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Author Archive for Larry Geisz

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat review

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat-1

Thermostats, in my day they only came in two varieties: round and rectangular . Today, thermostats are still available in rectangular and round, but now they also come in smart versions and programmable versions as well. With features such as digital and touch screens, humidity sensors and even some that will learn your habits. Thermostats have come a long way since my youth. So, when Honeywell offered us a chance to review their new Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat I could not resist.

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Look ma no hands with the Hands Free iPad case

Hands Free

So, you have decided to take your iPad use to the next level and use it for working situations. If you’re in an office all day that’s no problem, but what if you are on the go or in the field a lot – how do you carry and keep up with it? The Hands Free is a case, strap and buckle system that will allow you to carry your iPad on a belt or like a messenger bag. The Hands Free comes in three parts the Case, Clip, and Strap. The Case features foam padding, metal zippers and cut outs for cables. The Case also has a seat belt type buckle so it can be attached to the Clip. The Clip is designed to hook to your belt and holds the case via the seat belt buckle. The Strap has several pockets to hold items such as sunglasses and a phone. The Hands Free comes as a total package for $115, or you can buy each piece separately from their website.

Tego CERA Wireless Portable Speaker review

Tego Audio CERA-1

“Open the pod bay doors, HAL”, “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” is exactly what popped into my mind the first time I saw the CERA wireless portable speaker from Tego Audio. You may think that is a funny thought to pop into my head, but looking at the speaker and how its made, and being a child of the 70′s when our space exploration was in its infancy, the CERAs design makes me think that it would be at home in the 70′s, now or in the future. So, let’s see if reality has hit fantasy.

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Monteverde One Touch Stylus Tool Ballpoint pen review

Nonteverde Tool Pen-1

I am not much of a pen to paper writer, I use my iPad to write as much as possible. But I do own pens for those occasions when I do need to write something. So, for me to want to review a pen it has to be a little different in either design or function. The Monteverde One Touch Stylus Tool Ballpoint Pen sent to me from Pen Chalet hits both the design and function aspect of my interest.

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Brando Key Chain Lightning Charger review

Brando Key Chain Lightning Charger-1

“On the road again, I can’t wait to get on the road again” oh yes Willie Nelson has it right. I have been hitting the open road or friendly skies more frequently these days, so I have been outfitting myself with tools that I may need while away from my home. One tool both me and my other half use frequently, especially on bus trips, is a  backup battery for our iPhones. While I almost never forget to pack my battery, I have on several occasions forgot the charging cable. Enter the Brando Key Chain Lightning Charger, a small portable Lighting charging cable designed to be carried on your key chain.

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Dosh LUXE6 wallet review

Dosh LUXE6-1

Wallet, wallet where is my wallet? Better yet what wallet should I be using? What we call a wallet today has evolved from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s when all you had was your leather bifold or trifold wallets. Then again, cash was king and we did not carry all the plastic that we do today. But today’s wallets are not only functional, they are also fashion statements, security zones, multitaskers and in a lot of cases unisex. All that being said, your wallet still needs to be durable and functional and the LUXE6 wallet from Dosh is not only durable and functional but also fashionable.

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Track your get-up-and-go with the Goccia fitness tracker

G-Wearables Goccia

So, we are well into the new year, and how many of you have already scrapped that new year’s resolution to get fit or work out? I know you are busy, or lack the proper motivation. One way to motivate yourself is a fitness tracker, but often they are a little too noticeable or limited by water-resistance or lack functionality.

The Goccia, a Kickstarter project from G-Wearables, is trying to change that. I hate to say it, but fitness trackers seem to be a dime a dozen, so what makes the Goccia an item that caught my eye? First was the size; the Goccia is about the same size as a dime. The next thing that caught my eye was that it is 100% waterproof, and very few activity trackers on the market can say that. The third thing that stood out to me was the LED light synching technology. Even if the first two reason didn’t catch my attention from a gadget geek’s perspective, the LED light synching would have. Some of the Goccia’s key features are:

  • LED synching
  • 100% waterproof
  • Wireless charging
  • Lightweight
  • Lasts 14 days on a charge
  • Small size
  • Multiple accessories

There are several pledge points for the Goccia, with a $60 pledge getting you one Goccia and a clasp to carry it on. The Goccia is seeking funding until April 24, 2014, and if successful, it will start shipping in May 2014.

