#CES2021 – Impressions So Far

The Consumer Electronics Show is the world stage to show, see and get hands-on experiences with new technology. Twelve months ago, CES was the last normal thing I remember about 2020. The pandemic changed the way we work, live and play, and in keeping with all of our pivoting, the first all-digital CES began Monday, Jan. 11. When CES first appeared in 1967, 17,000 people showed up. In recent years the show has attracted about 180,000 visitors and last year there were 4,400 exhibitors. 

CES in 2020 by Terri Nakamura

I had high expectations. If anyone could pull it off a digital extravaganza, it would be CES, right? But the first day wasn’t ideal for me. I’d poured through dozens of advance press releases and did due diligence to determine which products interested me. Some were added to “My Exhibits”, which one would assume to be a shortcut.  But I experienced glitches with the links. By day two, all was well. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, it could’ve been me.

Leading up to CES, I’m usually working overtime to clear deadlines out of the way. I’ll travel to McLaren International Airport where I’ll be greeted by my friends Diane and Steve Brogan — my hosts the past two years.

But this year CES is VIRTUAL. So Monday I woke up at reasonable time, ate my Cheerios, then turned on my computer. BOOM. I was there.

Best-laid plans

Monday, I sat in on several live events. If something wasn’t interesting, I wandered away, so in that respect, it was like the real deal. In between the keynotes and presentations, I visited dozens of companies and viewed their content. Some of the exhibitors were “present” when I “stopped by,” so if I typed a question in the chat box, they answered in real time as they would if you were there in person. 

What I’ve liked so far

So far, two events made big impressions. One was the 30-minute “Better Normal for All” press conference by Samsung. The storytelling was superb from the “Mad Men”-style opening graphics to the host (name) and introduction of products, of which some  I’d normally feel under-excited about, like washers, dryers and vacuums. Samsung pulled out the stops and even the refrigerators seemed cool (pun intended). The reveal felt like what I might normally see at CES — exciting showmanship and lots of “wow.” Entertaining animal actors and vacuum robots that keep a camera eye on your pet clean up after them made for fun context for their products. Here is a link: https://youtu.be/DqXsTtW5VEo

The Samsung Jetbot90 AI+ robot vacuum keeps an eye on your pets and when it sees a mishap, it goes to clean it up.

The other was a “thing” rather than an event. Over the weekend I had a chance to explore The Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA). TTA came closest to what I imagined digital CES would feel like. A cool video greets you upon arrival visually touching on some of the companies and products. It did a great job of setting the tone and I liked this quote: “There are ordinary people and extraordinary dreamers.”

Screen grab of the Taiwan Tech Arena at CES 2021

TTA was a virtual reality experience that featured more than 100 startups. Their arena was set up like you’d expect to see an exhibition hall: visitors could navigate to five categories and wander from exhibitor to exhibitor. Each startup featured multimedia presentations and I had the sensation I was wandering around the show floor. Thunderzee showcased a zinc air battery which hopes to usurp lithium ion. The zinc batteries eliminate the fire risk associated with lithium ion batteries and are more lightweight, cheaper and reportedly better for the environment.

Verizon’s presentation focused on 5G. They’ve been working to educate consumers about 5G because many of us don’t know anything about it. A series of Twitter chats have focused on it and introduced consumers to ways 5G is beneficial. (Disclosure: I have been a paid brand partner in Verizon 5G promotions). In addition to learning what is really exciting about 5G and how Verizon is partnering with businesses to enable almost incomprehensible speed in everything from medicine to delivery to sports to gaming and entertainment, it also gave us the chance to experience a live concert using virtual reality. By aiming at a QR code, viewers were taken into a VR environment to feel the reality of walking around the performers and viewing them live in 360°

By scanning a QR code while watching the event, you’re taken into the concert as it happens

 Tuesday and Wednesday I spent spelunking in smaller exhibits and companies. A few that have interested me so far include:

  • American Printing House for the Blind and their “Road to Code” that makes coding activities accessible to visually impaired students, preparing them for future careers.
  • DeepScore enables people without traditional credit to earn “trust scores” based on facial responses to pressurized questions using AI to detect fraud/
  • Nomadplug is a product designed for travelers who are tired of lugging around a bag full of adapters as they travel from country to country. It’s attractive and compact and uses magnets to morph from one adapter type to another..
  • NinuPerfume positions its product as the first “smart perfume” that personalizes fragrance and is guided by AI. At the real-life CES you could experience what it smells like.

What works

It’s actually easier to make a one-on-one connection with companies at this digital version of CES, so if you’re interested in what they’re doing, you can chat or email and they quickly respond. The immediacy makes the virtual nature of CES feel more satisfying. Also, as anyone who has attended the CES knows—the guards start shepherding people out of the venues around 5 or 6 PM. With the all-digital CES and the linked micro sites, visitors can wander around in the middle of the night. You can explore whenever it’s convenient.

What’s missing

I really miss the crowds, atmosphere, mind-boggling immersive displays like taking a simulated helicopter ride. And the accidental discoveries of amazing products, ideas and services like when Alibaba previewed real-time voice translation in 2019.

In the demo, people spoke into the camera and both speakers were simultaneously were translated in different languages. Screen grab from video by Terri Nakamura


And I miss hanging out in the media room writing, drinking coffee and having lunch with friends, journalists and analysts who share something in common — a love of technology.

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PS. A crazy thing about this story — I couldn’t publish it. We had a huge power outage from Tuesday evening until mid-day Wednesday. It’s ironic to have no Internet during a major tech event. It was like 2018 when the lights went out in the Central Hall at CES — another unforgettable moment that could only be experienced in person!


