Fireworks of the Future

Imagine your sitting on a blanket on the grass with your family nearby. You get ready to watch the Fourth of July drones? Ha! So some are re-imagining see the Fourth of July with drones. So what’s the upside of this? No smoke. No explosions. No air pollution. Maybe you can hear the music they could be flying to. May be even cheaper to run drones than to blow up 30 tons of fireworks for an eighteen minute display. The drones can be choreographed into amazing displays.

Now maybe instead of “Intel Inside” we can see “Intel Outside” as they develop this. Find out more.

How do you listen to your tunes?

There are a lot of ways these days to listen to music these days. There are many streaming services these days. Most people stream or use their mp3 players. There are also home devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or coming soon, the Apple HomePod.

The Victor crew even knows someone who still orders CDs to play in their car? But what will happen when he buys a newer car? Many newer cars are starting to abandon them. It has been predicted that up to 46% of new cars will not have CD players by 2021.

You can use a lot of data if you stream from your car (if you don’t have a Wi-Fi service) so you’ll have to rely on your mp3 player, satellite radio, or built-in radio. If you insist on a CD player, you can purchase a portable one that could plug in with your auxilliary cable. Perhaps you can purchase a new car kit with a CD player.

We sure have come a long way from just AM radio. Next came FM. Remember the 8-track players of the 70s? Then they went away to make way for the cassette. Then the piles of cassettes were replaced by piles of plastic discs. Life is getting simpler where you don’t have to store all the discs, cassettes, or 8-tracks anymore.

Windows 10 Creators Update

When the Victor crew was notified of the Windows 10 Creators Update, we scratched our heads. What in the world is that? Why would I need it?

There is a new Gaming category in Settings. When in game mode it will make the experience smoother.

You can use the new Paint 3D app to make 3D drawings along with 360 degree view.

There is feature that allows you keep open tabs by setting them aside so you don’t have to favorite them but put them aside for small projects you may be working on.

Microsoft Edge becomes the default eBook reader. You can customize the eBook as you are reading it, highlight parts, set bookmarks. You can also change the screen for night use.

There is a setting for Mixed Reality that works with HoloLens VR headsets.

Plan and measure trips on Maps. You can share them with others.

There’s a new privacy dashboard to allow you to set your own security settings.

Mini View allows you to keep a video in a small window.

The first of these updates were rolled out April 11, 2017.


New iPad – Flat-out Fun.

For those of us waiting for a new iPad, last week Apple announced the new iPad. It wasn’t really given a name and it isn’t an iPad Air. It has a 9.7-inch Retina display with an A9 processor. It comes in just 2 sizes: 32GB and 128GB. (We really wanted a 64GB but had to get the 128GB.) It has iOS 10.3 and Touch ID. It comes in silver, gold, or space gray and costs $29 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model and $459 for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. For the 128GB model it’s $100 more each respectively.

Ordering began March 24 and shipping begins on March 31. Read more here. Don’t forget to back up your old device through the cloud or iTunes so you will get back all your apps!


Remember that email you sent telling someone you’d send them something by Friday? Oh. You forgot. Well now you won’t … with Cortana. Cortana can now help you remember these things. She will give you reminders.

Just launched last week, Cortana’s reminders work on Windows 10 and will eventually support Android and iOS. It works with and Office 365 work and school addresses with support for other email services coming soon.

You can also have Cortana add a reminder to your list by talking to her. Unfortunately, you cannot link them all yet if you have an Office 365 Home edition. Hopefully that is in the future as well.

A new kind of Phone

There’s a new phone around called the Graalphone. But it’s much more than a phone. It’s a tiny laptop, it’s a tablet, it’s a smartphone, it’s a 3D camera.

As a tiny laptop it has a 7-inch screen, a real keyboard, and a Windows based PC. As a tablet it’s an Android OS tablet. The tiny smartphone has a 5-inch screen (not so tiny). As a camera, it’s 2D or 3D with Zoom 5x and Xenon flash.