MIXBAG modular shoulder bag review

MixBag-1

Bags for this and bags for that. I have specialized bags and cases for almost all of my daily use items. The problem with all these bags and cases is that they lack versatility. While some have the ability to carry other item besides the items it was designed for, there is usually no easy way to make the bag larger or smaller for specific carry situations. Enter the MIXBAG by Alex Krovin, a duel modular bag system that adds flexibility to your carrying needs.

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Go-to gear discussion: Phone cases

GTG Phone case-1

We have talked about wallets, pens and bags. These are what I would consider everyday carry items, so let’s continue with another everyday carry item – your phone and what you use to protect it. For me, I have two carry modes, everyday and heavy travel. For my everyday mode, I am using a tech21 Impact Band. I have gone through many types of cases for my iPhone 5, some great and some not so great. I found the tech21 Impact Band after doing some research on Apple-approved phone cases. The Impact Band is a minimalistic solution for my iPhone, but is does add some nice grip and a splash of color. From a styling standpoint, the Impact Band is not my favorite (still got to go with the Just Mobile AluFrame as my fave), but from a performance and practicality standpoint, it is. For traveling, especially in wet situations, I like my Incipio Atlas waterproof case. First off let me say, I have not tried any waterproof or high-protection case that is perfect. The two issues I seem to run into mostly are sound quality and size. While the Atlas has a sound quality issue, the size and glass screen made this my go-to case. To get around the sound quality, I either use a Bluetooth headset or just plug in some headphones. With a tempered glass screen, it provides the best quality picture without the worry of plastic screens yellowing or cracking. You can find out more about the tech21 Impact Band and the Incipio Atlas by clicking on the links. So, what’s your go-to phone case?

A big name for a small device, the FAVI Swivel Screen Portfolio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard

FAVI Case-1

Ok, I realize not everyone is as enamored with the iPad as I am, but since it is my tablet device of choice, I do like to present interesting options and accessories for it when I find them. The FAVI Swivel Screen Portfolio Case with Bluetooth keyboard (hence forth known as the FAVI case) is my latest find. I know there are several clam shell keyboard type cases on the market for iPads, but this one is unique in the way it is designed. The FAVI case is designed to be three separate sections that all integrate into one to make the case a compact laptop like setup. The FAVI case consists of a Bluetooth keyboard, an iPad Air case and a stand that connects all the sections together. The key features are as follows:

  • Conveniently designed Folio case features a detachable Bluetooth keyboard
  • Fully adjustable/detachable rotating stand makes it simple to setup and reassemble
  • Swissor-switch keys are quieter and require little force to press
  • Long battery life allows 80 hours of continual use or 70 days standby time
  • Built-in battery is lithium ion and rechargeable
  • Colorful options available in gold, black and silver

Made out of ABS plastic and weighing one pound the 9.65″ x 7.40″ x 1.06″ case would make a great travel companion. At a price of $39.99 from FAVI, this looks like a worthy contender in the iPad keyboard case market.

Take your iPhone case to task with the myTask iPhone utility case

myTask-1

Multi-taskers, I love them. They come on keychains, in wallets, heck even phone cases. But the one thing most phone case multi-taskers lack is versatility. The myTask, a Kickstarter project from TaskLab hopes to change that. Unlike other phone cases of this type that have a built-in set of tools, the myTask set up is different. It has a case and tray system that allows you to swap out tool sets and trays as you see fit. The myTask project currently has three configurations: the myTask urban, the myTask bike, and the myTask stash. The myTask is built out of polycarbonate and covered with a black or red soft-touch coating. The trays are made to be swapped out, and the tools are made out of 440C stainless steel and polycarbonate. The urban version of the myTask has such items as:

  • Nail file
  • Scissors
  • LED light
  • Ruler
  • Mirror
  • Screw drivers
  • Stylus/pen

The bike versions has such items as:

  • Tire iron
  • Tube patches
  • Pedal and axle wrench
  • Spoke wrenches
  • Allen wrenches
  • Screw drivers

The myTask stash is an approximately 1/8″ deep tray that slides into the phone case.

