Brandi Bleak

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You should know about these CES gadgets!

Gadgets, Technology, The ChatBrandi BleakComment

This year's Consumer Electronic Show is much different from their first event, 50 years ago. Instead of showcasing black and white TVs and transistor radios, I'll show you things that caught my eye at the show. We've come a long, innovative way!

concept-i-is-toyotas-latest-concept-car-and-shows-how-the-company-is-taking-a-gradual-approach-to-self-driving-vehicles.jpg

I'll also find the most futuristic but beautifully designed concept car and add it to the top of my list.  I don't know much about traditional cars, but the idea of self driving smart car with Artificial Intelligence is right up my alley. The new Toyota Concept-i is smart enough to learn your driving habits, and know when it might be smart to takeover the drive home. Sign me up!


kuri-home-robot-1.jpg

Next up, I chose from several options, and picked out the cutest robot I saw at CES. Kuri, which you can preorder for $699, is not only adorable, but is stated to be a companion, as well as a robot that can greet you when you arrive home from work. Kuri can listen to commands, play your favorite tunes or audiobooks, read stories to the little ones, and even watch your home and alert you if noises are heard while you're away. When Kuri needs to charge, she simply moves back to her charging station, no effort needed.


I had to include Lego Boost. Not the usual blocks my generation is used to though. Now, you will be able to purchase a kit, download the app, and create code that prompts your Legos to move! You can play a song on your guitar or make your robot dance. 


I love that I found a breast pump on my search for innovative finds at the show The Willow Breast Pump is unique because it has no cords and works alongside an app that keeps your schedule for you, but a few moms I chatted with were concerned with a couple of things. The proprietary bags seem to be in a weird shape. The idea of washing the device in the dishwasher seems convenient, but you would also need to clean it more often than the dishwasher is ran. Although a benefit is that you can simply place it in your bra and go about your business (no need to find a private area unless you want one), I'm not sure most have much rooms in their bra for anything extra when this device is usually needed. I'm curious about the practical use of this, but so excited about the concept!


My next pick may not be the most innovative gadgets, but it's good for those who want the option to have a touchscreen laptop without buying a brand new machine. The AirBar allows you to plug the USB into one of the few MacBooks it currently works with and then presto! You can now control your computer with your fingers, a stylus or anything else! Great for creatives or accessibility features. At only $50, seems like a easy solution. 


Black Friday Tech Deals

Gadgets, The Chat, TechnologyBrandi BleakComment

Nintendo Classic $59

This one isn't a black Friday deal, but if you can find one - buy it! They’re adding stock daily and still sold out everywhere. I'd love an actual original console, but this will do!


Apple Watch Series 1

Starting at $198 (save $71.99 on Black Friday) at Target

 I've had this watch since day 1, and I still love it and wear it almost every day. This original version doesn’t have GPS and isn't waterproof, but it is great for being aware of your health and offers many convenient options to stay connected. To compare the Series 2 starts at $369.

To compare, the Series 2 starts at $369.

Fun Bonus! Apple recently offered an Activity Challenge:
This Thanksgiving Day, earn a special achievement by completing a walk, run or wheelchair workout of at least 5K (3.1 mi)."


Everyone who knows me is aware that I'm a pretty loyal Apple fan, so I'll first you recommend looking into the iPads that are available at a slightly lower price this holiday season. If you're looking to get your first tablet, take a look at this basic tablet available at a very reasonable price.

Amazon Fire 7

The original cost is only $49, but it will be even lower this Black Friday. Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Staples will offer the Amazon Fire 7 for only $33.33. The tablet is the definition of entry-level, but has a 7” screen, 8BG space, available in multiple colors.

If you're a Prime Member, you also get unlimited access to a broad selection of songs, books, videos and more. Prime Memberships are being offered at a discounted rate of $79 per year (Originally $99).


Microsoft Office 365 Home

You can get a 1-year subscription to the Personal version of Office 365 for only $59 at Walmart (originally $99). Along with OneDrive cloud storage space, you will also have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Skype. 

Faculty, staff and students of FSCJ receive Microsoft Office 365 for free on up to 5 devices. 

Samsung Gear VR

Save $40 on this gadget that allows users to get a taste of virtual reality, my favorite innovative technology. The Samsung Gear VR works with the Galaxy S7 family of phones is usually $59.99, will be on sale this Black Friday. 

Check it out here: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-vr/


DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video Camera

The camera is reliable and better than some of the higher end models. The Phantom 3 Standard has GPS automated flight and most of the features you’d find in drones that cost three times as much.  The DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone will be on sale for Black Friday for between $369-399, depending on features. 

Drones: Small, Medium & Impressive Options

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Husband Q4 & Estes Proto X Nano Quadcopters

If you want something to play around with, and possibly fly indoors, you'll want to take a look at the Husband Q4 Nano Quadcopter for under $20 or the Estes Proto X Nano Quadcopter for about $30. The Estes Proto can be found in local stores, while the other option can easily be purchased online. Both options are available in multiple colors. 

Disclaimer: Cheap quadcopter can be frustrating and hard to fly if you have high expectations. Unlike a larger drone with GPS, cheap copters aren’t stable and it’s a matter of time before you get hurt, break them or lose them! 


Syma X5C Quadcopter with Camera

The next option for buying a drone this year is the Syma X5C Quadcopter with Camera for slightly more than the above options, at $55. The X5C is the standard outdoor quadcopter under $100. Although the camera isn’t high quality, it is a neat feature to use. A friend who uses this one says it even survived an incident with a pool!


DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone

The camera is reliable and better than some of the higher end models. The Phantom 3 Standard has GPS automated flight and most of the features you’d find in drones that cost three times as much.  The DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone will be on sale for Black Friday for between $369-399, depending on features. 


Thanks to Michael Smith, my friend and 'drone expert', for
recommendations and opinions on each of these. 

Well, this is cool.

Gadgets, TechnologyBrandi BleakComment

With almost 100 mpg on the highway, the Model S from Tesla is one of the most innovative and efficient cars available today. With the highest safety rating and the ever-evolving autopilot option, I hope this car is exactly what the future of driving looks like. I've never been so intrigued by the possibilities of a car!

Today, while wasting time on the internet, I ran across this cute alternative. Radio Flyer, the company that makes the red wagon everyone knows, hooked up with Tesla to make something that would make the Big Wheel I had growing up, slightly jealous. Although it's not the full size option, this mini car is super adorable. Priced slightly less than the grown-up version, it comes in at just under $500.

Just for fun, I designed what my Model S would look like.

 Models S | Tesla Motors

Models S | Tesla Motors