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Harley Davidson announces LiveWire, it's first electric bike

Harley Davidson on Thursday announced it's first electric cruiser, dubbed the LiveWire. According to Harley, the LiveWire's AC Induction motor makes 74bhp and 52lb-ft of torque. That's enough to give it a 0-60 time of less than four seconds, but only a disappointing 92mph top speed. Even less encouraging is the range, which stands at just 53 miles. No other specs are available at this time.

I personally would rather see something closer to a big cruiser in styling that this bike that looks to be modeled more after the Sportster 883 in size and style. A bigger bike would have room for more batteries, and hopefully more range. I will also be interested to see if they take advantage of Tesla's recent move to open source their patent portfolio to make changes to the charging and battery system.

What do you guys think, does this bike stand a chance coming from HD?

Via Gizmodo

Review: LyveHome Photo and Video Manager

I received an advanced edition of the LyveHome Photo and Video Manager a week ago, and have been putting it through it's paces for the last few days.  It is a local network connected appliance that serves as a backup for all of your pictures and home video files.  Rather than your data being in the cloud where it can be hacked, it resides in your home on your local network giving you security and only uses the cloud to authenticate and locate the device to send your pictures to it.  When you have the application running on your iOS, Android, Mac, or PC device it uploads any new picture and home video to the internal 2TB HDD.  This allows you to access the data files from any other authorized device.

Hardware

The appliance itself is quite slick.  The device has a 5 inch touch screen display with an SD card slot on the side and USB port on the rear for data transfer from portable media.  It also has an HDMI port and audio out jack for connection to your entertainment center for picture or video playback.  It will connect wirelessly via 802.11 b/g/n, and also has Gigabit ethernet for connection directly to your router if you need it.

The rear of the LyveHome has the ethernet, HDMI, USB, Headphone, and power ports

Software

The LyveHome has very basic software built in, managing it's connection to the network and the LyveHome server for authentication.  It also keeps track of the amount of space used my pictures and video on the internal drive.  

 Screen 1 of 4: The default display can show either sample pictures or scroll through your uploaded images.Screen 2 of 4: The status screen displays the amount of space remaining and number of pictures and videos stored on the device.Screen 3 of 4: The device screen shows you all of the devices authorized to transfer to and from the LyveHomeScreen 4 of 4: The final screen is the settings screen, where you control brightness, which images are displayed on the main screen, and your network and other settings.

 The software for iOS is also very basic.  When you first open it you are asked to either create or sign into an existing Lyve account.  Once that is accomplished the software asks for permission to access your camera roll.  If given access it starts processing your pictures and uploading them to the LyveHome.  The settings screen gives you the ability to toggle auto-import, upload over cellular data, and a power upload feature which prevents your device from going to sleep while transferring (transfer stops when the iOS device goes into standby).

Top of settings pageBottom of settings pageThe software for the Mac is pretty similar. The software will automatically detect iPhoto and Aperture libraries and copy them, and then allows you to specify other folders to have pictures automatically copied from when the software detects they are added.

The Lyve Desktop software for MacSummary

In all the software makes it easy and the device is great if you have a large quantity of photos and videos to keep a-hold of.  The idea of having everything local instead of in the cloud I'm of mixed opinion about.  While for my family, with multiple iPhones taking pictures and photos and videos for the web sites on multiple computers and cameras, I don't know that it makes as much sense for most families.  Cloud storage is more convenient for most people, and doesn't require connection to a local device.  While intended for the home, I really see this as being of more value to home office and small business customers with multiple users and content they need to keep secure.  The only value it has to the average family is as a way for everyone to share photos without them being uploaded to the web where photos can be accessed by others.

Memorial Day Special Treat: Preview of the first 8 songs from Miranda Lambert's upcoming album "Platinum"

As those of you that know me are aware, one of the first things I started reviewing online was music.  I still listen to and write about music quite a bit, and was just passed a link to this preview of Miranda Lambert's upcoming album.  Have a safe Memorial Day, and please remember to take time to keep our men and women in uniform, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom in your thoughts and prayers as you spend time with family and friends.