Seeking funding until April 22, 2014, the myTask has several pledge points, with a $30 pledge getting you a myTask case with the stash tray. If successful, the myTask is slated to ship in the June 2014 time frame.

Gadgeteer: Show us your desk series – Larry

LG desk-1

So, Julie started this “Show us your desk series” and I thought I would add mine to the list. As you will see I don’t have the same amount of cool bric-a-brac that Julie posses, but then again she has been at this longer than I have :) . What you do get to see is that I have a compact work surface with a nice view and a rather weird lighting contraption I will explain later.

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It may not give you direction, but the Compass 2 can hold your iPad while you search

Twelve South Compass 2

I am a big iPad user. It is my main device for writing. So, when I updated to a new iPad Air, I found myself looking for new accessories to use with it. I was especially looking for a new mobile stand. In my search I happened across the Compass 2 from a company called Twelve South. You may have seen a review here for a clone of the original Compass which got good marks, so I went to the Twelve South webpage to check out the Compass 2. The Compass 2 is a compact folding easel type stand that is designed to be used in two configurations. The easel position gives you a display angle of 59 degrees making it great for movie viewing or web surfing in the vertical or horizontal positions. The typing stand position gives you a display angle of 20 degrees which is perfect for typing. Designed to be a compact on the go stand, the Compass 2 dimensions when closed are as follows; Height 7.1″, Width 1.2″, Depth 0.5″ and Weight 8.2 ounces. The Compass 2 is available on the Twelve South website for $39.99. It comes with a soft travel sleeve for transport and is available in three colors.

The LEGACY key fob may be one key to a simpler life

LEGACY Key Fob

It’s the simple things in life that make it worth living or so I have been told.  I am not a complicated type of person, but I can appreciate simple well made, well designed products like the LEGACY leather key fob from Tap & Dye. The LEGACY design to me harkens back to simpler times when we only had a few keys and our key chain was not a status symbol, but a quality tool. Each LEGACY is made from full grain cowhide with a flat split ring and brass rivets. The LEGACY is 4″ long, 1/8″ thick, 1/2″ wide and is available in four-color finishes; natural, saddle tan, blue and black. Available for $25 from Tap & Dye, the LEGACY leather key fob will bring you back to simpler times.

You won’t be bugged by the Mantis and Cricket multi-tools

Cricket and Mantis

Pocket multi-tools, you all know I love them. I have several reviews and news post about them here on The Gadgeteer, so in keeping with my fetish interest, I have found another set of multi-tools on Kickstarter. The Mantis and the Cricket from Jeff Morin, are two versatile  multi-tools designed to make your life easier. The Mantis is a mini crowbar shaped 4″ x 1.75″ multi-tool with 11+ built-in functions. The main functions listed are:

  • Flat screw driver
  • Wire stripper
  • 2″ large toothed saw blade
  • Bottle opener
  • 2″ scraper
  • Mini pry bar
  • Nail puller
  • 2″ ruler
  • Keychain holes
  • 8 hex wrenches
  • 2″ small toothed saw blade

The Cricket is a six-sided multi-tool that has a 1.75″ foot print is listed as having 7+ functions. The listed functions for the Cricket are:

  • 1″ scraper
  • Bottle opener
  • Wire stripper
  • 1″ ruler
  • 1″ saw blade
  • Hex wrenches
  • Keychain hole

This project is seeking funding until March 30, 2014 and if successful is slated to ship in the April 2014 time frame. There are several pledge options for this project with a $16 pledge getting you a Cricket multi tool and $19 pledge getting you a Mantis. Both tools come in either a matte silver or matte black finish.

It won’t hold two of every animal, but the Arq Dock will hold your smart device

Arq Dock

The title of this post is kind of funny because my household seems to have amassed two of every smart device we use, two iPhones and two iPads you get the picture. And like every household, the way we protect or enhance these devices varies by user. Anywhere between full-blown rugged protection to skinny and barely there. But when it comes to charging our devices, we prefer to use a stand and that is where the Arq Dock can help. The Arq Dock, a Kickstarter project from B&A Studio, distinguishes itself from most other charging stands by its versatility. Unlike the current charging stand we have, the Arq Dock is designed to allow you adjust the charging end of your cable to three different heights allowing you to charge your device in an array of after market cases. Made out of aluminum, the Arq Dock will be made in three colors, comes with supports pins and a specially designed Micro USB cable. The Arq Dock has several pledge options with a pledge of $35 getting you one Arq Dock of your color choice, two support pins and a Micro USB cable. Funding for this project runs through April 11, 2014 and if successful the Arq Dock is slated to start shipping in the July 2014 time frame.

