Wednesday, July 10, 2019

STAR TREK DIGITAL DECORATIONS

AtmosFX
Sci-Fi fans can add some special effects magic to provide a Star Trek theme to special occasions thanks to AtmosFX. A new licensing partnership with CBS Consumer Products has allowed AtmosFX which specializes in providing consumers with easy to use digital decorations to create a fantastic collection of Star Trek special effects. Beam in your favorite Star Trek characters to make guests at your party or event starry eyed.

"The Star Trek: Beam Me Up Digital Decorations allow fans to go where no one has gone before and feature the images and voices of their favorite Star Trek characters as digital projections that beam into their parties and special events,” AtmosFX Co-Founder, Pete Reichert communicated to ageekdaddy.com. “In addition to their favorite characters, these decorations include multiple backgrounds and transporter effects that, when combined with a projector, will allow one, three, or even five fans to pretend they are being beamed in or out by a transporter like the ones used on Star Trek spacecraft. This adds a whole new level of interaction when it comes to enjoying digital decorations."



The collection features seven decorations displayable on a TV or monitor, or on windows and walls using a projector. Decorations are also available in AtmosFX’s Hollusion™ mode which, when used with Hollusion Projection Material, creates the illusion of holographic projections of your favorite Star Trek characters in thin air. In addition, the collection comes with a variety of transporter effects that let people immerse themselves in a Ster Trek experience.

Star Trek characters and backgrounds available as digital decorations are based upon the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and Discovery as well as the movie Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn. This Star Trek: Beam Me Up AtmosFX Digital Decoration collection is available as a high-definition digital download exclusively at atmosfx.com/collections/decorations/products/star-trek-beam-me-up. Anyone planning a Star Trek party needs to check this out!

AtmosFX
AtmosFX


AtmosFX was founded in 2007 by Reichert, a former MTV producer, and Pete Williams, an animator, and TV show creator. They wanted to provide everyone the chance to have fun with digital special effects similar to the high-end video installations they’d produced for amusement parks and museums. From decorating homes for Halloween to helping make science fictions events at schools, libraries and community centers stellar, people are sure to be wowed when they see AtmosFX Star Trek: Beam Me Up Digital Decorations.

NEW STAR TREK CARTOON COMING TO NICKELODEON

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios have greenlight a new animated series to be developed by Emmy Award winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) meant to expand the STAR TREK universe for a new generation of fans. This original CG-animated series will tell the story of a group of teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure. The show's debut date on Nickelodeon hasn't been released yet so STAR TREK fans will want to be alert for future announcements.

“Star Trek’s’ mission is to inspire generations of dreamers to build a brighter future,” show executive producer Alex Kurtzman relayed to ageekdaddy.com. “Dan and Kevin have crafted a story that honors its exploratory spirit in a way that’s never been done before, while the Nickelodeon team blew us away with their excitement at bringing ‘Trek’ to a younger generation around the world.”

Emmy Award-winning brothers Kevin and Dan Hageman were co-executive producers on the Emmy Award-winning series “Trollhunters,” co-created the hit “The LEGO Movie,” wrote and executive produced “LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu” and developed the theatrical “The Lego Ninjago Movie.” Additional credits include “Hotel Transylvania” (story creators) and “The Croods 2” (writers). These two have some series creative chops when it comes to animation which bodes well for this upcoming Nickelodeon cartoon.

It is the newest addition to the expanding “Star Trek” television universe. It joins STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS, a series of short stories tied to DISCOVERY; the new untitled “Star Trek” series featuring Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard; STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS from Mike McMahan (“Rick and Morty”), an animated series for mature audiences; and a new “Star Trek” project based on “Section 31,” which is in development with Michelle Yeoh attached to star. All these projects, except for this new Nickelodeon edition, are on the CBS streaming platform CBS All Access in the U.S.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

CM TRANSLATOR

review
Have you ever been nervous about international travel because of not knowing a foreign language? I'll admit it I have! So I was geeked about testing out a new portable translator device from Cheetah Mobile that opens up the world by allowing people who don't share a common language to easily communicate with the push of a button. This sleek looking device isn't something from science fiction; but rather a handy tool that is being launched through Indiegogo right now!

With one click of a button, CM Translator identified phrases and questions I spoke in English and translated them into other languages. A high-sensitivity microphone built into this convenient to carry around handheld device can identify and translate speech from up to 10 feet away. Utilizing a smart phone app connected via Bluetooth, CM Translator pronounces through your phone's speaker what you said translated from English into the language you selected from its menu as well as displays text of what is being communicated in both how it was originally spoken and translated.

