Countless people have asked me “why is Windows 8.1 so different from 7?!” The “metro” screen loads many confusing and irrelevant “tiles” upon startup. The “Start” menu is nowhere to be found. For many, this renders the computer almost unusable. Again, we wonder, why so different?
The short answer is, it was designed for touch screens (not a mouse and keyboard). In a world dominated by social media and touch screen devices, Microsoft just wanted a piece of the action. Their attempt to join in was not received well by the community at large (or myself, I still use 7 at home). So, what can we do to improve the Windows 8 experience?
A new, free, piece of software called “Classic Shell” (click here to visit their site) can help you revert the visual aspects of 8.1 to something more akin to 7. If you’re willing to spend twenty minutes learning how to configure it yourself, you’ll have things back to normal in no time! Here’s a short video on how to install and configure Classic Shell.
I’ve been in touch with Mike Freeman of Max Virtual LLC since I met him in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He just sent me a small stock of production models for sale, so holler at me if you want one!
In addition Max Virtual has announced they will produce a hearing aid to increase spacial awareness for the hearing impaired. Using two microphones and two bone conduction pads, the hat can take the place of expensive implanted aids. Click here for the full story.
Deep in a heavily guarded underground bunker is NixTech lab. Mad scientist Russel Lemburg is soldering away on his next creation. Yet to be named, this LED strip for helmets uses the same independently addressable RGB LEDs as the popular Nix Googles. Russell sent me a sneak preview about a week ago and I just had to spill the beans. Click to see a close up video of the strip without the helmet. Continue reading →
At the CES show earlier this month I met Mike Freeman, the designer of the Cynaps Bluetooth headset. This revolutionary device uses bone conduction to send sound waves directly to the inner ear, eliminating the need to block the user’s hearing with a pesky earbud. When he offered to send me a sample I couldn’t resist.
When I heard about Nix Googles I contacted Russell, the designer, about using a pair when I give rides on my pedicab downtown. The “googles” display a variety of complex patterns and overpower most smartphone cameras with their brilliant lights. What’s more, they respond to music, via a built in microphone with highly adjustable gain. In fact, the gain control is so sensitive, that at the highest setting it responds to sounds I barely hear. Turn the sensitivity down all the way and you’ll need a plane taking off to make it react …or a Skrillex show. Continue reading →
This is my pedicab. The lights are operated by a variety of music responsive controllers. Every LED is waterproof so I can work in the rain. The wacky colored lights help distracted drivers change lanes sooner to pass slower vehicles like mine safely. Continue reading →