GDC2017 – GAME DEVELOPER’S CONFERENCE CONCLUDES ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL EVENT IN SAN FRANCISCO

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Article and Photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, CA,  Mar 3, 2017 – The Game Developers Conference®, or commonly known as “GDC”, the world’s largest professional game industry event just ended it’s five day stint at San Francisco’s Moscone Center last week.  There was plenty of activity at the event with all the participants flying from all around the globe to show their wares and to be discovered by scouts, as well as the main sponsors of the Gaming community, including major players, such as Sony, Xbox,  Nvidia, Facebook Oculus, Autodesk, Google, Amazon, Lumberyard, and Unity Technologies, just to name just a few.

Much of tomorrow’s young talent showed up at other off-site places close to the Moscone Center, such as CBS Interactive, who hosted the European Game Showcase.  The developers that attended this event are based in countries far away, such as Vienna, Poland, Barcelona, and Holland. Many of these same designers were participating at Moscone West’s Indie Lounge Megabooth during the conference.  They are hoping to get funding or to be scouted by the Big Leagues.  From what I saw, I think many will be discovered.

A wide assortment of games were being demoed throughout the floor at the European Game Showcase.  Though, I didn’t see all of them, I noticed that they were not violent. For example,  I walked through a country hillside in a quaint neighborhood, I played keyboard sports games, I was an actual pinball trying control myself by racking up points by bumping into bumpers and chutes, and I attended a Monster Prom.  I also went through an interactive VR space station.  They were all quite enjoyable, even with my passion for “Call of Duty” games.

Though, much VR was being demoed on the Expo floor by the major players, I’m wondering if it has died down compared to a year ago.

This years conference marks the 31st edition of GDC, making it the longest-running event of its kind. Presented every spring in San Francisco, it is the essential forum for learning, inspiration, and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, smartphone, tablet, mobile, and online games and creators of virtual and augmented reality for games and entertainment.

GDC attracts over 27,000 attendees, and is the primary forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and others involved in the development of interactive games and virtual reality gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry. GDC is produced by UBM Game Network, a division of UBM Americas.

There is nothing more exciting then the multitude of ideas flowing from so many great young thinkers who are so enthusiastic about their projects.  It becomes infectious and encourages great networking opportunities for all of those involved.

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MLS ENTERTAINMENT – PREDICTS THE 89TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

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Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in LA LA LAND.           Photo Credit: Dale Robinette

Watch the Oscars February 26th live on ABC 7e | 4p!

Article by Marcus Siu

LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 24, 2016:  Just barely a year ago, immediately after the “Oscars So White” movement denounced the lack of diversity of minorities for the Academy Award nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences (AMPAS) announced it would double the number of women and diverse members by the year 2020.

Their “movement belief” was that if hiring reflected the U.S. population, Oscar voters would have weighed 150-plus films directed by women, 45 directed by blacks, 50 by Hispanics, and dozens of movies by directors who are Asian-American, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities and members of other minorities. Of course, the actual tallies were a fraction of those numbers.

During June of last year, the Oscar-granting organization has issued 683 invitations to prospective new members this year, with 46% being women and 41% being people of color. Even with those numbers, there are close to 90% white and 83% men enlisted in the Academy.

However, that seemed to have solved the diversity issue, at least for this year, as six out of the ten acting nominees are non-white and are vying for an Academy Award this weekend.

“Moonlight” has two of those nominations in the supporting actor categories for first time nominees, Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, “Fences” has two for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the lead actor categories,  “Loving”‘s Ruth Negga and “Hidden Figures” Octavia Spencer.

This may be the year that will be remembered when diversity broke out.

Here are MLS Entertainment’s predictions for this years Academy Awards.

BEST PICTURE:

“La La Land”
“Moonlight”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Arrival”
“Fences”
“Lion”
“Hidden Figures”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”

If La La Lands’ 14 nominations, which is tied for the most nominations ever in the history of the Academy Awards, isn’t a big enough indicator that it will win Best Picture, then nothing is.  The other three movies that were nominated for 14 awards, (“All About Eve”, “Titanic”, and “The Lord of the Rings – Return of the King” eventually took Best Picture.

If another movie wins, then my guess is that the balloting was hacked by cyber terrorists and we should stage a protest and march to Los Angeles and demand the Academy to ask the auditors at Price-Waterhouse to do a re-count.

Prediction: La La Land

FENCES

Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson.

BEST ACTOR:

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Bringing August Wilson’s play “Fences” from stage to screen was a pure consummate project for Denzel Washington.  As the film’s director (and co-producer), he chose to be true to the stage play as he possibly could by keeping the Tony Award winning original 2010 Broadway cast intact.  According to Washington, the star of the movie is the screenplay and August Wilson’s words. With Viola Davis by his side, you couldn’t find a better acting duo this year alongside each other, as both have each won Tony Awards for their work for their respective roles. As a director/actor, he made this film to be an actor’s movie that showcased Wilson’s screenplay. Since most of the Academy are actors, they certainly did appreciate his choice.

Contender Casey Affleck, on the other hand took home the Golden Globe Award and the BAFTA for Best performance by an Actor in his role as a guardian to his brother’s nephew in “Manchester by the Sea”, but I think the edge will still go to Washington, as he took this year’s SAG award for Best Actor and also since this may be his proudest work as the “total filmmaker”.  If he does win, he will have won his third Oscar, which is a feat only accomplished by six other actors since the statuettes were given out.

As for the other three Best Actor nominees; they were all fantastic.  Especially “Captain Fantastic’s” Viggo Mortensen, whose character, as a father of six, unconventionally raises them like no other parent could ever imagine.  Mortensen received the loudest ovation at the SAG luncheon, so he definitely has his share of admirers. Returning two-time Oscar nominee, Ryan Gosling, certainly deserves special recognition for actually playing jazz piano in “La La Land” without stunt doubles or tricky film editing techniques to assist him.  Yes, that’s really him playing.  Lastly, first time nominee, Andrew Garfield had a super exceptional year, as well, and gave us two very “religious” experiences;  his nominated real-life role as Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector and medic in Mel Gibson’s brutal “Hacksaw Ridge”, and also a 17th Century Jesuit priest in Martin Scorcese’s “Silence”.

Prediction: Denzel Washington

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Emma Stone stars as ‘Mia’ in LA LA LAND. Photo Credit: Dale Robinette

BEST ACTRESS

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Second time nominee, Emma Stone, should have her acceptance speech ready by now.  She has basically won virtually every major award for her role as Mia in “La La Land”.  Her drive and dedication for her role included months of rehearsals of singing and dancing, with the first six weeks dedicated to tap and ballroom dancing with Mandy Moore as choreographer.  She is not afraid of taking risks or challenges given to her by La La Land’s director Damien Chazelle and is likely to be around for years to come.

Isabelle Huppert, this year’s Golden Globe Award winner for Best Actress in a Drama, has the best outside chance to beat Stone for the French language film, “Elle”.  She has been finally recognized by the Academy, but she, like Meryl Streep, has been churning out standout performances throughout her entire forty-year career, but mainly in Europe.  She deserves more of a Lifetime Achievement Award, but at least she will be honored with her first nomination for her daring portrayal in Paul Verhoeven’s powerful “rape revenge” film.

