Category Archives: GMG Tech Talk

Isn’t It A Pain In The Butt To Turn Off Your Christmas Tree Lights? Not When You’ve Got Alexa! Your Alexa Device Buying Guide.

We Use Our Amazon Alexa Devices Constantly.  Every Single Day When I Get Home Kate Has An Alexa Timer Going For Dinner, We Ask For Game Times, The Weather, To Turn The Lights On Or Off, Movie Times, For Cooking Unit Conversions And Every Day We’re Discovering More And More Uses.

We have our Christmas tree jammed in a tight space so tuning the lights on and off is an exercise in Yoga to unplug them at the end of the night.  Not so now with Alexa and a $5 smart plug.  My bedside table lamp is on an Alexa enabled plug.  My Alexa request- “Alexa turn off my bedside lamp.”  Off it goes!

The prices this week are the cheapest they’ve ever been and there are all different levels.  Some as low as $30.  I recommend you start out with the $80 Echo and a couple of $5 smartplugs.

Get Your Amazon Alexa Devices Now At This Link

I predicted a month ago that they would be one of the most popular Christmas gifts, one because of how much bang for the buck you get, two for the cool factor and three how there’s a wide range of prices on the different devices so there’s really no- one that you couldn’t get one for.

Here I am last night turning the Christmas tree lights on and off from the couch-

I’ll share pictures of the different units and who they’d be good for-

The Echo Show– Has A Screen That Constantly Scrolls Time, Relevant News, Will Show Your Cooking Timers, Play Prime Videos, Show The Weather, Plays Music with Lyrics If You Want Them And A Ton More Stuff.   PERFECT For The Kitchen Counter.  Normally $229 On Sale As Of Yesterday For $150  Get It At This Link


The Echo– Speaker That Fills The Room With Sound And Does What The Echo Show Does Minus The Screen.  Perfect if you don’t care about the screen and if you only want to dip your toes before going all in you could get just this one and keep it in the kitchen, living room or bedroom.  they provide excellent sound even for a pretty large room.  Normally $100 On Sale For $80 Get It At This Link


The Echo Dot– Smaller Speaker That Does Everything The Echo Does But Is Smaller And Less Powerful Speaker.   Perfect for the bathroom, bedside table, living room if you already have the larger Echo or Echo Show.  Also perfect for kids gifts- they will absolutely be wowed and psyched.  Can be used as an alarm clock, to play music, as questions and all the stuff you do with the larger units just better suited for smaller rooms or as add on’s throughout the house.  We use one in our Master Bath to play music in the shower, ask the time, (I constantly ask for current sports scores).

Normally $50 but have been on sale for since Black Friday for $30.  Get Them At This Link

At $30 these are absolute no-brainer gifts for young adults in your life or to try out in different locations in the house.


Smart Plugs–  This Is What you plug tour Christmas Tree lights or lamps or other electrical device into to be able to turn them on and off with Alexa or if you’re away from home with the Alexa app.

Right now these plugs that are normally $28 are $5 when you purchase them in addition to an Alexa device.  You’re CRAAAAZY NOT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT

Special holiday offer! For a limited time, purchase select Amazon Echo devices and get a TP-Link HS100 smart plug for only $5. Discount will only be applied at checkout. When you’re adding the Alexa devices T your Cart Make Sure You Take advantage of the smartplug offer and add it! TP-Link Smart Plug, No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Control your Devices from Anywhere, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant (HS100)

I list a couple of the obvious uses that we use ours for but literally there are thousands of uses and differnt things they can do.  Even the most expensive unit at $150 is a bargain considering how much it does.  The thirty dollar units are just absolute steals for the functionality they provide.

This could be the end of GMG – but YOU might be able to save it!

No, I’m not kidding.  On Thursday, the FCC will most likely vote to repeal Net Neutrality, the rule that prevents Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from slowing down (a.k.a. throttling) or blocking websites and streaming services.  This means Comcast will be allowed to block your access to GMG for any reason they like.  And they could charge GMG a fee in order to have the block removed.  You and Joey and I will have no recourse.

But it gets worse.  If you have a small business, Comcast could also block your website and force you to pay a premium to get the block removed.  The technology exists for Comcast to block your Facebook page if they like and Facebook will have no recourse to prevent that.

As you might guess, there are those who favor repealing Net Neutrality, namely people at Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.  FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, who proposed the repeal, is the former Associate General Council for Verizon where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.  Perhaps now you’re getting the picture.

