Posts Tagged ‘beating’

Beating Up, Dunking, And Dropping The Olympus TG-2 Tough Camera

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Features:

  • Rugged point and shoot with internal, protected lens
  • 50 foot water resistance
  • 7 foot drop resistance
  • Crush-proof (ostensibly)
  • MSRP: $ 379

Pros:

  • Surprisingly rugged yet light
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • Waterproof to 50 feet and shockproof

Cons:

  • No external battery charger
  • Potential for leaks if the case isn’t locked
  • Lens noise when filming video

What Is It?
While we normally focus on flagship hardware on TC these days, I thought this new Olympus tough camera – an upgrade to the TG-1 released last year – was interesting enough to feature. Why? Because it’s not every day you can hand a camera to a team of toddlers and get it back in one, working piece.

The Olympus TG-2 is a simple, compact point and shoot that is clad in a hard plastic case. Locks on the bay doors make it waterproof to 50 feet and it can withstand drops on hard surfaces from 7 feet. The aforementioned toddlers – four in all – took the camera through the back yard at a garden party, dunked it a few times, and threw it around with nary a scratch. The worst I could manage was a ding on the side when it fell on concrete. In short, this camera is surprisingly resilient.

The camera itself isn’t particularly extraordinary. It does have an excellent f2.0 lens with 4x optical zoom but the 3-inch screen is hidden behind thick plastic, reducing the vibrancy of the shots when viewed in camera. As for the speed and low light performance, the 35mm equivalent built-in lens can grab some excellent shots across the light gamut and even underwater. While the camera in automatic mode can do little that similarly-sized point and shoots offer, the hearty package is really why you pay the price of admission. The camera supports teleconverters as well as zoom and fisheye external lenses, but those are additional $ 140 dollar investments.

Here are some very basic, unmodified shots I took in full sunlight in Program mode. I also took one goofy shot in the camera’s “Punk” art mode. The Art modes are simply gimmicky filters that Olympus seems to love to add to all of their cameras and, unless you really like simulated tilt-shift photography, you can probably ignore it.

Demo shots. Click to embiggen.

I also took this zoom test down my driveway. Both shots are taken from the same distance.

The Good

The best thing about this camera is its ability to withstand abuse. While I’d be afraid to, say, toss around the arguably rugged Canon G-series or other waterproof camera from Nikon, or Panasonic I could definitely see this thing rolling and tumbling down a hillside and surviving. While I have noticed some reports that the camera acts up after a deep dunking, I didn’t experience any problems while beating this thing up. I dunked it in a pool, ran water over it, threw it around, and even (accidentally) nicked the edge. It still kept shooting.

Could I eventually drown or break this? Sure. It’s not made of adamantium. However if you have a clumsy loved one or are looking for a good vacation camera, you could do worse than this model. It is small, fun, and quite solid.

The Bad

The camera did have a few problems. First, it requires a special cable for charging and does not include an external charger. There is also no visible way to tell which direction the battery should be dropped in, leading to a period where I thought, mistakenly, that it wasn’t taking a charge. The front of the camera also has a red ring that can be removed to add external lenses. This ring is easily jarred loose and can fall off. Finally, because there is no external audio jack, the lens noise is audible when filming video. That’s about it. This is, to be clear, a point and shoot and shouldn’t be depended on as anything else. The quality, while impressive, is hardly earth-shattering.

The Bottom Line

The question then is whether this camera is worth about $ 350. Given that the arguably superior Canon G15 and Nikon P7700 are about $ 100 more expensive and will take excellent shots, the real draw here, then, is the water and shock resistance. If you’ve broken a camera before or, barring that, you expect to use this on a long, rough trip – say to Burning Man or Bohemian Grove – you will find this more than adequate. If you’re looking to take real photos, you may need to go elsewhere.

That said, the TG-2 is surprisingly fun to use. When you don’t have to worry about water, rain, weather, or dust you can take some very interesting shots. It was especially fun while doing science experiments with the kids. In a fun test I decided use it to shoot a Mentos/Diet Coke explosion – from below. It went off without a hitch.



