The 8 Hottest New Devices for 2017

When it comes to the latest technology, you can never have too many options. And for tech lovers, there is nothing like the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which takes place Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas.

CES delivered an exciting look at the newest Windows 10 devices that will make your life easier by having a battery life long enough to last through a 15-hour flight, allowing you to log into your computer with just your face – no need to remember a password and much more. Featuring experiences such as Windows Hello, touch, Windows Ink, Cortana and Continuum, these devices will command attention this year. From PCs to all-in-ones, gaming solutions and portable devices, here are some of the most amazing unveilings from CES 2017 sure to enable the creator in everyone. 

1. Dell Canvas. Channeling the innovative possibilities of Windows 10 and the upcoming Creators Update into a new category of smart workspace technology, the Dell Canvas expands productivity allowing you to create, communicate and express your ideas as naturally as you do with pen and paper. Through the use of touch, digital pen and totems, you can turn drawings into part of the digital workflow with Windows Ink or mark up webpages in Microsoft Edge. Powered by virtually any Windows 10 PC, this device plugs seamlessly into software solutions from many partners to unleash the creative genius in everyone. 

2. Samsung Notebook Odyssey. Built specifically for intense and casual gamers alike, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey features advanced technology, such as the HexaFlow Vent, an advanced cooling and ventilation system allowing the device to remain cool at all times. For optimal gameplay, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey is equipped with an intelligent and robust processer. Powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, both models of the Samsung Notebook Odyssey offer lightning fast performance with premium graphic technologies. 

3. LG Gram. Weighing in at only 2 pounds and featuring a 60W battery – the highest capacity in the industry to-date – for a long battery life between charges, the LG Gram has a near edgeless touch screen and is built to deliver superior portability. Complete with a built-in fingerprint scanner that unlocks Windows Hello, the LG Gram promises to be this year’s hot travel companion. 

4. HP Spectre x360. The second generation of HP’s 15.6-inch revolutionary x360 is the most powerful in the Spectre profile and can be pre-ordered today. Its bigger battery allows for up to 12 hours while powering a micro-edge 4K display and featuring the latest Intel processors, high performance NVIDIA GeForce 940MX discrete graphics. It also offers fast and secure login with Windows Hello and a nearly borderless display with two new front-facing speakers to round out the user experience.

5. Lenovo ThinkPad XI Yoga. The latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga is flawlessly flexible and adapts to your needs offering true multi-mode capability that delivers stunning colors and absolute blacks. The only 14-inch notebook with an OLED display option, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga also comes with a redesigned rechargeable pen and improved “rise and fall” keyboard. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be available in February. 

6. Toshiba Portégé X20W. A premium 2-in-1 convertible PC running Windows 10 Pro with a 360-degree dual-action hinge allow you to use the Portégé as a notebook or digital inking tablet. And with a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, the Portégé packs plenty of power into its thin, 2.5-pound frame that includes a 16-hour battery. The pre-configured Portégé X20W will be available soon in Slate Gray. 

7. Acer Aspire VX 15. With its crisp videos, smooth games and clear audio, the Aspire will be hot throughout 2017. Available in January, the Aspire is equipped with a 7th Generation Intel Core processor, a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen and dual fans to keep it running at optimal temperature, no matter how much you push it during a gaming session. 

8. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro Gaming Laptop. Created with the gamer in mind, the MSI GS63VR delivers a faster and smoother VR experience and is part of the latest lineup of MSI gaming devices powered by Windows 10. Thanks to the new 7th Generation Intel Core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 Ti & GTX1050 gaming graphics cards. Enhanced audio makes the GS63VR ready to support the finest audio quality through SABRE HiFi DAC delivered straight to high-end headsets.

These are just a few of the hottest devices shown for the first time at CES, and if you didn’t get a chance to see them at the show, don’t worry. They’ll be available in the coming weeks at your nearest Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com or a partner retailer, so don’t wait to experience this amazing new tech this year. (BPT)

Financial Tips: 5 Ways to Digitize Your Life and Save Even More

Technology evolves and improves seemingly every time you blink. From apps to virtual reality and voice assistants to robots, technology affords us the ability to make life easier so we can enjoy what matters most to us. And when it comes to managing finances, digitizing your life can actually have a bonus effect on your wallet.

