Misfit Flash

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Misfit Flash

The Misfit Flash fitness tracker is worth way more than it’s meer $29.99 price tag. The Flash is a slim fashion friendly wearable fitness tracker that measures sleep and activity. This information is available through syncing the Flash with your smartphone via the Misfit app (on both Apple & Android). The app helps organize all the information collected by the Flash. For example, calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken & sleep duration/quality. With a catalogue of pre programmed activities to track like running, walking, tennis, cycling, basketball & soccer, tracking different activities is simple and this keeps the collected data accurate to each activity. This is an always on fitness tracker. Once you put it on you don’t need to remember to charge it or plug it in to update or receive logged data. With a battery life of 6 months to a full year, depending on use. Misfit is considerably one of the most convenient fitness trackers available, especially within it’s low price tag. In addition to tracking fitness and sleep the Misfit Flash also works as a wireless bluetooth button that can be programed to trigger events. Events such as services like, Yo, IFTTT, Harmony & Ring my phone. Other events such as music and camera control are also available for programming. With the services event options you can extend the reach of this tiny fitness tracker. To use this feature and use the tracker as a bluetooth button with programmed responses first you’ll need to install and setup the Link app by Misfit.  

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Misfit Link

The Link app by Misfit picks up where the Misfit app leaves off. Stepping in after the fitness and sleep tracking and enabling the interactive functionality such as the single, double, or triple press and the long press options. After syncing your device with the Link app, you’ll be presented with pre themed options like, music remote, selfie button, preso clicker, bolt switch and the custom button option. We’ll be covering the custom button option. Where each click, tap and press are blank and customizable with 3 sub options. The 3 sub options are, services, music remote and selfie button. Inside the services option there’s time & progress, yo, if, harmony and ring my phone. Music remote options are next, back, volume up and down. The selfie button list is short but still very useful with its take a photo and burst pictures options. With these plug-in like events, that can be programmed to react to a single or patterned click of a simple fitness tracker, the events options are only limited to your imagination.  

Custom Buttons

A profile for every occasion. Switch between profiles for fast functionality based on your needs in the moment. There are a bunch of pre built profiles such as the Bolt option, that comes with two button options, single press (change brightness) and long press (power off). You can create many custom profiles that have up to four button combo options, in case the provided ones fll short.

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IF (If This Then That)

By far one of the best most useful apps to be published to date is IF by IFTTT (If This Then That). Which means just that. If this (Misfit Button Pressed) Then (Play/Pause Music). It’s very simple to set up recipes. Just open the IF app and create a recipe with the if this then that template. With over 230+ services to choose from for there are endless options to combine. Just login to the services you choose to use and select an event that will domino effect a responding event. If you can’t seem to think of anything, to get the creative juices flowing try the shared recipes in the recommend or collections folders.

IFTTT Recipes

Some fun Misfit Flash IFTTT recipes are; (IF) Single Press (Then) Toggle Hue Lights On / (IF) Double Press (Then) Toggle Hue Lights Off. (IF) Triple press (Then) Send Daily Activity Report To Google Drive Folder / (IF) Long Press (Then) Play Workout Jams. Get creative with your recipes and the available services.

MyFitnessPal

For counting calories and logging your meals, MFP is your best option out of the vas list of apps available. Here is where you log the food you eat and the calorie count takes place. See the Misfit Flash tracks what calories you burn but that’s only half of the equation needed to do some diet math. MFP is the missing half, by giving you something to subtract them calories from. Knowing the macros of your meals is important when you’re trying to lose weight. So you’ll have a calorie intake number and a calorie outgoing number to make sure you’re not burning the candle at both ends. Keep track of how many calories you’re taking in and make sure it’s healthy (advise a trainer or nutritionist).

MFP Tips

Logging meal preps can be a pain in the glutes, but with MFP it’s actually pretty simple. Just scan the barcodes of all items used in the meals and create a preloaded meal. So when you go to log a meal prep and it’s something you have had before you can just go to the meals section under diary and select the matching meal. Other tabs besides the meals section are frequent, my food, and recipes. Recipes will scan your food shopping recipes from the grocery store, making entries as simple as possible.

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Record

Now that you have a way to measure the calories coming in from food, the calories going out from the Flash but that’s mostly just calories burnt from motion in general without taking in account for which weight lifting activity the motion was for (excluding running, walking, biking, soccer and swimming). The missing link in the calorie counting madness is weightlifting. Record by Under Armour fills in the gap left by conventual fitness tracking apps. Log your workout by time and activity and get the best estimated feedback possible. Combine the calories burned with Record to the calories burnt with Misfit’s Flash and then subtract them from the MyFitnessPal calories to get a complete calorie count.

Record Yourself

Tracking activities and workouts is simple and the feedback is pretty accurate. Just set your high, weight and BMI/body fat information. Once you provide that the app can tell you how many calories you’re burning based off the activity you are doing. With two options for tracking, one being log entries and the other tracking a workout live. So if your phone is dead and you can’t do a live log, you can always just enter what you did and the amount of time spent doing it to get feedback on an activity you already did. Personally I like to see what the workout I have planned will burn by logging it, then deleting the log and tracking it, then compare results.  

