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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for the ‘Technology News’ Category

Apple Giving Away Free Apps in Time for the Apple Store’s 5th Birthday

Monday, July 8th, 2013

apple store apps

 

If you’ve been over to the application section of the Apple Store, you may have noticed some pretty sweet deals.  In time for Apple Store’s 5th birthday, they are dropping prices for some great apps and making them completely free for a short period of time.  One of the most popular games of 2012, Infinity Blade II, once was $7, now a cool zero bucks!  The tech website, Tech Tola, has a running list of all the free apps, so stop by and check out some great, free applications.

Technologist Tuesday: Home Wi-fi

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

TECH TUESDAYS

Home Wifi:

Does your house have Wi-Fi?  Does it reach everywhere you want it to?  Are you happy with your Wi-fi signal? For many of us, Wi-Fi is a hassle.  Signals not strong enough, Videos buffer and get all choppy or we just can’t seem to get a good signal when we’re on the backyard deck.  Here are some ideas that can apply to just about all of you who want to have a better wireless internet signal.

Part One:  The Provider

What piper do you pay?  Do you have DSL, Cable or are you still using Dial up?  Before you try to tackle having a better signal in your home, you’ll want to ensure that the true speed of internet coming into your home is sufficient.  Many people just don’t know what that means.  Time to get the bill out and look:  What are you paying for?  How many Mbps (Megabits per second) are you signed up for?  If you have Cable you’re in the clear.  Cable internet is simply the best.  Cable customers typically receive 25 to 50Mbps.  Interested?  Contact your local cable company and find out current rates.  Switch to cable if you can.   If you have some kind of DSL service, you’re most likely getting 1Mbps, 3Mbps, 6Mbps or 12Mbps.  Contact your DSL provider and ask them if they will offer you the option to move up to 6Mbps or higher.  It may not be that much more money and there’s nothing you’ll need to do with your equipment.   If you have dial up, then see if Cable is available or if you can switch to higher speed DSL.   Most dial up users are paying more for internet than other options that may be available.  Bottom line: try to get your service at 6Mbps or higher.  Anything less is weak internet.

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iOS 7 Beta: A First Look

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

TECH TUESDAYS

Initial impressions of iOS 7 Beta

 

ios 7 flat icons

The new “flat” design icons of iOS 7.

 

I just missed a call, but the caller left a voicemail. Because I’ve been on iOS 7 Beta since it was launched, I’ve got a system to retrieve my message:  Open phone app, hit home button to get out of phone app, open phone app again, wait 13 seconds until it freezes and crashes and then reopen one last time and BAM! now i can check my voicemail. Yes, we iOS 7 beta testers play a sort of technological Indiana Jones, crunching across a virtual bug-infested cave and reaching into a hole where our arms are coated with overgrown insects, just to use our phones.  However, I feel that when iOS 7 graduates beta, we’ll all enjoy using this iOS, an operating system coursing with the power of all five Sankara stones.

Despite the bugs, iOS 7 is the best OS Apple has engineered yet.  The new fluid motion between all apps is a visual delight.  Major apps—Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Safari, iTunes & Phone—all received upgraded functions.  New controls that help us manage our device’s features also  increase ease and efficiency of use. The changes are so dramatic that I’d choose a glitchy iOS7 over a smooth functioning iOS6 any day.

iOS 7 has been under the gun for allegedly nabbing Android OS elements, as well as not being very intuitive.  I agree that Apple has taken on a great deal of other companies’ features and put the Apple spin on them.  The Android community shuns them for it, Microsoft takes a jab at features they feel are inadequate and the Apple user community seems rather content with their existing iOS devices-sometimes arguing back as they often think themselves superior.  We all know that Apple has proven themselves as an innovative company, and there’s no doubt that they have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. This round, they’re catching up with the competition.  It is very probable that they’re simply setting themselves up for a pretty big come back.

 

On to the iOS! (more…)

Introducing Josh Davis, The Technologist at Abt

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Technology is changing more rapidly than ever, these days, and we know it can be hard to keep up with this shifting landscape. We do our best to lend a helping hand by building a team of knowledgeable, passionate sales and service associates. Regular training and a commitment to customer satisfaction make our employees some of the best in the industry. But even with a team of on-call experts, we know wading through a sea of specifications, menacing-sounding acronyms and countless model variations can still be intimidating. Because if you don’t know where to start looking, how do you start at all?

So in our quest to make the Abt Experience better for all of our customers, both local and nationwide, we’re happy to introduce Josh Davis, The Technologist at Abt. Some customers in our local delivery area might recognize Josh as one of our head Apple sales specialists, and general go-to gadget guy. He’s also, over the last few years, built up something of a name for himself as a trusted source of product reviews and recommendations for area media. Chicago-area folks have probably caught Josh on a local news broadcast, having seen one of his many appearances on WGN, WCIU and NBC news programs, highlighting the hottest tech products for upcoming seasons or holidays.

 

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Abt Knows Sonos Wireless

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Sonos Wireless Music Speakers at Abt

sonos wireless speakers

The Sonos Wireless HiFi system at Abt.

We always like to keep our showroom changing, making room for popular products and giving our in-store customers something new to see on return visits. Our newest addition is a corner display devoted solely to sonic streaming superstars Sonos, who have been taking the audio world by storm lately. Abt is proud to host the first Sonos Flagship Display in the US. The Sonos system is a set of devices that let you wirelessly stream music from one place in your home to another, without dealing with a mess of wires or complicated routing devices. Sonos wireless music players are simplistic in style and in operation, but pack quite a punch in the audio department. (more…)

Toshiba’s new LEDs bring life to Mona Lisa

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

mona lisa painting

Working with Toshiba, the Louvre in France has recently completed an upgrade to the lighting for the Mona Lisa painting.  This will ensure that the Louvre’s  guests will be able to experience the painting as it was intended to be, no matter the surrounding lighting scenarios.

