If you’re an Android user who takes a lot of photos, you’ll want to pay attention. Google just redesigned its photo app and there are some pretty significant changes.
Photos provides a new way to organize your memories, it’s now able to organize by People, Places, or Things. You can pick a specific person, location, or object and it will search through all your photos for that selection. While it isn’t perfect, it is pretty amazing how accurate it is. I tried to fool it by performing a search for Christmas trees, but was immediately provided with dozens of photos containing Christmas trees.
Additionally, Google will provide unlimited photo and video storage free of charge. There is a catch, photos must be 16MP or less and videos 1080p or less. If you’re capturing these moments with your phone this shouldn’t be an issue; however, if your photos or videos are too large, they will count against your Google Drive storage limit.
For more information and to discover what else has changed, check out Google’s blog post.
If you tend to collect gift cards or money-saving coupons and never seem to remember to redeem either of them, you need a better organizational system in your bag. Card Cubby creates little organizers that convert your chaos into cash. The Card Cubby is a little 5″ X 3″ X 2″ wallet with dividers inside to organize your gift cards, credit cards, and business cards. The Card Cubby is made of leather, and it is available in a variety of colors, embossed textures, and patterns. Prices start at $23.50; a version with an RFID lining to prevent your information from being scanned without your permission is $32.50.
The Coupon Cubby has dividers to organize your money-saving coupons, but it also has a zipper pocket for cash and enough room for a cellphone. It measures 7.5″ X 4″ X 2″, and it comes with a removable strap. The Coupon Cubby is available in a variety of colors and textures for $32.99.
To learn more about these organizers or to order, go to the Coupon Cubby website.
We love bags at the-gadgeteer! We’ve seen so many, the only drawback is it takes quite a bit to surprise us. That’s why the Miggo AGUA camera bag Kickstarter campaign got my attention. Is it a bag, or is it a case? Or something totally unique?
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The SLIDE wallet is a successful Kickstarter project that’s now available for purchase by all. The SLIDE is a minimalist wallet that can hold up to eight cards. Keep the most used cards at the front and back to easily grab; a notch on one bottom corner allows you to easily push up one of the lesser used cards when you need them. SLIDE is made of natural materials, with a cork exterior wrap that holds the two most-frequently used cards and a wool inner pocket that holds the rest of the cards. The SLIDE wallet is $31.22 from STITCH & LOCKE.
Earlier in the year, I told you about Mancrates. These are gifts for the cigar smoker, gamer, poker player, wet shaver, and other types of men (and women) that come packed in wooden crates. Part of the fun of the Mancrates gifts was getting to pry open the wooden crates. There’s another company, Mantry, that also packs their gifts in wooden crates. Mantra gifts don’t have gadgets in them, but hey, even the most gadget loving person needs to eat! Mantry crates are purchased as a 3-month or a six-month gift subscription. If you purchase this for Dad, he’ll get a new handmade wooden crate each month filled with six full-size, “super premium foods” from around America. “The food & beverage items that you’ll receive in your Mantry are not your typical grocery store varieties. Led by the hand of amazing Artisan makers, these foods are painstakingly sourced and lovingly crafted into the perfect original theme (i.e. Bourbon Breakfast, Hecho en America).”
A 3-month subscription is $225, and a 6-month subscription is $450. Mantry is the gift that continues to give Dad a chance to sample food and beverages he probably wouldn’t otherwise know about.
There are so many activity trackers on the market that it can be very difficult to choose one. Most trackers we see are black plastic bands that have been designed to be worn on the wrist and are not exactly what would be considered fashionable. We’ve seen trendier trackers like the Misfit Shine that can be worn multiple ways and customized with different holders and straps. A new tracker just announced that has been designed for women is the Bellabeat Leaf. The Leaf looks just like its namesake, a leaf. The Leaf can be attached to your favorite necklace, worn on your wrist with a strap or clipped to your clothes like a pendant. This tracker will monitor your movement, stress, sleep and even your menstrual cycles. Other features include a 6 month replaceable battery, Bluetooth connectivity and subtle vibration alerts to let you know when you’ve been inactive for too long or as a wakeup alarm. Prices start at $119 and go up to $250 for the limited edition version crafted from 7000 year old marshwood. The Leaf will work with both iOS and Android devices and will be available sometime in June. For more info visit Bellabeat.com
Backpacks are handy when traveling. They allow you to carry things on your back, leaving your hands free to pull other luggage. Better still, the TSA or security checkpoint friendly backpacks make getting through security with your laptop and other devices quick and painless (relatively speaking). With these backpacks, the laptop portion opens so that it lies flat on the belt when going through the X-ray scanner. The ECBC Hercules Laptop Backpack with FastPass System is one of those types of backpacks. How functional is it for a traveler?