How I Use The Misfit Flash

Utilizing the Misfit Flash for all that it’s capable of doing isn’t a short process but after you’re done setting it all up and linking all the third party vendors like Link, MFP and Record, it’s simple to keep up with. Personally I lost 80lbs of fat within a year using the Misfit Flash as my calorie counting guide. I had no clue what I was doing trying to lose weight, but luckily I made a random small investment in a tiny doodad called Flash. The Flash helped me to understand how many calories I burn a day without even working out, just dailymotion. That alone gave me a good idea on how many calories to allow myself for meals for each day. After I got the hang of the calorie basics, I started taking gym related activities into consideration and started counting the calories I burn working out. So now I know my daily calories burnt and the kinda calories I burn on top of that at the gym with the amount I consumed with my meals. With all that information I was able to plan for success. Prepping meals and workout routines to balance my calories and macros.

It’s also basically my wireless bluetooth button. Thanks to the Link app made by Misfit the maker of The Flash. it’s possible to give functionality to the fitness tracker. With options for things such as take photo or play/pause music, or log activity and control Bolt smart lights also a Misfit product. In addition to the preloaded options there is an endless variety of possibilities provided by IFTTT via their 200+ channels list. For example: I have a Misfit Flash custom Link profile that is set up for all IF related reactions. Like, press once (only provided options) double press (sends sms to my girlfriend “omw home” ) tripple press (log GPS into google drive folder, named cool places) and long press (only provided options) another few IFTTT events are sleep duration and goal achieved. For example, When I sleep longer than 8 hrs I have IFTTT turn on all my lights and E-Mail my boss that I might be running late. When my daily goal is achieved IFTTT reminds me to have a reward via a SMS from myself. It’s a super useful button. I find myself using it for something other than fitness tracking at least 3 times a day. almost always for recording a Snapchat video or taking a photo handsfree. To take a hands free selfie with Snapchat just set up the Flash in the Link app and choose the selfie button preloaded option. There will be two button functions, one for the single press and one for the long press. Single press will take a single photo in almost and photo taking app (I had problems with instagram). The long press starts to either take burst photos or records a video again depending on the app being used to take the video.

This $29.99 fitness tracker is my favorite piece of tech. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s got so much potential, the only limit is your imagination. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker or a bluetooth button this is the device for you. It’s the best for the buck and does more than expected of it. For $29.99 it’s worth giving a shot. If you don’t like it you can always regift it to the healthy and fit family member who’s in need of their very own tracker, but i’ma bet you’ll love it. Get yours Misfit Flash Here for just $19.99.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Misfit Fitness Tracker

December 1, 2015

Google Cardboard: It’s just a box

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Google Cardboard: It’s just a box

 

Google Cardboard VR is a free open source D.I.Y. project Google started to inspire VR (virtual reality) development and to get it into the hands of the common user. It’s acentually free at worst low cost, by only requiring everyday household items or easily accessible parts from a local crafts store. To save time at the cost of only a few bucks more then building your own, you can order one from Unofficial Cardboard. Google provides a free stencil print out and parts list with a blueprint for assembly that starts with Biconvex Lenses, Neodymium Magnet, Ceramic Magnet, Velcro Strips, Rubber Band and an NFC Tag which is optional. The box itself is specced specifically to work with most devices and screen sizes, just make sure to use plans or purchase the headset that’s designed for your device’s size. Google also designed a special UI to simulate the VR experience, by utilizing all the high end tech your current device has inside it. Since your device is already equipped for VR argo it’s accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, this seems like a no brainer, at least for Google.

Google wants to immerse you in an interactive virtual reality with nothing more than a piece of cardboard and your current device. Providing free virtual reality apps for 360° video, gaming and interactive educational apps on both Apple and Android platforms, but other than the Google provided Cardboard app some 3rd party apps may vary store to store depending on the developer. With the Google Cardboard app you get a portal to a virtual world that feels bigger than the tiny 5 inch screen it’s being displayed on. Described as a theater experience, with the feeling of looking at a huge screen at a pleasant distance it’s easily fun for everyone of all ages.

It’s just a box, but thanks to your current device’s super high end tech, it’s so much more than just Cardboard. It’s a virtual reality console with endless possibilities for entertainment & educational purposes, for those of all ages.

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Watching VR 360° videos is an indescribable experience that can only be understood by participation, spectators will get a good laugh. You don’t necessarily need a VR to watch a 360° video via mono screen, although the side by side VR style with head movement to control the view is incomparable. To watch a 360° movie or music video, simply open YouTube and search #360Video. You can select the viewing options on the player, in the bottom right corner via the goggles icon. There’s a variety to choose from, music videos like live concerts to horror movies and live action adventures that bring the POV into the stories.

 

Star Wars – 360° Virtual Reality

The Star Wars #360Video gives you a short POV of a Droid wheeling along on the Death Star marching floor. While wheeling through the corridors of the infamous destroyer of worlds, the Sith Lords right hand Darth himself makes an appearance. While on the mighty Death Star, you’ll get the unique perspective of a lonely single dorid on its mission to collect data and escape with its batteries intact.

