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Author Archive for cobinrox – Page 2

FuelDoctor Fuel Saving Device Review

The FuelDoctor FD-47 is a device that can help increase fuel economy by conditioning electrical signals (e.g., aberrant noise, harmonics, spikes).  It consists of a set of electronics filters encapsulated in a shell that is inserted into the cigarette lighter of the car.  The concept is sound:  filter out transient spikes and help the electronic control unit of the car function more efficiently and, ergo, improve fuel use. Read More →

Nifty Thrifty Cell Phone Watch Review

The "Thrifty Cell Phone Watch" (creepy hand not included)

The Thrifty Cell Phone watch ($80 and the price keeps dropping) is one of the first viable (i.e. affordable, portable) cell phone watches I’d seen in a while.  While not for everyone, the concept offers an easy way to carry a phone without really carrying it.  It’s a nifty idea but is not something for everyone due to its screen size and lack of buttons.  For example, it is not conducive to OCD texting nor use during driving.  But it still has a market audience.  This audience was interested enough in it to try it out for a month or so.  So if you’re also part of that audience, read on . . .

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DeKlutter Your Kindle with Firmware Update 2.5

The new release of the Amazon Kindle firmware, 2.5, was downloaded to my Kindle DX the other day.   (It has been steadily downloaded to Kindles over the past several weeks.  If you own a Kindle, just turn on the wireless mode and then choose the Sync & Download New Items  option.)  Among other things, the two most important features (or the ones that I think are the most important) include 1) a way to categorize your book titles and 2) provide a zoom feature for PDF documents.  Here are a few scream shots of the new version in action. Read More →

Spy Gadgets SD-V03 Color Spy Camera Review

If you have a need to monitor the activities of your nanny, house sitter, house cleaner, or other part-time guests and need a no-brainer contraption to do so, the motion-activated SD-V03 Color Spy Camera from Spy Gadgets can do the duty.  While I don’t have a need to monitor my kids’ nanny, I do have a desire to determine the identity of the person or persons who left a strange note on my door a few weeks ago. Read More →

Does Satellite Radio Play the Same Thing Over and Over and Over and Over and Over ?

Is it me or do I keep hearing the same stuff on satellite radio, no matter what channel I land on?  As Steve Earle would ask ” . . . is there any body out there one-two-three on the satellite radio . . .”  Some great tunes out there, no doubt, but, considering that there is at least 100 years of content available from our planet, why is it that I seem to hear the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over ?  I pay for satellite so that I don’t have to listen to a) moronic “morning show” blabberers; b) advertisements; c) the “top 40″ over and over and over.  But it seems to me that item “c” has really become overtly obvious, more so in the past couple of years since I started to subscribe to satellite radio.  Anyone else in this ilk?  (I try to shy away from the term “ilk” since I’m actose intolerant, but dang this subject is getting really annoying.)

Be a REAL Guitar Hero – FretLight

Saw this on SlipperyBrick; the FretLight system is a learning system for guitar.  The specialized hardware connects to your PC via USB and has built-in lights which illuminate the frets to guide you through the fingering. This looks like something we need to review!   Sorry, doesn’t come in ukulele size tho Julie.  Roughly $300 and up depending on model.

Reevu Helmet — Makes the Exorcist Passe

Full-cover motorcycle helmets can restrict neck movement for the driver when attempting to keep an eye behind him/her.   Rear-view mirrors on bikes do not always reveal everything going on and can vibrate.

The Reevu helmet (not available yet) may be a viable work around.  It has a set of mirrors effecting it into a rear-view mirror similar to that of a car.

Lower half = your view; upper quarter = rear view

I’m not sure how accurate the above figure is, but the Reevu site claims that this is how your view would appear when wearing the helmet.  Also there does not appear to be a way to purchase the product yet, but something to keep an eye on.

What a Difference 300 Years Make

DIY scanners can be pretty complex

If you’ve decided that your e-book reader is your new body part, you may have stumbled upon some of the DIY book-scanner forums or sites such as diybookscanner.org.  While the designs presented on the internet are intriguing, they are not always practical for klutzes.  Ahem.

So I was equally intrigued by this, the VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner.

