
Sharon D. Nelson: Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors. CloudMask offers cost-effective and efficient data encryption for law firms. Whether large or small, in Google Apps, Office 365 and other Cloud solutions. Sign up now for your 60 day free account at CloudMask.com. We also thank Serve-Now, a nationwide network of trusted, prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high volume serves, embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit ServeNow.com to learn more.
Jim Calloway: Today, our topic is Tech Toys for the Holidays. This is the one time each year that Sharon and I are the sole guests with some useful and entertaining suggestions for technology gifts for the holidays maybe for someone else or maybe for yourself. Our first tech toy is fairly obvious for those of us who are Apple fans: the new Apple TV is just out this Fall. And one big thing about this new version of the Apple TV is the memory. There’s a $149 model with 32 gigabytes of memory, and a $199 model with 64 gigabytes of memory. The processor’s an Apple AA chip, which is a significant improvement over the A5 and the prior version. One of the buttons on the touch sensitive remote lets you activate Siri to search Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and iTunes. I’m sure no one would be surprised that Siri is turning out by reviewers to be the weak leak in this chain. The Apple TV supports lots of third party apps and we should see many games and other types of unique content coming to the Apple TV in the near future. So, for the Apple fan in your life, the new Apple TV.
Sharon D. Nelson: And if you want to head over to Microsoft land, my first tech toy is the The Surface Pro 4. As you know, Jim, I have loved my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 since the day I bought it. And the new Surface Pro 4 is now lighter than ever at 1.73 pounds, and it has a 12.3 inch pixelsense display with extremely high contrast and low glare. You can go from laptop to tablet with a multi position kickstand and keyboard and jot down notes and ideas with the Surface pen. The 6th generation Intel Core processors inside the Surface Po are not only more powerful, they’re quieter, they run cooler, and they’re more efficient than before. And the battery life is really impressive, it’s up to 9 hours now. You can even write directly on web pages with the Surface Pro pen in the all new Microsoft Edge browser and share your notes easily. With a front facing and autofocus rear facing cameras, you can video conference with colleagues and clients from around the world. Just remember to be professional and not wear your jammies.
Jim Calloway: Well, I hope Tech Claus is listening to you and drops one of those under my Christmas tree. I’d like to mention the Intel Compute Stick. The Intel Compute Stick is a fully functioning computer on one of the sticks you use to see for a Dongle or an Amazon Fire or something like that, but this is a complete computer. So you plug it in to any HDMI monitor or TV and it has a quad core Intel Atom processor, Intel HD graphics, the stick has WiFi and Bluetooth on it, it has 32 gigabytes of storage, 2 gigabytes of memory, and also a microSD card reader. There are endless possibilities for this device. It comes in Windows 8 version or in Linux, but the idea that that straight TV you have somewhere can be instantly transformed into a computer, although I will note in all the promos they also added a keyboard. The Intel Compute Stick.
Sharon D. Nelson: Alright, that sounds good to me. I’m going to go back to Microsoft to talk about the Surface Book. I should have said earlier that the Surface Pro 4 starts at $999 from the Microsoft Store and the Surface Book, which is a laptop, starts at $1,499. It really is a high performance laptop, but it has a high pricetag to match. It weighs 3.34 pounds and it has a 13.5 inch pixelsense screen with incredible 3,000 x 2,0000 resolution. It’s calibrated for true to life color with high contrast and low glare and you can detach the screen to use it like a clipboard or rotate and reattach the screen to use the full hardware accelerated graphics. It combines the 6th generation Intel core i5 and i7 processors and up to 16 gigabytes of memory, depends on how much you want to pay for it. And you can shoot video and edit in Premiere Pro with amazing fluidness and smoothness. It has an amazing battery life of 7 hours. It will run Adobe, Creative Cloud, Citrics, Autocad, and Visual Studios, so very high end stuff. it’s a heck of a laptop but a lot of folks are saying you get more for your money with the Surface Pro 4. That is all most people would need. Some people might need the Surface Book. And it’s priced $500 over its Apple laptop countertop, and I’m not sure that was a great idea, Jim, but that’s what they did.
