Google Goes Back to School

Continuing on the Google front, it looks like some more new things are on the horizon. Google Classroom is gearing up to be released later this year in September, but they are offering up a sneak peak starting this week.

Through the Google Classroom app, teachers can create classroom plans for their students, and will allow them to organize assignments into the “reviewed” and “not reviewed” categories. Students can also submit their work through separate apps that will work with Google Classroom, and because it is cloud-based, the documents can be accessed anywhere.This will also allow students to turn in homework through the app. This might be a tough thing for students, considering all their excuses why they forgot their homework just went out the window.

Right now while Google has the app in the pre-production stages, you can apply to start using the limited preview and see what it’s all about.


Google Translate goes Mobile

Google emerged with details this week that they are finally dropping their “Google Translate” talk-to-text app. Over 80 “popular” languages will be recognized in the app. Google also sped up their “real time conversion engine,” which will allow the app to operate in real time voice-to-text. The app will also feature a new technology called Word Lens, which will allow you to also snap pictures of signs in other languages and have those translated to English as well. This is big news for world travelers and may make your life a lot easier if you are planning a trip to a foreign land. A mobile app that allows you to effortlessly translate between languages has been talked about since back in 2013. As for an actual release date, Google states that we can expect this for Android and iOS “soon.” A confirmed date is expected this week.

Big in 2015

CES finished up their 2015 show today out in Las Vegas, with bunches of new products freshly unveiled. CES, which is short for “International Consumer Electronics Show,” is a huge four day trade show which highlights the coming year’s cutting edge technologies, as well as product debuts from the world’s heaviest hitting manufacturers. CES sets the tone for what techies everywhere can look forward to all year. Last year curved televisions were all the rage, as well as the introduction to 4K resolution and 3-D printers. We have some highlights of a few products from this year’s show.


If you are like me, one of your biggest new year’s Resolutions is to FINALLY quit smoking this year. And this is totally different from last year, when we had the same resolution, but no gadgets to help! The Quitbit lighter will track your smoking trends, like how long it’s been since you smoked last and what time of day you tend to smoke more, which will help you pinpoint when to start cutting back. The Quitbit has a free app that will help motivate you to quit smoking by calculating you how much you are actually spending on cigarettes, and how much you will save if you quit.

The battery is impressive, with one single charge lasting a whole week. You can also sync your lighter to your phone, so there are no worries about losing THIS lighter, like the countless others you have lost before. Quitbit’s tagline is “the last lighter you will ever need,” which if it works, may very well be.

The lighter will even get you in touch with its own social media page, so you can get support from other quitters. The lighter is priced at $99 and is available for pre-order now, with an expected ship date in March.


If you are looking to tone your body this New Year, take a yoga class. If you want to perfect your pose, pick up a SmartMat. This yoga mat can you give you feedback on up to 62 different poses by using a conductive grid 20,000-point grid over a piezoresistive layer, although it looks like a normal yoga mat to the naked eye. The idea is to have a yoga instructor

The Smart Mat is available for the pre-order price of $297


Smart Sock:

These socks, which have pressure sensors embedded in their soles, will give you feedback on your running technique and form. The socks look like normal everyday running socks to the naked eye.

These socks are available for pre-sale and are available for $199.

Razer Nabu Smartband:


Track your daily activity with this wearable smartband, and also track your sleep habits too. If you are trying to lose weight this is big, it can tell you how many more calories in the day you need to burn, and how much rest you should be getting. But that’s only a small function of the Razer. It will also let you know who’s calling you, texting you and will let you know when other wearer’s of the smartband are around. This allows users to make their own personal social circles. This Razer is literally the next big thing.

As CES wrapped today, be on the lookout for a bunch more product introductions and explanations of some cool new technologies.

New Your’s Resololution: Jot it Down!

Do you remember keeping a diary when you were a kid? The habit of keeping a journal of your life may have fallen by the wayside after junior high, but studies show that documenting everyday occurrences can lower blood pressure and is widely known to soothe the soul. In present day, it’s as easy as downloading an app. Studies show that jotting things down to remember throughout your day, as well as writing before you sleep, will help you get a better night’s rest. Check these apps out:


$1.99: This app is designed to be part notebook and part diary, so it is tailored to either spilling your darkest secrets or taking some chemistry notes. These notes will be password protected, so you can keep your secrets to yourself.

Private Journal:

This free app is unique because it allows you to load music into specific entries, helping to better express your current mood. Private Journal also gives you a calendar to choose specific dates of different events. This app gives you ultra pass code protection so you can journal your most private thoughts without fear of being hacked. There is also a specific spot for you to record your dreams along with your journal entries.

