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March 27th, 2014

Among the biggest and oldest bottlenecks in the computerized workplace are the aging input methods, specifically keyboards, mice, and trackpads. With tablets, and even our LCD touchscreen monitor rental, yet another input method is now available: Various finger moves and combinations on a trackpad or touchscreen will run your hardware and software. It’s a whole new dimension of “hands-on control.” Well, perhaps not so new anymore, as there are new products advancing an entirely different paradigm.

Gesture Glove…Coming to a Cubicle Near You

Now, from the inventive world of the gamers, comes another input device that offers hands-off control. The technology revolving around the Nintendo Wii, Sony PS4, and Microsoft’s own Xbox One (which is catching up to the PS4 in the sales race) has led to the development of the Gesture Glove (Gesture Glove Mouse and Air Mouse Glove in some markets) by Japanese firm Thanko Co., Ltd. A 2.4GHz wireless radio (Bluetooth) connects the device to just about anything:

  • Android and iOS tablets;
  • PCs running Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7, and 8; and
  • Macintoshes running OS X 10.5 or later.

Gesture GloveAs it is based on technology that has thus far been used for games, and not productivity software (or even handy-dandy tablet apps), there has been some resistance to the Gesture Glove. It looks a bit clunky and it does take getting used to unless you’ve been using a similar game-controller. The moves you learn for Microsoft Office on a PC will work just as well with Office for Mac on our MacBook Pro rental. Controlling media files for volume, playback, etc., is also a learn-once, apply-everywhere proposition.

A simple wave of your hand (your right one, as there is no “left hand” model) initiates control of the on-screen cursor. A device wrapped around the glove’s index finger has two buttons for invoking right and left clicks with your thumb. Finally, a pause button is on the underside of the button device. Fact is, you can get a lot done with just a few moves and gestures.  The integrated USB charger provides 12 hours of use after one hour of charging. Like most Bluetooth devices, it has a maximum range of about 30-40 feet.

A Crowded Field… for Now

The new Gesture Glove is based on a design project by Google and is an exclusive offering from what is known as Japan’s “rare things shop,” the Thanko firm. Its compatibility with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android makes it a broad-based peripheral anyone can use. Plenty of other companies are jumping into this market too. As the technology progresses, and better and better glove controllers (and other new input devices) are developed, we’ll be back to update you!

While CRE does not currently stock the Gesture Glove we do have the latest and greatest technology, including Mac Pro, wifi arrays and HD 4k monitor.  Let us solve your technology rental needs by calling today 877-266-7725 or simply Contact Us.

 

March 20th, 2014

Lately the tech media has been full of stories about Microsoft’s Xbox vs. Sony’s PS4, the advent of cheaper phones, cable company mergers, and Internet security. There is so much happening at times that it’s hard to know what to focus on every week. We thought we’d take this opportunity to mention a few other important developments, ones that deal with practical, everyday tech that everyone can use and benefit from. In no particular order, then, here are some recent headlines you may have missed:

• Latest iOS 7.1 Release Features CarPlay

Apple iOS 7Apple’s most recent update to iOS, 7.1, is a freebie that fixes a hefty collection of bugs and brings some thoughtful touches to Siri (now that other firms are releasing talking helpers). The headline-worthy news, though, is the CarPlay interface, debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. Apple fans will likely love it, although the critics are already picking it apart. We shall see!

• Amazon Increases Prime Membership Rate

Not long ago Amazon acquired the movie catalog of Lovefilm, some 70,000 titles, and pundits predicted it would lead to an increase in Amazon Prime membership. They were right; price has gone up by $20 for an annual membership. Members can access Amazon and use their membership benefits from any MacBook Pro, PC laptop, iPad rental, or even a smartphone, but number-crunchers are debating the value of the membership. It will be interesting to see what happens, since this is one of Amazon’s core business models.

Valve Shows Off Steam Controller Upgrades

Spokesmen for Valve, the upstart console maker, stated at January’s Steam Dev Days game developer conference that the company was considering “major changes” to the Steam controller. Steam Gaming ControllerThis latest iteration of the device is meant to move Steam users from the bedroom to the living room. The 2013 prototype had a central touchscreen and four hard-to-reach front buttons, with main control triggers and “paddles” on the unit’s backside. Traditional controller design is evidently back in favor, with two diamond-shaped button layouts almost identical to the Xbox or PS4—and the touchscreen, used to great advantage on tablets, laptops, and our own LCD touchscreen monitor rental, was determined to be overkill. Those big, round, high-resolution touchpads—don’t they look like speakers?—are still the major user interface.

What Do We Know About iOS 8?

Just a quick mention: Chinese website Weibo claims to have obtained leaked screenshots of  iOS 8, Apple’s next mobile operating system. The images show some expected changes—the new Healthbook app, for instance—but there are also three unexpected additions: Preview, Tips, and TextEdit. The authenticity of the images are now being debated.

One thing that is not up for debate are CRE’s excellent service and customer commitment. We continue to rent the latest technology equipment from Mac Pro to 4K HD monitor for entertainment production offices to corporate events. Want to learn more about our products and services? Call us at 877-266-7725.

