By the end of next year, you might be doing a double take when you see the new Elio car driving around on a street near you. Why you ask? Well, it only has three wheels (two in front and one in back). And it’s small — about 13′ long and 54″ high. The Elio is the same length as a Honda Fit, but only half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it’s also less than half the cost. The car looks weird with only three wheels, but Elio Motors is claiming their car gets about 84 mpg on the highway and 49 mpg in the city. That is amazing.
If you have a router with adjustable antennas, I have a tip that can help you improve your wi-fi signal. Actually, this tip is from Alf Watt. He created the popular iStumbler Wi-Fi utility and is a former Apple Wi-Fi engineer. According to Alf (reminds me of the old ALF TV show), it’s best to point one antenna straight up and have the other antenna parallel to the ground.
According to Alf, the perpendicular placement is best because radio reception is maximized when both client and access point have matched polarization (antennas pointing along the same plane). Some client devices have antennas in vertical orientation, some horizontal. For instance, the current line of MacBook have their antennas in the black plastic part of the hinge in a horizontal orientation. By pointing antennas vertically and horizontally, you’ll maximize radio reception no matter which way your device’s antenna is oriented.
I actually have three antennas on one of my routers. I wonder how I should point the third antenna. I’m guessing it should be pointed at a 45 degrees angle. Anyone know the answer?
Google recently added a new feature to their map service. Now you can use Google Maps to measure distance between multiple points. Right now you can already get distance information when you request driving directions. But with the new feature, you can include detours in your trip or use Google Maps to calculate distance along a walking path like I did in the photo below when I was figuring out the walking distance from OMSI to Saturday Market.
BAE Systems recently released a video on YouTube that showcased their concept Transformer plane. The Transformer is an aircraft that can separate into three small planes. BAE dubbed it the Transformer, but it’s actually more like the Fantasticar in the second Fantastic Four movie. The flexible aircraft system was created by scientists and engineers at BAE Systems. According to the company, the futuristic technologies can be incorporated in military and civil aircraft by 2040.
By now, you probably heard of about the Amazon Fire Phone. You can order the new smartphone now, but it won’t be released until July 25th. The price range of the 32GB Fire phone is $199 (with AT&T phone plan) to $649 (without service plan). The 64GB model is $100 more. From what I’ve read, the phone itself isn’t so special. However, one the features that caught my eye is a physical Firefly button that lets you identify physical objects in the real world and do a quick price check. There are already apps that let you do that, but the button on the side of the phone makes it so much easier.
Remember when I wrote about Facebook’s plan to use drones to connect the world to the Internet? Far fetched, yet true. Now I bring you the story about Google’s plan to connect the world using balloons. You read that correctly. Balloons. If I saw these two ideas in a movie, I would roll my eyes because they sound so crazy. Yet both of these ideas are being tested right now. In the case of the balloons, which is called Project Loon, Google envisions providing Internet access to rural areas via connected balloons hovering high above the earth. Loon is actually a project of Google X, which is a research arm of the search engine giant. Their more famous project is Google Glass.
Solid-Cordz sent me their Gold Plated HDMI Cable for review on my geek dad blog. I’ve been using the cable for about a week now and have not had any problems. The picture quality on my 1080 HD TV looks outstanding. The cable is well made and feels very durable. I don’t have a 4K resolution TV, but according to the product literature, the Solid-Cordz HDMI cable features 4K support. As advertised, the cable connectors are gold plated. The Solid-Cordz Gold Plated HDMI Cable comes in a set of two. The pair of 6′ HDMI cables are priced at $35 on Amazon (plus free shipping).
With a name like fireTV, you have a lot to live up to. It’s not perfect, but FireTV exceeded my expectations. By a lot. For those who don’t know, FireTV is Amazon’s device for connecting your HDTV to online content. The tiny box will stream movies, music, and photos to your TV. In addition, you can also play video games with FireTV. The box only measures 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.7″ (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.5 mm), so it hardly takes up any space. With Amazon Fire TV, you can stream movies and TV shows up to 1080p HD. The device also supports Dolby Digital Plus up to 7.1 via HDMI or optical out.
Microsoft introduced their new Surface Pro 3 today. Their new tablet can be ordered today at 9pm Pacific time (will ship by August 31st). According to Microsoft, the new Surface, which features a 12-inch screen and a pen, is a tablet that can replace a laptop. The Surface Pro 3 can be ordered in five different configurations. The 64GB / Intel i3 model sells for $799, 128GB / Intel i5 for $999, 256GB / Intel i5 for $1,299, 256GB / Intel i7 for $1,549, and 512GB / Intel i7 for $1,949.
If your kids love the Disney Infinity video game, you’ll love this promotion. As of now, you can download and play the PC version of Disney Infinity for free. That’s right, for FREE. The Incredibles Play Set is now free. Just download and launch the PC game. And then play out the adventure as you try and defeat Syndrome. According to their website, you can even synch the PC game with the app version on your smartphone or tablet. That way you can play on the PC, and then resume play at the same place on your device. Neat, right?