I tested this feature out by asking out loud "how do I get to the bus stop?" then selecting it to be translated from English to the five other languages this device translates. Those are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Thai. Cheetah Mobile also plans on upgrading CM Translator in the near future to include a number of additional languages including Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian.

Wow! After asking my question to the translator, they were repeated to me in each of the foreign languages from my phone. Plus each time I selected a different language, the text showed up on my phone's display screen too. CM Translator worked just as promised!

review


But wait there is more! If the device just translated English into other languages that is a pretty one sided approach for trying to have a conversation. That isn't a problem with CM Translator though. If someone speaks towards the CM Translator's microphone in one of its programmed languages the app in your phone will process it and pronounce what is being said in English. It has two way language translation capabilities. Impressive!

So how exactly to you use it? First, sync a purchased device to a free to download app on your mobile phone. CM Translator is compatible with Android and Apple devices with the app available on the App Store or Google Play.

Next select the language being used from a menu on the app and press down on the button of the CM Translator while you or someone else is talking. Release the button when you want the translation to be broadcast via your phone. Voila! Enjoy a real-time translation.

The communicator will become confused if you try to translate more than a sentence at a time. So keep your statements short. Don't be going on and on and on expecting the device to keep up with you. Hey remember this is break through technology here!

I had a friend shout out some words, phrases and questions to me in Spanish. My phone repeated everything back to me accurately in English. CM Translator was right every time! It felt like the Universal Translator from Star Trek was being born right in front of me. Isn't it amazing to see ideas that were originally pie in the sky fantasies become reality?!

cheetah mobile


While CM Translator will be very useful while traveling for people like me who don't speak multiple languages, I also have a great use for it right here in the United States. Sometimes I need to meet with clients who don't speak English and there isn't a live person available to help us communicate or there is a mix up where the translator doesn't show up. This will be very useful to be able to pull out of my briefcase at the office, a courthouse or a jail in those awkward situations. Problem solved!

My kids also used it to practice some summer assignments they were given by their school's Spanish teacher. They practice saying phrases in Spanish and when the CM Translator repeats the phrase back to them correctly in English they know it was spoken right. This will be a nice tool to help with their homework for sure.

cheetah mobile


In addition to translating, the device can also record audio for up to 2 hours. Dictate notes, record a seminar presentation or speech, listen to yourself practicing speaking a foreign language to get better at it. Since CM Translator can collect audio recordings and saves them through its app on your phone the device is also a nice little personal recorder.

Not only is CM Translator compact by being able to fit in the palm of your hand, it is also ultra light weighing only 1.4 ounces. Yet despite its small size and light weight CM Translator is also very durable. It has a sturdy shell that is designed to be dust and water resistant.  The device's activation button is built to sustain 300,000 clicks during its lifetime. This wasn't a test, I just dropped it a couple of times being a klutz and it didn't break. CM Translator was built to be taken out and about so it can be practically used by people.

Being meant for use by people on the go, CM Translator is equipped with a battery that is great for carrying it around with you. Battery life is 180 hours of stand by time and 24 hours of active use on one charge. Power it up with the included USB cord and you will be all set.

geek daddy

From my experience using the CM Translator, I was wowed. So CM Translator has earned A Geek Daddy nod of approval for being an easy to use, convenient, instant translator that can help people communicate with just the click of a button. Whether traveling abroad or staying at home, there are a variety of professional and personal uses that make CM Translator a worthwhile device to have. I'm going to be getting a lot of use out of mine!

Head over to Indiegogo to get one for yourself. If you use one of the links in this post when making a purchase, ageekdaddy.com receives a small commission at no extra charge to you. I received a free CM Translator to review. Opinions expressed are honest and my own based upon utilizing the device for the purpose of a review.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

SIMPSONS 4D EXPERIENCE

Fans of THE SIMPSONS, America's longest-running primetime scripted television series, can now visit two landmark buildings from the animated show that have been replicated in real life. Step inside the Aztec Theater for a red carpet photo op with Homer, Marge and Baby Maggie. You'll also encounter Bart and Lisa while exploring the theater along with other members of THE SIMPSONS cast. Even Sideshow Bob is lurking around!

Showing at the Aztec is an episode of THE SIMPSONS you won't have seen on TV. It has been specifically produced to be shown in 4D theaters which combine 3D visual imagery with physical special effects such as spraying water and vibrating seats to immerse audiences into the action of the show. This Simpsons 4D experience isn't an amusement ride but rather a tricked out movie that is sure to thrill viewers of all ages.



