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Unique and beautiful iPhone and iPod speakers – holiday gift idea

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Holiday gift inspiration

Let’s face it, we’re all looking for that unique gift either for our coworker, boss, spouse, child, friend, client or parent. If you’re still doing your holiday shopping, consider some cool speakers for the iPhone or iPod! Some of these would look great on a desk, delight out of sheer ingenuity, or impress with the sound quality.

Below, we’ve shared six unique options of various price ranges, quality and beauty. Click any image to visit the store where it is available for purchase.

1. Microphone speaker $24

The microphone speaker is available in gold or silver and pop in to the top of an iPhone or iPod for the perfect accessory that is functional. This works for the nostalgic hipster or the technophobe who remembers metal microphones. Click the image for more details.

2. Vintage bike horn speaker $175

This art deco-styled vintage bike horn has been handmade into an iPhone or iPod speaker (that would work on an Android too!) with a bit of rust and wear – it is the only one available, so it may be snatched up by the time you click the image below to visit the Etsy seller’s page:

3. Wireless Bluetooth speakers $129.95

Directly from Apple, the Creative wireless Bluetooth speakers appeal to the more traditional speaker needs with a modern twist – it works with various Apple products and doesn’t have to be tethered to the device which is perfect for the office or around the house. Click the image for more details.

4. Vibroy portable vibration speaker $29.99

Okay, this one is so cool and you must watch the video to really understand how a box, a coffee mug, a bucket or a tube becomes a speaker. Click here for more details after you check out the video below:

5. Bose Sound Dock $249

Bose is known for being the best sound around, so for your gift recipient that wants quality over novelty, this is a must. There are other Bose docks available, but this is a fabulous option; click the image below for full details:

6. Handmade vintage gramophone $715

We know the price is steep compared to the novelty items above, but if you’re looking for an extremely unique gift, gramophones are all the rage for high end iPhone accessories, we’re not kidding. This work of art is made of Oregon walnut and has adjustable brass feet. It would look amazing in a den or a high end office, don’t you think? Click the image above for more drool-worthy photos and details:

7. Sonos speaker system

The prices range on the Sonos speaker system because there are a variety of options, but the most fun part is that these speakers are wireless and can be placed all around a home or office without having to install surround sound in the walls or ceilings or using ugly brackets. The sound is really impressive and big and will play your Spotify, Pandora, Sirius or iTunes from the system itself. They’re on display at various Targets so you can test them out for yourself before buying. Click the image below to check out the full system:

The American Genius (AG) is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Tech Gadgets

Why Google’s Deep Dream project is more than just a trippy tricky

A programmer discovered that even while asleep, your computers dream, and the imagery is amazingly bizarre and sometimes creepy. What are the implications of this? Is it more than just a cool trick?

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google dreams

google dreams

Dreaming deep, sound asleep

As machines become increasingly intelligent, they are also becoming more artistic.

Google’s Deep Dream is making a huge splash on the web. It was originally coded by Alexander Mordvintsev, a programmer working in security systems who liked to play around with artificial intelligence as a side project. In the middle of the night last May, he discovered the lines of code that would cause Google’s neural net to generate original images that look like a psychedelic combination of Salvador Dalí and Lisa Frank. He posted his images on Google’s internal Google + account, and was soon paired with young programmer Chris Olah and software engineer/sculptor Mike Tyka to develop Deep Dream.

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REM for your RAM

The Deep Dream team has created an entire gallery of surrealistic art. Animal parts of different species combine to form fantastical beasts, backgrounds fill with swirling patterns, and spiders emerge from cloudless skies.

In July, the Deep Dream team released the software on GitHub so that the general public could turn their family portraits and vacation photos into bizarre art pieces. New apps are popping up, several grotesque portraits of presidential candidates have been produced, and the band Wilco used a Deep Dream image on the cover of its latest album. Samim Winiger, who created software that makes animations from Deep Dream images, says that “in five years we won’t recognize Photoshop,” alluding to the possibility for Deep Dream technology to become a major feature in our visual world.