Memory Book:

.99 cents: If you are a traveler, this app is designed specifically for you. Memory book allows you to select locations so you can pin-point the exact location you were at for certain entries. You can insert your pictures under the location marker, which makes it a neat way to keep track of your travels and your different encounters out on the road.

My Daily Journal:

$1.99: This journal app is cool because it is easily personalized. You can change fonts, background colors and add pictures to your journal entry. This app will allow you to upload your journal to various social media pages or your personal blog. If you so choose to share your deepest, darkest thoughts.

A Commercial Christmas Story

A Charlie Brown Christmas has been playing on repeat for the last few weeks, as it does every Christmas season. The moral of Charlie Brown’s story is that Christmas is too commercialized, and it leaves Charlie feeling empty and sad. This is an age-old predicament around the holidays. A Charlie Brown Christmas was released almost fifty years ago back in 1965, and yet the same problem exists today. Everyone still talks about the commercialism that surrounds Christmas; but when and why did it happen?

The commercialism of Christmas can be traced back to the early 1940’s, when Christmas celebrations were limited to upper-class families. Kids from poor families might find an orange and some nuts in their stockings, while children from wealthy families would receive lavish gifts under the tree. Thus began the have/have not Christmas divide in the United States. Miracle on 34th Street, which was released in 1947, was one of the first motion pictures that dealt with the commercialism of Christmas. This movie featured drunken Santa’s, greedy kids and giant retail chains cashing in on the Christmas Holiday.

The commercialization of Christmas worsened throughout the 1950s, as the focus on Christmas became less and less about a Christian celebration, and more about gift giving and taking children to see Santa at the local Macy’s. In the 1960’s the traditional Christmas tree was traded in favor of stylish tin trees of the era. Although the trees were neat, it signaled a break in tradition and ultimately a new and stylized Christmas.

In later years such as the 90s and 2000s the day after Thanksgiving’s “Black Friday” became a big deal, with early Christmas shoppers camping out in front of Best Buy stores and fighting each other in Wal-mart’s around the country. People go shopping in the middle of the night, stay in ridiculous lines and sometimes even get trampled, all in the pursuit of a good sale.

At the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, young Sally quotes “All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.”

Who knew that little Sally’s sentiment would last through the decades.

A Real Gem

Wearable technology has been all the rage this year, although thus far it has mostly consisted of neon colors, plastic watches and goofy looking glasses. In 2015 that will change, at least for women. A different kind of wearable tech was introduced for pre-sale this winter, named “Ringly.” By sending off a slight vibration, this little ring can alert you when your meeting is coming up, when certain people are calling or texting and even alert you when your Uber arrives. It will also give you a buzz when you have calendar alerts, Facebook or Twitter notifications or when that guy finally hits you up on Tinder. This is a classy looking cocktail ring; the only giveaway that this is wearable technology is the little LED light under the ring’s stone. But you can have that option turned off if you choose. When the ring is not functioning, it doubles as an everyday pretty accessory.

The Ringly comes in a few different styles, and is available in precious and semi-precious stones; your choice will be reflected in the cost. With cool names like Daydream and Stargaze the ring comes in black onyx, pink sapphire, rainbow moonstone, emerald or Tourmalated quartz. The price range for these gems is $195.00 to $260.00. Through the Ringly app you can program what programs and apps you want to choose to set your ring off. The app will be available for free this January in for both iOs and Android.


Looks like Polaroid has potentially found a way to pull themselves out of the slump they’ve been in for the last ten years. Ever notice how Instagram’s logo resembles a little Polaroid camera? Now that little camera has come to life, and the company is cashing in on the resemblance.
Polaroid stuck with their roots, and the little square camera has instant picture printing capabilities just like the Polaroid cameras of yesteryear. Long gone are the days of shaking your picture in order to dry it. The Socialmatic will use the new “zero ink” technology for printing 2”X 3” pictures, so the picture will be dry right when it pops out, no ink cartridges needed.
One of the coolest features of the Socialmatic is that it has what they are calling a “mood assistant,” which is a little LCD display in the upper right hand corner that will let you know what’s going on with the camera. It lets you know what the current weather conditions are via cute little suns and clouds, and will give you little smiley faces when an ideal picture opportunity arises.
In true kitschy style, you can also add clip-art and text to your photos before printing. This is ideal for teenage girls, as most of the clip-art emoji’s revolve around kissy faces and little hearts. The Socialmatic has 14 megapixels for the front-facing camera, two megapixels for the “rear facing” camera, which are all the rage these days.
The Socialmatic comes with a hefty price tag of $299, which is considered an expensive by current camera industry standards until you remember that this camera doubles as a printer. There is a cost for the printing paper as well though, so keep that in mind when purchasing the Socialmatic. The camera is now available for pre-order, and is expected to be released the first week of January.

The Techie’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Instead of repeating last year, and waiting until Christmas Eve to knock out your gift list, check out our holiday gift guide! You still have time to order online and get in time for the holidays.

