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Big Announcements From The Microsoft Surface Event

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Surface Studio Microsoft
Image Credit: Microsoft

In a year that has seen PC sales declining (although somewhat better in the United States), Microsoft has been leading the charge to reinvigorate excitement in the Windows PC once again. Microsoft continued that charge with a renewed focus on creativity by unveiling several new enhancements to Windows 10 as well as total reinvention of how we use desktop computers with a brand-new Surface computer.

Windows Creator’s Update

Microsoft announced that the “Windows Creator’s Update” will be released in the Summer of 2017. This release is aimed at creative types and brings several new ways to create and interact with content including 3-D, VR, and augmented reality.

The Future is 3-D and VR

Microsoft showed off a brand new version of the ubiquitous Paint app (yes, THAT Paint app) that allows users to turn their 2-D creations into 3-D images. It even allows users to import photos and turn parts of the photo into 3-D images. In fact, a smartphone can even be used to do a “3-D scan” of an object with the camera (the demo used the HP Elite x3 to scan an actual sand castle model). Microsoft also integrated Minecraft into the experience and allowing users to export their Minecraft creations to Paint 3-D and even allowing 3-D printing directly from the Paint 3-D app. 3-D creations also extends into Powerpoint in which a presenter showed off placing 3-D images into a Powerpoint presentation.

Continuing in the vein of 3-D, Microsoft announced that several PC hardware makers will be making $299 VR devices for Windows 10. These VR devices will utilize inside-out tracking which essentially eliminates the need for an external camera or lasers for tracking. Interestingly, there was no mention of Oculus, whom Microsoft previously collaborated with to bundle the Xbox One controller with the Oculus Rift. Windows chief Terry Myerson even bemoaned how VR platforms such as the Rift and the HTC Vive need expensive computers and dangling cords.

Of course, no Microsoft virtual reality demo would be complete without the HoloLens, Microsoft’s augmented reality platform. Microsoft showed several demos of using HoloLens to interact with 3-D objects created using Paint 3-D (including the aforementioned sandcastle).

Xbox Live

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched Arena, an e-sports platform that lets players compete in tournaments. Whereas in the beginning, tournaments were created by developers and e-sports leagues, Microsoft is now allowing players to create their own tournaments to compete in with Microsoft’s Jenn McCoy stating, “We want to give gamers the ability to create their own tournaments and challenges”.

The other big announcement for Xbox Live deals with interactive live streaming. Microsoft acquired game streaming service Beam back in August of this year. Now, Microsoft is leveraging Beam’s live streaming platform to allow gamers to live stream their games without having to download a separate program. Other players will be able to interact with the player during the live stream, including clicking on buttons that audibly tell the player in a hilarious voice what to do. Obviously, this faces competition from heavy hitters like Twitch but Microsoft’s goal here is to simply live streaming and make it less intimidating for people who are new to live streaming their games.


Surface gets more powerful and creative

The highlight of the event was clearly the Surface announcements. The first announcement was the addition of a more powerful Surface Book, dubbed the Surface Book i7. Surface chief Panos Panay, who by the way is one of the most passionate and entertaining presenters I’ve seen, explained that most of the feedback they received about the Surface Book was that users wanted more power and longer battery life. To accommodate that, the Surface team revamped the cooling system with an additional fan. Spec-wise, it sports an Intel 6th-gen i7 processor (Skylake), an NVIDIA GTX 965M graphics card, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB SSD. Microsoft calls it “the most powerful device in its class”. Microsoft even compared the new Surface Book directly to a 13 inch MacBook Pro saying it “has twice the power of a MacBook Pro 13”. Oddly enough, there is a glaring omission of any USB Type C ports which is disappointing given the high end nature of the Surface Book. Save up those pennies though because the new Surface Book i7 starts at $2,399 while a fully loaded model tops out at $3299. Microsoft is clearly aiming for the MacBook Pro crowd. While the Surface Book i7 will release on November 11th, you can preorder the Surface Book now.

The second announcement was a brand new all-in-one PC called the Surface Studio. The newest entry in the Surface lineup competes squarely with Apple’s iMac. The Surface Studio is dominated by a beautiful 28” PixelSense touch screen display with a 4500 x 3000 resolution and connects to a square metal base via two chrome arms. Microsoft says the display is the thinnest LCD display ever. The base holds either an Intel i5 or i7 processor and is paired to a NVIDIA GTX 965 or 980M. It’s interesting that Microsoft didn’t opt to put NVIDIA’s new 10-series graphics cards which are more powerful and power efficient. Being a Surface, you’re able to use a Surface Pen to draw/write on the screen. To help facilitate that, the screen folds down nearly flat to allow a more natural position to use the Surface Pen. Likewise in Surface fashion, the screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio. The Surface Studio will be released in December but preorders are available now starting at $2,999 and topping off at an eye-watering $4,199.