Jim Calloway: Well, of course, the standard for many of these purchases won’t be will you need it, it’ll be whether you want it, right, Sharon?
Sharon D. Nelson: Well in our case, yes.
Jim Calloway: I want to mention the Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer. As we all know, Polaroid’s a famous brand who had their major products replaced by technology and they’re struggling to find a place. I think this is the second time I’ve mentioned a Polaroid product in one of our podcasts. But this mobile printer is only $129 and it fits right in your shirt pocket. Let me repeat, right in your shirt pocket. It’s about the size of your smartphone, perhaps a little bit thicker, and it wirelessly makes your digital photos into full color 2 x 3 prints. There’s also stickers you can do. It’s simple to setup and use and it uses the Polaroid Zink paper. So it’s true that the photo prints cost about 25 cents each, but some of us are old enough to remember when all of our photos used to cost so much each.
Sharon D. Nelson: Isn’t that the truth? And you had to wait! Imagine that, no instant gratification. My next toy is a new domain name and it’s .Law, which came out fairly recently with a lot of publicity. It originally had a ridiculous premium of a couple of thousand dollars but that was when it first opened up and now it’s down to $200 or so. They say that these domains, which were available at join.law, will only be available to qualified lawyers who satisfy strict eligibility requirements. It can be a good opportunity for branding. You’re not going to pay much more than $200 annually, which isn’t bad if you can get a good name. Particularly, if today you have a long domain name that’s hard to remember, this might be a good alternative. But I wouldn’t necessarily rush over and buy one of these and they didn’t get the fanfare. You also have .attorney, .esq, and .lawyer are also now available from different vendors. I still think that .com is the king of the hill and I wouldn’t necessarily go over and buy one of these expensive domains unless i have a problem with the one I have now.
Jim Calloway: Although, Sharon, I will note that a lot of the larger law firms have decided that $200 is a cheap investment just to buy it so nobody squats on it and is the same as your .com domain name.
Sharon D. Nelson: That’s a good point and one I should have made. Thank you, Jim.
Jim Calloway: The next item I’d like to talk about is the Furni Qi Wireless Charging Bamboo Side Table. This is a gorgeous bamboo side table. As we know, bamboo is a sustainable material and this has two round charging plugs fitted at the bottom of the table. And then on the top, you could see very subtle circles to drop your device on or set your device on to charge. Depending on the model, it’s $139 to $229, plus $10 per phone, because it doesn’t magically charge your phone, you have to attach a charger receiver to your phone. This actually looked like the product was going to make, but it’s one of these kickstarter things. They say they’re going to be having it done and ready available by Christmas, but when I just checked on it prior to the podcast, I’m a little concerned about that. I know we all hate it when our devices run out of charge and certainly the concept of just setting your phone on the table beside you and it magically charges without having to plug anything in is going to be a great idea for some lawyers. So the Furni Qi Wireless Charging Bamboo Side Table.
Sharon D. Nelson: That’s a kind of magic I like too, Jim. Another piece of magic that a lot of folks picked up this year as it just became widely available is the Amazon Echo, which is $179.99 at Amazon. I don’t remember anything that so many of our friends have bought during the year and they all claim to love it. The Echo is also known as Alexa, and it’s a voice command device from Amazon that’s always listening once she’s woken up, and I’ll get back to that later. Her functions include questions answering, playing music and controlling smart devices. It’s really a 9.25 inch tall cylinder speaker with a 7 piece microphone array, speakers that include a woofer, tweeter and a remote control. So you talk to Alexa by saying her name and that wakes her up. It previously was available only by invitation or to Amazon Prime members, but it became widely available on June 23rd of this year. PC Reviewers said they really liked talking to her, that it felt more natural and organic than other forms of voice control that he had tried. And even though he didn’t think it was a perfect speaker or voice assistant, he likes using it. It tells the forecast, it knows where you are. You don’t have to wait for Alexa to catch up. You can pretty much just say, “Alexa, what’s the weather,” without skipping a beat and she can tell you if there’s any traffic problems in your area. She can bring up sports scores and schedules. She had no trouble with state capitals, word definitions, holidays and measurements. The Echo also hooks into Wikipedia, so you can also receive spoken information on just about anything. But she isn’t as smart as Siri or Google Now, and this is a big one, she lacks access to your email and other messages which makes her far less useful. You do get Google Calendar support, but that still is a downside to it. And I loved what you said, Jim, that you talk to Siri when you need her. But as long as your son has Alexa on, she’s eavesdropping on him all the time.
