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Home/ Corliss Tech Review Group/ Contents contributed and discussions participated by Hannah Minske

Contents contributed and discussions participated by Hannah Minske

Hannah Minske

The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review: The Bluetooth Tracking Gadget - 1 views

only thing missing from Tile the Bluetooth tracking gadget is more users Corliss Group Latest Tech Review
started by Hannah Minske on 12 Sep 14 no follow-up yet
  • Hannah Minske

    The only thing missing from Tile, the Bluetooth tracking gadget, is more users (review)

    In 2013, a crowdfunded project known as the Tile became a smash hit, racking up over $2,500,000 in funding from nearly 50,000 backers. The secret to its success? Simple: The Tile promised to help users locate any object attached to the coin-sized Bluetooth-connected tag priced at $20.

    I signed on as a backer mostly out of curiosity. After all, compared to some crowdfunded tech projects like the Pebble, the 3Doodler or the Micro 3D printer, the $20 Tile seemed like a no-brainer.

    So I committed my cash and then, just like thousands of others, I began a very long wait for my Tile to arrive. I had almost given up hope of ever seeing a Tile in the flesh when finally - nearly a year after having backed the project - my Tile showed up last week.

    "So far we've delivered to over 50,000 people," Nick Evans, Tile's co-founder and CEO said in an interview with VentureBeat.

    I guess I was lucky to be amongst the first third of buyers. Evans sympathizes with those who feel the wait has been too long, "I've pre-ordered items too and there can be a lot of frustration, like, where is this thing? We're working as hard as we can to get everyone's Tiles to them."

    First impressions
    My neighbor ordered a Tile at the same time I did and his showed up the same day as mine. "It's a lot bigger than I expected," he said. It's true: The Tile looks and feels a lot larger in real life than it did in the photos and videos that Tile posted to its website during the funding period.

    Wondering why both my neighbor and I (and other reviewers) had the same reaction, I checked one of the ads that was - and is still - used to promote the Tile. Sure enough, the image Tile chose does an excellent job of masking the Tile's thickness. The ad makes it appear as though the Tile is barely thicker than a coin - or a key for that matter.

    The actual dimensions are 37mm x 37mm x 5.3 mm. The effect is that, when attached to a keychain, the Tile feels more like the largest object on your ring, not just another key.

    Evans claims there was no attempt to mislead customers and that the Tile used in these promotional images is the same size, shape and thickness as the units that have been shipped: "That's the actual size. We of course wanted to advertise the correct size […] we didn't want people to be disappointed," he says.

    How it works
    Getting a Tile set up is very easy. After you download the free Tile app (iOS only, for now), enable Bluetooth and location services, and register for a free Tile account, the app prompts you to add your first Tile.

    To do so, simply press and hold on the "e" portion of the "tile" word on the Tile until the Tile emits a little tune and hold the Tile close to your iOS device when prompted to do so. Your Tile is now paired. You can add up to 8 Tiles per account.

    The Tile app will always show you the last place it "saw" (i.e., where it was in direct Bluetooth contact with) your Tile and how long ago it saw it.

    A killer community
    I gave my Tile to my neighbor to take with him to work. My Tile app was able to locate it perfectly.

    Above: I gave my Tile to my neighbor to take with him to work. My Tile app was able to locate it perfectly.

    So what happens when your Tile can't be located by going back to the last place your app saw it?

    Tile calls it the "Community Find" feature. Turns out, every person who keeps the Tile app open on their iOS device becomes a node in a much larger Tile network.

    Annual renewal
    The other drawback to the Tile is its non-user-replaceable battery. Because Tiles are sealed, which gives them a splash-proof exterior, there's no way to access or replace any of its innards, including the battery. Tiles are only good for one year, after which Tile will get in touch to facilitate the return of your now-dead Tile and presumably give you the option to re-up for another year for another $20.

    This works out to about $1.66 per month per object tracked, on an indefinite basis. Is it worth it? I guess it depends on what you're tracking and how often you think you might misplace it.