It will be available later this year. The Victor crew will keep you posted…

Gmail and Google Calendar App Updates for iOS

Google just revamped the Gmail app for iOS devices today. Why use Gmail app for your Gmail on iOS instead of the native email app? In our opinion, it just works better with Gmail.

Now with its new look, it’s even better. There are quick links to Reply and Forward on the bottom that make it easier to respond. They are calling this the biggest overhaul in four years. This new look makes it more like the Gmail app on Android.

Here are some of the new features:
Undo Send: just like you can on desktop, you can stop the mail mistakes before that mail get sent.
Search Faster: they have sped up instant results and can correct spelling mistakes.
Swipe to archive or delete: In settings, you can choose to have swiped emails either delete or archive into ‘all mail’.

Google has also updated Google Calendar for iOS.
Month view and week in landscape view so you can see your schedule in a glance.
Spotlight search support for Apple’s Spotlight Search.
Alternate calendars – you can add Lunar, Islamic, Hindu calendars alongside your current calendar.


Victor crew

Want some fun with your text messages?

If you have the new iOS 10 on your iPhone or device, you can send your text messages with some fun background effects. Here’s how…

When you are ready to send, hold down the little up arrow you usually send with and you will get these options. Here are some pics of these effects.

iOS 10 text screensThis is the main image you will see. Under Bubble you get the Invisible Ink, Gentle, Slam, and Loud effects. Invisible Ink will look like a swarm of white dots that will turn into words when you touch them.

Laser  ConfettiYou can send lasers or confetti

Fireworks  BalloonsOr you can send fireworks or balloons

There is also a shooting star effect.

Victor crew

Happy Anniversary Windows 10

In August, Microsoft pushed out the Windows 10 Anniversary update. So what’s new? Here are just a few of the new things you will find:

Cortana has had an update to compete with the other assistants out there. You can call her from the lock screen now. She can also push items to and from your mobile device (and is also available on Android.)

There was a hidden dark theme that the anniversary edition brought out into the open in settings.

The Edge browser will now support extensions. It will use Chrome-style extensions and can be installed through the Windows Store.

You will no longer see your email on the lock screen (unless you tell it to.)
Better battery options – can turn off applications temporarily if they use a lot of resources and aren’t currently being used.
Apps can take over when you visit a website.
New emojies.

See more.

The Victor Crew


You may have already heard that the new Samsung Galaxy Note7 is having issues. They claim the problem is an issue with the battery cell. They reported 35 cases as of September 1st of these phones catching fire. With 2.5 million sold that is still a small percentage. Samsung will replace your device with a new one.

The Galaxy Note7 was just released August 19.

The Victor Crew

We the Geeks

Did you know there was something called “We the Geeks” on the White House website. The Victor crew came across this one day. So what is it?

We the Geeks is a series of Google+ Hangouts that features the future of science, technology, and innovation in America. They meet with Administration officials and private-sector contributors. You can join in the conversations using #WeTheGeeks and sign up for updates for upcoming hangouts.

Here is one of the last hangouts they streamed:

More info:

Encrypt your email

There’s a standalone app called PassLok. It will encrypt your email on your device or in your (Chrome) browser. It can be used as a webapp, on Android, Chrome, or iOS. It works through private and public keys when you send an email. Only you should be able to open the encrypted email (as long as you don’t give the key out). You can watch the short video below to learn the specifics of how it works.

You can learn how to use it here.

Do you own a Kindle? Here’s an alert!

If you do own a Kindle from Amazon, the Victor crew has some news for you. You will need to make sure you update it by tomorrow, March 22, 2016. What happens if you don’t? You will have to do it manually after that in order to access the Kindle Store or sync with the cloud. You won’t be able to download your books.

This is the warning you will receive from Amazon:

Your Kindle is unable to connect at this time. Please make sure you are within wireless range and try again. If the problem persists, please restart your Kindle from the Menu in Settings and try again. If you see this message on your device on or after March 22, you will need to manually install the latest software update for your device. Go to Fire & Kindle Software Updates for more details.

