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Author Archive for Don Zelazny

Bodykit BodyBag Review

Front of Bodykit "BodyBag"

Some folks are “shoe” folks, some ladies are “purse” folks and many people who read this site are “bag folks”.  They love bags to carry gadgets in!  A company out of the UK called Bodykit is bringing some pretty unusual designs to the market.  Don’t think camping and back-packing with these.  These are considered “urban” bags for today’s urban explorers. Read More →

VioVio Photo Books Review

Several of the ladies on my staff go every year to some cottage somewhere do go “scrap-booking”. I see stores come and go selling scrap-booking stuff, whatever that is.  Personally, I think they really go to sit around and drink wine more than scrapbook (not that there is anything wrong with that….)!  If you want to have cute stickers of ducks on your scrapbook pages and have the photos of little Melvin and Aunt Agnes under a heart cutout, then off to the cottage with you.  If, however, you just want a truly nice looking photo book to show off your pictures, then read on. Read More →

Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 Review

Do you like to sit comfortably on your couch and rock out to some good music while you check out on your laptop?

Anyway, if you have trouble jamming to the wimpy speakers installed on most laptops then the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 may be just what you need. This handy little device simply holds the laptop and provides speakers.  The power for the speakers comes from the computer itself, so there are no batteries to fuss with or plugs, just the USB plug that goes into your computer. Read More →

Super Video on Canon DSLRs With Magic Lantern

For quite some time now I have been a “Canon Guy”.  I think many serious amateur photographers fall into one of two camps, “Canon folks” or” Nikon folks”.  Cameras are one thing I’m afraid to venture away from my comfort zone. If I got anything but a Canon and didn’t like it as much, I’d be kicking myself.

Truthfully I find it more rewarding to get a good photo than a good video.  Video just isn’t my thing, but, with the ease with which the new cameras can shoot video, I think many in the “Gadget crowd” are taking more videos now than ever before.  Might as well make them as good as possible, right.  While the ‘cameras’ do an amazing  job already, there are some things that can be done to spruce up the quality of the video shot with a “camera”.  An open-source free firmware add on called Magic Lantern is available. Read More →

Tougher Glass in Your Gadgets

My word, the money we spend to protect our gadgets.  I think we all shiver at the thought of the glass on our beloved gadgets breaking or being scratched….thus the money spent at Otterbox and other fine companies for all these “gadget-condoms”.  A huge Japanese glass maker called Asahi has come up with a new glass called Dragontail Glass which the company says is very strong and has been tested against damage from hammers, key scraatches and dropping.  Stronger (and thinner) glass would allow for thinner ‘gadgets’ , even if it means we can just use them as they come out of the box, without the gadget cond…..well… get it.

This glass will be competing with a glass from Corning called Gorilla Glass.  Asahi Glass folks predict a 30% share in the consumer electronics market in one year!!  Watch for it.   Perhaps we will no longer need to worry about having our gadgets in the same pocket as our keys!!

Here is a link to an NPR story about the product:

VirusTotal – Free URL and File Checker

All of us techies know that by the time we open our new computer, or for that matter, just about any other tech device, it is close to being obsolete.  If this is, for the most part, true of tech gadgets, it is especially true of software, security software in particular.  By the time you download AV software on your computer, it is probably out of date.  A FREE service called VirusTotal will allow you to check out files or suspicious websites before you deal with them.

Here is the “brag” about their service from their site:

VirusTotal is a service developed by Hispasec Sistemas that analyzes suspicious files and URLs enabling the identification of viruses, worms, trojans and other kinds of malicious content detected by antivirus engines and web analysis toolbars.

VirusTotal’s main characteristics are:

  • Free, independent service.
  • Runs multiple antivirus engines.
  • Runs multiple file characterization tools.
  • Real time automatic updates of virus signatures.
  • Detailed results from each antivirus engine.
  • Runs multiple web site inspection toolbars.
  • Real time global statistics.
  • Analysis automation API.
  • Online malware research community.
  • Desktop applications (VTUploader, VTzilla) for interacting with the service.

Worth a peek I think!

Technocel Battery Boost Portable Battery Pack with MicroSD Card Reader Review

Know someone with a cell phone??  You do??  So do I! (I wonder if its the same person…;)

Here is a great little trinket for them; the Technocel Battery Boost! This cool little device would be welcomed for any of your phone toting friends that have a phone with the very common Micro-USB connection for charging.  Bonus if they have a phone that stored photos etc., on an easily accessible Micro SD card.  The unit also functions as an easy to use Micro SD card reader.  The Micro SD card is plugged right into the Battery Boost, eliminating the need to use the Micro SD to SD card adapter. That is cool! Read More →

When In Rome……!