Tech Gifts for the Holidays

Two weeks ago, I was invited to join an exclusive gathering of technology aficionados sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association and Techlicious. It was a great opportunity to see and experience new tech gadgets and to get some terrific ideas for the holidays.

One of the features I love about this road show is seeing current trends as well as revisit trends from yesteryear.

Remember 1999?

Going back to 1999, the year before the famous Y2K? Can you believe that was TWENTY years ago? Back then the most popular items included:
1. Color TV – 27” or greater
2. VCR
3. Color TV- less than 27”
4. DVD player
5. Digital camera

A look back at popular tech in 1999

Consumer Technology Association research from 2009

Top choices were laptops, MP3, Flat panel TV, Video game system and Digital camera

Ten Years Later— 2009 Top Trends:

1. Notebook or laptop PC
2. MP3 player
3. Flat panel TV
4. Video game system
5. Digital camera

So in 1999 and 2009, digital cameras made it onto the list, but now, everyone’s phones have such fantastic cameras, sadly for casual camera manufacturers, I’m sure they’ve taken a big hit. In 2019, we see some similar things like TVs and laptops but I think this is the first time wearables made it on to the list.

The Present — Top Trends for 2019:

1. Laptops
2. Smartphones
3. TVs
4. Tablets
5. Wearables

Top Tech for 2019

CTA research revealed the most wanted tech this holiday season to include Laptops, Smartphones, TVs, Tablets and Wearable tech

Another really cool trend in 2019 is giving the gift of content! In fact, 71 percent of those surveyed plan to purchase a content-related gifts like streaming or download entertainment services such as Netflix or Disney+.

So, there are the typical “big-ticket items” on a lot of people’s wish lists, but what are consumers really going to purchase? The Top Tech Gifts people actually intend to buy are relatively more affordable.

Top Tech Gifts for 2019:

• Headphones/earbuds
• Mobile case devices
• Portable battery chargers
• Video game discs
• Portable wireless speakers

What people plan to buy this holiday season

Headphones, Mobile cases devices, Portable battery chargers, Video game discs and Portable wireless speakers

From my own point of view, and writing as a full-time college student, I’m on a budget, so it was great to see gift ideas presented by Mophie, Jabra, Amazon, Fitbit and 1More (and I don’t mean “one more!”) that were affordable, attractive and super useful.

True Wireless Bluetooth

Apple earbuds don’t fit snugly in my ears, and other wrap around options have been uncomfortable, so I enjoyed trying out the Jabra Elite 65t Bluetooth wireless headset.

The Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless Headset

Comfortable and beautifully designed in Copenhagen, Jabra offers great sound quality and noise suppression

The Jabras turned out to be surprisingly comfortable and fit snugly. The sound quality is excellent both from the standpoint of hearing and being heard. I don’t like the idea of having both ears being blocked from hearing ambient sounds and have mostly used single-ear headsets, but it’s not a problem with the Elite 65t. There are also settings to allow you to hear more external sounds, and also you can use just the right earbud, leaving your left ear open to all sound.

They normally sell for $170, but I noticed on the website they’re $110, which is a great deal. The industrial design is handsome, (they’re designed and engineered in Copenhagen) and it comes with a case which is used to store and charge your earbuds.

Amazon Fire HD and Amazon Fire - kids editions

Amazon Fire tablets for kids – Almost indestructible and peace of mind for parents with great parental controls

For the past year or so I’ve been using the Sennheiser Presence bluetooth headset, which also has great sound quality and noise suppression. Its list price is $180. The design is old school, and the ear hook is uncomfortable. Actually, uncomfortable is an understatement!

Tablets for Kids

I thought the indestructible Amazon Fire tablets for kids were pretty cool. They give parents control over what their kids are reading, seeing, doing and when. The smaller 7” tablets were around $60 and the larger HD tablet (with more memory) is around $90. A tablet for under $100 seemed great!

Mophie Power stations

Great variety of Mophie power stations and power banks for every need.

Battery Backup Power

There were so many great choices from Mophie and this picture doesn’t do justice to some of the fancier versions, but most range from $30 to $70 with a few more expensive options for powering laptops, tablets and Fast-charge portable hubs with Qi-enabled wireless charging.

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What are your thoughts about giving technology for the holidays? Yay or Nay?

Do you live in the U.S.? If so, please leave a comment and you’ll have a chance to win a Mophie Power station!

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Thanks to Techlicious and CTA for this fun event and for the gift bag of goodies, a great lunch and valet parking. My assessments of the products mentioned in this post are my own and don’t represent the manufacturers, CTA or Techlicious.

More about Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

Instagram Then and Now

A Brief History

I’ve been using Instagram since April of 2011 when the site was about 6 months old. It seemed like a creative challenge and I didn’t know if I was up to the task. Back then I was most likely shooting photos with an iPhone 4 or 4s (can’t remember which) capturing images at less than 400 pixels per inch. By comparison, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL I now use are capturing 12.3 megapixel images—so massively greater image clarity is possible.

Looking back at my early photos, they look kind of awful. Despite some images with halfway decent composition, the clarity is “not good.”  Below is a sample, and you can follow the link to blog post with more examples and “tips.”

6013 - 6028 (c) 2013 terrinakamura.png

Minimal Activity = Stagnant Follower Count

I’m not good at “gaming” followers, and unlike many of the huge accounts out there, I have never bought any. So while I was doing “okay,” my account was never great. Then it got worse. In 2016 I accepted a full-time job. It was demanding and negatively impacted my ability to create and engage on most of my social channels, including Instagram. I was basically on “maintenance mode.” I tried to post an image most days, but weeks or months would go by, and I would “like” a bunch of photos, but I wouldn’t exchange comments with anyone! Needless to say, my account stagnated, I lost followers, and I’d be lucky to get 30 or 50 “likes on an image. I was stuck at about 2800 followers and nothing I did seemed to make a difference.

