Spring Feature: Outdoor Speakers

If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining or just love working in the yard, it is time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor space. Nothing wrecks the mood like an old boom box or speakers blaring out of a window. Keep your outdoor landscaping looking beautiful and technology free with high performance audio speakers that blend right in. All-weather speakers are designed specifically for the acoustic conditions of the outside world, such as the lack of walls, ceiling, and floors to reflect sound, and will perform a whole lot better.

Terra Loudspeakers has the perfect companion for any outdoor party: LuminSound™ LS.32. The LuminSound concept is simple; offer excellent all weather outdoor sound reproduction, and flexible, attractive, efficient lighting all within a single, practical unit.

The LuminSound is 32.5-inch high, weatherproof bollard with an aluminum grille that is available in black, aluminum, or copper color. The LuminSound includes a 3-LED warm white lamp that provides 270 lumens for high efficiency illumination, and the speaker section can be rotated independently of the lighting section.


Placement of Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Landscaping lighting helps extend your lighting to the yard and lets you enjoy the outside for as long as you want. Landscape lighting also provides exterior home security, comfort, and visual aid for your back and front yard.

One of the keys to an outdoor extension of your home is the right lighting.

While outdoor landscape lighting can be placed virtually anywhere, some spots make it an absolute must. Those include:

Paths: A well-lit path is both welcoming and required, providing illumination that extends hospitality to visitors and makes walking more secure. High illumination isn’t necessary, and downlights will prevent glare. Individually lit pavers can also be used to light a pathway.

Entries: Place lights either to each side of a door or overhead at front, back, and side entry doors.

Driveway: Low-voltage lights are a good option along a driveway.

Steps: Steps should be lighted for safety; either the risers or the treads can be lit.

Decks or Patios: Lighting can be used to illuminate specific task areas on a deck or patio, such as a kitchen or cooking spot, as well as railings and seating areas. Uplighting, which is harder to accomplish outside, can be used on a deck or patio to send light upward on an umbrella or deck “ceiling” for an indirect effect.

Gazebos, Pergolas, or Trellises: Lighting is a good way to highlight an interesting built element in the outdoor landscape.

Architectural Features: Outdoor landscape lighting can be used to highlight a wall, for example, by washing it or grazing it. When a wide beam of light is aimed at a wall from a few feet away, it creates a wall wash. A light used to graze a wall creates interesting highlights and shadows. Both will provide a little accent to nearby plants.

Do you have a terrace, back garden or pool area that you like to entertain in on the summer nights? We’ll create a custom scene for it! With one button you can turn on your overhead lights, garden lights, fountain lights (any light that you want in that party area. You can also have the path lights that go to the party area turned on, and all others go off. We offer a full line of home lighting control systems, that can stand-alone or be integrated into a complete home automation system. You can master the lighting of your home, with simple keypads installed in select rooms, or even remotely via a secure Internet connection.


Apps that help in the Kitchen

The number of available food- and cooking-related apps is always growing, and we’re glad that it is. Here are a few of our favourite apps for your iPad, to help with everything from elaborate wine pairing to quick and easy meals.

Cookulator: Cooking Unit Converter

One-step, utensil-based cooking unit conversion enables you to convert between measuring units such as volume, weight and temperature. Cookulater also converts measurement variances between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Wine Genius

Wine Genius simplifies wine and food pairings both at home and at your favorite restaurants, plus suggests serving temperatures. Wine history includes interesting facts about your favorite vintages, transforming you into an at-home sommelier.

Big Oven

BigOven has more than 170k unique recipes. Take your recipes, grocery list and menus with you anywhere. Search, edit and resize recipes easily. See your friends’ recipes & share yours. You can even plan and reuse menus on a calendar.

Food Planner (Also available for Android)

A great meal-planning tool for families, Food Planner lets you keep track of individualized dietary requirements as well as menus, shopping lists and recipes, plus it syncs between multiple devices. Countless recipes can be imported from numerous websites and your own favorites can be stored for future reference. Food Planner is an easy-to-use tool that lets you search for recipes by keywords and ingredients.

Grocery Gadget (Also available for Android)

A great on-the-go app, Grocery Gadget saves you time and money by organizing your food shopping list into categories. Arrange your list to match your pantry, refrigerator and cupboard. Automatic synchronization lets you share your list with friends and family as well as store weekly lists for all of the stores you frequent. Color pricing helps you compare prices on items found in different stores. Easy to use and kid friendly, Shopping List gets you out of the store and into the kitchen faster.