Meryl Streep, nominated again this year for a record breaking 20th time in the title role of “Florence Foster Jenkins”. It could possibly be the world’s greatest actress playing the world’s worst opera singer. It’s too easy to break records when you’re Meryl Streep.  It’s also easy to want to break records if you have the name Florence Foster Jenkins on them. Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy in “Jackie” and Ruth Negga’s “Loving”, also give strong impressive performances, but are unlikely to take the gold, as the voters didn’t quite give enough “loving” to those respective films.

Prediction: Emma Stone

Moonlight

Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in MOONLIGHT Credit: Photo by David Bornfriend, courtesy of A24

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

The indie film, Moonlight was a perfect vehicle and just in time for the “diversity” issue to kick in.  Writer, director, Barry Jenkins put together a near perfect film with an amazing ensemble of acting from the entire cast which took the Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast this year.  The heart of that ensemble belonged to Mahershala Ali, who plays a smart street drug-dealer who tries to shape the life of a neglected boy (Alex Hibbert) who belongs to a crack addicted mother. A heart wrenching performance.

As good as the other four nominees are, they are no match for Ali.

Prediction: Mahershala Ali

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Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Viola Davis, “Fences”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Make note that this category has nominated a record three black actresses, creating Oscar history:  Viola Davis in “Fences”, Naomie Harris in “Moonlight” and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”.  Michelle Williams in “Manchester By the Sea” and Nicole Kidman’s “Lion” round out the impressive list of performances by a supporting actress.  As good as they all were, three-time nominee, Viola Davis is way long overdue to be awarded by the Academy.  Sharing scenes with Denzel along with the rest of the original 2010 Broadway cast just makes her shine even more, especially since she knows that role inside out after playing it on Broadway.  Where the other nominees were impressive, Davis was just downright phenomenal.

Prediction: Viola Davis

NOTES OF INTEREST:

Look for the Academy to give possibly give a second Oscar to Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, for “The Salesman” for Best Foreign Language Film, who will not be able to pick up the award due to Trump’s Visa ban, if he wins.  It would be interesting to see if there will be a platform to speak out politically, as I am sure the stage will be set for may who choose to do so.  Especially with diversity as the theme of the evening.

32 year old, Damien Chazelle, will be the youngest director to ever win the Academy Award for “La La Land”.

 

AND THE REST OF THEM:

  1. Best Picture: La La land
  2. Actor in a Leading Role: Denzel Washington – Fences
  3. Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone – La La Land
  4. Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
  5. Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis – Fences
  6. Directing: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  7. Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
  8. Writing (Original Screenplay) – Manchester by the Sea
  9. Cinematography: Linus Sandgren – La La Land
  10. Costume Design: Madeline Fontaine – Jackie
  11. Sound Mixing – Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Steven Morrow – La La Land
  12. Film Editing: Tom Cross – La La Land
  13. Sound Editing: Robert Mackenzie, Andy Wright – Hacksaw Ridge
  14. Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
  15. Makeup and Hairstyling: Star Trek Beyond
  16. Music (Original Song) – Justin Hurwitz – City of Stars
  17. Music (Original Score) – Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
  18. Short Film (Animated) – Piper
  19. Short Film (Live Action) – Ennemis Interieurs
  20. Documentary Short Subject: Joe’s Violin
  21. Documentary Feature: O.J. Made in America
  22. Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
  23. Animated Feature Film: Zootopia
  24. Production Design: La La Land

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RSA CONFERENCE 2017 COMES TO A CLOSE WITH RECORD ATTENDANCE: THE POWER OF OPPORTUNITY EVIDENT

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The busy North Expo was extremely busy at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for this years RSA Conference.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

Photos and slideshow by Marcus Siu

Yesterday, the RSA Conference 2017 USA, the world’s leading cyber-security event held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco came to a close.  There was a record number 43,000 attendees that participated in the annual event.

Experts in the field of  cyber-security came from industry and government from all around the globe.  Peers networking with the brightest minds and learning from the best.  There were over 15 Keynote speakers, over 500 sessions, and over 550 companies on the Expo floor.

Even though the Keynote venues were filled to capacity extremely early, the organizers were able to accommodate the overflow crowd by setting up projection screens just right outside the main hall where the keynotes were at.

The power of opportunity was evident all around the conference, as it was definitely the place to embrace the opportunities from every standpoint, including professional development, moving the industry forward, and uniting as a community for those in the field.

Here is a slideshow that I put together mainly of the expo floor.

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The following is a press release from RSA.

SAN FRANCISCO – February 17, 2017 – RSA Conference, the world’s leading information security conferences and expositions, today concluded its 26th annual event in San Francisco. A record number of more than 43,000 attendees experienced keynotes, peer-to-peer sessions, track sessions, tutorials and seminars.

“Leading up to RSA Conference 2017 it could have been argued that this event was the most anticipated in our history,” said Linda Gray Martin, Director & General Manager of RSA Conference. “Over the last few months information security has experienced both tremendous highs, and weathered scrutiny of lows as experts in private and public sectors debated various practices of information sharing. As a result of this increased exposure, it was critical to have an RSA Conference full of constructive dialog, discussion and debate that will form the information security agenda and continue to move our industry forward. We hope our attendees took this powerful opportunity as the chance to help forge a future we can all be proud of.”

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Outside on Fifth and Mission in San Francisco.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

RSA Conference 2017 highlights include:

  • RSA Conference 2017 featured 15 keynote presentations, more than 700 speakers across 500+ sessions and more than 550 companies on the expo floors.
  • Hot session presentations included:
    • Changing Behaviors At Enterprise-Scale; Simon Hodgkinson, Chief Information Security Officer, BP; Christine Maxwell, Governance, Risk & Compliance Director, BP
    • Cloud Assessments: You’re Doing It Wrong!; Bill Burns,Chief Trust Officer, VP Business Transformation; Informatica LLC; Trey Ford, Head of Trust, Heroku, a Salesforce company; Cory Scott, Chief Information Security Officer, LinkedIn; Jim Trovato, Sr. Director, IT Governance Risk and Compliance, Informatica LLC
    • Hacker’s Perspective on your Windows Infrastructure: Mandatory Check List; Paula Januszkiewicz, CEO, Security Expert, Penetration Tester & Trainer, MVP, CQURE
    • How Google Protects Its Corporate Security Perimeter Without Firewalls; Heather Adkins, Director of Information Security, Google, and Rory Ward, Site Reliability Engineering Manager, Google
    • How to Catch A Snowden; Chris Inglis, Advisory Board Chair, Securonix
  • UnifyID was named “RSA Conference 2017’s Most Innovative Startup” by the Innovation Sandbox’s judges’ panel comprised of technology, venture and security industry thought leaders.
  • RSA Conference reached broader audiences with a new series of educational programs that teaches cyber-awareness for children, provides outreach to college students to introduce and encourage a career in information security, and supports education throughout the various stages of a career within the industry. RSAC AdvancedU includes the following:
    • RSAC CyberSafety Initiative: 1,300 attendees filled the Cyber Safety Village in Moscone West throughout the week to learn more about the issues children and teens are experiencing online including topics such as emotional responses to social media, sexting, impact on sleep and how to manage online reputations.
    • RSAC Security Scholar program: RSA Conference Security Scholar connects the brightest up-and-coming cybersecurity students to leading experts, peers and conference attendees. As the program enters its second year, RSA Conference expanded to include more than 20 schools and 60 students.
    • RSAC College Day: RSA Conference created College Day to help students find their ideal career options through meeting both industry veterans and companies that are looking for young, talented students to join their ranks. This year 60 students had access to more than 50 sessions, a day in the life of a security expert panel, and met with sponsors during an open house that was attended by more than 600 attendees.

