Author Archives: Shane McGlaun

Shane has been a full time geek writing for his supper for six years. He has written for some of the coolest tech sites online and had reviews printed in the print versions of Laptop Magazine and Computer Shopper. You can follow him on Google+.

Desolenator makes Dirty Water Drinkable via Solar Power

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In the developed world, getting clean water that you can drink is as easy as turning on the faucet in your house. In developing nations, getting clean drinking water can be very hard and at times impossible. Without clean water to drink and cook with people are at risk of dehydration and death. A new device is on Indiegogo called the Desolenator that can make salt water or contaminated water drinkable by boiling it.

The big feature of this device is that it doesn’t require any external electricity; it uses solar power for its process. The Desolenator has no moving parts making it very robust and giving it a lifespan of 20 years. Some similar solutions on the market today have consumables like filters that have to be replaced.

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Amazon Celebrates Golden Globe wins with $72 Prime Membership

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Amazon Prime has been around for a while now and the big feature is that you get free two day shipping on almost anything you buy at the Amazon website. Another big feature of that Prime membership is that you get streaming movies and TV episodes. Amazon began making its own original shows that were offered to Prime members and one of those original shows is called Transparent.

I’ve never watched Transparent, but it’s apparently very good and picked up two awards at the 72nd annual Golden Globe awards. Transparent won an award for best Musical or Comedy series. Lead actor Jeffrey Tambor also won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series. To celebrate those wins Amazon is dong two things.

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James Patterson’s Latest Book Self-Destructs in 24 Hours

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If you like to read action/suspense novels, you may be familiar with the name James Patterson. Patterson has a new book that is out called Private Vegas and he is doing something interesting for the first 1000 people who purchase. Those first thousand people will get a free digital version of the book. The cool part about that digital book is that it self-destructs.

The digital book has a countdown that starts as soon as you begin reading it. The countdown gives you 24 hours to read the book before it self-destructs. Apparently, there is some way that readers can steal time from other readers. Exactly how that happens is unknown. The book will be offered in hardback at normal hardback pricing.

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Zboard 2 Electric Skateboard Lands on Indiegogo

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Way back in 2012 we talked about the original Zboard electric skateboard that helped people get around and have fun. A new version of that skateboard has hit Indiegogo and this time out it has a much longer driving range. The Zboard 2 has up to a 24 mile range per charge if you buy the Zboard 2 Pearl model. The standard Zboard 2 Blue model is good for 16 miles per charge.

The difference between the two appears to be the battery size with each good for a top speed of 20mph. Both versions use new 500W brushless motors that are faster and more efficient than previous motors. The brushless motors also allow the rider to push and coast naturally, when the battery is off. The Zboard 2 Blue weighs 16 pounds.

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Hyundai Unveils Face Lifted Veloster with 7-speed DCT

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Hyundai isn’t exactly known for cool cars these days being more known for economy cars you can buy on the cheap by most people. One of the only cool cars that Hyundai offers is the Veloster and that car has been unveiled with a new facelift and a new transmission option. The six-speed transmission in the turbo version of the car is being replaced with a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox.

The turbo version for the car makes do with the same 1.6L turbo engine producing 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. There are a few tweaks on the outside with new wheel options and silver trim around the grill. The car also gets an odd engine sound equalizer inside the car that gives drivers six different engine soundtracks.

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BMW 1 Series Refreshed With New Engines and More

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BMW has announced new three and five door 1 Series models. The new models also get a revised engine line up with better fuel efficiency and in some cases more power. BMW has added its latest gas and diesel 3 and 4-cylinder engine options to the 1 Series line. The engines in the 1 Series use BMW TwinPower turbo technology.

The performance 1 Series car, the BMW M135i gets a power boost from its six-cylinder engine to 326hp. That car has fuel economy of 8.0L/100km and CO2 emissions of 188g/km. The most efficient 1 Series car is the 116d EfficientDynamics Edition with 116hp and fuel consumption of 3.4L/100km and emissions of 89g/km.