 

Review: Headphones - Are Beats worth the cash?

For quite some time now, the most popular brand of over-the-ear headphones has been Beats by Dre, a brand built mainly on the reputation of hip-hop legend Dr. Dre.  They have been called the best headphones in the world.  They have worn the tagline "Listen to music as the artist intended".  However much like BOSE in the home speaker world, there have been many who have claimed that Beats are over hyped and severely over rated.  I decided to put them to the test, so I compared them to headphones significantly cheaper but well rated in two different categories:  Skullcandy Crushers, respected as great headphones by those who love strong bass; and V-Moda's crossfade LP2 Voice limited edition headphones, highly rated as among the most durable and best sounding headphones in the world.  Both are more than $100 less than the Beats Studio Over-Ear Headphones I compared them to, with the V-Moda's coming in at $199.99 and the Skullcandy's coming in at just $99.99 compared to the Beats at $299.99.

Beats by Dre Studio Over-Ear Headphones

Ok, here's the deal.  If all you have ever compared them to is the headphones that came with your iPhone or iPod, Beats are AMAZING headphones.  Huge drivers, adaptive noise cancelling, and distinctive popular design combine to make them very trendy.  They deliver rich bass and decent range, but at $300 from Amazon they should be better than the headphones you got for free in the box with ANY electronic device.  I found the Beats to be too heavy handed on the bass, to the point that on classical music the bass and drums were crowding out the cellos and tubas.  For headphones this large and this expensive I would expect a much larger sound stage.  The active noise canceling also seems to take something away from the sound, in my opinion. The build quality on these headphones looks good, but is in reality very poor.  The band on the headphones I used for this review broke above the hinge after three days of moderate use.  Never have I had a pair of headphones break before, and for it to happen on headphones this expensive is ridiculous.  I know there have been rumors of Apple buying Beats for a ton of cash, but if they want to be successful they are going to need to improve quality, at least on the higher end.

Skullcandy Crushers

The Skullcandy Crushers were my first comparison to the Beats, being the high end of SkullCandy's lineup.  The sound actually has a lot in common with the Beats.  Surprising to me was that these seemed to have a bit of a wider sound stage than the Beats, with better separation between mids and lows especially evident.  It may be in part due to the lack of active noise cancelling, but to my ears it was assuredly a fuller sound.  Build construction and design didn't appear as good, and you don't get any of the packaging extras that the Beats come with.  However what they lack in appearance they make up for in durability.  In fact, I gave these to my son and they haven't even broken with him leaving them laying around and getting tossed all over the place.  At just $99.99 from Amazon you may not look as good as you would wearing a pair of Beats, but you'll be far happier with your purchase.

V-Moda LP2 Voice Special Edition

The V-Moda crossFade LP2 Voice quite frankly blew me away from the minute I opened the package.  The build quality is as solid as it comes, meeting the US military's MIL-STD-810G Test Standards for durability.  They are a bit heavy, but with sound this good I can live with the weight.  The sound stage is amazingly broad, with solid separation between all frequencies, and amazing bass.  No matter what I listened to the sound was amazingly clear.  One problem I ran into is the ear pads that came with these headphones were too small for my ears to fit into, but fortunately V-Moda anticipated this and makes larger sized pads available.

On the left is the XL replacement pad, on the right the standard pads that come with the LP2sWith the larger ear pads the headphones are even more comfortable, and have an even better sound profile, which quite frankly surprised me.  At only $199.99 on Amazon these are by far the best headphones I've ever heard.

Summary

In all, of the three headphones I tried over the last three weeks, the Beats finished last with the LP2s from V-Moda far and away the best.  Beats may look cool and have become trendy because of their ties to the rap music scene, but the quality of construction and sound is terrible.  Save yourself $100 and buy the V-Moda LP2 Voice series, your ears and wallet will thank you.

Loot Crate: May unboxing

This months Loot Crate arrived today, here are the unboxing pictures.