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Category: Product Reviews

VIDEO: PS4 vs Xbox One. Which one gets my thumbs up?

This edition of High-Tech Tuesday is sandwiched right between two big video game console releases.  Last week we got the PlayStation 4; this week the Xbox One is unveiled.  Here’s my take on which console you may want to go with.    Catch my segment on WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

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VIDEO: Tech makes outdoor activities safer

It’s getting dark outside a lot earlier now, but if the lights are going out before your outdoor activities, no worries! There are new options to make sure you are seen and safe.  Catch my segment on WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

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VIDEO: Beware Ransomware

“Ransomware” is the latest type of virus infecting computers all over the world.  Here are things to watch out for and how to prevent.  Catch my segment on WFAA-TV (ABC) in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

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The High-Tech Texan Expands Reach To Dallas TV

The High-Tech Texan® Joins Dallas ABC Affiliate As Contributor

Dallas, September 30, 2013 – Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV continues to enhance its award-winning newscasts by adding veteran media personality Michael Garfield as the station’s technology contributor.

Garfield, known as The High-Tech Texan®, hosts a daily radio program on Houston talk station KPRC-AM and contributes to TV stations and magazines across the country.  He will initially be a part of WFAA Channel 8’s recently launched newscast at 4:00pm.

Garfield is looking forward to the broadcasts in his hometown.  “I grew up in Dallas and watched most everything on Channel 8,” he said.  “From ‘Bowling for Dollars’ with Verne Lundquist to Mr. Peppermint, I watched hours upon hours of programming.  I credit both my parents along with (longtime WFAA anchors) Tracy Rowlett and Iola Johnson as raising me and creating a passion for a career in media and broadcasting.”

His passion and understanding of consumer technology has won accolades and awards with his commentary and coverage of topics from the launch of HDTV to the mass consumption of smartphones.  “Tech products are released at a very fast pace and the typical user is confused on whether they should buy it or not.  I try to break down the positives and negatives of products, apps and services so their buying decision is easier,” Garfield said.

His name will be familiar to Dallas/Fort Worth viewers as he has contributed to Dallas news radio station KRLD-AM for the past several years.

MORE THAN JUST TECHNOLOGY

Though he has generally reviewed and recommended tech products and gadgets for the past dozen years, Garfield has since expanded the content of his coverage to more general consumer products.  These include automobiles, clothing, outdoor and hunting, travel and food.

Garfield graduated from W.T. White High School in North Dallas and has a Radio-TV-Film degree from The University of Texas at Austin.  He began his career as an on-air presenter on QVC home shopping network.  His roles and jobs have since ranged from spokesperson for companies like Time Warner, HP, Verizon Wireless, to a recent stint on ABC soap opera “General Hospital”.

Garfield currently resides in Houston and plans to split time live in the WFAA studios and contribute via satellite from Houston.

Click photo below to watch his initial broadcast.

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Michael Garfield Know How To Make A Pitch

Don’t be deceived with that headline from a recent front page column in The Houston Chronicle.  Though the league-worst Astros do need help on the mound our own High-Tech Texan will not be throwing 90 mph heaters from the mound.

Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman regularly answers reader email about local media personalities.  He received a large amount of inquiries about Michael appearing in a national TV commercial.  He then went on to tell a few stories of how he works closely with his clients and how we began his media career…on QVC Network.

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HABEMUS S4! [We Have A New Smartphone!]

Samsung’s planned March 14th press conference for the Galaxy S4 seemed as much anticipated as the white smoke that billowed from the Sistine Chapel the day before.  HABEMUS S4! (translation: we have a new smartphone!)

Details of the new Galaxy S4 were revealed with a big dog-and-pony show and the S could stand for Sexy.  Features such as dual camera recording, smart pause and air gesture will give consumers new ways to use their device while giving Apple cold sweats and nightmares.

The phone will go on sale sometime between late April and the end of June, from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular and Cricket, Samsung says.  The phone companies will set the prices but expect this phone to start at $200 with a two-year contract.

The screen is slightly larger than last year’s big hit and previous model, the SIII.  At 5 inches on the diagonal compared to 4.8 inches for the SIII and 4 inches for the iPhone 5. It sports a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, as much as you’d find on a high-definition TV set.  The bigger screen is crammed into a chassis that’s actually a hair narrower and thinner than the SIII’s.  This is quite a feat.  Samsung shrank the frame surrounding the screen to make room.