Other portable scanners (such as the DocuPen) have been discussed on the The-Gadgeteer, but this one is affordable and looks large enough for a decent sized scan.  It can be found on Amazon.com for $97.   Note as Julie mentioned in the DocuPen review, performing a scan sideways may render a better result with some hand-helds.

Kindle 2, DX Software Upgrade End of May May be Worth Wait

Amazon will soon be releasing a software upgrade which should provide a solution to one of the annoying nuisances of the device: the lack of a decent way to organize items. Currently, items on the Kindle are listed without sophisticated organization. Additionally, a zoom feature for PDF files is supposedly on its way. Currently, the only way to zoom PDF content is to rotate the Kindle to landscape mode.

From the Amazon Kindle information site, here is the list of features to look forward to:

  • Collections: Organize your books and documents into one or more collections.
  • PDF Pan and Zoom: Zoom into PDFs and pan around to easily view small print and detailed tables or graphics.
  • Password Protection: Password protect your Kindle when you’re not using it.
  • More Fonts & Improved Clarity: Enjoy two new larger font sizes and sharper fonts for an even more comfortable reading experience.
  • Facebook & Twitter Posts: Share book passages with friends on Facebook and Twitter directly from your Kindle.
  • Popular Highlights: See what the Kindle community thinks are the most interesting passages in the books you’re reading.

I hope they also include a fix for the problems with the back button.

Functional Jewelry – Pepper Spray Ring

Less deadly than the poison ring (review coming soon), yet more punch than the Kinext gear ring, the Stunning Ring is a nice in-the-middle choice for those with the discerning but not pretentious fashion sense.  This bauble from Defense Devices can shoot a 2-second stream of liquid 2-3 feet by pressing a switch on the side of the ring.  Comes in a silver or gold plating in sizes 6-14. $30.

See Through Toaster – Don’t Believe it Till You See it

Finally!

Well I think this is legit.  While most postings for a see-through toaster make note that the designs are just concepts, I found the Magimix Vision see-through toaster (“coming to Williams Sonoma stores in Spring 2010″) on actual web sites, for sale as of right now.  JohnLewis.com claims it has “more than 10 in stock” and Williams Sonoma‘s web site is also listing them now.  So it must be available.

Its street price has been touted at 300 dollars (US) and JohnLewis’ web site lists it as 190 pounds (UK).

When You’re Too Tired to Look Down at Your Wrist

As part of my “How Friggin’ Lazy Are You??” quest, check out this Talking Heart Rate Monitor and MP3 player from Hammacher Schlemmer.  It reports your heart rate to you aurally while providing a 1GB MP3 player.  Neat idea, but 1GB may be too limiting for some.  Comes with a chest strap and USB cable.  $80.

Thrifty Cell Phone Watch

You may have seen the various cell phone watches coming out on the market in the last year or so.  I remember scrounging for one a few years back with very little success: they were either too large or too expensive.  The Thrifty Cell Phone Watch (yes, that is its name) is a recent contender with a reasonable price and, I think, not too obtrusive on the wrist.

It supports the GSM 850,900,1800, and 1900MHz frequency bands. $95.

Lip Stick Stun Gun

Lips not included

That’s what I thought too when I saw this on GadgetVenue.  But it’s legit, and on sale for $30 at Defensive Devices.  These are actually rechargeable and includes an integrated flashlight and safety pin (in case, I guess, if you forget what it’s for and try to do a quick touch-up).  It purports 350,000 volts, though it doesn’t state for how long that voltage lasts.

One-Stop Cheat Sheet Shopping

The-Gadgeteer post for the getting-started-guide-for-Linux reminded me of this useful site: devcheatsheet.com.  The best thing?  You can post your own cheat sheets and help others grok perplexing and poorly documented libraries and programs.  The next best thing?  You can download many of them as PDF files and put ‘em on your e-reader.

Kneed Support? Opedix Knee Support Running Tights

Opedix offers several interesting garments: the first is a set of tights that claim to provide knee support, targeted towards runners (there is also a set for skiers).  The second is a posture-improving-shirt.  I’m always on the lookout for knee support so I downloaded the Opedix running tights’ information sheet. It looks like they may be slightly better than shoe orthotics but not as good as bracing hardware.  Might be a bit pricey for some at $190 but I think they would be an improvement over braces made out of neoprene material that bunch up and bind.