Crestron is Launching a new Design Shown Room in the Decoration & Design Building in NYC!

Coming soon: Crestron is creating a building that showcases the marriage of  interior design and electronics working harmoniously to create beautiful spaces.  This is a great building for interior designers and clients to visit who are taking on a project that involves the integration of control systems and A/V systems into a living environment.  It introduces you to not only the newest technology from Crestron, but also shows you that electronics can add to your design, not take away from it.

Have a look at some of the beautiful gallery designs so far, and let us know if you are interested in seeing this gallery up close when the construction is over.

WOW That is a lot of Crestron!


“Tough” Portable iPod Dock

Yamaha has launched the Yamaha’s PDX-11 Portable iPod Dock, a rough and tough looking ipod dock just in time for your Christmas wish list! It is definitely not a posh, delicate looking dock, but still I would not kick it around or drop it overboard!

It seems perfect for outdoor adventures and out of the house gatherings.  It only takes 6 AA batteries that should give you about 8 hours or portable power…. long enough for a picnic on in the park with friends, or a  bonfire gathering on the beach.

The dock can be connected to an iPhone, iPod or your computer.  It is available in white, dark blue, green and black for about 99.99 USD which is selling like crazy! So get on the wait list for it now if you want it for Christmas.


YouTube to Launch 100 Online Streaming TV Channels

Google owned YouTube has announced that they will be launching 100 online channels with original programming from names like: Wall Street Journal, Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, Tony Hawk, Antony Zuiker (the creator of CSI), and more.

This may be Google’s newest big push into streaming media, as the site is already established and the viewers are there ready for more!  YouTube is already a worldwide hit with over two billion video views daily being reported, and the site is only 6 years old.

Google is reportedly forking up about $100m to get this launch started, and are hoping for daily uploads of about 25 hours from these new featured channels.

TV production companies and film studios are also popping up and getting involved in the new launch, it will be interested to see what they will bring to the site.  Will there be new series? Is it all original content only viewable on YouTube?  Will you be able to catch your favorite TV shows on YouTube?  Will we get the annoying “Content not available in your area” message? We will have to wait and see.  To get a sneak peak on what’s being created visit YouTube’s Original Channels site.

The convenience of internet streaming media has broadened our choices in entertainment.  It offers things such as:

  • Content from all over the world, from many different producers
  • Flexible viewing convenience, start, stop, fast forward;
  • Ease of viewing (you don’t need a TV ) tablets, smartphones, laptops all allow you to view online streaming content;
  • Ease of sharing, ability to embed in blogs, emailing links etc;
  • Ability to sign up for notifications so that you know when new content is posted
  • Instant access to viewer’s reviews, if the videos have a comment section.

AS for YouTube’s Streaming media: Expect the new channels to start rolling out next month and continue through next year. Sign up to get info on the new channels as they’re announced.


The Netflix Official Apology?

On September 18th 2011 Reed Hastings posted an entry on the Netflix blog that started  “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” This message comes weeks after the new sudden price increases that caused headlines such as “Customers fleeing from Netflix” and “ Netflix Customer Base Doomed” blog entries that were headed “I am glad I never signed up”.  Do you think these messages that they viral across the internet had something to do with, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings rather interesting blog entry?  I think so!

Netflix is doing a bit of a shuffle and they are really taking their well-recognized brand name “Netflix” and using it to gain a piece of the streaming market.  They have changed their 10 year old DVD mail service into a product/service called Qwikster.  It is obvious that the name “Netflix” has a huge weight to it and is worth millions, so I get why they are using the Netflix name to push into the streamlining market.  They have started to tap into international markets, case and point: the announcement of Netflix available in Bermuda a few weeks ago in the Royal Gazette.  However, movie titles are slim and there are no new releases, so it was not that big of an announcement + Bermudians have been enjoying Netflix for a while with one of technologies great inventions: the overseas, US IP address!.

Anyway, Netflix is reforming, restructuring and trying to break into a new market “streaming video” so let’s see where they go.  I have a feeling that Qwikster is just a wind down of the  old Netflix made to phase out- would be interesting to see where Qwikster will be in 10 years…….

Click here to see Reed Hastings “apology”


What’s so cool about Skype?



You probably have all heard the famous line “Skype me” If you haven’t tried it, you should! If you have a Skype account ensure that you download the latest version as it is getting cooler and cooler + easier to find friends!

