“There’s a way to do it better – find it” – Thomas Edison.
Over the years, the GE brand has been synonymous with Thomas Edison, America’s greatest known inventor. Though he wasn’t the original inventor, he improved on the original light bulb and took it a big leap further. He modernized it to last much longer compared to any of his other counterparts could have done, thanks mainly with his brilliant idea of the development of a more durable incandescent material, better elimination of air from the bulb by the creation of a vacuum, and a filament material with a higher resistance which promoted economically efficient power distribution.
Needless to say, he practically changed the world “overnight” as electric lighting became widespread everywhere.
By the flick of a switch it was “night and day”.
Thanks to dramatic improvements of LED lighting over the years, smart-lighting technology has been catching on with consumers everywhere. People are ditching traditional incandescent bulbs in favor of LED lights that last up to fifty times longer, use less energy, and do not contain any mercury. More recently, the traditional incandescent bulb has been banned by many governments around the world as they are not energy efficient and is unsuitable for the environment.
GE Lighting, a Savant company, purchased General Electric’s Lighting Company just less than a year ago and introduced the LED+ Collection line. Just like Thomas Edison did back 129 year ago, Savant, went to the drawing board with their engineers to design and improve the GE LED light bulb. The LED + line has improved on the solo light bulb, as each bulb in the LED+ series has one extra feature to make life a little better. What makes this collection unique is that the features are built right into the lights, eliminating the need for apps or additional hardware for seamless set-up and ongoing use.
The LED+ Collection:
There are six different LED+ products so far in their lineup: LED+ Color not only remits white light, but also has the option to light ten different colors with the use of a remote. The LED+ Battery Backup is quite practical when your electricity goes out, the bulb will go to a battery backup and you will have light for at least five or more hours. You can even use it as a flashlight backup and take it where you need it. The LED+ Dusk to Dawn bulb automatically turns on your bulb in the evening at sundown as it gets dark and turns off when daylight approaches, perfect for porch lights. The LED+ Linkable Motion turns on automatically when it detects motion outside for safety, as well as scaring off intruders for security purposes. The LED+ Timer turns on and off at any time you set it to.
GE Lighting’s line seems to just put one bright idea on top of another for the home connected space.
The product I was most thrilled about reviewing from the LED+ line was GE’s LED+ Speaker Bulb, It comes in the traditional A-line bulb and a BR for recessed can applications. My review is based on the A21 bulb.
It certainly didn’t take much effort or time to set up the GE LED+ speaker bulb up; perhaps, about a whole minute. There are basically three simple steps: screw in the light bulb in the light socket, pair and connect the Bluetooth to the GE speaker bulb, and stream whatever media you would like from your device, such as a smart-phone, tablet, or laptop.
Using my smart-phone, I immediately found myself playing songs from my favorite musical apps like Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon. I was even able to stream my favorite local radio stations on radio.net. Of course, if you have music files on your phone, you can play those, as well.
I was pleasantly taken with the sound quality of the bulb. The speakers produce a very nice respectable sound considering how they are built right on top of the bulb with its circumference being about the size of a half dollar coin. The LED+ speaker also has a remote that comes with it so you can turn on/off the light or adjust the volume on it. Regardless of whether you are increasing or decreasing the volume, the clarity of the speaker is very clean with no hint of any distortion, which is quite impressive. The remote also allows you to connect and disconnect your Bluetooth, as well as being able to dim or increase the brightness of the light.
One advantage of having an LED+ speaker is when you are at home with a group of friends and want to share media from your device. For example, a typical situation might be when you are trying to share a video on your smart-phone, but unfortunately, even though everyone is gathered around it closely, not everyone is able to clearly hear the dialogue clearly enough due to the sound limitations from the smart-phone’s speakers. Of course, it also doesn’t help when your environment gets a little noisy.
With the LED+ speaker bulb, you won’t have to suffer through this type of scenario. It’s astounding how clear and audible this speaker can get. Some may confuse it as being primarily a Bluetooth speaker that also contains an LED light bulb instead of the other way around. The party continues.
For those with multiple lamps or light fixtures next to each other in a room, you have the option of putting up to ten speaker bulbs across the room all at once. While these aren’t multi-channel or stereo speakers, the more you have, the more robust the sound, especially coming from a ceiling space. With these built-in speakers camouflaging as a light bulb, I love the idea that they aren’t taking any additional space in the room. Watch for house guests to glance around the room wondering where the sound is coming from.
Given how simple these are to setup without any complex configurations, GE Lighting made me a believer that everyone should install LED+ speaker bulbs in all the rooms in their homes. I just love the idea of knowing I can just stream anything from any device in any room in the house and and knowing I can have instant music without having to turn on any electricity from something plugged into an outlet, like a radio, stereo, or even Alexa. It’s instant gratification at its best.
Thomas Edison would have been proud with the GE LED+ speaker, if he were alive today. It’s as close as you can come to with two of his greatest inventions that were invented within two years of each other: the light bulb and the phonograph cylinder. The LED+ speaker is basically the combination of one great Edison invention built on top of another. The fact that you are able to reproduce music through a light bulb instead of a phonograph cylinder may be one of the greatest inventions that Edison has never seen. If he was alive today, it would be music to his ears.
