Back in November 2012, Netflix was finishing up its latest original series "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The political thriller promises greed, sex and corruption, all qualities we love in a dramatic series. Look for its debut February 1.
This is not the first original fare as the streaming movie service also created "Lilyhammer" last year with E Street Band rocker Steven Van Zandt portraying an ex-gangster.
Facebook's new Graph Search was unveiled last week as they hope to keep their billion users to stick around. The people, place and thing service will help find information from friends and other user profiles. While most analysts seem to like the idea, this is something that will take some time for full implementation and acceptance.
Meanwhile, for those who eagerly awaited a rebirth of Myspace, the time is nigh. Out in beta for awhile, the new version is welcoming old and new users alike as it is a separate site. The site is heavily into music, including an audio player pinned to the screen. By the way, you will have to download Chrome to access the site.
One of the stars of this year's CES turned out to be a utensil. The HAPIfork will track your eating habits with plenty of annoying alerts if you eat too quickly. It knows how many time you bring food to your mouth (fork servings,) how long it took to eat your meal and how many "fork servings" per minute you take. Go online and plan how to improve your overly chunky self with sleep, exercise and diet. You can pre-order now to be the first on your block to get one at a price of $99.99.
It is not often we take time out to pay attention to the little things. Like why cable has become excellent at producing TV series and leaving the "big" networks in the lurch. But 'tis time to give it its due.
Like millions of others, we got quickly hooked on Homeland. We appreciated Damages until it got too damaged, found Boss almost too mean and think that Breaking Bad was brilliant in that it knew when to make a gracious exit. There are almost too many players in Boardwalk Empire but ya gotta love Buschemi. And we chuckled when we discovered that Honey Boo Boo was tolerable if you could accept her misuse of that poor pig.
Which brings us to American Horror Story. Knowing it was a Ryan Murphy production tempted us and we soon became hooked. While the second season threw us off at first, we kept watching and received a pleasant surprise by Episode 10. Watching Jessica Lange, Pepper (Naomi Grossman) and almost the entire cast rock out to "The Name Game" makes you realize you have experienced an out-of-Glee-moment.
The one sad note is the soon-to-be cancellation of a daytime talk show and the man that tied them all together, Anderson Cooper, but then, he isn't on cable. So tune in to Netflix, Amazon or Hulu and catch up with some of cable's best.
What else can you do with those better left forgotten pictures from the night before at your neighborhood bar? You can slip them into the Comic Strip Picture Frame, add a speech bubble and compose a clever comment. The 8.5 x 10.75" frame comes with 45 reusable stickers and pen to make fun of yourself or one of your buds who still cannot remember that night.
eFun has a new tablet to add to their Google Play Series that will debut at this year's CES. The Nextbook 7GP has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 1024 x 600 display resolution, 8GB storage and runs Android 4.1. At the budget price of $129.99, it comes with preloaded with Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, as well as the Barnes & Noble Nook Store access. A visit to the Goggle Play store means hours of fun with apps and games. As per usual, we expect that the older model will come down in price once the latest 7" tablet is out.
LG will be unveiling their latest Google TV at next month's CES. The GA6400 and GA7900 series utilizes their Magic Qwerty Remote to work with Voice Search and PrimeTime quick guide. There are more goodies as well. New Home Dashboards use "cards" like folders that display apps, other content and even real-time news and weather information. The OnLive app is pre-installed for gamers and WiFi makes it easy to connect to YouTube, Android smartphones and tablets. And of course it is 3D friendly.
What that means is that the current line of LG's HDTVs, including their 47G2 47" Cinema 3D LED-LCD HDTV is marked down for those who want to save some coinage. It comes with Google TV, Six Pairs of 3D Glasses and is now available for less than $1,00.
It was certainly a very merry, electronic Xmas. According to a recent Flurry Study, 17.4 million activations took place on December 25 for iOS and Android devices. This was up an incredible 332% increase from the daily December average and more than doubled from last year's total. More tablets were activated on that date than phones and iPads dominated the category. The
KindleFire HD did well, too. Check out the entire survey for more details.
Acase's BlackDiamond3 Speaker is a great way to bring in your own private New Years. Compatible with many Apple, HTC and Samsung Galaxy devices, the 5 x 4.7 x 5.1" Brilliant Wireless Speaker has a top half with LED lighting in up to 16,000,000 colors that syncs with the music in 3 different modes. The bottom contains two stereo speakers, equalizer and bass tube. A remote controls both the audio and video at a range of up to 10m via Bluetooth. The BWS package includes a 2-in-1 mini-USB/3.5mm to USB cable and a AC-to-USB Power adapter.
December is a good month to purchase HDTVs since the price tends to go up closer to the Super Bowl. RCA is featuring a 32" LCD with built-in DVD Player and 3000:1 contrast. It features a 1366 x 768 tuner mode, 2 HDMI connections ATSC/NTSC compatibility and runs on 2 AA batteries (included.) All that for less than $300.00.
Now that we have told you about the NORAD Santa Tracker apps, we figured you should know that there are also free apps from the official Time Square Ball Drop for Android and iPhone. You get access to the midnight event and all the trimmings - music, photos, celebrity appearances and users can submit photos of their own celebration. Favorites will go on the humongous Toshiba Vision sign in Times Square.
Every year we look forward to the Santa Tracker and every year it improves. The traditional NORAD event starts Christmas Eve and if you hit the site now you will notice the countdown. Although there are some $1.99 apps out there with the same idea and activities for kids, NORAD has free ones for Apple, Windows, Android and Google. And of course they now have Facebook and Twitter pages that you can also find via their site.
We have an older version of one of these Sony Standard Cassette Players for over a decade and it is still running. And although we have mostly moved on to digital, we still occasionally drag it out. It seems that as of next month, Sony will be discontinuing several models of their TCMs, so this is your last chance to scoop one of these puppies up super-cheap. It has some great features for a portable cassette player including speed variance, voice activation recording, built-in mic and headphone jack.
If you have ever heard Bose in action, then you already know the fine sound that can come out of one of their players. They also manufacture headphones and their QuietComfort 15 is top of the line in terms of noise cancelling and fine acoustics. Designed for iPhone/iPad/touch, an optional Mobile Communications Kit makes them usable with other cellies. Features include an in-line, hands-free, detachable remote and microphone and it comes with an audio cable, airline adapter and carrying case. The QC15 needs a AAA battery (not included) for about 35 hours of play.
Google Maps for iPhones have finally become a reality. Apple's maps were so bad that even Tim Cook suggested users get Google apps and dismissed the exec in charge of mobile operations. This mapping offers street level photography, 3D views and public transit directions and listings. What it does not have is some of the mapping that Android does, like mall and building listings.
Google itself had some news last week that those who were searching for porn would have to be more specific because of the algorithms they use. As SNL's Seth Myers commented, those users are probably very ok with that.