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Author Archive for Bill Kuch

Gadgeteer: Show us your desktop series – Bill K.

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When asked to participate in this series I was reluctant, actually I am reluctant, mainly because my writing area has been declared a mess by certain individuals in my household.  But then again, I subscribe to the old saying that “if a cluttered desk is evidence of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify”.  I feel comfortable with all my “things” within easy reach.

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Ooma Telo and Home Phone Service review

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It won’t be long before the wire-line telephone system finally gets turned off.  Now would be a good time to make the move to either using your cell as your primary phone or, as in my case, move over to VOIP ( voice over INTERNET protocol ).  If you are a regular reader of The Gadgeteer, you know I’ve been championing VOIP for awhile.   I’ve tested several different vendors and have subscribed to a couple of others.  For the past 3 years I’ve been using an Ooma Telo with their Premier service and I’d like to share the good and not so good experiences. Read More →

Snugg iPad mini Case Cover and Flip Stand review

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There are plenty of iPad cases on the market.  The trick is to select the best one or at least one that meets your needs. The Snugg has been supplying cases for various devices and I received one for the iPad mini.  I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and have formed some impressions. Read More →

Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt review

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For more than a thousand years, humans have been securing their front door with key-based locks.  Until recently, there hasn’t been much innovation in the technology, but thankfully, several companies have tried to bring the door lock into the 21st century.  One of them, Yale, has provided us with their key-free Touchscreen Deadbolt.  I expected installation to be a piece of cake because I have experience in installing three Schlage keypad locks in exterior doors.  Well, it turned out to be a lot more involved than I bargained for, but in the end it worked. Read More →

Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One review

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Sometime around 1975, it was suggested that because of computers, paper would become obsolete.  It hasn’t happened yet and I find myself buying a new printer every now and again.  I’ve never been completely satisfied by the output quality or performance of my purchases, but maybe things will change now that I have the XP-950 from Epson.    Read More →

Coolstream Duo Bluetooth Receiver review

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If you’re going to market another Bluetooth receiver in an already overcrowded market, it would make sense to differentiate yourself with a unique feature.  At Coolstream they have made their Duo receiver different in the way it connects to the playback device by plugging in directly to the 30 pin connector on an iPhone docking station.  Is it enough to make it a smart buy? Read More →

eTrak GPS Tracking Device review

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Do you need to know where someone or something is or was?  Need to know that the grandparents are  OK?  Then perhaps the eTrak GPS Tracking Device  by eTrak can be of help.  It claims it can tell you where it is, using GPS, WiFi, and cellular triangulation, and then display the position on a map using your PC or smartphone.  It sounds good, but I had to reset my expectations in order to appreciate its usefulness. Read More →

Bracketron Smart Lantern review

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If  you’ve ever been in a situation where one of your mobile devices has run out of power and there is no outlet around, you’d probably appreciate having a battery backup.  Bracketron’s solution is their Smart Lantern, which not only supplies the power, but also lights your way in the dark.  Here’s something you may want to throw in your kit bag or glove box.    Read More →

Nano Falcon RC Helicopter review

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I’m not very big on playing with toys, but when Brando offered the Nano Falcon R/C helicopter by Silverlit, it piqued my curiosity.  It’s billed as the World’s smallest, according to the Guiness Book of World Records.  Having never attempted to fly a remote-controlled helicopter, I went for the new experience. What could go wrong? Read More →

Boston Acoustics TVee One Speaker Base review

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One thing that’s almost certain is that the quality of the sound from flat screen TV speakers rarely equals the quality of the picture.  It’s understandable, considering the size and location of the speakers.  You can of course invest in a surround-sound system and wire up your TV viewing room, or there is the option of the sound bar.  Boston Acoustics has taken a different approach with their TVee One Speaker Base.  Setting it up was a snap and it sounds good too. Read More →

Sherwood EXM-50 In & Outdoor Wireless Streaming Audio Bluetooth speaker review

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Got your Bluetooth speaker yet?  Here’s another entry in the field, and it’s from Sherwood.  The EXM-50 does everything you’d expect from a Bluetooth speaker, plus it has apps for iOS and Android to control the device and is claimed to be resistant to spraying water.  Being new to the US market, we get to play with it first.  Read More →

APC BG500 Battery Backup review

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For those of us that are dependent upon the Internet for all the information that streams into our homes, battery back-up of  the hardware that makes it possible is important.  The BG500 by APC not only keeps the power on, but it also has features to monitor energy use, a watchdog function that can reboot your network if connectivity is lost, and UPS monitoring from a web browser.   It may take some time to figure out all the features, but it’s worth it in the end. Read More →

Modulr iPad mini Mobility Pack review

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I purchased an iPad mini.  That was the easy part. What I needed next was a case that is both rugged and reliable, because I plan on carrying the mini with me while hiking in the woods near our house.  I stumbled across the iPad mini Mobility Pack sold by Modulr and thought it might be the way to go.  I was intrigued by the claim that it exceeded certain Military Shock Standards.  Hmm, I wonder if it could survive the twin 5-year-old grandsons? Read More →