Digital Lifestyle Expert Katie Linendoll teamed up with Capital One to share simple tips to digitize your life and save even more. “We live in a day and age where new technologies afford us the ability to improve our lives in new, offbeat ways,” Linendoll says. “By applying that same principle to our personal finance routines, we’re better poised to cut unnecessary costs while saving precious time and hard earned money, too.”

Whether you’re budgeting for back-to-school season, saving for your next vacation or simply just “tech curious,’” Linendoll’s tips offer a great way to employ modern technology to aide your bottom line.

1. Make your home smarter. Strengthening your financial IQ begins at home. Enhancing your home life with smart products can save you time, energy and money. By switching to a smart thermostat, which can turn on and off when you need to, you’ll save up to $145/year.

2. Cut the cord. The average cable bill per household is around $99 per month, and most people only watch a handful of those channels. A one-time purchase of a media streaming device costs about the same as a single month of cable. Subscribe to your favorites and you can save around $1,000 a year.

3. Leverage cutting edge technology. Voice-activated technologies hold a lot of promise to make our lives easier. For example, with the Capital One Skill for Amazon Alexa, you can use any Amazon Alexa-enabled device like the Amazon Echo to access your Capital One accounts and check your balance, make a payment and manage your account — all using just your voice.

4. Trade in your old tech for cash. Have some old phones and tablets lying around? They could be worth a couple hundred bucks. Many internet trade-in sites and retail stores will offer gift cards and even free shipping for your old tech through something called “recommerce,” aka reverse commerce. If you can make money off old things lying around, do it!

5. Take charge of your spending (and saving). Many Americans struggle to come up with emergency expenses, which makes having the flexibility to bank more ways all the more critical. Enroll with a bank like Capital One, which offers great digital tools and services — such as Online BillPay, Enhanced Transactions, Mobile Check Deposit and Personalized Alerts — which ultimately work harder for you and your bottom line.

The Right Technology Services Are the Key to Killer Customer Service

Think sales numbers trump customer service? Think again. Research shows companies focused on providing a superior experience across the customer journey realized a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 10-15 percent increase in revenue. Furthermore, 45 percent of people will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. And perhaps the most shocking of all: It costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer.

Given these factors many companies are taking a closer look at their customer retention rates and evaluating the customer experiences they provide. To meet customers on their terms and facilitate employee productivity, it’s critical to invest in new technology. However, not all businesses have the internal IT resources or expertise to efficiently implement technology and effectively manage it on a continuous basis.

For these businesses, working with a trusted technology partner provides an easier route to weather the changes and delight customers. Numerous companies have worked with Dell to ensure they don’t have to worry about downtime or system failure. Dell ProSupport Plus, for instance, provides these companies with the highest level of hardware and software support so they can deliver the best experience to their customers. Powered by Dell’s SupportAssist technology, this support program not only helps resolve issues quickly and proactively, but can also prevent issues before they happen through predictive capabilities. This means less effort by IT staff and more peace-of-mind for both the company and their customers. For example, Dell ProSupport Plus with SupportAssist users are able to spend up to 91 percent less time on resolution. Imagine what an IT staff could do when they’re able to shift that time away from maintenance.

Another time when a technology provider’s services become critical is when businesses implement new solutions. The continual evolution of technology such as cloud, converged datacenters and big data presents a world of new opportunities – and new challenges. Not only do businesses need to contemplate how to get their new technology up and running quickly, they also need to be able to maintain, refresh and address any issues that arise.

To sail over the many potential hurdles, the Dell ProDeploy Enterprise Suite is helping IT managers and business leaders navigate the growing complexity of multiple platforms and risk of transitioning to new technologies while minimizing any downtime, all within the confines of limited resources and budgets. Businesses can rely on Dell experts and partners to lead deployments from basic hardware installation through planning, configuration and complex integrations. Companies using Dell deployment services can reduce IT effort by 91 percent and deploy systems 39 percent faster.

