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Alternatives to Apple’s pricey AirPods #roundup

(TECH NEWS) For parents and my fellow forgetful friends, $159 isn’t a price we want to pay for something we may lose and eventually have to replace.

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Healthier options for your wallet

You know the saying, “If your head wasn’t attached to your body, you’d lose it”? Well I’m pretty certain that saying was forged especially for me and my worsening forgetfulness. Car keys, Chapstick, work badge – basically anything important – has a 100% possibility of getting lost at some point. Which is why after hearing about the new Apple AirPods, I felt like I had already lost them.

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The new wireless pods boast amazing sound and take the obvious hassle out of tangled cords, but are a $159 expense. For parents and my fellow forgetful friends, $159 isn’t a price we want to pay for something we may lose and eventually have to replace. Which is why I bring to you a comprehensive list of cheaper options to the AirPods, all of which are wireless.

1. Muse 5

Price: $180
These Bluetooth dongles are fitted with patented FitSeal Sleeves that make them fit secure into the wearer’s ear. Because of this, the company describes these as being most beneficial to listeners with an active lifestyle.

Along with the sleeves and additional tips, the Muse 5 comes with 7 hours of talk time, 4 hours of listening time and a portable magnetic charging case.

The portable case allows the earphones to be fully charged two times before the wearer needs to plug into the wall to recharge. The Muse 5 will retail for $180, but is available from Indiegogo for only $99. Yahtzee!

2. Rio 3

Price: $130
If the Muse 5 is for the active folks, Rio 3 is for the even more active.

Equipped with over-ear hooks and sleeves, users can sweat, run, or jump as much as they want and these won’t budge. The pods come with a built-in remote that makes it easy to switch songs, change the volume, and interfere with Siri or Google Now. They can last for up to 8 hours of talk time or 6 hours of playback.

There is no portable charging case for the Rio 3, which may be why the retail  price is only $130. Even better than that, these too are on sale at Indiegogo for $69.

3. Bragi the Headphone

Price: $120
This new and improved design from Bragi allows users to toggle between music, phone calls, and voice commands, while noise cancellation destroys any distractions.

When the wearer wants to be aware of their immediate environment, or simply hear the person next to them, they can use the new “Audio Transparency” setting that allows ambient noise to filter in. The software can also speak four new languages: Chinese, French, German and Spanish, and now configures with Google Fit, Apple Watch and Apple Healthkit.

These multi-lingual headphones are on retail for $120 until November 1; after they will be $150, so if you’re interested: get while the getting’s good.

4. Motorola Hint

Price: $130
This discreet wireless earbud, enhanced from previous versions, comes with 70% more battery life and a more comfortable gel design than before. Amongst the improvements are improved audio and CrystalTalk technology that filters background noise.

For the fashion inclined, these also come with a variety of natural materials and hues. The charging case can be used up to four times, and provides the Hint pods with 17 hours of talk time.

These are the cheapest wireless option Motorola has thus far, coming in at a still lower than Air Pod price of $129.99.

5. Bohm Audio S10

Price: $89
These powerful earbuds come with a portable charging case that is Micro USB compatible, and chargeable up to 4 times. The pods, complete with sweat proof sleeves, allow the user to pair with 2 devices, and easily switch between calls and audio. Users will also have the convenience of automatic pairing anytime you’d like.

Coming in at only $89, these are the most affordable option on the list.

Got any more?

Now that wireless ear phones are the new rage, it was pretty hard finding these affordable options. Other wireless pods range from $120-$299 and have a ton more functionalities but with the same ease of loss.

So if you want to join the wireless bandwagon, but don’t want to lose $300 in the meantime, try one of the options above. If you have any more affordable wireless options that we may have missed, please share below!

#AirPodAlternatives

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

Tech News

Amazon Ring exposed wifi passwords; let’s talk ethics

(TECH NEWS) Ring has a security slip up is part of an alarming tech trend! Can industry insiders turn things around before the government forces their hand?

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Ring doorbell

Knock knock!

Who’s there?

WiFi.

WiFi who?

Why Fi…ght external regulation, if you won’t implement higher standards on your end?

Amazon’s Ring smart doorbell/camera services left customers in the ding-dong ditch by letting hackers exploit a flaw that exposed homeowners’ WiFi passwords to neighborhood hackers up until September of this year. I thought putting a ring on things locked them down, but I guess that’s only for people…

Truth be told, I honestly didn’t think a wifi password in the wrong hands could do too much. I figured neighborhood freeloaders would drag my speed down playing some MMORPG on my network or get me slapped by pirating Disney stuff on my dime.

Apparently, what a serious hacker is MORE likely to do is use that connectivity to share a keystroke tracking program with my computer, then sell my passwords to whoever wants them.

Imagine someone in Cairo clogging up my precious Netflix queue with a bunch of romcoms. Eww.

In all seriousness, that’s a pretty big flaw in the Ring. It took Bucharest-based Bitdefender (a merry band of cybersecurity researchers) to point it out. Amazon’s tech ninjas jumped on it, and the issue’s been fixed for a couple of months as of time of writing. But all’s not quite well yet.

The burning questions on my mind are: Who was supposed to catch it first? And why weren’t people told before the fix?

If you’re in the tech industry, know this, and know it well: John Q Public is not your beta tester.

Releasing a product with something as small as a typo on the packaging is embarrassing enough, but when you leave yourself open to something like letting your customers be vulnerable to identity theft, your face gets considerably more eggy.

And, as usual, leaving doors like this opened doesn’t just make your company look bad, or let competitors get the edge on you.

Consistent lack of inner standards means you’re going to be up against outer standards you’ll like even less. Sure, you might think that govt. regulation is going the way of the dodo, but the tech industry and recently emancipated pork industry aren’t the same.

If you’ll pardon the generalization, the more someone leans towards less government oversight, it’s more likely that they’ll view technology as a necessary evil than anything. And that means tech industry slip ups will be the first to be monitored if internal quality control keeps deteriorating. People are getting wise to how much information their smart devices are tracking, and how vulnerable they can become when that information isn’t secured.

Amazon execs will be fine if things go to the courts. Your startup? Probably not as much.

Look, tech nerds have it going on. I really WANT to advocate for leaving you all alone and letting you do your thing, but the constant corner cutting on security testing makes that difficult. Leaving consumers in the dark until the fix is done, meaning no one even had the chance to take precautions like instituting password changes, is a huge no-no, and the fact that I even have to rant about it is alarming.

You know that cliche, ‘It’s not that you DID xyz, it’s that you LIED about it’? It goes for lying by omission as well. Consider this case the coal mine canary.

You are your own industry’s gatekeepers. Take the job seriously before the job gets taken. Seriously

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Tech News

Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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earbuds noise cancelling

Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Tech News

Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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faqbot chatbot

Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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