How Google is starting to Evolve with Home Automation.

When Google started as a web search engine, many people thought it was a great way to search for information over the internet.  As time has grown Google has really evolve into one of the premier tech company worldwide and now offers a range of online and regular products while testing other things as well.

Goggle has been dominated when it comes to their search engine, productivity tools (like Gmail and Google Docs), and enterprise products (Google Apps).

Now Google seems to be focusing on Home Automation.  Let's look at the products Goggle is now working on:

Nest Thermostat: The Nest Learning Thermostat that programs itself and automatically help to save energy even when you're away.  And it can be controlled from anywhere using your smartphone.

Nest Protect: The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm speaks up to tell you what the problem is and where it is.  It can even send an alert to your phone if an alarm goes off or the batteries are getting low.

Dropcam: This recently acquired product is a cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service with free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing that makes it easy to stay connected with places, people and pets, no matter where you are.

Dropcam Tabs: This recently acquired product is a wireless movement sensor for Dropcam Pro which keeps tabs on what's open or closed and what comes and goes. (Coming in the summer of 2014)

With the acquisition of Nest and Dropcam makes Google a premiere company in home automation.  Having the technology to control home products and receive notifications about what goes on around your house is a luxury that will eventually grow into the normal.

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade, that is the question.

With the Galaxy S5 getting ready to appear I was anxiously awaiting the specs and features when it was first announced by Samsung a couple of weeks ago. One of my friends asked are you going to order it as soon as it becomes available I said "Why not? It's more than likely that it's going to be an upgrade from the S4 and may feature some things that I can see myself using." When I thought about it, when the S4 was introduced in NY, even the presentation wouldn't stop me from getting this device.

That was then, this is now. As I sat and watched the presentation of the S5, I was thinking that this couldn't be all. While I was content with the specs and some of the features, to me it didn't have that IT factor to convince me to have it like it did last year. I kept thinking maybe it'll grow on me in a couple of weeks. Well that week is here and yet, for the first time, I find myself still content with the S4 for now. Was it because I was a little disappointed in the S5 maybe. Could it be that the S4 is a phone I'm happy with could be. I think the overall difference is the fact that it might not be the right time to upgrade.

With so many devices out there to purchase, I'm probably not the only one that feels the same. We tend to get so excited to see what a new device has to offer, especially when it comes to some of its features. But when it comes right down to it, whether you plan to buy or not, it's going to come to whether it has what you need.

Product Review Episode 2 - Rival Kettle

I was talking to a co-worker the other day with a cup of hot tea that I recently purchased at the local cafeteria and I notice that she poured water into this kettle. I immediately asked I thought you was making hot cereal. She said she was and this was a kettle.  I asked her how much she paid for this and immediately answered around $15.  Hence the reason I had to get one and review about it.

The company Rival introduced the Rival 1.7 Liter Cordless Kettle.  This kettle is a 1.7 leter cordless kettle that comes with 1 filter, an automatic switch-off, an external water level indicator, and indicator light, overheat protection, and a cord storage on base.  It quickly gets water heated quickly for those who like their tea, oatmeal, hot cocoa, or soup really nice and hot.  More so this is ideal for use when kitchens are not available or when you just don't want to turn on the stove. 

Product Review Episode 1 - Lasko My Heat Personal Heater

So glad that spring has finally arrived.  The winter here on the East Coast was as cold as it has ever been.  Although the it's good to work indoors sometimes, that wasn't the case this winter.  The company decided to move my original cubicle location from a place the room temperature was near perfect to a location that feel like winter.  Now usually I don't complain and just keep my hat and coat on while working but I realize that since I usually talk to a lot of co-workers and business people, I can't have them see me like I'm just coming into the office.

So since I obviously wasn't alone and seeing a couple of people bringing in heaters, I figured why not do the same.  I went online on Amazon and found the Lasko My Heat Personal Heater.  My first impression was this is a very small heater.  Is it really as effective as they say it was?  I have to say that, I'm very impressed by this. 