 

360° Horror | “Eat You Alive” with Chris Riedell, Jason Horton and Lauren Reeder

When it comes to virtual reality horror the YouTube Space LA team is winning with its new video. Get that fly on the wall feeling in this zombie apocalyptic stand off between man and monster, which aren’t so different in this story. With headphone and an office chair that rotates for ease of view, you’ll feel as if you’re standing in the room frozen in fear. It’s a highly adult horror short that’ll get your heart pumping damn near outta your chest.

Gaming (Android)

Thanks to Google’s Cardboard project, virtual reality gaming that fully brings a player into its characters world is finally here. The way a game acts and reacting to movements and provides a believable experience. When you add a gaming controller and headphones into the mix you get one h.e.double hockey sticks of an experience that takes your breath away. The games currently available aren’t the best of quality in the sense of graphics and storyline. Think of this as a big beta test to see if there is a market for VR that’s worth the time and effort to develop higher quality more expensive games. In consequence the more users and downloads of VR apps will push the development community to make better games.

House of Terror VR

This is a creepy twist on escape the room that takes place in a virtual world, where you’re trapped in a house of terror with monsters and no way out in sight. Your goal is to survive each room, avoiding giant spiders and lurking evil, while looking for the way out. This app does require a bluetooth gaming controller for moving the character around the room, a VR headset like Google Cardboard and a pair of headphones to really be immersed into the experience. If you want to test your escaping skills as well as you courage, this game is perfect for you.

 

Galaxy VR Cardboard Space FPS

Galaxy VR is a space flight simulator that puts you in the cockpit of a starship fighter. You’ll get to experience a true VR FPS thats multiplayer. This game has it all from amazing graphics to reaction timing with seamless head tracking and it’s an online multiplayer, could you ask for more? You can even look down and see your full body avatar, the controller in your hands and the hands reacting to your button pressing IRL (in real life). With an option to play first person or 3rd person view, there are 3 different camera angles in game play to choose from. Unlock the full app by paying a small fee, for additional gameplay options and modes. Once you get used to the movements and past the motion sickness this app is definitely one of my favorite VR games. Join me in the fight, download the app now and get ready because there is no traditional main menu here. You  start the game in mid flight, sitting in a starfighter with a 3D holo HUD in your lap, and in a fight for your life against other live players from around the world. What are you waiting for? The future is here, go download it!

PS:

You can even play Flappy Bird from the Birds POV with Flappy For Cardboard VR.

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Apps (Cardboard Demo)

The free interactive educational opportunities provided by Google alone are worth the small investment in Cardboard. You can visit and learn about historical places and look around as if you were actually standing in the room. Get a tour of a famous foreign or domestic landmark with your own personal virtual tour guide. Visit the old neighborhood and walk the streets to slight see with Google Street View and be your own tour guide. Visit and learn with Google Cardboard, it’s time to go on an adventure.

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Tour Guide

Let’s go on an adventure, without leaving the comfort of our couch. Learning historical facts about places you’re practically standing in. Very interactive and immersive with the Tour Guide saying “to your right, over to the left you’ll see”, things like that really make you feel like you’re standing in a room with a person whose describing a room as if they were there with you. It makes learning feel fun, I almost forgot it was an based on teaching i found myself spacing out and wandering around looking at the whole surrounding area. This would be a good way to teach the kids about places all over the world and keep their attention while doing it. Only thing I would like to see added to this tour guide app is a LIVE #360Video for a more convincing feel of being there, or at least some sounds of the scenery. Overall, this is an amazing app for learning about our world and the special places some only dream to see like this.

Expeditions

“Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere. Coming to schools worldwide in time for back to school. If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school” Click Here to learn more.

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Weeeeeeee, boy Google Earth VR is fuuuuuuun! This is one of those (needs a controller) to really enjoy apps. Just strap in and strap…on? It’s going to be one hella ride. Flying from city to city from a bird’s eye view. Visiting old places, and future old places to be. Checking out New York City and taking a FPV flight around the Statue of Liberty as if you’re an American Eagle. Google Earth was always a blast, but this is a welcomed add-on to the mix. Using the gaming controller to move front, back, side to side and to control which direction you’re moving to and fro simply use your head and look to stear. Go take a look at what’s out there via Google Earth in a whole new virtual reality world, where you feel like a spirit moving with the wind high up in the sky. Go anywhere in the world and feel as if your flying right above your dream vacation spot or old fishing hole, this is a tool only limited by your imagination. Go explore the world, your world.

 

TILT BRUSH GALLERY

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View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.” Click Here to learn more.

 

In A Nutshell:

Google really nailed VR. They got it gaining momentum in the development community, which is good for VR, because without developers there’s no content for users. Using a person’s current device with a simple cheap cardboard box setup, freaking genius! Now for comfort and user friendly ease of use i’d suggest a little modification to the simple setup Google lays out. For example; I use an elastic sweat band to hold the Cardboard device on my head so I can use the gaming controller. Also I added tiny cushions to the nose rest, since it starts to irritate the skin after a few minutes of uses. I’ve also added a few good layers of duct tape to the cardboard as a reinforcement to strengthen its dexterity. In conclusion I enjoy using wireless headphones to enhance the experience with the spatialized audio, which helps fully immerse me in the world i’m playing or exploring in. Once you have your own Cardboard setup, you’ll find your comfort zone and person interests, just give virtual reality a chance.

