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Gaming Expo: SXSW

by on March 13th, 2014

MarioI recently relocated to Austin and just in time for SXSW. Unfortunately I did not get a press pass however I used the guest pass and my network of friends to get me into events.

nintendo2The SXSW Gaming Expo was just a few bus stops of my new condo so I had to go. The first thing I checked out was the VideoGame History Museum Booth sponsored by Nintendo. What a fun blast from the past! My first gaming system was the OG Nintendo Entertainment System (circa 1985). I played Mario Bros, Duckhunt, Zelda and many others with my younger brother…Since I’m older if I was losing against my younger and smarter brother I would hit the “reset” button (this warranted many of fights). I also remember the days of taking out and blowing on the cartridges when the system crashed.mario cart2

I had a chance to play with Virtual Boy; the intense red blinking graphics gave me a headache (how did I play this as a child?!). I also had to take a photo op in the life size Mario cart…It was hilarious and interesting to see the migration throughout the decades of NES gaming systems.

paperdude 1Moving on I went to the Paper Dude booth from Globalcore interactive using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. If you ever played Paperboy on NES this was the booth to visit. They had a stationary bike using the Oculus Rift headset for the full on 3-D experience. When I tried it I realized playing the 3-D version took some time to get used to; I had allot of customers who did not get their paper.

Air GuardThe best booth I went to and one that I spent an hour waiting to try was the Air National Guard Flight simulator. One of my pals in SF is a pilot and I always told her that I would be a horrible pilot…but guess what I’m actually decent. I can’t say I’m great with shooting targets but flying was no problem…of course if it was a real plane that would be different. What I found interesting about the game experience was learning how systematic a person’s eye and hand coordination works when put in the driver’s seat. It was so fun to do some nose drives and then do a barrel roll!

This is just the beginning of SXSW 2014 for this cutegeek. Follow me @nrpena for up to minute updates on the music portion! Happy South By…

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SXSW 2014 Update

by on March 10th, 2014

mario cart2Hello Cutegeekers! It’s been a busy first weekend of SXSW…late tonight I will be posting about my SXSW gaming expo experience. It took me back to the days of paperboy and Mario Bros.

Late last night I posted on examiner.com of my IndieGoGo experience with Misfit, URB-E and Breathometer; to check it out go here.

Stay tuned and happy SXSW 2014! It’s been a blast so far!

 

 

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SWSX 2014 & Guest Pass Info

by on March 4th, 2014

SXSWJust a week ago I relocated to Austin to the SoCo district (South Congress) just in time for SXSW 2014. I am originally from Austin and I remember when it wasn’t so epic but now-a-days it has become an international phenomenon. Though I was not able to get a SXSW media pass for cutegeek.com this year I will be on ground zero conducting meetings and attending events that are either free to the public, media or accessible with the SXSW Guest Pass.

What is the guest pass you ask? New to this years SXSW Festival Austinites can pick up a free guest pass that will get you access to the below events.

SXSWTIXNinaTo get a SXSW guest pass you must go to one of the locations in Austin listed on the guestpass.sxsw.com site to pick one up (don’t forget your drivers license with your ATX address on it).  A little hint Waterloo ran out today but I got two passes at the Whole Foods on Lamar. Once you have your guest pass go to the guestpass.sxsw.com site and get on the list to receive invitations to shows, parties, and events throughout SXSW. You can also get a guest pass at the door at SXSW but it’s best to get it earlier as the crowds will be insane by then.

Follow me on @nrpena, https://www.facebook.com/nina.pena, http://www.youtube.com/user/nrcpena and cutegeek.com during the festival I will be posting live! I will also be there conducting media meetings for the Examiner as well. For companies that will be there and would like to meet up, show me some new products or apps send me a DM @nrcpena.  Best of luck to those attending (especially the first timers) and see you all at SXSW 2014 (#sxsw2014 #cutegeeksxsw)!!!

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Review: Moto X w/ Ebony Finish

by on February 18th, 2014

Moto XI’m an iPhone girl but saw the new Moto X with the Ebony wood grain finish and asked my friends at Motorola to send me one to test out. I haven’t had an Andriod phone but use google apps frequently.  I was curious to see how easily I could switch from the  iOS mindset to Andriod using the Moto X.

When I unboxed the Moto X it was beautiful with a sleek wood finish and ready to go without charging it. The interface was simple I quickly added Moto Screen Shotmy facebook, twitter and g-mail accounts. One thing I was not familiar with was the screen alert icons while locked that just informed you of a new message on twitter, facebook or email. They were non-disruptive and only showed the icons when a new message or notification came in while on a locked screen.