Alongside the Surface Studio, Microsoft also unveiled a brand new accessory called the Surface Dial. The Dial is sort of like a round puck like device that can be placed on the screen to allow artist-centric functionality. For example, placing the Surface Dial on the screen while a paint app is open activates a sort of paint palette that allows you to switch colors by twisting the dial. Keeping the Dial on the table, you can twist the dial to quickly scroll through items on the screen. It can also be used to navigate and pan around. Other apps can take advantage of the Surface Dial such as volume scrolling or zooming in on pictures.

Apple is expected to unveil all new MacBook Pros at an event on October 27th. With Microsoft gunning directly for the MacBook Pro users with a more powerful Surface Book and the all new Surface Studio All-In-One PC, all eyes will be on Apple to see if they can respond with an equal amount of innovation.

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Events

2017 Holiday Gift Guide For Entrepreneurs

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The entrepreneur in your life is always pushing to be the best. This holiday, you can get them a present that will assist them on their venture. You can always take a look at the hottest technology this year, or perhaps you want to get them something for their pet. Whatever it may be, you’ll be helping them enhance their lifestyle. The average entrepreneur is working every waking moment, growing their personal brand and building their business. We put together a Holiday Gift Guide that will help the entrepreneur in your life crush it.

Hyper Chiller

hyper chiller

Have you ever wanted a cold beverage, but don’t have the patience to wait an hour for your drink to chill? Hyper Chiller can fix that problem in one minute. It has a multi-chamber design that chills anything from wine, coffee, tea, or even shots without any dilution. This gift is bound to be frequently used and become a house favorite.

 

Travel Halo

travel halo

Perfect for the frequent traveler, the Travel Halo allows for you to sleep comfortably no matter where you are. It’s a less clunky alternative to the standard airplane neck pillow and is made to prevent your head from rolling while it’s on. It is compact enough to fit into a carry on, so you don’t have to worry about space in your luggage.

Bellroy Notebook Cover

Bellroy

Do you know someone who’s obsessively organized? The Bellroy Notebook Cover A5 is a great accessory for their notebook or sketchbook. It can even fit a small tablet or e-reader. The leather is made of premium hides that has been tanned and dyed through to ensure graceful aging. This gift is great for the entrepreneur who is always networking and attending professional events.

 

DRIPO

Dripo

This latest innovation in coffee has got caffeine addicts hooked on cold brew. Dripo has a proprietary slow-drip cold brew method that creates an old-world, bitter-free luxurious taste. The device releases 45 drips per minute, and a perfect up of coffee is ready in about 2-3 hours. Dripo is ideal for the patient and those who appreciates coffee brewed to perfection. If you’re looking for a gift for your company Secret Santa, this is it.

Dripo

 

Portable Power Bank

WLTH

There’s always that one friend that is constantly on their phone, complaining about low battery. Help them out by gifting the High Capacity Portable Power Bank. It has 7-10 full charges so they will never have to worry about their phone dying ever again. The power bank fits comfortably in your car, bag, or even your pocket! Both Android and iPhone users can charge at the same time, making it one of the most convenient charging banks out there.

 

Adventure Assist Notebook


Travel efficiently with Adventure Assist. It is beautifully designed and perfect for organizing trips. Plan every detail of your journey beforehand and relive the adventure whenever you want. Adventure Assist is a great alternative to a conventional notebook or agenda. You can log your travels while you travel as well as have all your documents in the convenient pocket on the inside cover. Enjoy your dream trip over and over!

 

Espro

Espro

Take your favorite hot coffee with you, no matter where you’re traveling. The French style two filter system in Espro leaves all of the flavor and none of the grit. Not only is it great for coffee, you can use Espro for tea too! It still goes through the double filtering system to provide maximum flavor. It is made of double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel and keeps your coffee and tea hot for 4-6 hours. You can venture to the ends of the earth with this travel press and be confident that you will still have your favorite cup of coffee.

 

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Holiday 2017 Gift Guide For Techies

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2017 gift guide

Gift giving is either a pleasant or overwhelmingly pressuring experience. There are various types of people to shop for and it is difficult to indicate their interest. More complications arrive as an entrepreneur, there is simply no time to look for gifts. Fortunately, with new and improved technology products being released, the search for gifts are located here with the 2017 Gift Guide. Everyone is an announced techie now in modern times with the release of newly different products. With the iPhone X, Qi charger, and more, no matter their level of tech-knowledge, these are the perfect gifts for techies.

