QuickBytes:Technology News

Tracking teen drivers

eZoom from Securus, Inc., maker of a line of personal and enterprise mobile safety and security products, is designed to help parents keep tabs on teen drivers with advanced GPS technology. The leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States is motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On a per-mile basis, drivers between 16 and 19 years are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers 20 years and older, and tens of thousands are injured every year in vehicle accidents. One solution – eZoom – enables parents to keep tabs on their teen drivers’ speed and location, as well as allows teen drivers to stay in touch with the press of a single button. A lightweight, multi-use GPS tracker with a compact, waterproof design, eZoom can be clipped to a keychain or permanently installed in a vehicle for real-time tracking, location history and speed monitoring. Parents can establish speed limits for their teen drivers and receive email and text message alerts when the limit is exceeded. Parents can also receive alerts when teens arrive at and leave different destinations. Using an Apple, Android or BlackBerry app or online dashboard, parents can view their teen driver’s location in real time via advanced assisted-GPS tracking and get turn-by-turn directions, accurate to within 15 yards.

Smart server

HARDATA, a developer of workflow efficiency solutions for the broadcast and entertainment industries, recently announced its new SMART•server family of next-generation high definition/standard definition channel-in-a-box solutions, with built-in IP communications capability for user engagement. The SMART•server product line was engineered from the inside out as an inherently integrated CIB with comprehensive capability for launch and management of broadcast stations – including ingest, content management, transmission control, branding and graphics, traffic interface, monitoring and playout. SMART•servers can function as a standalone box or part of a multichannel or enterprise system. The systems are said to be as easy to deploy as popular consumer devices, and operation reportedly requires little or no training. The multi-channel servers can convert between standard definition and high definition content, records in both formats, and has multi-language support for on-screen text, including Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and more. The SMART product line features next-generation IP capabilities for integrating mobile communications technologies. Examples of how broadcasters can leverage this capability include real-time station reports and alerts delivered via mobile devices, and audience engagement via social media networks like Twitter. The built-in smart capability is designed to provide broadcasters and pro A/V users with a system that can support evolving business and market demands.

Movie, TV streaming

Digital entertainment service M-GO ™ has made its streaming service available across VIZIO’s Smart TV platforms VIZIO Internet Apps™ and VIZIO Internet Apps Plus™. Owners of VIZIO smart TVs and Co-Star™ streaming players can gain unlimited access to M-GO’s library of movies and TV shows in high definition or standard definition, directly to their TVs. Viewers pay for the movies and TV shows they select, without needing to commit to subscription fees. Remote controls for VIZIO HDTV or Co-Star products available in the past year include an M-GO button for convenient access to the service, which features:

• Comprehensive digital directory, which reportedly helps viewers find movies and shows on other media stores as well, including Amazon, HBO, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix and Vudu.

• Personalized playlists, with up to six profiles per account.

• Spending limits for parents managing their children’s accounts.

• Movie trailers, critic reviews and more.

Printer friendly

Nobody needs to be told that printer ink’s not cheap. A recent Consumer Reports article reports that costs range from $13 to $75 an ounce. Consumer Reports studied intermittent printer usage, which is said to imitate actual printer use, and concluded that most printers don’t use print cartridges to full capacity, forcing consumers to purchase new ones sooner. According to the study, only Brother printers were “consistently frugal when ink was used intermittently” during the testing. Other manufacturer results varied widely, depending on the printer model.

Most Brother printers also use ink and toner cartridges that can be easily recycled and refilled, saving up to 30 percent off the cost of a new cartridge and reducing waste in landfills.

Better sound

Sony Electronics has introduced its HT-ST7 sound bar speaker, a 7.1-channel sound bar and the company’s first entry in the premium sound bar category. Available at Sony stores and authorized electronics retailers for $1,299, the system incorporates nine independent speaker drivers and seven discrete amplifiers, and uses both Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders for high definition audio decoding. A built-in wireless Bluetooth connection (with support for AAC and AptX) enables users to connect any mobile phone or tablet using the Bluetooth Sync button. Additionally, the Sony HT-ST7 incorporates OneTouch NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, enabling an instant link to music by touching a compatible device to the sound bar.

Smartphone, smart design

The re-designed 5.2-inch LG G2 now places all of the buttons on the rear of the device, reportedly making it the first smartphone without side buttons. Moving the main buttons to the back of the phone is intended to provide users with greater control over the device, as well as decrease the potential for dropped phones when adjusting the volume while talking. Long-pressing the rear-mounted volume keys allows users to launch QuickMemo™ and a camera, which comes equipped with optical image stabilizer (OIS) technology to prevent blurring. In addition, using KnockON, the LG G2 can be powered on by tapping twice on the display. Other features include:

• Answer Me. Automatically answers the call after lowering the ringtone when the phone is raised to one’s ear.

• Plug & Pop. Recommends options or related features to choose from when the earphone or USB cable is detected.

• Text Link. Allows information embedded in text messages to be selected and saved in a memo or calendar, and searched on a map or the Internet.

• QuickRemote. Remotely controls popular home entertainment devices and/or be customized to operate multiple devices with flexible layouts and keys.

• Slide Aside. Facilitates multitasking using a three-finger swipe.

• Guest Mode. Protects owner’s privacy by displaying only pre-selected apps when guests access the phone with a secondary unlock pattern.


Scary statistics

The leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States is motor vehicle accidents, according to the CDC. On a per-mile basis, drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers age 20 and up, and tens of thousands are injured every year in vehicle accidents.


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