Ajit Pai has called Net Neutrality “a solution in search of a problem” which conveniently ignores the many times ISPs did exactly what we’re afraid of until the FCC came to our rescue.  See examples here.  Once Net Neutrality is repealed, the FCC will no longer be able to come to our rescue.

Imagine if the phone company decided to block calls to your mother in Iowa because whatever phone company she uses out there doesn’t want to pay a premium to allow calls from Massachusetts.

“That sort of thing has never happend,” you might say.  And you’d be right.  Because phone companies aren’t allowed to block calls or redirect them or add static or interfere with the sound or video quality  — all things that ISPs will be allowed to do without the Net Neutrality rules.  But wait!  Do you have VOIP from Comcast?  Or Verizon?  Or AT&T?  Better call your mom now and explain why you might not be able to call her after Thursday.

And while you’re at it, you might want to call your congressman Seth Moulton (202) 225-8020 and Senators Ed Markey 617-565-8519 and Elizabeth Warren (617) 565-3170.  Ask them to pressure the FCC not to repeal Net Neutrality.  And if that doesn’t work, perhaps congress can make Net Neutrality the law of the land.

This is serious folks.  The time to act is now.

 

 

Huge Spread In North Shore Gas Prices

Y’all might want to download Gas Buddy from either Apple or Google Play stores. I paid $2.40 Saturday in Peabody when I was up there for my daughter’s soccer game. 30 cents or higher is just too much of a swing IMO. 60 cents is insane. 60 cents on 20 gallons is $12.

Crazy.
Here’s the link to download- http://m.gasbuddy.com/app.aspx

Amazon’s Discounting the Echo By $50, For One Day Only

I just paid full price for one last week, UGH!!!

This is the cheapest it’s ever been, everyone I know that has one raves about them and it’s at an unprecedented low price for one day only.

So if you ever wanted one now is the time to act.

I got the white version.

Here’s the link to buy

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  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Introducing Alexa calling and messaging, a new way to be together with family and friends. Just ask Alexa to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino’s, DISH, and more

At $499.99, For 95% of Computer Users This Is A perfect SetUp and All You Need To Spend On A PC

Dell Inspiron 24 3000 Series All-In-One (Intel Core i3, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD)

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Read the Reviews and Buy it on Amazon Here $499.99

24 Inch Full HD Screen. Once you use a nice large display like this you’ll never want to squint into a tiny laptop again.

This isn’t for a power user like me that crunches huge videos and needs insane processing power.  This is for everyone else that just likes to check their email, watch some YouTube videos, or Skype call their family members across the country.  This offers everything 95% of people need but it comes at the cheap price because you’re not buying super crazy high end processors which like I said 95% of people never need. 

It all comes with the pedestal stand and one-cord set up with wireless keyboard and mouse which even my mother could set up.

If you’re looking for a great computer (Rick Ardizzoni recommends Dells and it’s all I buy now because they are rock solid) for a cheap price  with a nice big display this is the computer for you.  If you are not editing HD videos all day or playing next year’s super high intense graphics computer games (if you’re over the age of 28 I’m guessing you’re not) then this is all the computer you need.  It also comes with Windows 10 which is the best operating system Microsoft has ever put out.  I hate seeing older people go to Best Buy and get up-selled into thinking they need an i7 processor and a terabyte of storage when they don’t need to spend $1000 and any one of them would be thrilled to be doing their computer stuff on this nice sleek system with a great sized screen for them to look at.

24 inch pedestal screen and built in speakers make it so you don’t have that tangled mess of wires running all over the place.  This is a sleek computer at a total value of a price.

And if you need help setting it up you can call the guy I call for all my computer needs- Donna’s Husband Rick Moore Ardizzoni.  He’s the best for your computer needs- 978-526-9222  http://www.circleconsulting.com/ 

So there you go, my pick for 95% of normal computer users value computer-

Dell Inspiron 24 3000 Series All-In-One (Intel Core i3, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD)

So Rick Doucette Turned Me On To This App On the GloucesterCast “BevRAGE” – Unless you hate money

So if you go out and have a beer or buy any booze, you literally snap a picture of the receipt and they put money into your account.   Real spendable money.  Like I already got $2.  Just Stupid!

