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Flaregun AR Helps You to Locate What Matters Most in Real Life (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

Imagine being at an event, like a music festival, with your friend or family member, with thousands of attendees. You each go different directions and agree to meet back up in an hour. When that hour comes up, you cannot find your friend, so you call them to try and sync up. You each try and describe where you are in a sea of similarities, making it nearly impossible, and definitely annoying, to finally find one another. Most people can relate to this scenario, and we have all wished there was an easier solution to the problem.

Enter Flaregun AR, an Augmented Reality platform that is the middle ground between making AR useful and helping you find your friends at an event. Reimagining the previous example, when you cannot find your friend, rather than calling them and giving vague directions, you simply open the Flaregun AR app, request to find your friend, and use the camera and GPS built-in to your phone to locate your friend. It works very similar to Pokemon Go, in that you can see through your camera on your screen, and arrows point you toward your "target," only in this case you're not looking for Pikachu. Once you have your phone pointed at your friend, you can begin moving toward one another.

Obviously, this is way better than trying to call, for a number of reasons. First, you're not dependant on your friend to give you accurate location information. Instead, the Flaregun platform does all of the work for you. Second, at a concert, festival, conference, etc., the noise is going to make it more difficult to hear. Even better, it works for more than just finding friends at an event. You can drop waypoints for things like your parking spot and never fight over which section you parked in at the mall or theme park.

Flaregun AR is available now for iOS, with Android capability coming soon.

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Exciting New Breakthrough in Medical Field with DAT (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

Sirli Roosnomm, who represents Horizon Business Hub, has brought us a new and exciting device for health care. There is now available a test to detect astigmatism early in children long before other machines can. This is called DAT, which is the Direct Astigmatism Test. That is a very important thing to be able to do. There are other machines out there that will do this but the children are as old as 7 or 8. This machine will catch this problem as young as 3 or 4.

The DAT will also be able to find an undetected issue such as a heart problem which could result in a serious or fatal heart attack if not found. Myasthenia Gravis, a genetic disorder, is an abnormal weakening of certain muscles and is difficult to detect because there are so many other disorders which also have those symptoms. Just going to a doctor sometimes doesn't get results early enough. Most people do not even go for a checkup unless there are real problems and many times it is too late to correct them. With DAT you can find any issues and talk to your doctor about them.

With children, having them take an eye test is difficult because they may not be old enough to read an eye chart yet. DAT uses LED lights and colors to assist with their results. It asks them what do they see and they respond by answering simple questions. In adults, they are asked about textures of surfaces as well as colors. Since they say the eyes are the mirrors of the soul, there may be underlying health issues that could go unnoticed until too late.

Sirli sees that there are many people that could use this early detection whose very job it is to use their eyes specifically, such as pilots, truck drivers, or even surgeons. This test is very easy and can be self-administered if needed, although it is not being marketed for home use. The price point is somewhere around $1,500.00. They are hoping to be able to make an app for it to be available for a mobile device. For more info go to the company website.

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Servicebot Makes Billing a Positive Experience for Everyone (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

One of the hardest parts of creating a product is getting the billing system together. Creating a pricing structure, then programming an interface to a billing system, and then creating a script to run on a regular basis to charge the customer for the billing level is complicated. Add to that having a customer who wants to upgrade or downgrade their features. What happens when a credit card gets declined? There are a lot of conditions to consider, and getting it right the first time is difficult.

Luckily, Servicebot is here to remove the difficulty. Rather than having to consider all of those billing questions, Servicebot allows a developer to focus on their product's features and, with just a few lines of code, can implement Servicebot to handle all of the billing conditions. All you have to do is create an account, setup your billing options, embed the code on your website and let Servicebot handle the rest. The service supports recurring billing, as well as discounts for paying annually, and add-in features on top of your standard subscription. There is really no standard billing scenario that cannot be handled through this service.

From a management standpoint, companies can see all of their information about subscriptions and purchases in one place. The dashboard shows information like conversions (how many people became customers), churn rate (how many users left the platform), total subscriptions, paying subscriptions, invoice rate and more. These features make Servicebot not just a developer's best friend, but also is an important tool for management, as well.

In addition to the plug-and-play capabilities, Servicebot also offers a full-featured API to implement capabilities in a more customized way. This gives developers the ability to include billing management directly in their product, rather than relying on a website to manage billing. It also allows developers to test the features that a user is paying for to ensure that they are receiving all of the features they are supposed to get.

Servicebot is available now with pricing based on monthly revenue.

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November 4, 2018 - Episode 512 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple is expressing multiple personalities, Nintendo is expressing their love for the 3DS, and Netflix is showing some love for movie theaters.

Prevent an SSDud - Episode 180 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch is here to help you prevent buying an SSDud. This holiday, SSDs are expected to drop in price greatly, but not every drive is a good price. Sometimes, a sale price is higher than the regular price at another retailer. Sometimes, a drive that is inexpensive, is that way because it is not a quality product. Luckily, there are some great ways to spot a bad deal before you spend your money.

Apple Better Embracing Standards While Sticking to the Past

This week was one of several annual "Apple Days" where Apple unveils a collection of new products. This month's event was focused on Apple's computers and tablets. While the company announced new laptops and a refreshed (after 4 years) Mac Mini, the real hero of the event was even smaller than the company's tiny desktop. In fact, it was smaller than an inch: Apple replaced the Lightning connector on the iPad Pro!