Some of you who know me pretty well are aware I left my job about a month and a half ago. The reason is long and boring, but suffice it to say I’m on the road to recovery and feeling better each day, and one thing that has been soul replenishing is reconnecting with people on social media. Engagement has been essential. I’m now up to about 4100 followers and have made lots of fabulous connections with fun and interesting new people.

Ramping Up

Assessing my Instagram situation, I realized there are now a lot of great photographers  there, some of whom have massive audiences, and I seriously needed to up my game. The first order of business was to be more thoughtful about what I was shooting; then looking at how I was prepping the work, and how I framed the image’s narrative. I’ve been a brand partner of Verizon for about 5 years and I wanted to do a better job representing their products and service, so it meant changing up the way I had been doing things. Instead of “maintenance mode,” it was more like, “Banzai!”

Before and After

I’m going to share a series of “before and after” photos, so you can see what a difference it makes to properly prepare your images. This means cropping, sharpening, adjusting contrast, boosting the color saturation, and applying filters.

Here goes:

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Kind of a “blah” shot of Alki Beach, right?

After being cropped, adjusted and filtered, it looks so much more interesting, AND detail in the bird that I didn’t even know was there, shows up.

©Terri-Nakamura_Alki-Beach-IG-20180627_232201_127

One thing I’d like to say about Instagram — there is no shortage of brainy people there. Seems that each time I post something and don’t know what it is, a number of viewers will chime in and school me! An example is this shot below. I didn’t know what the flower was, and boy, did I get some great feedback!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

The bee isn’t very apparent. Maybe because there are many distracting things in the shot, plus the color is subdued.

©Terri-Nakamura_Allium-bee-IG-20180721_205509_931

That’s better! And as Verizon says, “Better Matters!” And for the record, the flower is an Allium.

Reg Saddle @zaibatsu and I frequently discuss things like what the algorithms are rewarding or penalizing, and how it affects what we do. One of the things we go back to is what our audiences want. Think about what you post and which things get the most traction.

Here’s something “off the beaten path” for my feed — a glassblower in the Glassy Baby hot shop, not far from where I live. One of the most necessary steps was to crop this photo. You’ll see what I mean.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Interesting but a lot going on, right? Below: where the action is.

©Terri-Nakamura_GlassyBaby-IG-20180723_215223_959

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

My “boyfriend,” Hunter. Dark. But cropped and adjusted:

©Terri-Nakamura_Hunter-IG-20180728_221254_803

I don’t know about you, but our cats are shedding like crazy!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

So my brother-in-law is the head of the California Leafy Greens Board. His wife (is she my sister-in-law?) said this is NOT a thistle. But man. I’ve never seen an artichoke this tall. The main thing is, too much is going on and did you see the bee? Take a look:

©Terri-Nakamura_Thistle-bee-IG-20180727_223213_153

I almost hate to show you this one. Check out this tree photo, taken on a dreary Seattle day in late spring. I have a thing about shooting UP a tree. This is a classic case.

©Terri-Nakamura_Tree-20180417_190945.jpg

I didn’t like the way the trunk was drawing the eye away in the bottom right corner. Cropping was calling. But how about those colors? Drab!

©Terri-Nakamura_Tree-IG-20180714_234817_201

Through the miracle of filters, the tree came to life!

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

So this is a weird one. I noticed this magnolia blossom was so heavy, the bough brought the blossom to my eye level. When I peered inside, I was like, “WHAT?!?” Very cool, but I knew there was potential in making this better. As shown below, I cleaned up the shot, and there is now more detail and clarity.

©Terri-Nakamura_Magnolia-bees-IG-20180731_223407_789

Yes, folks. The bees were having a cabana party! Interestingly the following day, ZIP.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-19,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

This shot is just plain beautiful any way you look at it. But even something this perfect can look better through cropping and a number of adjustments.

©Terri-Nakamura_Wild-roses-IG-20180713_221643_086

Things to Try

So, you can see that even a somewhat hopeless-looking photo has potential. It’s about post-production. Some things to think about:

  • Composition
  • Cropping
  • Color Adjustment (including saturation)
  • Ambience
  • Sharpening
  • Clean up
  • Filters

I’ve witnessed incredible transformations of the images posted by beginners who then found their mojo. Their photos went from “not good” to amazing!

If you’re on Instagram and follow me, simply post a comment on one of my images to let me know that you’re following, I’ll reciprocate! Here’s a link to my feed: https://www.instagram.com/terrinakamura/

If you’re NOT on Instagram, what are you waiting for? 🙂

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know!

More about Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

Alki Surf Shop Turns 4!

Alki Beach-June 2015-© Terri Nakamura (2).jpg

Next month will mark the four-year anniversary of a small journey my husband, David Horsfall, and I started in 2014. Alki Surf Shop began as an online store that became a brick and mortar reality once we were able to locate retail space on Alki (pronounced ALK-eye) Beach. Retail spaces are rare, and it was through a chance conversation that we learned of an imminent storefront space opening up. Tucked around the corner from Homefront, the most popular ice cream store on the beach, it’s not the easiest place to find, but people find us, and somehow we’ve become a destination of sorts. We’ve cultivated a loyal base of customers—many of whom have become our friends. Our fans and supporters want us to succeed, and they bring in friends and family whenever they have visitors, from everywhere.

It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I can say with certainty we are doing most everything more intelligently than when we started (there is always room for improvement, though). Along the way we have met thousands of people from all around the world and have 4 volumes of guest books to prove it. Packed on every page are drawings, messages of goodwill, and touching expressions of friendship spanning every continent and country, often written in the language of the visitor.

