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Author Archive for Julie Strietelmeier – Page 3

Your future will be bright with one of these 10 flashlights [sponsored post]

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Whether you’re camping out in the wilderness, scared of monsters under your bed or just need some help lighting the way when you take Fido out for his evening constitutional, a good flashlight is one tool that everyone needs at least one of. Today’s list from Faveable gives you 10 recommendations for flashlights that will are sure to brighten whatever you shine them on. The list includes 2 flashlights that come within a nickle of the $300 price point. These lights are not for kids, but extremely powerful tools. The $199.95 4100 lumen Torch has a halogen bulb that can burn for 2000 hours and is so bright and hot that it can fry an egg! Yay multi-tasking! If a $300 price tag on a flashlight has you ready to press the back button on your browser, never fear, the list also includes 5 lights that are less than $50. The Lighting EVERA flashlight offers an adjustable focus, is powered by 3 AAA batteries which are included and provides 140 lumens of light, all for less than $10.

Read Faveable’s Best Flashlight list.

ZAGG Auto-fit Bluetooth Keyboard for 7 inch tablets review

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Small tablets like the Google Nexus 7 are light weight companions suited perfectly for all sorts of mobile tasks which make them great alternatives to a regular laptop. Onscreen touch keyboards get the job done, but sometimes you just want a physical keyboard to make it easier and faster to edit documents and write emails. For those times, you need a Bluetooth keyboard. The ZAGG Auto-fit Bluetooth Keyboard for 7 inch tablets is a folio style keyboard that turns your 7 inch tablet into a pseudo mini laptop complete with a clamshell design.

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#ad Faveable shares deals on solid state drives

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Do you enjoy tinkering with your desktop or laptop computer? Maybe you’ve even built your own desktop computer by picking out the case, motherboard and other components. I used to love to do that back before I switched to Macs and laptops. Some folks like to customize their computers like they might customize a car. And just like cars, speed is always a factor when it comes to computers. What is an easy way to speed up a computer? With a faster hard drive of course. Solid state drives are faster and more rugged than mechanical drives because there are no moving parts. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your computer to give it faster read/write times, then Faveable has your back. Today’s list offers 6 deals on drives from well known storage companies like Crucial, Samsung and Sandisk. They also have deals on drives from not so well known vendors like Plexor and Mushkin. Depending on your storage capacity needs and budget, this list from Faveable features drives under $100 and as high as $489 for a 500GB external drive from German based Brinell.

Read Faveable’s Best Solid State Drives to Speed up your Computer.

#ad Faveable shares their best monitor deals for June

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When I decided to sell my 27 inch iMac and use a 13 inch Macbook as my primary computer, there was an obvious adjustment period. Giving up a huge display like the one built into the iMac was tough, but I got used to it. It’s been a few years now and I’ve found it much more convenient to be able to use my laptop anywhere I like from the upstairs couch to the outdoor swing on my front porch. I don’t miss being chained to a desktop computer except for one thing – lack of extra screen real estate. A 13 inch display isn’t tiny, but it sure isn’t spacious either. The majority of the time I use my apps in full screen mode which means I end up having to switch between apps for certain tasks. For example, while I’m editing images in Photoshop, I might hear a ping in Google hangouts signifying that someone is talking to me. That means I have to switch to my browser to see the message. If my screen were larger I could put the hangout in the corner out of the way and just glance down to see if was an important message or one that could be ignored until I finished working on images. A couple weeks ago I was approached by a UK based company to review one of their 29 inch LED monitors. I didn’t think I would enjoy staring at a huge monitor again but I was wrong. If you have the desk space, a monitor really does elevate and expand your computing experience. Faveable has just released a list of the best monitor deals for June that includes five monitors that will look great on your desk and will improve any work that you do on your computer. The list includes a “small” 21.5 inch ASUS LED backlit monitor all the way up to a “huge” 29 inch 21:9 wide screen monitor from AOC. There is also a monitor with touch capability and one that incorporates Beats Audio.

