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Author Archive for Julie Strietelmeier

You won’t need a fancy compass with this nickel that points North


The Covert Compass from Shomer-Tec is a genuine nickel that has been modified to function as a simple compass that will point to magnetic North. The nickel has a groove around the edge that is used to suspend the coin from a thread. You supply the thread and when dangled, the heads side of the coin will point the way North. This extremely basic compass was inspired by similar compasses used by allied service men in WWII. No one would guess that this coin is a compass, making it the perfect addition to your spy gear toolbox. The Covert Compass is available from Shomer-Tec for $24. They also offer a Euro coin version for $29. They are going to send me one to try, so l’ll have a full report soon.

Pro-Idee Picnic Cutlery set review


Have you ever found yourself with a plate of food but no fork or spoon to help you eat it? The Pro-Idee Picnic Cutlery set makes sure you never find yourself in that situation again. It’s a handy tear drop shaped container that holds a fork, spoon and knife. Let me show you how it works.

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Gadget deals – DIY Google Glass for $14 and more


Google Glass (Sort of)
We give you, Google Glass! Super fun and super tongue in cheek! This is a simple and inexpensive DIY version of Google’s virtual reality glasses that was announced at the most recent Google I/O. Check them out for only $14 from Amazon!

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Cobra Drive HD Dash Cam with Wi-Fi (CDR 900) review


I don’t know about where you live, but where I am in Columbus, Indiana, people have horrible driving skills. I constantly see people run red lights and cut in front of you with little to no time to brake. I’ve often thought that I should consider buying a dash cam to use an insurance policy in case I get in an accident where I’m not at fault and need evidence to prove it. When the Cobra Drive HD Dash Cam with Wi-Fi (CDR 900) was offered to me, I happily agreed to take it for a joy ride - literally.

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Here’s a Writer’s Block that you won’t mind having


If flinging your 3×5 inch pocket notebook on your desk is no longer an option for you, I have a solution to keep your workspace more organized. It’s called the Writer’s Block and it’s a new Kickstarter project from the makers of Word. notebooks. The Writer’s Block is made of a solid piece of brass, cold-rolled or stainless steel that has been designed and machined to hold two pocket notebooks along with your favorite pen. The project is seeking $3000 which it’s already raised. With 26 days left in the campaign, you can reserve a Writer’s Block by pledging $35 – $55 depending on the type of block you want. Visit the Writer’s Block Kickstarter page for more info.

Transform your Android device into a desktop computer with three USB 3.0 ports


I used to day dream about only needing one pocket sized device for all my communicating and computing needs. One device that would serve as my phone, my camera, my laptop and my desktop computer. That reality keeps getting closer because the hardware is already available with gadgets like the UNITEK Y-3068 USB 3.0 3-Port Hub with OTG + Smartphone Stand from Brando. This small box is like a docking station for your laptop, but it’s for your Android smartphone or tablet. It provides a stand to hold your device at a comfortable viewing angle, three USB 3.0 ports and a SD card reader. Using the OTG (On-The-Go) feature built into Android devices, this hub allows you to connect a mouse, keyboard and a USB flash drive to your device, effectively turning it into a mini desktop computer. The hub comes with an AC adapter and can also be used to charge up to three devices at once.

The UNITEK Y-3068 USB 3.0 3-Port Hub with OTG + Smartphone Stand is priced at $55 and is available from Brando.

LG G3 Quick Circle Qi Wireless Charging Cover review


I recently upgraded from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to a LG G3 smartphone. Having reviewing the LG G2 last year, I was expecting the G3 to have Qi charging capability right out of the box. I was really disappointed when I found out that this would not be the case with the US versions of the LG G3. Only the international version of this phone comes with a back cover that has Qi charging capability. One solution to this problem is the LG G3 Quick Circle Qi Wireless Charging Case. MobileFun sent me one to review, let’s take a look.