With new technology solutions up and running, businesses should be positioned to provide the best customer service possible. However, without a properly trained crew there will be no one to sail the ship or right it when needed. In addition to investing in technology, organizations need to give their IT team the right training and tools to do their job well. Dell has addressed this critical need by introducing training and certification that gives a company’s IT staff access to the same resources as Dell engineers.

If the technology powering the business is running smoothly, it’s reflected in effortless and memorable interactions with customers that inspire loyalty and build revenue.

Customer service IT services and customer support will continue to evolve as new technologies are developed and customer expectations will continue to rise. By being proactive and partnering with a technology vendor who is intent on staying ahead of the curve, companies can gain an edge against the competition while building an unbreakable brand reputation.

Three DIY Ways to Improve Your Home WiFi

You don’t need an expert to tell you: America is hooked on the internet. Just try to think of the last day you didn’t use the web in some way.

But you probably don’t think much about the main way the internet is delivered: through WiFi. It powers your computer at work — as well as the Facebook feed you’re discreetly checking under your desk. At home, it’s the new electricity. Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora rely on it. It powers activities on your smartphone, unless you want to rack up a huge data bill from your carrier. WiFi runs the kids’ Xbox and maybe even your thermostat and security camera — these days, almost every device in the home is thirsty for WiFi.

When you do think about WiFi, it’s usually because it’s not working — and driving you nuts. Before investing in a more expensive internet package or living with buffering videos and router resets, here are three do-it-yourself ways to improve your home WiFi:

Move your router

If you have rooms that don’t have access to the internet — dead zones — first try moving your router to a more central location in the home. Because routers have a limited range, it’s important that your router is in a central area. If you can’t move the router to a different location, try elevating it on a table or shelf to spread the signal more efficiently.

Large metal appliances, like refrigerators, and electronics that emit radio waves, like microwaves, can interfere with your network’s signal. Keeping the router out of places like the kitchen can help bolster the range and speed of your WiFi.

Upgrade to a mesh network

Most households rely on a single router. But with the steep increase in home internet usage, one WiFi router may not be adequate to support all the devices connected to it.

A San Francisco company, eero, was the first to bring a mesh WiFi system into the home. eero — which is about as simple as anything gets in the tech world — works by swapping out your current router, plugging a single eero into your modem, then placing additional eeros throughout the house. The devices work together to create a wireless mesh network that delivers fast, reliable WiFi to every room. Their mesh technology ensures people are getting the same internet speeds they’re paying for throughout the entire home, instead of just near wherever their cable pipe comes in.

eero is quick to set up and makes it easy for people to manage their networks through a smartphone app. The app allows you to monitor your internet network from afar and invite guests to join the network via a text message. Parents can even assign schedules for when devices can access WiFi, making it easy to limit their kids’ internet usage.

Update your modem

An often-overlooked device that may be throttling your WiFi signal is the cable modem, the device that translates the data coming in through your cable pipe into a digital language your router can understand.

Households should update their modems every three to five years. If yours is outdated, it could be impacting the quality of your signal and speed. Many people rent their modem from their internet service provider for $5-10 a month. Purchasing a new, updated modem usually costs $50-100, but you’ll save money on a rental fee while seeing major improvements to your WiFi.

The way we use the internet today has changed and the old ways of WiFi are not keeping pace. Whether it’s moving your router, upgrading to an eero mesh network, or just swapping out your modem, you shouldn’t have to deal with buffering, dead zones, or router resets.

High-End Home Upgrades

For most people, the home is their family’s most significant asset. Upgrading is a smart approach to protecting and growing the value of that investment.

Home upgrades come in all shapes and sizes, from minor landscaping projects to large-scale security installations. When looking to make an impact, it’s smart to opt for high-end upgrades such as those that boost security or enhance the technologic features of your home.

These upgrades not only lend an upscale feel, but can bring families peace of mind while enhancing the ways to enjoy their home.

