Brandi Bleak


Rio 2016 - Drones, Accommodations , & Wearables

Apps, Health, Technology, OlympicsBrandi BleakComment

The Olympic Games will be held in Rio this summer, from August 5th - 21st. Although everyone will be focused on the sports, medals, and athletes, the technology that powers the city and allows us to watch every event, is substantial. Read below for some of my favorite innovative uses of technology. First, start by taking a peek at my previous post, which includes a link to download the official Olympics 2016 mobile app.


A few weeks ago, GE kicked off #DRONEWEEK 2016 from the Brazil Technology Center in Rio. They began the week with a synchronized ballet of drones, over the skies of Rio, at sunset. The company utilized Periscope, another innovative technology, to give viewers new perspectives of the city that will host this year's Olympic Games. The videos were live during the week of June 14-17, but you can view the beautiful footage and learn about some of the technology involved, below. 


In the last six years, the hotel occupancy in Rio has doubled. Even with that availability, visitors could choose to select from more than 25,000 options the AirBnB app has to offer. The app allows users to enter where they want to stay, how long, their budget and if they want to share the home or have the entire place to themselves. With options ranging from $10-$1000, AirBnB lets travelers get a sense of actually living in the city versus the commercial feeling of a hotel. Quite a different experience if you're looking to see the games in person! 

On a similar note, the dating app Tinder usually has a peak in popularity during the Olympic Games. Many people say there could be an unprecedented number of users taking advantage of the app's technology in Rio this year. Stay tuned!


Payment company Visa, in partnership with a bank in Brazil, has launched a bracelet that visitors can use to pay for goods and services. This innovative use of a form of contactless payment can be used at more than 4,000 point-of-sale terminals at Olympic venues. The wearable technology uses Near Field Communications (NFC) and will operate through a prepaid system. Users can pay for items less than R$50 ($14.50) without the need to enter a PIN. 

In addition to the bracelet, Visa has also introduced a payment ring that will be given to 45 athletes that are sponsored by the company. The water resistant ring is functional without recharging or the use of a battery. Using a more unfamiliar token technology, the NFC ring replaces users account numbers, or similar private information, with a unique digital identifier that can be used to process payments.

Google Street View

A partnership between Rio 2016 and Google will allow fans to see the Olympic Game venues in a new way. It's the first time the Olympics will get a 360-degree view of the stadiums, arenas and pools through using the Google Street View. 

Using state-of-the-art technology, Google has gathered images that are only accessible by foot by sending in their "Trekker". The technology uses multiple cameras, a trolley, and a technician to collect images to present to viewers around the world. This summer, those who are unable to visit Rio in person will have an up close look at each of the 37 venues where the events will occur.

The venues below can now all be explored on Google Street View. 

1) Maracanã
2) Sambódromo
3) Olympic Stadium
4) Lagoa Stadium
5) Fort Copacabana
6) Youth Arena
7) Olympic Shooting Centre
8) Olympic Equestrian Centre
9) Olympic BMX Centre
10) Mountain Bike Centre
11) Whitewater Stadium
12) Olympic Hockey Centre
13) Olympic Golf Course
14) Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre
15) Future Arena
16) Olympic Aquatics Stadium
17) Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador
18) Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia
19) Amazônia Arena in Manaus
20) Mineirão in Belo Horizonte
21) Corinthians Arena in São Paulo


The company will supply 4,500 vehicles that will implement the use of clean energy (either ethanol or electricity) to transport clients, such as athletes, technical officials, media, operational teams and National Olympic Committees.

Electronic Medical Record

Thanks to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), all athletes and spectators in Rio will be able to have their health interactions managed by an electronic medical record (EMR).

Although this is no where near the most innovative This may be my personal favorite, as I simply don't understand why everyone hasn't adopted this technology. 

Rio 2016 - Olympic Technology: The App

Apps, Technology, The ChatBrandi BleakComment
I'm writing this blog while watching the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic Team Trials, in amazement at the skill and dedication it takes to simply be considered for the team. These ladies just a few of the nearly 10,000 athletes that will compete at Rio 2016. While you're watching to see who takes home the gold this summer, take a moment to consider the amount of planning, practice, and technology that's involved in the biggest sporting event in the world.

Technology is integrated into our lives in many ways, so it makes sense that it’s also in nearly every part of the Olympic Games. When considering this topic for The Chat, I was initially doubtful that technology had very much to do with the Olympics. My first thought was just to download the app and see what useful information I could gain from having it on my phone. Since that's where I started this journey of Olympic Technology, that's where I'll start my post as well. 

You can download the free app and start browsing through the available features pretty easily. With history, location details, and a real-time update on which of the 300 cities the torch is in leading up to the opening ceremonies. Be sure to check the app often for schedule details to be sure you don't miss your favorite sporting event once the games begin. 

So, I continued my research. I Googled 'technology' and 'Olympics' and what I found intrigued me. This will be the first of many posts where I'll be delving into the most impressive uses of technology at this year's Olympic games. Some of the implementations are simple, common sense ways to use technology to enhance the games. Then others are creative solutions that make people’s roles easier and push this year’s Olympics in a way they have yet to be able to.

On my upcoming tech segments on The Chat, I will review the various uses of technology within the sporting events, ways to see the venues as if you were there, and efficient, innovative uses like how technology can make paying for purchases while at the games easy as wearing a bracelet! Tune in to see which initiatives make my list!

Molly was on The Chat Today

The Chat, HealthBrandi Bleak1 Comment

If I ever felt like I needed a reason to be on The Chat, today answered that. To be given an opportunity to share my cousin Molly's story with viewers is such an amazing experience. I don't know how I got so lucky to not only call her my cousin (and favorite person!), but to also know such an amazing group of women on The Chat. They all welcomed her with open arms, and allowed her to share her journey with breast cancer to the audience. I am proud that I got to be at her side, providing perspective and love. 