In the store’s nascency, I brought in a Nokia* tablet to use, but eventually we needed full-powered computer and replaced the tablet with a 21’ iMac. Our music continues to be piped out onto the sidewalk with a UE Boom* that it has been in use nearly every day for the past 3 and a half years and is still going strong! We have a WeMo* camera for security, and our Verizon service has even rescued us when our credit card terminal service was down by enabling us to use Square to process transactions. This is all to say, for a very low tech-looking, laid-back beach store, we depend on technology to keep the wheels turning each day.

It’s gratifying that beside that fact that we offer a valuable service, our business provides so much joy to our visitors. Most people enjoy the friendly vibe where we take time to learn where people are from and what brings them to Alki. Each day we have customers hug us as they’re leaving. How many businesses can say that? And many exchange a conspiratorial wink with us when they introduce new people to our store. They whisper, “Are you going to do the ‘horn,’” which is actually the blowing of a conch shell and shouting of “mahalo” as customers depart.

Seafair Pirates © 2015 Terri Nakamura.jpg

We’re in the midst of our busy summer season and look forward to some fun upcoming 2018 events:

Beside the special events above, on an everyday basis there are things happening — Saturday salsa dancing, volleyball tournaments, beach parties at the fire pits, paddle boarding, bicycle rentals, and happy people everywhere.

Looking out at the view from our store and seeing the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound, we are reminded that life is better on a beach.


 

We’re grateful to our real-life and social media friends from Twitter and IG who have visited Alki Surf Shop. If you’ve visited the store please let me know so I can add your moniker here!

@queenhorsfall @jackandpele @muz4now @lorimcneeartist @jenniferannegood @nixkuroi @felicelam @blueweed_songs @becauseuarehere @savvyangie @kurt.nac @Joe996s @sheelala @lemness @wasian206 @dougplummer @michipeterson @lindacriddle @kennapete @lindafreeman_ @jshuey @thidekow @ryankanemagic @vickiehorsfall @freshprinceofmi @crimsonlotustea @x2tap @jrome2032 @hollymariephotos @slydehandboards @feliciakayne @artistpoint @mikedadams206 @horsfallscott @georgesta3000 @PutBarber @lupdesign @lindabrill


More about Terri:

Visit her store Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

*Verizon generously provided us with technology used at our store.

 

Me and My Pixels

Some of you know I’m an Instagram fan, and try to post a photo daily. I love Instagram for the variety of images I see every day and that it allows me a place for self-expression.

I’ve been shooting with a Google Pixel2 and a Verizon Google Pixel 2XL for quite a while now. I have to say after being a devoted iPhone user since the beginning, I now think Android is a piece of cake, but more importantly, I am in love with both Pixels.

It’s not just the ease of using an Android. Once you get the gist of how they work, it’s pretty easy to figure out any of them!

So ease of use is important. Service quality is important, too. I’ve mentioned numerous times we have a house near Mount Rainier that is listed on AirBNB, and Verizon is still the most reliable service out there.

But the cameras on these two devices! Wow. They’re amazing. They capture such minute detail that often I’ll shoot something then blow it way up and crop a tiny part of it to post, still maintaining incredible details.

This week I stopped by my mechanic, CarTender, on Capitol Hill. Paolo, one of the guys who works there, told me he bought a Pixel 2 BECAUSE of my INSTAGRAM PHOTOS! Wow!

So I’m sharing a few of the photos I’ve shot this month. From the top down, are:

  • Peonies from my sister’s garden
  • A view of the Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle
  • Wild roses from my garden
  • Basketball scrimmage after school
  • The “Eraser” sculpture at the Seattle Center
  • Weird graphic asphalt lines leading to the Museum of Pop Culture
  • A view of the Madrona Bathhouse on Lake Washington
  • The view from the end of the bar at 13 Coins in Pioneer Square
  • Plants reaching for the sky
  • A shed in Madrona with a pretty patina
  • Glimmering city of Bellevue seen from Madrona at Lake Washington
  • Happy sunflowers!
  • The first Amazon Bookstore, located in the University Village of Seattle
  • Century Link Tower seen through a gap in a grate
  • A tree before it budded
  • Expressive clouds seen from the Montlake Bridge

I’ve posted more than 16,000 photos on my Instagram account. As an early adopter, I went crazy at first, sometimes sharing a dozen or more pictures a day. Now, usually just one a day, although sometimes I skip.

I’d love to have you check out my photos. If you follow me there, post a comment to let me know, and I’ll follow back! And if you see the photos I’ve previewed below, you’ll usually find a more complete description on Instagram

Thank you for looking! And remember: #BetterMatters

29 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -28 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -24 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -23 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -21 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -19 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -14 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -13 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -12 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -10 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -9 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -8 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -4 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -3 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -2 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -1 May 2018© Terri Nakamura 2018 -

More about Terri:

Visit her store Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

Mind Officially Blown at #CES2018

c2a9-terrinakamura-2018-ces.jpgLast month I was invited by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to attend the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV. It was my first-ever experience at CES, and I had the honor of attending as a Key Online Influencer. My badge was met by curiosity as well as respect. I was given a press credential that was a special all-access pass to all of the various venues, and I was also able to use areas reserved for journalists, bloggers and major media from all over the world. I met inventors, CEOs, educators, international executives, journalists, geeks, and all manner of people who were working the showroom floors. It was incredibly exciting!