    The $20 Tile is a device that does exactly what it claims: It helps you locate misplaced objects using your smartphone in a way that is easy and intuitive.

    For most people, even though the Tile is only effective for a year, it offers a convenient, expandable and soon - according to Evans - shareable way to track your most commonly lost articles.

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Hannah Minske

Facebook acquisition of Oculus could end up boosting crowd funding - 1 views

The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review Facebook acquisition of Oculus could end up boosting crowd funding
started by Hannah Minske on 16 Jun 14 no follow-up yet
  • Hannah Minske

    The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review - The concept of crowd funding new technology companies took a hit earlier this year when Oculus was bought by Facebook FB for about $2 billion.

    Participants in a $2.4 million Kickstarter campaign that helped fund Oculus and its development of a virtual reality headset, wound up with nothing to show for their support, while the founders and early investors scored astronomical gains.

    In the wake of the bitterness over the deal, there are movements to change laws that limit the sale of equity stakes to small investors.

    Slava Rubin, CEO and founder of crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, says that eventually those laws, including the so-called JOBS Act, will evolve in a positive way.

    "It's about access to capital. It will democratize investing," he told MarketWatch at the Nantucket Conference in Massachusetts, a gathering for tech entrepreneurs and others recently.

    Current laws, including the JOBS Act, prevent private companies from selling shares to unqualified investors, those with less than $1 million in assets and $200,000 income.

    While changes in the laws would open access to capital for startups, regulators argue that unsophisticated investors in such companies could easily lose their shirts. After all, such equity tends to be highly illiquid, and many startups fail. In addition there are concerns over fraud.

    Rubin said that people should differentiate between fraud and failure. "Since its launch, Indiegogo has not had a single case of fraud. But failure is not a fraud, and that happens," he said.

    Anticipating such changes in laws that limit small investor equity stakes, Wayne Mulligan founded, a company with the purpose of educating retail investors.

    "We aim to be the place an investor visits before making an investment decision," Mulligan wrote on the company's blog post. "Morningstar has done a great job building a place like this for mutual-fund investors. Our goal is to build the most trusted place for equity crowdfund investors"
Hannah Minske

Two lighter laptops for the heavier workload - 2 views

Two lighter laptops for the heavier workload
started by Hannah Minske on 29 Jan 14 no follow-up yet
  • Hannah Minske
    Two lighter laptops for the heavier workload

    Portable computing seems to be all about tablet PCs and smartphones these days but the laptop with a full-size screen, lots of power and good battery life is still important for many. I have been looking at two of the best side by side: one running Apple's OS X operating system, the other Microsoft Windows.

    MacBook Pro with Retina display (rating: 5/5)

    Apple's aluminium-clad MacBook Pro line has long been the laptop of choice for mobile professionals who do not want a Windows-based PC. In its latest incarnation, the MacBook Pro Retina display, which is much more detailed than ordinary displays, gets a design makeover inside and out.

    I have been impressed by my tests of the 13in version of the latest MacBook Pro, which costs from $1,399 (£1,099 in the UK). It is so much thinner and lighter than its predecessor that it looks more like a MacBook Air, which happens to be the laptop I use most of the time. In fact, at just 0.71in thick and weighing 3.46lb, the 13in MacBook Pro with Retina display is significantly thinner and lighter than the non-Retina display 13 in MacBook Pro. It also takes up marginally less space on a desk than the Air because Apple has slimmed down the bezel surrounding the Retina display.

    As you might expect, the texts and graphics are stunningly sharp but the most striking improvement is inside. The latest MacBook Pros have powerful new processors coupled with new graphics technology to provide the pixel-driving horsepower and put them on a par with rival Windows-based laptops.

    Equally important, the new processors have a dramatic impact on battery life. My review unit has been running for an average of at least 10 hours between charges, several hours longer than could reasonably be expected from the previous MacBook Pros and longer than most tablets can deliver.

    Other improvements include faster WiFi connectivity, faster solid state drives which speed start-up and data access and better sounding built-in speakers. The backlit keyboard is still responsive and easy to use.

