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Author Archive for Julie Strietelmeier – Page 2

ToneFone – The world’s healthiest (and heaviest) iPhone case

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Most people want their smartphones to be light weight and sexy, so they buy barely there cases that won’t cover up their phone’s slim lines. Those thin cases may look great, but they are doing nothing for your not so thin physique. Imagine if there was a way to use your phone in a normal fashion that could help you burn calories and tone muscles. There is. It’s the ToneFone, which is made of 100% British steel covered in soft, durable and grippy rubber. It’s basically a case for your iPhone 5/5s that turns the phone into a 1 kg or 1.5 kg dumb bell. For those of us who are metrically challenged, that translates 2.20 and 3.30 pounds. That doesn’t sound like a lot of weight, but if you are constantly picking up your phone to check text messages, facebook, emails, and calls, all those reps will add up to at least a little extra calorie burn by the end of the day. Currently available in white with gold and space grey ToneFones due in June 2014, these cases are priced at £22.90 for the 1 kg version and £25.40 for the 1.5 kg version ($38.02 – $42.17). Visit DesirableBody.co.uk for more info.

Bacon makes everything better

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Do you love bacon? Is there anyone besides a vegetarian who can honestly answer no to that question? Bacon aficionados will appreciate today’s partnered post with Faveable.com, a gadget and cool-stuff discovery site for men. Their team has shortlisted some really interesting products with a bacon theme! Some of the items on the list are products that you never imagined existed.

Bacon Scented Air Freshener: Looks like bacon, smells like bacon, but doesn’t taste like bacon. (Don’t eat it, okay?)

Bacon & Cheddar Popcorn: The perfect blend of gourmet popcorn, bacon and cheddar cheese flavors. Yum!

Bacon Soap: Looks and smells like bacon, but it’s a bar of soap! Comes in a fancy tin, perfect for a gift for all bacon fanatics.

Marini’s Hand Dipped Chocolate Bacon: Exquisite combination of two favorite foods – bacon and chocolate. These boxes of chocolate-dipped bacon are perfect for a gift or a guilty personal pleasure.

Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee: Did you think this list would conclude without a mention of the popular beverage? Obviously not. This should be perfect early morning brew for those among us who are crazy for bacon.

Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum review

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You might be wondering, “Julie, what’s up with all of these vacuum reviews that you’ve been posting lately?” You’re not alone, I’m also wondering why I keep saying yes to vacuum review offers. Maybe it’s some deep seated need to make sure my carpets are clean. Nah… More likely it’s because I hate my 1000 pound 20 year old Kirby vacuum and I’m looking for a light weight alternative with a few tech bells and whistles. The Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal rechargeable vacuum ticks both of those boxes. It’s light weight and it has a rechargeable battery for cordless operation. But does it suck in a good way or a bad way? Let’s find out.

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LinkSprinter is Fluke’s latest network testing tool that sends results to the cloud

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If you’re a geek or nerd worth the salt in your bread, you’ve no doubt heard of Fluke. They make those easily recognizable yellow digital multimeters that I used to see on every workbench when I worked at Cummins Electronics back in the day. Their newest tool is a small network tester called the LinkSprinter 200. It retains Fluke’s iconic rugged yellow housing, but offers some up to date tech bells and whistles that will make IT guys want one for their tool box or pocket. This small handheld network trouble shooting tool is powered by 2 AA batteries and has one button for foolproof testing. Just turn it on, plug an Ethernet cable into the jack built into the LinkSprinter and the panel of LEDs that light up in either green, yellow or red to show the status for internet connectivity, gateway, DHCP, cable connectivity and Power over the Internet status.

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The LinkSprinter has a built-in Wi-Fi access point that will allow you to use your phone or tablet’s web browser to display detailed test results in real time. The LinkSprinter cloud service will upload each set of test results to the cloud where you can access them via your desktop browser or via emails which are sent to you automatically with the results. The cloud service is free for the first 120 days. After that, 10 tests per month are included per tester. Additional tests may be purchased in 100 or 1000 packs for pennies per test. Test packs can be shared across an organization. You can buy the LinkSprinter 200 for $299. For more info or to order, visit LinkSprinter.com

Gadgeteer: Show us your desk series – Julie

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Do you ever wonder where all the writing magic happens for the Gadgeteer news and reviews that you read on a daily basis? Do you picture us hunched over a keyboard in a Starbucks or a library somewhere? We want to give you a glimpse into how and where we get things done. This first series will share our work environments and later we’ll follow up with a how we work series. I get to go first since it was my idea! Welcome to Gadgeteer HQ. Oh, be sure and take off your shoes. Jeanne gets cranky if we wear shoes in the house.