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My donut and Google Mini outside the Google Donut Shop #CES2018

I spent the first day wandering around in a surreal haze of light, sound, motion and colors, with electronic eye candy in every direction. My real-life friends and family know I lack an internal gyroscope, so it wasn’t surprising that it took me two days to get a good handle on where things were. I can’t adequately describe how huge CES is. And it’s not limited to the Las Vegas Convention Center — there are CES events taking place in hotels and other venues all up and down the Las Vegas strip. Some of the things I saw and experienced were so amazing, there were times I simply wanted to share with someone! Like the moment I went into the Google Donut Shop and won a Google Home Mini, I had to call Reg Saddler @zaibatsu immediately!

There were amazing displays of OLED screens (like the one shown in the video below), phones, cameras, drones, robots, speakers, VR (virtual reality) headsets, and AI (artificial intelligence) integrated into everything from cars to personal assistants, games and more. There were accessories for everything, including accessories for your accessories. There were phone cases, and stuff to clean your phone cases or stuff to protect screens before you put your device into a case, and beautiful and utilitarian gadgets for every imaginable purpose. There were drones, bicycles, motorcycles, and there were cars, cars, CARS. I had no idea the huge role cars would play at CES.

I became interested in autonomous vehicles and spent a lot of time talking with various chip designers about self-driving vehicles, which, up until that point, weren’t of serious interest to me. But after CES, I was ready to roll. Almost. A friend, Doug Dobbins @takesontech, was arranging to have me picked up by a self-driving BMW. Um…wait. Did you say 7:30 AM? It was tempting, but I didn’t know what I’d do once I arrived at CES and had to wait an hour and a half for the convention center to open. Probably I blew it when I said no, but something tells me I’ll have another chance to ride in a self-driving vehicle one day.

sensors-on-intel-autonomous-car-c2a9-terrinakamura-ces2018.png

This is a cool looking plexiglass model by Intel, showing the placement of dozens of sensors (represented by the aqua colored lights) that gather data from all directions to protect passengers in autonomous vehicles.

I’d like to explain something I didn’t understand about self-driving vehicles: They aren’t simply cars that drive around by themselves using a GPS. There are dozens of sensors located around, in, on, and under the car. And at all times the sensors perceive data: objects, traffic, people, motion, proximity, speed and other factors. Now stop for a moment and think about getting that phone call from your office, informing you of an urgent matter. Even hands-free, can you be sure you are not in the least bit distracted? Autonomous vehicles are always tuned in. I now feel accepting of the idea that an autonomous vehicle might, in some ways, be safer than one driven by a person!

Over the course of five days, and even being surrounded by all sorts of connected devices, I was naturally worried about running out of phone power. So I used both my Verizon MotoZ and Pixel2 to shoot most of the photos and videos posted here and elsewhere on my personal and workplace Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and elsewhere. The Motorola has a battery “mod” by Tumi, and basically was impossible to run out of juice. And thankfully, I found super connectivity in all parts of Las Vegas.

I’ve never been personally impressed by robots. I’ve seen them all my life on television, in cartoons and sci-fi films, and I know robots have changed our world forever and will continue to do so. CES was the first time I had a close-up experience. I was singularly UNimpressed by the robot that straightens up a messy room. Each action took so long, I wanted to jump over the barrier and show the robot I could perform its tasks in milliseconds. But these robots are like children—sometimes you need to stand back and just let things happen.

There were coding robots I thought were amazing, fun and cool. Children are so quick to grasp coding through the understanding of programming a robot, and there were all levels of robots, from small spheres to forms with articulated arms, legs, pincers and artificial faces. And I made contacts that could be useful to my workplace, UPrep.

Kitty Robot at CES2018 © terrinakamura

Cute kitty-faced Robot #Sanbot at CES 2018

Not all of the things you see at CES are done deals. There were concept vehicles and machines, like the Laundroid robot, that folds and catalogs your laundry (not ready for prime time) but also massage chairs, 3D images created with emitted light, medical gadgets, smart assistants and VR make-up applications where you could see what you would look like with blue eye shadow. There was even an autonomous helicopter…which didn’t inspire the same confidence I felt about self-driving cars. While most things on display are actually in production, some were conceptual and showing us what we might expect in the future. There was a hall devoted to CES innovation award winners, which included some of the most successful new design and engineering inventions of the past year.

ujet-at-ces2018-c2a9-terrinakamura.png

I saw this beautiful, light-weight, foldable electric scooter at #CES2018. It had hub-less wheels! #Ujet

CES has been around for 51 years. My real-life friend, Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier has been going for two decades. I really only became aware of it in 2008 when I would read about friends and acquaintances on Twitter who were making the trek to Las Vegas. Like SXSW, it sounded so cool. But I lacked the self-confidence to venture into such an alien world alone and didn’t know anyone well enough to buddy up. Having gone to this incredible show and spending 5 days by myself, I urge anyone to go and explore. If I can do it, YOU can, too!

Undoubtedly you find yourself meeting a lot of interesting people you would never otherwise meet. Curiosity and common interests make for easy and fun conversations. I wandered into the Gibson venue and was so glad I did. For days I could “HEAR” it from far away and didn’t know what was waiting inside until I walked in. I’m glad I saved it for my final day.

There were so many opportunities to take photos and was glad I had great devices to back me up. I especially appreciated Travis Ames, the drone rep at Uvify who allowed me to film with my hands just beyond the protective netting. And guys, I apologize for the vertical video. Ugh. I can’t stand watching them but I was kind of excited and wasn’t thinking clearly.

If you’ve never attended CES, or even if you’re not a technology geek, don’t let that stop you from going. There is literally something for everyone at the Consumer Electronics Show, whether you’re a hobbyist, aficionado of large or small screens, a music fan, a gamer, or simply curious to see what all the hubbub is about. I learned so much. If you enjoy learning, you will love CES!