Get cash back with the bevRAGE app when you buy beer, wine and liquor. https://www.bevrage.com/promo/ZISONCDP

I’m all in.  If I’m going to Stones or the Brew pub or Minglewood, why wouldn’t I use this?  It’s just like the free rewards card from the Serenitee group where they just pound free stuff onto your account and if you don’t take advantage of it, it’s like pissing money out the window, or the Mass Save home energy audits where they come and replace all your brutally inefficient light bulbs for free and insulate your house and replace all your old temperature controls in your house for nothing.  Don’t take advantage of it while others reap all the rewards. Or going solar with Cazeault Solar where the credits pay for your system and all the energy saving goes or stays right in your pocket!   I’m here to highlight those no-brainer opportunities.  This is one.  Get on it!  Here’s the link to get BevRage on your smart phone.

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Here’s some screenshots from my cell phone of current offers-

Get $5 if yo buy a bottle of Baileys, $3 on a handle of Captain Morgans.

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Get $4 if you buy a handle of Stoli, $3 on a 750ml bottle of Stoli.

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Get $1 if you do any shot at any Bar in town or $1.50 on any Whiskey cocktail.  you just snap a pic of your receipt and money gets added to your account!

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$1 on any draught beer.

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From the website-

Benefits to Consumers

  • Privacy – Your information is safe with us. Only your link to PayPal will be used in order to process rebates.
  • Discretion – bevRAGE is paperless and mobile. The days of pulling out a coupon for cash back are behind you
  • Discovering new brands – We’re in the know! Diversify your taste portfolio and allow us to introduce you to great brands.
  • Quick cash back – Rather than waiting months for mail-in rebates, bevRAGE deposits money directly into your PayPal account within 48 hours of submitting the receipt.
  • No balance requirements – Redeem once a day, a week, or a month ‚ there are no minimums or maximums.  Use bevRAGE whenever you want and wherever you are.
  • No ads – We won’t plague our users with constant SPAM messages or forcing them to watch videos and take surveys – we’re easy to use and we like it that way.
  • Drink or shop anywhere – See a deal you like? Buy at any store, restaurant or bar and we’ll be sure to redeem. Offers vary by state.

 

You Know That Right Here In Magnolia Is Home To One Of The Most Innovative Companies In The Web Browser Game? Check Out What Vivaldi Can Do With The Internet of Things!

Back In June we interviewed Vivaldi founder Jon von Tetxchner On The GloucesterCast. Jon set up headquarters for his explosive, revolutionary company at the innovation House in Magnolia, just off of Lexington Ave.

Check Out His Interview Here-

Gloucestercast 188 With @KimSmithDesigns, Jon von Tetzchner, Deb and Frank Sacco, Catherine Ryan, Karen Pischke and @Joey_C

Now this-

Vivaldi introduces the world’s first web browser that controls lights. It also includes various enhancements such as drag tabs and tab stacks between windows, reader mode button, delta updates and improved note taking abilities.

Just announced-

Vivaldi releases its latest version 1.5 today accelerating its pace to create a user-centric web browser. Vivaldi gives you a unique ability – a first for browsers – to control the color of smart-home lighting through browsing. Additionally, this release offers a lot of improvements over previous versions, including being able to drag tabs, tab stacks and tab selections between windows. Significant highlights also include delta updates, reader mode button and automatic screen shots in notes. Download Vivaldi 1.5 today from vivaldi.com.

Vivaldi’s Light Bulb Moment

Vivaldi treads an adventurous route, going beyond the browser and into the smart home by integrating with Hue color lights from Philips. After enabling Hue in Vivaldi Theme Settings, a tap on the Philips Hue Bridge confirms the connection. Selecting which lights Vivaldi should control, the browser will synchronize your physical surroundings with the color of the web.

Vivaldi 1.5 - Hue Settings

With this light bulb moment, Vivaldi opens the door for new opportunities for seamless integration between the browser and physical space.

“This is just a first step for us but imagine a world where you get notified for a new email or web notification through a light bulb,” explains CEO Jon von Tetzchner. “Vivaldi is all about customisation and flexibility. Integrating with IoT devices like Philips Hue makes it possible for Vivaldi to adapt to you and your everyday life.”