Everyday survival is a zip with the Gerber GDC selection

Gerber GDC-Kit

I’m guessing that a lot of our readers have some sort of EDC (Every Day Carry) setup that they carry about with them for those just in case moments. The folks at Gerber (the knife a survival tool company, not the baby food maker) have embraced the concept of EDC with their own line of tools called the GDC – Gerber Daily Carry. The GDC line includes the following:

  • GDC Money Clip (money clip with a 1.75″ knife, not shown in the picture above)
  • GDC Belt Tool (belt buckle with a small multi-tool, not shown in the picture above)
  • GDC Zip Driver (screw driver tool)
  • GDC Zip Blade (.68″ utility blade)
  • GDC Hook Knife (2″ hook blade knife)
  • GDC Zip Light+ (LED flashlight with a bottle opener)
  • GDC Zip Hex (5 different size metric hex bits)
  • GDC Tech Skin pocket knife (pocket knife with a 2.25″ drop point blade)
  • Dakine Backpack (sold with GDC Tech Kit only)

As you may have noticed, most of the GDC gear is designed to be attached to zipper pulls for easy access. Items in the GDC line up run from $11 for the GDC Hook Knife, all the way up to $119 for the GDC Tech Kit. For more info or purchase visit Gerber.

Sherwood S-5 Panoramic Soundbar with Bluetooth review

Sherwood S-5 1

In the world of home theater systems everything seems to be getting bigger and bigger. With digital media providing immersive sound for movies and TV programs, your sound system needs to be first-rate to take advantage of that immersive quality. But what happens when you don’t have the space to install an expensive multi-speaker sound system? A soundbar may be the perfect solution and the Sherwood S-5 Panoramic Soundbar with Bluetooth, sent to me by Petra, seems like a reasonable system for my situation.

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Get your iPad Air or Mini to stick around with the MagBak iPad mount

magbak 2

Last year I posted news on the MagBak magnetic mounting system for iPads. Alex Baca is at it again for a new MagBak project on Kickstarter – the MagBak for the iPad Air and Mini. Like the original, this version is composed of silicone covered adhesive pads with embedded magnets. This design allows you to stick your iPad Mini or Air to just about any metal surface. The MagBak pads are designed to be soft and non-slip, great for keeping your Air or Mini in place on smooth surfaces. Unlike the original version which had a metal o-ring that could be stuck to non-metal surfaces to allow you to mount your iPad, the Air/Mini version comes with the MagStick to allow you to stick your iPad to non metallic surfaces. You may be wondering why it was necessary to create a new project for the MagBak. With the new models and smaller sizes of the new iPads it was necessary to re-design and test the MagBak to be able to work with them. Available in blue, grey or black, the MagBak has several funding options with a $29 pledge getting you a MagBak of your color choice for the iPad Mini or Air and one MagStick. Funding for this project runs until April 16, 2013 and if successful will start shipping in the May 2014 time frame. For more info or to pledge, visit their Kickstarter page.

Go-to gear discussion: Wallets

DragonThorn PCS

In this installment of my-go-to-gear, we look at wallets. Oh the art of carrying things in our pockets. Wallets have become an art form these days, have they not? I remember when there was just simple bi-fold or tri-fold wallets made out of leather in either black or brown. My how times have changed, not only in styles but in materials. My current wallet is actually classified as a PCS (Pocket Carry System) and it is made by Dragonthorn Leatherworks. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would even like the PCS as I have always been a back pocket wallet man. But having been fortunate enough to win a custom designed PCS, I decided to give it a whirl. My PCS is designed to hold an ink pen, pen knife and some cards. It also has a spring clip on the back to hold paper money or can be used to clip it to the inside of your pocket or on a belt. I will admit that when I first got it and used it, I did not like it as much as I thought I would. I actually stopped using it for a time. But I went back to my PCS to give it another try and have been using it ever since. Made out of leather, my PCS should last me a life time. So, now it’s your turn, what’s your go to wallet?