The 20th Annual RSA Conference Awards program highlighted the work of three security professionals in the fields of mathematics, public policy and security practices. This year’s winners included:

  • Howard Schmidt, Former White House Cybersecurity Advisor– Excellence in the Field of Information Security
  • Dr. Tatsuaki Okamoto, NTT Fellow – Excellence in the Field of Mathematics
  • The Honorable Michael McCaul, Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives, Homeland Security Committee – Excellence in the Field of Public Policy

RSAC Unplugged London will take place on June 8, 2017. RSA Conference 2017 Asia Pacific & Japan takes place July 26-28, 2017 in Singapore. Additionally, RSA Conference returns to Abu Dhabi November 7-8, 2017. RSA Conference 2018 takes place April 16-20, 2018 in San Francisco.

EXHIBITOR QUOTES

“Security is Cisco’s top priority and an essential part of every product that we build. We are always excited to be at the RSA conference. Engaging with the smartest infosec professionals from our customers, partners and the community provides us with important input into our strategy and roadmaps. The increasing size of this event illustrates the growing importance and investment that every company is making in information security. And that is good for us all.”
– Jeff Samuels, VP Security Marketing, Cisco.

RSA Conference 2017 brought together the business and government community at the forefront of the dramatic changes reshaping cybersecurity.  This year’s conference provided a valuable backdrop for us to discuss critical issues like the need for new approaches to endpoint protection, and the challenge of eliminating the cost and complexity of security operations.  FireEye places a high priority on threat intelligence and the insights learned on the frontlines of today’s cyber breaches, and RSA Conference 2017 reflected the defining developments we see emerging from the continually evolving threat landscape.
– Kara Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, FireEye

“This year’s RSA Conference challenged a big industry audience to think small. Small are the attack surfaces of security cameras, home routers, and mobile devices increasingly populating our office and home work environments. Small are the diverse data transactions that require innumerable protective measures. Big are the shifts in thinking that require us to think of ourselves as small players inside a vast ecosystem of solution providers. Thinking small is the first step in working together more effectively, and having a big impact with better outcomes.”
– Chris Young, General Manager and SVP, Intel Security  

“Security is a team sport. Splunk customers want solutions that work together in a coordinated and automated manner, using data, analytics, next generation firewalls, threat intelligence and other technologies to defend and protect against threats in real-time. We clearly saw at RSA Conference 2017 that the industry is moving in this direction. We heard repeatedly this year how emerging threats are disrupting and negatively impacting businesses across the globe, but the spirit of collaboration, powered by industry advancements in analytics and orchestration, were on full display at RSA.”
– Haiyan Song, Senior Vice President of Security Markets, Splunk

“In 2017 we continue to see a wide variety of attack types, yet many teams out there tell us they lack the proper tools or skills to address threats comprehensively. RSAC 2017 provided a valuable platform for the infosec community to come together and share ideas on how to pragmatically reduce risk for our organizations. With so many considerations – regulatory compliance, cloud, industrial OT environments – one message came through clearly: foundational security controls are more important than ever to establish resilient Infosec capabilities that deliver effective security regardless of what comes at you.”
– Dwayne Melancon, Vice President of Products, Tripwire

RSA CONFERENCE ONLINE

– See more at: https://www.rsaconference.com/press/74/rsa-conference-2017-closes-with-record-attendance#sthash.vXUHliiu.dpuf

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LG ELECTRONICS EARNS ‘BEST OF THE BEST’ CES 2017 HONORS FOR LG SIGNATURE SERIES W7 ‘WALLPAPER’ TV

Technology Leader Receives More Than 120 CES Awards & Honors

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2017 – LG Electronics (LG) won more than 120 awards at CES® 2017, leading the way with the coveted, official Engadget CES Best of the Best Awards, for LG’s revolutionary new LG SIGNATURE W7 OLED 4K TV complemented by a variety of best-of-show honors for the W7 and LG Smart InstaView™ refrigerator.

LG was the recipient of top accolades from Better Homes and Gardens, Men’s Health, The Verge and Reviewed.com, amongst others, adding to the 21 CES Innovation Awards from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA™) across home appliance, home entertainment and mobile communications categories.

“We are constantly striving to deliver value to our customers, so it’s a tremendous honor to see our W7 Wallpaper TV named one of the most awarded products at this year’s CES,” said William Cho, president and CEO, LG Electronics USA. “From seemingly impossibly thin televisions to reimagined refrigerators and wearable surround sound, we’ve challenged ourselves and have been able to deliver products that will set the standard for the industry this year.”

LG unveiled brand new LG SIGNATURE products at CES 2017, including the LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W-series which leads wins with over 40 awards, employing a show stopping, entirely new Picture-on-Wall design. The LG Smart InstaView refrigerator followed in award wins, featuring a 29-inch touch LCD display, Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service and a host of WiFi-enabled features.

Awards earned by LG at CES 2017 include:

LG SIGNATURE W7 OLED TV: Engadget Best of CES: Best of the Best, Engadget Best of CES: Best TV Product, Expert Reviews CES Top Picks: Best TV, Men’s Health Editors’ Choice Awards, TechRadar’s 2017 CES Awards: Best in Show, The Verge: Best TV, Advertising Age Best of CES, BGR Best of CES, CNET Best of CES 2017: The Best Thing We Saw, Pocket-Lint: Best TVs of CES, CNN Money Coolest Tech Products at CES, Dealerscope Best of CES, FOX News 10 Best Gadgets at CES, PCMag Best of CES: Best Television, Popular Mechanics Best of/Editors’ Choice CES Awards, Reviewed.com CES Editor’s Choice Winners, SlashGear: Best of CES, Sound & Vision/What Hi-Fi Stars of CES, Stuff Magazine Best TVs of CES 2017, Tech50+: Televisions, Techlicious CES Top Picks, TechnoBuffalo Reader’s Choice Awards, TechRadar’s 2017 CES Awards: Best TV, AVS Forum Best New Products of CES 2017, Tom’s Guide Best of CES, Tweaktown Best of CES, TWICE Picks Awards: Video & TVs, T3 12 Best Gadgets We’ve Seen at CES, UberGizmo Best of CES, 9to5Toys Best of CES, CBS Favorite TVs of CES, Computer Bild CES Best Products, Fossbytes Best Products of CES, GQ Best Things at CES, HD Guru CES Top Picks, Interesting Engineering Technology’s Best, Brightest and Coolest From CES, Mashable Best Tech of CES, Mobile & Apps Top 10 Innovative Products at CES, News18 Best of CES 2017, Economic Times Best of CES, Paste Magazine: 5 Best TVs of CES, PC Quest Best of CES, TechBeasts Awesome Tech Revealed at CES 2017, Tech Goondu Best of CES, Tech Spot Best of CES, TIME Coolest Gadgets from CES, Wall Street Journal Best of CES, I4U Best TVs of CES, ETFM CES Best of the Best