Here is the page you can find all the details:

USB Outlets

You can get USB ports integrated right into your outlets. Jody Victor‘s crew found an article that shows a lot of information about the correct way to wire one if you choose to do it yourself.

They suggest you get stick with UL-rated outlets not only for your safety but for the safety of your devices. They range in price from $20-$40. You can find them at The Home Depot or Lowe’s or probably most any hardware/electrical supply store.

Here is the article:

Windows 10 Upgrade is getting more aggressive

As time goes on and we approach July 29, 2016, it appears that Windows is getting more aggressive to get people to upgrade to 10. It is free up until that date on the device you have it on. On some systems, they have even started the download process to make it easier and faster for when you do upgrade.

If you have automatic upgrades enabled, you might find your machine already updated – and you didn’t even initiate it. If you aren’t ready for the upgrade, make sure to disable automatic updates and do them manually. Even doing them manually you will have to look at your list of updates and uncheck the Windows 10 upgrade to get the regular security updates for your version.

Here is some more information:

Upgrade Now or Upgrade Tonight: How Microsoft Has Aggressively Pushed Windows 10 to Everyone

Here’s an odd new gadget: Joule

Now you don’t have to wait for your coffee pot to finish brewing. (Or in our case wait 12 hours for cold brew.)

The Jody Victor crew found a gadget on IndieGoGo called Joule. It is a caffeinated bracelet. The bracelet comes in three colors: black, red, and blue. You put a patch on the bracelet and the caffeine will enter through your skin. They say it will not stain your skin. One patch is equal to a cup of coffee. It’s kind of like wearing a nicotine patch. The site goes on to give reasons why you should do this and gives the “science” behind it.

Find out more:

ThingMaker Re-Thunk

Back in the 60s, Mattel had a toy called the Thing-Maker. You poured the Plastigoop into molds, put the molds in a special oven and out popped your own wiggly creepy crawlers, mini-dragons, toy soldiers, or for the girls: flowers.

Original Thing-Maker:

Mattel has recently resurrected ThingMaker but as a 3-D printer. With their new version, there are a lot more colors and they have sought to make 3-D printing easier to do. There is an app already available so you can see the items that are ready to be made. You can change out the parts you can choose from to customize your item. You can choose colors, textures, backgrounds, and take a photo to keep. From the app, you can send the items to the printer. It will tell you how long it will take to print and how much the item will weigh when done.

Universal Remote

Sometimes when you watch TV, you lose your remote. Or your working on your laptop and with you had a mouse. Well, Unified Remote has ways to turn your smart phone into a universal remote for your TV, set-top box, music player, or computer.

They have a free version with limited functionality or pay a one-time fee of $3.99 for the full version. The free version has 18 free remotes, can connect with WiFi or Bluetooth, has password protection and encryption, allows you to control your computer keyboard and mouse, works with 3rd party keyboards. You can place shortcuts of your favorite remotes on your Android homescreen.

The Pro version has all the above and also has over 40 premium remotes and allows you to be able to use custom remotes, you can view your computer screen on yur device (Windows, Mac, Android – with iOS coming soon), and has an extended keyboard with cmd, ctrl, alt, etc. for Android, you can create customizable widgets, pin quick actions to notification area, use Google voice control, generate tags, URIs, or QR images for your favorite actions, Send IR commands to TV sets, Works on Android smartwatch. In iOS you can pin your remotes to the notification center.

All of this sounds intriguing. Although the Victor crew hasn’t tried this yet, we will and will report back what we find.

Google Maps on Android

Drive home shortcut Google is adding a new feature Google Maps on your Android. It is called Driving mode. You can find out if traffic conditions are okay to get on the road or if you should wait for a while. Get ETAs, traffic updates, quickest routes, and even gas prices. It looks at your recently searched destinations. To add a driving shortcut, you will need to add the driving shortcut icon found in widgets. The feature can also be accessed through the sidebar menu of Google Maps. Tap the sidebar menu and select the “start driving” option.