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Xiaomi announces $2.16 billion revenue in 1H 2013, beating the entire 2012

Xiaomi announces $  216 billion revenue

In a Chinese press release we just received, phone maker Xiaomi has just announced that it generated a revenue of CN¥13.27 billion or about $ 2.16 billion in the first half of 2013. This easily exceeds the company’s CN¥12.6 billion or $ 2.05 billion revenue from the entirety of 2012, so things are already looking good ahead of the annual event on August 16th, when multiple products are expected to be launched — including a TV that got leaked last month.

CEO Lei Jun said that this is partly thanks to the 7.03 million Xiaomi Phones his company sold within the same period, and the release also praised the popularity of the Xiaomi Box plus various other accessories, such as the new in-ear headphones launched recently. In addition to that, Xiaomi now has 20 million users from around the world as of end of June, 14.22 million of which come from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The latter two became part of Xiaomi’s larger scope in April this year, with Hong Kong using the classic online retail model, and Taiwan doing the same but also selling devices through a partnership with local carrier Far Eastone.

Despite the surprising good announcements, Lei reminds his team at today’s celebration party to “forget about the results, they’re not the most important,” and that “only making products that make users scream can bring in long-term value.” The real challenge now is to tap into the more exotic markets, and Xiaomi has previously expressed great interest in Europe. Good luck with that, Lei!

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PIP Is A Bluetooth Biosensor That Aims To Use Your Phone To Gamify Beating Stress

PIP

Irish startup Galvanic has just launched a Kickstarter to crowdsource funding a wireless stress biosensor it’s calling PIP. PIP — which stands for ‘personal input pod’ — is a Bluetooth biosensor that monitors its user’s stress levels by measuring their galvanic skin response (GSR) as they hold the PIP pinched between thumb and forefinger. GSR means skin conductance — so basically how sweaty you’re getting and therefore how nervous you’re feeling.

PIP isn’t just a quantifiable self-tapping biosensor; it’s been designed to work in conjunction with iOS and Android phone and tablet apps to provide a gamification element. The company has created three games designed to be played using the PIP, which utilises Bluetooth as its data transport tech. The user’s stress level is then incorporated into each game as the core gameplay mechanic — with the ultimate aim being to help the player learn what they need to do to relax.

It sounds a bit counterintuitive, since competitive gaming can be synonymous with sweaty palms, which is presumably why Galvanic’s project extends to designing stress-busting games. It’s created three games to be used in conjunction with the PIP — a relaxing racing game, a seasonal mood game where  players meditate on a wintery scene to turn it into spring, and a more playful lie-detector multi-player game — but it does also plan to launch an SDK in future to get third party developers expanding the PIP’s gaming ecosystem.

With this initial handful of in-house games the PIP can only be so interesting, but if Galvanic can convince enough people to buy in to the gadget and thus lure enough outside developers to join in, there’s plenty of potential for other cool biosensing software ideas. The price per PIP is $ 79 for a limited number of early bird Kickstarter backers, or $ 99 thereafter. Presumably each new PIP-compatible game may also carry a consumer price-tag.

Galvanic is gunning for $ 100,000 in Kickstarter funding, with the money to be used for finalising manufacturing and readying its own apps. Assuming it hits this rather ambitious funding goal, the company reckons it can gear up for mass production by the end of 2013, and expects to be shipping in Q1 2014. In future it said it plans to expand platform support beyond Android and iOS, to add Windows Phone, Blackberry, Windows, MacOS and also game Consoles and set-top boxes.

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Apple Tops J.D. Power’s Tablet Survey, Barely Beating Amazon; Tablets Top Smartphones For Usage

new-ipad-black-640x480-jpeg-1

One day after Apple’s big iPhone 5 news day, an accolade for Apple in the tablet category: J.D. Power and Associates has put the brand at the top of its annual tablet customer satisfaction survey. This is the first time that the influential pollster has tracked U.S. consumers on tablet usage — it is known for its mobile handset rankings, which Apple also topped for smartphones last week. Amazon and its Kindle Fire tablet are, however, nipping at Apple’s heels: the two were separated by only six points, with Amazon scoring particularly well because of its low price. Final tallies for the two brands were Apple at 848 and Amazon at 842, on a scale of 1,000.

Both scored higher than the industry average of 832, with Samsung, Acer, Barnes & Noble and HP rounding out the top rankings in the list, all below the industry average.