You can learn in a whole new format. Taking education to a whole new level by taking you from your seat to the venue. Interacting with the student and giving them a personalized experience in a way that was never possible before. Children will never learn the same thanks to Google, and that’s a beautiful evolution in education. Affordable high quality VR in the hands of the masses, that’s Google’s goal. Even Gaming in VR changes game play and how a player interacts with the game world. Looking right, leaning over, falling back, all have a reaction in the virtual world giving players more control than ever. Imagine being able to duck IRL and the enemy in VR misses his killshot. Picture shooting in one direction, steering the character in another all while looking in the other direction for cover without moving the flow of fire. I call this the triple Y axes advantage, that only VR games can provide. Even movies and music videos have to reevaluate their way of production to accommodate this new media and social outlet. Being in the center of the experience is what entertainment strives for, it’s that feeling you get when you tunnel vision into the screen and forget you’re in a theater full of other people experiencing the same sublime euphoria, that is the true goal. With VR and #360Video the future of media entertainment is here, and it’s beautiful.

 

How I Use Google Cardboard VR:(Android)

VR, as we know it right now, is in it’s early beta testing. Slowly but steadily picking up users along the way, as more and more developers create more and more apps. By contributing to the VR “cause” with purchases of apps and leaving good ratings and positive encouraging reviews, I hope to motivate developers to create more and I suggest you do the same.

I like to watch #360Videos, play VR games & take Tour Guides all around the world. With my Beats By Dre PowerBeats2 bluetooth headphones and my Amazon Fire TV gaming controller I can fully immerse myself in a movie and video game. Sitting in the comfort of my office chair I can spin 360 degrees with ease, which takes a lot of the work off the neck when turning 180. Watching movies in 360 with spatialized audio is how I like to enjoy short films. I wouldn’t enjoy long length feature films that are over 15 mins long. After about 15 mins I find myself needing a break from the virtual world, because of motion sickness. So I watch short horror films that bring me into the terror and give me that feeling of fear and excitement that only movie theaters once could deviever. There are some good action films that are good #360Videos but there is something about the horror genre and VR that compliment each other perfectly. Gaming in VR is a whole different ball game, and takes a lot of getting used to. Moving around spinning and flipping in a virtual world, even running in VR for long periods of time can have IRL effects. I only game for about 5 mins at a time, to keep myself from feeling vertigo and getting nauseous. I think this is a graphics and rendering meets head tracking and stitching issue, that money could solve. So again I encourage you to download VR apps, try them and leave some positive reviews and feedback. I prefer to VR with Android, since there are more developers and well Google does Cardboard. That and my bluetooth gaming controller won’t work with my Apple device, but there are VR apps for Apple devices. Personally I like the way my iPhone 6 plus’s bigger screen produces the VR effect in my Cardboard rig over my Samsung S6. So when I using an app like Tour Guide, which doesn’t require any interaction just pure observation, I tend to use my iPhone 6 Plus for the more clear and detailed viewing experience. I love introducing people to VR for the first time and watching their reactions to it. It brings me great joy to see someone smile ear to ear while experiencing something so new and foreign for the very first time.  

So, that’s how I like to do VR. I hope this was informative and motivated you to at very least give Google Cardboard or any form of new age VR a try.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Google Cardboard VR

November 1, 2015

Plex Media Server

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Plex Overview

Plex is an online streaming service where you provide the content. Content is provided by selecting folders or files, including digital copies of downloaded videos.  These can include home movies, tv shows, photos and music.  These can be streamed and shared via Plex. Plex connects your device’s files over Wifi on and off-line (with a premium option available for a small fee). Think of Plex as a way to watch what’s on your phone, but on your PC; what’s on your PC you can watch on your tablet;  and also on your TV with no plugs or internet. All you need to use Plex is a wifi router and all your devices on the same network.  With internet access you can share those files with friends and family.  It’s a great way to show off that family vacation video or new favorite movie.

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Plex is the new XBMC

XBox Media Center or XBMC for short, is the soul and roots of what Plex does and what it offers. XBMC is now known as KODI, but Plex has been my XBMC replacement for years. Plex, like XBMC, is a DLNA host that allows you to access your provided content via media server. The DLNA option enables even more streaming possibilities without running the Plex app. For example, on the Xbox One, the Plex app requires a premium membership; but since you can use Plex to host your own server, just go to Xbox Media Center and you’ll see the name of your Plex Media Server for streaming over the air. This only works for devices that are on the same wifi network, internet is not necessary for DLNA.

Plex w/Friends

Adding friends is easy and so is selecting the files and folders you share with them. You can even monitor who’s watching what and on which device. Why Plex alone when you can Plex with friends? 🙂 Sharing your new favorite movies and music couldn’t be any easier. Just add a friend to your list, download the digital copy of your new “gotta see this video” and add the file to a public folder to share with everyone. Be the talk of the group by finding the new hit show or keep up with everyone’s favorites.  You can decide what’s worth watching or listening to based off your friends Plex content.