Toshiba designed a custom lamp that is concealed and pointed towards the painting.  The lamp uses 34 individual LED bulbs with precise spectrum controls that will allow the museum’s curators to adjust and perfect the light that hits the painting.  The lamp also compensates for the color shift caused by the Mona Lisa’s protective covering, so that the colors visitors see are true to the colors da Vinci originally used. What’s also important is that these new bulbs eliminate any harmful rays from ordinary bulbs that can deteriorate the painting over time.

The Newest Generation of XBOX: The XBOX One

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The new XBOX One is poised to take the gaming world by storm!

Microsoft has just announced the newest generation of the XBOX gaming console titled, the XBOX One.  First, let’s talk about the guts of the machine.  It will have the following goodies:

  • 8 Core CPU
  • 8 GB System Memory
  • 500 GB HDD
  • Blu-ray Drive (finally!)
  • 802.11n Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct
  • HDMI In/Out
  • USB 3.0

The look and design of the system itself is that of an all black feature and features a two-tone finish with both glossy and matte.  The Blu-ray disc and gaming drive will be slot-loading and changing between your console and live TV will be seamless.  There will also be voice-activate features.  Simply saying “XBOX On”, will turn your console on and “XBOX, watch TV”, will turn on your TV.

The emphasis is not only on a powerful gaming performance, but an all-inclusive spectrum to your game playing habits.  For instance, Microsoft states, “Achievements ill become dynamic and changing.  They tell your personal story of how you play, not what you’ve done.”

There is some grumbling among the gaming communities over the following features: it isn’t backwards compatible, and the possibility that used games will no longer work.  Microsoft hasn’t yet fully explained their “used game” policy, but we are sure it will get fleshed out by release date which will be Q$ just in time for the holidays.

 

The Connected Data Transporter Drive: Like Cloud Storage, But Better

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Ever wish you could have your important files escorted across the internet by a rough-and-tumble English rogue in a high-performance European sedan, ensuring they get to a safe, secure destination? If you’re like me, you sure have. Data storage on “The Cloud” continues to grow in popularity, but many people are nervous about reliability and privacy of cloud-based storage, not to mention recurring storage fees. And that’s where the Connected Data Transporter Private Cloud comes in, giving you the convenience of cloud storage services, without the monthly fees, and with the peace-of-mind of having total control over the location of your data.

Connected Data Transporter Drive

Getting started with the Transporter drive is a pretty simple process. First, buy the unit with the amount of storage you need: 1TB (terabyte), 2TB, or a bare unit, to which you add a hard drive of your choice. Then connect it to your home network, either wirelessly or with a wired connection. Once hooked up to your network, simply create a Transporter account, and you’re ready to easily and safely sync files and share them with anyone you want, from anywhere you have access to the internet. (more…)

Jurassic Park returns to theaters in 3D

Friday, April 5th, 2013

“An Adventure 65 million years in the making”

Anyone who was of theater-going age in 1993 most likely saw the blockbuster Jurassic Park on the big screen.  I still remember going with my aunt and uncle to the new IMAX theater at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Being only 10 years old, I was already fascinated with everything dinosaurs, so this movie was a big thing for me.  I loved the experience and it certainly is one I will never forget.  To chase that nostalgia, I will undoubtedly be seeing Jurassic Park again on the big screen with the re-release, this time in 3D!

jurasic park 3d

The movie continued the time-honored tradition of “summer blockbusters”. It captivated audiences of all ages.  To this day, it is still referenced as summer movie perfection.  From the thrills, scares and overall ingenuity of the dinosaur creators, Jurassic Park stands the test of time.  You probably even find yourself randomly quoting lines.  The last time the power went out at my house during a storm, I found myself thinking, “the raptor fences aren’t out, are they?”

Jurassic Park 3D is another movie that is taking advantage of the popular 3D technology. 3D technology has been advancing so incredibly fast these past few years that you can even enjoy movie theater quality 3D right in your own home with a variety of 3D HDTVs.   The 3D re-release will give audience members a chance to experience the thrills in a brand new technology.  You can even enjoy hearing Jurassic Park, the way it was meant to be heard. From the thunderous roar of the T-Rex, to the frightening hisses and howls of a pack of Velociraptors, find yourself in the middle of it all!

Jurassic Park has had an amazing run the last 20 years (please ignore the sequels).  People’s interest in dinosaurs and paleontology exploded when that movie first arrived, but for the movie industry  it was a giant leap in technological advancements.  The dinos looked and sounded as real as the screams from the audience members who saw them.  So if you are free this weekend, head out to your local theater and share with a younger generation the sounds and sights of one of the the best dinosaur movies to walk the earth.

Google Nexus 5 featuring a Nikon Camera?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The rumor mill for upcoming electronics is always churning.  One that certainly gets the most pre-release buzz is the Apple iPhone.  Recently, there were intriguing rumors this time, not for the new iPhone, but for Google’s newest smartphone, the Google Nexus.

nexus 5 nikon camera

The word on the street, and by street we mean online tech blogs, is that Nikon might be in the works with Google to have their camera equipment installed on the the next Nexus. It could have Nikon camera technology on board, with a “triple sensor” array. This works by combining three sensor layers, each with a smaller megapixel count, to create a single higher resolution image with better color rendering light enhancement.  Be on the lookout for more interesting tidbits about the Google Nexus as the release date slowly approaches.