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Author Archive for Julie Strietelmeier – Page 4

Julie’s gadget diary – high tech solution for a low tech problem


A few weeks ago our 25 year old grandfather clock stopped running. We tried restarting it multiple times by swinging the pendulum and it would run for 30 minutes or longer, but would then stop at some point. We had a clock doctor come to the house to clean the clock 7 years ago and he had remarked at that time that it was showing a lot of wear and might need to be replaced. Luckily it ran for another 7 years. This time we’ve decided not to pay $125 to get it cleaned since that might not fix it this time, but to go ahead and splurge on a new clock movement.

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There’s bad news and good news for Sony eReader fans

I just received an email from Sony about their decision to close their US and Canadian eReader Stores this Spring (March 20, 2014). That’s the bad news… The good news is that all the existing eReader accounts will be transferred over to Kobo. See email details after the jump.  Read More →

Handcuffs are no match for the TIHK handcuff key

tihk Remember Dave’s review of the Titanium Escape Ring, the ring with a built-in handcuff key? Well TIHK is another tool to add to your personal security EDC. TIHK stands for tiny inconspicuous handcuff key and it’s a small plastic universal handcuff key for Peerless style cuffs. It has a built-in clip that can be used to attach it (hide it) on your belt loop, sock, pocket, etc so it’s always ready if you are abducted by bad guys or handcuff toting aliens. The TIHK is made in the USA, is available now and is priced at $18 for a pack of three.

[Via The Awesomer]

IK Multimedia iLoud Studio Quality Portable Speaker review


When you’ve reviewed as many Bluetooth speakers as I have, it takes something special for me to be interested in reviewing yet another one. When IK Multimedia asked me to review their iLoud Studio Quality Portable Speaker I agreed because I liked the physical volume knob on the front of the unit. But the ability to use the speaker as a pseudo guitar amp is the feature that really made me say yes to their review offer since this is the first portable stereo speakers designed for musicians. Later I came to understand that the iLoud doesn’t work exactly like a guitar amp… but more about that later.

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Spread the love Valentine’s Day Giveaway!


How do gadgeteer’s celebrate Valentine’s Day? With flowers and a box of chocolates? Heck no, we celebrate with gadgets! This year we’re spreading the love with a giveaway of prizes that is sure to please almost anyone. It’s easy to enter, so what are you waiting for?

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Pad & Quill takes bookish to the next level with their new Author Series iPad cases


Pad & Quill are well known for their book style iPad cases made to resemble a hard back books. They just launched their new Author series cases for iPad Air and mini, where you get to build your very own case from an assortment of colors and unique patterns. You get to choose the outside color, spine color, inside color, and elastic color. You can also choose to include an inside pocket and a monogram.

These custom cases are handmade in St. Paul, Minnesota and are priced at $79.99. You can order directly from Pad & Quill with shipping in 3-5 days.

The new LYNKtec TruGlide Apex stylus is fine – literally


After suffering through years of wide tipped capacitive styluses, we’re finally starting tonsee styluses with fine tips. Last week I posted a review of the Adonit Jot Script stylus. It was the first iOS stylus that I’ve tested with a tip comparable in size to a to a ballpoint pen. The Adonit is a nice stylus, but it has a major flaw – it’s only compatible with newer iOS devices. That means Android users like me are left out in the cold. The day after I posted that review, the people at LYNKtec emailed me to ask if I might like to review their fine tipped stylus too. I thought sure, what the heck. Then when I found out their TruGlide Apex stylus is also compatible with some Android devices, I was even more interested in trying one. The TruGlide Apex is an active stylus that features a 2.3mm fine point tip and is powered by a AAAA replaceable battery. This stylus is available in Brushed Silver and Obsidian Black colors and is priced at $59.95. It’s currently on pre-order with shipping sometime later this month.

As seen on TV: Stone Wave Microwave Cooker review


Do you eat out more than you cook at home? What if you could make an omelet in less than 5 minutes or an “apple pie” in 3 minutes? Would that make you consider staying home instead of going out? The Stone Wave Microwave Cooker from Telebrands (As Seen on TV) lets you cook foods quick and easy. It may become your new cooking pal. Let me show you how it works.

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Whistle tracks your dog’s activity without making a sound


It looks like the next big thing in pet gadgets may be activity trackers. Activity trackers are already very popular for people and now they are poised to become popular for our four legged companions as well. The latest activity tracker for dogs is the Whistle Activity Monitor. This disc shaped device clips to your dog’s existing collar and is designed to track walks, play, and rest. Your pet’s data syncs from the Whistle via WiFi to Whistle’s Internet servers, and then back to the mobile app on the Bluetooth paired iOS device. Whistle also measures togetherness time when it senses the presence of the pet’s listed owners by detecting an owner’s paired device over Bluetooth.

The Whistle Activity Monitor is priced at $129.95. A version from Android will be coming this Spring.

