Use Your Phone As A Remote With Klikr

These days practically everyone that has something with a remote also has a smart phone or other device. But isn’t it a shame that you can’t just use the phone to control it without hunting down the remote? Well, with Klikr’s help that is a real possibility.

Image by Klikr

The Klikr Universal Remote Control is a small device that you attach to the device you want to control, which then allows control via a downloadable app. The smart app allows for several unique improvements over the remote, such as voice control and automatically muting the device when you have a call coming in on the controlling phone.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, since the app will allow you to control multiple devices at the same time. This means that it will replace all of your remotes, not just the one. Of course you will need a Klikr module for each device you want to control, but at $19.99 for each unit it is still much cheaper than a typical third party smart remote.

Now let’s just hope that your smart phone or tablet doesn’t get lost in the cushions as well.

Scan And Go Shopping Bypasses The Checkout Line

Shopping – the mere word brings up images of drudgery and frustration (unless it’s a book store or a gadget store, of course!) But the worse part of it all is definitely the checkout line, where one must queue up and wait for a small eternity as price checks are issued for random objects. But Walmart is trying to help the experience by adding technology to the shopping cart, making it much quicker and easier to do the required chore.

Called Scan and Go, the system merges regular shopping with the self-check kiosks (which often still requires a queue to operate, much to shopper’s chagrin). The clever carts are equipped with a combination touch screen and bar code scanner, and the shopper can scan things as they pick them up in the store. When they are finished, the lucky shopper pays and leaves , completely bypassing the bleak and desperate faces waiting in the checkout line.

The system is currently in testing at Houston, Texas, but I hope it rolls out nationwide soon. In the meanwhile, I will keep refining my “best shopping time” charts and tables in order to best cope with the crowds. This is no small feat, since you have to take into account any required resources for the shopping task. Seriously, have you even tried getting customer service at 3 a.m.? It’s not pretty.

Remembering Harry Dean Stanton

It is almost impossible to be a fan of many cult classic movies and not know, or at least not recognize, veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton.  From his humble roots in rural Kentucky, Stanton went on to have a part in many big films popular today. Stanton was always a welcome face for many fans, and he was “that guy” that instantly added a touch of quality to anything he was in. Even film critic Roger Ebert was a fan of his work, as he defined his “Stanton Walsh Rule”:

No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.

From his memorable roles as the singing convict in “Cool Hand Luke” to his lead performance in “Paris, Texas”, Stanton played a variety of characters. But it was his forays into Science Fiction that I remember best, being part of the ill-fated Nostromo crew in “Alien” and Brian in John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York”, for starters.

Through it all, Stanton’s humble beginnings stayed with him and kept him grounded. As he told the Observer in an interview about his life and many roles in film and TV,

In the end, you end up accepting everything in your life – suffering, horror, love, loss, hate – all of it. It’s all a movie anyway.

Even though Harry Dean Stanton died September 15, 2017 at the age of 91, I think a part of me will still half-expect him to show in movies in the future. While that is probably not going to happen, it would certainly be welcome. And that is probably his greatest legacy.

Thank you for entertaining us, Harry Dean Stanton.


Elon Musk Releases SpaceX Blooper Reel

Private space pioneer and all around entrepreneur Elon Musk has been building a collection of fantastic bloopers from his efforts at SpaceX, and announced on August 31 that he would release them for our viewing (and gasping) pleasure. Well, the man has made good on his word, and the video has been released.

The piece has the grandest mishaps from the SpaceX effort, and what better way to present it than to be set to the theme music of Monty Python. Of course, these are not explosions that we are witnessing here, but rather “rapid unscheduled disassembly”. And it goes to show that even the most successful endeavor will have its missteps. The important thing is to keep going, and SpaceX continues to rack up impressive achievements with new technology and techniques for extending rockets and effort. But for now, relax and enjoy some expensive lessons learned along the way.


Giant Puppets Roamed Burning Man 2017

Well, this is not something you see every day. At Burning Man 2017 you could find the unexpected – like a Giant Girl String Puppet. (Well, unless you were expecting exactly that, to each their own.) But for those who didn’t know, this massive puppet had to be 25 feet tall, and required a crane to hold it up. Yes, it was THAT big.

Giant Puppet At Burning Man 2017 (Video by Chris Corsello)

Of course, a stately figure of this magnitude require a name, and hers was Euterpe. The giant figure talked to the audience, leading them to a wedding that was taking place at the event. Chris Corsello was there, and captured the event on video for our viewing pleasure. With that said, be sure sure to be nice to Euterpe. After all, she is one puppet that I look up to…