I hope some day you have a chance to go to Las Vegas and experience CES. If you decide to go, book your hotel early. By the time I started looking, about a month before the show, it freaked me out. Everything nearby was booked or insanely inexpensive—like $800 a night! Luckily I found a great AirBNB about 20 minutes away, and was even able to convince the host to drive me to and pick me up after the show each day, all for about $450 total, for five days/four nights.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to CTA (Thanks, Erica Corley!) for making the entire experience possible for me, and Richard Kassissieh @kassissieh, the assistant head of school for academics and strategic planning at University Prep in Seattle, who recognized the honor and value of the CES experience, and supported my participation.

Thanks to them, and thanks for reading! I’d love to know if you’ve visited CES, or would like to some day!


More about Terri:

Visit her store Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
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Terri on The Medium

Holiday Gifts for the Techie in Your Life

The past few weeks have afforded me opportunities to connect with friends, old and new, in real life. For a social media aficionado, there’s something special about getting to meet the people behind the half-inch avatars we encounter on Twitter.

It was great to see Suzanne Kantra @Techlicious, Megan Wristen @MeaganWristen, Josh Kirschner @joshkirschner, Terumi Johnson @helloterumi and see other familiar faces at the CTA Seattle Technology Event produced by the team at Techlicious.

But what was even more cool was to get a hands-on opportunity to check out some of the most popular tech gift ideas for the coming holidays. It was fun to take a retrospective look at what was popular in 1997 and 2017…like, “VCR*?” Remember them?

CTA RESEARCH 1997CTA RESEARCH 2007

It made me wonder how the 2017 top of the list will look in 2027?

CTA TOP TECH 2017

Personally, I enjoyed using the TREKZ Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones. The name sounds weird, but they work great! The product design is unusual, but the proof was in using them. The sound quality is rich, and because they sit outside my ears, which again sounds odd, they allow me to be aware of what’s going on around me. They were originally developed as a sports headphone, and would be a terrific gift to use while running or working out.

Another cool and affordable item was the iHome | Control wifi-outdoor smart plug, which works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. I don’t have my lights up yet, but it will be great to be able to control them remotely, and after the holidays, other appliances using my iPhone. “Hey Siri? Turn on the lights!”

There was a great variety of products on display. I took some photos of a few of them and loved learning about them.

Top, left to right: Ecouvacs DEEBOT 995 (it vacuums and mops your floors) ,a fun fashion Fitbit bracelet and Fitbit Ionic health trackers, Middle, left to right:  Lily Next-Gen Pro (drone), Play Impossible game ball, that takes digital action indoors and out, Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, Bottom, left to right: another shot of the VR headset, Amazon Echo Plus hand free smart hub, and the Lenovo Tab 4 10 (tablet for the family),

With so many amazing products out there, I’m trying to decide what I’m going to buy for Christmas this year!

Good luck with your holiday shopping!

If you’re interested in any of the products here, just click the link to find out more, or contact Danielle Cassagnol, CTA: DCassagnol@cta.tech (email) @ConsumerTechnologyAssociation (Twitter).


*VCR = Video cassette recorder

More about Terri:

Visit her store Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

One-ring Circus

Verison One-Talk ad in Bloomberg by © terri nakamuraClose friends and colleagues know I’m a fan of Bloomberg Business Week. It’s the only publication I receive as a physical magazine. After dropping a signed first edition of Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” in the bathtub, I vowed to never read anything more than a magazine while soaking. AND I SURE don’t trust myself to read an electronic device there.

Last night I was browsing through the most issue of Bloomberg and something caught my eye. It was a full-page ad for Verizon’s “One Talk” service, which lets calls to a users’ office phones, ring simultaneously on their mobiles.

Our family has had Verizon service since the early 2000s, and I’ve been partnering with Verizon for nearly four years as one of their national team of brand influencers. So I naturally pay attention to commercials and ads related to Verizon products and services. I hadn’t heard about “One Talk.”

Randomly and coincidentally, I have been experiencing my own, unrelated, “one ring” circus this year.

In my Google settings, I’ve listed all of my phone numbers, so when I am called on one of the numbers, ALL OF MY PHONES RING. It’s pretty crazy, but let me just say it’s rare for me to miss a call.

So in a way, I have simulated One Talk via Google Voice and I’ve found it to be convenient, hilarious and annoying.

It’s convenient to be able to get calls on all devices. Remember, “Call Forwarding” isn’t the same, because it only rings on the number you’re forwarding to (i.e., your mobile number).

It’s hilarious because seriously—sometimes four of my phones ring at once. Today a friend, Marianne Picha, called my original landline number (which is now on Google Project fi), and it rang all of my cell phones, including the Verizon line which was 100 miles away at our home in Randle. My husband had the phone with him at the house, and answered! (Verizon is an essential lifeline for us out there in Lewis County.)

It’s annoying because…ALL OF THE PHONES CAN RING AT THE SAME TIME. But this can be easily fixed. Just turn off the ringers on the phone(s) you don’t want to ring.

My family has one of the most complicated telephone communications setups imaginable. Currently it includes a landline with CenturyLink (an account established in 1974); a digital landline with Comcast; an AT&T family plan for me and our youngest son; and a Verizon family plan for me, my husband, oldest son and his wife @QueenHorsfall.

CenturyLink is an archaic system that charges separately for voice mail, call forwarding and other features. (Most phone companies include myriad features as part of the service.) We had three landlines — one for my husband, one for me and one for our dedicated fax line. It was very costly.

A few years ago I moved the fax line over to Comcast to quality for a “triple play” pricing plan. And as our landline costs continued to skyrocket, I realized we needed to prune another CenturyLink line.