Home Security

Whether you’re aiming for a stronger sense of personal safety or extra protection for your valuable possessions, today’s security systems take home monitoring to a whole new level. Basic keypad alarms have been replaced by a host of features, such as silent alarms that allow authorities to catch a burglar in action; cameras that allow you to monitor the premises from inside the home or while you’re away using a connected device; motion detectors that simultaneously trigger exterior and interior lights while activating security cameras and more. There is no one solution for every home, but a home security expert can talk through your concerns and guide you to the system that best fits your needs.

Standby Generators

When seasonal weather or other circumstances cause power outages, the impact on a home and family can range from inconvenient to unsafe. A standby generator system keeps a household humming even when the power is out – automatically. An important feature to look for is power management technology, which manages the power balancing act that is your home’s appliances.

For example, Briggs & Stratton Fortress standby generators are equipped with Symphony II Power Management, which lets homeowners prioritize what in their home they need powered by proactively monitoring and managing the home’s backup power needs, allowing for whole-house power with a more affordable generator. This power management system also uses remote power-switching modules that are installed directly to a home’s existing wiring, to help reduce installation costs. For more information about standby generator systems and their features, visit powernow.com.

Wireless Automation

You may think of it as just a phone, but the tiny computer you carry every day packs the power to control an ever-growing segment of your home. Using an app on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can control everything from your locks and lights to the temperature setting on your thermostat. What’s more, you can create settings that integrate multiple functions to set the perfect ambiance for whatever you have in mind. Planning on a movie night? Cue the movie setting, with dimmed lights, blinds lowered and the TV powered on. Hosting a party? Count on your custom entertaining setup, with lighting in all your guest-friendly rooms, lively music playing on your whole-home sound system and a lower temperature to keep things cool as the party heats up.

The options are nearly endless when it comes to elevating your home’s features. By combining practical functions and indulgent improvements, you can take your homeowner satisfaction to new heights.

5 Tips to Keep Your Cellphone Running Smoothly

We all love the convenience of modern cellphones. They’re so much more than just phones – they’ve become our cameras, calendars, mailboxes, entertainment consoles and internet browsers.

But all those apps, photos, videos and games compete for a limited amount of room in which to operate. If you’re not careful, your phone’s memory will quickly become the digital equivalent of a traffic jam. Suddenly, space is hard to come by, so everything slows down – and when it does, we no longer love our cellphone quite so much.

According to experts at Consumer Cellular, a wireless provider specializing in working with clients 50 and older, this doesn’t mean it’s time to scrap your phone. Instead, they recommend trying a few simple housecleaning steps, outlined below, before giving up on a sluggish device. These will help clear out most of the unwanted clutter and might just restore your phone’s performance back to nearly new.

Do you Really Use All Those Apps?

Take a long look at the apps you’ve downloaded, and decide which ones you use regularly and therefore need to keep. Delete the rest. Unused apps not only hog precious storage space, they also impact your battery life, as they are constantly restarting and running in the background without you even realizing it. You can always download an app again later if you discover you can’t live without it. But for now, get rid of the extras.

Learn to Manage Photos and Videos

Nothing beats the convenience of taking digital photos and videos on your cellphone. Unlike using film, there’s no set limit to how many you can take. But there definitely is a limit to how many you’ll want to keep stored on your device. Photos, and especially videos, chew up memory with each one you save. You also run the risk of losing the entire collection if something happens to your phone to wipe out its memory, or if it is lost or stolen.

Review your saved items frequently to make sure you’re not keeping too many duplicates. Perhaps most importantly, regularly back up your files to a computer, external hard drive, or cloud-based storage – then delete all (or most) of them from your phone. This will take a few extra minutes, but it’s time well spent: it not only frees up space on your device, it also safeguards against your precious memories getting wiped away.

Clean Up After Browsing

When you surf the internet on your phone, each website stores a unique collection of images, videos, or text files required to display things like web pages and advertisements. These files makeup what’s called the phone’s cache memory, or cached data.

Cached data is saved within your browser so that next time you access the site you already have the information necessary for it to load quickly. It’s a wonderful tool for web pages you visit frequently. But for sites you’ll rarely visit again, these files simply take up valuable digital real estate. As they accumulate, you’ll start to notice web pages taking a lot longer to load, making your browsing experience much less enjoyable.

