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Author Archive for Bill Kuch

Zagg rugged folio for the Apple iPad mini review

I enjoy my iPad mini, but I worry about dropping it or otherwise damaging the unit when I travel.  Also, it serves most of my needs, but there are still occasions where I need to set up a laptop to write a review or extended emails.  Now, with the rugged folio from Zagg, I have converted my iPad mini into a versatile notebook and can leave the laptop at home.  Read More →

Volkswagen 2015 eGolf test drive


One of my dreams is to own an all-electric vehicle, but I’ve never actually driven one until my recent trip to attend Volkswagen’s Full-Line Press event in Middleburgh, VA.  I, along with two dozen other bloggers, were invited to attend this event and hear about VW’s plans and get a preview of several of their products.  For me, this included a short drive in the eGolf electric car through the Virginia countryside. Read More →

Viatek Night Stars Landscape Lighting review


Ever since my granddaughter visited Disney World, she’s been asking when I was going to put “Fairy Lights”  in the trees around the house.  I’ve been able to deflect, usually with the promise of ice cream, but now I can answer her request using the Night Stars light.  Although my initial thoughts were “who needs this?”, after setting it up and showing my friends, I actually like it. Read More →

FIREase IncinerGrate review


We are fortunate to have access to a summer cabin on a lake and near the woods.  Every summer family members descend upon the “camp” and enjoy swimming, sailing, fishing and most importantly for the kids, roasting marshmallows over an open fire.  Because of this, the adults have become somewhat proficient in starting a campfire, so I was curious how the FIREase IncinerGrate would add to the experience. Read More →

Papago GoSafe TPMS Tire Pressure Monitoring System review


Despite knowing better, I rarely check the tire pressure in my vehicles.  I rely on the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) in my newer car to let me know when I’m below a certain level, but in the case of my 2005 vehicle and motorcycles, I don’t worry about it until they go flat.  Probably not a good idea, so the GoSafe TPMS (Tire pressure monitoring system) from Papago forces me to do proper maintenance on my vehicles. Read More →

D-Link mydlink WiFi Smart Plug review


I’ve been playing around with home automation products for awhile, but so far I haven’t found anything that is easy to use or conforms to a well established standard.  I have some Insteon devices, X-10 devices, and there are also Zigby and Z-wave protocol devices available.   All of these require some sort of hub to communicate with the adapter and a controller or smartphone app.  D-Link has taken an approach that communicates with their smart plug using good ole WiFi.  All that is required is a local area WiFi network and your smartphone/tablet running the free app. Read More →

Citizen Eco-Drive Military Chronograph review

watch01I like wrist watches.  OK, I said it and that probably makes me a dinosaur.  Although I have a cell phone which I can reference for the time, to me there’s nothing like the convenience of having a timepiece on my wrist, and I don’t have to fish it out of my pocket to check the time.  There’s also the aesthetics and the Citizen Military Chronograph is one handsome looking watch.  As an added bonus  it’s solar-powered. Read More →

D-Link Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera DCS-2330L review


I’ve been looking into a security system for my home, but I keep running into the cost issue of a monthly service charge.  So, I took a different tack and decided to cobble together my own using off the shelf network cameras.  I had several cameras arrayed around the house, but I was missing a weather proof outdoor camera that could “see” in the dark.  Now that I have the D-Link Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera DCS-2330L, I might be able to get complete coverage of my property. Read More →

Gadgeteer: Show us your desktop series – Bill K.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


“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


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 →