The newest features available for Skype are:

  • Ability to see your Facebook friends in your contact list! Be careful…depending on your Facebook list you may end up with a lot of contacts!!
  • Ability to instant message with your Facebook friends
  • New emotions…for the cute messaging
  • Upgrades to the call controls

So this bring us to the next point….none of this, besides the emotions and cooler controls, is great unless you have Facebook…..but Skype is still the coolest free video calling download going even without the F word (Facebook)

Skype also is touch on business solutions, which we are actively keeping on top of, which can help small and medium sized businesses in their day to day operations without having to spend 10s of thousands of dollars.

Skype for Business:

Look at all the options Skype offers!! These are sure to help your business stay connected with partners, clients, vendors and work associates worldwide.  The only thing that seems to be dragging is the inability to have Skype on a Blackberry….this is another place were the Android platform takes over and comes out on top!


Where is the TV Going?

LG is releasing a Pen Touch TV that will come on a 60” 3D and 60”/50” 2D screens retailing between 1,099.00- 2,199.00USD.  The Pen Touch system will allow you to draw on the screen, access PC files, create art work , keep calendars + more.  The Pen Touch TV comes with two rechargeable pens that you plug into USB ports, much like an iPod.

So is this where TVs are going?  Sure this is very cool…but why?  Haven’t we moved away from Plasma TVs and moved on to LED TVs to become more green?  When will you be close enough to a 60” TV to write on it?  Some may think this is great for kids, but wouldn’t you want your kids to play on a iPad rather than an ultra bright 60” Plasma TV.  Time will tell about the LG Pen Touch, this may be only be a first step that will evolve into something more, or maybe this TV has an application in only a certain environment (educational, medical, etc), or maybe it will fall flat and LG will move on quickly to recover and invent something else.

This may not be where TVs are going, but one thing is certain, TV and media developers are looking for a way to reinvent the TV and change how we use it.  In the past few years we have seen slimmer TVs, 3D, internet connected TVs (Google TV), Streaming TV (Netflix, Hulu, etc), Apple TV, Youtube integration and more.  Some of these were misses and some are slowly catching on and been used in more and more households.

In Bermuda it is hard for us to take advantage of all of the streaming content due to the smaller bandwidth that we are limited to here, but as that increases overtime we may see more and more consumers opting for internet TV options rather than cable as you can chose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it and from what device you wish to view it over (iPad, TV, iPhone etc.)

TV’s are changing and it will be interesting to see where they go…. and who will be the one to take over the TV market.


What does this all mean? Multi Window + Multi Source viewing on one display!

The DVPHD is the world’s only multi-window digital video processor, with native touchpanel control and annotation, that supports high-definition video and computer signals from multiple sources of virtually any type. Industry-leading support for HDCP ensures seamless compatibility-today and tomorrow-with content-protected DVD, Blu-ray Disc™, digital HDTV, and multimedia computer sources.

What does this all mean? Multi Window + Multi Source viewing on one display!

Multi window displays are great for residential, business, hospitality and educational applications.  With this technology you can have up to 8 sources simultaneously on the screen together.

If you are using this technology for presentations and teaching you can also include the HD Annotation programme that allows you to virtually draw on the screen so that you can better illustrate your presentation:

HD Annotation: The DVPHD-GB provides the essential annotation tools to make your point with maximum impact – easily and intuitively. Brush sizes and colors are selectable on the fly for ultimate clarity. Moving images can be frozen on screen to allow pinpoint annotation over a still picture. You can even annotate over two or more different sources at once for easy side-by-side comparison of multiple related images. High-definition annotation processing guarantees both the presenter and the audience sees everything in crisp detail.

If you think that is cool how about this: Crestron allow you to include your audience into your presentation by allowing multiple touchscreens to connect to your display with Interactive Annotation.

Interactive Annotation: Crestron exclusive Remote Annotation capability lets up to 90 individual touchpanel users “mass annotate” over the same image, supporting efficient and effective interaction between participants in a classroom, courtroom, council chamber, business presentation etc.

Imagine the possibilities: For example in a Video Conference  incorporate other applications like Go To Meeting and you can split your display screen with your computer, their computer, your room view and theirs!  Meeting participants can have individual touchscreens at their finger tips and they can quickly and accurately illustrate their points and questions across both sources!

This technology is awesome and can become a great asset to businesses, residences and hospitality applications.