A Chance For You To Be An Ultrabook Dad (or Mom)

In the holiday spirit of giving, this is a quick update to my post about Ultrabooks.  I mentioned that my Cast of Dads cohort, Michael Sheehan (@HighTechDad) and I would be presenting a chance for one of you to get an Ultrabook, courtesy of Intel, the driving force behind the Ultrabook platform.   Here are the details:

You can read the the Official Rules, which you should, but here is a summary of the giveaway –

  • Begins December 21, 2011 at 12:00:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time (“PST”)
  • Ends December 23, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m U.S. Pacific Time (“PST”)
  • U.S. Residents Only
  • 18 years and older
  • Must have a non-private Twitter account
  • You must send a Tweet with the hashtag (#) – “#UltrabookDads”
  • Read the rest of the Official Rules

So it’s simple.  Between now and Friday at Midnight PST, just send a Tweet with the hashtag #UltrabookDads and you’ll be part of a random drawing for the Ultrabook.

Now, while all you need to have in your tweet is the #UltrabookDads hashtag, we might as well make it interesting for the folks who will see your tweet, so feel free to add some thoughts about what you find exciting or appealing about the concept of an Ultrabook – a thin, light, highly portable and equally powerful laptop with instant on, long battery life, and some serious sex appeal in the looks department.  How would an Ultrabook impact your computing lifestyle?

To share some of our new-found insights and information about Ultrabooks Michael and I will host a couple of informal online get-togethers, which we promise to be ultra fun and put a geek dad spin on some great new technology.  (For a taste of our style  just check out the Cast of Dads podcast.)

We will be doing both a Hangout on Google+ and a live Twitter Chat.   These are just for fun and information.  You don’t have to participate in either to be eligible for the giveaway, but if you want to get our first impressions of the Asus Zenbook Ultrabook we have been playing with, the hangout and chat will be a great opportunity.

Here is the schedule for the Hangout and Twitter Chat:

Google+ Hangout: Thursday, December 22 at 10pm EST / 7pm PST
Twitter Chat: Friday December 23 at 10pm EST / 7pm PST

We’ll be talking Ultrabooks, etc. for about an hour each night and we hope you can stop by!  In any event, feel free to follow me (@sass) or Michael (@HighTechDad) for updates and don’t forget to send a tweet with #UltrabookDads before Midnight Friday if you want a chance to get your own Ultrabook!

Happy Holidays!

UPDATE:  The winner of the Ultrabook Giveaway was @BadMofo33.  Congrats!

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 20).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes!and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads  and Wunderkind! podcasts.

Disclosure:  In accordance with the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration and/or am being otherwise compensated by Intel in preparing to create this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. My opinions about Intel, Asus, and Ultrabooks are entirely my own and not those of Intel, Asus or any other party.

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Zen and the Art of Ultrabooks

(Note: this is a sponsored post, but the words and opinions are all mine.)

It is fitting that Asus calls their new Ultrabook line “Zenbooks.”  Just one look and you can see that it is a device that exudes a sense of calm and balance, purity and power.   An early entrant in the Intel Ultrabook category, the Zenbook is thin and sleek, capable and fast.  It is the Ying and Yang of portable computing: thin and light enough to take with you everywhere, yet powerful and feature rich enough to function as a primary computer.  Actually, that is the essence of the Intel Ultrabook spec – to pack a full-featured computer in an elegantly thin package, supported by long battery life, best-in-class security, and the convenience of “instant on” (giving the boot to lengthy boot times), all at a reasonable price point.

Intel Inside

As long-time Dadomatic readers know, I have been an Intel Advisor and have written here about interesting technology and insights I have gleaned from attending various events and having the opportunity to peek inside Intel.  Now I am looking forward to bringing you more information about the ultra slick new category of Ultrabooks that Intel is the driving force behind.  Intel has provided me with an ASUS Zenbook, as well as an opportunity for one of you to get an Ultrabook through a Twitter give-away.  I am working hand in hand (or Ultrabook to Ultrabook) with one of my Intel Advisor and Cast of Dads cohorts, Michael Sheehan (also known as HighTechDad.)  If you want to learn more about Ultrabooks (and have a chance to get your hands on one) please follow me (@sass) and Michael (@hightechdad) on Twitter, and keep an eye out for our tweets with the hashtag #UltrabookDads.  Michael and I will also be collaborating on some fun video reviews of the Ultrabook, so please stay tuned.