Now this is cool.  I’ve been to Italy several times and the ingenuity of the ancients is truly remarkable.  Colosseums, aqueducts, and now this.  I dental colleague of mine had a post on his dental blog about this awesome gadget, yes, GADGET, found in the Mediterranean area, dating from the Middle Roman period, that’s 200-300AD!

So,  the Roman Army Knife must be the precursor to the hallowed Swiss Army Knife! Look at this folding gadget with three-pronged fork, knife, spoon, pick and spike.  It is housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK.

Smartfish ErgoMotion Laser Mouse Review

I used to never give much thought to the mouse I was using, until one of my co-workers bought one for one of our computers.  The thing just didn’t fit comfortably in my hand at all and I even avoided that computer if possible because of the uncomfortable mouse. On the other hand, the Smartfish ErgoMotion Laser Mouse is one I would seek out to use. Especially designed to help ease/prevent symptoms of carpal tunnel,  the mouse has a patented pivot motion design that allows forward and back pivoting as well as lateral pivoting for exceptional hand comfort.  Lefties rejoice- this mouse is ambidextrous. Read More →

TAC Drive Review

The TAC Drive is one serious thumb drive.  Thumb drive just doesn’t cut it, so the company calls this thing a Digital Doc Tag!! It even comes with standard army issue  steel chain to fling it around your neck if you like! Read More →

How to Get Great Public Transportation Directions

Maybe this doesn’t technically count as a gadget….but… I live in probably the largest metropolitan area in the country without subway/light rail public transportation, the Detroit Metropolitan area.  “Car Capital” means you travel in this area by CAR. Public transportation be damned. Fortunately I have visited many major cities worldwide and have seen some awesome public transportation systems; among the best, Moscow and Seoul, Korea.  Frankly, I love figuring the systems out.  Sometimes, in planning a trip, I have tried to find out routes beforehand to make sure I can get where I want by public transportation- you know, do I need to rent a car or not, etc. Read More →

Ditch The Landline!

As if many of us needed another reason to ditch your landline (mine is gone), Google announced on Wednesday that customers will now be able to make phone calls through their G-Mail accounts!  If you have a G-Mail account you will now be able to make free calls domestically and to Canada using their computers built in speaker and microphone, or alternatively with a headset.  Google continues to position itself as your all in one communications tool.

I imagine this will drive some folks to stick their landline phones up in the attic, but may also challenge other online services such as Vonage and Skype.

Genius HD Webcam with Crazytalk Software

Are you a fan of sending webcam films of little Wanda and her loose tooth to Aunt Millie in Iowa, or any other webcam uses?  Genius, a Florida company with an extensive line of webcams has just released what looks to be a pretty cool new webcam, the eFACE 2025 which is bundled with CrazyTalk software.  Here are some of the “particulars” on this webcam:

  • 720P HD 2.0 M pixel video
  • CrazyTalk Cam Suite Pro software
  • captures still images at up to 8.0 megapixels
  • foldable and easily transportable
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • about $60

Read More →

Logitech Wireless Backlit Keyboard Model K800

This sounds like one of those things that we’ll use and say,  “Why haven’t I used one of these before?”  Logitech has just released a new wireless keyboard with back-lit buttons.  For anyone who uses a computer (or would like to) in a room that is not fully lit this seems like a no-brainer.  As a health care provider I am constantly looking at x-rays, which now are more and more in the form of digital images on a computer.  In many cases it helps to have the ambient room light diminished when viewing diagnostic images.  Others may just want to work in low light and a backlit keyboard could be just the thing to help you out. I certainly look forward to trying one of these out.  They’re now selling for $99.

Gerber Strata Multi-Tool Review

I suppose for many of us who write for or read this fine blog our fascination with ‘gadgets’ probably started with our first “Swiss Army Knife”.  My  ‘junk box’ still has most of the ones I’ve owned over the years, but my answer to the question “How many gadgets is enough” will always be the same, “Just One More!!” It is with that in mind that I present the Gerber Strata, one serious multi-tool. Read More →

Build A Better Mouse…..?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like using my laptop without a mouse.  I have used a small ASP plug in mouse for about 3 years now.  The “mouse” section of the electronics store is not the first place I go there, but news of a new mouse coming out called the Swiftpoint Mouse caught my attention.

The company is now taking pre-orders for the mouse, with the following features:

-Natural pen-like grip with padded thumb and finger grips.