Sewell Direct Mos Pack

2017 gift guide

The Sewell Direct Mos Pack carries all of your electronic devices in an organized fashion. It is the backpack that allows you to plug in to charge your laptop, tablet, and more. The charging mechanic of the backpack didn’t seem to be that useful at first but after a bit of adjusting it was convenient and quick for me to unload my laptop and begin work. The one thing I want to have seen was the ability to have the charge stay stationary since it was sitting in an uncomfortable position in the bag, additionally I had a protector on my laptop making it unable to fit into the dedicated pocket for the laptop. With its durable and rigid designs I can safely say it could protect my laptop and with all the custom navigation with all the wires I had, organization was easy. Especially the top pocket, which held my most used items and was quick to access most importantly.  

iPhone X

2017 gift guide

In honor of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Apple released the iPhone X in November, just in time for the holiday season. The upgrade contains numerous features that are highly beneficial. With the removal of the home button and the add in on a wireless charging option, the iPhone X stands out from their past models. A Qi charger will come along in the order to wirelessly charge your phone, however, the most popular upgrade is within the camera. The dual Optical Image Stabilization helps avoid blurry pictures due to camera shakes, and as a result, produces intensive high quality photos. Although the iPhone X is also water and dust resistant, their camera feature is an upgrade that is unmatched. The ultimate gift that is desired from all techies and the first choice in the 2017 Gift Guide. 

Choetech Qi Charger

2017 gift guide

 Choetech reveals their new wireless charging system for the iPhone X with the Choetech Qi charger. Upon initial review and opening the box, the overall quality was lacking, but after placing it on my desk, I can’t stop using it. A few weeks back, I purchased the iPhone 8 plus. Yes, I know. Judge me., One of the leading selling factors for me was the wireless charging. I never knew I needed the wireless charge, until using it. At my office desk I have the core nerd essentials, funko pop toys, legos, computer stand, keyboard, and my Choetech charger. I use the wireless charger primarily in the office and can grab my phone and go as I wish.

I decided to go a step further and take the charger home with me. I placed it on my night stand and in order to indicate if my phone is charging, you are met with a rather dim light. Contrary to their competitor product, ROCK qi charger which has an extremely “loud” light that turns an entire dark room light.

After leaving the phone on the charger overnight, I did notice my phone was considerably hot. Not drastic, but it was indeed warm to the touch. I found with this product, it’s best to use the device in an office setting that promotes the use of place and grab.

Incase DJI Mavic

2017 gift guide

Incase contains various technology products that are subdue. This is by far the best case for any magic pro users. Upon opening the case, you immediately see the foam casing that will secure the magic pro, controller, extra batter, and various items in it’s case. The foam casing layout alone is enough to already win as best in class, but not to mention there is additional space to store things like extra propellers, entire charging unit, and more than likely a third battery (I did not try this personally)

The overall weight of the case was light and can easily fit on any carry on/check in luggage or backpack. Upon testing, I accidentally dropped the incase carrying case and the magic was still securely tucked away, unscathed without a scratch.

Overall, this compression case was marvelous and perfect for the 2017 Gift Guide, but it’s as expected from a quality company like Incase.

Anker

2017 gift guide

Anker’s Powercore Slim 500 Charger is a light and compact battery. In offering a fast charge for both Androids and Apple devices, this is a gift for techies, travelers, and anyone who possesses a mobile device. Anker’s slim charger is designed at a uniquely perfect size to carry with your phone. The weight also is light but the most impressive feature is within the speed charge to almost any device of up to 2A. Identified as part of an essential 2017 gift guide for mobile users.

Twelve South Hirise

2017 gift guide

The height adjustable stand for MacBooks deliver a comfortable working position for the office, and at home. The Twelve South Hirise has a soft silicon grip to your laptop without damaging it, that is additionally attached to a V-shaped arm. With a structure that has an opening at the bottom with the V, this product allows complete airflow around your laptop in case of overheating. The adjustment lifts your MacBook between 2-6 inches above the surface to support good posture. This product prevents you from slouching and is perfect for tech entrepreneurs that are working on their laptops 24/7. The Twelve South Hirise allow entrepreneurs to get work done safely.  

Nomad USB Charging Hub

2017 gift guide

Tech entrepreneurs are on a constant move and are dependant on their phones. These mobile devices guide all communication and business activities so without it, entrepreneurs are inhibited from work. With the Nomad USB charging hub, you and the whole team can charge their devices from up to five different stations. The availability in multiple charging outlets allow users to destress about finding a station to charge their phones. Uniquely, the Nomad USB charging Hub has an ambient light sensor that mutes the LED indicator in the dark. An essential 2017 gift guide choice for a business team.

Super NES Classic

2017 gift guide

A collision of modern technology with classical components, the Super NES classic is a nostalgic gift to receive. To fully relive your childhood, the gaming system offers the Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter, and more games from the original Super Nintendo. The product has a SNES Classic Edition Console, two controllers, AC adaptors, and HDMI cables to come along to complete the purchase. There is an additional HDMI cable to grant access to play the games on your television. The Super NES Classic is an absolute choice for a 2017 gift guide for techies.