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Chargers and gaming accessories – Weekly roundup

This past week we seemed to focus on two different themes. For reviews, we had not one, but three charger reviews. And for news we had quite a few video game related posts. If you’re not interested in either of those two topics, never fear because we had posts about tools, lifelogging cameras, LED lamps, camera gear and more. Click through to see the full list of news, reviews and articles from this past week.

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VSSL – Survival kit in a tube


I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a book about a woman who hiked the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) all by herself. It made me wish I could do something like that. But the problem is that my idea of camping is sitting on my front porch in my pajamas while surfing my favorite gadget sites and drinking a cup of tea. If you’re more outdoorsy than I am, you might want to look into buying a VSSL Supplies survival kit for your next outdoor adventure. The VSSL kit consists of an 8 x 2 inch diameter anodized aluminum tube that holds individual tins of supplies like an LED flashlight, oil filled compass, beeswax candle, razor blade, water purification tablets, fishing kit, saw, whistle, fire starter, signal mirror and more. This kit will be priced at $89 when it becomes available this fall from VSSL.

Gadget deals – HTC Desire 816, Ottie car mount and more including UK deals


Today we have some money saving deals on an Android smartphone, a mount for a smartphone and a backup battery for a smartphone. Today we are also happy to provide three deals for our UK readers.

HTC Desire 816, 5.5″ Android Phablet on Virgin Mobile
Part phone, part tablet, the 816 is perfect for those wanting a mini computer in the palm of their hands. Huge 5.5″ diagonal display and HD visuals, two cameras, wireless capability’s (obviously) & runs on the Android 4.4 Kit Kat operating system. What more could you want?
1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor
8GB internal memory
5 Megapixel front-facing camera with 1080p video recording
13 Megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording

Available from QVC for $199.95 – MSRP $546  Read More →

Make a campfire with your shoe laces


How many times has this happened to you? You’re hiking the Appalachian Trail and are ready to make camp for the night only to discover that your matches are soggy, your lighter is out of fluid and you’ve lost your firesteel. Now you can’t make a fire to toast your marshmallows! What will you do? What WILL you do? Don’t panic, you can use your boot laces if you happen to be wearing RattlerStrap Flint Laces. These 7 strand 550 paracord boot laces which can be purchased in either black or brown and come in a good selection of lengths, have a rubber capped 1 inch ferro rod housed in each lace end. Pull out the rod, strike it with a piece of steel to create a spark and you’re well on your way to make a campfire. Crisis averted. Bring on the s’mores!

Of course you won’t be using these laces as your only means of making fire. They are there for emergency purposes only. The RattlerStrap Flint Laces are priced $13.95 per pair from Amazon.

Gadget deals – Save 30% on an iPad Air, 80% on Samsung headphones and more

Apple iPad Air

Snag an iPad air for 30% OFF – $489. So far 450 eBay’ers have picked up the deal in the past 24 Hours, with another 350 people watching the item. Grab one while they last! (They also have an Apple iPad 2 for $219 – 51% OFF)

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Narrative Clip wearble lifelogging camera review

Do you have a good memory? Do you remember everything that happened on your last birthday, vacation or family outing? Do you wish you had some pictures from that one time… at band camp? Although most of us carry a smartphone with a camera, we can’t take a picture every minute to document our lives. That would be crazy… or would it? The Narrative Clip is a small wearable 5 megapixel camera that automatically snaps a picture every 30 seconds so that you can keep a log of your life.

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Gadget deals – Lumsing 6000mAh ultra slim power bank

You can never have too much battery power, so here’s a deal on an external power supply from Lumsing that has a capacity of 6000mAh that is enough juice that you can use it to recharge an iPhone 5S three times, a Galaxy S4 twice, or an iPad mini once. It features an ultra slim case made of brushed aluminium alloy and two USB outputs (5V 1A & 5v 2.1A) so that you can charge two devices at once. The Lumsing 6000mAh ultra slim power bank is normally priced at $23.99, but you can save $5 by using the coupon code LUMSING6 at checkout on Amazon. The deal expires on 8/15.

