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Author Archive for Brett Cooper

OnTip 3-in-1 Gloves Review

The winter has arrived and temperatures are dropping across the northern hemisphere. For those of us that live in a cold climate and love our gadgets that means having to take off our gloves to use our touch screen devices, leaving our precious digits exposed to the elements, or does it? A company, by the name of OnTip, has designed and delivered what they claim are gloves that will keep your digits warm and cozy while you use your touch screen gadgets. With an embedded OnTip nub on the pointer finger and thumb of each glove, one can use their touch sensitive gadgets without having to remove their gloves. The team at The Gadgeteer was asked to review the OnTip 3-in-1 Gloves and I jumped at the chance to review them, as I am an avid skier and I love the outdoors. At $69.50, the gloves are a good deal, but we will need to see how they hold up to the rigors of the wintry outdoor world.

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Drobo S Storage Array Review

Drobo SThe team at Drobo asked The Gadgeteer to review their Drobo S, generation two, a five bay USB and/or Firewire storage enclosure.  For those unfamiliar with Drobo, the company came on the storage scene in the middle of 2007 with a focus on making storage simple.  I like to think of Drobo as the black-colored Apple of the USB and Firewire storage market. The reason that I think of Drobo this way is that the Drobo team has a similar mindset and focus as Apple with their desire to take an old idea and give it a new and useful spin, all in a glossy black coating.  Drobo may not be the the first to deliver innovative features, or the least expensive product in the market, but they have a loyal following.  In this review we will see if the Drobo S, at $799 from the Drobo Store, can deliver the ease of use and performance that has converted many consumers to avid followers of the shiny little black storage box. Read More →

iKliK Multi-Angle Viewing Stand for iPhone 4 and 4S Review

It seems there is a desk stand for every cell phone, tablet, and gadget on the market today.  Some are functional and inexpensive, while others are just good looks and costly.  The Gadgeteer was asked to review a new entry into the iPhone 4/4S desk stand market, the iKliK-The Multi-Angle Viewing Stand for iPhone 4and 4S, from HammerStone Products. At $12.79 on Amazon.com, the iKliK is one of the least expensive desk stands for the iPhone 4/4S on the market.  In this review we will see if it ends up as a gadget that I use everyday or in my gadget graveyard. Read More →

StarTech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone HDD Hard Drive Duplicator Dock Product Review

With the move to eSATA, many consumers are looking for a way to quickly and easily clone or move their content from their current SATA or IDE disk drive to a new eSATA drive, or they may be looking for a way to connect a new eSATA drive to a USB port for quick and easy access to data from another system. In either case, most of those looking to use this kind of product are professional techies within the IT Support Function of a company or service provider looking to deliver quick and easy service to their clients who want their important data moved between an old system and a new one, or have had a system failure and want quick access to recover their data. StarTech, the maker of many useful gadgets to connect everything from your home theater to your servers and USB devices, asked The Gadgeteer to review the StarTech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone HDD Hard Drive Duplicator Dock. While I do not regularly need to clone disk drives, I do have the need to copy my trusty USB 500GB hard disk drive to a eSATA drive that I am installing in my kids’ PC so I have an online backup copy of my content. Read on to see how the product fared and if it ended up in my gadget graveyard or not.

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Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad TS-QVH8.0TL/R6 Review

The Gadgeteer was asked by the team at Buffalo Technology, makers of wireless networking, NAS, and all around good gadgets for the hi-tech home and business, to review one of their latest NAS products, the Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad – TS-QVH8.0TL/R6.   The Buffalo TeraStation Pro Quad is positioned for storing and protecting the small and medium business market’s (SMB) most important asset – its data.  While not specifically designed for the home market, and with a price tag of $1,200, I can understand why it is positioned as such.  From my perspective, the home technology consumer market is quickly evolving and on the edge of that market are consumers looking for a way to quickly and easily share their media, documents, and other content and may look at these NAS offerings shortly.  Having reviewed several other NAS products for The Gadgeteer, I was excited to review one of the larger and more performance-oriented NAS products on the market. Read More →

Peel Product Universal Remote Control Review

Once you have a home theater setup your mind starts to wander to the myriad of remote controls that you are now the proud owner-operator of.  You start to wonder how you are going to help your partner in life, your children, and your parents operate your shiny new entertainment system.  With remotes for your TV, Stereo, Blu-Ray Player, Cable Box or Satellite Dish Receiver, Roku, and many other devices it is a surprise that you can even get it all working to begin with.  Thankfully, the home theater industry has responded to this dizzying set of tasks by designing and delivering a number of remote controls that will handle the task with aplomb.  With that said, you already have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and would like to carry around a single converged device, one that allows you to make phone calls, cruise the Internet, and control your home theater.  Your request has been heard by the team at Peel as they deliver a home theater remote control that works as an App on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad along with a network connected receiver and an infrared sending unit that the Peel team calls the “Peel Fruit.”  In this review of the Peel, we will find out if it has the juice to take on the market for home theater remote controls and avoid the Gadget Graveyard.