Tocky Runaway Alarm Clock with Mp3 Player: (Amazon) $49.98. This cute little alarm will jump around your bedroom in the morning, forcing you to get up and turn it off. It comes in a few fun colors like teal, orange and pearly white.

Cyanics Sauna Boy Portable Mini Office Bedroom Humidifier: (Amazon) $8. This mini humidifier is USB powered, and is compact enough to take with you to work or to put next to your bed at night. Humidifiers are perfect for keeping your skin and sinuses hydrated, but they also keep your throat from drying out, which helps combat snoring. This one even has a cute little face painted on it.

Apple TV: ( $99. This is still the gold standard of Christmas gifts. You basically can’t go wrong with giving this media streamer as a present. As Apple products almost never go on sale, you can expect a flat rate of about $99 across the board. This streaming box allows you access to Netflix, Hulu and numerous other apps. This makes most sense for folks that are already Apple users, as it also allows you access to your iTunes account, and all the music and apps that you already have stored.

Crosley X UO Cruiser Briefcase Portable Vinyl Record Player: ( $98. This tiny record player comes in a bunch of vintage-inspired colors that come in a compact little briefcase. This is perfect for you if your living area is compact; at only 17” wide it’s small enough to fit in a cramped space. The record player plays all types of LPs: 33 1/3, 45’s, and 78’s. Priced under a hundred dollars, this is a steal.

Bodum Brazil 8-Cup French Press Coffee Maker, 34-Ounce: (Amazon) $21.99. Most techies love coffee. This is a gift that works great at home or in the office. A French press brews up a much stronger cup of coffee than the regular drip, which is perfect for killing off any mid-day sleepiness.

Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker: ( $59.95. This cool little gadget is new in the world of “wearable technology” and is an awesome gift for anyone on your list who is trying to get their health in-check. This counts calories, steps and activity levels throughout the day. Download the free app and track a friend’s progress, or compete against them. On top of all that, it’s small enough to clip anywhere.

We here at CableWholesale have a couple of cool options as well, watch for our “Gifts for your Geek” email next week:

Bluetooth 4.0 Portable Vibrating Induction Speaker: ( $61.61.This induction speaker is cool because it turns any surface that it’s placed on into a speaker, with a clear sound that handles high volume perfectly. It hooks right up to your phone through Bluetooth and can also be used as a hands-free speaker phone as well. It’s also small enough to throw in your bag and take with you wherever you go.

USB Car Charger: One port: ( $4.78 (sale). This little charger is perfect for a stocking stuffer, and is priced under five dollars. A USB car charger will always come in handy; use it for plugging in your phone to your cigarette lighter when you are on the go.

The Woman behind Thanksgiving

Every year millions around the United States celebrate Thanksgiving on the third Thursday in November. Thanksgiving doesn’t just land at the end of November by chance. At this time in the mid-1800s Thanksgiving was celebrated throughout different times in the fall, depending on when the harvest season ended. Modern day Thanksgiving has a set date, and is all about things that make most holidays special; food, friends and family. We all know the story about the pilgrims and Indians, and what Thanksgiving was about originally. How did it become a national holiday though? Here’s a little background.

Although history gives credit to politicians, there is a little known story about a writer named Sarah Josepha Hale, and how she relentlessly lobbied to turn Thanksgiving into a national holiday. Sarah Hale was a published writer and prominent editor of women’s magazines for most of her life, on top of being a widowed mother of five. Hale spent nearly seventeen years writing letters to U.S. Presidents persuading them that Thanksgiving should be a national holiday, as at the time only George Washington’s birthday and Independence day were celebrated. Hale finally got the attention of President Abraham Lincoln, and folklore suggests it was one of Sarah’s letters that led him to establish Thanksgiving as a federal holiday in 1863. This time frame was right in the middle of the Civil War, and Lincoln stated that the United States would “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving, to unify and attempt to heal the wounds of a nation.”

Peace, Love and Pop Art

Today’s Google Doodle was confusing, a rectangle of abstract pop art spelling out the Google name; looks almost like an Andy Warhol painting. When you click on the doodle it gets even more baffling, as it redirects you to a page with a picture of a nun. But this is where it gets interesting.Turns out that this woman, named Corita Kent, was a nun with the Roman Catholic Church and was also a pop artist throughout the 60’s and 70’s. Her artwork had heavy “peace and love” tones, which were quite popular at the time. She even designed  the post office’s “Love” stamp in the 1980s. When you think of Pop Art, most get the vision of Warhol’s “Factory” and all the drugs and strangeness that surrounded it. So it is surreal to think of a nun having anything to do with that type of art. Kent specialized in silk-screening, and helped establish it as a fine art.

You learn something new everyday.