Jim Calloway: I’m sure they worked hard on their security, but I’m equally sure that we will see a major motion picture where eavesdropping Alexa is a part of the plot. Don’t you agree, Sharon?
Sharon D. Nelson: I have no doubt.
Jim Calloway: I now want to talk about a piece of jewelry, which is a little out of my normal realm of discussion. But the USB Stainless Steel Bracelet from Swarovski is $129. It has a lovely blue crystal embedded in a stainless steel casing on silver colored leather. But when you open it up, the clasp is actually an 8 gigabyte USB key. This one really does look like jewelry when most of the ones we’ve seen before looked like a USB holder, essentially. So this is the perfect gift for the lady lawyer in your life, as long as you know the lady lawyer quite well and this doesn’t start maybe the end of your relationship.
Sharon D. Nelson: That’s pretty good, I like that one. I still have the pen from Swarovski which has the thumb drive in it which I like too. My next toy is the Roku 4k Video Streamer which is $129.99 from Roku itself. Every Roku player provides access to 2,500+ channels on demand, offering 300,000+ movies and TV episodes and the ability to search across more than 20 top streaming channels to find the best price and option. The Roku 4 offers the advanced processing for smooth streaming and higher resolutions plus some new features like a lost remote finder. I’m really pretty excited about the Roku and I especially loved it this weekend when American football games were playing in Britain and you couldn’t watch the game even on DirecTV with our NFL pass. But we could use the Roku to hook into Yahoo and thereby watch the game. It’s a crazy and complicated world, Jim.
Jim Calloway: If you’re dedicated fans.
Sharon Nelson:And now we’ll pause for a commercial break and then we will be right back.
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Sharon D. Nelson: Welcome back to The Digital Edge on The Legal Talk Network. Today, our subject is Tech Toys for the Holidays, and the cowboy and miss Sharon do all the talking about our picks for tech toys you might want to consider buying for someone else or buying for yourself for the holidays.
Jim Calloway: Continuing my jewelry theme, Ring Zero is styled as the world’s smallest input device. It comes in shiny white or black and yes, it is a ring. It really doesn’t make much of a fashion statement, but this ring allows you to control many of your devices with gestures, including home controls, your phone and mobile device, advancing slides on a powerpoint, and more. Yes, now you can take selfies from a much farther distance than with a mere selfie stick. Sharon, we make so many gestures during our silly presentations, I’m not sure what might happen if we try to use that. Only $149.99 for a Ring Zero.
Sharon D. Nelson: Yeah, I’m not sure we’re going to try that one, we’ll just get ourselves in trouble. Okay, let’s go to the Bosch eBike system, which is expensive between $4,000 and $7,000 as a price range from Bosch eBike. But whether it’s hauling your kids to and from school or tackling a long trip to work or blazing a trail in your own outdoor adventure, a Bosch powered eBike is the cutting edge cycling technology to make your dream ride happen. With a drive system developed by the eBike systems, steep becomes flatter, distance becomes closer, long becomes shorter, and fast becomes easier. The pedal assist eBikes today embody technology that’s powerful, reliable, and useful but still preserves the healthy human element of cycling and all the physical and social benefits cycling entails. The drive unit, and I love this thing, engages only when pedalled and riders can set the level of assistance the electric motor provides, enabling the rider to maintain a comfortable riding speed with less physical effort. I think this is great, and of course it’s all computerized and there’s an all in one on board computer which will accompany you to your destination and it’s fully networked with the eBike Connect app and online portal. When I was a teenager, I used to have to bike up a monstrous hill to get to tennis courts every day. I wish I had this system then, it would have made that hill a lot smaller. Why do all the great inventions come 40 years too late, Jim?