Since one of the advertised features is that it responds to your voice with no touching necessary I put the Moto X to the test and asked it a load of questions. Since I am a Siri junkie I was curious to see if it was better. I asked the same question to both devices “Please find me a French restaurant in 78701.” The Moto X came up with a list quickly while Siri responded with (and I wish I was joking) ” Sorry I couldn’t find any French restaurants in inseminate.” (Gross Siri just gross!)

Moto X picI use my iPhone or DSLR to take allot of photos so I had to put the Moto X to the test and took it with me on my walk to the Golden Gate bridge. I didn’t see much of a difference from my iPhone only that it was easier to take a picture.  The Moto X features easy camera usability by just twisting your wrist twice to enable the camera instantly. The back camera has burst mode, auto HDR, panorama and tap to focus features while the Front has 2MP 1080p HD video. I would also like to note the battery life on the Moto X out powers my iPhone. I have to charge my iPhone Nina and Motodaily but the Moto X I could go two days without charging,

The Moto X comes in several colors but for the wood grain look there are 4 options, Ebony, Teak, Bamboo and Walnut. You can design your own Moto X with wood finish on the Motorola Moto Maker site for retail of $354.99 or  with a 2 year contract at AT&T for $79.99. One cool tid bit I learned while reviewing this product, it is the only smartphone assembled in the US!

Besides these features it operates just like every other Andriod on the market with goggle. If your wanting to stray away from the iOS and looking for a cool Android smart phone the Moto X with the wood grain finishes are the way to go. It’s sleek, sexy and classy; believe me it will catch people’s eyes when you are using it (I got allot of attention particularly by men who liked the wood grain finish).

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Valentine’s Gift Guide For Your Cutegeek!

by on February 4th, 2014

SpkValentine’s Day is just 10 days away and if you still don’t have a gift for your cutegeek never fear Nina’s here with some cool geeky gift ideas!

Speck Product Accessories- Speck products is currently running a Valentines special of 20% off red, white and pink cases and offers free shipping. They have cases for your Galaxy, Moto X, iPhone, and HTC smartphones starting at $29.95. To check out Speck Product’s Valentine’s Day gift promotion click hereBluetune Bean

Bluetune-Bean Speaker- The Bluetune Bean Speaker is a portable pocket sized bluetooth speaker with a clip that your cutegeek can attach anywhere.  It comes in 6 vibrant colors (black, white, blue, pink, red or yellow) and retails for $29.99 on their site.

Chicbud walletchicBuds Fashion Audio Accessories- chicBud is currently running a Valentine’s day special of 20% off all products.  chicBud’s Porta Party Bluetooth Speaker ($49.99), Gurl Power Bank Charger ($39.99), and the Onesie Wristlet case for iPhone 5 ($24.99) come in several different designs to mix and match. The newest designs of these products are the Katie, Donatella, and Phoebe and can be purchased on their site.Logitech case

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover – This cover protects the screen of your iPad and has a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. To make your Valentine feel extra special you can also engrave a special message onto the cover! The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover  retails for the iPad Air ($99.99) and iPad mini ($79.99) which can be found on their site. 

ishoweriShower  Water-Resistant Bluetooth Shower Speaker – The iShower can forever change your cutegeek’s bath time if she likes to sing in the shower or zen out in a bath.  The iShower has a clock display, water resistant, has up to 200-foot Bluetooth® range and pairs up to 5 Click and Growusers. The device is sold out on their website however you can find it for $99.00 on Amazon or Sharper Image.

Click and Grow’s Smart Herb Garden- This smart pot grows fresh herbs naturally. Just plug it into the wall and add water, the smart device takes care of everything else. Each Smart Herb Garden comes with cartridges for basil, thyme and lemon balm. It’s currently available for pre-order on their site at $99.00.

Sony HD CameraSony’s Full HD Camcorder HandyCam HDR-CX220/R- The Full HD Camcorder shoots 1920 x 1080 Full HD 60p video and 8.9MP stills and comes in red; perfect for Valentine’s Day. It is currently on sale at $179.99 on the Sony site and the site also offers free shipping.iwatch

i’m Watch Smartwatchi’m Watch is one of the only Bluetooth watches on the market that has its own app store ( i’market) including a music player,  social media apps, a compass, and games. The strap can come in black, pink, red, blue, yellow or white.  i’m Watch also offers an Instagram app in addition to the standard Facebook and Twitter apps. It’s currently going for $349.00 on their site however I have seen it for $299.00 on other sites.