Strotter Platforma iPad Case review

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I have a confession to make.  I’m obsessed with iPad bags.  Since I purchased my iPad 2, I’ve been looking for the perfect bag or bags to carry it.  Strotter is feeding my obsession with their Platforma bag for the iPad and other tablets.  You know what they say: “you can never be too rich or have too many iPad bags”.  Hopefully this will fit my needs. Read More →

WalletTrackR review

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I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an epidemic of people losing phones/wallets as evidenced by the number of tracking devices available on the market.  I recently received the TrackR by Phone Halo to check out, and my preliminary impression was very positive.  Here was something that I could stick in my wallet or hang on a key-chain to help me find them when misplaced.  Now all I needed was a Bluetooth 4.0 phone/tablet and I was set to go. Read More →

Aereo TV review

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“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  Remember this quote from  the 1976 movie Network?  It sums up my feelings about the present state of pay-TV providers and forced me to do something about the ever increasing fees and poor customer service.  Thanks to Aereo, I’ve been able to dump the TV portion of my cable bill and now have a much better level of service and a reduced cost.  While this service may not be for everyone, it does merit a look, so let’s do it. Read More →

PROTAG review

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Recently my wife lost her purse, and it got me thinking if there was a device that would alert her when she and her purse were separated.  Not too long afterward, I came upon the PROTAG by Innova, a device that works with a smartphone to keep track of your personal items and sends alerts when they get separated by more than several feet.  It seemed like a good solution to the problem of our forgetfulness, but I wasn’t sure it was easy to use.  Read on to find out if it is. Read More →

Strotter Across Case for iPad review

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You’re probably thinking ” not another iPad case!”, but before you hit the back arrow hear me out.  The Across Case by Strotter does have some unusual features that make it worth a look.  My first impression was also underwhelming; however, after using the case for a couple of weeks, it may be something you might consider.  I know I had a change of heart… Read More →

Xtreme Life DVR and Landscape Stone Surveillance Camera review

petrock02I’ve been searching for a way to keep an eye on my summer cabin while we’re not in residence, and the Xtreme Life Landscape Stone from KJB Security products would seem to be the answer.  It claims to provide unattended surveillance with minimal operator intervention and ease of operation.  I guess we’ll have to see about that… Read More →

Boxxle Bag-in-Box wine dispenser review

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I have a confession to make.  Before this review, I’ve never consumed wine from a cardboard box container.  It’s not that I’m a wine snob, it’s just that the limited number of wines I enjoy, only come in bottles.  So, the makers of the Boxxle provided me with their 3 liter bag-in-box dispenser so that I could expand my horizons.  First stop was the State run Liquor store to get some samples. Read More →

Efergy Engage Wireless Energy Monitor review

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I’m always looking for ways to cut down on my monthly expenses, and one of the areas I’ve been having a problem controlling is electricity consumption.  The issue is that we don’t really know what’s keeping our bill so high, making it difficult to affect changes.  There are energy monitoring devices available, but most of them have some sort of contraption that connects to the utility meter and then transmits usage to a reader inside the home.   Efergy has what I believe is a more practical solution with their Engage Wireless Energy Monitor.  It reads the actual current flowing through mains at the breaker box in the house and calculates the power consumed.  I installed the unit in less than 15 minutes and now can see my electricity usage real-time. Read More →

Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Conference

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I recently spent three days in Detroit, Michigan, as one of 200 guests at Ford Motor Company’s annual Trend Conference.  The event was a showcase of several Ford products, but more importantly, it’s a look into the future direction of technology and environmental concerns for Ford and the auto industry as a whole.   It was a jam-packed 3 days with several sessions interspersed with product demos and a test drive here and there. Read More →

J. Fold Thunderbird Men’s Leather Front Pocket Wallet and Money Clip review

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Personally, I’m a money clip-type of guy.  I can’t remember when I last carried my cash in a wallet, but I still carry a wallet for the credit cards and identification items.  When I discovered the J. Fold Pocket Wallet and Money Clip from TheWalletShoppe, it seemed like I could finally get rid of that bulge in my back pocket. I’ve switched over to the pocket wallet for a couple of weeks now and have some impressions to share. Read More →

Pivos XIOS DS Media Play review

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Is there really a market for another media player?  Pivos seems to think so and offers their XIOS DS Media Play, an Android-powered box that connects to your TV.  I have some experience with these players, and up until now, it hasn’t been good.  I’ve spent over a month putting the Pivos device through its paces and will share my results.   Read More →

Issentiel iPad Leather Case review

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There are certain things in life that demand a price premium, such as a 1985 Dom Perignon or Monte Cristo #4, but an Ipad case?  Issentiel of Paris provides a line of smartphone and tablet cases crafted in leather.  The iPad 2 case I received to review lists for $99, which I think qualifies as a premium product.  The question is:  does it merit the price?

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