Jim Calloway: It just seems that’s the case. I know some people who have turned into real selfie addicts, Sharon.
Sharon D. Nelson: Yes, we do know one in particular.
Jim Calloway: Right, and I’m saying that you’ve got to be really committed for your next device, so Randy Yeip, this is for you. For those of you who want to take even more amazing selfies or an entire panorama, Panono is for you. Panono is a ball that contains 36 fixed focus cameras. You just toss it up in the air and it will take a panoramic photo using all the cameras at the top of its arch. The company says there will be no blur. You can also hold it in your hand to take shots and trigger it manually, or synchronize it with your phone via the app so you can actually watch through the camera as it flies through the air. They make it very easy to post these panoramic shots either to social media or your website. This is really the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time and it ought to be, because the list price is $1,499. Yes, $1,499, and you’ll want to early order it very quickly for the holidays, as they say to allow 7 weeks shipping from Germany.
Sharon D. Nelson: Jim, I think you ought to send that information to Randy now, he won’t have time by the time this airs. My next tech toy is the Mycestro wearable mouse at $149 from Mycestro.com. What the world needed, it now has, a wearable mouse, lightweight and ergonomic. You control your cursor using natural gestures, holding your arm in any comfortable position, which is very cool for folks with arthritis. The Mycestro wirelessly connects with your computer, tablet, or other device, with a range of up to 30 feet, which is very impressive. You can work desk free up to that 30 feet away. It’s great for traveling business people and presenters. I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to right after we finish recording this podcast.
Jim Calloway: My next toy is the AKG Q701 Headphones. These are “The Holy Grail of Headphones,” at least according to Lifehacker’s Whitson Gordon. And in the show notes, I’m going to provide you the link to his review rather than the company website. Because many of you, like me, had no idea of the depths of commitment exhibited by audiophile geeks like Whitson – and I mean that in the most positive way, Whitson. He reads all the reviews, tests lots of headphones, even participates in local and regional – here’s a new one on me – Head-Fi meetups. It’s the group that loves sound. He will compare features you didn’t even know existed, like which headphones have the best sound stage. He even included his favorite hack on these perfect headphones to tweak them just a little bit more by opening them and adding a bit of microfiber cloth cut just inside. I was all ready to purchase, but one thing holds me back. These headphones are open back headphones, which means that people sitting closeby to you can hear you. So they’re not great for a library or airplane. It also means they can’t be noise cancelling. On my last flight back from the Law Practice Division meeting, I had a baby two rows in front of me and one row behind me. So for myself, I’m going to stick with noise cancelling headphones. But if you want, the holy grail, the AKG Q701 Headphones. Current retail price is $180.
Sharon D. Nelson: I’ve got to tell you, Jim, we had a baby in front of us on the flight home from the same recent meeting we both went to, and that baby threw her bottle of orange water at John twice. She got away from her mother and the second time landed squarely on his forehead. So I’m glad he wasn’t wearing any noise-cancelling headphones because he heard the missile coming and was able to protect himself. My next tech toy here is wonderful. It’s Valentine’s Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass. This is another invention that the world needed. Think of how much happier Matt Damon would have been on Mars if he had one of these and the whiskey to go with it. A Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass is great for all of those outer space trips you plan on taking. Valentines, like your tech toy that you mentioned before, Jim, is still working on a release date for the glass, and it still has to pass food and safety regulations before it can be sold. So they don’t have the price, which is worrisome. You can always slip an IOU in someone’s stocking if it isn’t out by Christmas, but you certainly would like to know the price first. I don’t understand entirely how it works, but I know it has a weighted rose gold base, which makes it feel heavy on Earth, but light as air in zero gravity or microgravity. And I don’t really understand microgravity either. Is that almost no gravity? I have no clue. Anyway, I wouldn’t go into space without a Zero Gravity Whiskey Glass, although mine would be holding Woodford Reserve.
