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Top 15 tech toys to buy this holiday #roundup

(TECH NEWS) There’s nothing like the impending doom of the holiday gift-giving season to keep us up to date on all the coolest new tech.

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tech toys gift wrap mother's day

Checkin’ it twice

There’s nothing like the impending doom of the gift-giving season to keep us up to date on all the coolest new tech. From home security to virtual reality and learning robots, this Christmas will certainly not be lacking in cool new gadgets. Give your family and friends tech gifts from our round up that will change their lives, or just buy yourself something fabulous. Either way, here are the top gadgets this holiday season. We want them all.

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Video creation and entertainment

video-entertainment
Snap Drone: $895
Snap drone is a foldable, packable, all-in-one video drone that tracks you via GPS and films you doing awesome stuff. Right now, it’s only available for pre-order (will ship early 2017) but it’s worth the wait. No other video drone comes close to this portability and price point.

Polaroid Cube: $70
The Polaroid Cube is a tinier and cuter version of a goPro. This screenless, one-inch cube shoots 1080p video on a wide angle lens, and is outfitted with a magnet so you can attach it to anything metal. Perfect for the photographers in your life!

360 degree 4K camera: $499
Make your own virtual reality videos with this 360 degree camera. Shoots in 4k, comes with a mounting system, and is ready to share your experiences with the world. Great for your favorite VR enthusiasts.

Safety tech gifts

smart-tech-toys
Roav: $300-400
While Roav may not get there in time for Christmas (they’re taking preorders and shipping in the spring of 2017), this new dash top display is worth mentioning. Roav connects with your phone and displays your directions, texts, and phone calls on a transparent screen that attaches to the dash of your car. It’s a great gift even if it won’t arrive until May.

Silver Mother: $499
Silver Mother is a sensor tracking system that helps caretakers make sure their loved ones are staying healthy from afar. Monitor their meals, comings and goings, sleep habits, and medication so both of you can keep your peace of mind.

Ring video doorbell: $200
Ring is the video doorbell that lets you pretend to be home even if you’re not. See and talk to the people on your doorstep from your smartphone, monitor package delivery, and protect your home every time someone rings your doorbell.

Nest Cam: $200 plus $100/year
Give your loved ones the gift of safety this year. Help them keep tabs on their house with Nest Cam, an indoor security camera that can distinguish humans from animals or objects, and let homeowners know when something at home doesn’t look right. With the Talk and Listen button in the app, your loved one can tell burglars to get out of their house (or say hello to Puff Kitty), even if they’re a million miles away.

Home tech

smart-homes
Google Home: $130
Google home is the latest in smart home innovation, cheaper than the Echo, and with more potential. Stream music simultaneously to Chromecast speakers, make shopping lists, turn off lights, and even play trivia! Google home is perfect if you already have Google products and don’t have an Alexa yet.

TP-Link Wifi range extender: $100
Make sure wifi covers every part of your home with this range extender. It expands your wifi network, acts as a port for a wired device, and even helps you find the best place to put it with its signal strength meter. Anyone with wifi range issues or an upstairs TV that needs a hard internet connection would love it.

Alexa-powered Smart bulbs: $19.99-49.99
These smart bulbs are fully integrated with your smartphone and Alexa. Set light timers, change light colors (16 million color options), track energy usage, and turn on and off lights from anywhere using the app or Alexa. These light bulbs can even track natural light throughout the day and turn on when you need it most. Awesome for anyone on your list.

Tech toys

tech-toys-literally
Samsung Gear VR: $60
Powered by Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR works with your galaxy smart phone to provide 360 virtual reality experiences. More high tech than the cardboard, GearVR responds to motion more accurately, and has a touchpad on the side of the head set for more control. Great for the kid on your list (or grown-up kid), Gear VR is this Christmas’s high tech View Master.

Xbox One S 500GB console: $299
Xbox One S will turn any TV into a smart TV with integrated DVD player and video apps. It’s not just for gamers (though the gaming is top notch), it’s for anyone who wants an integrated Blu-ray player, 4K content streaming, and high powered smart TV machine all in the same slim device.