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Send an electronic holiday greeting card to the crew of the International Space Station

NASA is offering up a pretty cool way to help the crew of the International Space Station stay connected with the terrestrial bound inhabitants of good ole Mother Earth by sending an electronic postcard.  The free postcards will arrive at the orbiting International Space Station, according to the NASA website, “Your well wishes will be sent on to the station crew.  You can send a little bit of Earth to humanity’s outpost in space.  Go ahead, make their day.”

Send your holiday wishes today via one of four available holiday electronic postcards on the NASA.gov site today!

Splash Down for the Orion: NASA Prepares For Manned Deep Space Exploration

You are getting ready to travel to the deepest parts of space to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.  What is your ride of choice?  Unfortunately not the Starship Enterprise; we have to wait a few 100 years or so before that bad boy is ready to take to the start.  The astronauts will ride on the Orion Space Capsule, designed by NASA for the trip to the deepest regions of space. Besides safely making the trip to the stars, you also want to know that when you come home you will be able to safely make the trip back to earth and rejoin your family and friends.  So, the team at NASA is putting an 18,000 test version of the Orion Space Capsule through some testing, including dropping it into a test pool and testing the heat shield in some sea like conditions. (Yeh, the heat shield is on the bottom of capsule and needs to be both water-tight and able to survive sea-like conditions after returning through the extreme heat of re-entry into the atmosphere).  With more than 150 sensors on the test space capsule NASA is recording and analyzing enough data to ensure that the Orion Space Capsule will be ready to ferry our astronauts into space and back home again.  For more information check out the NASA website.

Stabile-Pro Tablet Stand Review

Lately, I have been reviewing a variety of iPad and tablet desktop stands.  A few weeks ago I was asked to review the Stabile-Pro Desktop Tablet Stand from Thought Out, and I jumped at the chance as I had read about this new stand and wanted to take a look to see if it would end up on my desk or in my gadget graveyard.  Read on to find out where the Stabile-Pro ended up.

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LaCie LaPlug Product Review

Doesn’t everyone have a few USB Memory Sticks or a USB hard drive that they want to share their content with their family and friends?  Personally, I have a 500GB USB hard drive and a couple of 8GB Memory Sticks that I and my children constantly move from computer to computer to share content.   I have tried a couple of other proposed solutions, which I reviewed for The Gadgeteer.  None of the proposed solutions have panned out.  When I asked LaCie to review their latest addition to their portfolio of USB and NAS storage devices, the LaCie LaPlug, I had very high hopes that the product would deliver where others had failed.  The LaCie LaPlug is a tiny device that sits on your network and allows you to share up to four USB 2.0 devices with any computer on your network or the Internet, effectively building your own network attached storage device.  You will have to read on to find out if the LaCie LaPlug was able to satisfy my needs, or if it ended up in my Gadget Graveyard. Read More →

It’s Black Friday! What are you going to go buy today?

A few short hours ago the  frenzy of Black Friday began and shoppers looking for a great deal have started to flood the mall and other retail outlets.  There are deals on everything from  MacBook Airs and iPads to Blu-Ray players and more at Wal-Mart.  Many retailers are also now looking forward to Cyber Monday where they will offer their wares online at significant discounts.  What door busters are you shopping for this Holiday season?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.

International Space Station Crew Comes Home

The crew of the International Space Station returned home after being relieved earlier this week.  The crew of Expedition 29, Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov, returned to Kazakhstan at 9:26pm EST aboard their Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft.  After 165 days on the International Space Station and 167 days in orbit, the crew of Expedition 29 completed a number of experiments that will help those of us on Earth as well as future missions to space create new chemicals and deal with prolonged exposure to the conditions in space.  For more information visit the NASA Expedition 29 home on the web.

16% of cell phones have poop on them – what are you going to do about it?

You may want to reconsider using your friend’s cell phone to make a call or send a text.  According to KeepingItKleen.com, 16% of all cell phones have poop on them.  And when you use a computer keyboard at the office or in the school’s computer lab you may want to bring a disinfecting wipe with you as they are some 60% dirtier than your average toilet seat.  There are some products on the market that can help you keep your tech clean, including ultraviolet lights and disinfecting wipes for tech, but in the end simply following good hygiene and washing your hands is the simplest and most cost effective way of avoiding contaminating your tech. Click the picture to the right of this posting to get a view of all of the not so nice stuff lurking where you would least expect it.