To avoid this, make it a habit to periodically clear your cache memory. While each Android phone or iPhone is slightly different, the general process will include going to the “Settings” menu on your phone, then locating your Storage, Apps, or Applications Manager menu. Cached data is usually stored here, clearly labeled. Follow the prompts to delete unwanted files.

Make Your Contacts Count

Without careful attention, your “Electronic Phone Book” can overflow with duplicate entries or just-plain unimportant contacts. The cost of all that extra data is not only time wasted scrolling through extraneous information; it’s also eating up memory you could use for more valuable things.

Review and organize your contacts regularly to make sure you have a well-organized and up-to-date list. Group a person’s work, cellphone, and home phone number together under a single entry. Delete entries you won’t likely need again. And sync your contact list with your Apple or Google contacts to create a backup, just in case anything happens to your phone or its stored data.

Keep it as Good as New

Just keep in mind that while cellphones are wondrous, state-of-the-art technology, that doesn’t mean they won’t require some good old-fashioned human intervention from time-to-time.

Your phone, and your enjoyment of it, will benefit tremendously from regular monitoring and simple maintenance. Whether you’re using an entry-level flip phone or the most advanced smartphone, a little TLC will go a long way toward keeping things operating efficiently and extending the useful life of your device.

5 Ways Tech Can Help You Score Home Entertaining Gold

Many Americans are avid sports fans, and technology has made it easier than ever for them to enjoy their favorite sporting events in the comfort of their own home. From annual events like January’s Big Game and month-long college basketball tournaments, to international competitions that draw athletes and audiences from around the world, Americans love to gather together to celebrate their favorite sporting events.

If you are hosting the ultimate game-viewing party for the 2016 summer games, here are five technology devices to outfit your home that can help you score entertaining gold with family and friends:

Sports apps. Leagues and sporting events of virtually every kind have free apps you can use to keep up on what’s happening with your favorite teams and athletes. You can even download an app with news and schedules for the 2016 summer games, a searchable database of medalists, records and more. Use it to host a party under a theme tied to a specific game and help everyone keep track of the latest.

Portable projector. You can take advantage of good weather by taking the viewing party outdoors with a portable projector. The lightweight “Minibeam” LED projector from LG, for example, is easily transportable, weighing only 1.43 pounds with an embedded battery that provides up to 2.5 hours of run time, eliminating the need to plug in every time you use the device. Bluetooth connectivity means it can connect and share content between Bluetooth-enabled devices while delivering high-definition picture quality that’s clear and bright with sharp contrast and rich blacks. It can also stream content directly from premium content providers like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, among others.

Wireless speakers. Pick up on every cheer and capture the emotion in every winner’s voice when you use wireless speakers arranged to optimize sound. Wireless speakers like Music Flow can connect to your TV, surround sound system and even your mobile devices to ensure no one misses a moment of their favorite sporting events.

Fan Fridge. Let your guests help themselves! Many LG refrigerators feature a “door-in-door” compartment, which makes it easier for your fellow fans to quickly and easily access must-have snacks stored in the interior door compartment. Just stock the compartment with their favorites, and they can access the food and drink they want with a touch of a button – and without ever having to open the entire refrigerator. Not only is this convenient, but opening just this section of the fridge will keep cold air in to help food stay fresher for longer – most useful during those hot summer days to prevent cold air escaping from where it matters most.

A smart cooler. If you’ve decided to move your sports celebration outdoors, you’ll need a way to keep beverages and snacks cool and fresh. A smart cooler can do the trick, and some of them will even charge your cell phone. From smart coolers that are equipped with a solar panel that can charge small mobile devices, to ones that have removable blenders and built-in Bluetooth speakers, or interior lights that make night-game snacking a cinch, today’s smart coolers are a far cry from the Styrofoam boxes of your childhood!

To learn more about electronics and appliances that can help you score a win during game-day entertaining, visit www.LG.com.

Finding the Best Cooling Options for Hot Garages

The best and worst ways to cool a hot garage

The garage is a haven for car enthusiasts and hobbyists like woodworkers – that is until the temperatures start to increase. Outdoor work spaces get hot fast when the mercury rises. Whether the garage is your man cave or where you work to make a living, don’t let the heat stop your productivity.