Pepcom’s “Digital Experience just had their show late last month at San Francisco’s Metreon City View, where a wide array of technology companies exhibited their latest innovative consumer products to the members of the press. The demo showcase was a much more intimate affair compared to previous shows. The usual categories ranging from computers, connected home, and personal health were there, as were some unusual products like mine detectors, hacking games and digital license plates.
As a journalist who eagerly looks forward to this event every year, but at the same time is beset with miserable seasonal allergies, it can be quite challenging to have enough energy for me to even get to the venue. Around this time, I have a sniffling, runny nose along with a cough that I can’t ever seem to get rid of. Unfortunately, this year was my worse bout with allergies ever and wasn’t even sure if I was suffering from just allergies, a cold, or a combination of the two. To top it off, I had a sinus infection, as well.
Luckily I stumbled upon the Tivic Health booth where they were demonstrating their bioelectronic device called the “ClearUp Sinus Pain Relief”. Since I was still suffering from allergies and a sinus infection, I couldn’t think of a better candidate than myself to try it out. Using non-evasive microcurrent waveforms, the procedure just took five minutes of gliding the product around the nose, top of my cheek and above the eyes, the product vibrates certain treatment points on my face.
After the treatment nearly a month later, it seems my allergies were minor and nearly non-existent. I’ve never breathed freely in the month of May and June in over a decade. It’s been a big relief for me, since I usually am coughing in the middle of the night for several weeks at a time and not getting any sleep. Perhaps it was a combination of the antibiotics and the treatment, but I can swear this gizmo seemed to work pretty well for me, even by trying it once. I really may just want to buy one of these for my well being, as it just got its launch on Indiegogo this month.
In terms of latest and greatest in innovation in the Entertainment arena, one of the best products for movies, music and gaming comes from a company mainly known for gaming; HyperX. They developed an amazing gaming 3D 7.1 surround headset, powered by Audeze 100mm Planar Magnetic Drivers, that can rival audiophile headsets. Not only do you get the best in gaming effects, but the best in movie sound effects, as well as a pure live sound in music that tracks your head, using Waves Technology, in a 360 degree environment. This is an item that brings out the best in sound effects for anything you listen to. I couldn’t take the headset off as I was impressed with the technology of this gadget. This headset will be released in Q3.
Kingston Technology added a new product in their microSD line with another innovative product that will tailor to the needs of security cameras, including home surveillance and dash cams. The Kingston MicroSD High Endurance series (32GB, 64GB, 128GB) will stand through the most extreme conditions as it can continuously record 20,000 hours of 1080p video on a 128GB card on security cameras and dash cams. That’s about 2 years and 3 months of non-stop recording. No need to worry about the housing of the card, as it will protect no matter how cold or hot the temperature becomes or no matter how blistery or wet it becomes.
We all heard of Miracle-Gro plant food that we feed our plants with. Now they have come out with an innovative hydroponic growing system called the Miracle-Gro Twelve Indoor Growing System., which was also designed to be stackable, if more plants are needed. This would be useful for people who have a need for herbs all year around, such as basil and mint or vegetables, such as lettuce and kale. Now no need to worry about whether or not the herbs are in season ever again. No watering systems are needed; just electricity and some space indoors. Via Bluetooth, you can control watering, feeding and the lights from your smartphone’s app. Notifications may warn you when you are low in water or if the water pump is stalled. Seems like anyone can now be a Tom Thumb if they have a smart-phone, but don’t forget to give it some Miracle-Gro nutrient food.
There is a new resurgence in searching for precious metals these days. Like the 49’ers in California back in the 1800’s searching for gold, today’s technology has improved with the combination of a smartphone app as it can detect what metals are underneath the surface ground. Miners and adventurers alike are now buying metal detectors in droves, making Minelab the global leader in metal detection technology in Gold mining.
Offering two different metal detectors, the “Go Find” series, which makes an affordable and fun activity for the entire family, just like how mushroom hunting can be, and the “Equinox” series, for the die hard user with a multitude of options who knows exactly what type of metal they are searching for. Designed more for the archaeologist or mine squad experts.
The Reviver Company has come out with an industry first: a digital licence plate. They have been working very closely with state regulatory agencies in collaboration with the DMV. They have been fully approved by California and Arizona with Texas and Florida not far behind as they have already passed legislation with more states to follow.
Of course, the real question is do we really need a connected licence plate? It may sound funny, but it is simply an advancement of the “smart-car-connected car” going full fledge into the smart cities infrastructure world that we will be all apart of .
It will help benefit consumers, businesses and state agencies —from automated vehicle renewals, to parking and tolling, to safety and security. Since the plates are essentially built-in hardware that is capable of updating via software, it will make it much more fun for the registered vehicle user to be able to customize their plates and adding their personal messaging, such as “I’d rather be running…for president”.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind having one saying, “I’d rather be at Pepcom”.