How to share

Now that you have some friends on Plex, let’s talk sharing. Sharing on Plex is easy and safe thanks to the controls they offer, both for free and also with some premium setting options.  Just choose the friend(s) you want to share with and the libraries you want to share with them. From there you can set rating and content controls. Setting restrictions is great for sharing with the kids, so you don’t have to worry about them watching your digital copy of Fifty Shades or listening to that new Fetty Wap album. It’s also handy for keeping personal files private while allowing access to other media, all within the same folders or libraries. Building a strong sharing and streaming community is what Plex is all about.  They make it really convenient for anyone to use, even a noob.

 

Channels on Plex

Using channels on Plex is the neatest feature by far. It allows you to watch live TV and use an OnDemand like catalog with provided plugins liked it CBS, History Channel, FOX, even YouTube and others. Plex channels is a portal to a never ending, always growing list of apps within an app inception like world, that you could get lost in. It’s clean neat and very organized for being free; well basically free if you’re a premium member which starts at $4.99 a month. Just go to the channels tab and search for the desired plugin, once you’ve found it just click and wait for the server to connect. After a few hours, you can either stream Live TV or an On Demand like content depending on the channel plugin and what it offers.

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How I use Plex

I use Plex for all my entertainment media streaming needs, including LIVE TV, an On Demand like catalog, my music & photos. Plex offers a DLNA server that casts over the wifi network and does not require active internet, just a connected network of devices. The Plex app itself is like the cloud; I provide the content and anywhere I can access the internet and install the Plex app I can access my files and stream them without lag or much buffering depending on the quality and internet strength. Using Channels and plugins like iTunes and Photos brings all of your media together organized and always ready to share. Sharing digital media fills in the gaps of Plex and helps you keep connected with family and friends.  You are able to share photos from today’s big event or introduce someone to your new favorite TV show.  Plex has so much to offer, it’s crazy not to use it and use all of it.

DLNA streaming works offline and only requires that both devices, the one hosting the server and the other you’re using as a screen to stream, are both on the same wifi network. From here, within the Plex app, you can choose the bit rate and image quality to better tune your streaming and avoid lag or buffering. This is how I utilize Plex with my Xbox One, since the Plex app on that device requires the paid premium membership to stream within the app. First, I have the Xbox One and Plex Media Server connected to the same network, over wifi. Next, I open Xbox One’s Media Player and select the Plex server and appropriate folder to start streaming, it’s that easy. The DLNA server is the best work around for viewing Plex content on a device that does not support the Plex app, but does support DLNA.

The channels Plex offers like Yahoo Screen, iTunes, Photos and Tablo make streaming your media simple. Since the Plex Channels let you basically use an app within an app, you can watch Yahoo Screen content that’s otherwise browser based, or listen to your iTunes music on a device that does not support the iTunes app. Tablo is an over the air TV tuner/DVR that gives you the ability to stream LIVE TV and pre-recorded content, from your home set top box or on the go in the Plex app. So where ever there is Plex, Smartphone/tablet/PC/ect, you can watch LIVE TV or listen to your music and even watch free On Demand like content from FOX or Comedy Central. Channels is a perfect work around for accessing your favorite media content when it’s not always available the way you need it.

Sharing your collective media with family and friends is the best way to keep up to date on the latest trending shows and movies. It also gives you the ability to share photos and music with everyone, so you can show off the photos of the big event or introduce the gang to the newest best band ever. There’s nothing like watching a new movie or listening to a new song and having the ability to share it with someone who’s near or far and get their take on it. Logging into Plex and checking out what’s new in your friends queue is like waking up on christmas morning, each library has something new to view. If your family members like mom & dad or the kids want  to watch that movie you been talking about or see those photos from that vacation you won’t shut up about, all they need is a Plex account and internet access. Finally sharing your digital media, movies, music, and photos is easy, safe, and convenient.
So that’s how I use Plex.  It organizes everything I download or imported onto my PC and makes streaming it wherever I go possible. Plex is where my PC, phone and tablet(s) collective media is stored and is the one place to access everything at once no matter where I am or what device I’m using.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Plex Is My New Ish!

October 1, 2015

Streaming and Sharing

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Streaming and Sharing

A Mobile Entertainment Experience

Streaming SErvices sharing

When I say mobile entertainment you might not think of home tv, but those lines have blurred into one seamless line. Now that smart tvs and streaming devices are cheaply available, apps that we used to use on our phones, tablets and even pcs to kill time or even entertain ourselves during a long commutes are now invading our livingrooms, making cable and satellite television obsolete. Especially now that public television’s broadcasted in Digital HD with a standard tv antenna. Most television broadcasting companies are available for mobile streaming via apps or web browser. Making it possible to watch your local news or public channels on the go or on your home tv with a streaming device or a smart tv.

 

Apps like HBO GO and Hulu easily replace cable and television provided services. Without a required cable subscription for HBO GO you can just pay and play. Amazon Prime has movies, tv, and even now HBO content for a reasonable once a year fee that included free 2-day shipping and their newest feature unlimited photo storage. Netflix is nice for binge watching seasons of your favorite tv shows provided by cable networks like Cartoon NetWork, Discovery and SyFy channel. Plex is another great app for streaming media that you yourself provide via download. To download movies and tv shows I use a torrent based website called Kat.ph. When using a torrent based download client you need a bittorrent program to piece the bits of the torrents together. Plex also has plugins for other apps such as, TBS, Team Coco, and so much more, that can be used with in plex for streaming.

