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Epson Breaks Their Own Mold With GPS Runner’s Watch

Epson, TechnologyNancy Woo23 February 2012

Epson, the world-renowned printing company, has surprised everyone around them with their latest product, a lightweight (in fact, the lightest ever) GPS runner’s watch. Normally touting products like high-speed, quality office printers, scanners, fax machines, as well as label makers, projectors and other office-type technologies, they’ve outdone themselves by venturing into the fitness market. Hey, office types have to stay fit, too, right?

How the company is proving their legitimacy into this unexpected realm:

•    Apparently, this little device offers the best battery life out there at a hefty 12 hour lifespan from one single charge. That’s more than enough for most marathons or trail runs.
•    It is reported to have extremely accurate readings, better than its competitors.
•    At only 13mm thick and weighing in at no more than 50g, it won’t be a dead weight on any runner or athlete.
•    It’s water-resistant and has a casing that protects its inner workings up to a submersion of 165 feet. If you’re out on a trail and it starts raining, don’t worry about the downpour ruining your equipment, and you could also use it to monitor swimming, that is, no deeper than 5 bars of water.


As a GPS device, it provides accurate and up-to-the-minute pacing and distance information for the runner in training or any athlete who would like to monitor progress. This little GPS companion isn’t yet available on the market, but as soon as it hits stores, date yet unknown, it will be interesting to see if the world’s leader in office technology can make the jump into the fitness market. They report they were able to conceive of this new device by drawing on their already extensive knowledge of semiconductors and quartz sensing technology.

I see it as a bold step in a new direction, and any company these days must plunge into new realms if they hope to stay relevant and ahead of the game. And health? Probably one of the best avenues to go down. From a press release, the company states, “Moving forward, Epson is looking to help people enjoy healthier, fuller lives by using its technologies…”  Cheers to health!

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Highlights from CES 2012

The Consumer Electronics Show is an annual gathering of companies unveiling their latest techno-gadgets for all consumers to enjoy. With 140,000 visitors and 2,700 exhibitors in the flashiest place on the planet, Las Vegas, it’s nothing less than a 4-day long spectacle, a giant toy room and a zoo full of the latest and greatest.

Here are some of the most interesting highlights:

1. Earbuds that Monitor Heart Rate:

Gym fanatics and runners are going to love this one. Instead of having to deal with all the extra weight and wires that come with carrying a heart rate monitor around the chest or arm, plus an iPod tucked into an arm strap with headphones, a company called Valencell demoed some of their 2-in-1 earbuds this year. The earbuds would monitor heart rate without the need for additional equipment. Talk about being light on your feet! And cyclists note: only one earbud is needed to check pulse, so you can still listen for traffic. Let’s hope the demo went over well so we can see these available for purchase soon.

2. Microphone USB:

As gadgets get more and more streamlined, here’s one to add to the list. Rather than using recording technology and then transferring it over to the computer, Blue Microphones propose using their handy dandy microphone USB. It plugs right into the computer so you can record and then plug in with one single motion. The company touts the Tiki device as having as-good human voice recognition through voice isolation and noise-cancelling technologies. Tiki goes for $59 on the consumer marketplace.

3. A Projector for iPhone Photos and Video:

Epson, the leader in printing technologies, now adds iPhone projectors to its long list of technological advancements. White it’s great to look at photos and watch videos wherever you are by powering up the iPhone or other Apple devices, it’s even better to watch them in full big screen glory. Now you can share photos and videos with friends by popping your iPhone into the Epson MultiPlex, which has a dock for Apple products and can also be connected to any laptop or Blu-ray player. Then you just need to find a nice big white surface, and voila! Instant projection of your favorite media. These bad boys retail between $599 and $699.

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Epson Releases Slew of New Projectors

Epson, TechnologyNancy Woo05 January 2012

As we let go of the old and usher in the new during this exciting time of year, there’s one company that’s successfully bridging the divide between the two. Epson, a company which has long been a leader in printing devices, is also one of the world’s premier projector developers. Now, a projector, you say? Projectors are largely associated in the pop culture mindset as responsible for those campy 1970s sex ed videos in high school classrooms, or as an early form of film viewing. Thus, the old.