KorusKorus V400- The Korus V400 is a portable wireless speaker system that delivers Hi-Fi quality without pairing with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi plus can stream music using up to 4 speakers simultaneously. As a Valentine’s day special Korus is offering a package deal for the V400, including a wireless speaker; USB, 30 pin and Lightning Batons to connect your smartphones, tablets, Mac’s and PC’s; and two charge cables. The V400 premium package is offered at $349.99 and can be purchased on their site or Amazon, Best Buy’s MagnoliaDesign Centers, or Crutchfield.Happy Plugs

Happy Plugs: 18-Carat Gold Deluxe Earbud Edition- If your cutegeek has been a good little girl or you have an excess amount of money to spend (or in the dog house) the 18-Carat Gold Deluxe Earbuds are the gift priced at $14,500 (yes blink and read it again…they are $14,500). A Swedish goldsmith in Old Town, Stockholm, makes the headphones by hand. The 18-carat solid gold is molded into the shape of the Happy Plugs Earbuds and 25 grams of gold are used for each pair of earphones. If you aren’t a millionaire Happy Plugs also have earbuds that start $34.99 in 13 different colors. You can purchase both products on their site.

If you’re looking for great gadgets for your man for Valentine’s Day check out my gift guide on the Examiner here.

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Review: Polk Nue Era In Ear Headphones

by on January 23rd, 2014

Nue EraI was in need of some cool new in ear headphones and what luck Polk gave me a pair of Nue Era in-ear heardphones at CES to test out! At first glance these are not your typical in ear headphones, they are like the Mercedes of headphones. The headphones have crafted resin carapaces on the outside with a stylish tortoise design and  a button control with built in Nue Era 2mic (also with the tortoise design).

The headphones have a 48″ cable with a 90-degree connector that is gold-plated and precision-machined to seat deeper into your source connection.  The Nue Eras headphones comes with 3 pairs of StayFit silicone ear tips, 2 pairs of StayFit flange silicone ear tips and  2 pairs of memory foam ear tips plus a little cloth bag for your headphones.

Nue Era 3After I unboxed them I immediately tested them out with one of my Rdio stations on full blast (rap of course).  The sound was amazing; not only do these little guys look stylish but the sound quality is crisp not to  mention having great bass. The fit was very comfortable and my favorite ear tips were the flange silicone design.

If you looking for a stylish pair of in ear headphones with quality sound definitely check out Polk’s Nue Era in-ear headphones which retail for $99.95 on their site. 

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Review: Zackees Gloves- The Wearable Turn Signals

by on January 21st, 2014

Z6In my search of finding functional wearable technology that is also fashionable I came across a company called Zackees. I first heard about Zackees Gloves in December through the Kickstarter Campaign. Zackees are a technologically advanced pair of cycling gloves that has controllable LED light turn signals on the backside of your hand. I met up with Zach, former engineer from Google and the creater of the gloves to test out a pair (who BTW showed up on an electric skateboard).z7

When I tried on the Zackees gloves they were very comfortable and the design was simple unlike some of the gaudy LED fashions on the market. I’m going to be honest, I am not the most skilled biker. I can bike around a park or neighborhood but not on the fierce streets of San Francisco. If I did ride a bike in the city my gloves shouldn’t have turn signals but signals of caution. However, I have several friends who bike and half of them have been either hit by a car or crashed from being in a cars blind spot. For those friends and city commuters these gloves should be must haves.

ZAckesSince I am not a skilled bike rider I went to Huckleberry bicycles on Market to ask a true biker what he thought of the gloves design and LED lights.  I had Graham from the store test them out on a bike doing the normal turn signals. One thing we found out and not sure if this was part of the design but the lights worked through the handles bars. Graham had his pro’s and con’s; he said it was an awesome idea but the price point was a bit high at $75.00 a pair.  That said I believe since this is new technology and new to the market the price to makes sense.Nina Zackes

The Zackees are machine washable and support two types of batteries, rechargeable and disposable plus comes with a USB battery charger.  As of now they only come in white however I hear rumors of a pink pair in the works.

For bike commuters especially those who commute at night Zackees are perfect and almost necessity for riding in San Francisco proper.  If you want to be a show off and be the first of your bike crew to sport these gloves you can purchase them at http://www.zackees.com/.

