Updates on CES 2019, Bouncer, Shortcuts App and PSAPs as Hearing Aid Alternatives

John Vrooman | January 2019

Happy New Year! By the time you’re reading this, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show 2019 (a.k.a. CES 2019) will be over. If you followed the news surrounding the event, you’ve likely already heard and read about many of this year’s more interesting product announcements. That said, the show is large enough that some product news and reviews can take time before they receive media attention. If you’re curious about this year’s event highlights, I suggest that you do some Google and YouTube searches using “CES 2019” along with some additional search keywords such as “Winner,” “Awards,” “Finalists,” “Trends,” “Camera,” “Laptop,” “Smartphone,” “AI,” “VR,” “Monitor,” “Television,” “Smart Home” and “IoT” or other product category keyword(s). When I do searches like those just mentioned I uncover lots of links to relevant articles, videos, and reviews. Additionally, by visiting the show’s website (www.ces.tech) you can also browse through or search for this year’s exhibitors and product categories. Are you currently in the market for some type of consumer electronics device? If so, by using the search tips above, you’ll likely be able to identify the latest and greatest product options in the device category that interests you. I wish you luck with your product/solution searching efforts. Have fun!

Bouncer = Temporarily Grants Permissions to Apps (Android)

Many Smartphone apps ask for permissions to access the device’s location, camera, microphone, etc. Unfortunately, I believe that most people simply grant apps whatever permissions are requested and simply hope that they’re not going to regret that decision at some point in the future. If you are an Android Smartphone user, “Bouncer” is an inexpensive app that you may want to learn more about. Basically, what this app does is help you to better manage/control the permissions that you grant to your apps. The Bouncer app turns on/enables required permissions for apps when they’re needed, and then revokes/turns off the permissions to apps when they are closed or are no longer needed. The Bouncer app description just offered is quite basic/generalized, but that’s the gist of what the app sets out to do. If you’re an Android Smartphone user and you’re interested in reclaiming a bit more control over the permissions you’re granting your apps, I suggest you learn more about the Bouncer app by visiting…www.tinyurl.com/y8t5b2zo

Are You Familiar with Apple’s ‘Shortcuts’ App for iOS?

“Shortcuts” is the name of a useful iOS app that enables you to create automation routines that can help you to perform a wide variety of tasks. After you identify tasks and create shortcuts for them, you’ll be able to access and perform the tasks faster and easier. The following links will help you to learn more about the app and how to use it…

To get the Shortcuts app, search the Apple App Store for “Shortcuts,” or visit www.tinyurl.com/y8eqlk7y

The following link will lead you to a YouTube playlist of videos that I found. Cumulatively, the playlist of videos explains what the app is and how to use it. Tip: If you watch the videos, you may identify some shortcuts that you might want to create and use yourself. Here’s the link…www.tinyurl.com/y6well6t

In the support area at apple.com, a Shortcuts app User’s Guide is available. If you browse through the guide, you’ll likely spot some topics and tips that will both interest you and help you to get up and running faster with the app. Here’s a link to the User’s Guide…www.tinyurl.com/yarw2grp

PSAPs May Be a Suitable Alternative to Hearing Aids for Some

Whether you’re young or old, there’s a good chance that you’re affected by hearing loss (either your own or someone else’s). Unfortunately, as our population ages (and as more people use and abuse headphones and earbuds) problems relating to hearing loss are likely to increase over time. The real or perceived stigma of wearing hearing aids, as well their associated high costs, are additional issues that many must work through before actively pursuing solutions to personal hearing loss problems. With the above as an introduction, I want to bring to your attention a class of hearing assistance devices that are called PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products). These devices are not classified as “Hearing Aids” because true hearing aids are classified as medical devices and must to go through a formal FDA approval process. That said, the technology now found and used in some of the latest PSAP products is very similar to what’s found and used in hearing aids. In particular, the “Hearable” and/or “Smart Headphone” category of PSAP’s contain products that are interesting, functional, technologically advanced, and less expensive than many true hearing aids. Hearable/Smart Headphone devices are usually meant to be used as typical headphones/earbuds. However, since these devices typically also have features that allow you to customize to various degrees how sound from music, phone calls, people speaking to you as well as the surrounding environment are synthesized before making it into your ears, they can provide some hearing aid like functionality. If this topic interests you, I would encourage you to visit the www.everydayhearing.com website as it provides quite a bit of hearing aid and hearing assistance related information.

Nuheara’s “IQbuds Max” is the name of a new “Hearing Bud” product that is planned to become available later this year. If your hearing is not what it used to be, please review the description and features of this soon to be released product to see if it might be right for you. I think you may conclude that it should be able to meet your typical earbud/headphone needs in addition to being able to provide you with some hearing assistance capability. Yes, a trial period is supposed to be available, too. Here’s a courtesy link to the product’s webpage…www.nuheara.com/iqbuds-max

Please consider passing this information on to others who may need it.

Does Your Computer’s Screen Display Properly on Your TV Monitor?

If not, here are some troubleshooting tips.

There are many reasons why you may want to display your computer monitor’s image on a TV. Unfortunately, many discover that once they do get their computer screen image on the TV, it’s not quite right for some reason. I came across an article at the helpdeskgeek.com website that’s titled: ” Fix Resolution When Using Your HDTV as a Monitor.” The article identifies a few display related issues and offers some possible solutions to them (for both Windows and Mac users). Personally, I learned that I was affected by the “overscan” issue that’s discussed in the article. I was able to fix my overscan-related problem by following the step highlighted in the article. Things did appear a bit different on my computer than what was shown in the article, but I was still able to navigate my way through the outlined steps anyway. Here’s a link to the helpful article… www.tinyurl.com/y7fqadn3

If you have comments, suggestions, tips, questions or just want to say “Hi,” you are invited to contact me at john@johnvrooman.com. I always enjoy hearing from you!

John Vrooman
John Vrooman is an experienced Realtor who enjoys staying on top of real estate, technology, gadgets, marketing, new media and small business trends/developments. John gathers information from a diverse range of resources and enjoys sharing tips, thoughts, and discoveries with others – using a “something for everyone” approach. He has been authoring this column since August 2000 and is an Associate Broker with Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty's White Plains office.