But is there more to it?

Winiger refers to Deep Dream as “creative AI [artificial intelligence].” But can a computer be said to have creativity? The dreamlike (or, at times, nightmarish) quality of Deep Dream images has certainly caused some observers to posit that Deep Dream is pulling images from the “subconscious” of Google’s mind. But a computer, no matter how smart, is not a brain. So is Deep Dream just the robot equivalent of a cool party trick?

Deep learning in the neural net

But Deep Dream wasn’t created just to blow our minds with freakish four-eyed kittens and giant tarantulas crawling from the sky. It’s also a useful way for programmers to study artificial intelligence. Computers can now achieve what programmers call “deep learning” by processing information through a neural net (NN). Neural nets are meshes of artificial neurons layered one over the other, like spider webs. Information is passed through several layers of the NN, and each layer analyzes it from a different angle. The topmost layer is responsible for the output of information that has been “learned” by deeper layers of the net.

Google has made great strides towards teaching its neural net to visually recognize objects by having it produce an image of whatever it’s viewing, which is then graded for accuracy and fed back into the computer, giving the NN an opportunity to learn from its mistakes and eventually come to automatically correct itself.

Layered learning, and pattern detecting

So far, it has been hard for researchers to really know for sure what is happening at each layer of the neural net. But a researcher can have a computer produce a Deep Dream image from a specific layer of its neural net, thus revealing exactly what that layer is learning. In this way, researchers are discovering more about what happens inside an artificial mind.

What researchers have found is that computers may have higher perception and better pattern-recognition than humans. It’s like having a highly imaginative child watch clouds. If a cloud looks a little bit like a ship, the neural net will run the image through a feedback loop until a highly detailed ship emerges. This is why Deep Dream is able to create images even out of random noise – it can detect patterns that a human wouldn’t even notice.

This has far-reaching implications for how artificial intelligence may eventually replace humans. For example, researchers are using neural nets to read ultrasounds, detecting tumors invisible to the human eye.

Final thoughts

So, is artificial intelligence becoming creative? Is a computer an artist? That depends on how you define creativity, and where you draw the line between the “real” and the “artificial.” But Deep Dream engineer Mike Tyka is impressed: “If you think about human creativity, some small component of that is the ability to take impressions and recombine them in interesting, unexpected ways,” – the same ability Deep Dream displays.

Regardless of whether or not this is true “creativity,” the world seems to agree with Tyka that when you let a computer come up with original art, “it’s cool.”

Steven Levy was granted the first interview with the Deep Dream team. You can read his report at Medium.com.

#DeepDream

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Tech Gadgets

Angee is a customizable, livestreaming home security system. Why don’t you have it yet?

The newest in home security, Angee syncs with your smart phone in 30 seconds, rotates 360 degrees and can be turned off at the sound of your voice.

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angee

angee

360 degrees of security

When it comes to home safety, it’s important to stay up-to-date and as current as possible, especially when home security systems are involved. Thanks to technology, new and improved smart alarm systems like Piper, Nest Cam, and Canary are readily available to the consumer. The newest member to this tech security family is Angee, and she is a far cry from the security systems of yesteryear.

Angee is “the only smart home security system to provide full perimeter security with a portable, 360° rotating camera, not to mention voice-controlled home connectivity and personal assistance,” said Max Rattner, VP of Sales & Brand Development for Angee.

Rather than using the traditional means of home security, Angee uses boosted bluetooth technology to create a geofence for your home by using security tags that are placed anywhere you want them.

Shuts down completely in privacy mode

Controlled by your smartphone, Angee arms your home once you have left the premises. However, she can be set to switch to privacy mode while you are home and Angee will literally turn to the wall and turn off her camera while the family is home and safe.