Does the Survival Bracelet Accessory make my paracord bracelet look too big?

CRKT  Survival Bracelet Accessory
Who doesn’t appreciate a good paracord bracelet? No one right? But how can you make your paracord bracelet even more functional? The Survival Bracelet Accessory from CRKT may be a good start. Designed by Tom Stokes, the Survival Bracelet Accessory is made from injection molded, glass filled nylon that features a compass, a magnesium fire rod and a LED light running on a LR41 battery. Designed for use with a “Solomon Bar” style paracord bracelet, the Survival Bracelet Accessory has a screw down disc lock on the underside to keep it in place while being worn. Although not available yet, the Survival Bracelet Accessory will cost $16.99 from CRKT when it is. They also have a version out already that only has a compass and flashlight for $12.99.

Would this be what Dr Jones uses for his iPad, the Heming leather iPad case?

Heming iPad Case

If you have an iPad chances are you go to some lengths to protect your investment. But, if you are like me you don’t want a run of the mill, everyday, everyone else has one type of case. You want something a little different as well as something that is quality made. The Heming a Kickstarter project from Castelli Davarg, certainly checks all those boxes for me. The Heming is a hand stitched full grained leather iPad case with a twist. Unlike most iPad cases that use magnets or some sort of snap on case back to keep the cover secured to the iPad, the Heming uses their own designed GECCO Sticktion Grip System to hold the iPad in place. Available for the iPad, iPad air and the mini, the Heming works in multiple orientations and provides easy access to all of the iPad’s external ports. The Heming project has many pledge points with a $56 pledge getting you a Heming in one of the three color choices to fit your iPad size. This project is seeking funding until April 7, 2014 and if successfully funded, plans to ship the Heming as early as May 2014.

Now for something completely different the Mini Museum

mini museum

You are a person of intrigue and as such you are a trend setter, a person living on the edge with the latest and greatest, a pioneer in cool. So what can I get to impress you, to wow you, to elevate my status beyond worldly? How about the Mini Museum a Kick-starter project from Hans Fex? The Mini Museum is a collection of up to 33 rare and unique specimens encased in a clear resin. With such unique items as dinosaur poo (ok dung, but poo sounds funnier), mummy wrap, lunar rock, and Apollo 11 command module foil the Mini Museum is sure to be one of your most unusual possessions. The Mini Museum comes in three specimen sizes small (11 specimens), medium (22 specimens) and large (33 specimens) and several pledge points with a $79 dollar pledge for the small Mini Museum. I will note all of the funding points have limits on how many will be produced. This project is seeking funding until March 20. 2014 and if successfully funded the Mini Museums are slated to ship as early as July 2014.

Give your device some hold while on the road with the Kanex Foldable iDevice stand

Kanex Foldable iDevice Stand

We live in an ever-increasing mobile society, so I am always looking for items to help me function on the road. One item in particular is a decent portable stand for my iPad or iPhone. I have reviewed one stand here that is my current travel buddy, but it’s kind of big and bulky. Recently, the Kanex Foldable iDevice Stand caught my attention. Made out of plastic, the Foldable iDevice Stand measures just 2.8″ x 3.2″ when folded and has three adjustable angles 63, 69 and 75 degrees. With its compact design, foldable portability and a $19,95 price for two of them from the Kanex webpage, the Foldable iDevice Stand may be my new travel buddy.

Give your shoelaces the slip with ZIPPED

ZIPPED-1

We live in a fast paced world, so why shouldn’t our shoes. I mean tying and untying them just doesn’t make sense in this society of innovators. While shoes using the ZIPPED, an active indiegogo project, aren’t the Marty McFly shoes from Back to the Future, they are a nice alternative to tying your laces. The ZIPPED is basically a zipper system that you lace into your shoes to allow you to zip them up as opposed to tying them. With a variety of sizes, eyelet numbers and colors available, the ZIPPED can meet almost any shoe’s needs. While I tend not to wear lace up shoes, I can see the usefulness in this product for things like low-cut boots or high top sneakers and for children or people with dexterity issues. Funding for this project runs until April 18, 2014 and if successful the ZIPPED is scheduled to ship in the June 2014 time frame. The ZIPPED has many pledge points with a $10 pledge getting you a pair of ZIPPED from the standard line.