Read Faveable’s best monitor deals.

Give Fido a treat when you’re not home with your smartphone and the SocialPet system

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We love our pets just like any other member of our family (maybe more depending on the family!), but the sad fact is that a large percentage of pets are left alone at home during the day while their owners are away at work or school. This means that the pet might get lonely for us and we certainly get lonely for them. A fun new solution to this problem is the new PetSafe SocialPet system which includes a camera and treat dispenser that can be accessed through the SocialPet Facebook App via a computer or smartphone. Pet owners and their friends can can use the system to watch a live video stream of their pet anytime they like. The app also has the ability to take and share photos with others as well as being able to give the pet his or her favorite treat. The SocialPet feeder works with dry food or treats up to 1/2 inch in size does allow the pet’s owners to set permissions for friends and family so that their pet can only be treated during specific times and by specific people that they select.

The remote pet feeder feature along with sharing photos and videos via Facebook is fun, but the camera also lets the pet owner monitor their pet’s behavior in real time when they’re not around. If you’re worried that your pet freaks out when you’re not home, you’ll be able to keep an eye on him with the SocialPet camera. The camera offers pan and tilt features so you’ll be able to pin point your pet in the room. Too bad it doesn’t include 2-way audio… But, maybe that will be included with the next version.

The PetSafe SocialPet Camera & Treat Dispenser can be purchased online for $149.99 at http://store.petsafe.net/socialpet.

Quick tips for the Samsung Galaxy S5

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Earlier this week my friend and occasional Gadgeteer reviewer Bill Ray upgraded his Samsung Galaxy S3 to a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S5. I was surprised by a few of the features that Bill discovered after only using the phone for a couple of days. They are features that I don’t recall noticing when I had a loaner of this same phone a month ago during my review. I thought that other new owners would find these Samsung Galaxy S5 tips useful, so I decided to write up a little post about them.

Ok Google

The first tip is actually one that I did know about and shared with Bill. If you place a Google search widget on one of your home screens, your phone will respond to your voice commands just by saying “Ok Google”. As long as you are on the screen with that widget, you don’t need to press the microphone button to initiate the feature. This can be very useful for quick handsfree commands to make calls, send texts, launch apps and ask important questions like “How old is Morgan Freeman” and “What is the meaning of life?” You can find more info on Ok Google Now commands here.

 

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Duffel bags, LEGO and sneaker snatching dogs – Weekly roundup

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The first week of June has flown by in a blink. I have been busy catching up with my day job and Gadgeteer stuff after having been on vacation the week before. During that vacation, I used the WaterField Designs Outback Duffel bag and was able to post a review this week. We also posted Dave and his son’s (the Gadgeteer Kid) article about the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit they were able to check out. I shared a funny story about a missing sneaker and how my Dropcam helped me solve the mystery. To make sure you didn’t miss any of our interesting reviews and news, be sure to check out the full list of last week’s articles after the jump.

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#ad Faveable share best laptop deals for the June

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Are you in the market for a new laptop computer and would like to save some money on your purchase? Everyone appreciates a deal and Faveable is coming to the rescue with a list the best laptop deals for June. Their list covers five different laptops, so hopefully at least one of them will fit your computing requirements. They have a deal for a standard workhorse laptop like the 15 inch Dell Inspiron along with a more powerful gaming laptop from Lenovo. They also have a deal for my personal all time favorite laptop, Apple’s latest 13.3″ Macbook Air. My MBA is few years old, but I still use it everyday and love its sleek design and comfortable keyboard. If you like to get touchy feely with your laptop, Faveable’s list also has deals for two touch screen computers that include the small 11 inch Dell XPS Convertible laptop and the 17 inch HP ENVY Touchsmart laptop. If none of those five laptops have you reaching for credit card, book mark that page and refer back to it throughout the month as Faveable will update that page as new deals become available.

Read Faveable’s Best Laptop Deals.