There’s a variety of options that can help to keep garages comfortably cool so you can stay on track with your projects, but some are far more effective than others. Do your research and learn the pros and cons of each so you can select the best one for your needs.

Fans

Fans seem like a quick fix to hot garage troubles. Both oscillating and ceiling options are inexpensive and easy to install. The drawback: fans are minimally effective. Fans alone simply circulate stagnant, hot air throughout the space. What’s more, if the garage is large, the air circulation may not spread through the entire area.

AC Units

Mobile air conditioners (AC) are more expensive than fans, but can be an effective way to cool garage spaces. Keep in mind, using an air conditioner does require the space to be closed off. Depending what the garage is being used for, this may be impossible for some people.

If you have a window in the garage, a window AC unit may work well because it vents directly outside. For garages without windows – which is typically more common – installing AC can be problematic. The unit requires a place to ventilate the heat generated from the compressor. This not only limits the mobility of the unit, but also requires fixed-ductwork and adds another point of heat generation.

Harsh refrigerants and energy consumption are other drawbacks. Refrigerants are an integral part of AC options to emit cool air, and running the unit uses a lot of energy which can cause energy bills to skyrocket.

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative cooling is gaining popularity due to its effectiveness and versatility. Portable evaporative coolers cool warm air and drop temperatures using tap water, a pump and a wetted surface to create the naturally occurring process of evaporation. When the air in the garage is pulled across the water, the temperature of that air naturally lowers. This effect is similar to the chill you get coming out of a pool or how the wind off the lake feels cooler.

A garage enthusiast’s favorite is the Portacool Jestream 240 because it’s compact, portable and can be used with the garage door open to provide cooling throughout the space. Plus, it’s far more energy efficient than running an AC unit consistently. In fact, it pulls the same amount of electricity as a small household appliance so it won’t zap your energy bill. Even better, there’s no compressor to vent residual heat and there are no harsh chemicals or refrigerants involved.

The Portacool Jestream 240 is surprisingly effective at cooling garages. It’s been proven to deliver a temperature reduction from 8 to 10 degrees in the morning in the highest humidity regions (Miami, New Orleans or Boston), and up to 12 to 15 degrees later in the day when the relative humidity goes down as the temperature goes up. Learn more at www.portacool.com.

Additional Considerations

Now that you’ve determined the best cooling option for you, there are a few final things to consider. To start, insulation can make a big difference when regulating temperatures, especially in closed spaces. Consider adding paper-backed batt-insulation to the ceiling and walls. Additionally, ditch anything that puts off unnecessary heat, such as old incandescent bulbs since 90 percent of the energy used is given off as heat. Instead, replace with energy-sipping and cool running LEDs.

Video Games to Big Screen Reboots, ’90s Nostalgia Rules Pop Culture This Summer

Every decade gets two moments in the sun it seems – when the years actually occur, and when they’re fashionably retro. In the twenty-teens, it looks like everything 90s is hot again.

The influence of the 90s is showing up virtually everywhere in pop culture in 2016, from reboots of movies and TV series that were hugely popular 20 years ago, to fashions that evoke the grunge era. The trend isn’t just popular among older millennials who remember the decade. Nineties style is being embraced by 20-somethings, teens and even children who are too young to recall the 90s or weren’t even born until after 1999.

Nostalgia can be a great way to bridge the gaps between generations, especially as kids discover updated versions of pop culture elements their parents who lived through the 90s loved. If you’re a child of the 90s, here are some retro experiences you can share with your kids this summer:

Video Games

While some video game characters that have been around since the earliest days of console games are familiar to kids of all ages, others are just being rediscovered by today’s young gamers. Crash Bandicoot ruled the 90s gaming scene as one of the coolest, most fun platform games of the decade.