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Virgin Galactic Talks Plans to Launch Satellites for Broadband Coverage

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It’s hard for many of us to understand, but in today’s modern world, there are still millions of people around the world who don’t have access to broadband. Many of these people live in rural areas where it’s cost prohibitive to install the cabling required providing broadband access. That leaves these people with dial-up or wireless connections or in some cases no internet connection at all.

Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson is talking about a new plan that he hopes to put into action with help from other companies that will put as many as 2400 satellites in orbit. The purpose of these satellites would be to deliver broadband internet to people around the globe. The first step would be to put 648 satellites into orbit for OneWay.

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Trobo plush Robots Aim to get Kids interested in Science and Engineering

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It can be a big challenge for teachers and parents to get children interested in science, technology, engineering, and math at an early age. These are the categories where many kids need the most help and one way to help get children interested is with cool toys that make learning fun. This is where the plush robot called Trobo comes in. Trobos are like stuffed animals that are able to connect wirelessly to iPhones and iPads.

The voice of the robot toys comes from the plush toy and they read digital storybooks to kids as the child looks at the digital books on the connected device. The stories are customized with the child’s name and likeness so the kids can see themselves in the story.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma debuts in Detroit

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Trucks are big sellers in the US and other parts of the world and there are only a few mid-size offerings left on the market today. Toyota has the most popular mid-size truck with its Tacoma. The automaker unveiled the updated 2016 Tacoma this week in Detroit and the truck looks really cool.

Toyota fans can get the truck with a 3.5L V6 engine rather than the 4.0L V6 that was in the previous version of the truck. The new 3.5 V6 has 279hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. The popular TRD Off-Road version of the truck also gains a Multi-Terrain Select system that allows the driver to change between different settings for the brake and throttle sensitivity to make the truck easier to drive in different terrain.

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Nissan Titan XD Gets Official in Detroit

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Back in November, we caught a glimpse at a camouflaged version of the new Titan pickup from Nissan. This week Nissan has gone official with the new Titan XD and the truck gets a refreshed front end and a new powerful engine option. The Titan XD has an available 5.0L Cummins turbo diesel engine that allows the truck to tow up to 12,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Nissan says that the Cummins diesel engine allows the Titan XD to sit in the gap between a light-duty truck and a heavy-duty offering. The front end of the truck is much more upright and reminds a bit of the popular Ford F150. Nissan also wants to be sure that potential buyers know the truck was designed and built right here in the US.

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Land Rover to Bring New Diesel Powered Range Rover Models to the US

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In Europe, diesel powered cars and trucks are very common and tend to be very popular with buyers thanks to the price of fuel. In the US, we have a few diesel-powered cars and trucks, but the majority of drivers opt for gasoline vehicles. Land Rover has announced that it plans to cater to those in the US who want diesel SUVs by bringing a pair of new diesel powered Range Rover models to the States.

The new models will include the 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 and the Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 diesels. The two diesel SUVs promise 32% better combined duel economy compared to the supercharged gas V6 options in the same vehicles. The diesel versions are good for 22mpg in the city, 28mpg on the highway, and 25mpg combined.

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Monster SuperStar BackFloat Bluetooth Speaker Debuts at CES 2015

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Monster is always on hand at CES in Las Vegas each year and this year the company has rolled out some new audio products for the consumer electronics market. One of the interesting devices Monster has unveiled is a new floating Bluetooth speaker that will be perfect for get togethers at the lake or pool this summer. The floating speaker is called the SuperStar BackFloat.

The BackFloat is true to its name and is designed to float on the surface of the water while playing your music. That will make it much easier to enjoy your tunes than having a speaker across the beach or pool that you have to get out to adjust. While the main connectivity of the BackFloat is Bluetooth, the speaker has a 3.5mm aux input as well.

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