Category Archives: New Technology

Exciting News! AdlensFocuss is now Allfield™

As some have noticed, Adlens has rebranded their variable focus prescription product under the name Allfield™. They have also announced a newer, lighter weight design and some additional style options. I will be reviewing the new design when I receive a set. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 6/26/2017:  Adlens has informed me that they have made a decision  to put a production freeze on their current design so that they can redirect all resources to a new design. I have been told that the expectation is the new design will offer more style flexibility and a significantly more streamlined and lighter weight product. I have no idea of the timeline but if/when I receive an update I will post that information here.

Lenscrafter CustomFocuss Review / Adlens Focuss Review

ScreenShot1130[Note to previous readers: see latest updates at the end of this review just above the comment section. Note to new readers: the review has been updated to reflect the current “production run” version of the product available as of June, 2015. Click here to read the updated review.]

Good news to those who had been following my SuperFocus story: CustomFocuss by Adlens is now available. I am working on obtaining a pair and will review them here.

As with the previously posted review of the now defunct SuperFocus technology, this will be a “living post” documenting my experiences with the Adlens Focuss product, being marketed and sold as Lenscrafters CustomFocuss.

[Note: This is no longer true. The product is not currently sold by Lenscrafters, but rather has a network of independent optometrist shops that can be searched on their web site.]

This article will be of interest to you if you wear prescription eyeglasses. Like SuperFocus before it, the Focuss product line from Adlens (hereafter using the Lenscrafters name CustomFocuss or CF for short) is an evolutionary step in eyewear. In brief, one pair of CustomFocuss glasses replaces multiple pairs of single vision, progressive, and bifocal glasses. This is accomplished by matching a standard vision prescription with a variable focusing mechanism, allowing full field vision at all distances. Where with conventional eyewear you may need reading glasses, computer glasses, distance / driving glasses, and perhaps progressive / bifocals, all of these purposes can be served by a single pair of CustomFocuss glasses.

We know that this concept can work well, as proven previously by SuperFocus. The SuperFocus technology was quirky in many ways and had some technical problems, but certainly proved the concept that variable focus eyewear is feasible and can deliver outstanding visual clarity at all distances without the distortions and discomfort of progressive lenses. Unfortunately, the SuperFocus business model lacked an effective marketing and distribution mechanism, and/or lacked sufficient funding, and the company ceased operations in early 2014. Continue reading

Superfocus Glasses Review

photo4[Update 10/18/2014.  My Adlens CustomFocuss order process has begun!! This will probably be the last update on this post. To follow the story specific to Adlens / Lenscrafters CustomFocuss, click this link.]

[Update 10/3/2014.  Adlens Focuss via Lenscrafters is here!  See comments starting at #30.]

[Update 5/18/2014. For best current information on Adlens Focuss via Lenscrafters, see comments #18 and #25.]

[Update 4/30/2014. No real news here at this point, but it seems clear from user reports that SuperFocus is gone for good. If you came here looking for hope for Superfocus, you should probably start considering the long promised (but not yet available) Focuss glasses from Adlens. Supposedly they will begin rolling out in the US via Lenscrafters sometime in the next couple of months. They have a similar technology to Superfocus, perhaps even better, and thankfully have a more conventional rectangular shape. I rather like the funky round Superfocus glasses but would prefer a more conventional look as I think it has more market appeal and thus would make the product more viable commercially.]

[Update 3/10/2014. Good news! SuperFocus still has signs of life. I received the following email today: “Superfocus is transitioning to a different business model. As a result, the office is closed, production has been halted and no new orders are being accepted. Product shipped to the company is being returned to the sender. We plan to keep you advised as events unfold.”  Stay tuned for more, and read the comments section to learn experiences and alternatives of other Superfocus customers as this drama continues to unfold.]

[Update 2/27/2014.  Those seeking information on SuperFocus glasses should take note of the following. At the present time it appears that Superfocus has ceased operation, or at least has paused operation while it “takes stock” in itself. I have absolutely no information about what is happening, however as of 2/24 Superfocus has declined to answer any phone calls or emails, and while their web site is still up, the “Shop” portion is inoperative.  Multiple customers have stated that they had shipped their glasses to Superfocus for service and now are unable to get them back. It is my sincere hope that Superfocus will emerge from their current crisis in better, stronger condition, because their product is too good and game changing to be allowed to fail without a fight.]