This Lasko personal heater is a spot heater wherever you need it.  It warms the personal space around you with only 200 watts, saving you money.  It's a small and safe heater that gives the comfort, concentrated warmth that you desire.  I purchased it for the sole purpose for work and the thing I love about this is that for it's size, it puts out a great amount of heat.  For the price I paid, for this I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

Any replacements for the "Blackberry"

I have been getting a lot of questions about which type of smartphone will be the ideal replacement for businesses today.  Currently we have Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones currently out there in the market today.  The question is which of these smartphones will be the future "Blackberry" for businesses. There are a lot of businesses that still use Blackberries as the primary work phone for work emails and other work applications available mainly because of the Blackberry Enterprise Server.

Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) ensures that sensitive information is transmitted in a highly protected environment where IT can track and manage the Blackberries remotely, without interrupting business.  And with over 500 IT policies and Blackberry technology, IT administrators can manage user settings, control groups and adjust security levels and capabilities using wireless.

Maybe down the road, other smartphones will have something similar to an Enterprise Server but until then, businesses want to have these features as the standard to ensure the security and protecting of their information.

The Value of the SmartPhone or Tablet

As I sit here watching the TV, I can't help but to look over and see my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S4) next to me charging.  As a notification goes off, I checked to see whether it was an email, text, reminder, or a social media update.

The fact is that everyone who has a smartphone or a tablet has done the same thing.  We all have that curiosity to see what notifications arrived on our phone ever since our cell phones included texting.  People today heavily rely on the smartphones to communicate with others to do business or other things.

Not only that, you can download applications to smartphones and tablets to make life even easier.  If you want to learn how to cook, there's an application for that.  If you want to exercise or workout, there's an application for that.  If you want a personal trainer, games to keep you occupied, know the latest scores, driving directions to a location you have never been, there's an application for that.

It's to a point that you can watch or record television from your tablet or smartphone.  Today these products have become so powerful and mobile that we tend to value it not as a want, but as a need.  The need to be socially available at any time, the ability to work while being mobile, and the ability to provide some type of mobile amusement not just for you but for others as well.  That's how valuable these products can be.

How Important Time Management Is....

 

I usually wake up in the morning, the first thing that I do is hit the alarm on my smartphone (yes I use it as my alarm clock too) then check my calendar and email on what my schedule is for the today.  After the usual routine (getting my son ready for school and myself ready for work), my Samsung Galaxy S4 reminds me that I have important things to do today.  Hence the reason why everything has to be done in a timely matter, which is why time management has become very important to me.  With the help of Google Calendar, my daily events and tasks are setup.

 

Check out this video, I made last year about the importance of Google Calendar for me and my family.

Has Hangouts become the new wave for video conferencing?

Whether people believe it or not, Google is secretly becoming the default for a lot of things.  It looks like it's going to be the same for video conferencing.  While they're a lot of video conferencing software out there to use (Skype, Oovoo, Tango, etc...), it seems like Google Hangouts are starting to become more popular as time goes on.

When Google introduced Google Hangouts as part of Google +, they're goal was to provide new ways of sharing across Google.  It wanted you to show the world who you are and what you're into while connecting to others who share similar interests.  Google Hangouts provides free video chat, where you can chat to ten people at one time. While Google + is still growing at a steady pace, it seems Google Hangouts is starting to become more of a main feature to sign up a little quicker.  More users are using Hangouts for video chatting and I believe that it's going to continue to grow.  Google Hangouts originally was available to the users with a webcam, or having an Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) or higher.  It was limited to previous version Android devices and iOS users until now.

With the updates on Google +, you now have the ability to start and participate a hangout in most devices. This is a huge step because you can now video chat with virtually anyone that has an iOS device or an Android device. While Skype and Oovoo does provide similar types of video conferencing, the integration with Google + and YouTube makes Hangouts the default choice for video conferencing. It's also Web-based to make it a "+" (no pun intended) to use.