I love LEGO but have never really gotten into collecting all of the specialized sets based off of characters from TV and movies like The Simpsons, The Hobbit, Star Wars, etc. I prefer generic LEGO sets best because they inspire more creativity. That said, I have to admit that this new Birds set looks very cool! Created by bird enthusiast Thomas Poulsom for the LEGO Ideas series of models, this set features bricks and instructions to build a Blue Jay, Hummingbird and a Robin. The models stand between 5-6 inches tall and the set also includes 3 booklets which contain information about each bird and info about Thomas Poulsom, the creator of these models. The Birds set is part of the LEGO Ideas models which were nominated and received over 10,000 votes from LEGO Ideas members. This is the same group that is going to bring us the official Big Bang Theory LEGO set that we told you about a couple weeks ago.
The LEGO Ideas Birds set is priced at $44.99 and will be available starting January 1st, 2015. You can find more info at the LEGO’s shop.
When an audio company has a verified headphone hit on their hands, what can they do to improve it—fix something that isn’t really broken? If you’re Focal, you look forward—not back. So they decided to make their popular Spirit One headphone better by improving components and further tweaking the sound. Then they thought long and hard about what to call it and added an “S” to the name: The Focal Spirit One S. Brilliant!
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We recently told you about the MarBlue HeadFoams headphones for children that can stand up to the punishment kids dish out and keep functioning. Well, kids aren’t the only ones who are hard on their headphones, so MarBlue is introducing some HeadFoams designed for adults. HeadFoams Pro are larger to fit most head sizes from teen to adult. They have audio controls and a microphone on the cord for phone calls, and they don’t have the volume-limiter found on the kid’s version. They still are made of a single piece of EVA foam, which is non-toxic, BPA-free, bendable, light, comfortable, and nearly indestructible. HeadFoams Pro are available in three styles: Racer has a sleek black chassis with hot red details, Boutique is a chic purple statement with hot pink accents, and Electric sports a neon green body with hot blue call outs. MarBlue‘s suggested retail price for the HeadFoams Pro is $29.99.
Grovemade constructed this beautiful case from Oregon Claro walnut and premium vegetable-tanned leather. The wood frame was CNC-milled with the layout taking advantage of the strength of grain direction; it has precision-crafted corner joints and lasercut actuated walnut power and volume buttons. The wood was all hand-sanded and stained, and then the case was wrapped with leather. The iPhone fits easily inside, and the front folds completely back for one-handed use, or it will form a horizontal stand. The Walnut & Leather iPhone Case will be available to fit the iPhone 6 for $129; the iPhone 6 Plus case will be $139. Grovemade is taking pre-orders for both cases now, or you can leave your email address to get updates about when the case will be ready.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have drawers full of receipts, bills, forms, and more. Every year around tax time I grumble about the fact that I haven’t kept better track of my receipts. I end up spending most of a day sorting through them and entering everything in a spreadsheet. Afterwards I’m left with clipped stacks of paper that I end up storing in drawers and cabinets. I vow to do a better job the next year – which I’ve yet to do. I have a big clunky scanner that I could use to digitize the bills and receipts, but it’s not portable or that convenient to use. I may have found a solution… Enter the Doxie Go Plus & Doxie Go Wi-Fi scanners. These scanners have an easy to use one button operation for scanning 300 and 600 dpi full color scans. The built in software features Auto Adjust which applies smart cropping, de-skew, and automatic contrast. Doxie can perform 300 scans of bills and receipts to reports, drawings, recipes, notes, business cards, photos and more per charge. You don’t even need a computer to use it. The new Doxie Go Plus and Doxie Go WiFi scanners have integrated WiFi that syncs your high quality scans directly to your PC, Mac or iOS device wirelessly. Once scanned, Doxie’s included app creates searchable PDFs, and sends directly to your favorite apps and cloud services – like Dropbox, OneNote, & Evernote.
Doxie Go Plus is available now for $179 while the Doxie Go Wi-Fi is $229 and will ship mid-December with guaranteed delivery for Christmas (U.S. only). Learn more about Doxie Go Plus & Doxie Go Wi-Fi at www.getdoxie.com/product/doxie-go/
Left to right: Lyric, Legacy, Icon
You may not be familiar with A-Audio brand, but that just means that this Miami, FL based company is trying extra heard to win listeners over with their new line of headphones: On-ear Lyric, Over-ear Legacy and the newest Bluetooth wireless Icon. A-Audio has recently been named an honoree winner in the 2015 CES Innovation Awards.