Last year I decided to move my 38-year-long phone service away from Centurylink to Google’s Projectfi. The Projectfi service required me to buy a Nexus phone (in my case, a 6P). Last November, this phone came with a $499 price tag.

The Nexus 6P is a fabulous phone. The camera is INCREDIBLE, especially in low light. And the battery seems to last forever. The best part is, since I use very little data (mostly use wifi), my phone service has averaged $28.50 per month—less than half the cost of my land line service. The Nexus 6P is now about half the price, so a great deal for people who need a phone and don’t use a lot of data. The networks providing service include T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, so it has expansive coverage. The downside is, the Nexus is a gigantic phone. Not heavy—just huge. No way can it fit into a pocket. ALSO, the Nexus requires a USB-Type C charging cable.

Getting back to the ad in Bloomberg, I can see the value in the OneTalk service.—especially for Verizon business customers who have would benefit from seamlessly moving between landline and mobile. And it makes it possible for a business to be nimble—offering an essential and competitive edge.

One Talk is a relatively inexpensive service (looks to be around $25/month) but it requires a compatible phone set for the landline. And according to Kagan, the landline is actually VOiP—something to think about if you’re prone to power outages.

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

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#140conf #LA

Eight years ago I entered a bright and shiny world called Twitter. 

In 2010, I compared Twitter to a cocktail party, and I think the comparison still stands. Lots of people weave in and out of short conversations and content, with comments sometimes ricocheting like Pokéballs. About 47 of the 313 million active users “tweet” via smart phones, so Twitter’s 140 character limit makes it doable. Chatting in 140 character tweets isn’t the easiest way to carry on an extended conversation. Still, meaningful relationships can form, and when you discover a kindred spirit, it’s great!

Today I think the average person joins Twitter and feels lost. It’s not obvious what to do once you get there. I found the game changer is engaging in conversations. Once you start chatting with people, the clouds part and the Twitterverse opens up. You can pose a question and get immediate answers, and almost always find interesting people for banter or discussions. And there is an endless bounty of content to consume 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Jeff Pulver, founder of the #140 Conference, created and produced the first #140 Brands Conference in New York City on Dec. 2, 2010. As a graphic designer who works with businesses and branding, and being a social media aficionado, I was excited to learn how brands were navigating the social media sphere. It featured dozens of speakers and panels on myriad topics

The opportunity to meet virtual friends face-to-face was fabulous! I’ll never forget the snow along the sidewalks as I walked from the subway to the venue, and the thrill of meeting for the first time, Debra Cincioni, Lori Moreno and Jessica Northey , fellow Bitrebels — Twitter #BA75 sisters.

12-2-2010-0273-Jessica, Deb, me, Tommy plus 1-NYC-lighter

L-R: Jessica Northey, Debra Cincioni, me, Tommy Geraci and Sueanne Shirzay, Dec. 2010, NYC

Past #140 Conference events have featured a series of 10-15 minute presentations and 10-20 minute panels that have provided attendees with knowledge, perspective and insights into the theme of the conference. The format has been fast-paced, so if there is something you’re not too interested in, it quickly moves on to the next topic.

The SOCIAL part of social media is super special. And for first-timers, the opportunity to meet many Twitter friends in one place, in real life, is undeniably exciting.

But the educational part is equally special. The #140 Conference provides access to some of the most knowledgable people in a variety of sectors, representing a huge depth of expertise.

Fast forward to July 25 in Los Angeles 

I had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and for the first time, meet Marsha Collier, Michele Meiche, Henie Riesinger and many others. I can only describe the moments of our meetings as pure joy!

@terrinakamura - Michele-Marsha-me-Julie Spira - 20160725_202639

L-R: Michele Meiche, me, Marsha Collier, Julie Spira

©terrinakamura - 2Calvin and me, July 25, 2016 20160725_204242.jpg 20160725_204236

L-R: Calvin Lee and me

Over the past two months, Michele and I have been chatting on Twitter about our fond feelings for the #140 conferences. We weren’t just waxing nostalgia, although being in that place at that particular time in history was very special. Twitter has evolved and now there are many more people, and the way people and brands use Twitter (and social media in general) has changed. There is always more to learn, even for long-time users, so we concluded there is definitely a need — and isn’t it time — for another #140 conference?

At the LA event, I was hoping to talk with Jeff to see if I could convince him to organize another #140 conference. I had no idea he was aware of the conversations between me and Michele. So it was a surprise when, midway through the event, Jeff made the announcement that indeed, another #140 Conference is underway and slated to occur in Los Angeles this November. I was thrilled!

Anyone interested in Twitter, and social media in general, would benefit from attending. And some of us could find ourselves falling in love with Twitter all over again. I’m looking forward to learning what’s new, and I’m especially looking forward to meeting many new as well as long-time friends.

Earlier I mentioned how great it feels when you discover a kindred spirit on Twitter. Getting to physically meet your kindred spirit and hug them in real life is THE BEST!

Jeff invites interested sponsors to participate, and extends an invitation to all to attend.

Details to come! See you there!

©terrinakamura - Cropped- jeff-pulver-announces-140conf-20160725_194332

A crowd gathered around Jeff Pulver as he announced the coming #140 Conference.

The quality of the photos of the #14oconfLA gathering, shot in very low light with my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S7, impressed everyone.

And trust me when I say it’s not easy to impress a group of social media mavens!

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

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Shooting a How-to Video

ADDING RAM TO A MACBOOK PRO

This is my first attempt to shoot a video and edit it, and also my first exploration inside of a laptop!

A month ago I installed 32 GB of RAM in my 27” iMac. It was super easy! My buddy Reg Saddler was with me, virtually, providing guidance and support.