LG Smart InstaView Refrigerator: Expert Reviews CES Top Picks: Best Home Appliance, Reviewed.com CES Editors’ Choice Winners, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances, Stuff Magazine 9 Best Gadgets with Amazon’s Voice Assistant, Tech50+: Home Appliances, Techlicious CES Top Picks, TechnoBuffalo Reader’s Choice Awards, TechRadar’s 2017 CES Awards Best In-Home Gizmo, Tom’s Guide Best of CES, Mansion Global Best of CES, TechBeasts Awesome Tech Revealed at CES 2017

LG Hub Robot: SlashGear: Best of CES, WIRED Best of CES, The Verge: Best Robot,
The Telegraph Best Tech of the Week, Stuff Magazine 9 Best Gadgets with Amazon’s Voice Assistant, Chip Chick Best of CES, D’Marge Best of CES, GearBrain Best of CES, Mirror Best ‘Smart Home’ Robots of CES

LG Gram 14: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Computer Peripherals, Engadget: Best of CES: Best PC Finalist, MSPoweruser Best Windows Devices to Come Out of CES, Houston Chronicle Coolest Products at CES

LG Gram 15.6: Thurrott Best of CES

LG SJ9 Sound Bar: Pocket-Lint Best Headphones and Speakers at CES, Tech50+: Sound Bars, TechRadar’s 2017 CES Awards: Best Audio Accessory

LG SJ7 Sound Bar: ETFM Best Home Entertainment

LG Multi-Functional Bluetooth Speaker: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Portable Media Players and Accessories

LG Probeam: The Verge: Best Projector, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Audio/Video Components and Accessories

LG SIGNATURE TWINWash Front-Load Washer and Dryer Pair: Better Homes and Gardens CES Editors’ Choice 2017 Innovation Awards, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances, TWICE Picks Awards: Major Appliances

LG 4-Door Refrigerator Door-in-Door, Dual View Camera: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances

LG SIGNATURE Dishwasher: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances

LG HOM-BOT Network Water Mop: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Smart Home

LG CordZero Stick Vacuum: Reviewed.com CES Editors’ Choice Winners

LG PJ9: ZDNet: Best Smartphones, IoT Products at CES, Tech Times Best Smart Home Gadgets at CES

LG Airport Guide Robot: Advertising Age Best of CES

LG Sidekick: Dealerscope Best of CES

LG SIGNATURE OLED 65 G6: Tech50+ Boomie Awards: Best Television of the Year

LG Nano Cell TV: ZDNet Best of CES

LG Air Purifier PuriCare 360: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances, TWICE Picks Awards: Connected Home Devices

LG Super UHD TVs: Pocket-Lint: Best TVs of CES

LG Display 55-inch Transparent TV: Chip Chick Best of CES, Mashable Best Tech of CES 2017

LG 65-inch B7 4K OLED TV: The Wall Street Journal Best of CES, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Video Displays, Digital Entertainment Group Awards: Best 4K Ultra HD TV

LG Flat 65-inch Super UHD 4K TV: TWICE Picks Awards: Connected Home Devices, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Home Appliances

LG 65-inch 4K OLED TV: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Video Displays

LG 65-inch E7 OLED 4K TV: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Video Displays

LG 65-inch 4K LED TV with Advanced Accessibility Technologies: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Video Displays, TWICE Picks Awards: Video & TVs, Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Video Displays: Tech for a better world

LG 65-inch B7 4K OLED TV with Advanced Accessibility Technologies: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Tech for a better world

LG 75-inch 4K ULTRA HD LED TV: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies

LG 31.5’’ 4-side Borderless UHD 4K HDR Monitor: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Computer Peripherals

LG Styler: Architectural Record Best in Category

LG 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player: HD Guru CES Top Picks

LG K8™: TWICE Picks Awards: Smartphones & Tablets

LG V20™: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Wireless Handsets

LG G5: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Wireless Handsets

LG FORCE: TWICE Picks Awards: Accessories

LG TONE Active+™: Consumer Technology Association 2017 CES Innovation Awards: Headphones

LG Wireless Mouse: PC Pro Best of CES

LG32UD99 Monitor: PC Pro Best of CES

LG ELECTRONICS: SMM Electronics Challenge Awards

For more information about LG’s products at CES 2017, please visit http://ces2017.LGnewsroom.com/.

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ASKING SANTA FOR A NEW HOME ENTERTAINMENT CENTER – AT PEPCOM’S HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR SHOW!

Greetings to the Holiday Spectacular, hosted by Pepcom in San Francisco at the Metreon, where journalists and leading technology companies hit "Tini's in Tinseltown. Photo by Marcus Siu

Greetings to the Holiday Spectacular, hosted by Pepcom in San Francisco at the Metreon, where journalists and leading technology companies hit Tinseltown. Photo by Marcus Siu

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 10, 2016:  Every time I attend the Pepcom media event show, it always feels like Christmas, regardless of what time of the year it actually is.  Their Holiday Spectacular’s “Tinsel & ‘Tini’s” show they hosted at the end of October at the San Francisco Metreon’s City View was certainly no exception, as it was a perfect festive kickoff into the holiday season.

A fun time was had by all, as the latest products received full attention at the booths with media surrounding the company reps on the show floor, inquiring about the latest wares and gadgets.

Wonderful food was served throughout the evening such as dim sum, fajitas, and carved roast beef with a grand assortment of organic veggies, cocktails, such as Lemon Drop Martinis, wine and beer.  It definitely encouraged a fun atmosphere with informative conversation with the more than fifty or so companies that came, along with their representatives ,that presented their products to the media, with well over hundreds of new products to show.

This year’s Pepcom festive show put me in the right frame of mind and mood, as it made me wonder what I would want from Santa this year, as if I was to build a brand new home entertainment center from scratch. Glancing at all the booths, like a kid in a candy store, it was pretty easy to choose and pick products that were on display that evening.

Here’s what I would ask Santa for Christmas.

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Dolby Laboratories made a rare appearance at the Pepcom Holiday Spectacular in San Francisco in late October to promote “Dolby Vision”. Photo by Marcus Siu.

DOLBY LABORATORIES

The first thing I would have Santa put in his sled is a brand new 4K LG OLED 65″ E6, with Dolby Vision.  Yes, your heard me right!  Dolby Vision.  Dolby Labs, known primarily for their patented sound technology, now has made a mark in what you see with their sound in consumer electronics.

Dolby Vision™ is advanced high dynamic range (HDR) and offers a multitude of benefits such as its astonishing brightness, deep darks, expanded contrast, ultra-vivid colors, refined detail, enhanced dimensionality.   In contrast, they make regular standard 4K HDTV’s with standard HDR look pale in comparison.

Dolby have incorporated “Dolby Vision” technology into a few 4K HDR Smart LED TV’s: The LG Super UHD ($1099-$7999) and OLED TV series, Models B6 ($2499-$3999) & E6 ($3499-4999), the Vizion M ($899-$3799) & P series ($699-3999).