After seeing THE SIMPSONS in 4D, head next door to get a snack at Kwik-E-Mart. Apu won't be working the sales register but you can get a Squishee! They also have Lard Lad Donuts, Buzz Cola, and energy drinks in cans that look like Duff Beer. In addition to these Simpsons inspired goodies there are also souvenirs available to give you something to bring home to commemorate your trip to Springfield.




Well actually it is a slice of Springfield located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Simpsons in 4D can be found at Broadway at the Beach, a Myrtle Beach entertainment venue that combines restaurants, retail and family friendly attractions. If you are going to be visiting South Carolina's Grand Strand, make some time to visit these two iconic Springfield locations from THE SIMPSONS at Broadway at the Beach.



We had a great time checking out all the details of the Aztec Theater and Kwik-E-Mart, getting pictures with the Simpsons, enjoying the 4D movie presentation and drinking Squishees. I especially want to give A Geek Daddy nod of approval to the 4D show which did an incredibly impressive job of syncing the special effects the audience feels in the theater with what you are seeing on the screen. Very well done! The Squishees were delicious too!



For more details about our Myrtle Beach vacation and to follow along with other ageekdaddy.com family adventures make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks Broadway at the Beach for hosting us for a day of fun. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

CROWN REEF RESORT

myrtle beach
We started off the summer with a fantastic Myrtle Beach vacation. During our visit to South Carolina's Grand Strand our home away from home was Crown Reef Resort. This is a great place to stay for a family getaway. Crown Reef Resort is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean as well as has its own exclusive on-site water park. Plus the resort is a few minutes drive from a variety of attractions including Ripley's Aquarium, Medieval Times, Doc Antle's Myrtle Beach Safari, and the city's boardwalk if you want to get out and about.



The reason we decided to stay at Crown Reef Resort is its family friendly layout. All the rooms face the ocean and to say it is a short walk to the beach is an understatement. Walk outside the building and the beach is right there!

myrtle beach


My kids were so excited to play at the beach! They spent hours boogie boarding on the ocean waves which put huge smiles on their faces. The two of them also had a great time tossing around footballs and frisbees on the beach as well as playing around in the sand.

beach vacation


A short walk south of the resort along the beach is Myrtle Beach State Park. It preserves a mile of undeveloped beach shoreline and native habitats. Take a walk along its iconic fishing pier for great views of wildlife that include dolphins, turtles, and sea birds. Sometimes you'll also see people catch a whooper of a fish! There is also a nature center with local animals, birds and fish on display and some nice paths for taking a hike through the park's stretch of sand dunes.

South Carolina


Don't feel like spending time in the surf and sand then there is also an exclusive water park for Crown Reef Resort guests to enjoy. For families with little kids there is a play area called Salty's Splash House which features sprinklers, drench buckets and a water slide meant just for young riders. This is a silly, safe place for children under 48 inches tall to have some water park fun.

water park


My tweens are at an age where a big focus of their time was floating around the Crown Reef Resort's lazy river.  It is rather large winding around a number of pools that are also a part of the water park. They also spent a lot of time swimming in the pools, especially the one that has an island sprouting palm trees located in the middle of it. Spending some time at the water park was a refreshing break from the sand and salt water of the beach.

lazy river
pool

The whole family got a lot of thrills from the waterslides at Crown Reef Resort. In addition to the kiddie water slide there are also two other ones that rise nearly 40 feet into the air. One is a 278-foot long two-person tube slide and the other is single-person 302-foot long ride. We had a blast going on these water slides over and over again!



While we didn't spend a lot of time in our suite because we were outside enjoying Myrtle Beach, it was just the right size for a family trip. A bedroom plus living area provided plenty of space for everyone. Two queen beds in one room and a murphy bed and pull out couch in the other provide plenty of sleeping arrangement options for families. The balcony also provides a nice spot to relax with an impressive ocean view of the Myrtle Beach shoreline.

rooms
rooms


Want to save some money on your travel budget? Eating out all the time can get pricey but you can avoid that by picking up groceries from a nearby store and making your own meals when at Crown Reef Resort. Our suite included a kitchenette with a full sized refrigerator and oven along with a coffee maker, microwave and toaster. We ate a few breakfasts and dinners using our suite's kitchenette during our Crown Reef Resort stay to try avoiding overspending during our vacay.