Summer gadget giveaway!

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The official first day of Summer is still more than 2 weeks away, but we’ve already had some 90 degree days here in Southern Indiana. To celebrate the sun and fun of Summer, we are holding a big Summer Gadget Giveaway! One person will win 11 prizes that are perfect for outdoor fun and indoor fun too. Everyone has the same chance of winning and entering is easy. So click through to submit your entry for a chance to win this great prize pack!

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Salutron LifeTrak Zone C410 activity tracker watch review

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One year ago I reviewed the LifeTrak Core C200 activity tracker watch from Salutron. For the money, that watch offered a nice selection of features with an equally nice price. Their latest activity tracker watch is the Zone C410. It adds two features that were missing in the previously reviewed model: wireless data syncing and sleep tracking. Let’s see if the updates make it a worthy purchase.

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#ad Faveable helps you out with a list of Father’s Day gift ideas

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Have you picked out a Father’s Day gift for your dear old dad yet? If not, you better get busy because there are only 12 days till Father’s Day. I know that shopping for men can sometimes be difficult (especially if it’s a woman doing the shopping), so Faveable has come to the rescue with a list of gifts that probably won’t be shoved in a drawer to never been seen again – like that polka dot tie from last year. Faveable’s list includes 12 items that even the pickiest Gadgeteer will enjoy and use for years to come. Some of the items on the list include the iDevice iGrill Mini that our own Dave Rees recently reviewed. If your dad enjoys firing up the grill, this would be a great accessory to help him cook a perfect steak for his next cookout. Another gift idea is the Pick Punch, which your dad will love if he likes to play guitar. He’ll be able to make his own custom guitar picks from expired plastic gift / credit cards. Recycling and guitar picks – win, win! Faveable’s list also includes unique ideas like beer soaps, gold plated playing cards and a portable ping pong set.

Check out Faveable’s full list of gift ideas: 12 Unique Father Day’s Gifts

#ad Faveable shares deals on tablets

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If you have been saving up your pennies and dollars with the intent to buy yourself a new mobile device, Faveable wants to help you save money with a collection of six deals on a variety of tablets. Their list isn’t restricted to just one type of tablet. There are deals for the Apple iPad Air, several Android tablets and even a couple Windows 8 tablets. Whether you want something small that won’t weigh you down like the 7 inch Amazon Fire HDX (this deal even includes the new Amazon Fire TV) or something with a roomier display like the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro with its 10.1 inch display, this list has you covered. It even includes a deal on the uniquely designed Lenovo Yoga 8 tablet with its built in kick stand and Android operating system.

For more info visit Faveable’s Best Tablet Deals for May 2014.

Let geeRaf tame your headphone cables

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We’ve all been there, we stick our earbuds in our ears, turn on our favorite music, start enjoying the tunes and then an earbud falls out of your ear just when the song was at the best part. Headphones falling out of ears at the worst moment isn’t a new problem, but a new solution to that problem is the geeRaf. The geeRaf is a unique earphone cable management accessory that is made of stainless steel with laser-welded connections. The cords to your headphones wind around the neck-worn geeRaf to provide strain relief on the cords so that twisting your head, waving your arms, running, bending and stooping motions won’t pull the headphones out of your ear accidentally. geeRafs come in several colors and five sizes that will fit everyone from kids to thick necked sumo wrestlers.

For more info on this product visit geeRaf.com or to order visit Grand St (affiliate link – cheaper than going through geeRaf’s site) where they are available for $20 each.