Add to that, a Dolby Atmos soundbar found in the Samsung HW-K850 ($999), HW-950 ($1499), and the Yamaha YSP-5600 ($1599) (shown below) and you now have a home version of “Dolby Cinema”.

Sound has never truly looked better and sight has never sound like this clear.

I’ll have to ask Santa for the Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar, as well to match the TV.

https://www.dolby.com/in/en/technologies/home/dolby-vision.html#4

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The LG Super UHD and OLED TV series, Models B6 & E6 (shown here) join the line that features Dolby Vision. Courtesy of Dolby Laboratories.

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Yamaha YSP-5600BL MusicCast Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos.  Courtesy of Dolby Laboratories

VIEWSONIC:

However, sometimes even a 65 inch screen doesn’t quite do it, regardless of how amazing the picture quality is.  A big epic like “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Titanic” was made to be seen on the big screen.  This is when we need a projector that can fill up the entire wall.

With the LS820 laser projector ($2999.99), ViewSonic delivers a Full HD 1080p, ultra-short throw projector for stunning home entertainment, this creates the perfect environment. The LS820 features a laser phosphor light source with Rec. 709 calibration for accurate color rendering. With the company’s proprietary SuperColor™ and SonicExpert® technologies, the LS820 delivers advanced color and enhanced sound reproduction, and 3500 lumens of brightness. This projector has a 0.25 ultra-short throw lens allowing it to be placed on your home entertainment stand just inches away from a wall or screen, and project an immersive image up to 150 inches. This projector offers up to 20,000 hours of operation, 100,000:1 contrast ratio, and PortAll® – a hidden MHL/HDMI port that discreetly streams multimedia content from a mobile device to the projector via a wireless dongle. Utilizing the latest laser light technology, the LS820 is virtually maintenance-free, providing years of in-home entertainment.

Unlike the traditional rear projector, it’s nice to know that the “child-like” audience members in the screening room will no longer be able to use their hands to create shadows of flying birds or barking dogs between the projector light and screen.  It’s also nice to know that there is no more danger of kicking or tripping over exposed cables.

Add this to the sled, too, Santa…

http://www.viewsonic.com/us/ls820.html

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No need to have to have the projector all the way back to the wall any longer. The ViewSonic projector is just inches from the screen and can project a 150′ image.   Photo by Marcus Siu.

PLEX:

After hooking up the TV or the projector, it would be wise to get some real entertainment to enjoy.  Since, I enjoy watching my own media, rather than live TV, I would add Plex into my Home Entertainment pyramid.  Plex lets you access your own media stored on your computer by connecting the Plex Media server, which can be installed on either your computer, NAS, or even router, so you can stream it to any of your devices that contain the Plex player app; be it your Smart TV, a tablet or a smartphone, regardless of where you are.

Your Plex media can be hand chosen from the media from your computer (photos, videos, movies and TV shows, etc).  You have total control of what to put into the server;  any media that is stored on your hard drive.

You can also share them with friends or family who are also Plex users and everyone can give each other access to their collections, as well.

Plex organizes your entire media collection through a simple interface and enhances it with descriptions, plot summaries, film posters and more.  Their tagging software gathers all the pertinent information on the server such as the movie studios graphics and credits, or photos tags with the shooting information of your photos, so you can easily navigate instead of squinting to read your files.

Even Santa could enjoy Plex on his tablet or smartphone, if he or any of his reindeer need a break.  I still believe there are animal cruelty laws against reindeers not taking a break.

https://www.plex.tv/

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Access your media files anywhere from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, regardless where you are with the help of Plex. Photo by Marcus Siu

WESTERN DIGITAL:

Unfortunately, having your own media means needing lots of storage to put them on, and with HD and 4K video becoming more commonplace for video enthusiasts and filmmakers, the need for more storage continues to climb at record rates.   Luckily storage prices have been dramatically decreasing over the years, where as the capacity of hard drives have been going up.  3TB and 4TB drives are now becoming typical and more affordable as time goes on.

Even with the new re imagined designed change this year on their My Passports, Western Digital has been consistently producing the most reliable hard drives over the years, and I would prefer to stick with them, especially with their 3 year warranty.  As well as the auto-backup featured on My Passports, it’s password protection has a built-in 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption to keep your files safe, in case you need it.

List prices for the 3TB & 4TB drives are $119.99 & $139.99.

These would be perfect stocking stuffers.

https://www.wdc.com/products/portable-storage/my-passport.html

LINKSYS:

With all this media, one would need a top of the line router that can handle 4K streaming and HD video with ease, especially with multiple users and devices around the home.

The Linksys Max-Stream AC5400  MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (EA9500) is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and delivers speeds up to 5.3 Gbps through Wi-Fi.  MU-MIMO stands for Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology.  It provides Next-Gen Wi-Fi AC technology capable of handling multiple simultaneous data streams to multiple screens and Wi-Fi devices without lag or buffering.

In other words, this router would be perfect for 4kTV streaming and online multiplayer gaming and when multiple devices are being used, as it has 8 Gigabit ethernet ports. ($349.99)

Santa, “I think we’re gonna need a bigger sled”.

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This Linksys EA9500 is truly a monster in a box.    Photo by Marcus Siu.

http://www.linksys.com/us/p/P-EA9500/

Happy holidays!

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Augmented Reality and Smartglasses Leader Osterhout Design Group Closes $58 Million Series A Funding – Largest Series A in Wearables, Augmented and Virtual Reality Sectors

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San Francisco, CA – 5am PT/8am ET, December 1, 2016Osterhout Design Group (ODG), leading developer and manufacturer of mobile AR/VR smartglasses, today announced the closing of a $58 million Series A funding round. Shenzhen O-film Tech Co., Ltd., Vanfund Urban Investment & Development Co. Ltd. and several individual investors participated in the round alongside principal outside investor and strategic partner 21st Century Fox, previously announced in January 2016.  ODG will use the funds to accelerate its existing production capabilities, complete its new products, which will be introduced at CES ‘17, expand its patent portfolio and significantly grow its team worldwide.

“For eight years, we’ve taken a very systematic approach to designing and refining our smartglasses for specific applications from the US government, industry and enterprise customers in a wide variety of markets, and that will not change,” said Ralph Osterhout, CEO of ODG.  “We carefully picked investment partners who not only share ODG’s product vision and growth strategy, but also have the reputation and reach to expand ODG’s global presence and market recognition.”

Continued Osterhout, “People are realizing the potential for mass adoption of high-end mobile devices with the power to transform and simplify their lives.  This funding round, our first ever, ensures we are well positioned to introduce our latest designs at CES ‘17, which will likely form the largest category of smartglasses worldwide.”

ODG has been pioneering the next generation mobile computing platform and bringing forth a new frontier in visual experiences with its smartglasses.  Already award winning, the Company continues to push the boundaries with AR/VR ‘mixed reality’ and mobile technologies.  Shipping to specialized customers since 2011, ODG has seen rapidly growing demand from a broad base of industries for its fully self-contained, computerized glasses with their photo-realistic, “see-through”, 3D displays. All of its models are fully integrated, small, light and sleek.  Their onboard GPS/IMU-based navigation gives users the ability to experience telepresence, tele-maintenance and tele-repair everywhere.  ODG will continue to refine and advance its technology and will transform the way we create, view and consume content in a form with the familiar size and comfort of sunglasses.

Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisor to the Company in connection with the transaction.

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LE GEEK! C’EST CHIC! THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS AT THE 2ND ANNUAL GETGEEKED SHOW IN SF!

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 2, 2016  – Editors, journalists, reporters, and bloggers from top-tier tech blogs, national dailies, influential magazines, lifestyle media, and local TV and radio affiliates got together at the exclusive second annual getgeeked SF press event that took place at the Terra Gallery. Over forty companies showed off their latest products just in time for the holidays.  Unfortunately, I was unable to spend as much time as I wished at each of the booths, and there were great items throughout the show, but here are a few of my favorite things that definitely caught my “geeky” eye.

SENGLED: What a brilliant concept!  Taking an everyday product like the light bulb and incorporating it into an internet of things device, such as a bluetooth or wi-fi speaker or even a HD camera that monitors your home.  “Smart” lighting is what Sengled has been doing for awhile, which is why they are “light years ahead” of those in the industry. Thanks to the longevity of LED technology, bulbs will last up to 25,000 hours, or over 21+years. Because of that, bulbs now outlive cats and are now a much more permanent part of your home just like your pets, so why not incorporate a high quality speaker into them, such as JBL’s?  Just download the app and you can equalize the sound and dim the lights for your particular mood. The Sengled Pulse kit includes two and can expand for a total of eight, instantaneously making it an in-ceiling speaker system!  If you’re looking for light and sound, then the Sengled Pulse is the way to go.

https://www.sengled.com/

EON: Eon Scooter looks like a winner.  There are two different versions of these electric scooters; one for students that go around college, and one that is extremely powerful that can go up the hills of San Francisco.  The Pro version goes for about 30 miles a battery charge, which takes about two hours, and the lighter version goes for about 15 miles a battery charge.  The price is $399 for the pro version, and $199 for the light version.  The speed is about 25 miles an hour and it seems like it was engineered for getting around crowded and traffic congested areas like San Francisco.  Especially along the Marina and Embarcadero, this would seem like the way to travel anywhere in the city.

http://www.eonscooters.com

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Game 7 of the World Series being streamed through the smartphone, thanks to SlimPort’s HDMI adapter. Photo by Marcus Siu.

SLIMPORT: There are times when I wished I was at two different places at the same time.  This night was no exception, as I wished I was at home watching the historic Game 7 of the World Series to watch the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series since 1908, as well as attending this great show.  Luckily, SlimPort was demonstrating their HDMI adapters, which uses a single cable to deliver high-definition audio (8 channels of audio) and video (4K, 1080p and 3-D) from a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to a wide range of external displays, including projectors, PC monitors and HDTVs.  Besides HDMI, the adapters also support DisplayPort, DVI and VGA connected devices.  They do no require power and are able to charge your smartphones in the meantime while it’s in playback. One caveat, is not all mobile devices manufacturers support SlimPort, like Apple and Samsung, since they have their own proprietary adapters.  However, at $30.00, they make great stocking stuffers.

http://www.slimportconnect.com/

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Harman’s JBL line of waterproof bluetooth speakers, including the JBL Xtreme, JBL Charge 3, JBL Clip 2, and the interactive light show JBL Pulse 2. Photo by Marcus Siu.

JBL: Who hasn’t seen that great TV commercial that Harman put out for their JBL waterproof speakers involving dancing dolphins on the water?   They really do sound pretty good coming from a smartphone as demonstrated by the rep at the booth.  The JBL Xtreme’s earth shaking-sound comes from its four active transducers and two visible bass radiators.  The speakers include built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 15 hours of playtime and charges devices via dual USB ports. A pretty sweet package for a list price of $299.95.  For those who like a smaller compact size, the Charge 3’s has a built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to 20 hours of playtime and charges smartphones and tablets via USB, as well. The list price is $149.95. Both speakers wirelessly connect up to 3 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and takes turns playing powerful stereo sound. More importantly, when an incoming call comes to your smartphone, the music turns off and you will be able to hear your caller with crystal clear sound from your speaker with the touch of a button thanks to the noise and echo-cancelling speakerphone.

http://www.jbl.com/

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Lenovo’s Yoga 910 latest ultra slim and powerful laptop is perfect for your media. Photo by Marcus Siu

LENOVO:  I just love the gorgeous Yoga 910 Lenovo laptop that also can be folded any which way and used as a tablet and a viewing device.  It’s all metal unibody design with its watchband hinge, and ultra slim and sleek design allows you to fold up, down, backward, forward, vertical tent style, horizontal tent style, sideways, or anyway you prefer for your optimal viewing pleasure.  It’s not only extremely lightweight and the slimmest available laptop on the market, but it’s a powerhouse Ultra book, as well, featuring the latest Intel i7 7500U GPU processor, with 8GB of RAM memory, a 256GB SSD drive, and a backlit keyboard display. With it’s 4K (3840X2160) resolution and HD audio featuring JBL speakers and Dolby Premium Audio, it basically has the best resolution and picture for viewing media for any laptop, as well.  If you’re an audiophile or videophile who likes to carry their entertainment like I do, then I’d go for this.  It comes with a micro HDMI video out, which means you can connect it to any monitor or TV that uses HDMI inputs and use it as a high quality media player. That makes it portable perfect for showing vacation pictures that are loaded on the computer to show to family and friends. From $1049.99.  I wouldn’t quite recommend it for a student or businessman though, as it would be too distracting to get any work done, because it’s too entertainingly immersive.  For that, I’d recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad or IdeaPad, unless you’re extremely disciplined.

http://www.lenovo.com/

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Meet Yumi the A.I. Robot. Photo by Marcus Siu.

OMATE: Meet Yumi – the World’s First Home Robot powered by Android and Amazon Alexa Artificial Intelligence created by Omate. Yumi can hold a conversation with anyone in the family, kids and adults alike. Yumi has been built on AI from the ground up; it is an incredibly smart and cute robot, a personal assistant, a music hub and a smart-home control point all in one.  Instead of talking to something impersonal, like Amazon’s bluetooth speaker housing for Alexa, Yumi puts a face and personality into the home, and makes a great additional member to the family household, much like the family pet. Sounds like a great gift for the holidays for the entire family. 

OZOBOT: Speaking of robots, Ozobot, the robot creator, integrated an all-new action-packed adventure with their first partnership with Marvel. Transforming the smart and social Evo into the ultimate super robot, Evo Marvel Action Skin are harnessing the powers from Stark Academy’s mightiest heroes (Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, and Ultron) to provide an epic learning and gaming experience that teaches kids to code while connecting them with friends.  It’s smart meets super as users call on the power of The Avengers to train in Stark Academy to master the field of robotics.  Wish I had these when I was a kid. The street date when these go on sale is November 22nd  List price is $124.95 each for the Ironman or Captain America Master Pack, and $29.95 for Black Widow, Hulk, Ultron, Ironman and Captain America individual action skins.

http://ozobot.com/

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Meet the latest Ozobot Avengers. Photo by Marcus Siu.

