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Author Archive for Julie Strietelmeier – Page 4

Snap Power SnapRays Guidelight review

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How many of these do you have scattered around your house? Would you like to free up your outlets but still have the functionality of a night light that only turns on when it’s dark? Me too, that’s why I helped fund the wildly successful SnapRays Kickstarter project earlier this year. I was very excited when my package arrived yesterday with 3 SnapRays Guidelights and I wasted no time installing my first one. Let me show you.

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iDevices Bluetooth Connected Kitchen Thermometer review

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In my household, I’m usually the one who makes dinner every night because I get off work first. I like to cook, but it cuts into my Gadgeteer work time if I am constantly running up and down the stairs to check the temperature of something that I’m baking in the oven. I’ve always wanted to get an electronic thermometer, but have never gotten around to buying one. Lucky for me that the folks at iDevices asked me to review their Kitchen Thermometer. This is a similar device to their iGrillmini which Dave reviewed a few months ago. Time to get cooking!

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LG 21:9 UltraWide IPS LED monitor (29EA73) review

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When I sold my 27 inch iMac a few years ago and switched to a 13 inch Macbook Air, it took me a little time to get used to having less screen real estate. For the most part I haven’t had too much trouble doing my work on the small screen. But for the last few weeks I’ve been testing a 29 inch widescreen LG 29EA73-P monitor sent to me from Misco.co in the UK and wow, now I feel like I can stretch out and I like it. Maybe I miss my 27″ iMac more than I thought I did…

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Qi wireless charger + Car = I want

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Last week I posted an article about two of my Cummins Inc. co-workers who had integrated a Nexus 7 tablet into the dash of their vehicles. Since posting that article, I’ve become a little obsessed with figuring out a solution for my MINI Cooper that doesn’t involve replacing the stock radio or any other extreme mods to the car itself. I’m looking for relatively inexpensive ways to use my current phone – the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as the brain of the system. One thing I know I’ll need is a way to keep my phone powered during my drives. I know that I can use a regular micro USB cable plugged into a cigarette lighter adapter, but since I already charge wirelessly indoors, I want to do the same thing in my car. So I’ve been shopping for a Qi wireless car charger. There aren’t very many on the market, but I did see two potential chargers on Brando’s site. He’s selling the Universal Wireless Car Charger and Holder for Smartphones ($36) which uses rows of suction cups to hold your device as well as a suction cup to hold the charger to your dash or window. If suction cups to hold your device sounds a little sketchy, Brando sells another Wireless Charging Car Holder ($48) that features 3 charging coils to make it easier to position your device. This one uses a clamp to hold the phone, which seems safer than the suction cups. Both of them look nice enough, but my preference would be a magnetic holder, so my search continues. Stay tuned for updates to my car modding adventures.

Liftware gives those with hand tremors a better experience at meal time

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Most of us take a lot for granted. We give almost zero thought to holding a spoon or fork, scooping up a bite of food, lifting it to our mouth and eating. It’s something we all do multiple times every single day. It’s a no-brainer. But for people who suffer from Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s Disease, the normally simple task of moving food from plate to mouth is a struggle that can turn what should be an enjoyable meal time activities into a task that is both frustrating and often embarrassing. The scientists and engineers at Lift Labs have create a solution for this problem. The Liftware is a battery powered stabilizing handle with an interchangeable spoon and fork attachment. When activated, the sensor will detect the tremor in the hand that is holding it and will cancel 70% of the movement, allowing the person to focus on enjoying the meal and the people who they are with more than the act of eating. Liftware sells for $295 and comes with a spoon attachment, but fork and soup spoon attachments are available separately for $19.95 each.

Visit http://www.liftlabsdesign.com/ for more info.

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Speakers and cameras and car mods oh my – Weekly roundup

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Happy first day of Summer! If you’ve been outside all week, you might have missed some of our posts which is obviously not a good thing for you or us. To help you out, here’s a list of everything we’ve posted in the last week. There’s a lot of good stuff here including a review of Audioengine’s A2 speakers from Bill H, an article about integrating the Nexus 7 tablet into the dash of your car and a lot of interesting news like the build your own computer kit that Janet told us about. Go grab yourself a nice cold drink, pull up a chair and catch up. Click through to see the full list of news, reviews and articles from this past week.