Julie’s gadget diary – The great sneaker mystery

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We returned home from a one week epic road trip vacation at 1am Saturday morning. After some much needed sleep, Jeanne decided she wanted to unwind from the 1000+ mile trip with an afternoon of working in the garden. Yeah, I know, she’s weird. ;) While she was out sweating in the sun and dirt, I was inside in the air condition sipping on ice water and working on Gadgeteer reviews. Yeah I know, I’m the smart one. Around 6pm she drags herself into the house and we enjoy the rest of the evening. Sunday rolls around and she’s ready for another afternoon rototilling and planting vegetable seeds. She goes outside on the front porch to retrieve her sneakers which she had left by the front door the prior night because they were too dirty to bring inside. Problem is, there’s only one shoe. The other one is no where to be seen. She looks around the yard, no shoe. For the rest of the day she complains over and over again about the missing shoe. Then a light bulb goes off in my head and I pull out my trusty Macbook, point it to my Dropcam account and start looking through the automatically captured events. It didn’t take long till the mystery was solved. Well, partly…

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WaterField Designs Outback Duffel review

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We just returned from a week long road trip that started in Indiana and included stops in Asheville, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina and Greensboro, North Carolina. This was the longest driving vacation that we’ve ever done. For luggage we ended up taking the Biaggi bag that I reviewed last year along with the new Outback Duffel bag from WaterField Designs.  With a total of over 1,000 miles and two hotels, let’s see if the Outback Duffel was a worthy travel companion.

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Butterfleye is a new smart social camera for the connected home

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Keeping an eye on your property and loved ones when you’re not physically there is important for your peace of mind and for security purposes. The Butterfleye is a new camera that features completely wireless operation, two way audio and Active Eye Intelligence which automatically captures 1920 x 1080 pictures and videos using motion detection and thermal sensors. The camera has built in storage that can store up to 12 hours of video and will also upload your video and pictures to the Cloud when it’s in range of your WiFi network. The pictures and images can then be accessed via an iPhone and shared on social networks.  Read More →

PDA Panache is back in the game with a new capacitive stylus

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It’s been over 10 years since we have talked about a new stylus from PDA Panache. Back in 2004 and earlier, Judie and I reviewed many of their iconic orange tipped styluses for our Palm Pilots and Pocket PC PDAs. Those were the good old days when device screens were resistive instead of capacitive. Back when you had to tap the screen with a stylus to interact with it instead of swipe it with your finger. I miss those days when PDAs were something new and unique, but do I miss resistive screens? Ummmm, no. I’ll stick with today’s capacitive displays thank you very much. That’s why I was pretty excited and curious when I stumbled upon the new Capacitive Industrial Stylus from PDA Panache. It’s made of black anodized aluminum and has a pivoting alloy see-through ring instead of an orange tip. The pivoting ring aids in accuracy for drawing and text entry. This stylus is made entirely in the U.S.A. by PDA Panache. The version that you see here is priced at $24.95. They also offer other versions of this stylus that include a tether that sell for as much as $35.95

Visit PDA Panache for more info about the Capacitive Industrial Stylus.

Bugs, Amazon, pens and handsfree – Weekly roundup

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Did you miss any of the news and reviews that we posted for this last week of May? Some of the more popular topics of the week include my news post about the Bug-A-Salt insect gun, Janet’s news post telling us about Amazon’s deal with HBO, Mark’s Acme Studio 7FP pen review and Raul’s review of the MPOW Bluetooth headset. Check out the full list of articles after the jump.

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Word. Notebooks are feeling a little blue

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Do you have a favorite brand of pocket notebook? I have stacks of Moleskine cahiers and Field Notes notebooks which I carry in my bag for on the spot note taking and also have them in my home made leather cover to keep track of Gadgeteer business tasks. But for to-do lists, my favorite pocket notebooks are Word. Notebooks. Word. Notebooks have the same dimensions as the Moleskines and Field Notes (3.5″ x 5″) and have 48 pages like Field Notes (Moleskine cahiers have 64 pages), but the Word. Notebooks have one really nice feature that make them my favorite. It’s their unique organizational system that has a circle with a dot to the left of each line in the notebook.  Read More →

Who needs a fly swatter when you have the Bug-A-Salt shotgun?