StretchWrite turns your favorite pen or pencil into a stylus


The StretchWrite is a stretchy grip that will instantly turn your favorite pen or pencil into a touch screen compatible stylus. Just put the writing tip of the pen or pencil in one end of the StretchWrite and stretch the other end over the opposite side. Now you can write with the pencil or ink as you normally would, but when you flip the writing instrument around you have a stylus tip that is ready for use with your tablet or smartphone. The StretchWrite comes in your choice of two color combinations: Red + Gray or Blue + Pink and is available at StretchWrite for $9.99 for a package of two.

Gadget deals for Macbook Air, Maxell earbuds, Jawbone and more

We’re going to experiment with posting regular gadget deal posts again on either a daily or weekly basis. However, we only want to do this if you find these posts useful. Unlike the deal posts we’ve run in the past, these aren’t sponsored (I’m not being paid to post them), but in the interest of full disclosure, the links in these posts are affiliate links. That means any sales coming from clicking through and buying the products listed here will earn The Gadgeteer a small percentage of money. Please share your comments below with your opinion on deal posts.

11″ Apple MacBook Air

The Ultimate gadget. Super-slim with an super-fast processing speed. A feather weight laptop that can pack a punch where it counts. As Steve Jobs once said: “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent”.

  • 1.4 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz)
  • 4 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
  • 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • 11.6-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display; Intel HD Graphics 5000
  • OS X Mavericks; Up to 9 hours of battery life

I still love my 13″ Macbook Air even though it’s over 3 years old now. This deal is very tempting…

Apple MacBook Air, $854.99 from Amazon

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MudFighter tools declare war on muddy shoes


The Mudfighter-series is a collection of tools that have been designed to help you remove mud and rocks from the soles / treads of your shoes. They are perfect for cross country runners, hikers, and even people that have dogs ;) I could have used one of these tools several years ago when I had my Corgi. Walking in our front yard was always “fun” because of the little doggie “presents” she’d leave. Back then I used a hi-tech stick to clean out the treads of my sneakers… ick.

The collection of tools includes:

MudBall – Scraper and brush in one (shown above)
MudBlade – Shoe scraper with a foldable blade, remove pebbles or mud from the sole of your shoe (shown below on left)
MudFighter –  scraper and brush that snaps together for easy attachment to a bag (shown below on right)

mudfighter5 mudfighter3

MudFighter tools are priced at €7.95 for the MudBall and MudBlade and €12.95 for the MudFighter. That converts to $10.60 – $17.27 USD.

Tape measure + pencil = PencilMan


Do it yourselfers, handy men and women and just about anyone who needs to measure and mark something will want to check out the PencilMan tape measure from Smith Works Tools. The PencilMan is a 25 foot metal ruler that features an easy to use thumb activated tape brake lever, a belt clip and best of all, a pencil holder. The PencilMan can accept a variety of marking tools from regular pens and pencils to carpenter’s pencils, Sharpies, and markers up to 5/8″ diameter. With a pencil attached to the tape measure, you can do all sorts of marking tasks like parallel slide marking, arcs and circles, single-handed marking and more. If you don’t know what those types of markings are, no worries, just head on over to the Smith Works Tools website and watch the short demonstration video and then you can buy one for $19.95.

Neolid Twizz is a travel cup with a twist


The Neolid Twizz is a plastic 12 ounce cup made in France of light weight, waterproof and insulating plastic. So far that sounds pretty boring right? The interesting feature of this cup is the specially designed twisting lid that opens and closes with a twist. The lid opens like an iris or camera shutter and can be used with or without a straw, making it great for travel and kids. You can learn more about Twizz cups at They can be purchased from Newegg for is $16.80 or eBay for less than $10.