Calling All Music Venues: Turn OFF your TVs until AFTER the Election

David Brooks’ interesting opinion piece in the New York Times points to several sources showing that this election is causing unusual anxiety and I’ll bet two major contributor to this anxiety are all these nasty campaign ads and endless, fear-inducing news coverage that we’re seeing. We’ll we’ve got a cure for that: DON’T WATCH THE NEWS OR THE ADS. Instead of spending the weekend on your couch, go out to experience some LIVE MUSIC and let the music take you away!  You’ve got over a dozen choices on Cape Ann for excellent music and Halloween Parties.  Check out the schedule here.

If you own or manage a restaurant or bar, may we suggest that you turn OFF your TVs — or at least set them to a commercial free NON-NEWS channel so your guests won’t see any of dreadful campaign coverage or obnoxious ads.  Everyone on Cape Ann will thank you for reducing the stress among the population.

Here’s a little bit of fun from 1985 to get you in the mood:

 

Breaking News: Court Rules Comcast can’t slow down GMG Videos or block GMG posts!

Well, it’s actually A LOT bigger than GMG.  The New York Times just reported the following:

The two-to-one decision from a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday came in a case about rules applying to a doctrine known as net neutrality, which prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing the delivery of internet content to consumers.

For us, here in Gloucester, it means that Comcast can’t intentionally slow down your streaming of a Netflix movie or a GMG video and it can’t block a GMG post — not even this one!

It’s a big win for GMG and everyone who uses the Internet … but, as you might expect, the fight isn’t over.

Check out the NYT article here.

Online Free Storage- Dropbox Free- All About Making It Easy To Sync and Collaborate and Store Your Files

I wrote this two years ago but it remains my favorite collaboration and sync storage option when working with decent sized files that you can’t transfer by email-

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File this under cool free useful stuff on the internet.

What is Dropbox you ask?

From the website-

Dropbox is software that syncs your files online and across your computers

Put your files into your Dropbox folder on one computer, and they’ll automatically appear on any of your other computers that also have Dropbox installed (Windows, Mac, and Linux too!). You can even download Dropbox apps for your smartphone or mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry). Everything in your Dropbox is available from the Dropbox website, too.

I use it almost daily for files that I want to have access to on my android phone, desktop computer and iPad.  The feature I like most however is the sharing capability.   I share Dropbox folders with some people I collaborate with on projects like videos from Jim Capillo at Cape Ann TV.  Also Alicia Cox and I share a Dropbox folder for her Alicia Unleashed Podcast.  We share online Dropbox folders in which they share copies the audio and video files of our podcast when they are done editing them and we can both access the files.  I then grab the files from wherever I happen to be: home computer, on my mobile android phone or on my iPad at a coffee shop and I can then upload them to the blog.  The difference between this way of sharing and storing files through email is that Dropbox hosts them everywhere at once because it is stored to the cloud and you can transfer and store huge files that would never be allowed through regular email because they are too large.  you’d never be able to transfer a file that big through email.

You get 2GB of free cloud storage and it opens up a ton of possibilities to host music, pictures or movies which you can stream from any of your devices.

You can’t beat it so if you want to get something  cool for free, you can go to the Dropbox website and sign up for a free account here

Here are some reviews from trusted tech websites that can probably explain it even better than me-

The appeal is its utter simplicity — it’s essentially invisible, doing the task that isn’t hard but none of us care to remember to do, namely, backing up our files.

from “There’s room yet in the cloud”

by G.F., The Economist – 8/24/10

We’re building the fabric for a new, different kind of Web, where your files follow you to whichever device you happen to be working on.

from “Dropbox: Files without Borders”

by Victoria Barret, Forbes – 6/10/10

Pick a file: a photo, text document, PDF, … or anything supported on the iPad. Tap the “Open In” icon and choose from the list of available apps. You’re done.

from “Dropbox Updated for iPad, External Editing Added”

by Charlie Sorrel, Wired – 5/4/10

Dropbox is better.

Dropbox replaces:

  • Emailing file attachments to yourself and other people
  • Using USB drives to move files between computers
  • Renaming files to keep a history of previous versions
  • Complicated backup software and hardware
  • And more!

Not convinced yet? Then take a look at our list of features. Otherwise, go ahead and get started!

Download Dropbox

Lifehacker posted a good explanation of ways to collaborate using Dropbox today.

Example: Here’s The Android App I Built For Our Lobstermen

I built this app exclusively as a tool for our lobstermen with a bunch of tools they can use at their fingertips.

