Regal Entertainment Group to release ‘The Stream’ Oct. 18 – A film benefiting Boys and Girls Club of America

stream_xlgIt’s crucial that we find ways to bring technology and tools to children, engage them, encourage them to learn how to use the tools which will make up future carriers. For example, producing and distributing a feature film can make a significant impact on a number of kids.

With support from AT&T Aspire and Taco Bell’s Foundation for Teens, Dreaming Tree Foundation produced ‘The Stream’ starring Rainn Wilson, Christopher Gorham, Mario Lopez, and Kelly Rutherford. The film takes place in 1981 and follows a group of kids looking for adventure in the vein of their favorite movie Star Wars. Following the local stream, dodging bullies, and getting caught in a nasty storm, it looks like a solid family friendly kid adventure.

Regal Entertainment Group will be showing ‘The Stream’ at select Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theaters starting October 18th. The majority of all revenue generated by the film will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of America. While that’s certainly a generous contribution to a worthwhile organization which helps millions of kids across the country, the production of this film is equally exciting.

the stream kids film boys and girls club of americaIn making the film, almost 200 kids had some hand in creating it. From working on set or assisting in the post production and editing, members of BGCA got a little real world experience producing.  I was not involved with Boys Club growing up, but I got to benefit from a number of similar programs. Those experiences were critically formative.

For more info on the film, check out www.thestreammovie.com.

More information on Dreaming Tree, Foundation for Teens, and AT&T Aspire’s contributions to this film.

Review: Kingston DataTraveler 6000 – Hardcore Military-Grade Encryption for your USB Flash Drive

Kingston datatraveler 6000 review somegadgetguy encrypted usb flash driveThis little guy is pretty brutal.

I used to work for a company which sold gear to Department of Energy facilities, and we dealt with a number of products designed for data protection. In this day and age though, I think we’re all getting a little more concerned with our data security. Honestly a little digital paranoia might not be such a bad thing come to think of it.

Let’s take a quick look at a USB Flash drive from Kingston which aims to lock down your information and protect it from any prying eyes should it fall into the wrong hands.

More info on Kingston Drives: http://www.kingston.com
The DataTraveler 6000 on Amazon

Rovio Releases Trailer for ‘Angry Birds GO!’ – Kart Racing Game out December 11

angry birds go car upgrade racing app android iosThis looks fun.

I’m a sucker for kart racing games like Mario Kart, and mobile devices lack one solid universal track experience. Rovio looks like they could potentially land that title for folks who want to take their racing from mobile consoles to their smartphones and tablets.

Including all of our favorite birds and pigs (though I don’t see the Mighty Eagle in the trailer) the free app will launch December 11 with many of our favorite racing game tricks. Players can pick their ride and upgrade it, and throughout various courses speed zones and power ups should keep game play fun and exciting. The in game footage from the trailer looks pretty good too.

Happily the game will be released for ALL! Expect it on your favorite Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BBOS10 gadget this holiday season!

If these types of games are your jam, check out the trailer below.

HTC announces the One Max phablet – 5.9″ HD screen and Fingerprint Reader

HTCOneMax_Front3_BoxMaybe the title for this post is a touch dramatic, but we’ve been talking about this for a while now. HTC is at the beginning of their trek to rebuild their brand identity. While all Android manufacturers make a variety of handsets, you can usually count on a Premier line of handsets that consumers can identify with. Samsung has been branding “Galaxy” into our brains for years now for example.

This is only the first year of devices where HTC has badged “One” across all carriers. Even Sprint’s fetish for “Evo 4G LTE Pro Touch 3D LMNOP” product names has finally succumbed to the fact that consumers shopping an alternative handset to the iPhone or Galaxy S4 wanted the One. Not something JUST LIKE the HTC One. Nope. Just the HTC One please and thank you.

While the One Mini hasn’t performed as well as many would’ve hoped, it still succeeds in continuing the brand message of a unified platform, a family of devices you can count on HTC to continue supporting and producing. Now they’re adding another One to the line up, the HTC One Max.

It’s all about recognition. You can spot an iPhone from a mile away. We understand that look. HTC is trying to create the same visual identity. Aluminum construction, front facing stereo speakers, and a large Aperture-Science-style “eye” of a camera on the back. That is the look of a “One” device. The One Max continues in this aesthetic, adding a larger screen to the line up and a fingerprint reader under the camera.

The 5.9″ 1080p screen is slightly larger than the 5.7″ job on the Galaxy Note 3, an interesting role reversal as the Galaxy S4 had a slightly larger screen than the regular HTC One. The One Max is larger in every dimension than the Note 3, not only because of the larger screen, but those Boomsound stereo speakers add to the overall length of the phone.

Interestingly enough the One Max is powered by the Qualcomm 600 series quad-core found in the OG One, and not the 800 series chipset which is popping up in the LG G2 and Note 3. From hands on time, the 800 is more powerful, though it’s hard to see much of a performance advantage in day to day tasks. Whether to balance the larger screen, or to provide better power management, some might find that processor choice a little curious. The 600 is a very solid performer, and it’ll be a long while before it struggles with future apps or games. Phablets are audacious devices though, and you want to be able to talk about bleeding edge hardware, high end specs and numbers and benchmarks. HTC’s processor choice here is entirely reasonable, but it means they lose out on a talking point.

htc-one-max-en_us-f03-01

The fingerprint sensor below the camera thankfully doesn’t add any additional bulk to the face of the phone, and it allows users to unlock their handset with a swipe. I’m fairly sure this style of security will prove as defeatable as the iPhone 5S proved to be, but as a consumer deterrent, it could be handy.