However, Epson has been lately breathing fresh life back into an old form of technology. No longer are these projectors dinosaurs to be dug up from the attic, but revamped, brand new tools with high definition imaging to be used either for home viewing or office presentations.

Let’s start with the latter. Just this week, Epson announced the release of its EX5210 Multimedia Projector.

Sleek and shiny, it is meant for business use, offering bright, HD images for sharp presentations. No computer is necessary for hook-up, making transport easy and convenient. All you need is a USB device to plug in. The data projected is 3LCD quality and the device comes with a solid feature set, like a built-in TV tuner, remote mouse support and speakers included. With native resolution of 1024 x 768 and brightness rated at 2600 ANSI lumens, this projector will surely do any presentation justice. However, some reviews say that text imaging could be sharper, and there is no wireless connectivity. The product retails between $499.99 and $549.99.

Also, perhaps unbeknownst to American audiences, Epson India has also just unveiled their 3-D projector for home use, a stunning 3-D HD product that was just revealed at the Consumer Electronic Imaging Fair and Photofair 2012. Developers and product critics expect for this news to trigger similar HD3D home use projectors from competitors like Sony and Panasonic. As it stands now, the EH-TW 6000 is being directed at wealthier consumers in India, and the company hopes to sell at least 750 units in the first year, or roughly 0.5% of the total market.

3-D projectors for the home theater? Who knows how that will pan out in competition with HDTVs that offer 3-D technology? Perhaps we shall see.

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Year End Wrap Up for Blank Media Trends in 2011

Blu-ray Media, Electronics, Epson, TechnologyNancy Woo30 December 2011

As technology continues to move forward at a relentless pace, new gadgets arise and some old ones fade away. To conclude 2011, let’s recap some of the major topics from the GotMedia blog in the past year as we anticipate all the fascinating advancements of 2012:

  • Recordable Blu-ray: Verbatim announced a new nationwide supply of rewritable double layer blu-ray discs.
    • The wrap up: Whoever said Blu-ray would fade into obscurity was wrong. Even though DVD is still the primary form of media-watching technology, Blu-ray fans know the advantages of watching films on Blu-ray: higher quality audio and video, 3-D imaging, high definition compatibility, gaming, Internet connectivity and all sorts of extras. When you can record films onto your own Blu-ray discs, it’s even better.
  • The tiniest USB device ever: In August 2011, Verbatim released the smallest USB thumb drives the world has ever known. More aptly called “penny drives” because they are roughly the size and thickness of a penny, the Verbatim Tuff’N’Tiny are water resistant, durable and guaranteed to last a lifetime.
    • The wrap up: Technology keeps getting tinier and tinier! These Tuff’N’Tiny USB devices are the answer to any tech geek who misplaces things because it fits neatly onto a keychain – just don’t lose the keys. You never know when you’ll need to transfer files on a dime.
  • The rise of archival discs: This year, the holographic discs touted to last thousands of years gained more prominence. The Millenial Archival M-disc is at the forefront of the game, with a tagline of “Write Once, Read Forever.”
    • The wrap up: Do we really need data discs to last for 3,000 years? Who knows what Earth will be like then? But still, the idea of permanence is fascinating. And these discs have been proven to be virtually indestructible.
  • New devices revealed at Korea’s Electronic Show: The 42nd annual Korean technological convention featured major names like Samsung, LG, Mach and Taiyo Yuden all showcasing their new gadgets for the theme “Be Smart,” which focused on smartphone technology.
    • The wrap up: Who knows all that 2012 will have in store, but smartphones getting even smarter is a sure thing on the list. Some of the wild devices revealed were “smart” vacuum cleaners, “smart” washing machines and “smart” fridges that do the shopping themselves. Here we come, Jetsons!
  • Moverio revealed the world’s first 3-D mounted head display: Powered by Android technology, this crazy little device is essentially a headband that allows the user to see two fields of vision at the same time, whatever is in front of him and a streaming 3-D video in surround vision and sound.
    • The wrap up: Seeing double isn’t just for drunk Uncle Harry anymore, but the question is: will it confuse the brain, or pave new pathways for even greater multi-tasking? With the world’s information overdrive hitting full speed, let’s hope it’s the latter.