Shark Rocket HV300 ultra-lightweight upright vacuum review


Vacuum cleaners or “sweepers” as we call them here in Southern Indiana, are not a product that I would normally think of as a gadget, but some of the latest brands of vacuums are starting to add features that put these home appliances in that category. In the last month, I have been offered three different vacuums to review. I’m going to start off with the Shark Rocket ultra-lightweight upright vacuum. Although this one doesn’t have any gee-whiz gadgety features like the other two vacuums I’ll be featuring soon, it does suck – but not in a bad way.

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Accutrax looks like a knife but writes like a pencil


Accutrax Pencil Blades may look like a standard utility knife blade, but they are actually pencil leads. They are made in the USA and come in a pack of three. Just swap out the cutting blade in one of your existing utility knives and now you have the ultimate carpenter’s pencil. These blades will lay down hundreds of razor sharp, .025” thin lines without needing to look for a pencil or a pencil sharpener. Need a thicker line for those heavy duty jobs? Coming in 2014, Accutrax will offer  .035″ Pencil Blades too.

You can buy Accutrax Pencil Blades in packages of two for $4.97 each at select Home Depot stores and they can also be found on Amazon.

Turbo Flyer – A back to basics model airplane kit


If you enjoyed playing with paper airplanes as a kid or now as an adult, the Turbo Flyer kits from Tait Design Company will put a smile on your face. These easy to assemble balsa wood model kits have been designed to fly up to 50 feet without electronics, batteries or anything more than a quick snap of your wrist. They are made in the USA of light weight balsa wood, with non-toxic water-based ink graphics.

Turbo Flyers by Tait Design Co. are available in several colors and are priced starting at $18 individually and $60 for a 4 color set.

We’re moving to a new server…

This is a quick announcement to let everyone know that we’ll be moving to a new web server with updated hardware, better performance and more file space. The move is planned for tonight or early Saturday, so there are a few things to be aware of. There may be a service disruption for a day or so while all the name servers are being updated. If you are not seeing content updates for more than a couple of days, you’re still accessing the old site; please be careful when leaving comments because anything posted on the old site from this point forward will be lost. The IP of the new site is you want to access it directly.

Adonit Jot Script stylus review


Hello, my name is Julie Strietelmeier and I’m a stylus addict. I like all types of styluses, plastic styluses, metal styluses, wooden styluses, styluses with a rubber tip, styluses with a disc tip and styluses with a paintbrush tip. But the Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition is the first stylus I’ve tried for iOS devices that has a tip with a fine point. That’s because most capacitive styluses and Bluetooth pressure sensitive styluses for iOS devices have tips that are not at all similar to a pen or pencil tip. They are typically too wide for natural writing and drawing. The Jot Script stylus changes that and I was very excited to try one.

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Berlin Boombox – A speaker that can be recycled


If you would like to relive the 80′s, Berlin Boombox will take you back in time when big hair was in style and boomboxes were our audio players of choice. The Berlin Boombox has paired retro style with a modern environmental sensibility by offering a speaker designed for your iPhone, Android smartphone or Windows phone. It is constructed of heavy corrugated cardboard and comes in a kit that you can build yourself in a few minutes without the need of tools, glue or electronic knowledge.

The Boombox has screen printed black and white graphics with a strong carrying handle and a single big aluminium knob for power and volume. Electronic parts include an integrated digital 2x5W amplifier powered by 3 AA batteries and Hi-Fi speakers. The 3.5 mm stereo jack plugs into your iPhones and larger smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy 4. You can also connect your PC, Mac or tablet using the included extension cable. All electronic parts are German engineered by Mivoc Pro.

The Berlin Boombox comes in several colors and styles and is priced starting at 65€ (about $86 at current rates).

Skooba Design needs your help naming their new line of bags


Skooba Design is giving their fans an exclusive sneak peek at one of their new collections that is being developed for a possible spring launch. These new bags are made entirely in the USA and appear to feature a more military style than some of their current offerings. Help them out by leaving your comments and naming ideas for these new bags and you might win one. If Skooba reaches 100 comments and 50 shares, they will give away four bags — one to the winning name and three for the runners-up.

Click here to leave your comment and naming ideas.

If you’ve been thinking of buying one of Skooba Design’s current bags, they are offering 25% off any order at either or, using code PREVIEW25, good though 2/7/14. Good sitewide — even on discounted items — only gift certificates are excluded.

HyperJuice Expand is a backup battery with interchangeable cells


Backup batteries are not very exciting, but the HyperJuice Expand battery has a unique design that will make you take a second look. First of all, it can charge up to three devices at once. That includes two tablets and one phone. The devices are plugged into a USB head that magnetically connects to interchangeable battery cells.  There are three USB ports,  two 12W  ports, one 5W USB port (18W shared) and a quick charge microUSB 10W port. The battery packs are available in four different capacities and colors: 3000mAh, 6000mAh, 9000mAh and 12000 mAh. But wait, there’s more… There’s even a built in LED flashlight in the head unit. The battery packs range in price from $19.95 up to $79.95 each and the head unit is priced at $19.95. This product and other power solutions are available from HyperJuice,