While that might not seem like a big deal, it is important to note that in nearly 2 decades of portable products, Apple has only updated the connector twice previously. The iPod premiered with Firewire, which was a technology dead on arrival. They replaced it with the 32-pin connector, which lasted for a decade, but was itself replaced by Lightning. All of these connectors have been Apple-focused (Firewire was a standard, but it was never widely adopted outside of Mac).

This change, however, is not Apple-focused. In fact, the company ditched Lightning for USB-C. Yes, that is the same connector on the HP Elite x3 (Windows Phone), Samsung Galaxy S8 (Android) and beyond, and more. This port is the defacto standard in the industry, being able to universally charge phones, tablets, laptops, and a host of other devices. In fact, we are currently reviewing Bluetooth headphones that charge over USB-C. This brings Apple into the same world with the rest of the industry for the first time - ever. This is not to say Apple has completely eschewed standards - in fact, Apple was one of the leaders in adopting USB-C for the MacBooks.

Unfortunately, the iPad Pro does not support everything that USB-C can do. The device billed as the Apple tablet for creators will not allow those creators to connect external storage. That will prevent photographers from using the tablet to edit photos without bringing a computer with them, which negates the value of the tablet. It prevents video editors from using the device without a computer, again making the tablet less than valuable.

Ideally, this limitation will be removed by Apple at some point in the future. Lightning used to prevent external storage, but now there are many storage options for Lightning.

Shoe Returns Are a Thing of the Past Thanks to itfits! (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

For anyone who has tried to buy shoes online, they have found that each company has its own sizing. This makes shopping hard because customers wind up returning their purchases. In fact, up to 10-30% of online shoe purchases are returned because of improper fit. Daniele Delle Case, CEO of Addi.fit, has come up with a clever and easy way to help solve all these problems. This idea came to Daniele because when he was a soccer player, he had problems finding the proper fit for his soccer shoes because not all brands in his size were fitting him.

The process starts with taking only 2 photos of the top of your feet which creates a 3D model. It then compares the sizes of the shoes. It uses the statistics of the 3D picture and extracts the info and creates your personal data for the selection of your shoes. It then holds this information in a personalized profile after your first purchase for future purchases. This makes your online shopping faster and easier. As Daniele said, "shop faster for the cart!"

This is a process that will benefit many people of all ages. Think of small children whose feet change and grow quickly, sometimes weekly. The photos have to be updated on a regular basis to ensure a proper fit for growing feet. With the elderly, there are many medical reasons to keep up with their feet. The onset of arthritis and rheumatism causes the feet to become misshapen and very hard to fit. Comfort is so very important

to our seniors' well-being.

This is not a platform for the consumer specifically. It is targeted for online retailers to improve the shopping experience of their customers. The cost for the retailer is free and costs nothing until purchases are made. Then it is 1 Euro ($1.13 US) per transaction.

Daniele has plans for the future of Addi.fit. He wants to be able to create his own line of custom-made shoes and at the same time be able to promote their designs with other designers and their ideas. He feels this is a good starting point to help other designers and the economy. He is hoping for this to be happening in 2-3 years out. For more info go to the company website.

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October 28, 2018 - Episode 511 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, karaoke is coming to Twitch, no information is coming from Apple, and some big names are not coming to the big screen.

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 - Episode 179 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch shows off Samsung's most recent laptop: the Samsung Galaxy Book 2. This attempt at a Microsoft Surface rival skips an Intel chip and, instead, uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. That means that this laptop does not come close to the Surface Pro 6's performance or capabilities, though it does come close to the price. This below entry-level runs $1000 - an insanely high price for a computer that Avram describes as a secondary computer. This computer seems like technology for technology's sake.

Good News for Fixers: You Can Now Repair Your Tech

While many aspects of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) are in place to protect the correct entities, in some cases the wording has created unintended problems. The most notable issue has been Section 1201, which is described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation,

Section 1201 makes it illegal to circumvent the computer code that prevents copying or modifying in most software-controlled products-which nowadays includes everything from refrigerators and baby monitors to tractors and smart speakers.

This has been felt most recently by new software implemented by Apple which disables computers repaired by unapproved people. Those unapproved people include the owner of the device, who apparently doesn't quote own the computer - at least in Apple's eyes. This policy is enforced by the fact that it is not legal to circumvent the software that locks the computer out because of copyrights.

This week, the Library of Congress, who is entrusted with the regular maintenance of the DMCA, revised the rules surrounding software circumvention, adding a collection of exceptions. These exceptions include unlocking brand new phones, jailbreaking smart speakers, and, most importantly, repairing devices yourself or on behalf of the owner. This means that getting locked out of a device you own because you repaired it should no longer be a part of the small electronics world.

Unfortunately, products that are not smartphones, home appliances, or home systems, such as boats and airplanes, are not covered by these exceptions. That means that Apple can continue to prevent owners from repairing their computers and Sony can continue to ban PlayStations from the PlayStation Network that have been repaired unofficially. While the rules around gaming console bans make sense because of cheating, allowing computer manufacturers to lock their devices because of a simple repair is unacceptable. However, as iFixit founder Kyle Wiens said,

With those few exceptions, the Copyright Office went as far as they could in granting access to the repair community. There are still significant limits, though, that will need to be addressed by Congress.

Perhaps, during a future review, more devices will be added to this list.

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