We also covered important how-to’s like:

  • How to choose a conversion cable
  • How to compare DVD media
  • How to choose the right media for different projects
  • How to prep master discs
  • How to utilize technology to master any presentation
  • How to determine the right printer

Some of the other topics touched upon include:

  • Lightscribe disc labeling
  • Trends in disc packaging and disposal
  • The issue of piracy under federal law
  • New printers and label makers from Epson
  • Faster disc reproduction technology
  • Verbatim pocket CDs
  • The Android iPrint app
  • A consideration of DVD vs. Blu-ray
  • Easy to make holiday gift ideas

So as you can see, we’ve had a busy year in 2011. Stay tuned for more great media news updates and techie information in 2012!

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Black Friday: Worth the Wait?

Electronics, Special Deals, TechnologyNancy Woo25 November 2011

Every year it seems like the Black Friday madness gets crazier and crazier. Since the U.S. economy took a nosedive in 2008, holiday shoppers may be on an even more constrained budget than usual, making the drop-down prices of Black Friday even more appealing. What are the crowds like this year?

While the economy is still struggling after the crash of 2008, Black Friday sales are expected to rise 2.8% from last year, as 150 million people try and snag the best soon-to-be-expired bargains.[1] Since the U.S. Census Bureau currently calculates the U.S. population to be 312 million[2], that means about half the country will be partaking in the mad holiday dash, and to the tune of roughly $465 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.[3] This year, even Apple, a company infamous for never having any deals, offered certain meager holiday discounts.

 

2011 is a year of many firsts – it marks the first year that many retail stores across the country opened their doors at midnight, instead of opening early in the morning as usual, while some stores simply never closed. How soon until people forego their Thanksgiving meal altogether in order to wait in line for a half-priced toy?

The term Black Friday was supposedly coined in the 1960s after Philadelphia police officers had to deal with massive traffic jams on the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the term solidified in the 1980s, when the popular theory became that people were taking their checkbooks out of the red and into the black.

Black Friday could have another meaning as well. The ferocity and violence that possess many consumers on the Friday after Thanksgiving has given many a crazed shopper a black eye – or worse. Perhaps the worst case of shopping violence occurred in 2008, when a retail worker at Wal-Mart, 34-year old Jdimytai Damour (weighing in at 270 pounds, 6 feet 5 inches), was trampled to death by the savings-hungry mob.[4] Has the economic meltdown taught the U.S. consumer base nothing about balancing our bank accounts, other than to become more and more vicious?

Half the country is out shopping ‘til they start dropping, but is it really worth it? Some truly think so, and for families on a budget, this may be the one day of the year when they feel they actually have a chance to buy Timmy the video game system he really wanted or embellish the home with a new TV. Some people have even been reported to have started waiting in line for Black Friday deals since Monday.

There may be solid reasons for struggling families to endure the biting cold and banality of waiting in line for days, just to grab a limited-time only deal, but there may also be other ways to save the pocketbook while ensuring a happy holiday season.

In 2005, Cyber Monday was born. Whether it is complementary or competitive with Black Friday, Cyber Monday marks another holiday bargain-busting day, this time bringing Internet retailers into the mix. Cyber Monday refers to the Monday after Thanksgiving when most people return to work, and when a massive number of Internet retailers offer their special holiday deals.

The advantage of Cyber Monday is that no one risks serious injury, no one has to wait in line for days, and no one is wearily shopping up and down the aisles at 3 in the morning, a time when some bad shopping decisions might be made. Cyber Monday allows shoppers to browse deals from the comfort of their home or office, and while there may be a limited amount of items or an expiration date to the deals, the stressful frenzy is not nearly as present.

So far, the Internet hasn’t seemed to change things too much on Black Friday, since this year already shows 150 million people out shopping, but it is nice to know that some great deals can be found online without having to battle through barbarous crowds.


[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/nov/25/black-friday-sales-stampede

[2] http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html

[3] http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/nov/25/black-friday-sales-stampede

[4] Ibid.

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The Netflix Model: Disc Publisher Rimage Acquires Qumu To Add Streaming Capabilities

CD DVD Printers, Rimage, TechnologyNancy Woo20 October 2011

Moving Towards Two Options Everywhere: DVD and streaming capabilities offered for all

The world of corporate infrastructure is always changing, with one company merging here, another merging there and bits and pieces of the whole breaking off along the way. Two instances have occurred recently of relevance to disc publishing and new media communications.