Jim Calloway: Hear, hear. Well, everybody loves a good steak, but sometimes grilling can be a challenge, particularly if you’re entertaining and some guests want medium rare and some guests want medium well. And maybe you’re the cook who’d rather participate in the party than be tied to the grill anyway. Steakchamp is your key to perfect grilling pleasure. No more having to struggle and squint to read a thermometer while smoke gets in your eyes. The Steakchamp Thermometer notifies you when steaks are ready via blinking light. It blinks green for medium rare, then turns yellow for medium and red for medium well. You can see this blinking light from clear across the room. And here’s a pro tip: you can just buy one Steakchamp and monitor all your steaks and as soon as it blinks green you pull off the number of steaks you need and then yellow, of course that one will be in the last batch for medium well. Pretty interesting concept, and this one costs $59.95 on Amazon. The Steakchamp.
Sharon D. Nelson: I love it, that sounds like a good one for John. My next toy is the Star Wars Sphero’s BB8, $149.95 from Sphero.com. This is an apt and able droid that’s as authentic as it is advanced. It is, of course, a Star Wars kind of creature. It has something unlike that of any other robot. It has an adaptive personality that changes as you play with it based on your interactions. BB8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands. You can set it to patrol and watch your droid explore autonomously, make up your own adventures and guide the BB8 yourself, or create and view holographic recordings, which sounded pretty neat to a girl who grew up on Star Trek. So it’s now possible to explore the galaxy with your own trusty droid by your side. It’s more than a toy, it is your companion, and this is the gift that all the kids seem to want this year. So it’s time for Mr. And Mrs. Claus to pony up for this one.
Jim Calloway: Well, as we know, we have more than just children in our family, many of us our pet owners. And one thing I’ve learned is that many pet owners think their pets should participate with gifts as well for the holidays, so I’m going to mention the Pet Cube. This is just the thing for the helicopter parent or helicopter pet owner. Pet Cube allows you to watch, talk to, and play with your pets at home while you are quote unquote, “busy,” at work. Yes, Sharon, it’s a glorified baby monitor but for pets. You can either use the iOS or Android app and you could watch the entire room, the pet is in on your phone. If you want to interact with your pet, it includes a built in laser toy so you can play with them as they follow the light beam around. You can also talk to them over the included speaker if you catch them misbehaving – yes, we’ve all seen that commercial. There’s even an Instagram-like feature where you can share images of your little darling online. Although, I’ll say if you’re an employee and actually have a supervisor, we encourage you not to overshare your pets during business hours. PetCube.com.
Sharon D. Nelson: Isn’t that the truth? We already have the video surveillance camera in the dog room but we don’t have all those other features, so I’ll have to mention that one to my husband too. And the last bit here is Darth Vader and R2D2 Handheld Showerheads, $25 and $30 depending on which one you get from Bed, Bath & Beyond, which struck me as a strange purveyor of such things. But they say that you can harness the power of the dark side with this sith-infused Darth Vader handheld showerhead from Oxygenics. That’s the Bed, Bath & Beyond description for the handheld showerhead. Not only do you get bragging rights to Darth Vader’s in your presence in your bathroom, but you also get anti clog nozzles, three powerful sprays, and a comfort control level to adjust the water pressure and a lot more besides. Star Wars freaked out on social media over the showerhead. I mean, seriously, Jim. Who does not want to bathe in Darth Vader’s tears?
Sharon D. Nelson: And that does it for this edition of The Digital Edge, lawyers and technology; and remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at LegalTalkNetwork.com, or on iTunes. And if you enjoyed our podcast, please rate us on iTunes.
Jim Calloway: Thanks for joining us. Goodbye Ms. Sharon.
Sharon D. Nelson: Happy trails, cowboy.
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The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own, and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by, Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
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