The Wow Factor

As the geek dad in my family, my kids are always waiting to see what new computing gadget or gizmo I will be bringing home.  It has been fascinating to watch over the years as the “wow factor” of gadgets has shifted to the point where the design, look and feel of a device is almost as important as its function and capabilities.  It wasn’t too long ago when all we cared about was what a computer could do. Now, as we bring our computers with us to meetings, family gatherings, parks, coffee shops and airports, we also care about how our computers look and feel. That’s the world our kids are growing up in.  For them, what their computers look and feel like will be just as important as the “kicks” they wear.  When I look at the Ultrabook as compared to the first laptop I ever had, the advancements, inside and out, are mind boggling.  I can only imagine what ultra amazing computers my kids have to look forward to.  With style, design and performance in mind, Ultrabooks definitely win on the wow factor, and seem to deliver on the promise of taking portable computing into the future.

What’s Next?

I look forward to spending some time with the Asus Zenbook Ultrabook and then sharing my thoughts with you.  Meanwhile, here are a few shots from my “unboxing” of the Asus Zenbook:

Can’t see the video? Click HERE.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 20).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads  and Wunderkind! podcasts.

Disclosure:  In accordance with the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration and/or am being otherwise compensated by Intel in preparing to create this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. My opinions about Intel, Asus, and Ultrabooks are entirely my own and not those of Intel, Asus or any other party.

Photo Credit: © Robert Spriggs – Fotolia.com

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Our Children’s World Is Magical

(This post was inspired by my recent trip to Intel’s Santa Clara Headquarters for their annual “Upgrade Your Life” Experience…)

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic…”

- Arthur C. Clarke

Of all the wonderful words that Clarke wrote, few have been as powerful and prescient as his frequently cited statement above. He was right.  More than right, he has defined the world we live in today, and more importantly, the world our children will carry forward. It is truly a magical world.

The Magic

In our lifetimes we have seen technology advance well beyond “sufficient,” to provide us with tools and capabilities that are so indistinguishable from magic we already take them for granted. You wouldn’t think twice about standing on a street in NY and speaking to your friend while they are on a boat off the coast of France…yet that is magic.  We take for granted that we can sit on the couch with a laptop or tablet and watch a movie sent to the device without wires or discs… yet that is magic.  Having near instant access to the answer to nearly any question imaginable, from a mobile device you carry in your pocket… is magic. Getting off a plane at crowded airport and getting a notification that a friend you haven’t seen in person in years is also in the same terminal building, so you get to hang out together for ten awesome minutes… is magic.  I could go on and on.

The Magicians

Unlike the magic of wizards and sorcerers, the magic of technology cannot simply be invoked with incantations and chants of “abracadabra.”  The magic of technology is created by a different type of magician – the engineers, scientists, visionaries and entrepreneurs who can not only envision the magic but who can also figure out ways to build it.  Today’s magic comes from people and companies who have leveraged brainpower, innovation and imagination to make the impossible possible.  Chief among these modern day magicians is Intel. As an Intel Advisor I’ve had the privilege of taking a peek inside Intel and meeting many of the brains behind the magic and the wizards behind the curtains of innovations that have changed our lives and will change the lives of our children.

It’s The Process, Not Just The Processor

What makes technology become magic is what it empowers us to do.  As amazing as it is to acknowledge the advancements and engineering prowess it has taken to facilitate the evolution of the microprocessor (following Moore’s Law and decreasing in size while increasing in power and efficiency by silicon leaps and bounds), the true amazement is not in the chips, but rather in what the chips enable us to do.  Intel employs scientists, researchers, anthropologists, sociologists, even futurists, to study human behavior to better understand where the true power of the microprocessor can be put to work. In one day on the Intel campus for the Upgrade Your Life event we saw firsthand how technology is changing healthcare, education and the care of our environment.  We saw how technology is facilitating independent living for a rapidly growing population of seniors.  Magical things like placing sensors in chairs to wirelessly alert the wife of an Alzheimer’s patient when her husband, known to wander off, gets up from his favorite chair, so she can come home from next door and make sure he is ok.  By using technology to place shift and skill shift aspects of healthcare, many of the services provided today by institutions can potentially be moved to the home, which for many could diminish the need for a nursing home.  The possibilities are endless, and the advancements are desperately needed as cost effective, and more importantly – effective healthcare is critical for an aging population.  We live longer, and the magic of technology may enable us to live better too.

Unleashing Human Potential

The talented artist Hugh MacLeod was hired by Intel to create some of his inspiring cartoons at the CES Show in January and he leveraged the phrase “The processor is an expression of human potential,” which succinctly and sincerely captures the essence of the magic of technology.  While I don’t mean for this to come off as just a puff piece for Intel, I do mean to use Intel as an example of one of the many companies that really are creating magic that will likely benefit our children in ways we can only begin to imagine.  Think of the world you lived in when you were the age your children are today.  How many of the things your children now take for granted would have seemed like magic to you back then?  I grew up in a world before there was a computer on every desk (and now in every pocket.)  My kids know no other world.  What is magic to me, is ordinary to them.