At Pepcom’s Digital Experience event at CES 2019 Fujitsu showcases the next-generation of ScanSnap scanner. The iX1500 comes equipped with user-friendly touch screen, providing an easy to use interface with simple icons and an intuitive user experience. The features included change color and quality settings, Auto Scan and shortcut buttons. ScanSnap iX1500’s all-new software combines all document productivity functions into one interface.
January 2019 – You can call them “accessories” but they really are “necessities”. At Pepcom’s Digital Experience event at CES 2019 Moshi, the accessory design house, presents their new offering of wireless charging products including Snap to Magnetic Car Mount.
Most consumers who listen to music through their personal devices don’t hear much of the nuance and detail that was meticulously crafted and constructed during the recording process in the studios. Sure, they “listen” to their music through their headsets and enjoy it enough to sing and keep listening to it, but they really don’t “hear” the highly detailed and immersive sounds which recording engineers have meticulously captured.
There is quite a lot lost during the journey from that was faithfully recorded initially in the music studio to the path of the consumer’s ears.
At the most recent Pepcom Digital Experience show in San Francisco, some of the most cutting edge companies displayed their latest mobility wares, and featured a few audiophile manufacturers thrown into the mix, which was a refreshing change. Problem was that some of the companies couldn’t instantaneously demonstrate how good their audio products were since the surrounding booths would drown each other out and no one would be able to hear anything in the room.
Luckily, at the Shure booth, they didn’t have that issue. Their audio demo was quite minimalist with a table that included an iPad attached to their KSE1200 analog Electrostatic Earphone System.
Lyle Lovett’s “Her First Mistake” was the first demo from the Shure booth. Photo by Marcus Siu
When I put those little earphones on, the sound was so pure and lifelike that I felt I was put right in the actual recording studio alongside with singer Lyle Lovett and his band. I could hear every little acoustic detail from his band, along with every breath that Lyle took while singing. This demonstrated to me that this is as honest as music is going to get. Even coming from the mainstream iPad, it was still unbelievable that the sound could sound so true.
My initial impression was how could something so light and small put out such detailed and realistic lifelike sound coming from these tiny little 5.8 ounce earphones? It was disbelief for me for the first few minutes, and then I just surrendered to the music and just could not stop listening.
Not only that, but these lightweight earphones were extremely comfortable. There was never an issue with “headphone fatigue” like other headphones I have tried on before. After the first minute or so, I almost forgot I had them in my ears all together once I started hearing the music.
I really got into the music while I was moving and a grooving. I was gettin’ down like James Brown and I’m sure the other fellow journalists around me probably thought I was a nut or just overreacting around the Shure booth to get some attention, but I was most certainly not.
I was so immersed with the music making that was produced through this system and was listening carefully to hear if I could discover any imperfections at all, which never happened. This is as close to hear what the sound engineers hear in the studio. Nothing to obstruct between your ears and the music. It was just me and the music. Pure and simple.
Photo courtesy of Shure
Actually, the KSE1200 Electrostatic Earphone Systems aren’t new with Shure. According to Sean Sullivan, who gave me the demo in the booth, he explained that the Shure KSE1200 is the second product in Shure’s lineup of the Electrostatic Earphone Systems, but is the same system as the Shure KSE1500 (list price $2999) that included the same electrostatic amplifier and earphones, except that the KSE1500’s amplifier included a digital front end (a DAC; a screen on it, and also a DSP built into it).
“So many people starting using the KSE1500 ($2999 list) with the analog input, but the price was still a hurdle for that. The KSE1500, and now the KSE1200 both have an analogue input and the same circuity, literally the exact same electrostatic earphones for $1,000 less. Takes all of the digital front end and stream additional components out of the mix that people really already have in their players these days,” Sullivan noted.
Nowadays, most people don’t need the additional components that were built into the KSE1500 system, since many media devices already have these components built in. Bypassing these items, Shure was able to release the KSE1200 for $1000 less. Especially that more than ever, common everyday media players have started sending digital audio out from their devices. More and more of these players that have been coming out allows you to store massive lossless files already have great components, such as DACs, already built right into them.
At $1,000 less, it becomes a pretty good deal. Especially, if you happened to have heard the KSE1500’s when they first came out a few years ago.
Photo courtesy of Shure
But what makes these earphones extremely special compared to all the other ones out there is the electrostatic circuitry technology. This is why these headphones sound like no other.
“The earphone themselves are driven differently than a standard speaker…so, in your dynamic speaker; you have your magnet, you have your coil, you have your diaphragm…all of that has a relative mass to it…and as fast as it could move, we’re so used to using these speakers…they produce really good sound, don’t get me wrong…”, Sullivan explains…
“however, the electrostatic driver is compiled of a massless diaphragm that literally weighs nothing. It has a DC charge on it, and there are two plates that hold the audio signals at plus or minus 200 volts. Those plates are placed right next to each other, but not touching and they create the electrostatic energy field between them. The diaphragm is suspended between those, and because it’s massless, it moves as fast as that energy field can move, so there is no magnet or coil that has to force back and forth.,, the result is the fastest diaphragm, best transient response, clarity in detail…out of this world.”
Photo courtesy of Shure
I couldn’t agree more. It sounded out of this world…and I felt like I was transported to heaven, but went back to earth after taking the earphones off.