If you’ve visited the Gadgeteer every day this week, you’ve read a lot of excellent gadget related reviews and news. But if you’ve not been visiting regularly, you have been missing out. Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered with a list of everything we posted this week. Click through to see the full list. [click to continue…]
Stationery nerds and people who need to draw precise lines will love the Incra RULE12 ruler. This 12-inch stainless steel ruler features marking holes and slots at every 1/16″, 1/32″ and 1/64″ inch so you can easily scribe a line exactly where you want it without guessing or squinting. The ruler’s holes and slots are very small, so you’ll need to use a 0.5mm mechanical pencil to make a mark. Incra makes other precision measurement tools, including Metric versions for the rest of the world. The Incra RULE12 is priced at $16.19 through Amazon.
In the world of headphones, there are a few different technologies that are used to reproduce music. By far, the most common are dynamic speaker headphones—basically a miniature speaker sitting right next to your ear. Then there’s planer-magnetic headphones which are (usually) far more accurate than dynamic speakers minus the bass kick (again, usually). Finally, there’s electrostatic which many claim is the best and most accurate of all the headphones. This technology is difficult to drive, meaning it takes a powerful (as in expensive) amp to achieve decent sound and volume. Plus the headphones themselves range from expensive to crazy expensive—thousands of dollars—which explains why they are rare. Sharrk is a newcomer to the headphone market and currently seeking funding on Indiegogo. They’ve managed to garner a lot of attention with what they claim is the world’s first affordable electrostatic headphone—the Bravo.
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Sphero has recently released a new member to their robotic ball series, the SPRK+. The Gadgeteer Kid and I know the world of Sphero pretty well, having reviewed the original, second generation Spheros and more recently the DarkSide Ollie. The new clear plastic SPRK+ takes the experience to a new level. The SPRK+ is not only meant to be played with but programmed to do your bidding as well. The SPRK+ Lightning Lab app enables you to “create code” while learning programming along the way. The SPRK+ app enables you to program the robotic ball with simple building block commands that then enables you to see the code behind them. The visual block-based code building interface makes learning the basic principles of programming relatively easy and hopefully fun. The Sphero SPRK+ is currently available for $129.99 from sphero.com and Amazon.
At least once or twice a year the battery on Jeanne’s Kia or the battery on our lawn tractor dies. Using jumper cables with another vehicle like my MINI Cooper to jump start the dead battery always makes me nervous. First I have to Google the cable connection sequence and then actually do it. The last time I had to do this, I must have done something wrong because the plastic around the jumper cable grips started smoking and melted. Needless to say, it freaked me out and has made me worry about the next time I might have to jump start a battery. That’s one reason why portable jump starters have been on my radar lately. [click to continue…]
GoPro cameras have literally changed the way we experience recorded video: The ultra-wide field of view of these cameras has accustomed the viewer to the expanded perspective these wide-angle lenses record. Now we are on the cusp of a new revolution in video – 360° immersive virtual reality – and Insta360’s Nano camera offers a convenient, innovative, and relatively low-cost way to capture 360° immersive virtual reality footage.
The camera is about 4 3/8″ long, 1 3/8″ wide and less than an inch thick. It can be used on its own to record a 360° projection of the world in 3K (3040 x 1520) at 30 FPS or in still photos onto up to a 64 GB microSD card. The camera has an 800mAh battery that should provide over an hour of recording time. When connected to an iPhone 6/6s standard or plus the phone functions as the camera’s viewfinder and internet connection, permitting the user to live-stream the action. The recorded video can be played back as a VR field of view or in a “tiny-planet” projection. The ecology of the video and the apps that support it is very well established, allowing the recorded video to be viewed on almost any device and social media platform, instantly, without any post-production requirements. As an added bonus, the box that the unit comes in can be converted to a “Google Cardboard”-like device for viewing immersive video using a smartphone with a compass.
The Insta360 Nano is available now on Amazon for $199.
It seems like every day we are hearing about more cases of the Zika virus here in the US. Zika is spread by mosquitos. And while all mosquito bites are annoying and give me the heebie jeebies, contracting the Zika virus is much scarier. It’s true that it usually only causes mild flu like symptoms in otherwise healthy adults, but it can also lead to Guillain–Barré syndrome in some people and Microcephaly when the virus is passed from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.