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I love Mid-Century Modern architecture, furniture, and interior decor. I used to have one of the coolest Mid-Century telephones ever created – the Ericsson Ericofon. It looked unlike any other phone that came before it; it was sleek, modern, and colorful. I used mine for a while as an extension phone because the ringer didn’t work, but I’ll admit it was a pain to use because it was a rotary dial phone. I ended up storing it in my basement, and it was damaged in a flood. Even if it worked, I couldn’t use it now because we don’t have a landline.
But I don’t need a landline to use one of these Bluetooth Ericofon handsets. BT Ericofon takes real, vintage Ericofons, reconditions them, and turns them into the coolest Bluetooth handsets ever. When paired with a cellphone, you’ll hear a dial tone when you lift the handset, and you can even make a call by dialing the number on the handset’s rotary dial. This thing has all the bells and whistles, too, because you can do redials, speed dialing, activate your cellphone’s voice recognition function, and much more. When you get a call, the handset will ring with the iconic “Ericotone” chirping ringtone.
These Bluetooth Ericofon handsets don’t come cheap, though. You can select the available color of your choice for $600.00. Apparently these handsets are very popular, and it will take a while for you to receive your handset. But man, do I want one! I wonder if they need a Baby Blue, Groovy Orange, or Mint Green one reviewed?
Have you ever built your own furniture? I’m not talking about creating a beautifully handcrafted piece of heirloom-quality furniture like a Chippendale chair. I’m talking about using pallets or screwing some legs onto a board – either because you like the bohemian style or because buying a piece of furniture isn’t in the budget? SNAP, a current Kickstarter project, is a pair of legs that are designed to make it easier for anyone to create their own furniture without needing tools. With a pair of legs and a wooden box, you can create an end table or nightstand that leans against a wall. With four SNAPs, you can create free-standing tables or an ottoman. With enough legs and boards, you can even build a set of bookshelves.
SNAP legs are made of epoxy-painted steel, and they have a high-strength cable that helps you pull open and clamp a SNAP onto a board. A set of four legs can support up to 154 pounds – assuming the board is strong enough, too. They are available on either 14″ (for coffee tables) or 17″ (side tables) lengths and in 16 color combinations (four colors for the legs and four colors for the cable).
Funding continues until Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM EDT, though the funding goal has already been far exceeded. A few early-bird pledges of $55 are still available for two SNAP legs; the price will increase to $60 for two when all the early-bird pledges have been claimed. Other pledge levels get your three or four SNAPs.
There are few things worse than the shrill, sleep interrupting sound of your morning alarm. What if instead of being abruptly awoken by that awful sound, you could be gently stirred from sleep by an intoxicating aroma? The team behind the SensorWake wants waking to be the best part of your day by starting it off with your favorite scents.
The SensorWake is an alarm clock that promises to wake you by slowly releasing your favorite scents in the morning. You can choose from several different scent cartridges including espresso, chocolate, and dollar. No word on whether they will sell a napalm scented cartridge for you Apocalypse Now fans.
For those of you who occasionally have a late night at the local malt shop, the SensorWake will emit an audio alarm after 3 minutes if you’re not yet awake.
The SensorWake is a Kickstarter project that can be pre-ordered for $65 with an estimated shipping date of July 2015.
Janet and I have both reported on the Nova Bluetooth LED flash for iPhone and iOS devices (see related links list below). Now version 1.2 of the app that controls the Nova flash has the capability to allow one iPhone to control up to ten Nova flash units.