Anki Cozmo: $180
Cozmo is your self-aware robot pet who learns as you play. With an app on your phone you can interact and teach Cozmo new tricks. See what Cozmo sees with streaming video, play games with power cubes, and unlock new tricks in the app. Perfect for the kid on your list who can’t stop talking about a puppy. You both might like this even better.

Fitness

smart-fitness
iWatch: from $269
iWatch series 2 is water resistant to 50 meters and is your fitness band with all the benefits of an iPhone. It’s a step counting, work out coaching, Siri-enabled, heart rate sensing GPS watch with awesome apps and features. It even tells the time. Fitbits just won’t cut it this holiday season.

Lumo Run (smartpants): $100
Give your loved ones the gift that melds with their lifestyle. Lumo Run is a sensor you clip on your running shorts that monitors your running form and gives feedback straight to your smartphone. It can coach you on basic running technique, from bounce to cadence braking and pelvic movements. If someone you know wants to run their first marathon this year, or is picking up a new hobby, this may be the perfect gadget for them.

‘Tis the season

These gadgets are on the cutting edge of technology today, and they’re no match for a pair of socks and an orange. Gift the gift of innovation this holiday season. We know your loved ones will fall in love with anything on our totally-cool-never-fail-innovation-station tech list. We know we would be. (Hint hint!)

#TisTheSeason

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Tech News

Infinity Maps is the most mind-blowing visual workspace ever

(TECHNOLOGY) Infinity Maps is bringing together whiteboarding, diagramming, and real-time collaboration all in one neat tool.

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infinity maps

Digital tools should be effective and efficient. They should help you plan, create, and manage your projects so your team can build solutions to your overall goals. While many tools say they are the all-in-one tool solution, this is a pretty bold statement to make. Each company is different, and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

However, there comes a time when such a tool comes slightly close to filling that spot. Infinity Maps seeks to do this by marrying some of the best qualities of different tools and adding its spice to the mix.

What does Infinity Maps offer?

Whiteboarding
The web application is partially an online whiteboard tool. In your workspace, called Canvas, you create your content by using cards. In these cards, you can add text, images, and files. Cards can be nested indefinitely creating hierarchies while still maintaining a “clear and concise” structure. You can do this by simply dragging a card into another card.

Diagramming
To visualize how each card correlates to one another, you have the option to link cards with arrows. These arrows are further organized by changing the color of each one or changing the color of the card itself.

Real-time collaboration
Infinity Maps lets your team collaborate in real-time. To work together, you can invite users to your map. When you share your workspace, you assign people different roles so they have the correct permissions to read or write on your map. Like Google’s web tools, you can see who is using the map because each username will show up next to their cursor and be assigned a different color.

Zoomable interface
Navigating through Infinity Maps is easy and works just like Google Maps. By double-clicking, you are taken directly to the card you selected. You can also scroll up and down and use the trackpad to zoom in and out of your map. This feature is super helpful when you have hundreds of cards on your map.

Why Infinity Maps?
The company says Infinity Maps is a “revolutionary new product that allows you to organize vast amounts of information visually & spatially”. It is a combination of Miro, Notion, and Google Maps all into one.

“What are we doing differently?” asks Infinity Maps CEO & Co-Founder Johannes Grenzemann. “With Infinity Maps, we are building a knowledge management system that allows you to create vast, huge knowledge bases [that] depict high complexity and depth while staying mind friendly because it’s a visual approach,” Grenzemann said.

infinity maps templates

Overall, Infinity Maps is a neat knowledge tool. It can be used in several ways, from students trying to organize their thesis to startups managing their product launches.

If you’re interested in checking them out to see if they are indeed the all-in-one tool solution, you can sign up to start mapping. A free account gives you access to 3 maps, up to 150 cards per map, and 50MB of cloud space. If you need more space to map out your ideas, you can unlock additional cards by inviting a friend or purchasing cards. Pro, unlimited, and team subscriptions plans are also available for purchase.