March 14th, 2014

Microsoft Office for iOS was a rumor for much longer than it’s been a “fact,” but as with all things Microsoft, if Mary Jo Foley says it’s happening, it is. Fact is, Apple could never break into the enterprise world with its Macintosh computers, but has been making serious headway with the iPad as many other large firms have been outfitting employees with tablets.

Meanwhile, with uncharacteristic subtlety, Apple has gradually injected itself into the enterprise, and Microsoft (like other software developers) wouldn’t mind having its flagship product on all those new iPads heading for big companies. Of course, both Apple and Microsoft also win when companies like CRE Rentals add to their iPad rental inventories.

Sneak Peek at Office for iOS

It appears that you’ll need to purchase an annual subscription to Microsoft Office 365 to access Office for iOS when it debuts. (Fortune 500s will get better deals, of course.) Start by either opening an existing document or making a new one (the latter only in Word or Excel, not PowerPoint). There are some usable templates to get you going, but unfortunately this is where the going gets tough. Building a completely new document from scratch is a grueling process, as there are strange limitations throughout. Let’s take a quick look:

Word: This is not the beloved Office for Mac word processor you find when you rent iMac computers. On Office for iOS, Word’s default bullet list limits you to two lines; you cannot add new pictures, replace fonts, or apply new formatting to paragraphs; and the app uses non-standard taps and gestures. Essentially, you can use this version of Word to perform some light editing on documents you made in another, full-featured version of Word.

PowerPoint: Unlike Word and Excel, you cannot create new presentations, only edit the text on template slides. The insurmountable problem, of course, is that you can’t adjust text boxes, fonts, or font attributes. Use more than the provided space and confusion reigns. Again, it may suffice for minor edits but it is by no means an enterprise-level tool.

Excel: The venerable spreadsheet makes out best in this emasculated package. All the functionality missing from Word and PowerPoint are present in Excel. You can make a variety of original charts, shade text cells, auto-adjust number displays, and use standard Excel formulas. There’s a reason that Office is on almost every PC and Mac computer rental in the known world: Excel is the best spreadsheet ever, hands down. It even shines here.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, as presently constituted, Office for iOS shines in very few other ways. The collaboration features are strong, allowing individual comments on cells, paragraphs, slides, even specific words. Not only can you grab files from OneDrive, but you can also access all of your different SharePoints. If you are heavy into collaborative working, the sharing/commenting features could be useful. Still, it would make sense to consider Google Docs before investing in this low-rent Office.

Is this Apple’s move into the Enterprise world? Only time will tell but in the meantime, CRE Rentals has been renting iPads, Mac equipment and the latest technology to companies large and small. With over 30 years of experience and now 21 locations nationwide, we can get you the rental equipment you need, where you need. Get a quote now or give us a call at 877.266-7725.

March 6th, 2014

In August 2012, the Consumer Electronics Association decided to retire the term “4K” and dub the latest resolution champ “Ultra High Definition” instead. Partially defined as a resolution of “at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels,” Sony decided the very next day to call the technology “4K Ultra High Definition,” now the industry-wide term. With the advent of 4K-UHD, there are now four major screen resolutions used: standard definition (480p/540p), high definition (720p), full high definition (1080i/p), and ultra high definition (2160p).

Today, with HD and 4K sets widely available, most television programs, online videos and DVDs are still broadcast in standard definition, which is 480 “lines” per the tube-TV-era specification. There’s a good reason that graphics and post-production pros get up close and personal with a 4K monitor rental. The benefits of 4K are even greater for professionals in design, multimedia, video, film, or post than for home theater aficionados, who are understandably excited about the new resolution, too.

4K: For doers, not watchers

TV makers big and small will release 4K models or lines in 2014, most of them in the “premium” niche, along with the “smart” TVs that display streams from your MacBook Pro rental, PC, iPad, or phone. For the kind of creatives that CRE supports with render farms and other high-powered tech tools, there is a lot of work ahead. That’s a double-edged sword: They’ll work a lot on 4K displays, creating better and better graphics and viewing experiences for others to watch on their own home theater 4K screens. (More about consumers and 4K coming soon!)

The TVs at CES 2014 revealed that manufacturers have accepted the fact that we have entered “the 4K era.” Today’s creative and production pros depend up0n the highest possible resolution for use in the entertainment industry and a 4K display offers unmatched visual clarity. CRE now offers a 50-inch ultra high definition monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, perfectly suited for film editing, video, and post production with its stunning picture clarity and superior color saturation. CRE has worked closely with the entertainment industry, from music and TV shows to feature films, awards shows, and state-of-the-art animation. 

Good for Business, Too

What works in the entertainment industry can also do double duty in the business world, where clear and direct communication that gets noticed is essential to corporate events. A 4K display monitor will grab the attention of conference attendees by replacing traditional printed signage with motion graphics, beautifully rendered. You can easily control messaging and everything else with a MacBook Pro or iPad rental. Since 2014′s the year that 4K screens will replace the current “high-end” 1080p models to become the latest and greatest, don’t wait too long to ask us about how they can help you, too!

You can also depend on CRE Rentals for technology rentals you need to set up a production office or to make a splash at your next corporate event or conference. Our seasoned professionals can help so complete a Quick Quote (if you know what you need) or give us a call at 877-266-7725.