Here are some screenshots of the Captain Joe and Sons Lobsterman’s App on my phone and a list of the features-

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Contact > Captain Joe & Sons address and contact Info

Call Frank Direct > Dials my partner Frank With a press of the button

Call Joe Direct > Dials me with a press of the button

Marine Forecast > Direct Link To the Latest NOAA Marine Forecast

Mass Bay Buoy > Direct Link To Wind, Wave height At the Mass Bay Buoy

Gloucester Tides > Direct Link To Current Gloucester Harbor Tide Chart

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Gloucester MA Radar > One Button Tap For Current Radar

Email > Initiated an email addressed to me

Captain Joe and Sons Blog > A List of the latest posts on the Captain Joe and Sons Blog

Map > Interactive Map Showing Location

Video > The Latest YouTube Videos Featuring Scenes from Captain Joe and Sons

GMG App > A Link to download the latest GMG App

 

This Is the camera Buy For This Holiday Season…

Stupid great deal with two excellent lenses covering near and far and it’s $453 off today for $696

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 55-210mm and 16-50mm Power Zoom Lenses

  • Amazing quality in half the size & weight of conventional DSLRs, World’s fastest auto focus6 at 0.06 seconds and 179 AF points, Shoot 11 frames per second so you never miss any of the action
  • Capture life in high resolution and in low light with 24MP APS-C sensor and two lenses provide the tools you’ll need to start shooting immediately, Instant sharing via smartphone with Wi-Fi and NFC
  • What you see is what you get with built-in OLED viewfinder, Easy and intuitive controls help you shoot like a pro, Record Full HD 1080/24/60P video, Convenient features and intuitive controls help you shoot like a pro

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Read the reviews here

Only 3 days left to join Patrick Stewart (whose new show premieres tonight) in supporting Ocean Alliance’s Snotbot!

You’ve heard about SNOTBOT, right?  OK, maybe you’re just visiting, so you haven’t heard about this yet.  Let me explain: few other Kickstarter pledges could be better for the future of Gloucester (and anyone who lives or visits here) than this one — really, no kidding.  You’ll be helping Ocean Alliance develop revolutionary drone technology for whale research — and there’s no telling what they might discover.  But what ever it is, you’ll be a part of it along with iconic actor Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc Picard on “Star Trek”, with a new show called “Blunt Talk” premiering TONIGHT on Starz)!

This is good for Ocean Alliance (which translates good for Gloucester because we want them to thrive here), good for whales, good for our planet, and good for all of us who will benefit from whatever they discover using this new gizmo!  So pledge now right here.

GMG Tech Talk- The Headphones I use to Record the GloucesterCast and www.thehomiecast.com are now half Off On amazon

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Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones 50% Off At Amazon Click Here For The Deal

I’ve had a pair for 4 years now.  this model came out over 20 years ago and still tops the charts for audiophiles.  They are so incredibly comfortable.  if you listen to music or a podcast with these instead of earbuds one time, you’ll never want to go back and for 50% off it’s a stupid awesome investment.  I LOOOOOOOVE mine.

Here they are Friday night when we taped www.thehomiecast.com episode 8-

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Google Putting the link to Google+ In A Submenu Tells Me They’ve Conceded To Facebook

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Above you see a screenshot of my Google Home page.  Before the first link in the top right hand corner was a link to your Google+ page.  Now it’s buried in the submenu.  I like Google+, it’s a billion times cleaner than Facebook, but the first to the party Facebookisn’t going anywhere while Google has relugated Google+ to a submenu.

Just thought it’s worth noting for the geeks like me out there.

First Test With The Behringer Microamp Working Out! Here’s The Setup

So far so good! The Behringer microamp is powering several sets of headphones without any interference so our podcast guests will be able to monitor the soundboard/podcast editing app #Bossjock as we record!
#geekheaven

I’ll do a more comprehensive review and detailed explanation of the connections soon!

We will be using it to tape The Gloucestercast tonight Live At Cape Ann Giclee for the “by Land, Sea, and Air” Opening reception.

New Podcast Studio Gear! Giving It A shot Tonight With The Gang- Taping Live At Cape Ann Giclee

The Parts All Arrived. Tonight’s the night we test The BEHRINGER MICROAMP headphone amplifier system with the iPad, Samson Go Mic, and Bossjock app. 
We’ll take some pictures of the set-up and results having all our podcast gusts be able to listen to the show as we record it!

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Taping  at the by Land, Sea, and Sky opening at Cape Ann Giclee Tonight! Come down and watch.

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