 

If you have a cable provider using mobile streaming apps like fios mobile and xfinity to go as well as their affiliate channel’s apps like cartoon network, Discovery and SyFy is as simple as downloading the particular app and logging in using your cable sign in information, same credentials you would use to log in and view or pay your bill. Since you’re paying for a cable service and that service comes with those channels you might as well use them by adding as many that are offered to the list of mobile streaming apps you use. Channel surfing is a dying sport played from the couch, it has evolved into something so much more than that. With the option to watch nearly anything you want easily provided and supplied to your device of choice, looking for something to watch is unnecessary, just search for what you want and watch or a genre to suit the mood and watch what you want not what’s provided at that moment in time unlike live television. Not having a cable provider makes this a little harder and more complicated but not impossible, just have to find someone who does and offer them a trade worth while, for example, I pay for Amazon Prime and I trade that for someones comcast information that I use for its mobile hotspot as well as its streaming. I also barder my Amazon Prime to friends and family for their Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO, making a streaming community or network out of sharing and if someone misses one bill the community can all pitch in and keep out network going strong.

entertainment

Using only a cell phone as a means for TV entertainment is possible with micro hdmi or mhl, but thats no longer necessary thanks to streaming devices and smart tvs. Before having a Chromecast I would just use my phone or tablet and an MHL to HDMI cable. The convenience of using a streaming device rather than hard wiring your phone or tablet is worth the $34.99 for the Chromecast. You can spend upward of $99.99 for a streaming device such as the Amazon Fire TV which has a separately sold gamepad for Android gaming. Fire TV does come with a remote and does not require an Android device to function, unlike the Chromecast which does require an Android device to function. There are two ways to use Chromecast one is as a casting device, using your phone tablet or web browser to cast content from Netflix or ect, and you can use your device for other thing while the casting takes place. The other way you can use a Chromecast is for mirroring, meaning everything thats displayed on your phone happens live on the tv, so if you’re mirroring a video from your gallery or mirroring a game, from phone or even web browser, you can not use the device for anything other than what you are trying to mirror. The Fire TV can not mirror but it also doesn’t require anything but its supplied remote or gamepad depending on what your trying to do. Others like the Ruku and Nexus player are also awesome choices for streaming devices, but before you go and invest in one make sure it offers what you are looking for. To each their own.

By Kenn

Galaxy Note 3

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Device- Samsung Galaxy Note III

 

The Galaxy  Note 3 is an amazing phablet, with a 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.7 inch (~386 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and 16/32/64 GB, 3 GB RAM. Running as always TouchWiz and as of right now 4.4.2 Android KitKat OS. With a 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm (5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 in) 168 g (5.93 oz) body, that feels good in one hand but does call for two handed use more than not. I’m running the Google’s GEL launcher with Home2ShortCut and PieControl for ease of use due to the size of the screen and it feels natural as if this is how TouchWiz should be out of the box. The Note3 has an amazing camera @ 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash & Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR, LED flash 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps  (front) 2 MP, 1080p@30fps, personally I only use Smooth Motion when recording and HDR for any outdoor photos, everything just looks more beautiful that way. Its battery is a Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery, with stand by @ (2G) / Up to 420 h (3G) and talk time @ (2G) / Up to 21 h (3G) and i find myself charging it about 1/2 times a day but i also have root and many background apps like tasker, piecontrol, home2shortcut and autovice. Since owning the Note3 i’v noticed that I no longer use my tablet, at all. (My Tablet is the Acer A500 but thats another story.) Using my Amazon Fire TV Game Via Bluetooth to my Note3 and the Chromecast screen mirroring to TV, my Note3 is an all in one gaming device. Running every Emulator I can find from NES to DS from PS1 to PSP from Sega to Gamecube and much more I never find myself bored with this device. My non-emulator games of choice are Dead Trigger 1 & 2, Shadow Gun DeadZone and Modern Combat 5, some of the best first / third person shooters out on the market. The Note3 is a power house jam packed with RAM for a smooth gaming experience. If your in the market for a phone/tablet/a big ole phone or just a tiny ole tablet the Note3 will fill almost any device void in your life. With a repairability of 5 out of 5, meaning all parts are easily replaceable including the glass only repairs at this time are $174.99 which ain’t bad when the lcd digi is $274.99 and the micro usb 3.0 dock is $64.99. I recommend using an Otterbox defender with Gadget’s temper glass screen protectors which is about $99.00 worth of protection, an obviously good investment.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-32

Launcher

As I said above my Launcher of choice is Google’s GEL Launcher. I don’t use Google Now or Google Now Cards what I use it for is its “Okay Google” feature and its clean interface. GEL will now run on many Android devices running 4.0 and up, even on tablets. The GEL Launcher is simple and its nothing like Go EX or Nova, theres no cool or flashy transitions or actions but with Xposed mods that can all be changed, but for RAM sake stock is best. With the new Google Search you can trigger Google Now by saying “okay google” on the home screen or when the phones screen is on while locked. I even modded the Google Now API with an Xposed mod for AutoVoice to trigger events and profiles in tasker with Google Now searches for Ex: “okay google” “selfie” :opens camera takes photo with front camera, closes camera: GEL is perfect for the Google Now user, I find myself asking “what’s the weather” or “how did the Phillies do” and listening for the answers more than I actually look at my phone after asking. If you want a taste of hands free automations try out the Google GEL Launcher today!