 

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New Cutegeek Contest from PrintKEG

by on January 15th, 2014

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Congrats to the winners! Thanks for being cutegeek fans!

Cutegeek and PrintKEG are collaborating on a contest to win a free custom printed t-shirt for 3 lucky cutegeek fans. Each winner will receive a coupon code to create your very own custom t-shirt with your own graphic on it through the PrintKEG site.

To enter the Cutegeek/PrintKEG contest you must be the first 3 fans to tweet to @nrpena  and @cutegeek with the #ilovecutegeek (bonus if you #Iloveninathegeek-but not required) in your response. After I received 3 responses to the contest I will be contacting each winner via DM on twitter for their email and also letting them know they won.

After I receive the cutegeek fan’s information I will work with our friends at PrintKEG to get the winners their coupon codes to create their T-Shirt master pieces! Good Luck fans!

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Nina’s CES 2014 Recap

by on January 14th, 2014

Samsung HDTVThis year I had the chance to go to CES for cutegeek and the SF examiner. Needless to say, the email requests were doubled and the necessity to be at 2 places at once was almost required. And of course I couldn’t forego my fashion…so yes I stupidly wore 4 inch heels on one of the biggest days of CES, Opening day (but I had to look good for 50 cent and John Legend).

The biggest highlight at CES for TV’s was the Samsung 105” U9500 Curved Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV – The World’s First and Largest Curved UHD TV. It was mounted on an aero stand that is very narrow  a movie theatre aspect ratio of 21 x 9) and also uses pure color technology which makes the color of the Samsung 105” U9500 Curved Ultra High Definition (UHD)  more accurate and more like what the director would like you to see.

At CES, Sony announced PlayStation Now which brings game streaming to consoles. It’s the first ever streaming game service on consoles powered by an advanced cloud-based technology. Users now can play games the same way they stream TV, movies and music. Per Sony’s website; starting with the PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4, and expanding to PlayStation®Vita, CorvetteBRAVIA TV’s and other Sony and non-Sony devices, PlayStation Now will be available on the electronic devices gamers use most. To be the first to receive exclusive information on PlayStation Now click here.

While at CES I had to give the Chevy guys a hard time for not ever inviting me to review any of their products like my friends at Ford. Reluctantly I checked out Chevy’s new 2015 Corvette due to come out this summer. The new 2015 Corvette includes the all-new industry-exclusive Performance Data Recorder which lets you capture video, audio and real-time performance data from your driving experiences on and off the track. The driver can then watch the Eliovideo, complete with data overlays, on the vehicle’s 8-inch color touch-screen (when the car is parked), or download to a computer for further editing and sharing via social media.

A really cool car I want and think I can afford is the Elio by Elio Motors which is a 3 cylinder, 3 wheeled commuter vehicle that sits 2 people in tandem. It’s the best solution for people like me in the city who needs something small, reliable, and affordable. The Elio is currently only $6,800.00 which includes AC, power locks, Am/FM stereo, and 3 year warranty. It can go 84mpg on the highway and has an anticipated 5-star crash test rating. I am looking forward to being able to test drive and Elio and maybe own one in the very near future…the Elio is perfect for me!50 signing

I stood in line for a 50 cent autograph at the SMS Audio booth. I realize I am not a teenager anymore and swooning over an autograph at this age is just silly but I just wanted to see him smile (get it:-))…And yes ladies he is just as hot in person! The time I spent waiting in line in 4 inch heels instead of getting my hair blown out at the Panasonic booth was worth it.

50 cent50 cent was really there (not just because I was there:-)) to announce the new Sport line and the Star Wars limited edition headphones of his audio brand SMS (Studio Mastered Sound). The new Sport line will include wireless Bluetooth earbuds that are sweat proof and feature secure-fit wings for active users. Additional headphones in the line will also include sweat-proof on-ear and in-ear wired versions. I am hoping they send me a pair to test out and review, I’ve been dying to try out quality bluetooth earbuds.

The Star Wars on-ear headphones will be branded with characters and themes from Lucasfilms’ Star Wars series. The designsStarwars look cool from the flyer I got, not my cup of tea but cool none-the-less. What I didn’t know about the SMS brand (while I was waiting in the very long line for my autograph in 4 inch heels) is their Sync line with the Kleer technology over ear wireless headphones, pretty sweet. Learn something new every day!