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It’s official, Amazon Prime membership fees are going up

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I just received this email from Amazon:

Dear Julie Strietelmeier,

We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on December 21, 2014.

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

For more information about your Prime membership, visit our Prime membership page.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Prime Team

A $20 bump stings a little bit, but honestly, you can’t beat Prime. I use it ALL the time. If I could order my groceries through Amazon, I would… I don’t take advantage of the video features as much as I should though.

I haven’t been a member for more than a couple years, so it is impressive that this is the first increase since the service was started in 2005.

Are you a Prime member? Will you be canceling when your renewal comes up, or will you just deal with the $20 increase?

Faveable wants to help you pick an ultrabook

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Welcome back to another edition of our partnered posts with Faveable. If you’re in the market for an ultra-portable laptop, today’s article will be something that will interest you. There are a lot of choices in the laptop market right now and it’s very easy to get lost – it’s not just about processors and screen-size anymore. Besides Windows and Mac laptops, there are also Chromebooks which rely entirely on your internet connection. There are also extreme light-weight laptops called Ultrabooks which are very trendy right now. If you’re interested in lightening your load, check out some of the popular ultra-portable laptops listed below.
Toshiba Chromebook: The 13.3″ Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 is an Intel-powered Dual-core Laptop running Chrome OS. It’s perfect for surfing the web, emails and watching videos on youtube. It also comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage free for 2 years.
Acer Aspire S7: This 3lb Acer Ultrabook is 0.5″ thin and has aluminum body with glass lid. It’s powered by Intel’s latest processor, Full HD 1080p screen and provides up to 9 hours of battery life.
ThinkPad X240: This ThinkPad is the ultimate laptop of choice for on-the-go business professionals. It’s thin, light, built to last and powerful enough for most tasks. What more could you ask?

Snag a copy of “Learn to Build with PHP – A Crash Course”

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Learn to Build with PHP – A Crash Course is a free 29 page PDF book that will teach you the basics of the PHP programming language. It starts out with instructions for setting up a development environment for Windows, OSX, Linux and even Android. Then you are shown how to make the all important “Hello World” first program. The guide covers a lot of info to help you get your feet wet with PHP. You’ll learn how to create forms, databases and more. This guide won’t turn you into an expert, but if you’ve always wanted to learning a new programming language, why not start with PHP?

There are a few hoops to jump through to get this guide, but it helps The Gadgeteer to earn some some affiliate fees that can help us to bring you more cool product reviews.

As seen on TV: Wow Cup spill free drinking cup review

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I don’t have any little ones running around at my house, but I’ve seen enough kids to know that when cups and beverages are near them, a mess is bound to happen. When the sippy cup was invented, I bet parents all over the world cheered. Sippy cups definitely can help prevent messes, but they aren’t totally spill proof like the Wow Cup spill free cup from Telebrands. If you have kids or know an adult with dexterity issues, you’ll want to know more about this product.

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Keep your grocery list organized with the Hiku Scanner and your iPhone

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The Hiku Scanner is a small handheld scanner that recognizes both barcodes and your voice. With a real 1D linear imager like the ones used at grocery store checkouts, the Hiku Scanner instantly adds items to your shopping list without any need for writing or typing. When you finish that last box of Rice Crispies, just press the button on the Hiku and scan the barcode. It  will then be added via WiFi to the shopping list app on your iOS device. If Hiku doesn’t recognize your item from its database of grocery products it will notify you with a couple of beeps and let you speak the name of the item that you want associated with that code. Hiku’s cloud service will then transcribe your note and add it to the grocery list. Your list can be shared with your family or anyone else. When you add or cross off an item, your list is updated everywhere.

The Hiku Scanner has a soft silicone case with a built in magnet so you can leave it attached to your fridge so it will always be handy. It uses an ultra-low power standby mode that enables up to two months battery life with normal use. The internal battery is rechargeable via the built in micro-USB port.

The Hiku is priced at $79.00 and is on back order until April. For more info visit hiku.us

Keep your Moto G smartphone warm and toasty with this laser cut cover

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Portland Oregon based company Toast has just announced an addition to their line up of real wood thin, lightweight covers. This new easy to apply – peel and stick cover has been designed especially for the Motorola G Android smartphone. There are four woods to choose from including Walnut, Bamboo, Ebony and Ash. You also have the option to add a front cover and custom text engraving. Prices start at $25 for the back cover without engraving and go up to $40 for a front and back cover with engraved text. Visit www.toastmade.com for more info!

