All posts by Juan Carlos Bagnell

Juan has been obsessed with consumer electronics since before computers had GUI’s. Out of college he worked on a JIT computing contract which supported DOE facilities in New Mexico. He’s been featured on numerous podcasts and radio shows lending his tech insights. You can also find him in LA directing voice over actors and producing spoken word recording.

Acapella ‘Abbey Road’ is kind of incredible. 16 minute Beatles medley on Youtube.

beatles abbey road alternateIt never ceases to amaze me what people can create. You’d think by now we’d have exhausted Beatles media, remixes, and mash ups. You would be wrong.

Industrious Youtuber JOSIV5 has created something kind of awesome in it’s simplicity. By slicing into the Beatles tracks on Rockband, he was able to pull the vocals out of the mix. What remains is a quiet reduction of some of the most recognizable songs in pop music history. Altogether familiar, yet an entirely new way to experience music we know so well. “Pure” Beatles if you will. Enjoy!

Synthetic Benchmarks: HTC One Mini

htc one mini synthetic benchmarks somegadgetguy video reviewBenchmarks really can’t tell you how a phone will perform in real world situations, but they can show relative performance between devices. Android seems to be entering a phase of “efficiency”, with mid-range phones utilizing dual-core processors. Even the Moto X, which stands as a premier handset for Motorola, only uses two cores to get the job done.

Let’s take a look at how the HTC’s Mini performs in a number of synthetic benchmarks against its big brother One and an older handset running similar internals.

Galaxy Note 3 first to feature new Qualcomm Radio Power Management. More run time, less heat.

qualcomm radio lte envelope tracking galaxy note 3 somegadgetguySo the radio in your phone is often one of the worst offenders in draining your battery. For all of our criticism surrounding powerful quad-cores, throw your phone into airplane mode, and it’s shocking how long that quad can run. We can only pack in SO much battery density, and the rest of your phone can be surprisingly frugal, which is why developments in radio management are so crucial to improving the smartphone experience.

Qualcomm has been working on Envelope Tracking for their LTE radio technology. To over-simplify, LTE is a little different in how it communicates with cell towers than 3G, which in the past has made it more difficult to adjust the power of the radio in your phone while maintaining a stable connection to a tower. Essentially, your phone’s radio tries to find an average signal to broadcast at, but often just runs at max on LTE, which is pretty terrible for battery life, and can sometimes result in a poor connection.

17 action menuEnvelope Tracking for LTE allows the radio to better scale with the quality of the tower’s signal. As the radio is working a brute force style signal, it should greatly reduce the amount of power needed to run, which should also cut back on wasted heat. Qualcomm is estimating a 20% reduction in power and a 30% reduction in heat generated by the radio. This should also provide a more stable link to the tower, hopefully resulting in faster throughput.

Now normally when we write up new tech like this it’s usually an article about researchers in a lab, and we’ll all have to wait for the breakthrough to eventually filter down into our actual consumer devices. The nice thing about Qualcomm’s ET gear is it’s already going to be included in the Galaxy Note 3. Likely one of the reasons Samsung went with Qualcomm’s 800 series chipset for its LTE variants of the note.

Hit the Qualcomm blog for better explanations of all the  science-y details.

Ask GadgetGuy: Why SHOULDN’T I buy an iPad Mini right now?

ipad miniRoss from Facebook asks:

Hey Gadget Guy… tell me why I shouldn’t buy an iPad Mini, and what I should buy instead, and why it’d be better. I don’t want to admit to drinking the apple-flavored kool-aid, but I love my iPhone, and wanna get a pair of tablets for me and my special lady friend… yeah, we gotta get 2 because we can’t share. hehe…
Thanks!

No worries on “drinking the kool-aid”, I’d be daft to say Apple doesn’t make fine products. The Mini is in an interesting position at the moment however, and buying one now, might not be the best move.

It’s old hardware. It was old-ish hardware when it was released, essentially a shrunk iPad 2. This brings up numerous support questions, like whether it will receive two full proper updates of iOS, as the iPad 2 is most likely done with major updates this year. That and I would fully expect we’ll see an iPad Mini refresh this November. Plus for hardware almost three years old, it’s really expensive compared to the current crop of Android Mini tablets.

And to answer your question about what else to buy, I’d start by looking at the Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 - hero - press siteFor $100 less you get a MUCH nicer true HD 1080p screen, in proper widescreen (so if you watch movies, you don’t lose half your display to letter-boxing). Remember the current Mini isn’t a “Retina” device.

Other things like stereo speakers and NFC might be a wash, but it’s much more current technology.

It’s not out yet, but the LTE variant of the Nexus 7 will likely sell for about $20 more than the least expensive, WiFi only iPad Mini. Ouch.

In conclusion, depending on what you want to do with a tablet, an iPad Mini today would still be a fine purchase. It is a sexy little tablet. However, if you can hold off, treat yourself to more of a Thanksgiving present, you’ll probably get a better “bang for buck”.

Friday Retro Fun: Walter Cronkite shows us the home office of 2001 (from 1967)

It’s always kinda cool to see how much futurists of the past got correct. It’s also kind of crazy to think that today a phone which fits in our pocket replicates all of the functionality on display here (and more).

Happy Friday!

Review: The AfterShokz Sportz M2 Bone Conduction Headphones with Microphone (video)

Aftershockz spotz m2 bone conduction headphones with mic somegadgetguy reviewIt’s like listening to the future.

Bone conduction is a fascinating tech which is starting to work its way into the consumer space. The ability to interact with audio without blocking or covering your natural sense of hearing is like having a super power. Plus this tech should encourage safer behavior from people who use headphones while jogging or (cringe) operating a motor vehicle.

Plus they’re even cheaper on Amazon than when I originally shot this video: http://goo.gl/6PgjVU

Google Fiber continues expansion in Kansas

roeland parkColor me jealous.

Posted on the official Google Fiber blog, the Roeland Park City Council has voted to approve a measure which will allow Google to provide internet and TV services to their residents. Great news for folks living in Roeland Park, as they’re going to get a little more competition for digital connectivity, and 1Gbps broadband sounds like it’ll be just the ticket.

No ETA on the rollout, but Google is encouraging residents to sign up for email alerts for when more info is available.

Second successful flight for Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo!

SpaceShipTwo_technical_diagramVirgin Galactic looks to be on track to deliver commercial space flight next year!

SpaceShipTwo completed its second test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The little spaceship which could was ferried up to 40,000 feet where it’s boosters took over and it climbed to 69,000 feet and hit a top speed of Mach 1.4. Seriously impressive numbers for a commercial craft.

Hit the video below for some “science fiction becoming reality”.