First introduced to the gaming public in 1996, Crash jumped, ran and spun his way through more than a dozen games that sold millions of copies worldwide. Now, he’s back in the newest game in the Skylanders franchise, Skylanders Imaginators. Skylanders Imaginators gives players the freedom to unleash their imagination and create their own Skylander using immense possibilities available in the game, including appearance, powers, abilities, names, catchphrases, musical themes and much more.

No Crash game would be complete without the ability to jump on TNT Crates to blow them up or collect the Bazooka Crate to get a rocket launcher. Crash is back in ways that will appeal to hardcore fans as well as introduce him to a new generation of gamer. Parents and kids alike will enjoy experiencing his unique and quirky personality both as a fully playable Skylander Sensei character and brand new toy. In Skylanders Imaginators, every Sensei has a devastating Sky-Chi attack, their most powerful move. Crash’s Sky-Chi attack is the ability to use a yo-yo to yank his enemies into a spin attack!

The Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack Featuring Crash Bandicoot will be available exclusively for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 at launch this October. The Crash toy will be playable across platforms.

Screen Reboots

Some of the hottest movies of the 90s are rebooting. Last year’s successful “Jurassic World” continued the dinosaur-cloning-gone-wrong cautionary tale and demonstrated the movie-going public has an appetite for 90s entertaining.

This summer, the “Independence Day” sequel is hoping to cash in on the popularity of the original that first premiered in 1996. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who first made it to the big screen in 1990, are back this summer, too. Their rebooted look and approach aims to appeal to both parents who grew up watching the original TV series and their kids who are discovering the heroes on a half shell for the first time.

Other 90s screen hits that are in the works for reboots include “Lethal Weapon” and Stephen King’s “It.”

Fashion Backward

There’s something about retro fashions that makes people willing to wear attire they wouldn’t have dreamed of trying on the first time it was popular. Older millennials who lived through the years when acid wash jeans, chunky-soled shoes and oversized shirts were the height of fashion may now wonder if their own kids raided their old closets!

With the arrival of summer, you’re sure to see more crop tops – a signature look of the 90s – paired with shorts and combat boots. When the weather cools, denim overalls, nylon bomber jackets and bucket hats will reappear.

Whether you lived through the 90s, or you’re discovering the era’s entertainment and fashions for the first time, there’s no denying the decade is experiencing a retro renaissance in modern pop culture.

For questions regarding technology, contact our Technology Editor, James Nelson at James@influential-magazine.com.

7 Gotta Get Summer Gadgets

By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

I just love summer. Aside from the longer days, jaunts to tropical locales, weekend barbeques and balmy nights out on the town, it’s a season during which my thirst for innovative and utilitarian gadgetry is thoroughly quenched. Indeed, there’s a myriad of totally awesome tech that are particularly well-suited for the summer lifestyle. Here are a few relating to lawn care, skincare, entertainment and edibles that I’ve found to be particularly pleasing.

Photography courtesy of Rachio

Photography courtesy of Rachio

Rachio Smartphone Sprinkler Controller (www.Rachio.com) – $299.99

Take control of your watering this summer with Rachio, the Smart Sprinkler Controller that gives you control of your sprinklers and watering bill right from your smartphone! The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller changes the way people water since it makes running sprinklers easy and convenient while also saving on water usage and money. Rachio automatically creates a customized watering schedule using local forecasts, soil and plant types, sun exposure, and more while keeping water conservation and landscaping health in mind. It’ll help keep your yard lush and green all summer long. Go ahead, make your neighbors green with envy with Rachio.Photo Ownership/Copyright Credit for Above

VocoPro KaraokeDual System for SmartTVs and Tablets (www.VocoPro.com) – $229

Here’s a way Karaoke singers can sound their best at home using their mobile tablets and SmartTVs. VocoPro’s KaraokeDual system is a powerful digital “boom box” with high-quality effects to provide the best possible sound. Users can connect to the system through Bluetooth and stream karaoke audio tracks wirelessly. Or, connect the KaraokeDual to an Internet-connected Smart TV using the available digital optical input and access thousands of tracks through YouTube, or popular karaoke apps like “Karaoke Channel” or “Red Karaoke.” Even sing duets with the system’s two wireless vocal microphones bundled in the package. Each mic has the controls built right into the handset for maximum convenience. For more than two decades, the VocoPro name has been synonymous with professional karaoke systems, and still holds the number one spot for high-end professional karaoke products. The company prides itself on providing industry-leading customer service. Now that’s music to my ears.