Faveable helps you choose your next HDTV

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Several years ago when I was trying to choose my first HDTV, I found the task to be confusing and time consuming. That was back when the main choice was between plasma, LCD and LED TVs. These days there are even more technologies you need to consider along with multiple brands to choose from. Our friends at Faveable have compiled a list of ten popular HDTVs that are currently on the market from leading brands. These choices include the much-talked about 4K sets, TVs that feature 3D, and even regular Smart TVs. Be sure to go through their entire list and find one that is right for your needs.

Engrain Tactile Keys add a little nature to your Apple Wireless Keyboards

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Engrain Tactile Keys are handcrafted wooden key cover stickers for your Apple wireless keyboard (both the compact and standard sized version with the numeric keypad). They are made of Sassafras wood with a 3M adhesive that is strong enough to hold up to years of use while still allowing for easy removal without damage to the keyboard. The wooden sticker sets are made in Brooklyn, NY and are available in different layouts including: USA, UK, German, Scandinavian, Russian/English and Arabic/English. If you need another language, they are available by request. The compact keyboard set is priced at $98.00 and the standard set is $118.00. Visit Michael Roopenian Design for more info.

Misfit Wearables starts offering shirts and socks with pockets for the Shine tracker

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Misfit Wearables has just introduced their new line of Shine compatible clothing which includes t-shirts and socks. The Misfit Classic Tees and Super Dry Sport Socks feature specially designed pockets that are perfectly sized to hold a Misfit Shine activity tracker. The 100% cotton t-shirts have the pocket located on sleeve and have been designed with fade resistant colors, premium stitching and no scratchy neck tags. The cotton blend socks have the pocket located in the cuff and offer additional padding under foot for extra comfort which is great for runners and walkers alike. The Misfit Wearables Super Dry Sport Socks are available in packages of two (in either black or black & grey) for $29.99 or $69.99 for a package of six. The unisex t-shirts are available in five colors and are priced $24.99 individually or in packages of three and ten for $64.99 and $189.99 respectively. Too spendy for my tastes, but if you’re so inclined visit Misfit Wearables for more details or to order.

AthLights – Tiny wearable flashing LED lights that keep you visible

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When your workouts include running, walking, biking or other activities in the streets, it’s very important that you don’t blend into your surroundings. You want to be easily visible to drivers or you might end up as a skid mark on the pavement. In addition to wearing light colored clothing, and adding reflectors on your bicycle, you can also consider AthLights. AthLights are very small LED lights that use magnets for easy attachment to your clothing. They weigh only 1/3 oz each and feature a metal housing that is resistant to both rain and sweat. AthLights are powered by two button-cell CR927 batteries that should last about 40 hours before they need to be replaced. They have a simple twist on/twist off power mechanism that will keep you visible at night from up to 600ft away by alternating red and white light flashes about once a second. A package of two is priced at $15.95. They can be ordered directly through AthLight or other retailers like Grand St.

Fitness gadgets to complement your gym workouts

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Continuing with our series of partnered posts from Faveable, a gadget discovery site, we have a selection of cool fitness gadgets which may work well with your current workout regime. First up we have a new activity tracker from Garmin, primarily known for their GPS range of products. The Garmin Vivofit features a pedometer, calorie counter, and a heart-rate monitor. It also assigns you daily goals to help you reach your fitness levels.

Fitbit Aria is a smart weighing scale. It not only tracks your body weight but also displays your body fat percentage and BMI numbers. It’s easy to set-up and can automatically recognize up to eight users for large households.

And, finally we have the Jabra SPORT+ Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphones. These are perfect wireless headphones to be used during your gym sessions. They have been tested against US Military standards for rain, shock and dust resistance. You can easily control music and phone calls via the headset buttons too.

Gtech AirRam cordless vacuum cleaner review

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Most people would not consider a vacuum cleaner to be a gadget or even a tech site worthy topic. But what if the vacuum is full sized, cordless and can tell you how many calories you’ve burned while you’re using it? Designed in the United Kingdom, the Gtech AirRam cordless vacuum cleaner might be the first Gadgeteer worthy sweeper that we’ve had the opportunity to review. Keep reading as we get down and dirty with it. Literally…
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Saddleback Leather bag giveaway!

sb4 Gadgeteers, today is your lucky day to enter our contest to win your choice of one of three gorgeous leather bags from Saddleback Leather Company. We’ve been featuring bags from Saddleback for almost 7 years because their quality and workmanship is unsurpassed. They don’t offer a 100 year guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship for nothing! If you haven’t been able to enter one of our contests in the past because you’re outside the US, you’ll be happy to learn that this contest is not restricted to the US. It’s open to everyone and is easy to enter, so what are you waiting for? Read More →

SPIshutter MacBook webcam privacy cover review

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Have you ever accidentally started a video chat with someone when you were looking less than your best? Or maybe you’re a little paranoid that THEY may be watching your every move through the webcam on your MacBook? An easy way to solve that problem would be to stick a piece of tape over the camera lens, but if you want a more attractive solution that won’t leave a sticky residue, take a look at the SPIShutter.