If you’ve already preset home and work in Google Maps, you’ll see ETAs when you’re likely headed in those directions. On the Galaxy S5, I found the Maps and Driving mode widget under Maps. I added my home destination and it made a shortcut icon called Home. See image.

AAV – Autonomous Aerial Vehicle

A chinese company has developed the Ehang 184 AAV and it made it’s debut at CES last week. This is an autonomous aerial vehicle. Think drone. Think big enough to ride in. It is powered by electricity only so it is 100% green.

It is made to fly at 11,000 feet high, with 142-horsepower and will cruise at 62 mph. The 184 stands for 1-person 8-propellers 4-wings. It has air conditioning and a small trunk big enough to carry a backpack.

Sadly, here in the United States we may never get to ride one because of FAA laws. Even so, it will most likely cost $200-300,000.

Micro Drone 3.0 – Fits in the palm of your hand

The Victor crew loves drones! We found a cool little one. This drone is sleek little drone. The parts are modular and simply snap together, so if something breaks you can just replace that part. Another thing that makes this drone unique is you can print your own frame for it if you have a 3D printer!

The range is only up to 300 feet. It will live-stream video to your phone. It comes with expansion packs to change the rotors. Fly it upside down if you want. Control it via iOS, Android, or radio. Use the photo-editing suite and stream to social media.

You can preorder this drone on indiegogo for $175 plus shipping.–2#/

Ever fall asleep during your Netflix?

What do you do? Start over again? Try to remember where you left off? The Victor crew found there is a solution! It may not be cheap. It may not be easy. But it is a solution!

A while ago we shared with you about the Netflix switch and how you can make the switch to dim your lights and turn on your Netflix. This solution requires a little more technical know-how. Of the knitting kind. You can knit yourself a pair of Netflix socks. There are some unconventional materials in these socks. They need a small microcontroller, accellerometer, LEDs, and battery.

Here is the full materials list for the electronics.
Here is the schematic.
Here is the code you need to program them.

So now that we learned about them, what do they do? They will pause your Netflix if you fall asleep. It senses when you have fallen asleep. If you haven’t moved your foot for a minute, it will pause your program.


Are you a Christmas geek? The Victor crew love all types of technology and there is so much tech to be added to Christmas. You can also catch more technology applied to Christmas decorations with The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC tv.

If you watched Shark Tank last week, you would have seen the latest technology, albeit pricey, for your Christmas tree. These lights will fit any 6-8 foot Christmas tree. They come with over 100 effects. The controller knows the position of each light and you can also control with their app. They say the way they are designed will even prevent tangling.

Other features:
Each light (called GlowBalls) lights up 360 degrees of the bulb and have two full spectrum LEDs.
Life expectancy of 50,000+ hours.
Energy efficient with only 15-45 watts of power for the starter pack. (Regular minilights consume 120 watts for 100 lights.)
Takes about 10 minutes to put on tree.
Hang vertically.

Check out their website to see all the features and effects.

Here’s a preview of where they hope to be next year:

Raspberry Pi Zero

The Victor Crew just found out that the folks behind Raspberry Pi has just released Raspberry Pi Zero. The original Model B was on sale for $20-35 since 2012. Raspberry Pi Zero is a smaller version, made in Wales. If you have the good luck of living or visiting the UK, you can get a free one that will come attached to the December Issue of The MagPi magazine.

You can also get Raspberry Pi and many different kits and accessories on you can also look for it more locally here or online here (currently sold out).




Do you really only need one charger?

Here is a new charger out called Zolt, that is more compact and can charge up to 3 devices at a time. This gadget is about the size of a pill bottle. It plugs into an outlet, has a 6-foot cord that can rotate in the outlet. It has three USB ports. The cord wraps neatly around itself when not in use.

If you go to their site, you can check all your devices before purchases to see if it is compatible with them.

The price for this convenience? $99.99. It will be available starting November 17, 2015. Something to add to your Christmas list.