I can’t wait to see the advancements that my kids won’t be able to distinguish from magic!  Can you?

 

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

Disclosure: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to attend events on their behalf.  Intel covered my travel, accommodations and expenses for my trip to Santa Clara for the Upgrade Your Life event.

Photo Credit: © ioannis kounadeas – Fotolia.com

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Getting An Upgrade From Intel


Chips anyone?

As part of the “Intel Advisors” program, my fellow Cast of Dads co-host Michael Sheehan (@hightechdad) and I were the lone males at the recent “Upgrade Your Life” experience at Intel‘s Santa Clara headquarters.  Surrounded by a bevy of talented women entrepreneurs and bloggers we were treated to an inspiring peek inside Intel and in particular, a deeper look at some ways technology is impacting our environment, our health and our education — in essence, how technology is impacting our lives and the lives of our families. I attended this event last year as well, where, among other things, I was introduced to the Intel Reader, a fascinating product to help the visually impaired.  There was a lot of great information and learning at this year’s event as well and I look forward to sharing more details here.  Meanwhile there is a good overview at the Intel Inside Scoop blog, and below is a short video recap Michael and I recorded in the lobby.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 23, Ethan, 21 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.

Disclosure: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to attend events on their behalf.  Intel covered my travel, accommodations and expenses for my trip to Santa Clara for the Upgrade Your Life event.

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Bringing Toys To Life at CES 2011: Intel Labs OASIS

Central Hall Panorama @CES 2011 (c) 2011 Jeffrey W. Sass - Taken with Sony NEX-5

???I am back from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with sore feet, weary eyes and more than a few gigabytes of images and videos of some cool (and unusual) technology and gadgets.  I look forward to sharing a lot of that content with you here on Dad-O-Matic, and will try to focus on the stuff that you will most likely be able to benefit from or be interested in as parents.

Back To The Future

One of the things that makes the annual pilgrimage to CES exciting is the opportunity to look into the crystal ball and see a bit of the future, as many companies display prototypes and experimental products that are not available today, but may be introduced at some time in the not so distant future.  These are the things that often spark “WOW” moments and geekasmic pangs of “I want one!”  They also often spark the imagination, as you can really see how fast advances in consumer oriented computing and technology are moving us toward a tech enhanced lifestyle that was once only imagined in Science Fiction.  I have no doubt that our kids and grand-kids will be taking for granted the kind of technology infused world we gawked at in movies like BLADE RUNNER, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, MINORITY REPORT and many others.

Sponsors Of Tomorrow

While known best for its microprocessor chips, because of the deep impact those chips have on our lives by being inside and powering so many products we use and will use, Intel considers itself the “Sponsors Of Tomorrow” (and they were also the sponsor of my trip to CES this year).   The company invests heavily in Research and Development and one of the technologies that impressed and awed me the most was on display at the Intel CES booth.  It was a demonstration of the OASIS Perceptive Home project from Intel Labs.

Bringing Toys (and other objects) To Life

Leveraging the massive processing power of the latest microchips, along with 3D Image detection, micro projection, and a host of other technologies, the OASIS project (OASIS stands for Object Aware Situated Interactive System) creates an instant interactive augmented reality experience around common household items.  In the video below I took of the CES booth demo, you can see the OASIS system turning simple LEGO toys on a table top into fully animated, interactive play environments.   A small overhead unit that combines “Kinect-like” cameras, as well as color projectors and speakers, the OASIS can “recognize” objects and then react based on pre-determined logic and rules.  The imagined applications of this technology are endless, from finding recipes or building a shopping list by simply placing items on the kitchen counter, to creating custom interactive play surfaces based on the specific toys your child may be playing with, and as many other uses as a creative mind can imagine.

Playing With Fire The Safe Way

In the video below you will see how OASIS can make a LEGO dragon breathe animated fire… but not to worry, all it takes is a LEGO fire truck to come to the rescue and hose down the dragon caused damage.  I can remember breaking my back crawling around the floor to pick up the pieces of toy railroad tracks, strewn about after my sons would “play.”  If I only had an OASIS back then, my aspiring young Engineers could have created their own virtual railroad system by simply dragging their fingers along the dining room table.  Watch the video below and you will see what I mean.

What do you think? Can you imagine uses for Intel’s OASIS technology in your home? How would you like to see this technology “productized” for your use?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, and I look forward to sharing more cool stuff and “Dadgets” from CES in upcoming posts.

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

DISCLOSURES: I am part of the “Intel Advisor” program and am compensated and/or receive other value from Intel to attend events on their behalf, including the 2011 CES show. I was also given a camera by Sony to use to take photographs at CES.

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