Today, I received my AfterShokz Sportz 2 Bone Conduction Headphones and I proceeded to put them through the paces. The AfterShokz Sportz open ear headphones were designed with safely in mind for joggers, bike riders, skateboarders, hikers and other athletes.
The headphones feature *cough* military special ops bone conduction technology and sit in front of the ear, thereby bypassing the Outer Ear and Eardrum, and permitting users to hear ambient noises such as oncoming traffic, car horns, ambulances or other warning noises.
Unfortunately, I was hoping to use these headphones on my daily commute. In this scenario, being on a train, these headphones are an utter fail. The noise of the train on the tracks drowned out the voices of the podcast I was listening to. I had to put the iPhone on max volume and the AfterShokz's own standalone volume control to full and then I was able to make out what the people were saying on the podcast. I'm sure, so could the other passengers on the train, so I tried to keep this to a minimum.
Walking with the headphones in worked just fine. I could hear all the traffic noises and still listen to my music or podcasts, though I've never had any trouble with this and standard ear buds in the past. I could imagine running with this product to be very good as the headset helps keep them on your head and not fall our like the ear buds.
The main thing I have noticed is, the noise coming out of the headphones; I can't be sure it's actually using bone conduction and not just my ears picking up the sound as the headphone's speakers are in close proximity to my ear. The only way I could be sure was to put my fingers in my ears to block them and then the sound was very clear and even had more bass. So, I'm guessing I would have to use them with earplugs to get the best sound out of them -- there being the problem, they would no longer be open ear and provide any safety.
Still, in a quiet office or home environment, they work just fine. I can hear everything in the office, along with my tunes while no one else can, but once again, I'm wondering if my ear is actually picking up the noise not the bone conduction. The previous mentioned AfterShokz's amplifier box requires charging (2 hours for full charge and lasts about a week) and features it's own standalone volume control. Unfortunately, no control over the iPhone to stop/start and control it's volume. Also no microphone, though there is a later version AS321 that does include a microphone.
Nike have released a new free app called Nike+ Move that takes advantage of the iPhone 5S's M7 Motion co-processor. This piece of hardware's sole job is to collect sensor data from integrated accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses and offload the collecting and processing of this sensor data from the main central processor.
Nike's app is a gorgeous way of displaying this data in the form of their fitness format - NikeFuel. This is the same metric they use with their Nike FuelBand product and what I use to use with the Nike app back in the day with a wireless chip in the shoe and then again with the iPod Nano's pedometer capabilities.
Being an iOS app it also takes advantage of Game Center and can use this to show Local Leaderboards as well as the friend connection (Top Movers) from the Nike+ account. What's even cooler is Nike have an API for the Nike+ accounts, which means you can use this data in anyway you see fit - ala home dashboard.
All and all Nike+ Move is a must if you have an iPhone 5S and I look forward to more improvements and more importantly, more stepping in the future.
Star Wars Downunder is a 30 minute Star Wars fan film which finally answers the age old question, that has confounded many a film buff before: What would happen if you crossed Star Wars with an Australian beer commercial ?
Last week during the Game Developers Conference, Jake Solomon, designer of last year's XCOM: Enemy Unknown sat down with host Adam Sessler to chat with Julian Gollop, designer of 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense.
The interview goes for about 17 minutes but is great hearing from both these guys.
"Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, Paperman."
EDIT: Unfortunately, the powers that be at Disney saw a way to make money off Paperman and made this video private. Pity. Maybe, I'll get to see it again one day, maybe I won't.
The latest from Danny Byrd is out ... this time with dnb grandmaster Roni Size. Personally, the track didn't do anything for me and if I didn't know it was by Danny Byrd or Roni Size, I probably wouldn't have even listened to it.
As for the B-side ... Love You Like This, is a much better track. It even sounds like something that didn't make it onto his Rave Digger LP, which isn't a bad thing.
ITWire reports "On New Years Day Australia’s new R18+ adults-only video game category came into force. Games with the new rating can only be bought or rented by people over 18.
Despite the uniform rating system across the country, differences still exist between the states. Only South Australia and Western Australia have conditions on how R18+ games are displayed for sale or hire, and penalties for breaching the classification rules vary considerably."
Mixed result but overall it's good news. Finally, Australia is out of the dark ages in gaming censorship. Game developers won't be banned or have to make special "cut" versions for our market and can just concentrate on providing the best gaming adult experience money can buy.