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

iBasics Tote Bag with Built-in Speaker (www.Overstock.com) – $50.00

Speaking of music, nothing beats a perfect picnic or beach outing like your favorite tunes playing in the background. Now that’s super easy with the fashionable iBasics Tote Bag with Built-in Speaker, which allows you to make your own background music while carrying your favorite outing essentials, including wet towels and bathing suits since the bag is waterproof. In addition to the detachable battery-powered speaker that plugs right into your audio source, the cute clear blue-tinted tote bag also features a large main zippered compartment and a small zippered side compartment for your smartphone and other small electronics.

Photography Courtesy of Silk'n

Photography Courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n Flash&Go Express Hair Removal Device (www.Silkn.com) – $299

Of course, in preparation for a day at the beach or pool requires some grooming, including dealing with unwanted body hair. Now you can kick old-school razors to the curb and say goodbye to unwanted hair forever with help from the Silk’n Flash&Go Express. The FDA-cleared device uses patented Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology and a convenient, compact design to permanently remove hair from head to toe with ease. Simply target the treatment area and let the Flash&Go Express do the rest with gentle pulses of light that disable hair growth at the root. In only two-to-four sessions, the company reports that most users experience visually diminished hair that is comparable to results produced by professionally administered procedures. The best part is you never have to deal with ingrown hairs, razor burn or refill cartridges again! Go ahead, be stubble free forever and make shaving a thing of the past with the Silk’n Flash&Go Express.

Photography Courtesy of Silk'n

Photography Courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n FaceFX Anti-Aging Device (www.Silkn.com) – $149.00

During those sunny summer months, anti-aging skincare should remain top of mind lest those UV rays get the best of you. Luckily I found the Silk’n FaceFX at-home anti-aging device that uses a synergistic combination of red light therapy and deep thermal heating to stimulate collagen production, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and provide a brighter, clearer, more radiant complexion. Each session takes only 15-20 minutes and is done just three times per week for the first month, and then merely once per month going forward. The company notes that some results can be seen immediately with the most dramatic changes occurring after three to seven weeks. This clinically tested and dermatologist recommended anti-aging tool can be used on crow’s feet, under the eyes, cheeks and virtually any other problem area. This gadget is a true summer savior.

Photography courtesy of Silk'n

Photography courtesy of Silk’n

Silk’n Blue Acne Treatment/Prevention Device (www.Silkn.com) – $149

Another way to save face this season is with a device called Silk’n Blue, which is a revolutionary new way to treat and prevent acne. The clinically proven, dermatologist-recommended and FDA cleared Silk’n Blue at-home device combines the synergistic power of blue light emitting diode (LED) technology and infrared (IR) heat radiation. The device offers a safe, drug-free, non-invasive, gentle and effective way to combat the root causes of both present and future acne. By simply pressing the device down on problem areas, the blue light penetrates the skin to destroy bacteria that lives deep beneath the skin’s surface, while the IR heat initiates deep tissue warming and dehydrates the oil-overproducing sebaceous glands. With regular use, visible results can be seen in as little as three to seven weeks and is a great way to put your best face forward.

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Photography courtesy of Overstock.com

Nostalgia Electrics Vintage Collection Old-fashioned 6-quart Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker (www.Overstock.com) – $93.45
Create your own chocolate ice cream, peach frozen yogurt, vanilla gelato and more with the Nostalgia Electrics ice cream maker. Designed to make up to six quarts of dessert (ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato) at a time, this adorable Vintage-styled electric ice cream maker features an old-fashioned woodgrain appearance. The aluminum canister is rust-resistant and, with hits large capacity, you can entertain several guests or family members in one go. Use ingredients right from local market for fresh homemade treats this season and beyond!

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Merilee Kern

Merilee Kern

“The Luxe List” Executive Editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for exemplary travel experiences, extraordinary events, and notable products and services. Submissions are accepted at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***