The Galaxy S4′s camera rear-facing camera was upgraded to a whopping 13 megapixels.  The most impressive camera feature seems to be the Duel Camera record, which does pretty much exactly what the name infers: It lets you capture footage from both the rear and the front-facing camera.  This was designed to solve the problem of excluding the cameraperson from being in the video or photo by adding the actions of the person behind the camera into its own frame that plays in unison with the main camera’s footage. This duel camera feature can also be used in video calls, allowing the person on the other line to see what you’re seeing during the call.

The camera, er smartphone, has many new shooting modes.  Highlighting these include a function that makes it possible to capture more than 100 shots in just four seconds.  You can then browse all those captures and pick your favorites to put into a single frame composite picture or save them all as a homemade .gif with Drama Shot.  This is just one of twelve shooting modes.  This includes another called Sound and Shot, which captures voice and pictures together.

Of course, sometimes you’ll capture things that you don’t really want in your photo. That’s where the new Eraser feature comes in. It allows you to completely eliminate a part of your snapshot that you didn’t see when lining up the shot. This tool will be the worst enemy of photo bombers everywhere.

Samsung is taking the whole “touch screen” thing further by now sensing when the user’s finger is hovering over the screen.  In other words, you don’t even need to touch the phone to make it react.  Hovering over a thumbnail of a picture in the Gallery will reveal a bigger thumbnail, and hovering over one email in a list will show a preview of its first lines.

In the “how come no thought to add this feature before” category comes an infrared blaster.   This will give ability to control any TV or set-top box with your phone, browse for TV shows by genre and set custom recommendations based on viewing habits.  No more worries about losing your remote control.  In fact there may be little need to have an actual remote control since your home electronic gear may now be controlled via the S4.

Controlling the phone can be done without actually touching it thanks to “air gesture”.   The S4 uses the front-side camera to sense hand movements up to about 4 inches away from the phone.  The phone’s browser responds to an “up swipe” in the air above it with by scrolling up, and to a “side” swipe by jumping to another tab.  This could be pretty useful when the smartphone is the lunchtime companion and you don’t want to grease it up with foody fingers.

The SIII was my favorite smartphone last year and I can assume the S4 will be near or at the top of  my 2013 list.  As I await the release date I will buy time tossing out my remote controls, conventional cameras and – depending on the new apps coming – possibly my car.

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New smartphones a comin’ including Samsung Galaxy S IV

The recent Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona put the spotlight on many of the new smartphones coming out this year.  Apparently bigger is better.  If not then you should get used to bigger phones.

I’ve been carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and get lots of comments on its enormous size (thank you, ladies).   Described as a “phablet” – a cross between a phone and a tablet – the Note 2 is just one of the early “big” smartphones that will hit the market in the coming months.

The upcoming LG Optimus G Pro will sport a 5.5″ screen and measure 3″ wide.  And the much-anticipated Galaxy S IV will reportedly have a 5″ screen.  One may need a car seat to carry these devices around or possibly check them in as baggage on an airline.

Speaking of the Galaxy S IV, the official announcement will be made by Samsung on March 14.  Like last year’s popular S III, this new version is creating tons of buzz with its possible eye scrolling feature and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Here is PC Magazine’s recap of the top 7 smartphones that will hit the U.S. market this year.  Note the absence of the word “Apple” here.

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About & Out. Seen Around Town.

January and February have been busy since we got back from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.   I was an honored celebrity artist for the annual Museum of Cultural Arts of Houston.  Other “artists” included Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin.

Chubby Checker once again just had to see me when he came to Houston.

And somehow we always manage to find the hot Mardi Gras parties.  STAY AWAY, PAPARAZZI!

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The Glory of Glove

I will take any advantage I can on the golf course.  But I didn’t realize a glove could improve my swing until I tried the SensoGlove during my last round.

This golf glove has built-in sensors that constantly read the pressure of your grip. A built-in computer actively monitors your grip with sensors placed strategically throughout the glove, providing instant feedback at all the points of your swing.

Audio feedback warns you at the moment your grip becomes too tight, allowing you to learn and maintain correct grip pressure at every point of your swing.  It took me a while to get used to the feedback but I quickly learned when I gave up my death grip for the proper lighter grip.  Fore!

$89
SensoGlove.com

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The 2013 Houston Auto Show: Garf-Style

I spent the morning and early afternoon at the 2013 Houston Auto Show on opening day. 500 vehicles, 35 manufacturers, test drives and a 2 hour broadcast.  The show runs through Sunday, January 27, so get to Reliant Center if you want to see some sweet new rides.

Here is “my” view from the show.

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