We also ate a few meals at the Loco Gecko Restaurant which provides an oceanfront view while you eat. They have standard hamburger / chicken tender style fare that makes it easy for families to pop in for lunch or dinner. Crown Reef Resort also has a breakfast buffet that is available in a separate space near the arcade to help get your family fueled up in the morning for a day full of fun.

geek daddy


Speaking of the arcade. What kids don't love video games?!  From a virtual motorcycle race to a competitive match of air hockey we enjoyed some downtime hanging out in the Crown Reef Resort arcade. Plus my son and daughter walked away from the arcade with some prizes they were enthused about when their sibling rivalry turned Skee-Ball into an intense competition that had the game spitting out tickets as they battled to out do each other.

arcade


If you are planning a family beach vacation, based upon my experience at Crown Reef Resort, I'd absolutely recommend staying there. It has a location and amenities that make it a convenient and enjoyable place to stay. Find out more about this Myrtle Beach resort by visiting crownreef.com. If you stay there tell them ageekdaddy.com sent you!

myrtle beach


Crown Reef Resort hosted my family for a complimentary three night stay. Opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DUMBO FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

family movie night
Thanks Walt Disney Studios for providing us DUMBO for free to review
Da da dada dada da da da … we imagined our house transformed into a circus for a family movie night watching DUMBO. Tim Burton's live-action adaption of the classic Walt Disney Studios animated film is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital to add to your home entertainment video library. My kids spent an evening clowning around as we played carnival games, took circus themed photo booth pictures and watched DUMBO on our television while snacking on cotton candy.

For some pre-movie watching activities I set up some carnival inspired games. Hang up Balloon Dart Stick-On Game on a wall to add some circus atmosphere to a space while also providing a fun activity. Have a friendly family competition in the ball toss.  Give out a prize to whoever can fish out the most ducks in the shortest amount of time in the Fishing With Ducks game. Juggling, ring toss and corn hole are some other fun activities for a circus themed night of family fun to help get you in a festive mood.

Goofing around we also played a game inspired by DUMBO where everyone took turns blowing a feather up into the air. The person who can keep the feather airborne the longest without touching it wins. My son dominated the rest of us in this game. I guess that make sense as he often seems to be full of hot air.

wholesale party supplies


With a circus backdrop we had a good time taking some photo booth style pictures with cardboard cut outs and stick props. Taking funny pictures is an easy thing to do together as a family that is sure to get everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. They make nice mementos of spending family time together that can be printed out for a photo album to look back later on when your children have grown up; especially if you want to embarrass them in front of their own kids some day.

wholesale party supplies


Now it was time to get to see an elephant actually fly around the inside of a circus tent. We pretended to enter the big top of Medici Brothers Circus to see this spectacle. Hoisting bags of cotton candy we jumped on the living room couch to watch DUMBO soar across the television screen.

Walt Disney Studios


The movie begins with famed horse stunt rider Holt Farrier coming back to the circus he performed in before being drafted to fight in World War I. Shell shocked and missing a limb, Farrier returns to find Medici Brothers Circus has fallen on hard times and with his disability is relegated to a job no one else wants … caring for the elephants.

When the circus owner purchases a pregnant elephant, he hopes the adorable baby will be the circus' saving grace. But when the baby is born with oversized ears it is instead harassed and jeered by audiences. Mocked with the name Dumbo things aren't looking good for the elephant or the circus it was supposed to help turnaround.

But then Farrier's children discover a secret! Dumbo can fly! Dumbo becomes the main attraction bringing in huge crowds and revitalizing the circus. He also attracts the attention of an entertainment mogul who wants to feature the flying elephant at a larger-than-life amusement park called Dream Land.

dvd release date


What can go wrong with that? You will have to watch the movie yourself to find out! Just say Burton's direction of the film inserts some of his trademark gloominess into the story leaving you wondering if DUMBO will have a happy ending.

That being said this is a very family-friendly movie that all ages can enjoy watching together.  While the villain of the story is deplorable there really isn't any obscenity, sex or violence for parents to be concerned about. The movie is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for character peril, thematic elements and brief mild language. I'd say the movie probably could have been rated G except for it shows a carnie being abusive to animals and killed off-screen in a circus accident related to his behavior; Dumbo is in a suspenseful scene where young viewers might be scared of him being in real danger; and one of the characters references working as a stripper in her past. So with that in mind parental guidance is recommended by the MPAA.