[If you want to read the review below, go ahead. But if you are interested in the ongoing discussion about the demise of SuperFocus, skip down to the comments section, beginning at comment #10.]

Product Review
This topic is not computer related, at least not directly, but it is about an intriguing bit of technology. If you wear glasses, you will find this interesting. In this article, I’ll give an unbiased and hopefully thorough review of a remarkable product, Superfocus eyeglasses. If you haven’t heard of these before, please read on. If you have come here by way of  internet search, you are probably doing what I did: spending a lot of time researching these glasses and trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. This article may help you in that process. Continue reading

A Windows 8 Tablet for Free? Sort of.

One of the more intriguing developments in computing today is the introduction of Windows 8 on touch-screen tablets. Unlike an iPad or an Android tablet, a Windows 8 tablet allows you to access all of your normal desktop applications and documents. But if you already have another tablet, you might not be ready to buy another one, and full Windows 8 tablets are not cheap: prices range from about $900 to $2000.

Well, here’s a way to turn your iPad or Android tablet into a Windows 8 tablet, for free.

If you happen to have a Windows 8 computer, you can tie it into your tablet. If you don’t have a Windows 8 computer, but you have a spare desktop or laptop computer sitting around, you can upgrade it to Windows 8 inexpensively. (If you need help upgrading, of course you can bring the computer to us.)

On your tablet, download an app called Splashtop. The Splashtop app allows you to remotely connect to other computers. If that computer is running Windows 8, all of the “touch” features will be available on your tablet even if the remote computer does not have a touch screen. Essentially, your iPad, or an Android device such as a Samsung Galaxy, will mimic a Microsoft Surface tablet.

The Splashtop app is free so long as you connect to the remote computer over your local network. If you want to connect across the internet, there is an annual fee of $16.99, which is awfully cheap compared to a Windows 8 tablet computer.

Small Package, Powerful Punch – “Ultranetbook” offers ideal solution for students and road warriors alike.

If you know a road warrior or are sending off your kids to school or college, you might be thinking about equipping them with a new laptop computer, or perhaps you are considering one of the tiny MacBook Air computers, or maybe a tablet.

We have an option for you to throw into that mix, and it’s one of the best all-around packages we’ve seen in awhile. We’ve obtained a handful of Dell ultranetbooks and have configured them to offer an ideal mix of size, weight, power, and convenience at an awesome price.

Size: These laptops are small, but not tiny. With a bright 11.6″ display, they’re smaller and lighter weight than most laptops, yet larger than netbooks which are typically 9 or 10 inches. It is the same screen size as the MacBook Air, but at a fraction of the price. It’s less than an inch thin.

Weight: At a hair over 3 lbs, they’re a bit heavier than a netbook, yet a couple of pounds lighter than ordinary laptops. This makes them easy to carry around the house, campus, and airports.

Power: Equipped with speedy Intel Core i3 processor, this Ultranetbook will run rings around an ordinary netbook, and is faster than typical entry level laptops. Ordinary netbooks use the much slower Atom processor, which has benchmark speeds about 75% slower than Intel Core i3, and entry level laptops typically use a sluggish Celeron processor or low end AMD processors which are slow and power hungry.

Convenience: With our service bundle, we not only do the initial setup, including removing “junkware” and installing the full Open Office product suite (which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint compatible office tools), and AVG antivirus software, we also provide a really nice carrying case, a slick wireless mouse with nano receiver, and more.

Power Bundles: We are offering amazing power upgrade options including blazing fast solid state hard drives and lots of memory. With a solid state hard drive, the computer starts up in a about a quarter the time of a conventional laptop, and loads applications in a flash. Also, solid state drives have no moving parts, so will hold up to rough handling of travelers and students.

Price: The base “Back to School” bundle is available for only $399 plus $99 setup service and includes the free carrying case, mouse, software, and configuration service. The “Performance” bundle adds a 120 GB solid state drive and 4 GB memory upgrade, and the “Road Warrior” bundle adds a 250 GB solid state drive and 8 GB memory upgrade. These bundles are priced at just $559 and $759 respectively, plus $99 setup service.