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Tech News

China cracks down on user data collection, allegedly cares about privacy

(TECH) Either China’s government just grew a conscience, or they’re trying to compete on a global stage. Either way, they’re implementing new laws.

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china cares about privacy?

In an uncharacteristic looking move for end-user privacy and choice, China has passed sweeping new legislation entitled the Personal Information Protection Law. It’s set to take effect on November 1, 2021, and includes provisions governing consent in user data collection of tech applications and specifies how companies can use that data, especially if that data is to be transferred out of China.

This is the second of two pieces of legislation to emerge this year as China takes a hard look at their cyberspace and try their hand at oversight.

The Data Security law, which came into effect on Sept. 1, set classification frameworks for data based on “its economic value and relevance to China’s national security” as cited in Reuters.

According to experts, both laws will require companies to reevaluate how they collect and store data on a massive scale. As regulations continue to develop rapidly during China’s re-examination of their tech industry, companies are scrambling to meet the stringent new requirements and adjust their infrastructure for compliance at a break-neck pace.

Takeaways:

  • The Personal Information Protection Law similar in design to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation
  • China’s top cyberspace regulator, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), issued an investigation into Didi Global Inc, their version of Uber, with accusations of user privacy violations
  • An extensive set of rules targeting business practices that undermine fair competition, such as cultivating reviews, were implemented by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR)
  • 43 apps were accused of illegally transferring user data and called out by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and required to make “rectifications”

Similar cyberspace scrutiny is happening in the US regarding monopolies held by some of the biggest players in tech like Google, Facebook, and Amazon but is moving very slowly through the legislative process.

In terms of how this impacts Americans, TikTok is currently one of the single most downloaded apps in the US and owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance. According to The Sun, ByteDance is now the most valuable startup in the world with an estimated value of 1 billion USD.

Many doubt that China actually cares about privacy, but some believe that keeping up the appearance of playing by modern corporate rules benefits their government as they seek global dominance.

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Tech News

Apparently, the chip shortage is NOT easing up this year…

(TECH NEWS) If you’re a tech person who has tried to buy anything with a chip in it, you know there’s been a shortage and therefore a buying frenzy. Which apparently isn’t ending soon.

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microchip chip shortage

It appears that the chip shortage, a phenomenon that has plagued production for the last six or so months, is not easing up like people had initially predicted. The real-world effects of this shortage are varied, but impactful.

The Daily Brew’s Dan McCarthy reports that the average wait time for chip deliveries is up to over 20 weeks at this point, a number that (despite postulation that the second half of 2021 would see increased chip production) is higher than the wait times in both July and June of this year.

The chip shortage has a few different roots, but the primary one as of late is a slew of COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia – specifically near locations that produce large numbers of semiconductors for the rest of the world. It’s thought that the wait time will increase in the coming weeks, even as companies slash predictions and hunker down for a hit to their profits this season.

For context, manufacturers were having to wait for a little over 12 weeks for their semiconductors this time last year. It’s clear that we’re going in the wrong direction if we’re planning to keep up production going into this next year.

The implications of such a shortage range from baffling to sobering. Earlier this year, people struggled to find PS5s for reasonable prices; more importantly, though, is the effect this shortage is having on the automobile industry. A couple of weeks ago, Toyota announced a 40 percent cut in production plans for September.

With GM, Ford, Stellantis, and VW adding that they will most likely cut back on production as well, it looks like the 2022 vehicle market will be the latest casualty to lower-than-optimal supply in a time of moderate demand.

While the chips used in cars, appliances, and other common electronics are profoundly affected by the shortage, it appears that “power management” chips (the ones used in smaller devices, namely smartphones) have a decreased wait time from last month. This somewhat contradicts a shortage warning by Apple in late July, though we’re clearly not out of the woods regarding production efficiency yet.

It is extremely likely that this shortage will impact auto and appliance production in 2022.

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