POWEREYE: This Powereye Drone, which comes with a 4K UHD camera is especially useful for those needed overhead shots for the film-making  professional.  It has a maximum 3.1 miles video stream range, which you can control and monitor with your smartphone.  There is an optional thermal light and natural light switchable camera that comes in one attachment, so you can switch cameras while still airborne.  It also comes many optional interchangeable lens with it.  It’s only 8.8 pounds and can fly close to 30 minutes. As a filmmaker, this seems like a great alternative compared to getting aerial shots from a helicopter or airplane.  The list price is $3,988.00.  The price for the optional special order camera option (2-in-1 thermal light and natural light switchable camera) has not been determined yet, but can be inquired by e-mailing us@powervision.me.

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This is the Powereye drone you’re looking for. Photo by Marcus Siu.

ACRONIS:  Last, but not least, is the importance is having a good backup software, whether it’s in the cloud or not.  As a user of Acronis over the years, they have saved my back many times, being able to mirror hard drives that others cannot do.  Acronis prides itself as being the fastest and easiest backup software, being three to six faster than it’s Windows based competitors.  Nowadays, this speedy software not only backup your PC’s, but also iPhones, iPads, and Android mobile devices.  It even backs up all of your Facebook media, in case you get hacked by someone from Eastern Europe or from your jealous ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, or if you don’t have access to your account for any other reason. There’s a data protection status can be reviewed remotely by you or any family member at any time, regardless where you are.  You can even archive anything to the Acronis cloud for those files that are hardly accessed.  If you ever lose your data on your computer, don’t tell me that I didn’t tell you so.

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/

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Acronis, along with the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 Racing Team, puts its technologies to the test in workloads demanded by the most technologically advanced sport. Photo by Marcus Siu.

To the people who attended the show and to geeks everywhere; get geeked and prosper!

 

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ODG CHANGING THE WORLD OF AUGMENTED REALITY – PROJECT HORIZON BEST IN SHOW – IN AWE WITH RALPH OSTERHOUT

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AWE (Augmented World Expo) attendees in Santa Clara got to experience the latest “Project Horizon” from ODG, which will be part of the Next Generation Smart Glasses with Lightfield technology software that takes advantage of glasses that are so fast, that you can stream incredibly sophisticated imagery and rendering of things that are photo-realistic, in real time.  “Project Horizon'” won Best in Show” at AWE2016.   Photo by Marcus Siu

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

One of the most memorable scenes in the history of James Bond films happens in the 1977 film, “The Spy Who Loved Me” when Bond (Roger Moore) and Anya Amasova, Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) are being pursued by an attack helicopter above them, while our hero is speeding around the windy roads of Sardinia in a Lotus Esprit and then driving off a pier into the ocean to escape their enemy.  As the car submerges into the water and Amasova is in total disbelief, Agent 007 transforms the car into a submarine and shoots a torpedo with the use of a sensor from under the water and blows up the helicopter to smithereens.

This was the work of Ralph Osterhout, the mastermind who designed and built the propulsion system on the submarine car. Besides designing and building equipment for James Bond, he is known primarily as an American inventor, designer and entrepreneur and CEO of Osterhout Design Group, whose base headquarters are located in San Francisco.  With well over 200 patents to his credit, he has also developed over 2,000 different products, hundreds of separate product lines for startups and Fortune 500 companies ranging from toys, consumer electronics, dive equipment, and furniture. He was also the designer of the PVS7 Night Vision Goggles and heads-up displays in scuba masks.

My first encounter with Osterhout’s ODG was at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco, in 2014.  Impressed with their technological presentations and innovative demonstrations, I continually kept returning to their booth.  That was when I had gotten a chance to try to demo the R-7 smart glasses for the first time.  I had no idea that a pair of glasses could be so “smart” and be aesthetically pleasing at the same time.  At the time, Google glasses were being tested, but I thought the R-7’s blew the Google Glasses out the door, as these were more powerful and immersive than any wearable could be.  Best of all, the glasses were practically designed so that you can see through them without being distracted, even in the daylight.  In addition, it also acted as a personal home theater, even though this product was designed exclusively for enterprise.

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ODG’s booth included 3D navigation systems, such as InnerOptic Technology, that helps improves accuracy and safety of medical procedures. Photo by Marcus Siu

That was just two years ago and a lot more has just happened in a short amount of time.  My visit to AWE2016 (Augmented World Expo) in Santa Clara back in June was quite an eye opener.  ODG’s booth was the easily the most impressive in the show floor, as they collaborated with multiple partners to show off their platform which would enable other companies to demonstrate in areas, such as healthcare, energy, transportation, warehouse & logistics and government.

Osterhout also was present for the Opening Day keynote at AWE.  He mainly spoke about the evolution of ODG’s R-7 Glasses, which are mainly attributable thanks to the quick advancement of smartphone technology.  These head-worn computing glasses, which look more like very cool rugged sunglasses; at least from the outside, come with Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 805 2.7GHz processor, 3 gigs of DDR3 RAM, and 64GB of storage. It also acts as a tablet and communications device.  It’s extremely lightweight with an amazing field of view 720 HD display, connects to a high speed network, and is Bluetooth compatible.  It basically does everything a computer, tablet, and smartphones does and a lot more.  It also has an auto-focus camera, accelerometer gyroscope sensors, and two digital microphones and stereoscopic widescreen lenses.

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CEO of ODG, Ralph Osterhout gives the Opening Day Keynote at the AWE2016 Conference in Santa Clara. Photo by Marcus Siu

Osterhout was approached by 21st Century Fox in January and they quickly formed an alliance.  It was then that ODG shifted gears and changed their whole business model direction and decided to bring it to the consumer level, as well.

“We’re excited to have 21st Century Fox join our family and help extend our considerable leadership in AR head-worn computing,” said Ralph Osterhout, CEO of ODG. “This space is ultimately heading towards widespread consumer adoption and by having 21st Century Fox on board, we’ll be able to deliver immersive and interactive entertainment experiences that transform how users consume content.”

At the end of his keynote, Osterhout announced that ODG plans to release a new Next Generation Glasses for CES 2017, which will be geared toward the consumer. Specs will include Cinema Quality ODG WFOV (Wide Field of View) glasses and a 4k OS Camcorder, which can capture rich video and send and share it back and forth in real time in stereo and 3D, so you can send it wirelessly in real time.

“Real time right now!  And you can make mods on the fly, even as you download it.”, proclaimed Osterhout.

Attendees were able to try them out on the floor, so it was no surprise that it’s “Project Horizon” won the “Best in Show” at AWE2016.

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ODG is also redefining the look of  the Smart Glass, as they are becoming more sleek and less geek.   According to ODG’s COO Pete Jameson, they will be eventually indistinguishable from sunglasses.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

Instead of getting credited in movies this time around, Osterhout and the company may be someday credited for something far much greater; in which means how we prefer to watch our personal content.

In these days of wearable technology, this is as good as it gets.  The Next Generation ODG R-7 glasses, will sit unobtrusively, right on the bridge of one’s nose and right in front of one’s eyes, but more importantly, will be hands free.  Just imagine watching a movie in the sweetest spot in the theater reaching for the popcorn, candy and soda, or whatever you want, from the convenience of your glasses that weighs a mere four ounces.  You’ll most likely forget that you even have them on.

Unlike other AR/VR headsets that are out there, R-7 users will still be well aware of their surroundings, in case something or someone needs their urgent immediate attention, like a crying child, a honking car, or even a live Pokemon.