The first we are all familiar with: Reed Hastings, CEO of the ever-popular Netflix, decided about a month ago to separate the DVD portion of the website from the online streaming into something called Qwikster. After the public vehemently opposed the split and Wall Street stock for Netflix dropped 25%, Hastings picked up his pride and related to the public that he wouldn’t be going through with the separation process.

Whew. When people thought that their beloved Netflix was going to get the axe, and for no apparent reason, many actually started cancelling their Netflix accounts. One of the reasons Netflix is so successful is because of the simplicity and convenience of searching a huge movie and TV database, with options to either stream online or have a DVD mailed to your residence. If these two things were to be separated, the entire scheme of simplicity would have gone down the drain. Good thing Hastings saw his error and listened to his customers before it was too late, because Netflix/Qwikster would have been bye-bye.

Following the theme of maintaining a streamlined process for choosing media, the disc publishing company Rimage has recently acquired Qumu, a video communications company. Unlike Netflix, which was trying to separate the DVD and online streaming portions, Rimage, which publishes content onto discs for clients, has recognized the value of adding media streaming capabilities to their bag of tricks. Qumu is a start-up video communications business, which specializes in technology that can publish video or media straight to smartphones or the Internet.

Rimage has traditionally been a distributor of on-demand Blu-ray, CD and DVD discs. For example, a company might hire Rimage to take their video surveillance and publish that content to discs. Now, with the clever merging of a video communications firm, Rimage will be able to not only take that footage and publish it to discs, the customer will also have the option of having the media sent straight to their computer or smartphone. Following the original Netflix model, Rimage is giving two options: have a DVD sent to you, or stream the material online. It’s brilliant, and in a showdown between Rimage and another disc publisher that can’t offer instant streaming, who do you think will get the customer?

Qumu’s clients are typically in the banking, telecommunications, university, technology and government industries, and the company helps them manage, create and securely distribute video content.

“We’re like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube for the enterprise,” said Ray Hood, chief executive of Qumu in San Bruno, Calif. “We make the video secure and targetable to the right employees.”[1]

Rimage acquired Qumu for $52 million, along with Qumu’s 100 client companies, last week. Rimage is hoping that they will be able to help Qumu expand into markets faster than they would on their own, and in return Rimage adds a valuable capability to their service line.


[1] Takahashi, Dean. (October 10, 2011). “Rimage Acquires enterprise video communications startup Qumu for $52M.” Venture Beat.

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“Be Smart” 2011 Korea Electronic Show Reveals Slew of Startlingly Smart Devices

Electronics, Taiyo Yuden, Technology, UncategorizedNancy Woo13 October 2011

It’s gotten to the point where some people are swearing by their smartphone, shaking their head in disbelief, as if to wonder, “How did I make it through this mess of my life before my smartphone?” These handheld devices are simultaneously a phone, a computer, a way to check email, a text messaging service, a game platform and a GPS, and they are revolutionizing the way people go about their daily lives.

At the forefront of the electronic explosion, of course, are Asian companies like Samsung, LG, Mach, Hynic, Redrover and Korea Taiyo Yuden. These companies, plus roughly 800 more, are currently attending one of the largest IT conferences in the world right now, from October 12 through October 15 in Korea. The 42nd Korea Electronic Show (KES) 2011 boasts a 5% increase of participants from the previous year, and the theme is “Be Smart,” under which major companies reveal new “smart” technology – and not just for phones.

Samsung has so far introduced their “Smart Life” line, which includes smart devices such as a smart vacuum cleaner and smart washing machine, which can be controlled by smart devices, such as phones, TVs or tablets. Whoa! Smart vacuum cleaners that can essentially “talk” to other smart devices like TVs? Is this getting too wild? Are we entering the world of Brave Little Toaster or any 80s science fiction movie? Well, like any new advance in smart technology, there is sure to be an initial shock value.

Let’s not leave LG out of this smart device conversation, because this company has developed a smart refrigerator that can monitor the level of food products in its belly, and do its own online shopping.

On the less startling end of things, LG is also developing sharper 3-D TVs, Redrover is showcasing stereoscopic 3-D technology and Samsung is displaying their latest LCD and LED back-light LCD TVs. Korea Taiyo Yuden has released a line of products called “Smart Solutions and Green Products,” which boasts smaller and smaller sizes of smartphones and handheld devices, with increased capacity.