– Lasts 2-4 weeks between charges

-Scroll wheel with SlideScroll for rapidly scrolling, zooming and paging

Looks like someone may have finally invented a better mousetra…er…mouse!

SLAPPA M.A.S.K. Backpack Review

The SLAPPA M.A.S.K. is a serious backpack.  It even comes in its own bag!  I’ve had a lot of backpacks over the years but this one tops them all. Last weekend I went on a business trip and used the bag as my suitcase and was able to get all my stuff in for this short trip.  Granted, it is Spring and the clothes I packed were not too bulky.  If the bag were used as a carry on or extra bag on a trip the amount of “stuff” you could pack in there is basically endless.  Pocket lovers rejoice. Besides the two main compartments, this baby has at least 13 other pockets/storage areas. Read More →

Reef Fanning Flip-Flops Review

Working in the health care industry I do not invest a great deal in my wardrobe.  I own ONE suit.  I do however, own numerous pairs of flip flops.  I firmly believe other than the bikini, flip flops are the best clothing item ever invented (and the only one of the two I can wear….)  On a recent trip to Key West I had a new pair on. They were killing my feet.  So I wandered into a surf shop to check out their selection. Read More →

AltusLumen Lightgear-Gre LED Light Review

Camping and outdoors season is almost here in the Midwest, so it is time to start thinking about your outdoors gadgets.  Since it is impractical to bring the campfire into your tent or trailer, the outdoors person needs some form of artificial light source.  Let me ‘turn you on to the latest, the AltusLumen Lightgear Gre Flashlight. Not only does this unit feature a bright, long lasting light, but it has plenty of other “stuff” to keep a gadgeteer busy. Read More →

Xtensor Hand Exerciser Review

Many people suffer with pain in their hands, wrist and arms due to such things as arthritis, or tendonitis such as tennis elbow, or repetitive motion injuries/ carpal tunnel syndrome. People in some professions,  such as mine, dentistry, experience these problems at a rate higher than most of the rest of society. While I have been fortunate to avoid such problems for the most part, I know many who have suffered from arm, wrist or hand pain to varying degrees. Read More →

Full-Join PPS-FM WiFi Pocket Radio Review

PPS-FMWiFiRadio-1.jpgI remember in grade-school staying up late with the lights off in my room listening to Toledo Goaldiggers hockey games on my portable black RCA transistor radio.  I remember picking up a St. Louis station from my then home in Toledo and thinking how cool that was. Read More →

Totes Crank Flashlight Review

Darn those displays in the middle of store aisles packed with countless inexpensive ‘gadgets’.  I get suckered every time.  Light bulb filament replacement kit; yeah, got one of those.  Nose hair weed-wacker; my brother got suckered into that one.  Tell me you’ve never been in one of those As Seen on TV stores…

Anyway, once in a while you find a diamond in the rough.  I have owned countless flashlights since I have had children and ONE of them presently works.  It’s the one I hide that recharges by plugging in to an outlet.  Any flashlight that used batteries is always dead; not sometimes, always! What kids need a flashlight for in the middle of the day outside is beyond me. Read More →

Logitech S125i iPod Speaker Review

Logitech S125i iPod Speaker

Echoing my recent comment about the cellphone accessory market, I’m not sure if more money is spent on iPods or on accessories to go with them.  The availability of good speakers that you can plug your mp3 player into has undoubtedly contributed to declining sales of stereo systems like some of us had in school.  Remember the stack of equipment; the receiver, equalizer, turntable (Dad, explain to Junior what I mean), cassette deck (ditto Dad) and huge floor speakers all working together to blast out All Along the Watchtower. Now the dormroom or basement is more likely to just have an iPod speaker of some sort and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones as the stereo system to blast Rihanna Montana or whoever it is they’re listening to today. Read More →

Otterbox Blackberry Curve 8300 Series Case Review

Otterbox for Blackberry in caseI wonder whether more money is spent on our gadgets or the things we use to hold and protect our gadgets? One of the major players in this arena is Otterbox. They make cases for just about any phone, including iPhones, Blackberrys, Palms as well as iPods. Read More →

Gary Fong Lightsphere II Portrait Diffuser

gary fong 5In my line of work I frequently like to have portrait photos.  In the past I have sent patients to a local photographer, who did a great job.  The problem is one of expense and logistics.  I didn’t want the expense and the patients didn’t want the hassle of going there.  While I don’t need Cosmopolitan shots necessarily,  I do need something very good.  Home or office portrait studios can cost a great deal of money when you add umbrella flashes, backgrounds, etc.  I wanted to see if a simple flash diffuser could produce decent portrait results at a fraction of the cost. Read More →