While the circus audiences mocked Dumbo before they knew he could fly for his appearance, I actually thought the elephant looked cute even with big ears. The movie does a nice job with special effects so that while watching the show, you forget Dumbo is a cgi creation. You feel for Dumbo as a character on par with the real life actors and actresses around the baby elephant. That for me is what makes DUMBO special and demonstrates the magic of movies!

bluray release date


We had a great DUMBO family movie night!  Thanks to Walt Disney Studios for sending us a Blu-ray+DVD+Digital combo pack of DUMBO before the official home entertainment release of the movie. Also thanks to Wholesale Party Supplies for providing us with the props to make our family movie night extra fun.  If you are looking for decorations for any occasion they have a great selection priced to be agreeable with family budgets.

family movie night


For more information about the home entertainment release of DUMBO and where to purchase it, head over to movies.disney.com/dumbo-2019

Saturday, June 22, 2019

EKSTER WALLETS

wallets
The time of having to carry around cash, coins, and lots of personal information are days gone by. Who really carries money around with them anymore now that most transactions are digital? Information that used to be held onto in wallets is now stored in smart phone apps and purchases that had been made with cash are made with credit, debit, gift and reward cards instead. With this in mind Ekster has produced a new type of wallet for today's guys on the go.

Ekster wallets are slim making them comfortable to carry and incorporate smart safety features to help protect your finances and personal identity. While half the size of a traditional bill fold, these wallets maintain the look of a classic wallet utilizing top-grain European leathers to provide a sophisticated look.  My Ekster is comfortable to carry around and makes me feel like a trend setter when I pull it out.

wallet review


My 2019 new year's resolution has been to minimalize clutter in my life and be more efficient with my time. Using the Ekster wallet has been great for prioritizing what I carry around with me. Its interior has some pockets for holding my drivers license and bar card plus a cash strap for holding a few dollars and a few business cards. There is also a secure container for holding the various plastic cards that you may need for making transactions.

It holds five cards comfortably so that I can easily store business and family banking debit cards, a Starbucks gift card, my MJR movie theaters reward card, and VISA credit card. Not having as much space has moved me to embrace technology as I've transferred my medical and dental insurance, vehicle proof of insurance and zoo membership to be accessible via my phone. Wow this wallet is so much lighter to carry around with me!


PROTECT YOUR DATA

Ekster also incorporate smart technology to make wallets more secure than ever. The card storage compartment within Ekster wallets blocks RFID/NFC signals protecting against wireless skimming and private data theft. You don't want savvy hackers accessing the RFID/NFC features that are common with todays financial transaction systems utilizing cards for digital transactions allowing them to  duplicate your accounts and information for identity theft.

This secure compartment also provides instant access to your cards. With the a click of the trigger located at the bottom of the compartment your cards are smoothly ejected in a staggered fashion. This makes sorting through them easy to select the one you are looking for. No more fumbling through your wallet searching for where you stuck a specific card. Voila they are all right there at your finger tips laid out so it is easy to quickly grab the one you are looking for.



TRACKABILITY

Another great feature about Ekster wallets is that they include a tracking feature. A tracking device slides into the backside of the wallet which can be synced to your phone. I'm always misplacing my wallet around the house. Covering it up with paperwork on my desk, leaving it in pants that I've thrown in the dirty laundry hamper, placing it on an odd table or shelf around the house, you name it I've probably lost track of my wallet one way or the other.

With Ekster wallets just activate an alert feature and your wallet will start ringing. Follow the sound to your wallet. But wait there is more! Misplaced your phone? You can press the tracker device in your wallet to ring your phone too!

tracker


If your lost wallet isn't in your immediate vicinity because of being dropped, left behind or pickpocketed, the Chipolo app feature allows you to utilize GPS to pinpoint its location throughout the world. When testing this out the map on the app let me zoom in close enough to identify my specific house where I was sitting with the Ekster wallet in my pocket.

tracker


What is really nice about these trackers are they are solar powered. Just slide out the solar panel from your wallet from time to time when you are in sunlight to keep it recharged. 3 hours of sunlight will keep the tracker powered for two full months. You can use this tracker for years without having to purchase a replacement. Outstanding!

tracker

PERFECT WALLET

I've found my wallet to be convenient and comfortable to use so it absolutely has earned a geek daddy nod of approval. Ekster wallets are just the right fit for men who are looking to lead a minimalist lifestyle. Combining durability, style and technology this is a wallet to geek out over.

Ekster wallets make perfect gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Fathers Day, graduations and whatever other occasion you may be gift shopping for. They provide free shipping and returns on purchases from ekster.com. Don't take just my testimonial for granted though. Read these endorsements from CBS News and Forbes too.

reviews