We wanted to put iPhone owners in the driver’s seat so they can create and capture their vision anytime and anywhere by using more than one lighting source,” said Jaimie Walnes, Founder of Nova. “iPhone owners can now create outdoor lighting studios whether they’re at the top of a skyscraper or out on the street. It will be very exciting to see the creativity that will emerge from using this new capability.
If you’re not familiar with the Nova flash, it’s a wallet sized LED flash unit that connects via Bluetooth with an iOS device. Using more than one of these flash units allows you to have multiple sources of light in different positions and at different angles to create effects and better lighted images.
To go along with the launch of the new app and multiple Nova support, the ‘Mint Nova Studio 4 Pack’, is available at novaphotos.com/mint for $177 which is a significant savings over the individual price of $59 each.
Cars have become more advanced, and along with the new computer and emissions controls have come the warning indicator lights or “idiot lights” that will go off if the computer detects something wrong with a system in your vehicle. Thankfully, a standard port for accessing that information in the car’s computer system was developed, called On Board Diagnostics (or OBD). The most common standard is OBD-II (or OBD2), which is included on all cars built since 1996. This means that any of us can get a code reader and find out why the warning indicator light went off (note that many auto parts stores will also read your codes for free). However, you may want additional information than can be provided by a simple reader, and the BlueDriver does just that by transmitting the data to your mobile device via Bluetooth. We had a simple reader that worked with only one of our cars. I want to know if the BlueDriver will work with both of our cars, a 2009 Honda Pilot and 2002 Honda Accord, and if it will tell us what might be causing the Check Engine light in our Accord, suggest possible reasons for it, and suggest common fixes.
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If Dad likes old-school, automatic-winding watches, he’ll want a way to keep them wound and ready for wearing. The Leather 2 Watch Winder is a leather-covered, glass-topped box with room to display two watches and keep them dust-free. The interior stand rotates the watches over 4300 times a day to keep them wound, with 20-minutes on and 40-minutes off intervals. Choose single direction or dual direction rotation, whichever is specified by your watches; an automatic shutoff prevents over-winding. The Winder comes with an AC power supply, and it uses 4 C batteries for power backup. It has a locking lid to protect your watches. The Leather 2 Watch Winder is $199.99 at Sharper Image.
If you live with your iPad Air 2 constantly by your side or in your hands, you know that the world is full of dangers for expensive electronic devices. The LifeProof NUUD case for the iPad Air 2 will help you keep your device safe, no matter what conditions you encounter. LifeProof President and CEO Pete Lindgren says: “LifeProof NUUD provides some of the most advanced protection in the industry for iPad Air 2, including screenless technology that allows you to directly touch its Retina display so that there’s never any doubt you’re getting the best possible experience, wherever your adventures take you.”
The NUUD case is designed to protect against water, dirt, and falls. Because screen covers can sometimes interfere with using a touchscreen, the NUUD case is designed with watertight gaskets that seal to the glass; you’ll be able to interact with the touchscreen directly while still protecting the iPad Air 2 inside the case from the elements. “Tailored specifically for iPad Air 2, NUUD performs flawlessly with every port, camera and control, including Touch ID, to keep unlocking iPad Air 2 or using Apple Pay at the touch of a finger. LifeProof NUUD is waterproof to 6.6 feet for one hour and drop proof to 4 feet.” The LifeProof NUUD case for iPad Air 2 is available now in black (a white case is currently out of stock) for $129.99 from LifeProof.
I don’t know about you, but I like to have a status LED on my gadgets that lets me know when they are fully charged so I don’t have to manually turn them on to check the battery level. Most of the Android smartphones that I’ve owned have this feature, but Apple’s iPhones and iPads never have, which I find odd. The power cord for Apple’s MacBooks have a small LED that changes from amber to green when the battery has been fully charged, but a similar feature has been missing from iPhones and iPads… at least till now. The flatOUT LED from Scosche is a 3ft long flat USB Lightning cable with an integrated LED at the Lightning end of the cable. The LED pulses in red while your device is charging and then turns solid blue when the device has reached full charging capacity. The flatOUT cable is available in four colors and is priced at $19.99 each through Scosche.com. Scosche also sells a micro USB version of the flatOUT cable for $17.99.