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Quick tips: How to hide notification icons in the Android status bar

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You love Android and I love Android, but there always seems to be some “feature” that will drive me crazy until I can find a way to make it work the way that I want it to work instead of the way that Android wants it to work.

Problem: Notification icons on the left side of the status bar at the top of the screen that have no redeeming value other than to be distracting and take up space.

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Julie’s gadget diary – Nexus 7 powered car mods

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I was at work the other day (Cummins, Inc), when someone walked up to my desk to ask for some help with his laptop. As I was talking to him, he happened to notice the Nexus 7 in the Zagg Auto-fit keyboard case next to me on my desk. He asked me which laptop it was and when I popped out the Nexus he told me he had one too – in his truck. I instantly wanted to know more and started asking Chris a bunch of questions about it. He told me that Mike, a friend of his who also worked at Cummins, had helped him install a Nexus 7 Android tablet in the dash of his truck. He also mentioned that Mike had done the same thing in his Mazda. I asked if they would show me and let me write a story. They were happy to take time out of their busy day to give me a quick demo.

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#ad It’s time to char some meat with these BBQ gadget ideas from Faveable

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This Saturday is officially the first day of Summer and there are only a few days until the fourth of July, so you know what that means… it’s time to bust out the grill and get cooking. No matter if you have a crazy expensive gas grill with all the bells and whistles, or if you just have a cheapo charcoal grill from KMart, this list from Faveable will turn you into a super hero at your next cook out. If your grill has been hiding in a dark corner of your garage all winter, the first thing you’ll want to do is clean it up so it will be ready for burgers and hotdogs. Faveable’s list includes a grilling robot because well, robots! The list also includes a steam cleaning brush that will have the grill clean in no time. Once the grill is clean, it’s time to get your food ready. Favable’s BBQ gadget list includes a marinade infusing meat tenderizer, clips to keep your veggies together and various other skewers, tools and pans that will at least make you “look” like you know what you’re doing. You’ll also want to read about a must have cookout gadget for every outdoor lawn chair lounger – a remote controlled beverage cooler.

Read Faveable’s 15 BBQ Grilling Gear Essentials.

LYNKtec Apex fine point rechargeable active stylus review

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Active styluses are a relatively new category of capacitive styluses for tablets and smartphones. These styluses have fine point tips like a normal pen or pencil and are also powered by batteries. The newest active stylus that I have had the opportunity to test is the Apex fine point rechargeable active stylus from LYNKtec. This active stylus doesn’t require Bluetooth pairing, special note taking or drawing apps and is compatible with iOS and Android touch screen devices.

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#ad Faveable helps your house become smarter

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I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that my house isn’t all that smart. You’d think someone who has the nickname “The Gadgeteer” would have all sorts of automation gadgets installed in their home, but I don’t. I currently just have two Dropcam cameras and the Venstar programmable / smartphone connected thermostat. I often think about adding more tech to my home and when Faveable sent me their list today it’s sparked my interest again. Today’s list features 10 gadgets that will make your life easier and your home smarter. They cover expensive appliances like the Samsung Smart Refrigerator that has a Wi-Fi enabled LCD screen and will set you back almost $2897.10, the $1699 LG Smart ThinQ SmartWasher that can be monitored remotely with your smartphone and lesser expensive gadgets like the Belkin WeMo Light Switch that can be controlled remotely with smartphones, tablets and costs $49.99.

Is your home smart or is it a little gadget challenged? If you want it to be smarter, read Faveable’s list of 10 gadgets that will turn your house into a smart home.

Cammy IP camera cloud viewing app review

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If you have ever been to a party where they say to BYOB – bring your own beer, then you’ll understand the concept of the Cammy IP camera cloud viewing app that requires you to BYOC – bring your own camera. As a diehard fan of Dropcam cameras, I was intrigued by Cammy for one important reason. The app and the cloud viewing service are completely free.

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Unlocked Android smartphones, wallets, S5 tips and Amazon – Weekly roundup

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If you’ve been outside enjoying the warm weather this week, you may have missed some of our posts. We have covered a wide variety of topics in last seven days. Some of the highlights include the thl T200 8 core unlocked smartphone that Elizabeth reviewed, the Cazlet wallet that not only holds your money and credit cards, but has room for your iPhone too that Andy told us about, I shared some quick tips for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Janet told us about Amazon’s latest “gift” to prime subscribers. Click through to see the full list of news, reviews and articles from this past week.

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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.