ClockONE is an insanely cool E-ink clock with an equally insane price tag


The ClockONE from Twelve24 is simple and beautiful. It’s a wall mountable 39.37 x 13.78 inches (1000 x 350 mm) clock that features a digital display that uses E-ink. The clock runs for one year on one CR2450 button battery and mounts to the wall with a magnet. I love the look of it and have had the company’s site open in a tab in my browser for a week. Every other day or so I go back to the tab to look and drool over it. The ClockONE is available for pre-order but I didn’t see the price listed on the site, so I finally emailed them. The price for this very cool clock is a whopping $499. Yikes, I’d lover to have one, but I sure don’t love it that much! It will be available in different colors starting September 2014. Visit Twelve24 for more info.

ReadyMax offers hand tools with built-in lights

When you’re using a pair of pliers in a dimly lit area, a flashlight can be real handy. But holding a flashlight in one hand while using the pliers in the other hand can be both inconvenient and awkward. An alternative could be a hands-free head lamp, but then you still have use two devices instead of one. A better solution might be a pair of pliers with a built in flashlight like the ReadyMax NightHawk Outdoor Pliers. These 7″ pliers are made of aluminum with Tungsten Carbide jaws and feature a waterproof sealed LED flashlight that is powered by three standard #392 watch batteries. Now you can shine a light on your work with the press of a button.

ReadyMax NightHawk Outdoor Pliers are available for $39.99, with even more light enabled tools coming soon.

SCOTTeVEST, LG G3, LEGO sets for girls and more – Weekly roundup

Each week we try to bring you news and reviews of gadgets and other unique products that you’ll find interesting. This week Andy Jacobs brought you an exhaustive review of the SCOTTeVEST SeV Q.U.E.S.T. Vest for Men, Dave Rees and I told you all about the LG G3 Android smartphone, Janet told us about fun LEGO sets for girls and there were lots more news and reviews that should keep you entertained and informed. Click through to see the full list of news, reviews and articles from this past week.
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No more waiting, now you can spread butter right from the fridge


Or at least that is what the SpreadTHAT! Heated Butter Knife claims to be able to do. The unique thing about this hi-tech kitchen gadget is that it doesn’t use any electricity to warm the knife. It uses a non-toxic titanium coating to conduct the heat from your hand down to the blade, allowing you to cut through and spread cold butter like a … well… hot knife through butter! I’m not sure how well it might work if you happen to be a person who has a warm heart but cold hands. That’s something I’ll find out soon because the folks at are going to send me one to review. But if you don’t want to wait for my review, you can head on over to their site and buy the SpreadTHAT! knife for $19.95. And if butter doesn’t excite you, they also have a similar product for scooping ice cream that I’ll be covering too.

5 stands that integrate an Apple wireless keyboard with a tablet


Tablet users who enjoy using a real honest to goodness physical keyboard with their devices have a large selection of different Bluetooth keyboards to choose from, but one of the best in my opinion, is Apple’s wireless keyboard. The only problem with this keyboard is that it wasn’t designed for use with a tablet and is lacking a way to attach the tablet to the wireless keyboard for pseudo laptop use.  Read More →

Connect 2 Android devices together for file sharing and battery sharing


Android users are lucky because we have the ability to use OTG accessories with our devices. If you don’t know what OTG is, it stands for On The Go. Here’s an eWiki definition:

USB On-The-Go, often abbreviated to USB OTG or just OTG, is a specification first used in late 2001, that allows USB devices such as digital audio players or mobile phones to act as a host, allowing other USB devices like a USB flash drive, digital camera, mouse, or keyboard to be attached to them. Use of USB OTG allows these devices to switch back and forth between the roles of host and client devices. For instance, a mobile phone may read from removable media as the host device, or present itself as a USB Mass Storage Device when connected to a host computer.

Ok that’s about as clear as mud… Basically, OTG allows you to connect mice, keyboards and flash drives to your Android smartphone or tablet through the micro USB connector on the device. We’ve reviewed several of these accessories and find them to be really handy (see related links list below). This new cable from Allputer goes a step farther than other OTG cables by allowing you to connect two Android devices together for file sharing and even battery sharing. If one device is low on power, it will use the juice from the other device to charge its battery.

The Charging and OTG Cable is available from Allputer for $3.95.