In addition to ranking tablet brands, J.D. Power also looked at tablet usage. The 1,985 tablet owners who were polled reached conclusions that reflect what others have also been saying: the bigger touchscreen on tablets is making them a much stronger magnet for content consumption and user engagement than their smaller-sized smartphone cousins.

Tablet users are spending, on average, 7.5 hours per week on their devices, doing things like surfing the web, watching videos, listening to music, and reading books. That still puts it at a lower time than PCs, which clock up 9.6 hours of usage a week for the same activities.

Unsurprisingly, those who use their tablets more are also more satisfied with the tablet form factor. On a scale of 1,000, those who view three or more hours of video per week rated their satisfaction as 857, versus those who watched less rating at 812.

And the survey delivers a fairly clear message about the importance of getting the content right — in the form of apps and other services — for tablet makers’ bigger hardware businesses. Those who watch more than three hours of video are also 90% more likely to become repeat buyers of the same brand — the same percentage that said they would return to the brand if they were satisfied with it. However, those who watched less still seemed to show strong brand affinity, with 81% of them saying they would buy the same brand of tablet again. Some 37% of all respondents said they would be buying a new tablet in the next 12 months.

“As tablet computing, multimedia, display, and application offerings continue to evolve, their impact on usage patterns will continue to grow,” writes Dr. Uma S. Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates. “Tablets are a force in the marketplace that offer a great alternative to laptops and netbooks.”

As tablets move more to becoming a replacement for people’s PCs, they have already passed smartphones in usage. The survey found that consumers who owned both tablets and smartphones spent 40% more time browsing the web on their tablets than they did on their phones. Gaming apps scored even higher, with 56% more time spent on tablets.

But it’s not just a consumer plaything: 25% of owners said they used their tablets for business. This, too, was something noted by Apple during its last quarterly results where it highlighted the rise of enterprise deals for its iPad. It’s something that we’ve heard anecdotally too from enterprise service companies.

In its tablet rankings, J.D. Power asks users to rate products in five categories and then weights them in different proportions: performance (26%), ease of operation (22%), styling and design (19%), features (17%), and price (16%). It notes that Apple’s score of 848 came largely from being the first in performance, ease of use, styling/design and features, while Amazon beat it out on price.

Indeed, while Amazon first entered the market with a $ 199 Kindle Fire, its latest line of tablets, announced only last week, pointed to the company moving into higher-end products, with the 8.9-inch HD model costing $ 499, comparable with Apple’s pricing. It will be interesting to see whether Amazon, going forward, will be able to hold its own against Apple in the other categories as it clearly will become less attractive on a pricing level.



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Apple Tops J.D. Power’s Tablet Survey, Barely Beating Amazon; Tablets Top Smartphones For Use

new-ipad-black-640x480-jpeg-1

One day after Apple ’ s huge iPhone 5 news day, an accolade for Apple in the tablet classification: J.D. Power and Associates has actually placed the brand name at the top of its yearly tablet consumer contentment study. This is the first time that the influential pollster has tracked USA individuals on tablet use — it is known for its mobile handset positions, which Apple additionally topped for smartphones last week. Amazon and its Kindle Fire tablet are, nonetheless, nipping at Apple ’ s heels: the 2 were separated by just 6 points, with Amazon scoring especially well due to the fact that of its reduced rate. Final tallies for the 2 brand names were Apple at 848 and Amazon at 842, on a scale of 1,000.

Both scored greater than the business average of 832, with Samsung, Acer, Barnes & Noble and HP rounding out the leading positions in the list, all below the industry average.

In addition to ranking tablet brands, J.D. Power additionally considered tablet utilization. The 1,985 tablet owners who were polled reached conclusions that reflect just what others have additionally been saying: the larger touchscreen on tablets is making them a much more powerful magnet for content usage and individual engagement than their smaller-sized smartphone relatives.

Tablet individuals are investing, on average, 7.5 hours per week on their gadgets, doing things like surfing the web, watching videos, paying attention to songs, and checking out books. That still includes it at a lower time than PCs, which clock up 9.6 hours of use a week for the very same events.

Unsurprisingly, those who utilize their tablets even more are also more satisfied with the tablet kind element. On a scale of 1,000, those who watch three or more hours of video clip per week rated their satisfaction as 857, versus those who watched less ranking at 812.