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide For Pet Owners

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As an entrepreneur, you’re up to your neck in work. Your days are filled with constant thoughts about the status of your business, and we can’t blame you! Sometime during your journey, you may have picked up a furry friend or two along the way. The holidays are about appreciation, and when it comes to our pets, it should be no different. They love us unconditionally and they deserve to be pampered. We put together a list of gifts that we think your pets will love.

P.L.A.Y Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys

P.L.A.Y.

Inspired by Christmas ornaments, Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are perfect for your pooch this holiday season. You can collect all five ornaments for your tree and as a gift for your best fur friend. My personal experience with dogs is that they like to destroy their toys as quickly as possible. The Santa’s Little Squeakers Plush Toys are high quality and made using durable construction. They are also safe for the environment! Each toy is stuffed with their in-house eco-friendly soft PlanetFill® polyfiber.

Arty Cat Scratcher

cat scratcher

Cats love to sharpen their claws, and will find any means necessary to do so. Instead of allowing your cat to scratch up the ends of your couch, check out the Arty Cat Scratcher. It has an innovative curved design, made to blend in well with your decor. The Arty Cat Scratcher can be separated into two pieces, allowing your feline friends to scratch or lounge until their hearts’ content. The curved area is perfect for hiding! You can use them together or place them in different areas of your home. What’s great about the Arty Cat Scratcher is the weight. It’s slightly heavier than most cat scratchers, so when it’s being used, you won’t have to worry about it slipping and sliding everywhere.

 

CleverPet Hub

As a dog owner, you probably feel sad when leaving your dog at home alone. With the CleverPet Hub, you no longer have to worry! The technology used for CleverPet keeps your dog entertained while you’re away. The hub has three lights at the base, and when it is touched, treats will be distributed. The lights are lit in a sequence of colors, and treats are only distributed when the correct light is touched. It’s a game console for your dog! While you’re at work, you can turn it on remotely using their CleverPet app. The app also tracks their activity and gives you updates on their progress. As for the toy itself, it is highly durable and easy to disassemble. It stays in place while it’s being used and holds quite a bit of food. When introducing your furry friend to CleverPet, be patient and watch as they learn how to get rewarded with treats!

 

Kurgo Explorer Carrier

Kurgo carrier

If you have an active lifestyle, the Kurgo Explorer Dog Carrier is for you. It features a sturdy base, perfect for a small pooch to rest in comfortably. The Explorer Dog Carrier is waterproof and easy to clean. When you’re traveling, you can attach it to a seat belt to prevent sliding. It’s a guaranteed seat for your furry best friend! You can choose to keep the carrier open or zipped according to your dog’s comfort. The Explorer Dog Carrier is also designed to fit under your seat when you fly, so you can take your pup with you no matter where you go.

iFetch Ball Launcher

Exercise is a MUST for dogs. iFetch innovated the way we play with dogs with their interactive ball launcher. It can be set to launch at 10, 20, or 30 feet and comes in different sizes to fit your dog. You or your dog can drop in the ball at the top and it will launch out of the machine for your dog to fetch. This can lead to hours of fun, keeping your pooch entertained. You’ll have time to work on your projects while your dog is preoccupied with iFetch.

 

Kurgo K9 Carrier

K9 carrier

We all have to take our pups on car rides every now and then. The Kurgo K9 Courier is perfect for just that. It provides your dog with a booster seat so he will be right beside you, secure in his pouch. This way, dogs can look out the window safely during long drives. The K9 Courier can only fit dogs on the smaller side, but is versatile for multiple situations. If you are staying at a hotel, it can also be used as a pull out travel bed. It comes with a long adjustable strap that you can use to take your dog from place to place with ease.

Wonderwoof Bowtie Activity Tracker

You have the FitBit, and now your dog can have the WonderWoof! It keeps track of your dog’s activity, so you know how to keep him happy and healthy. The bowtie activity tracker can easily be clipped onto a collar, and is lightweight enough to be comfortable. Through their app, you can map your walks, set care reminders, add caretakers, and connect with dog lovers in your area. The app is customized by breed, so the activities are specially chosen for your special friend.

 

ViviPet Cat Bowls

vivipet

Get your cats the modern dishware they deserve. ViviPet Elevated Feeder is perfect for your feline. The bowls are shaped like cats and they sit on a wood base. Cats prefer to eat at an elevated position, and the ViviPet Elevated Feeder is just that. It is tilted at 15 degrees to prevent food fallout. Made of pine wood and ceramic, your feline friend will be very happy with your choice.

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