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My next tech purchase: hands free video camera

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Although the Looxcie (said “look-see” which is way clever) is marketed as a first person point of view camera like the helmet cams of yesterday, I’m choosing to call it in our office a “hands free video camera” which is like a flip cam / bluetooth earpiece hybrid.

Looxcie looks like an amazing tool for any industry, but most notably for the visual-intensive industry of real estate. Pop it on your ear fully charged and capture up to five straight hours (while people think you’re just wearing a chunky bluetooth headset).

For real estate, this would be great for an impromptu video of a neighborhood, a drive through an area without having to fumble with a camera, a tour of a home for a buyer, an office tour, interviews with brokers or title reps for your blog, hyperlocal events like music, carnivals and the like- the options are endless. We’ll be using it for interviews, at conferences, at lectures and probably for some office pranks…

I like that it’s USB so it’s universal and I don’t have to get stupid adapters or anything. Smartphone owners can edit video on their phone with the Looxcie app and can even immediately share it online. Another cool feature is the ability to use your smartphone as a remote control.

Also, if you’re a bluetooth nut, you can use Looxcie as your phone’s bluetooth hands free headset (and you can continue filming while you talk on the phone, it simply mutes audio on your film while you chat). Used just as a phone headset, it claims to have the longest battery life of any on the market.

Reviews of Looxcie appear favorable and it gets high marks for comfort and noise cancellation although some users disagree that you can capture five hours, saying it’s more like three. It’s the first gen and first of its kind, so we anticipate that others will follow, but for now, we think it’s worth popping out $199! Who’s with me?

AG is not affiliated with Looxcie.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Jack Leblond

    November 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    That looks super cool, but be careful about your head movements during interviews. Nodding in agreement with interviewees may give your viewers a case of sea-sickness.

    • Benn Rosales

      November 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      ha good point, I was thinking a 3rd point of view for person interviews camera person, interviewer/interviewee, or even live streaming pov events. It’s a pretty neat device all the way around.

  2. Vicki Lloyd

    November 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    How dorky will I look wearing that on one ear, and my bluetooth phone thing on the other? I might try a hat-cam instead. 🙂

    • Lani Rosales

      November 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Girl, you don’t have to, it acts as a bluetooth all on its own! 🙂 But yeah, that would look stupid (and some people will do it anyhow…).

  3. Kelsey Teel

    November 17, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    OMG I love the name! Very cutesy, clever, and most importantly fun to say!

    Bluetooth capability is a definite plus. Justifies spending the cash since you are getting two things for the price of one. ?

    The uses are endless, I’d be interested to see how the videos turn out.

  4. Sheila Rasak

    November 18, 2010 at 3:40 am

    All over that one. It will be so much safer when I’m in the car, blaring music and making random speeches like I’m the pres. of the US of A! I’m over here singing, “here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus…”

  5. Coleen DeGroff

    November 18, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Looks way cool….but for some reason I keep thinking of Data on Star Trek – The Next Generation…..hmmmm…..

  6. Roberta Murphy

    November 18, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Love the concept, love the name but would have to be very careful with head movement when interviewing someone. Imagine how nodding or shaking head would affect video–especially at critical moments during interview:-)

  7. BawldGuy

    November 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I’m thinkin’ it might work well as a training device. The newbie wears it while giving a listing presentation or showing homes. His mentor can then critique his/her performance.

  8. Rory Veal

    November 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Sounds like it would be a great tool but where do you buy it?

    • Lani Rosales

      November 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      It looks like on the Looxcie website, their buy page (looxcie.com/buy-looxcie.html) takes you to the Amazon purchase page (amazon.com/dp/B00400O8PO).

  9. Andrew Mooers

    November 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Someone with a big beak, with the “nose knows” cold have problems capturing video in the shadow. News videographers wear the camera on their shoulder to steady it and do easy pans without the viewer needing dramamene. Neat stocking stuffer from Santa. Getting more than 1 percent of agents, brokers, REALTORS doing real full motion video is a good thing though.

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Tech News

Nate app: $38M Series A fintech startup you should keep an eye on

(TECHNOLOGY) The nate app combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform, streamlining the check-out process for hassle-free purchases.

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African American woman holding iPhone scrolling through the Nate App homepage.

No one likes to hop around from store to store searching aimlessly in aisles for all of their necessary items. That’s why the big guys win, like Walmart, Amazon, and Target – they have all you need in one swoop! Users choosing to shop online feel the same way. Having to reenter payment, billing, and shipping information over and over again becomes a pain – or worse, a deterrent to purchase, resulting in cart abandonment- that’s where the nate app comes in.

Nate combines the best of social media and shopping into one platform.

The well-funded, series A startup utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to complete purchases seamlessly without all of the fluff a user discovers when checking out at various online retailers. Once a user inputs shipping and payment information into the app during sign-up, nate keeps the data on file for subsequent purchases, virtually eliminating the time-consuming check out process. If a user sees a product they like from an online merchant, they simply have to “share” the item to the nate app, and it will take care of the rest.

Unicorner’s startup analysis states, “In essence, nate is bringing the benefits of shopping on a centralized platform like Amazon to a decentralized shopping ecosystem.”

Brown leather wallet with tip of credit card sticking out next to a iPhone showing a shoe purchase on the Nate App.

With a nod to Pinterest and LikeToKnowIt, the platform allows for users to create visual product lists on a personal account that can be shared with followers. If a follower likes an item they see, they can purchase the item in-app in just a click or two.