For my home office I use an iMac, which normally sits at the wrong height for my posture since I place my keyboard directly on the same surface as where my iMac stands. It would be nice to raise it up a bit, and also add a small USB hub since I only have four usb ports built into my machine. Luckily I had the chance to review the Satechi Aluminum Monitor Stand, which looks like it could help me out, so let’s take a look. [click to continue…]
You’ll never be stranded with a flat tire on your bicycle or have to cancel the basketball game due to an under-inflated ball again! The Mobo Pocket Air Pump is about small enough to hide in your closed fist and weighs only 2 ounces. The sleek aluminum design is sturdy enough to allow a maximum of 100 psi, and it is compatible with standard valves and both Presta and Woods valves when you use an adapter. It comes with a mounting rack, but it’s also perfectly sized to fit in your pocket or in your bike’s seat tote. The Mobo is available in blue, red, white, or silver; prices vary from $25-29, depending on the color selected. The Mobo Pocket Air Pump is available from Amazon.
We recently told you about a Star Wars lightsaber engagement ring, now here’s a Star Wars Droid wedding ring that will work for men or women. The ring is from PaulMichaelDesign on Etsy; he also made the Goodbye Old Friend LLAP necklace (tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock) and the Boldly Going Somewhere… Starship Enterprise ring. He’s turned his skills to Star Wars jewelry, and he’s designed a beautiful ring that can be used as a wedding band for a male or female Star Wars devotee; you can even have a matched set of wedding bands. It’s available in sterling silver ($350.00), white gold ($1000.00), or platinum ($1500.00); it can be made with or without the blue colorant bands seen in the above image. It comes in US sizes 5 to 11, with quarter sizes available. Order directly from PaulMichaelDesign on Etsy.
How many times have you been relaxing on the couch or in bed when your smartphone or tablet runs out of juice? If you’re lazy like I am, you probably don’t want to get up and plug in your device to charge it because let’s face it, getting up is too much like work! Couchlet is an Indiegogo project that lets you remain lazy by adding a dual port USB charger to your couch or bed so power will always be right where you need it most. It features a wedge-shaped design that fits between your couch cushions or mattress. A fold out leg provides the charger with extra stability so it can be used on the outside of your furniture too. Couchlet comes with a 6-foot USB cable that uses your current wall charger for power. The Indiegogo project is already fully funded with 12 days to go. A minimum pledge of $16 will reserve your Couchlet with estimated shipping December 2015. For more info visit the Couchlet Indiegogo project page.
We live in a condo building that was built in 1963. It’s a 14-story building with more than 100 units in it. In addition to each unit having their own fire alarms, there is a central fire alarm system for the entire building. Because the building is older, the systems in the individual units aren’t tied into the central alarm system. The walls between these units are thick concrete walls, so the sound from other units and from the central hallway is deadened within each individual unit. I thought this was a positive because I wouldn’t have my alarms going off everytime someone in the building burned the toast, but I realized it was a problem the first occasion when the central alarm went off early one Sunday morning while I was still asleep. I don’t know how long the alarm had been going off before I finally woke up, but it was so faint and distant sounding in my bedroom that I thought it was probably street noise at first. Another night, I was in the bedroom reading (about 40 feet away from the front door) while my husband and daughter were watching TV in the living room. To keep noise levels down at night, we usually use headphones to listen when we watch movies, so they couldn’t hear the central alarms, either. It was another 10 minutes that night before I realized that the central alarms were sounding; my family never heard them at all because of their headphones.
I had written a news post about the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight before these events, and I decided that the Leeo was just what I needed. Leeo listens to the sounds in your house, and it can alert you when it hears an alarm. It’s a way of automating and connecting your home security system to WiFi without having to replace the entire system. It plugs into a power outlet and serves as a nightlight while it listens. If it hears an alarm, it immediately notifies you through the Leeo app on your phone. If you don’t respond within a reasonable time frame, it will call your designated contact to let them know things are amiss in your home.
Julie asked Leeo if The Gadgeteer could review a Leeo, and they agreed. I quickly received the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight and plugged it in immediately. Unfortunately, I wasn’t up and running with Leeo immediately, but it wasn’t Leeo’s fault. I had some problems with my old, existing smoke detectors not working properly, but Leeo works very well once I replaced the old alarms. Let’s give it a closer look. [click to continue…]