And the study delivers a rather clear message about the significance of getting the content right — in the kind of apps and additional services — for tablet makers ’ bigger hardware companies. Those who view even more than 3 hours of video recording are additionally 90 % more likely to become repeat purchasers of the exact same brand — the very same portion that stated they would return to the brand if they were pleased with it. Nonetheless, those who watched less still appeared to reveal strong brand affinity, with 81 % of them stating they would certainly buy the very same brand of tablet again. Some 37 % of all participants stated they would certainly be purchasing a brand-new tablet in the next 12 months.

“ As tablet computing, multimedia, display, and application offerings continue to develop, their effect on utilization patterns will continue to expand, ” creates Dr. Uma S. Jha, senior director of mobile units at J.D. Power and Associates. “Tablets are a force in the marketplace that offer a terrific option to laptop computers and netbooks. ”

As tablets move more to coming to be a replacement for people ’ s Computers, they have actually already passed smartphones in usage. The survey discovered that consumers who possessed both tablets and smartphones invested 40 % even more time scanning the web on their tablets than they did on their phones. Gaming apps scored also greater, with 56 % even more time spent on tablets.

However it ’ s not merely an individual plaything: 25 % of owners stated they used their tablets for company. This, too, was something taken note by Apple during its last quarterly results where it highlighted the increase of business deals for its iPad. It ’ s something that we ’ ve heard anecdotally too from enterprise service companies.

In its tablet rankings, J.D. Power asks individuals to rate items in 5 groups and then weights them in different proportions: performance (26 %), simplicity of operation (22 %), styling and design (19 %), attributes (17 %), and cost (16 %). It takes note that Apple ’ s score of 848 came predominately from being the first in performance, ease of usage, styling/design and attributes, while Amazon topped it out on cost.

Without a doubt, while Amazon first got in the market place with a $ 199 Kindle Fire, its most current line of tablets, revealed just last week, aimed to the company moving into higher-end items, with the 8.9-inch HD style costing $ 499, equivalent with Apple ’ s rates. It will certainly be fascinating to see whether Amazon, going ahead, will certainly be able to hold its very own against Apple in the additional groups as it clearly will become less attractive on a pricing level.



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Cat Beating On Automatic Feeder To Score Extra Food

auto-cat-feeder-beatdown.jpg

Because the internet is drier than dry cat food, here’s a video of Milo the cat beating the shit out of his automatic cat feeder to get it to drop some extra fish-shaped kibble. Mmmm, the fish shapes are my favorite too.

We have two cats, Milo (tabby) and Max (black). They are one year old brothers from the same litter. Milo is a big fan of the dry food, Max not so much. Despite the fact that their automatic feeder drops food 3 times daily, Milo smashes into it with his front paws 20-30 times each day in order to knock out some extra snacks. Max has never smashed the feeder.

See? And you all thought I was crazy for pounding on my computer every time the internet goes out. “But Milo actually gets something for his effort — banging on your computer doesn’t do anything.” Yes it does too! “What?” Makes me feel good.

Hit the jump for the clever cat in action, bonus slap-fight midway through.

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Ridgid Jobsite iPod Radio takes a beating, survives long enough to go on sale (video)

So, you’ve celebrated the landing of yet another construction deal by giving the whole crew their own Motorola Defy (except for Derick, who’s saddled with a lowly i365), but there’s still one problem: on-the-job entertainment. Enter Ridgid’s Jobsite Radio, hailed as the first iPod-toting boombox designed to withstand just about anything. As you can tell, the device itself is encased in a ShockMount layer of protective armor, and we have to stress the “armor” aspect. Users simply flip down the lid in the front, slide their iPod in and then change tracks via on-board external controls or remote control from up to 25 feet away. Oh, and if Joe or Buck just so happens to bring their Zune HD into work, the 3.5mm auxiliary input will ensure that no one is publicly shamed. The unit is powered by a standard 120V or Ridgid 18V battery, and if you’re curious as to just how hardcore this thing is, there’s an enlightening video embedded just after the break. She’s all yours after dropping $ 149 at the Home Depot.

[Thanks, Thomas]

Continue reading Ridgid Jobsite iPod Radio takes a beating, survives long enough to go on sale (video)

Ridgid Jobsite iPod Radio takes a beating, survives long enough to go on sale (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 14 Dec 2010 11:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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