How do the Astronauts get to the launch pad? In a 27 year old Astrovan

You’ve trained for the better part of your life for your flight to outer space with countless simulations, time in a deep water tank designed to simulate the weightlessness of space, rode the “Vomit-Comet” through parabolic arcs, and are suited up and ready to go to the launchpad.  What is your ride of choice for this nine mile journey through the hot and humid Florida weather?  A 27-year old converted Airstream RV named the Astrovan.  We are not talking about your run of the mill 27 year old Chevrolet Astrovan here, we are talking about a converted Airstream that has two kinds of air conditioning for the crew and their support teams.  The first is a one of a kind liquid oxygen cooling system that was purpose built to combat the hot and humid Florida summers and help the launch ready flight crew stay cool before their upcoming ride to outer space.  The second, a row of RV style air conditioners designed to keep everyone else in the RV cool.  While America may not be putting anyone into outer space for several years NASA will keep the Astrovan ready to transport the next crew down the nine mile stretch of road to the launchpad for years to come.  It is nice to see a piece of NASA tradition live on for future crews to enjoy a seat shared by many a astronaut before them on their first stage to reach outerspace.  For more information check out the NASA.gov website and a great PodCast on the Astrovan.

Boxee Live TV Coming to a Boxee Box Near You

 

I am an avid Home Theatre PC gadgeteer with an Apple TV, Roku, Mac Mini, and a few Blu-Ray Players around the house to stream content to whatever screen I happen to be in front of.  I have always wanted a Boxee Box, mainly because I run Boxee on my Mac Mini,  and would love to have a dedicated Boxee instead.  One of the most requested features in the Home Theatre market is to watch live TV on your Home Theatre PC.  Last week there were several rumors on the net, recently confirmed by the Boxee CEO, that Boxee will be delivering this feature in 2012.  The Boxee team will make said feature a reality in January 2012 for those with the Boxee Box, by delivering the Boxee Live TV dongle for $49.   It will enable North American viewers to watch over-the-air HD content from their local HD providers with the attachment of a HD antenna and the viewers ability to receive local HD signals.  For more information check out the Boxee CEO’s Blog entitled “Time to Cut the Cord”.

The International Space Station to Welcome Three Newbies

 

On Sunday night at 11:14pm US EST, three astronauts left for a visit to the International Space Station.  The latest trip to the International Space Station includes Anton Shkaplerov, Anatloy Ivanishin and Dan Burbank, Expedition 29 crew members relieving the current crew on November 21, 2011.  According to NASA, the crew of the International Space Station has been busy conducting a variety of experiments including a sound wave-based experiment designed to produce chemicals without the matter ever touching the sides of a container in micro-gravity, as well as several exercise and physiology related experiments.

The International Space Station has not been in the news recently, but a space ship launch is still a big deal in my book.  For more information visit NASA’s website.

Fluance FiSDK500 Music System for iPod/iPhone Product Review

You may already have an iPod/iPhone speaker system for your home or office and enjoy the sound quality.  You learned a good deal researching your last purchase and now realize that you want another audio system for your bedroom, office, or other music missing location.  You want a higher end audio system that won’t break the bank – something that sounds great and looks great too.  Fluance, the maker of high quality and high performance audio equipment at a reasonable price has introduced the Fluance FiSDK500 Music System for iPod/iPhone , and at $199 the company is saying that it has set a new price and performance standard in the speaker dock market.  You will just have to read on to see if the speaker dock lives up to the company’s marketing. Read More →

Look up in the sky – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s an Asteroid

Yesterday, a large asteroid passed the Earth within the moon’s orbit.  Asteroid 2005 YU55, roughly the size of a large jumbo jet, safely passed the Earth on its journey through space.  The last time an asteroid of this sized passed the Earth was in 1976.  According to NASA, the asteroid passed at some 201,700 miles from the center of the Earth, or 0.85 times the distance of the moon to the Earth.  We did not feel any of the gravitational effects of the asteroid passing.  The picture above was taking by a radio space antenna on November 7, 2011 at 11:45am US PST.  Take a moment to look upwards at the heavens and realize that a giant chunk of space rock just passed our home in the heavens to say “Hi.”  For more information check out the NASA News Article.

Coming to an interstellar mission near you – Tractor Beams

Get ready for tractor beams pulling enemy alien vessels in deep outer space!  Ok, so maybe not in the immediate future anyway.  NASA has awarded a  $100,000 research grant to the Goddard Space Flight Center team of Laser Experts to study how tractor beams could be used to collect smaller samples in space for analysis.  While not the tractor beams that we have come to love and look forward to in Star Trek, these lasers will be used by rovers and deep space probes to capture particles too small or out of the reach of  robotic arms.  One of the more interesting tractor beam methods is something that the NASA scientists are calling the “tweezer” method in that it uses two lasers going in opposite directions to effectively trap particles and bring them into a waiting probe for analysis.  To quote Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies , “is it too much to ask for frickin’ sharks with frickin’ lasers?”