How do these packages compare to other options?  A 128 GB MacBook Air costs $1100, and a 256 GB model costs $1400, about double the price of one of our equivalent Dell ultranetbooks. iPads are closer in price ($500 – $800), and they do lots of great things, but they don’t run conventional software and are nearly impossible to use for important productivity tasks like word processing and spreadsheets. I love my iPad, but I can’t do much real work with it.

So what’s the catch? Well, we only have five of these available, so if you want one you should contact us soon to claim yours. Once those five are claimed, we may or may not be able to obtain more. We have one unit on display, so come and take a look.

Here are the specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Warranty: Dell direct warranty, 1 year
  • Operating System: Windows 7, 64-bit
  • Processor: Core i3-330UM
  • Memory: 2 GB – 8 GB
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB
  • Solid State Drive Options: 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB
  • Display: 11.6″
  • Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • Ports: 3 USB, headphone, microphone
  • Memory Cards – 7 in 1 reader
  • Video Out: VGA, HDMI
  • Battery Life: est. 5+ hours
  • Value Added Bundle Items:
  1. rooCase carry case with shoulder strap
  2. Pennix mouse with nano receiver
  3. Solid state drive and memory options
  4. Configuration / setup / junkware removal
  5. Microsoft Office 2010 Starter and Open Office suite preinstalled
  6. AVG antivirus software preinstalled

Package Prices when Bundled with $99 Setup:

  • $399 – Back to School Bundle: computer, mouse, case, setup, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, Open Office, AVG
  • $559 – Performance Bundle: above, with 120 GB solid state drive and 4 GB RAM
  • $759 – Road Warrior Bundle: above, with 250 GB solid state drive and 8 GB RAM

Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, or Phone?

The computing landscape is constantly evolving. Today people everywhere are using mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, in ways that were not conceivable just a few years ago. If your computer is aging you may be asking yourself if you should replace it, go to a different type of platform, or both.

We lean toward both. For typical creative work, nothing beats a conventional computer. If you need to spend time working on creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, photos, videos, reports, bookkeeping files, or other complex objects, it is very difficult or impossible to do such things on a tablet or phone. At best, mobile devices allow you to view such objects or possibly make minor changes.

On the other hand, there are all sorts of great things you can do better on a mobile device than a conventional computer. For example, the ability to read books and magazines, browse the web, check email, and other such activities is quicker, more efficient, and generally more enjoyable on a mobile device with touchscreen. For example, mobile devices are great for checking email on the go, but usually poor for organizing, sorting, or filtering email, or for typing up anything more complex than a sentence or two. An iPad is great for curling up and reading a book, even in total darkness, while this would be difficult, clumsy, or impossible with a conventional computer.

There are many similar examples of pros and cons between mobile and conventional platforms, and this is why we feel that mobile devices complement conventional ones rather than replace them.

What about desktop computers versus laptops? You still get the most bang for your buck from a desktop computer. For a given price, the desktop should give you more speed and capacity and generally will be less costly to repair, upgrade, and maintain. On the other hand desktop computers take up more space and are not at all mobile. If you are thinking of a laptop, you might consider one of the new crop of “ultrabooks” from various manufacturers, which are sleek and powerful, or possibly a Macbook if you can afford the premium price and don’t need to run Windows programs.

As an example, here in our office we use desktop computers for most work and rugged laptops for “field” work. At home, I have a Mac laptop dual booting to Windows, and I have a iPad. 90% of my computing time at home is on the iPad, but more serious work is done on the laptop. I also have an iPhone, but use that primarily for phone, text, and on-the-go email checking. For my aging eyes, it’s too small to use for general browsing, book reading, or video watching, areas where the iPad shines.

Of course, nobody needs all of these goodies. You can get by with a computer only, however in my opinion most people can’t get by with only a tablet or smart phone.

Google+ Review

Want to see inside Google’s new social media website? Is it any different than Facebook?

Google has just unveiled Google+, its ambitious answer to Facebook. It turns all of Google into one giant social network, thanks to a core group of social products and a new navigation bar that integrates sharing into every single Google product. Here are some first impressions.

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