Tactile Turn Mover & Shaker pens will make you feel like you’re in the fast lane


The pen guy Will Hodges is back with his 3rd Kickstarter project. This time it’s for his newly designed pens, the Tactile Turn Mover & Shaker pens. You might recall my review last summer of Will’s EiMIM pens. Those were great quality machine turned pens made of anodized 7075 aluminum. His new pens have a similar look, but instead of using a magnetic cap to protect the tip, they have a click button. The magnetic cap was a cool feature, but click style pens are quicker and easier to use. Even nicer is the fact that the click mechanism is almost silent. If you’re a habitual pen clicker, your friends will thank you if you pledge for a Mover & Shaker pen :) The Mover pen is 5.55″ long and comes with a Pilot G2 (0.38mm) refill, while the Shaker pen is 5.05″ long and comes with a Fisher Space Pen fine point refill. The pen can accommodate a large variety of other  refills though, so be sure to check out the links from the campaign page. The Kickstarter project ends on 2/14 and is close to reaching the funding goal of $40,000. A pledge of $45 reserves your choice of either a Mover or Shaker pen or $85 for both. Delivery is planned for March.

Rickshaw Bagworks Commuter 2.1 Laptop Bag review


Carrying your gear to and from work or school every day requires a reliable bag. This is especially true if a laptop happens to be one of the items you carry. I’m partial to messenger style bags because they are roomy and casual. The problem is that they are not always the best type of bag to protect a laptop. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been carrying a Rickshaw Bagworks Commuter 2.1 Laptop Bag, which combines messenger bag style with laptop protection.

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Will 3D printing turn the average Joe into a digital luthier?


For years I dreamed about building my own guitar, which more recently turned into a dream to build my own ukulele. I even dabbled in the craft by putting together a mini electric guitar from a kit that I purchased from Stewart McDonald. Unfortunately it turned out to be a wall hanger and not a playable instrument. Then a few years ago I built my own cigar box guitar, which after some trial and error, turned out to be a decent instrument. The problem with building wooden acoustic instruments is that you need special tone woods to make the instrument “sing” and you also need wood working tools along with the skill to use them. I’m wondering if 3D printing is going to change all of that. At least for hobbyists who are impatient and want almost instant gratification. Want a new guitar? No problem, just turn on your printer and in a few hours you’ll be ready to strum.

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Ztylus wants to turn your Samsung Galaxy S4 into a more capable point and shoot camera


If you use a Samsung Galaxy S4 and consider yourself somewhat of a smartphoneographer, check out the Ztylus Camera case and RV-1 Revolver Lens Kit which will effectively turn your phone into a multi-lens digital camera. We’ve seen lens attachment accessories before, but the Ztylus is a little different because it completely replaces the back cover of the S4. Just unsnap the cover, snap the Ztylus in place and now you have added a handy ergonomic hand grip, threaded tripod mount, 2-way stand, speaker enhancer and two eyelets so you can attach your favorite strap. The Ztylus case can be used alone, but when it is paired with the removable RV-1 Revolver Lens Kit, it adds 4 lenses to your phone: CPL(Circular Polarizer Filter), Wide Angle Lens, Super Micro Lens and a Extreme Fish Eye Lens. The case and lens kit can be purchased from Ztylus separately for $29.99 and 59.99 respectively or together for $84.99.

Is the AeroLife air-based nutrition system the future of food?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of AeroLife™ . All opinions are 100% mine.


One day humans will no longer need to eat foods or drink liquids in order to receive their proper daily nutrition. Does that sound like a crazy idea? The AeroLife air-based nutrition system makes me believe a future like that might be closer than you think. Can we trade in our vitamins and energy drinks for portable air-based shots? Keep reading to find out.

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LogMeIn remote control software is no longer free, but TeamViewer is!

Earlier this week it was announced that LogMeIn, a popular software application that allows remote control of computers, would no longer be free. I’ve been using the free version of this software off and on for several years, so I was a little bummed with the news. I regularly need access to my home computer during the day when I’m at work, so I went looking for an alternative. It didn’t take me long to find TeamViewer, which I’ve been testing for the past couple days.
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Netchef G2 is an Android powered digital cookbook for your kitchen


The Netchef G2 is a kitchen recipe reader developed by Sungale that is powered by the Android operating system and features a 1024×768 8-inch touchscreen. This counter-top cooking companion comes preloaded with over 500 recipes and has 4GB of internal memory and up to 32GB of external memory that can be used to store your own recipes, pictures and videos.

The Netchef has an easy to use interface so you can quickly find a recipe and get cooking. Need some tunes while you cook? No problem. The Netchef comes equipped with two speakers so you to listen to your favorite music from apps like Pandora. It also includes built-in timers, a unit conversion tool, it’s water-proof, fire-proof, and easy to clean, making it a better solution than using your smartphone or tablet.

The Netchef G2 PF810 is available now and is priced $279.99. is an alternative to Kickstarter

prelaunch-logo is a new site for established brands like Epson and Scosche to offer their latest products for pre-order before they are released in the traditional channels. Each product has a specific pre-order period that ends prior to the product being available in stores. also works with brands to offer limited edition products, brand-sponsored contests and exclusive offers that you might not see elsewhere. And best of all, unlike with some other crowdfunding sites, does not charge you until the items on your order are ready to ship and you have the opportunity to cancel your order before it ships.