For more information visit NASA.GOV

Sun-Sniper Sniper-Strap Pro Camera Strap Review

I am an avid digital photographer, and I love to bring my DSLR with me where ever I go. I take great pictures that help me create memories that will last forever.  But I, like many of my photography-loving friends, hate carrying the added weight of my DSLR around my neck. I am also self-conscious as I feel that I have the dreaded “tourist look”, not to mention that the strap on my camera cuts into my neck causing significant discomfort over longer periods of an hour or more. Because of the “in-front” position of my DSLR the strap puts it right in front of me and I feel that my $500+ DSR with its protruding lens is in a precarious position waiting to be bumped into a preoccupied passerby. I have always tried to sling my DSLR under my arm, but to no avail, as the camera strap would not allow this kind of positioning. A company by the name of Sun-Sniper has solved my decade old problem by developing and delivering the Sniper-Strap. The company sent me the Sniper-Strap Pro to review. Read More →

Need a whiteboard? Use the back of your laptop with DrawTop!

I frequently use a whiteboard to convey a concept or have a dialogue with a client.  With whiteboads and whiteboard markers it is a good chance that they are not what you want them to be when you show up at someone’s office:  the whiteboard is blurry or stained and there is usually one red market – the exact color you do not want to use.  I usually carry my own set of whiteboard markers to avoid just such a problem, but I can not carry my own whiteboard, or can I?

An entrepreneur founded DrawTop, to make sure you always have a whiteboard with you.  By taking advantage of the unused space on the back of your laptop, or should I say the space used only for stickers and pictures, the DrawTop provides a whiteboard that is with you when and where you need a whiteboard.  The DrawTop Laptop Whiteboard is a white vinyl sheet that looks simple thanks to an adhesive back and even includes a set of Expo whiteboard markers.  I only wish you could print on these to create a standard whiteboard diagram for  illustration purposes or add your company logo.  I also wonder how it works on Mac’s as the light up Apple Logo may be viewable through the DrawTop.  I guess I will just have to order one and let you know.

Priced at $12 for a single DrawTop , $16 for two, or $10 for a special DrawTop for your tablet of choice.  Available today on the DrawTop website.

iHolder 2 iPad Stand Review

Of late, I have been reviewing iPad stands and accessories.  This past week I was asked to take a look at a promising stand for the iPad, the iHolder from Pyramid Distribution.  The marketing for the iHolder 2 states that “it duplicates the design of the iMac – providing the perfect home for your iPad.” I put the iHolder through its paces to see if it will end up on my desk or in my gadget graveyard. Read More →

From Fab.Com – Incredible looking ceramic speakers – I wonder how they sound?

Are you looking for a really cool set of speakers that should also sound great too?  Then look no further as the team at Fab.com have found a limited edition set of 200 Ceramic Speakers designed by Joey Roth. These ceramic speakers are made of porcelain with cork enclosures.  They feature a custom designed Tripath amplifier and look fabulous.  With a price tag of about $300 the 200 are going to go quick and you need to order now to get them when they come in later in December – should be at your house just in time for the holidays.  For more information on to order check out the Fab.com site.

The power of compressed air: Toyota sets new speed record for compressed air vehicles with Ku:Rin

Proving that green technology is more then hybrid technologies or hydrogen powered vehicles, Toyota subsidiary Toyota Industries Corporation, set the new compressed air speed record at 80.3MPH at the Japan Automobile Research Institute’s test track in Japan.  They plan to post the new record to the Guinness World Book or Records.  The car is setup like a reverse air conditioner, pulling energy out of the compressed air from the compression of air into a “fuel tank”.  The Ku:Rin won’t be showing up at your local Toyota showroom anytime soon as it only goes two miles.

For more information checkout Toyota Industries Corporation.

Is there really a Tatooine?

 

 

 

You have to love it when the scientific community leverages Star Wars analogies to define a scientific discovery.  In this case, the discovery of a world in the universe with two suns orbiting a single planet – just like the Star Wars world Tatooine.   NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered the world, now known as Kepler-16b, after its discovering mission.  Using the Kepler space telescope a team from SETI discovered the Kepler system of 16 planets orbiting a star and Kepler 16-b looks like it has two eclipses from earth as measured by seeing dips in the light delivered through a telescope. According to a Press Release, Kepler 16-b is a bit different then Tatooine as it is cold, gaseous, and inhospitable.   For more information please visit the NASA Kepler Press Release.