While the 4MP UltraPixel sensor from the One is returning, the One Max sadly the camera lacks optical image stabilization. It’s that feature in my opinion, more than ANY other (including resolution), which improves the camera experience. The HTC One still has my favorite camera on any Android handset, but when playing with the One Mini, I didn’t enjoy video or photo output nearly as much. That’s somewhat understandable on a mid-range handset, but it’s cringe inducing on a premier phablet. Lacking OIS, I fear camera performance on this beast will be closer to the One Mini than the One.

The battery built in is 3300 mAh, and when paired with the slightly less powerful processor, should mean very good battery life. I would expect to see HTC’s Power Saver controls on board as well, which should improve run time for those who wish to manage that. The back cover is now removable, allowing access to a memory card slot. I’m really happy to see this return. The One Max tops out at 32GB of storage built in, but that can get eaten up quickly these days by power users, especially with HD video, which is gloriously watchable on screens this size. Adding another 64GB via MicroSD card for movies, music, photos, and other media means your on board storage should stay safe for huge games and apps.

powerflipcase-540x426Also announced is a handy new flip cover case. The power case protects the huge screen, and also folds up to act as a stand for the phone. Pogo pins connect the One Max to a built in 1200 mAh battery which should add another 30% to the phone’s run time. It’s a power user affair though, as the phone is already large, and adding the case means squeezing in a hair more bulk. Probably not a combo which will look flattering in a pair of slacks.

Lastly, when purchasing an HTC One Max, HTC will throw in 65GB of Google Drive storage for two years free. It’s always handy having a little extra cloud to fall back on for storing files, backing up photos, videos, and docs while on the go.

And that’s the jam folks. HTC has re-joined the phablet wars. While I think this is definitely a win from a branding and marketing perspective, visual consistency and familiar software, the phone itself seems like an interesting set of compromises. The most obvious competitor to compare it to is of course the Note 3, but HTC will also have to face down phones like the Optimus G Pro, and soon Nokia will be walking into the large screen arena with the Lumia 1520. The One Max’s initial release will be on Sprint and Verizon, and we’ve not heard anything official about GSM carriers AT&T or T-Mobile. No exact dates or prices, but you should be able to get your hands on one later this month.

Full PR and specs list after the jump!

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The Pros and Cons of Owning a Smartwatch…

29 gearA casual chat with you fine folks, sharing my experiences using a couple different smartwatches.

I think there’s something interesting happening with consumer markets and wearable computing. It should be clear by now that I’m something of an activist for being a more responsible tech citizen. Not only to better protect people from careless behavior like watching movies on your tablet while driving, but also to improve our social interactions both digital and AFK. Our smartphones empower us, but they can also shield and block us from the world immediately in front of us.

What are your thoughts about strapping notifications and communication gear to your wrist?

Liftware Launches Hardware Stabilized Utensils for Those Suffering from Tremors

spoonInHandPlantTech can do some pretty cool things. Sometimes grand things like giving a voice to the voice-less. Sometimes it’s something as small as making a meal easier.

Liftware makes something really niche, but kind of cool. Using a battery and gyros, they’ve made a hardware stabilized eating utensil. Something we able-bodied folks might take for granted, but for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, or any other disorder which might result in tremors and shaking, meals can be frustrating or embarrassing.

Liftware compensates for some of that shake, and it might make enjoying a nice bowl of soup a less trying endeavor. The company has released a launch video to show off the new stabilizer, and for more info check out: http://www.liftlabsdesign.com/

Liftware Launch Video from Lift Labs on Vimeo.

Activision Blizzard Completes $8.2 Billion Buyback from Vivendi

logo_activision blizzardConsidering their the world’s largest video game publisher it’s almost a steal…

After purchasing back $8.2 Billion worth of shares from Vivendi, Activision Blizzard is now a properly independent company. A majority of the company is now owned by public shareholders. From CEO Bobby Kotick:

“With the completion of this transaction we open a new chapter in the history of Activision Blizzard. We expect immediate shareholder benefits in the form of earnings-per-share accretion and strategic and operational independence. Our audiences and our incredibly talented employees around the world will benefit from a focused commitment to the creation of great games. Our shareholders and debt holders will have the benefit of an energized, invested, deeply committed management team focused on generating long-term, superior returns and effectively managing our capital structure.”

After trying (and failing) again this past May to offload Activision Blizzard, it would appear Vivendi finally found the perfect buyer. It never completely made sense to me why exactly Vivendi wanted to part with a profitable business, but now investors have less potential uncertainty to worry about now that A/B is a solo venture. With Skylanders: Swapforce, COD: Ghosts, and Destiny on the horizon I think shareholders will be in for a pretty decent year.

Full PR after the jump.

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Will the Canadian Government Require Cable & Satellite Providers to Offer a la carte Options?

coax cablePretty much what we’ve all been asking for since the dawn of cable television.

While some Canadian providers are already offering some version of a la carte, the ability to subscribe to just the channels you want, it looks like the Canadian government will require cable and satellite providers to offer individual channels to customers. Said Industry Minister James Moore:

“We don’t think it’s right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don’t watch. We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want.”

As someone who recently had to shop through my local cable company’s plans and options, the way we currently pay for TV can be incredibly frustrating. Following the realization that I only watch a handful of channels, the tier of cable I have to buy to get the channels I want means I end up overbuying hundreds of channels I’m never going to watch.

However, you lucky Canucks will hopefully get to skirt that soon. Know that I’ll be jealous.

(via Reuters)