Unboxing Kano: A Computer You Make Yourself

November 20th 2013, Alex Klein reached out to me about a kick starter project he was about to launch for a product he created, Kano. His idea was simple:

“We’ve created a simple, fun computer and coding kit, inspired by Lego. It’s designed for all ages, all over the world”

By the next day (18 hours, to be exact) he and his team had already reached their initial funding goal of $100,000.

Those of you who have read my blog before know how much I love Raspberry Pi’s. I still believe they are one of the best tools to learn linux. But what Alex and his team has done is special, they’ve created ‘A computer anyone can make’. This kit bridges the gap between the novice computer enthusiast and IT crowd who normally build computers.

I apologize now for how long overdue this post is, but I still wanted to share my unboxing experience with my readers here, and also offer my 1000% seal of approval on this truly amazing piece kit.

The packaging is very deliberate – every step is educational and exciting. The kit contains everything you need regardless if you are interested in building, gaming, or programming. If you know anyone, regardless of age, who is interested in technology, there is no better gift than a Kano. Their blog is also fantastic and is updated regularly.

 

Special thanks again to team at Kano and Lizzy at Brew PR for sending me a kit to review.

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Google Chromecast: Unboxing and Review (Pictures and Video)

My Google Chromecast arrived last night, so I decided to write a quick post showing the unboxing, setup, and some of the features.

Chromecast Unboxing

First, the packaging:

Chrome Cast Unboxing Packaging

Chrome Cast Unboxing Packaging

Its not exactly the same experience you get from opening up an Apple product, but it does feel similar in the minimalistic style. As I expected from the photos online, the Chromecast is like a large thumbdrive that plugs into an HDMI port instead of USB. For reference:

Chrome Cast Unboxing Packaging

Chromecast Setup

After you plug the powered Chromecast into your TV, you are greeted with the following screen that invites you to set up the Chromecast on your phone or laptop. The experience was equally simple on my laptop, phone, and tablet. I factory reset the device after completion to try all three.

chromecast setup screen hdtv

 

The setup process takes about 5 minutes. To get started, you navigate to the setup URL as prompted above.

setup website google chrome

 

After you download the App, it will inform you that your network connections will go down for a moment as it connects to the WiFi network provided by the Chromecast. On my iPhone, I had to do this manually. After the setup connects to that network, it allows you to enter your home WiFi information so the Chromecast can join your wireless network.

google chromecast enter wifi info

That’s it, the Chromecast is now setup.

chromecast setup complete

 

Now all that is left is for you to do is install the Google Cast extension into your Chrome Browser. After that installation is complete you will have a ‘Cast’ Button in your Chrome navigation menu.

chrome cast extension

Now You can click this on any web page and it will be broadcasted to your TV.

 

daveconroy.com up on screen

Videos of Chromecast

My favorite feature of Chromecast so far is that browser tab you select to share stays broadcasted on your TV even if you switch tabs. Here is an example:

Netflix and Chromecast works the same way:

 

I updated my Netflix app on iOS and the Chrome Cast doesnt seem to be supported just yet (7/31/13), but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time.

Take aways

Is the Chromecast a mind blowing piece of technology that no one has ever seen? Not exactly. I’ve been doing something similar with my Apple TV for a few years now. However, at 35$ it is an incredible deal even if you do already have an Apple TV.

And with regards to their tagline “The easiest way to enjoy online video and music on your TV.….”

I’d have to agree.

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