    Overall, excellent performance and great battery life ensure that the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a worthwhile update for Apple laptop owners, and another reason to switch if you are thinking of moving from Windows. Corliss Tech Review Group

    Lenovo ThinkPad X240 (rating: 4/5)

    Lenovo's ThinkPads are among my favourite Windows-powered laptops: they have solid design, are great to type on and are just generally reliable.

    Second only to Lenovo's premium-priced 14in X1 Carbon laptop, the ThinkPad X240 is the best of the ThinkPad range of excellent business ultrabooks, with its 12.5in screen that delivers great battery life.

    Priced from $890 (£1,080), the whole X240 has been designed to withstand the bumps and knocks of everyday travel. Its roll-cage casing, carbon-fibre lid and magnesium chassis make it feel stiff and solid, even though it still weighs comfortably under 3lb.

    The X240 is the thinnest, lightest ThinkPad available, although at 0.79in thick, it is not the thinnest ultrabook of all. It has customary ThinkPad features such as the lid's soft-touch finish or the spill-resistant keyboard, which remains one of the best laptop keyboards I have used. But the X240 adds features specifically for Windows 8, such as multimedia buttons and the ability to call up the application switcher and move through applications at the press of a finger.

    The overall performance is excellent and the extended battery life totals about eight hours. The X240 has both a built-in battery and another, removable one at the rear. Because the laptop drains the removable battery first, you can pull out the rear one and swap them without turning off the laptop.

    My review unit also had an optional larger battery that gives users a total of about 20 hours of use between charges, which is the longest battery life of any laptop I have tested. Of course, the extra battery adds to the weight, but if you need a laptop that will run almost a full day between charges, the X240 should be top of your list. Read more tech review
Hannah Minske

Corliss Tech Review Group: Intros Secure Android App for Office 365, SharePoint - 1 views

The Corliss Review Group
started by Hannah Minske on 01 Nov 13 no follow-up yet
  • Hannah Minske
 has partnered with five leading mobile device management vendors to provide a secure, cross-platform, easy to use, consistent Office 365/SharePoint experience for enterprise IT mobile Android users, they announced this September. For businesses looking to eliminate Drop box, Google Drive and other unsecure document sharing/storing services that employees typically use, and tighten those pesky "leaks" associated with unsecured storage services; this news is kind of a big deal for them.

    Currently the company offers a full-featured, enterprise-grade Android app that permits device owners to access SharePoint and Office 365 documents securely on a subscription basis, with pricing starting at $4 per month. A free version for simply reading Office 365 and SharePoint documents and a full-featured Premium version for individuals to read, write, and upload files for a flat $19.99 fee is also being provided by the company.

    Aside from Apple's iOS platform and BlackBerry, the Android client is also part of's Mobile Suite. Supporting the suite are Citrix Ready Worx Verification, the Good Dynamics Secure mobility Platform, AirWatch, MobileIron, and Samsung KNOX. The three clients provide apps for editing and sharing Office 365 and SharePoint documents, and for reaching out to colleagues by means of Office 365/SharePoint social capabilities.

    " also provides real-time updates when colleagues edit important documents; colleagues can then be contacted with a single click," the company said. "Workers can expand their social networks by adding colleagues from the mobile device's contact list and keep up to date with's unified activity stream of collaboration updates." backs Office 365 (SharePoint Online) and also hosted solutions for SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office SharePoint Server (MOSS 2007), and Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0. Pricing consists of email only for $4 per user per month with a yearly commitment, mobile only for $4 per user per month, and $6 per user per month for both email and mobile access. As you would expect it will be cheaper if you buy more licenses. Orders for more than 200 licenses will necessitate a quote.

    "We are extremely proud to round out our mobile offering with today's Android release, and to add such an illustrious set of leading MDM vendors as trusted partners," said David Lavenda, VP Product Strategy at "These new additions insure that customers now have secure and scalable mobile access to the document storage systems in which their organization already has a significant investment; Office 365 and SharePoint, no matter what mobile devices they use."
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