 

Theme

Google’s GEL Launcher comes with its own theme called google now. Google now has what Google calls “Cards”, with Cards you can set reminder like notifications for specific interests like Sports, Stocks, Weather and more. I use Google Now Cards to keep me up to the minute up to date with ly local sports teams and weather, as well as apple and google stocks just for kicks. There are two ways you receive Card updates, one is in the notification tray like normal. You’ll see the notification alert and just drag down the bar and swipe away to the side or tap to interact  and open to read more or share the information. Google Now Cards are nice convenient personal notifications similar to RSS updates. The other way to see your Cards in the GEL launcher is while at the home screen just swipe to the right and drag open the Google Now section to the launcher. All your Card updates will be here, and if its something old or you no longer care to see a notification imperfectly just swipe it away and it won’t appear till its more up to date with information. Warning from user experience, I swiped away my weather card once by accident and I couldn’t force it back into the card list. Dont worry, it does come back when the weather widget refreshes, which is normally every hour.

 

Apps  

The Note 3 is equipped with an awesome infrared blaster that can be used to send IR commands to TVs and other devices that use IR remotes. The stock samsung remote app works, but only for one device at a time and it lacks buttons. When you have a surround sound system, cable box, dvd or ect, connected to your tv only being able to control one at a time can dull the experience of using a phone as an ultimate universal remote. The app i’ve found to be more useful was Smart IR Remote on the Google Play Store. This app allows you to build widgets with multiple IR commands for multiple devices and more button options. For example, my widget has a power button that sends an IR command to the cable box which turns the tv on automatically via Consumer Electronics Control’s (CEC) and the volume buttons on the same widget control my surround sound. Since I have more then one HDMI media device plugged into my tv at a time i really need an input button which the stock remote failed to have making it pointless to use. Also Smart IR Remote has a built in Tasker Plugin for tasker commands. Making it possible for me to use my Google Now API mod with AutoVoice and Tasker to control my IR devices without even touching my phone. For example, I can trigger google now by saying “okay google” then ill do a voice search i predestined to a tasker event, like “tv on” , or “Netflix play “whatever”, and watch the magic happen. Simply the best IR remote app on the market and the easiest to setup.

 

Utilization

Using the Note 3 to the fullest with GEL, Google Now and Smart IR Remote could be considered advanced android tweaking so ill try to keep it basic. With the Note 3’s IR blaster and the Smart IR Remote app you can use your phone to control any IR device. Using a phone as a remote for everything in your life is so natural since its the one thing that spends the most time in your hand and odds are when you want to change the channel or power off/on the tv your phones not much farther than your pocket, when the remote is almost always a treasure hunt. It gets even more convenient when you add GEL and Google Now API app into the mix. Using GEL’s “okay google” feature and the Google Now API mods you can set google now searches to trigger events. So all you’ll have to do after the setup with tasker and smart ir remote to turn on/off your tv is say “ok google” , “TV on/off” or whatever you want the command to be. Google’s GEL also lets you use google now from the lock screen so if you have daydream mode on and your phones charging you can just speak and control, otherwise you’ll have to make sure the screens on to get google to listen. I can’t express enough how awesome it is to just speak out loud at any given time and my commands are met by google thanks to tasker. If you want to use your phone to its fullest I suggest you start here.

 

By Kenn

The Voip Life

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The Voip Life

Voice Over IP.

       Living with wi-fi only for mobile calling can be a tricky process to start but thanks to root junky there is a step by step video guide for those who are interested in the idea of Voip and free wi-fi calling. Once you have set-up Voip on your wifi device, (phone/tablet) the next plan of action is to sniff out free wifi hotspots in your local area and along your daily commute.

