What is an Amazon Tap? Over priced Bluetooth speaker?

amazon-tapAround 18 months ago Amazon launched the Echo.  And it is pretty cool…its a wifi information center and bluetooth speaker.  But it was big.  And it needed to be plugged in.  And – it was kind of expensive.  I mean, I was able to get into the beta sale at $99, but it is now $180.  Is it worth it…I think it might be.  We have ours set up in the bathroom – and its a great information center for the family each day as we prepare.

So – in walks Amazon Tap.

Biggest difference…its not voice activated.  Here is Amazon Tap.  You tap it, then speak and let it know what you want to do.  With the right connections, you can do so many cool things:

  • Play songs from Prime music by just saying “Play Bruno Mars from Prime Music”
  • Play music from Pandora “Play Today’s Hits station on Pandora”
  • Order pizza “Ask Domino’s for my Easy Order”
  • Get a ride “Ask Uber for a ride”
  • Get information “What is the weather in Los Angeles”

When connected to Wi-Fi you can access Alexa, which the same cloud-based voice service that the Echo uses.  It is always improving – and getting “smarter”.   All you do is tap the microphone button and make your request.

Use Amazon Tap on your nightstand

Because it has a built in battery, the Amazon Tap has a battery which can play for 9 hours.  And when Amazon Tap’s battery is low Alexa will say “Just so you know, the battery is currently low.”

Also – a great charging cradle is part of the deal too – which makes a super simple to charge without all the hassles of plugs and cords.  Just set it in the cradle and its charging.

amazon-tap-02

Amazon Tap Details:

  • Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
  • Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
  • Delivers crisp sound powered by Dolby, with dual stereo speakers that provide 360º omni-directional audio
  • Provides up to 9 hours of playback
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
  • Includes Charging Cradle

Amazon Tap Technical Specs:

Size: Amazon Tap: 6.2" x 2.6" x 2.6" (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm);
Charging Cradle: 0.6" x 2.6" x 2.6" (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Weight: Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams);
Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams)
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of continuous playback. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Tap.  Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Media control over AVRCP is not supported for Mac OS X devices.
Audio Dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
System Requirements Amazon Tap comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees. When tethering to a mobile device hotspot, standard data rates may apply.
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Amazon Tap is subject to the terms found here.Included in the BoxAmazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide

ASUS Chromebook Flip

Overview:

asus-chromebook-flip

  • 1.8 GHz Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage : 16GB Solid State Storage; No CD or DVD drive
  • 10.1 inches 1280×800 LED screen
  • Chrome OS
  • Silver Chassis

view-specs-button

The ASUS Chromebook Flip (flip C100) is a 10 inch, touchscreen Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge – enabling regular notebook mode, tablet mode, also stand and tent modes.  The flip is great for note taking, sharing videos – it does have a full keyboard and touch pad and the touch screen is multi-touch.

This machine runs the Chrome OS software – making it different from Windows and Apple.

Asus Chromebook Flip Review:

asus-chromebook-flip-01The first thing you will notice right away when you grab this chromebook is how sturdy it is – that is largely due to the all aluminum chassis.  But that is important when you go to open up the 360 folding hinge – I cannot tell you how handy having the hinge do that.  Its great if you are using the laptop on your lap, on the floor or a table.  Pretty awesome.

For even more storage, add a microSD card in the slot.  You can get some pretty big microSD cards now – so adding 64 or 128 gig of extra memory is an ease.

One thing that many people don’t know about chromebooks, even though they are cloud based, they can download apps and data and then read them in offline.

If this machine will be used for anything other than light web tasks – email, calendar, skype, chat…then ensure you are buying the 4 gig memory version.

Read more specifications.

asus-chromebook-flip-02Positive:

  • Touchscreen – which I thought was kind of silly at first…but is very good.  This will also allow a stylus to be used.
  • Its a fanless computer – which means is runs very, very quietly.
  • The Asus knows if it is in portrait or landscape mode – and will switch the screen accordingly.
  • The built in web cam makes Skype and Google Hangouts a breeze.
  • Micro-HDMI

asus-chromebook-flip-03Negative:

  • USB ports are a little tight at first but loosen with use.
  • No internal GPS
  • No built in HDMI streaming.
  • No backlit keyboard

Read More.

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

Rich Roll is an animal.  This is a triumphant story about how a man goes from awesome, upside down and then starts to find ultra.

Let’s put it this way – he, in seven days, runs 5 Iron Man triathlons.  Unreal…great story.

Book Review:

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

  • Link to the audio version
  • File Size: 6306 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (May 22, 2012)
  • Publication Date: May 22, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006LSZ82U

The Art of War

This is one of those books you just remember when you need it.  There are so many principals which apply to everyday life and life when things get stressful.  Sometimes when I read it – I cannot believe the main text was first captured over 1000 years ago.

Book Review:

The Art of War

  • Link to the audio version
  • File Size: 442 KB
  • Print Length: 166 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1588276953
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: May 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0086HAB1W

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security

I will not be surprised if you have never heard about Kevin Mitnick, he was the first hacker who was jailed for his activity.  Mitnick was put in jail because the government, the police and the public had no idea what it was he did, what he could do or how computers work.

This book has Kevin story – but it also talks about hacking in general.  One of my favorite stories is when Kevin tells a bank officer he can hack his back.  The guys disagrees – and Kevin proceeds to put virus infected software on a few thumb drives and then tosses them around the parking area and the place where people smoke.  Soon people find them and then, take them in the bank and plug them into their work computer…boom – access.

One of my favorite non-fiction books of all time, a must for the computer nerd you know.

Book Review:

The Art of Deception

  • Link to audio book
  • File Size: 1471 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 076454280X
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 20, 2007)
  • Publication Date: August 20, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006BBZHAK