An interesting feature for Angee is her voice identification system. She stores all of your family member’s names and voices and when you enter your own home, just let her know it’s you! She will verify your voice and not sound the alarm. No need to enter a code on a keypad every time you’re coming and going.

See the weird things your cat does while you’re working

Angee powers herself off a 3600mAh battery, which has an 8 hour battery life of live streaming video you can literally watch on your phone, tablet, or smartwatch when you get bored at work. She also holds one hour of HD quality video, or several more hours if you’re willing to burn your eyes by staring at SD video.

The fact that you can keep an eye on your home via live streaming differentiates Angee enough from traditional home security systems. But to make this new system even more modern, Angee also manages your home’s other smart devices such as the thermostat, TV, and lights. Angee also has 1.5 Gb of local storage and 1 Gb of free cloud storage. In addition, Angee requires no traditional installation and the Angee team is extremely proud of how easy it is to set the security system up with your personal smart phone. The team claims syncing the system with your phone will only take around 30 seconds.

One-time payment for full-time security

Another great feature to this new, modernized home security system is that there are no monthly fees. As the company grows, subscription plans will become available as needed, but for now Angee feels that the smart triggers and video loops do more than enough. Angee is perfect to use in apartments and small spaces, and you can easily get away with only purchasing Angee and one sensor for the main door. If you live in a larger home and want to monitor multiple rooms via your smart phone, purchase Angee and a three pack of sensors to place around the perimeter of the house.

Home security systems can’t get any easier than this.

#HomeSecurity

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Tech Gadgets

Frustrated with Windows 10? How to roll back your upgrade

With the release of Windows 10, many users expected faster speeds and better service, but some aren’t seeing these results. Here’s what you can do about it.

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Windows 10 rolled out to mixed reviews

With the release of Windows 10, many users expected faster speeds and better service. While some users may love the new Windows and find this to be true, others are less than satisfied. Windows 10 has received numerous complaints of keystroke logging, listening in on your conversations, and stealing your bandwidth. This makes for less than happy Windows 10 users.

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Microsoft has denied that they are logging everything you do while using Windows, but, the Preview version explicitly stated, “we (Microsoft) may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spellcheck features.” One imgur user is hopping with users debating the usefulness and privacy perils of Windows; some users are making valid points. While this is not exactly the security-conscious Windows some users were expecting, keep in mind that Windows 10 is a desktop and cloud operating system.

This means you’re sharing more information than you were previously accustomed to. Every cloud -based system uses keystroke information to improve their software, even if you weren’t aware of it.

Now, head on over to your Settings

If you’d like to lockdown Windows 10, head over to Settings, then Privacy. Here you’ll find thirteen different privacy settings that you can customize as you see fit. The major settings will be found under the “General” tab. This is a good place to see what you have control of and what you can adjust. However, if you would prefer to revert back to a previous version of Windows, you can do that as well.

Before you do any of the steps listed below, please ensure your information is backed up, just in case you lose information in the transition. When you installed Windows 10 on your PC, the old version stayed on your machine in a “Windows.old” folder. This is what will allow you to revert back to a previous version, without too many problems.

Revert from a laptop or a desktop

To get started, click on the Windows Start menu and access Settings. From there, click Update, then Security > Recovery. From here, you’ll see an option to “go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go back to Windows 7,” depending on from which version you upgraded. Once you’ve selected the “go back” option, you’ll click “get started” and this will begin the downgrade process.

One thing to note, if you’re trying to revert from a laptop, you’ll need to be plugged in to the wall, or the process will not work. If you change your mind along the way, you’ll have several chances to cancel, but if you follow through the process, you should have your previous version of Windows in around ten minutes.

If you’re unhappy with Windows 10, at least you have options to customize it to your needs. From tweaking your privacy settings to reverting to a previous version, there is no one-size-fits all solution. Are you keeping Windows 10, or are you planning to revert to a previous version?

#Windows10

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