VOIP

        For convenience sake, if you have home internet, look into what your provider offers as far as internet features and ask about free wifi hotspots. If you, yourself don’t own home internet or your provider doesn’t offer the free wifi hotspot feature, ask friends and family if their internet provider offers these features and ask for their credentials so you may use it. Comcast for example offers free wifi hotspots to their internet subscribers, but where I live Comcast is not offered and I myself have Verizon, who does not offer free wifi hotspots. I use the bartering system and offer what I have in trade for what I lack. For example I asked a family member for their Comcast login information for the free hotspot in exchange for my Amazon Prime login information for the free movies and other Prime features. Which is funny because the features of Amazon Prime are fruitless without internet. Now with some form of free hotspot in your life lets start mapping out wifi hotspots offered by local businesses and homeowners without protected wifi routers. Most businesses offer free wifi which is awesome of them, its a nice way to give back to the customer. Most have parkinglot range and with some luck even reach the streets so you can connect to the wifi at the red-light and get sms and call updates that were missed while blackedout or disconnected from the internet. A good way to start collecting free hotspots is keeping the wifi settings open and scan for networks at every stop, standstill and red-light, where its safe to look at your phone (please drive carefully and never text and drive) and when you find a free or unprotected wifi network just connect and hit remember. Every time you are within range of the wifi network it’ll auto connect and you will be able to receive and send texts and calls. If you travel on foot or by way of public transportation this will be easier since walking while looking at our phones is now second nature. Try walking on both sides of the street on route to your daily commutes to double your wifi hotspot odds. Also if you take a bus and your nearest bus-stop doesn’t have a free wifi hotspot connection try walking to the next waiting station and seeing if you get lucky, now you’ll have a reason to get a little more exercise on your commute. Keeping the wifi settings open and hitting scan as often as possible while in transit is the best way to start a wifi commute path to stay connected to the internet as often as possible while in motion. I noticed some people on public transit have there phone or other form of hotspot open and unprotected for anyone to use, just remember if you don’t know or trust the wifi source proceed with caution and don’t risk using credit card information or logging into private social sites while using random hotspots. Social gatherings and outings with friends or family can make wifi only living feel like mooching when you find yourself asking everyone at the party if they have a free hotspot or wifi password you can use to post socially with the rest of the live streaming in the moment as it happens vloggers and bloggers in the group. Try not to seem desperate or over needy for internet because your friends pay for internet they don’t know the need for it and sharing that password with you might come with new trust barriers to overcome. Just be cool and if questioned just simply explain your situation and need for wifi since its not on your utilities list. Most of my friends dont mind me using their wifi and hotspot passwords, since i’ve been doing this wifi only lifestyle for years now its come to them at no surprise when i ask for wifi and hotspot information at new locations or when i’m a little late to replying to a text or missed call. Not paying a phone bill and not having internet 24/7 and everywhere you go is in a way freeing. I don’t get bothered by not being able to check my Facebook feed or post a Tweet when i’m out and about.

       Simply put because when i’m out and about, i dont need that distraction to take me out of the moment. I capture moments , I take snaps, I post whats on my mind and I send texts at the time in the moment and when I connect to the internet that is when my posts, likes, snaps and texts go live to their respective social destinations. I never paid a phone bill. I don’t know what it is like to have a phone plan. Mobile internet to be connected 24/7 and everywhere you go is not something I see worth paying for. Not when I have my wifi hotspot  daily commute lined out so well I almost always have an internet connect in my travels. The amount of blackout time or time without internet is so small I just can’t bring myself to pay to fill in the gaps and you shouldn’t either. Even the cheapest monthly phone bill with reasonable internet is about $34.99 a month which is $420.00 a year. Saving $420.00 a year adds up fast.

By Kenn

Mobile Wi-Fi Living

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Mobile Wi-Fi Living

 

I use Wifi for everything, TV, Entertainment, Home Phone, Cell Phone and gaming and I do all of this with just a cell phone. I haven’t paid a cell phone bill since I learned about Voip, google voice and groove ip. Click here for info on this cool setup. Using only wifi for cell phone calls and texting does make things a little tricky. If you don’t have access to wifi you wont have access to income calls or texts but don’t worry when you do connect to wifi they will still come through. Places like McDs, D&D or Starbucks give out free wifi you can use to Voip. Using only wifi for home entertainment has its own complexities like you will have to download and manually set your TV line up. I use torrents and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu but I don’t pay for them, I barder using what I do pay for in trade for services I do not. For Live TV, like sports events and News, there are apps for that from the public tv provider that I use or you could use a standard tv antenna most HDTVs have the digital tuner built in making it so you get 60 HD tv basic public channels for free over the air.

Wifi gaming on mobile device has evolved almost overnight. With online multiplayer games on the market like Modern Combat 5 and Shadow Gun Dead Zone your covered for 1st and 3rd person shooters and Asphalt 8 is there to give you a racing fix. Playing these epic games on a touch screen device is only half the battle in finding love for these games, the other is screen size. Playing games on a small screen that requires most of its display space to be used for button layout and handling can ruin the experience for some, including me. Getting the mobile game on the big screen and picking up a physical game controller to play changes everything. I use my Chromecast to mirror my phones screen or MHL to HDMI for smoother graphics and I use an Amazon Fire TV Game Controller via bluetooth to play all my favorite android games. Another nice thing about mobile gaming is the never ending list of emulators for NES, Sega, and PSP and free ROMs so you can play every game ever made for almost any console ever for free on your cell phone.

Obsuvilly living the mobile wifi lifestyle isn’t for everyone especially if you’re used to checking facebook on the way to work,  posting a photo in mid travels, channel surfing, and using your phone as a phone while gaming. I save about $1,200 a year not paying a cellphone bill another $2,000 a year on cable tv and services like HBO and I have saved countless dollars by using emulators and roms over physical game consoles, so the inconveniences of not having on the fly facebook, instagram and not being able to call someone while im gaming or the ability to channel surf isn’t worth about $3,000 a year to me. What you have to ask yourself is if doing a little extra work to be entertained and socially in touch is worth saving the money. To sum it all up this is true Mobile Wi-Fi Living 🙂

By Kenn B

Video on using Hangouts and google voice to make free calls from your cell