Even before we started learning about the Zika virus, I didn’t like going outdoors on my property in the summer months because I seem to be a mosquito magnet. This year I’m even more paranoid to be outside for an extended period of time without using bug repellant. But there are other methods of repelling these blood sucking insects from your outdoor living spaces and yard. [click to continue…]
The Elli Rolling Coins Bank is a cute way for kids (and adults) to save their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. This bank is shaped like a pachyderm. That’s an elephant for those of you who are not up on the 19th-century taxonomic order of mammals (yes, I got that from Wikipedia. Don’t judge me). Elli is made of plastic and comes in three colors: Pink, White, and Black. Coins roll down her trunk and are then deposited into her belly for safe keeping. To start your kids on a road towards fiscal responsibility with this cute bank, you’ll need to crack open your own piggy bank to retrieve $14.99. You can pre-order the Elli Rolling Coin Bank from Animi Causa with shipping due next month.
Since switching to the Nexus 6P last fall, I’ve gone from charging with the included Type-C cable, to charging wirelessly using a Qi wireless patch from Astore. The wireless patch worked fine and allowed me to use my existing Qi chargers, but left the Type-C port on the phone unusable and a little plastic bump sticking out from the phone. So after a couple months charging my Nexus 6P wirelessly, I decided to go back to the stone age and start plugging in again. But I wanted something a little more elegant that just a cable, so I went shopping for a dock. There aren’t a lot of Type-C docks on the market, but I’m sure that’s going to change very soon now that other phones are adopting that style port. I ended up purchasing the COTEetCI Type-C Smart Phone Charge Base. Let’s see if it’s Gadgeteer worthy. [click to continue…]
If you have a family of Gadgeteers, you most likely have a variety of USB cables and charging docks positioned all over your house. The Jabees Q7 6 Port Desktop USB Charging Station will help you clean up that mess and get organized. It features an intelligent USB charger with auto-detect technology that adjusts the power output to provide the device with the fastest charge possible. The charging dock offers one QC 2.0 rapid charging port and five auto-detect ports. The Q7 also has a detachable and expandable dock that saves space by holding smartphones and tablets up and out of the way. The Jabees Q7 is priced at $49.99 and is available directly from Jabees.com or at a discount from Amazon.
I’ve been procrastinating writing my review of the MIUCOLOR Trunk Organizer, waiting for a “really big” shopping trip to load it up and get a picture. I thought a “really big” trip would be the true test of the trunk organizer. However, this summer has been so busy I haven’t had any really big trips. Lots of little trips though. Today I realized that while the MIUCOLOR trunk organizer might shine on the “really big trip”, it’s going to be the everyday run-around errands that make it useful for me. [click to continue…]
You’re driving along minding your own business only to look up and see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Then you look down at your speedometer and cringe. When you drive a smooth, quiet car, it’s very easy to speed without realizing it until it’s too late. Radar detectors are one way to help prevent a costly ticket and Escort is a popular brand with a new model. The new ESCORT iX is an update of their best-selling ESCORT 9500 iX detector. The new iX features faster processing, increased memory, built-in Bluetooth connectivity and a high-performance multi-color OLED display. When paired with a mobile device running the ESCORTLive app, you’ll have real-time speed limit data, speed trap, speed camera locations and shared radar alerts from nearby users. The ESCORT iX is available now at escortradar.com for retail price of $499.95.
Do you keep your smartphone in your pocket or bag while you’re driving, or is it front an center on your dash? There are as many ways to mount a device in your vehicle as there are devices and vehicles. Today we’re going to check out a selection of car mounts from GekoGrip. [click to continue…]
Even though I have my mobile number added to the Do Not Call list, I get a dozen spam calls to my phone every week. They are almost always a pre-recorded message from someone named Sally or Sarah telling me that… well, I don’t know what they want to tell me because I always hang up after I hear that it’s a recording. I’ve recently started rejecting calls from numbers I don’t know, but I often wonder if the call was one I should have answered. After today I’ll have a better idea when a call is spammy thanks to Google. They are updating the stock Phone app for Nexus (I am still rocking my Nexus 6P) and Android One devices to show a notice on the screen when a call is suspected of being spam. The new caller ID & spam protection feature is easy to turn on and will even let you to block and report spam calls. The Phone app on my 6P hasn’t been updated yet, but I’m happy to hear about this new feature and can’t wait to try it and report Sally and/or Sarah the next time they call me. For more info check out this page on support.google.com
When the iPad first came out years ago, I thought to myself there’s something that has some real potential to become a portable gaming device. Over the years the iPads have become more powerful and the games more complex. The one area that lacked for gaming on the iPad was a suitable gaming controller, one that worked like the console games a lot of us play today. A company called Gamevice has created a controller that acts similar to your home gaming consoles controllers. With dual analog joysticks, A,B,X,Y buttons, a D-pad, left and right bumpers, and left and right triggers, the Gamevice controller is a major step forward in gaming on an iPad. The Gamevice for the iPad Air is available from the Apple Shop for $99.95. There are also Gamevice controllers for the iPhone 6/6s Plus and the iPad Mini.