Our smart devices keep getting smarter – does this mean we are getting dumber?? I think this may be a logical fallacy to assume so, but perhaps this a discussion for another time. In the meanwhile, stay tuned to the KES conference because there are sure to be many more impressively smart things to come from it before the janitors sweep in to clean up the mess (and maybe pick up any leftover electronics). What could be the grand finale? My personal preference will be for dishes that do themselves, or dinners that cook themselves. Maybe the question is not “are we getting dumber,” but “how lazy can we become?”

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Understanding the Differences Between PAL and NTSC

TechnologyHawksM21 June 2011

One of the basics of DVD replication is determining which digital format to use for your projects. We’ll help you figure what will work best for you.

NTSC stands for National Television Systems, an analog television encoding system, and has a frame rate of 29.97/second with screen resolutions of 720 x 480 and is the most widely used format for DVDs worldwide.

The PAL format, which stands for Phase Alternating Line, also an analog television encoding system used in broadcast that offers a 25/second frame rate and a screen resolution of 720 x 576.

When figuring out which format to use, you might want to consider your audience. Most NTSC DVD players can play PAL-formatted discs; all PAL DVD players can run NTSC DVDs.

Any high-quality software should be able to produce both formats, however it may be difficult to convert from one format to the other due to the vertical resolution differences between the two (480 versus 576 between NTSC and PAL respectively).

Our recommendation is to make your format determination before you even start shooting and to edit and author all in the same format to avoid disrupting the quality of your video in the editing and finalizing process.

Here’s a comparison chart:

NTSC PAL
Lines/Field 526/60 625/50
Horizontal Frequency 15.737 kHz 15.625 kHz
Vertical Frequency 60 Hz 50Hz
Color Subcarrier Frequency 3.579545 MHz 4.443618 MHz
Video Bandwidth 4.2 MHz 5.0 MHz
Sound Carrier 4.5 MHz 5.5 MHz

 

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The Basics of Prepping Your Master Discs

Technology, UncategorizedHawksM03 May 2011

Whether you’re prepping a master disc for your own project or for your client, data integrity is of the utmost importance, because a damaged or poor quality master will result in exponential problems down the replication road.

DVD Masters
Any master DVD needs to be created as an “authored” DVD, which means the content has been edited and has been run through an author program to create menus and complete compression. If you don’t have a program, consider using DVD Studio Pro, iDVD, Sonic Scenarist, Nero, and Adobe Encore.

We advise that you create a physical DVD master to send to your clients for final approval; digital masters can be lost or damaged. The only caveat is if you would like to CSS copy protect your DVD master. In this case submit your master as either a DDP master or DLT master.

CD Masters
Following the “Red Book Audio Standard” you can ensure text is visible on the CD, metadata is embedded and that you’re living up to ISRC codes. As with DVDs, it’s best to use a hard copy CD master, because trying to drop audio tracks onto a final disc can result in discrepancies with time between tracks or incorrect track order.

Data CDs and CD-ROMs
We almost always recommend prepping data discs as hard masters due to the fact they often contain auto executable files, complex software applications, or just large quantities of files. Submitting your disc for professional replication, for your own client, or for your own project will be easier and more secure if done so on a physical master.

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New Verification Tools Improve Quality Testing for Replication

TechnologyHawksM26 April 2011

Cinavia, a new technology from Verance Corporation, will now be incorporated into the post-production workflow of BluFocus Inc., a California-based testing and certification facility.

The Cinavia tool will be used almost exclusively by BluFocus for the verification services the company offers both U.S. and U.K. film, music, and television studios to help mitigate the use of piracy in the entertainment industry.

“We are pleased that BluFocus has embraced an efficient and effective way to test content marked with Cinavia prior to disc mastering and replication,” said Dean Angelico, senior vice president, product development at Verance, a pioneer in the development of watermarking technologies.

The new process is aimed at discouraging piracy, which has run rampant in recent years, and is a welcome advantage in the media production industry.

“At a time when piracy is at an all time high, the Cinavia standard has been extremely well received by the Hollywood studios,” said Paulette Pantoja, BluFocus CEO and founder.

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