“Personalized entertainment, whether it’s news, surfing or movies watching will never be the same, 24-7.”, Osterhout remarked in his Opening Keynote.  “Tomorrow really is here today.  It’s really the question of how soon you choose to embrace it.”

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Courtesy of ODG

Three things that matter in head worn: Realistic AR, immersive high-resolution images, and light-weight hardware:

The R-7 glasses are a high- end tablet, on your head. Four ounces, fully mobile and featuring the most innovative technologies in optics, electronics and 3D stereoscopic displays (720P content to each eye at 80 frames per second). With 80%see-thru lenses and positional sensors using Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, so they know where you are, where you’re looking, and how you’re moving – vital when working in heavy industry and high-risk environments.  Widest FOV on the AR market today – equivalent to watching a 65 HDTV inch screen, 8 feet away. With 1080p resolution delivered to each eye for immersive 3D Stereo, no pixels.  Built to include sophisticated sensors like gyroscopes, magnetometers, and accelerometers, as well as the latest Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and voice-recognition systems, a 4-megapixel camera, and global navigation satellite system technology, use cases are broad. The glasses also have snap in shields to enable seamless switching from an AR to immersive VR experiences,

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SPLASH HITS GALORE AT AT&T PARK WITH GWEN STEFANI AND STING AT ORACLE OPENWORLD APPRECIATION EVENT

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Gwen Stefani joins Sting with “Message in a Bottle” at AT&T Park at Oracle OpenWorld Appreciation Event.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, September 21, 2016 – Even though Treasure Island has been the main venue of choice for the OracleWorld Appreciation concert events for its spectacular views along the Bay along with its carnival and party atmosphere, it was nice to have a change of venue with another monumental landmark venue that the city of San Francisco had to offer.

This time around, in arguably the best baseball modern-day stadium in the country, it seemed appropriate that Oracle would choose AT&T park this year; the home of the World Series winning San Francisco Giants, as well as the stadium that is well known for “splash” hits.

Between the two performing headliners, Gwen Stefani and Sting; the evening was splashed with hits galore.

Their songs are big “hits” and heard all around the world.

It was unfortunate that Billy Joel, who was originally announced to play this years event, had to cancel due to health issues.   As an avid New York Mets fan who has played Shea Stadium several times, it would have been perfect vehicle for Joel.  Especially since the Mets were the expansion team that replaced the New York Giants in 1958, who relocated to San Francisco, becoming the San Francisco Giants.

Of course, the rest is history for the San Francisco Giants.

In a gorgeous San Francisco evening with perfect temperatures, lucky Oracle OpenWorld Appreciation party recipients were treated in a beautiful ball park setting, treated with traditional ball park food, such as various gourmet sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, french or garlic fries, nachos, peanuts, along with as much beer and wine you can possibly drink.

It was quite a sight to see the stadium filled with people in the stands, as well the “more appreciative musical standing room only crowd” in front of the stage, which was planted right below the AT&T park logo in centerfield.  All levels were open, so it was nice to walk around to get a different perspective of the venue while the music was going on.

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Gwen Stefani opens up the Oracle OpenWorld Appreciation event at AT&T Park.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

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Sting onstage at AT&T Park at Oracle OpenWorld Appreciaton Event.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

Gwen Stefani opened up with “Red Flag”, from her new number one selling album, “This is What the Truth Feels Like which was released this year and is her first new solo album in ten years.

The remaining setlist included “Wind it Up”, “Baby Don’t Lie”, “Make Me Like You”, “Underneath it All”, “Misery”, “Rich Girl”, “Hella Good”, “What You Waiting For?”, “It’s My Life”, “Don’t Speak”, “Used to Love You”, “Hollaback Girl”, “Just a Girl”, and “The Sweet Escape”.

CEO of Oracle, Mark Hurd, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee walked onstage and introduced Sting. who quickly opened with “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” and was later joined by a duet with Stefani with the classic Police song, “Message in a Bottle”.

The remaining setlist included “Englishman in New York”, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”, “So Lonely”, “When the World is Running Down”, “Fields of Gold”, “Roxanne”, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You”, “Walking on the Moon”, “Desert Rose”, and “Every Breath You Take”.

He returned to the stage with “Next to You” and “Fragile” as his encores.

Wrap another great night and year for Oracle OpenWorld.

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AT&T Park from the Third level with Sting at Oracle OpenWorld Appreciation Event.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

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ELLISON OPENING KEYNOTE AT ORACLE OPENWORLD – SUCCESS ON THE CLOUD

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Larry Ellison walks on stage for his opening keynote at the 2016 Oracle OpenWorld.  Photo by Marcus Siu

Article and photos by Marcus Siu

SAN FRANCISCO, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016 – Oracle kicked off its annual four-day OpenWorld conference event with its Executive Chairman of the Board and CTO (Chief Technology Officer), Larry Ellison at the command, where he was featured in the Opening Keynote lineup at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Sunday evening.  He also has a second keynote this Tuesday.  The rest of the team Oracle lineup includes Mark Hurd, CEO, Thomas Kurian, President of Product Development, Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO at Infosys, and David Donatelli, Executive Vice President.

Ellison shared his vision for Oracle Cloud and customer success in the cloud.

“Our major competitors today are Amazon for infrastructure and Workday for applications on a daily basis; these are the two companies we see as opposed to IBM for infrastructure and SAP for applications.  This is a breath taking change.  This year you’ll see us moving aggressively into infrastructure as a service (IaaS).”

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Oracle Cloud no match compared to the Amazon Cloud.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

“New second generation data centers offer twice as many cores as Amazon, twice as much memory as Amazon, four times as much storage as Amazon, and more than ten times the I/O capacity of Amazon…but you have to be willing to pay less.”

Ellison announced that Oracle are offering a new set of computer hardware and identical software that are used in their cloud that can be installed behind a customers data center and firewall attached to any high speed local area network.

In addition, Ellison also announced Oracle’s acquisition of Palerra, the leading cloud access security broker, which Ellison believes is an important addition to Oracle’s cloud security portfolio.

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Diane Bryant discusses how the cloud is closing the gaps between business and its customers.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

Ellison was preceded by Diane Bryant, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Group at Intel who stressed the that the cloud is closing the gaps between business and its customers.

With the proliferation of information and communication technology around the world, it allows new opportunities for grown for enterprises.  It means new services and all-new business models.  With cloud computing and the increasing availability of connected devices, more and more data are generated daily.  Artificial Intelligence will be the recipient of this data, transforming how business will operate.

The evening continued just outside the Moscone Center at the Oracle Cloud Plaza for the Oracle Welcome Reception party with New York-based pop-rock band, The American Authors performing after the Opening Keynote.  Their encore of their infectious catchy multi-platinum hit and anthem commercial hit single, “Best Day of My Life”has played just about everywhere, including TV shows, trailers and sporting events.

Despite the global success of this song, lead singer Zac Barnett of the American Authors asserts, “the best days of their lives is still yet to come.”

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The American Authors play the Oracle Welcome Reception Party at OpenWorld.  Photo by Marcus Siu.

With the future of the continuation of surpassing their competition in the cloud, it looks like the best days of Oracle are still yet to come, as well.

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