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

Then, at the end of the show, the hosts invited the whole band onto set!

If you want to know more about Molly, or follow her band as they tour across the US with their little pug, Rhett Butler, please follow Some Kind of Nightmare on Facebook. Also, if you have a story, or want to read others', subscribe to the page Molly recently created for that very purpose, Share Your Story, Save a Life

Brandi's Choice!

Apps, The ChatBrandi BleakComment

Here are a few apps that caught my attention recently. I judge my apps by usability, clean design, and functionality of course. Watch the segment then get the details below.

Here are the apps I covered on this segment, with a few extra details. Please send me any apps you love or what your experience is using any of my app choices.

Think Dirty App

Free and available on iOS and Android
This app was a project born out of the creators' personal journey to understand the truths in the beauty industry. It helps users identify the potential risks associated with the personal care products by giving information about the carcinogenicity, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergenicity and immunotoxicity found in the products you have in your bathroom cabinets. 

Disney's Movies Anywhere app

Free and available on iOS only
You can browse, buy and watch your collection Disney titles across your favorite devices. The reason I love this app is simply for one function; it can narrate what's happening on screen and provide detailed descriptions of each scene in between dialogues - for visually impaired viewers. Apps like this are the reason I love technology.


Free and available on iOS & Android
An easy app that provides users personalized video workouts. It's just easy and motivating. I especially enjoy the video tutorials of each exercise. Also, check out SworkIt Kids.

Bark N Borrow

Free and available on iOS only
Borrowers can care for your dog whenever needed, pet sitters are easy to book, and you can find a play-date for your pooch. How cool!!!

Cinemagraph Pro for iOS

Free & Paid versions, but available on iOS only
Capture a scene or import a video, then paint motion to reveal your cinema graph. Not convinced? Check out their gallery of examples:


Google Features You Should Be Using

The ChatBrandi BleakComment

What I really like about all of these features is the ability to do everything in one place. Although I love trying and using new apps, the simplicity of the Google browser has so many options built in you may never need to leave that search bar.

Set a Timer

Type in "set a timer for [x] minutes" and then get to work. I use this often to limit my social media time or to really focus on a task without interruptions. There's something about a countdown that makes you want to work faster! I actually set a 15 minute timer to finish this blog post - so, lets see how it works. You can also make this full screen, which could be useful for timing a speech, for example. It also works in reverse if you prefer the stop watch option.

Search for Flights

This one is new to me, since I always use one of the common ones like Expedia or Travelocity. What I like about the ability to search right from Google is that it uses your location for quicker search and suggestions upcoming dates, for example, an upcoming Thursday to Sunday trip. Then, select where you would like to travel and you're all set. The calendar shows prices differences on varying days, if you're plans are flexible. There's also an option to view a map of your route, which shows prices for flying into other cities for comparison. I didn't feel like there were as many options available, but they did offer me the same low prices I was able to find on my typical search sites. 

Build with Legos!

You can do practically anything on your computer, so why not build something with virtual Legos?This works with Chrome & Firefox browsers and is actually pretty fun! You can change the colors of the Lego bricks or choose from extras like doors or windows to add to your creation. Visit the site here or download the extension.

Google Translate

Simply type in Translate into the search bar and two boxes will appear. Type in what you would like translated and select from one of more than 100 languages listed to get your results. If you're traveling, try downloading the app. It allows you to scan printed words and then translates them instantly! That seems incredibly useful at a restaurant or for street signs walking around town.

Google Does Math

From equations to conversion, it's there when you simply don't want to use your 7th grade math skills. When cooking, try using Google to help, "convert ten ounces to cups." When shopping for the best deal try, "What is 15% of $67?" That works at a restaurant too when you may have had too many glasses of wine to know the perfect amount to tip, "Whats 20% of $83?"


Google like a Boss

  • Be specific. Use keywords strategically and on purpose. You can leave out extra words to complete the sentence.
  • Google can answer many questions. Try searching nutrition facts like, "How many calories are in a Jimmy Johns turkey sub?" or "How long does it take to get to Dayton, Ohio?" The answers are 514 calories and 13 hours and 31 minutes, respectively.
  • Use quotation marks to search exact phrases. Otherwise, it will search those keywords, in any order with an article. Sometimes that matters!
  • If you keep getting searches that include a word you do not want to be a part of the search, use the minus symbol. Add it before any words you don't want to appear in your search. For example, use "kittens -sale" to only show searches about new kittens, not sites that sell them. 
  • Use .. to search a date range. Add two periods between a date range to only search within those dates. For example, a search for images of Beyonce brings up completely different images when a year is included. This seems helpful when narrowing down a search.

You know I love me some Beyonce, so let's take a look at search results that only differ by years.

 "Beyonce 2001 .. 2002"

"Beyonce 2001 .. 2002"

 "Beyonce 2015 .. 2016"

"Beyonce 2015 .. 2016"

And finally... 

Google Yourself

If not for entertainment purposes only, see what happens when others may Google you. You may find you need to update sites that have outdated information or set privacy different to not allow certain profiles to appear. 


Leave a comment if you have a suggestion for a topic, have questions about previous segments, or just to say hello!

Hidden Gems within Facebook Messenger on The Chat!

Apps, Social Media, The Chat, FacebookBrandi BleakComment

Did you know you could send 15 second videos, Word and PSD files, and even money through Facebook Messenger? Have you ever requested an Uber or Lyft through the app? Today on The Chat I played a quick game of basketball and took a quick selfie then reviewed a few other cool tricks that add value to Facebook's once simple messaging tool. 

 Me and Catalina took a quick selfie!

Me and Catalina took a quick selfie!