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Amazon Dash Wand - thumbs up!
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Uplift standing desk - thumbs up!
Mon, May 22nd 2017 9
Allagash Brewery Tour 2017
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Costco hot dog - thumbs up!
Fri, May 19th 2017 9
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Amazon Dash Wand - thumbs up!
Fri, Jun 16th 2017 97
Amazon Basics laptop/tablet sleeves - thumbs up!
Mon, Jun 12th 2017 32
Apple WWDC 2016 and iOS 10
Mon, Jun 20th 2016 14
2016 Technology Year in Review
Sat, Dec 31st 2016 14
IBM at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 14
My take on Apple WWDC 2017 keynote - thumbs down!
Tue, Jun 6th 2017 14
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National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show 2015
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4 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10
Wed, Jul 29th 2015 10


2016 Technology Year in Review
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In no particular order, the following are my top technology hits and misses for 2016.

Mobile was hot in 2016 led by the exploding Samsung Note 7. The iPhone 7 offered incremental improvements and Google double-downed on smartphones with their new premium Pixel smartphones. My most used apps include Messages, Snapchat, Pokemon Go, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Super Mario Run, YouTube, Netflix and Waze. From a business perspective, my favorite apps of 2016 included IBM Connections, Box, Microsoft Office 365, Trello, WebEx and Jabber.

Tablet sales continue to decline and I was disappointed by the iPad Pro as it has too many compromises. While the new Apple MacBook introduced incremental improvements, Windows laptops and tablets continue to drive innovation.

Smart assistants made headlines in 2016 with the introduction of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The Amazon Echo gets my award for the best gadget of 2016. It's a no brainer at $49.95 ($39.95 on sale) if you're an Amazon Prime customer.

Wearables from Garmin, Fitbit, Microsoft and Apple continued to improve in 2016. I upgraded to the new Series 2 Apple Watch as part of Apple Watch corporate wellness program offered through my employer, IBM since it encourages fitness and I'm rewarded with gift cards based on the number of steps.

The new Apple product that most impressed me the most in 2016 was the AirPod wireless headphones. Pairing bluetooth headphones is much more complicated than it needs to be, battery life is poor and dropouts are annoying. Apple has addressed all three of these problems. I hope Apple licenses the W1 chip technology to other manufacturers and we see dozens of new devices in 2017.

Both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) gained interest in 2016 but products remain niche and expensive, 2017 is poised to be a breakout year as the technology goes mainstream,  

Security breaches continued to grow in 2016. While getting hacked is inevitable, the most important thing is how companies respond to hacks in terms of speed, communication and remediation. I continue to be a big fan of password wallets and a long time user of Dashlane which makes it easy to create and manage complex passwords - reducing risk. Competitor LastPass made headlines for adding cloud syncing to its free service.

Operating systems including macOS Sierra, Windows 10, iOS 10 and Android N delivered modest, incremental improvements. My favorite new feature was the macOS/iOS 10 Universal Clipboard which allows copy and paste across devices.

TV made gains in 2016 with more affordable OLED screens, more 4K content and more "cut the cable cord" streaming options. My purchase of a flat LG OLED TV was my favorite technology purchase of 2016.