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Best home gym gadgets for fitness junkies

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Have you ever considered setting up a decent gym within the comforts of your own home? The idea must have crossed your mind, especially during the new year period when fitness resolutions are at an all time high. It’s not a bad idea considering the commute involved with regular gyms and rising monthly membership fees. Our friends at Faveable have done extensive research to come up with a huge list of exercise gadgets you can buy for the home gym. Mind you, most are unconventional but they will ensure your workouts are fun! Check out what the list has in store for you by following the link below.

Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows 8.1 RT tablet review

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Years ago I was the ultimate Apple fan girl and wanted little to do with Android devices because they seemed clunky and lacked apps. Time went by, I dumped Apple, and have been firmly in the Android camp for a couple years. Now I find that Apple devices bore me to tears. I’ve tried a couple Blackberry devices, but they failed to impress me and are pretty much ready to have a fork stuck in them at this point anyway. But what about mobile Windows devices? In the past year, I’ve looked at just one Windows device and that was a Nokia Lumia 822 Windows Phone 8. I think it’s high time that I tried a Windows tablet. So when the folks at Verizon Wireless asked me if I was interested in taking the Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows 8.1 RT tablet for a quick test drive, I was happy to accept. Read More →

LECHAL launches haptic based footwear

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Initially developed to help people with visual impairments navigate the world, Ducere Technologies has launched LECHAL interactive haptic based footwear. Pronounced lay-ch-al, meaning “take me there” in Hindi, LECHAL footwear creates a hands-free navigation system through your feet, guiding the wearer towards their destination through simple vibrations in their shoes or insoles. Imagine exploring New York City… Instead of pulling out your phone and looking like a tourist as you try to find a popular restaurant or theater, you can comfortably walk to your destination while your shoes will vibrate to signal which way to walk and when you’ve reached your destination. Using Bluetooth to pair with a smartphone, LECHAL footwear can also be used to track fitness information like number of steps walked and calories burned.

Ducere Technologies have not forgotten their initial motivation to help those who are visually challenged:

“Every time you buy a pair of Special Edition footwear, one pair of LECHAL footwear will be subsidized for a visually challenged person, through Institutes like the world renowned L V Prasad Eye Institute, based in Hyderabad “

LECHAL footwear will be priced at $100 for the shoes or insoles. Each package will include a pair of footwear (insoles or shoes), a charger, and the application which can be downloaded on a smartphone (Android/IOS/Windows compatible). For preorders and more info, visit www.lechal.in

Five gaming keyboards that will elevate you to a video gaming god

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If you have ever been a PC gamer at some point in your life, you know how much of a difference that a quality gaming keyboard can make to give you an edge during gaming sessions. Most gaming keyboards use mechanical switches where each key is paired with its own spring loaded switch for improved tactile feedback. Gaming keyboards also have special gaming features such as macro keys that will let you save time by pressing one or two keys to perform a whole group of commands. Check the list below for some of Faveable’s top picks when it comes to gaming keyboards. The list includes some of the best models from leading brands like Razer, Logitech, Corsair and more.
Checkout: 5 Best Gaming Keyboards on the Market

Sorta adaptive notebinder review

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Does this sound familiar? You’re happily writing in your brand new hardbound journal when you suddenly make a mistake. Maybe you misspelled a word, your penmanship was sloppy or you just weren’t happy with an entry. Now you feel like you ruined your journal. If you’ve ever wished that you could remove pages, add pages or rearrange pages in your bound journal, I have a notebook that might interest you. It’s the Sorta adaptive notebinder. It changes for you instead of the other way around.

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booq Python mirrorless keeps a tight squeeze on your camera and gear

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Photographers with mirrorless cameras need a secure way to carry their camera and all its accessories. Enter the new booq Python mirrorless camera bag. It’s a compact top loading shoulder bag that comfortably holds either a mirrorless camera with a large lens or a compact DSLR with a small lens. Due to booq’s durable water-repellent 168 denier ballistic nylon exterior and densely padded interior, it has been designed to protect your gear from impact and weather. It also has room to hold an iPad mini or similarly sized tablet, cables, and chargers in its main interior, as well as papers, business cards, an extra battery, and wallet in its exterior pockets. The Python mirrorless is available today for $80. You can read more about the Python and other bags at booqbags.com