Did you know Robots are now taking over Hollywood? No joke; meet the Robothespian that is actually already being used in movies. The Robothespian is a life sized humanoid robot designed for human interaction in a public environment. The Robot doesn’t serve much functional wise; it’s made to entertain and speak different languages. Hmm, at $90,000 I have friends for free that can do the same and they cook too. However it was really cool to interact with the Robothespian and it will be coming to a theatre near you! To check out my video of the Robothespians click here (pardon my one curse word:-)).

During my CES journey I found myself at the Earthquake Sound booth which makes home audio, known for their subwoofers and based out of San Francisco. I checked out the Supernova MKVI subwoofer and Titan Tigris. I then had an Earthquake Sound home audio experience where my seat was Dacor_Discovery iQ Wall Oven_DYO230S_ControlPanelshaking and I think I may have lost some hearing from the great sound the experience. To check out my video of my Earthquake Sound experience click here.

It was time to visit my friends at Dacor which had their discovery appliances on display; appliances for the future.IMG_5577 Just like at the Napa Valley Film Festival I got a demo of their Discovery Wine Station which is the first automated, temperature controlled, four-bottle wine dispensing and preservation system. My favorite product of Dacor is the next product they demoed, Discovery iQ 30″ Wall Ovens. The integrated and intuitive Android™ interface provides access to the proprietary Dacor iQ Cooking App. Powered by a Samsung 1GHz Processor and 512 MB DDR2 RAM, the built-in controller is exclusive to Discovery™ Series Wall Ovens.  The controller rounds out with complete Wi-Fi connection capability and is equipped with stereo sound and a PowerVR SGX 540 graphics processing unit delivering a multimedia experience through a 7″ LCD glass touch screen panel. A dream for this technology geek; pre-heat your oven on the go with your smart phone or play iHeart Radio while cooking…Genius!

Nicole Miller purse DableyOne of my favorite accessories booths was the iwave and Gentec booths which had fun stylish cases from Nicole Miller, Dabney Lee,  and Sicura Italian Designs which is also collaborating with Penguin by Mungsing Wear for the first time to create mobile accessories. There were many other accessories in both these booths that you can check out either on the iwave and Gentec sites however these 3 brands I loved the most. I feel in love with Nicole Miller’s iPhone 5 cases and leatherettes; I spent literally an hour since it was a double booth checking everything out saying “Oh I have to have that” or “OMG I need this.”

At CES Headphones or in Ear headphones were about every other booth it seemed. Some cool headphones for street headphone humlan_1_cobaltwearers like me are the HUMLAN wash and wear headphones by URBANEARS. The HUMLAN headband and ear cushions can be removed and thrown in with the wash just like your everyday t-shirt.

Nina, what about us gamers who need a headset with our headphones? Never fear my friend’s audio-technica has the new OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAATH-ADG1High-Fidelity Gaming Headset. They have premium 53 mm drivers with Bobbin-wound CCAW voice coils; the first of its kind in a gaming headset. I had a chance to try it on and was impressed with the sound quality. The ATH-ADG1High-Fidelity Gaming Headset are a bit pricey at $299.95 but if you are a hardcore gamer I think it’s worth it.

While at CES I also got Polk’s Nue era in ear headphones and Boom’s Spooners earbuds that I will be testing out and reviewing for examiner or cutegeek. Off the bat the Polk Nue Era box looks sexy and I am excited to unbox them and test them out. The Boom’s Spooners earbuds look a little large at first glance however I have yet to unbox them therefore I could be off. Stay tuned for a full review on both!

I ended CES getting serenaded by John Legend; of course there were several others there as well. The Vanity club hosted by IMG_5976Sound United had John Legend play an intimate 45 minute set on the last night I was there. He played “Ordinary People,” “Tonight,” and “All of me” amongst other classics…I was right in front of the piano and felt like I had the best seat in the house. It was a nice end to a busy 4 days of CES! Thank you John Legend…you made this cutegeek’s night at CES 2014.

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Happy New Year from Nina the Cutegeek:-)

by on January 12th, 2014

Happy New Year Cutegeekers! We have already started off the year in true geek style; we had our first contest winner for the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini give away and I went to CES 2014 (Post soon to come).

Throughout the year you will see us take on more products, go to more fun event like SXSW 2014 and keep you informed on the latest and greatest on technology. Continue to follow me @cutegeek and @nrpena.

Thanks to all our fans who keep following us and may you have a fabulous and geeky New Year!

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