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Dec 31, 2016
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Recent Blog Posts
97
Amazon Dash Wand - thumbs up!
Fri, Jun 16th 2017 8:48p   Christopher Pepin
The new Amazon Dash Wand puts Alexa in the palm of your hand complete with a barcode scanner to add items to your shopping cart. It runs off two AA batteries and it took all of one minute to setup and configure by connecting to my home wi-fi network. The Dash Wand has a magnet built in to stick to your refrigerator so it's always handy. Questions you can ask:What's the score of the Red Sox game?Buy sushi riceWhat's the best pizza nearby?Where's my stuff?Will it rain tomorrow?How many cups i
32
Amazon Basics laptop/tablet sleeves - thumbs up!
Mon, Jun 12th 2017 6:06p   Christopher Pepin
I've used Amazon Basics laptop/tablet sleeves for several years and I'm a big fan. I own 6 in a variety of sizes - one for each of my device. Here's why I'm a fan:Protects my laptops and tablets from scratches when traveling. I load all my gear in a High Sierra Elite backpack and the sleeves help protect the devices from rubbing against each otherSleeve come in 8 sizes from 7 inch to 17.3 inches for a perfect fitReasonably priced from $5.95 to $11.99Well made neoprene-like padded material wi
14
My take on Apple WWDC 2017 keynote - thumbs down!
Tue, Jun 6th 2017 4:48p   Christopher Pepin
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday with a two hour keynote. My take: tvOS - thumbs down. Amazon Prime Video app coming later this year isn't enough to compete. Apple did say that new features are also coming later this yearwatchOS 4 - thumbs down. New Siri watch face/assistant, new watch faces and integration with gym equipment wasn't enough. The rumor is that Apple will launch a new watch later this yearmacOS High Sierra - thumbs down. Autoplay video blocking, a new
9
Uplift standing desk - thumbs up!
Mon, May 22nd 2017 8:23p   Christopher Pepin
I recently remodeled my home office and decided to replace my office desk with a standing desk. We use standing desks at my IBM office. After researching several options, I decided on the Uplift standing desk from The Human Solution. My summary and video review follows Pluses: One inch thick bamboo top355lb weight limit, sturdy and well madeAdjusts quickly (1.5 inches per second) from 24.25"-50.25". Optional memory keypad to return the desk to two preset heightsReasonable price Minuses Two b
9
Allagash Brewery Tour 2017
Mon, May 22nd 2017 8:02p   Christopher Pepin
I embarked on a weekend trip from Connecticut to Maine with a group of fellow craft beer buddies to visit the following breweries: Treehouse TrilliumMaine BeerFoundationAllagashBattery SteeleBarreled SoulsTributary Many of these breweries are among the highest rated breweries in the country according to Beeradvocate. Allagash was the only brewery with a tour and it was one of the highlights of the trip. Other highlights included the "Soup Nazi" experience at Treehouse (on the day I visited,
9
Costco hot dog - thumbs up!
Fri, May 19th 2017 9:51p   Christopher Pepin
I'm a huge fan of Costco and my absolute favorite item of all time is the $1.50 food court hot dog that comes with free soda with unlimited refills. Costco sells over 100 million hot dogs a year and the price hasn't increased since Costco first opened in 1985. My favorite way to eat a Costco hot dog: With chopped, raw onionsDeli (spicy) mustardSauerkraut (it's free, just ask)Chilli. Costco started selling a bowl of chilli for $3.99 in the food court and it makes a great chilli dog, However,
14
IBM at the Tribeca Film Festival 2017
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 10:07p   Christopher Pepin
I had the privilege of staffing the IBM Lounge at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City last week which provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to connect with IBM subject matter experts to learn how technology can be applied to storytelling. The exhibits included: T Brand Studio Augmented Reality app for iOS and Android. The feature film, “Hidden Figures,” inspired this Augmented Reality app and brings to life virtual statues of the film’s compelling characters - Katherine J
6
Automatic IoT connected car kit - thumbs up!
Thu, Apr 6th 2017 4:00p   Christopher Pepin
I recently purchased an Automatic V2 connected car kit through Amazon for a great discount - $47. Automatic has two newer models, the Lite and the Pro, that are significantly more expensive and have features I don't need (Pro: cellular connectivity, Lite: missing features). I'm very happy with my Automatic V2 and recommend it. Included in the box is the Automatic connected car adaptor that plugs into the OBDII port under the dash of most cars. Once installed, the adaptor pairs with an app on
4
Circle with Disney parental controls and Internet filtering - thumbs up!
Fri, Mar 3rd 2017 8:27p   Christopher Pepin
Circle with Disney parental controls and Internet filtering receives my enthusiastic thumbs up after one week of use at my home with two adults and three kids. Previous solutions we tried (OurPact, taking devices away, scolding, etc.) had mixed success. My kids would play on their mobile devices and game consoles all day long if I let them. My need was for an automated solution with the following requirements: 1. The ability to set time usage limits for each child and their associated devices
4
iHealth digital wi-fi scale review - thumbs up!
Mon, Feb 6th 2017 6:55p   Christopher Pepin
My employer, IBM provided me a free iHealth Vista HS5 digital scale as part of my company-sponsored health insurance plan. In 2016, IBM provided a free Apple Watch as part of the Apple Watch for Corporate Wellness Program. I'm thrilled with IBM's efforts to promote healthier, happier employees through the use of technology. The iHealth Vista digital scale setup was very easy. Insert the batteries, install the iHealth mobile app on my iPhone which connected the scale to my home wi-fi network




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