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House flies are nasty insects that spread disease by vomiting on your food, laying their eggs and defecating more than 10 times an hour. Yuck! I might feel a tiny bit guilty when I squish a spider or an ant, but I don’t feel bad when I kill a fly. When I saw the Bug-A-Salt shotgun, I had to know more. Basically it’s a plastic gun that uses ordinary table salt as ammunition. That’s right, no toxic chemicals. When you pull the trigger, it sprays out a dash of salt that kills flies on contact. The Bug-A-Salt has an accuracy range of about 3 feet and can shoot up to 50 times before needing a reload. Even better is the fact that the gun doesn’t require batteries and is equally effective on mosquitos.

If you’re ready to declare war on flies you can buy a Bug-A-Salt for $39.95. Visit http://bugasalt.com/ for more info.

Take your Mac Pro everywhere with WaterField’s Mac Pro Go Case

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Did you buy one of Apple’s beautiful, but insanely expensive Mac Pros? Of course you did. And now you want to take your precious with you everywhere you go so everyone will know just how awesome you are. The Mac Pro Go Case from WaterField Designs has been designed especially for you – and your Mac Pro. It’s made of padded ballistic nylon and has room for the Mac Pro, a power cord, a mouse and even an Apple wireless keyboard. Now all you need is $129 to buy one.

For more info about the Mac Pro Go Case, visit WaterField Designs.

Cooking with pressure, checking your pressure and measuring the wind – Weekly roundup

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Did you miss any of our reviews or news posts this week? We covered a variety of topics from Andy’s review of the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven, to my review of the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor and Mark’s review of the WeatherFlow Wind Meter. Check out the full list of articles after the jump.
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LINKS-IT Pet ID tag connector helps you keep your pet safe

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Our pets are important members of our families and we want to do the right things to keep them safe. One way to keep them safe is to make sure that their ID tags are always up to date. Hopefully you take your dogs and cats to their yearly check up at the veterinarian. Typically the vet gives you new ID tags after each early visit. How many of you don’t change the tags on your pet’s collars because it’s too much of a hassle to deal with split rings or s-hooks? Yeah, me too. If you’ve ever wished for a better way to attach tags to collars, here it is. It’s the LINKS-IT. Made in the USA, the LINKS-IT is available in a variety of colors and can hold up to four tags. Its patent pending locking mechanism makes it very easy to change and add tags without any special tools. The only downside to the LINKS-IT is the price. At $7.99 each, it is very spendy. If the price doesn’t dissuade you, visit http://links-it.com/ for more info or to order.

These new USB flash drives from Leef are pretty as a penny

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Leef Technology, known for making a variety of very stylish USB flash drives, have just announced some additions their product line that follow their style conviction. Their new Copper Edition Flash Drives are encased in a unique copper skin and offer the fastest data speeds with features that include water, dust and shock-proof storage and embedded LEDs.

The Copper Edition Flash Drives include their Magnet USB 3.0 Drive which features a magnetic cap and speeds up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0. This drive is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64GB capacities and starts at $19.99. The tiny Surge USB 2.0 Drive starts at $14.99 and also comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64GB capacities. The Surge is a very small drive that is waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof. And last but not least, we have the Ice USB 3.0 Drive. This drive has a methacrylic resin base that creates a unique optical experience. It’s available in 16 GB, and 32 GB capacities and starts at $18.99.

To purchase or learn more about these new flash drives, visit http://2leef.com/

Sidekick 3D printed journal pen holder review

sidekick-1The Sidekick is a journal pen holder that is made in the USA eight at a time from starch based plastic using a homemade 3D printer. The Sidekick sticks on to most any hard covered notebook or journal from popular companies like Moleskine, Rhodia, Leuchturm and many more. It adds a convenient holder for your favorite writing instrument so you’ll always have a pen ready when you need to jot something down. This product is currently being offered on Grand St. as a beta product. It’s sort of like a Kickstarter campaign minus the waiting. Unlike Kickstarter, if you order a Sidekick now, your order ships in about four days.

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