The collapsible Lyric headphone is made for commuting in luxury with a diamond-quilted leather headband and high-tech materials engineered for optimal sound and performance including 40 mm drivers, chrome and gold plating, with stainless steel.
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I used to carry tools around for a living. A good tool bag was critical. I ended up with a variety of boxes with wheels on them just to lug them around town. I don’t do that anymore, but since I rent and don’t live in a house, space is at a premium. Maybe what I need is a compact bag for just the essentials. Let’s take a look at the Veto Pro Pac model MC. [click to continue…]
Well, you can make Pepsi at home if you are lucky enough to live in the test area. Pepsi and SodaStream have announced a joint project called Pepsi Homemade. You’ll carbonate water using your SodaStream, and then you add one of the Pepsi or Sierra Mist Homemade 0.5L flavor caps create your own drink. Right now, they are testing Pepsi, Pepsi Wild Cherry, Pepsi Vanilla, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, and Sierra Mist Peach flavors. You can only find the Homemade flavor caps in select Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart stores in the Orlando and Tampa areas in Florida.
I hope these flavors are successful, and I hope they expand the line to include other Pepsi flavors!
This little string of Christmas lights will make charging your iPhone or iPad a happy part of your holiday. The iPhone Merry Charger cable will make your home office festive, and you can even brighten up your work area, if you are allowed to plug in a charger cable to charge your phone at work. The 46″ long charging cable has 10 LED lights that glow while you charge your Lightning-chargeable Apple devices. This cable falls decidedly into the “frivolous, but I still need it” category. The iPhone Merry Charger is $14.99 at ThinkGeek.
Adding or changing the artwork on your walls can be an expensive project. Even if you use your own images, you still have to get the pictures matted and framed, which is not cheap. Then there’s the problem with doing it all over again when you start growing tired of looking at the same images on your walls every day. FrameWraps are an interesting and inexpensive solution to this problem. They are like slip covers for your couch, but these are stretchable fabric covers for your wall art. They come in a wide variety of abstract prints and sizes to fit the frame dimensions of your existing framed artwork. What if you don’t have any artwork on your walls yet and have a very small decorating budget? No problem, you can find old frames at thrift shops, flea markets or garage sales. And if you’re really strapped for cash, you can go the recycling route and use a pizza box. I suggest that you eat the pizza first though. With no measuring, cutting, gluing or stapling, you’ll be able to spice up your home’s decor in no time. FrameWraps are priced from $5 to $20 each depending on size and design. Visit the FrameWraps site for more info.
One of the ways to keep top headphone makers innovating is a healthy dose of competition. Master and Dynamic is a new headphone (and earphone) company that could be the cause of some sleepless nights among its competitors. Their use of premium materials—forged aluminum, stainless steel, and lambskin leather combined with classic design—is garnering a lot of attention from the headphone fashion crowd. No other headphones look like them.
The hipster-retro look is timeless and even understated a bit, but daring at the same time. It took Master and Dynamic two years to develop the beautiful MH40 headphone. It’s being followed by the MH30 headphone.
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For those of you who monitor your heart rate with a chest strap while working out, I am sure you know the pain and irritation they can cause. Just this past week, while reviewing a different fitness device, the included Bluetooth HR chest strap literally made me bleed during a long run. The engineers at Mio have created the LINK, an equivalently designed wrist-based band to measure your heart rate in a much more comfortable and less imposing way. [click to continue…]
Julie’s post about the clever but expensive Strelka tool kit yesterday reminded me of my favorite little tool kit. Although my husband has a nice kit that has more expensive tools than this little kit from Ikea, the Fixa 17-piece tool kit has everything that we need to use for most of the things we do around the house. The Fixa kit has a hammer with separate rubber face so you can also use it as a rubber mallet, adjustable wrench, combination pliers, a screwdriver handle with bits for slotted, cross-head, hex screws, and an awl. The tools are made of steel, and they have synthetic rubber handles for a good, comfortable grip. The kit is stored in a roughly 7.5″ X 11″ X 1.75″ plastic box that has a place for each of the 17 pieces, so it’s easy to see if you’ve put everything away. I had one of these kits that I used for months, until my daughter stole it to take to college with her. I need to make another trip to the nearby Ikea store so I can get myself a new kit to replace it. The box is small enough to store in a desk drawer or in your kitchen “junk” drawer. If you don’t have a nearby Ikea, you can order the Fixa from Ikea online. Best of all, the Fixa 17-piece tool kit is only $7.99. Ikea also has other kits in the Fixa line, including everything from powered tools to picture hanging kits and assorted nails selections.