In contrast to the big wigs of the social media world, the nate app hopes that users will purchase based on true inspiration and not a targeted algorithm suggesting what they should buy. Instead, the app runs its business model on a $1 fee for each transaction which covers the ability to issue virtual cards, protect online privacy, and apply available discounts.

The nate app simplifies gift giving as well. Users are able to select a gift item and enter the recipients phone number – if the recipient is a nate app user, it can be shipped directly – otherwise, they will receive a text asking them where to send their new gift! This makes it a perfect choice for the upcoming holidays (yes, 2021 is almost over…whew).

To stay up to date on everything nate, download it now on the App Store.

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Facebook deletes developer over ironic browser extension invention

(TECHNOLOGY) Think a muted week for a nipple shadow is bad? Facebook just permabanned this inventor for…helping others to use the platform less.

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African American hand holding iphone on Facebook's login page.

It must be true that corporations are people because Facebook is pulling some seriously petulant moves.

In a stunt that goes beyond 24hr bans for harmless hyperbole, and chopping away at organic reach (still bitter from my stint in social media management), Facebook straight up permanently banned one of their users for the high crime of…aiming to get people to use the platform a little less.

Developer Louis Barclay came up with Unfollow Everything, an extension that basically instantly deleted your feed without having you unfriend anyone or unlike anything. Rather than have users manually go through and opt out of seeing posts, they’d now opt IN to keeping who they wanted front and center.

In his own words on Slate: “I still remember the feeling of unfollowing everything for the first time. It was near-miraculous. I had lost nothing, since I could still see my favorite friends and groups by going to them directly. But I had gained a staggering amount of control. I was no longer tempted to scroll down an infinite feed of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable.”

Since more time spent on Facebook means more ads that you’re exposed to, means more you spend, the add-on started slowly making headway. I myself pretend to be a ranch owner to keep ads as irrelevant to me as possible (though my new addiction to hoof trimming videos is all too real), and Unfollow Everything probably would have been a great find for me if it hadn’t been killed by a cease and desist.

Law firm Perkins Coie, representing the internet giant, let Barclay know in their notice that Unfollow Everything violated the site’s rules on automated collection of user content, and was muscling in on Facebook trademarked IP.

They also added, in what I can only assume was a grade-school narc voice, that the add-on was “encouraging others to break Facebook’s rules.”

Barclay, not having the resources to fight a company with the finances of a small country, promptly ceased and desisted. Practical.

Officially speaking, Facebook might have actually have some ground to stand on vis-à-vis its Terms Of Service. The letter and legal team may have been warranted, not that we’ll ever truly know, since who’s taking Facebook to court? But then they followed up with a ‘neener neener’ deletion of Barclay’s 15 year old account – which was still very much in use.

Look, Facebook is the only way I connect with some of my friends. I don’t take enough pictures to make full use of Instagram, I fully hate Twitter, my Tumblr is inundated with R-rated fanfiction, and any other social media platform I’m happy to admit I’m too haggish and calcified to learn to use. So a complete WIPE of everything there with no notice would be pretty devastating to me. I can only imagine how Barclay felt.

And in light of the fact that the browser extension wasn’t hurting anyone, taking money, or spewing hateful rhetoric, there’s really only one thing to say about Facebook’s actions…they’re petty.

Sure, they may have the legal right to do what they did. It’s just that when you notice every fifth post is an unvetted advertisement, their high ground starts to sink a little. I mean nothing says ‘We’re being totally responsible with user information’ like the number of add ons and user tactics popping up to avoid seeing the unnecessary. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook put up a fight against losing ad traffic.

We all know all those stores with amazing deals aren’t actually going out of business, or even using their own photos right? Right?

Barclay added in his article, “Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.”

Agreed, Mr. Barclay.

Now I’m off to refresh my feed. Again.

 

Graffiti wall with image of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with the saying "You've been Zucked."

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Tech News

Glowbom: Create a website, using just your voice

(TECH NEWS) Talk about futuristic! This app allows you to create quizzes, surveys, an online store, and even a website in minutes–without typing.

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Colleagues looking at Glowbom website homepage

In the past, we’ve discussed things like simplified coding and no-code app creation. Now, a San Francisco startup has taken the process a step further with no-type app creation.

Glowbom is a voice app that allows you to dictate steps to an AI – from adding information all the way to exporting code–in order to create a simple app, survey, or game. While the built-in options for now are limited to four simple categories, the power of the app itself is impressive: By asking the Glowbom AI to complete tasks, one is able to dictate an entire (if small) program.

It’s an impressive idea, and an even more impressive product. Glowbom founder and CEO Jacob Ilin showcases the power of Glowbom in a short demonstration video, and while he only uses it to create a simple survey, the entire process–up to and including the exportation of the API–is accomplished via voice commands.

Furthermore, Glowbom appears to process natural inputs–such as phrases like “Let’s get started”–in the context of an actual command rather than the colloquial disconnect one tends to expect in AI. This means that users won’t need to read a 700-page manual on phrases and buzzwords to use before jumping on board–something the Glowbom user base was probably hoping to avoid anyway.

As of now, the options one can use Glowbom to create include a quiz, a survey, an online store, and a website. It seems reasonable to expect that, as support for the app grows, those categories will expand to comprise a larger library.

Glowbom certainly opens a few doors for people looking to take their businesses or ideas from an offline medium into the digital marketplace. As coding becomes less centralized in computer language and more contingent on processes such as this, we can expect to see more products from folks who may have missed the coding boat.

Perhaps more importantly, Glowbom and products like it make coding more accessible to a wider base of disabled users, thus taking a notable step toward evening the playing field for a marginalized demographic. It’s not true equality, but it’s a start.

This story was first published here in October 2020.

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