It got me thinking about my mid-2012 Macbook Pro, and how it had just 4 GB of RAM. I decided to upgrade to its maximum — 8 GB, but wasn’t sure where to start.

I’d never opened up a laptop, and installing RAM in a laptop looked more complicated than the installation on my iMac. So I asked my friend, Greg, to help me. But instead of helping me, he actually did the installation!

It worked out well, because it gave me a chance to record the process using my new Samsung Galaxy 7 (S7), which has a pretty powerful video editor built in.

I’ve never edited a video before, and had no idea what I was doing, so imagine how surprised I was to discover it’s simple to do all of the editing and post-production on the S7.

During the RAM installation, I recorded about 14 minutes of video in four different segments . Most of it was a major snoozefest, or just chitchat that needed to go away.

So I omitted the audio by turning off the volume on all of the clips, prior to assembling everything.

At the time I was editing, I actually didn’t have the presence of mind to take screen shots, so a bunch of the following images are after the fact!

Part One — EDITING THE VIDEO

On the S7, I navigated to my camera’s roll and opened the first of four segments I’d filmed.

A - Open-Edit © terrinakamura

Once opened, at the bottom of the screen there was an option to “Edit”

B Video Editor © terrinakamura

From there I found the “Video Editor” option.

C First View © terrinakamura

Once “Video Editor” is clicked, a screen comes up, showing the video represented by linear thumbnails. The yellow line is the beginning of the playback.

2-Trim or split video © terrinakamura

Hit the play button (small round arrow button in lower left quadrant) to review. To get rid of irrelevant content, you can split or trim parts of the clip. To do that, select  “Trim” from the menu. A sub-menu pops up where you can select trim to the left, right, or split into pieces.

3-Transition button © terrinakamura

I decided to “Split” the section in two. A box then appears between the two sections. By resting the vertical playback line on top of it, a “Transition” menu will come up.

4-Choose a transition between edits

There are quite a few options for transitions between clips. I just chose a simple black dissolve (top middle on this image). To add a segment, I clicked the “+” symbol in the lower left corner.

5-Add another clip © terrinakamura

I navigated back to my camera’s files and selected the next clip, which then appears in the timeline as anew thumbnail. (Note an additional “transition box” appeared.)

6-Add title screen © terrinakamura

When I had all of my clips trimmed and assembled, just for the heck of it, I decided to add a couple of titles. To do that, I selected “Title.” A bunch of choices pop up. I chose black.

7-Enter text © terrinakamura

A box opens to type in some copy. Just try to make sure you check your spelling. Typos in videos happen here.

8-Text entered © terrinakamura

For the purposes of this sequence, I typed in “Sample Title,” but in my final video I inserted three title pages. When I was finished, I looked at the video and jotted down what I wanted to say. (NOTE: There is probably a better work flow, but since I didn’t know what I was doing, this is what happened with me!)

9-Record audio © terrinakamura

I figured out I could add narration by selecting “AUDIO.” There are several choices, and I selected “Record narration.” So while the video was playing back, I recorded my voice to go with the video. The primary reason I did this is because I decided to speed everything up 2X, which meant my voice sounded like I was talking through helium. It had to be removed!

10-Export © terrinakamura

When I was done, I played it back to see how it sounded and looked. It wasn’t perfect, but hey, you have to start somewhere! I was satisfied — quite proud of myself, in fact! So I selected “EXPORT.”

The processing took a few minutes. When it was complete, I watched it again, then shared it on to YouTube.

The S7 is a great device — much smaller than my Nexus 6P or Samsung Edge 6+ — so it fit easily into my little phone mount and desktop tripod, but more importantly, it recorded really beautiful video. So beautiful, in fact, that when I did the screen grabs, the resolutions looked very nice.

Here is the final video: [ insert anti-climactic drumroll here ]

You can click the video, above, or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULsavG49e2U

The completed video, which was sped up 2X, cut it down to about 3 minutes.

Part 2: THE RAM INSTALLATION

Greg is a former graphic designer and art director, retired from Microsoft. He and I have a long history of geeking out, talking about computers, gadgets and related topics that make both of our spouses’ eyes glaze over. This was the perfect project for us!

It’s all covered in the video, above, but here are a few highlights:

1 S7 ©terrinakamura-10 inch width

First, we unscrewed the back. Three of the screws are longer, so we put them aside and marked the holes before removing the rest of the screws, which were much shorter.

2 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Next, we disconnected the battery using a nylon pry tool

3 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

After discharging static electricity, ease open clips holding in the RAM, and removed the two sticks.

4 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Next, the new RAM was inserted into the slots. They were firmly snapped into place

5 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

We closed the back of the laptop, first treating screws with an anti-vibration goop.

6 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Moment of truth: Booted it up…

7 S7 ©terrinakamura-sm.

Happy to hear the Mac start up sound and see the Apple logo appear!

8 S7 ©terrinakamura-tn-10 inch width.

VOILA!

So, this entire process involved learning on a couple of levels. It was amazing and fun to shoot, then edit a video entirely on my S7. Second, I’m no longer afraid of opening up my laptop. SSD, here I come!


PS: A cool way to take screen shots on the S7:

Hold your hand perpendicular to the phone screen (like you’re going to give it a karate chop).

Swipe your hand quickly to the left or right. You’ll hear a “click.” BINGO! Screen shot taken!


Video and images shot by Terri Nakamura, using a Samsung Galaxy 7, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.

I’m proud to participate as a member of Verizon’s social media outreach team. My posts are about my own personal experiences.  No compensation is provided, nor are favorable comments promised. All opinions are my own.

Thanks to my friend, Greg, for his help.

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