The Power Wallet from Photojojo is big enough to use as your go-to-lunch wallet, with room for your phone inside, plus room for cards and cash, too. At 4.5” high X 8.5” long X 1” deep, it’s big enough to accommodate the iPhone 6 Plus. The wallet is made of synthetic leather, and it has a removable wrist strap for easy carrying. The interior is organized with six card slots, a cash pocket, zippered pocket, and two dividers. The interior also has a 2800mAh battery hidden inside; it comes with adapters, so you can charge an iPhone (Lightning connectors) or Android phones. The Power Wallet is available in Saddle or Dots, as shown, for $79.99 from Photojojo.
I have a large Craftsman toolbox in my garage that contains all manner of screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and more. But not everyone has a garage or room for such a collection of tools. The Strelka ToolBook is a toolbox that stores in your home on the book shelf. You might be thinking that you don’t want a toolbox sticking out like a sore thumb on your book case, but the ToolBook looks just like a hardback book, so it will blend in with the rest of your books. The “book” opens up to reveal a selection of 4 screwdrivers and set of Allen hex wrenches. The set features 2 Philips and 2 flat head screwdrivers that have stainless steel tips and aluminum handles. Everything stores conveniently in the book so that it can be folded up and stored on a shelf. This minimalist toolbox sells for $129. Visit Strelka for more info.
Minimalists will love these foldable bags that roll up into a palm sized bundle that you can hang from your keychain when you’re not using them to hold your gear. For those of you who don’t like to carry a messenger bag, backpack or duffle bag all the time, these foldable bags are perfect for those days when you find that your pocket capacity just isn’t enough for all your gear. The bags are made of a light weight tough nylon that has been treated with silicon to make them water resistant. They feature double-zippered openings and reinforced stitching on stress points. The foldable bags are available from Lee Valley and range in price from $29.95 up to $39.95 depending on the style.
If you have a Caframo Limited JOI Candle Powered Lamp, the next time the power goes out you won’t have to scurry around looking for batteries to feed your flashlights. The Caframo is a small lantern with 8 LEDs that doesn’t require batteries, charging, solar power or dynamo power. All it needs is one small tea light candle. One candle powers 8 LEDs in the tilting lamp head providing 70 lumens for up to 4 hours. How does it work without electricity?
The lantern’s operation is based on a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect, using thermocouple technology to generate an electrical current by exploiting the temperature difference between the inside of the lantern and the cooler outside air. As long as the candle inside the lamp housing is burning, the LEDs will continue to emit light.
The Caframo is available from Amazon for $101.48.
Keurig coffee brewing systems have been around for a while now. There have been a lot of models over the years, but they remained pretty much the same. They still only brewed a single cup at a time. They all used the little pre-filled K-Cups available in a wide variety of flavors and brands. If you preferred your own coffee, there was even a reusable My K-Cup accessory that you could fill with your own grounds. Things have changed with the recent update to the Keurig 2.0 line. The most obvious update is that you can also make carafes of coffee when you need larger quantities and the single servings when it’s just you, or when everyone wants a different hot drink. Keurig sent a Keurig 2.0 K550 Coffee Brewing System to The Gadgeteer for review. Let’s discover the good and the bad points. [click to continue…]
Did you visit The Gadgeteer every day this week to get your fix of gadget related news and reviews? If you answered no, then here’s a quick way to catch up. Click through to see the full list of news, reviews and articles from this past week
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When traveling it’s all about getting the maximum amount of items into the minimum amount of space. When it comes to computer peripherals we see that with small external hard drives and keyboards. The mouse seems to be the one device that although has gotten smaller, is still a bit bulky. The Recon Wireless Folding Mouse designed by Visenta has changed that. The Recon Wireless Folding Mouse is just that, a mouse that lays flat for travel and storage and allows the front 1/3 of the mouse to fold over for use like a conventional mouse. The Recon Wireless Folding Mouse has the following features listed:
- Microsoft Arc Touch style
- Laser Tracking
- 4 range selectable DPI – 800, 1200, 1600 and 2000
- Compact and slim design – profile only 9mm thick
- Power saving technology with automatic standby mode – auto sleep after 3 minutes of no movement
- Full function Touch scroll wheel. Double click touch area equal as click the mouse wheel.
- Super mini Nano USB receiver
- Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery – 1 charge for up to 3 months battery life
- 2.4G anti-interference AFH – up to 10 meter range
Available in black or white from the MeetIDEA website for $42.50, and with dimensions of 5.61(L) x 2.204(W) x .354(H) inches, the Recon Wireless Folding Mouse may be your new favorite traveling companion.