Take Your Other Axe into the Woods

Amp and guitar not to scale.

For those of you with electric guitars, this is kind of cool — a portable mini amplifier.  Runs on a 9V battery, no A/C required.  So now you have no excuse not to drag your bass to parties.

This one (the Ampu Plug-n-Play, $30) also has a headphone output and an extra input for, say, an MP3 player.

Aural Oreos? Naw – Swix Ear Muffs

One of the nice things about The-Gadgeteer is that we review products that we have a passion for or that deserve attention even though the product may not require electricity.  Or wires.  Or Bluetooth compatibility.  Or a touch-screen display.

The set of SWIX earmuffs shown here is one of those products.  Simple, subtle, compact and works.  Sounds like Haiku, but if you commute to work on a bicycle, suffer from unexpected bouts of shivering, or have circulation problems in your aural cavities due to previous experiences with frost bite, and you don’t like carrying stuff, you might find these Swix muffs a nice addition. Read More →

“Why can’t I get this TV off of channel 3?” -or- How I spent my weekend

For those of you with Comcast Analog service, you probably are aware that Comcast will be dropping most of its analog signals and will move to an all-digital delivery in a few months.  Comcast has begun rolling out digital set-top boxes (aka Digital Control Transceiver, Digital Cable Box, etc.) to analog customers and I received mine last week.
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LED Sporting Goods

What could be more fun than smacking a birdie into your friend’s eyeball or dropping a horseshoe on your foot? Doing it in the dark!  Finally it looks like manufacturers have begun to put some good use to LED lights.  These two implementations, from Impact, look pretty cool and there are other such types of sports games using LEDs rather than those lame glow-in-the-dark techniques from long ago once used only for Hallowe’en (and which only glowed [glew?] for about five minutes).

Looking at the reviews for some of these products out on Amazon, the quality is still iffy, but keep your eyes on these.  This looks like a new way to defy daylight savings.  $20-$40

VUZIX iWear Goes 3D

VUZIX iWear (reviewed by Julie in 2008) is designed to give you a large-screen video experience without all the equipment.  Or real estate.  This is an interesting concept to me not just because it is cool, but because my eye sight has deteriorated over the past 50 or so years and it’s getting harder to hold an iPhone beyond arms’ length to watch a movie comfortably.  So there is actually a logical and practical application for these.

The company recently released the VUZIX Wrap 920 and will be releasing a new version, the VUZIX Wrap 920AR soon (March/April hmmm sounds like another release date for something kinda cool).  The 920AR’s will have attached cameras to make you really dizzy.

Specs:
-Compatible with iPod®, iPhone®, portable DVD players and virtually any portable video source
-Projects video from any source to a virtual 67-inch screen viewed from 9-feet
-Powered by two AA batteries that provide up to six hours of continuous use
-Weighs under 3 ounces, features removable noise-isolating earbuds and an adjustable nose bridge

Yoke – Hands Free Shopping Gadget

This looks like a distorted tape measure, but the Yoke allows you to carry even more crap when shopping, traveling, picking up bags of leaves… It will free your hands for more important tasks like tweeting about the dream you had last night about your dog driving your car.  Ahem.  Never mind.

Although my immediate thought turns to shopping bags, this really could be used to help heft any type of object with a handle.  Except, maybe, a curling stone.  Approx. $15

[Via SlipperyBrick]

More Useful Than it Looks – Adjustable Reading Valet

At first I thought “How friggin’ lazy do you have to be??” when I saw this.  But then I realized its potential.  The “Infinitely Reading Valet” from Hammacher Schlemmer could be used while exercising, while cooking, while following instructions on knitting…  The most interesting aspect is that it is adjustable to fit a given situation.  It might be useful for the physically impaired as well, though I can’t tell how difficult it would be to turn the pages.

It’s not clear from the close up image how easy the pages might be to turn. There is a similarly named item called the Adjustable Tabletop Reading Valet but, oddly, no images on the Hammacher web site.  So I can only imagine what it might look like. You can get the floor stand version for $179.95

[Via 7Gadgets]

You’re Better Off Hiring Edward Scissor Hands

In the continuous quest to find useful gadgets and make our readers’ lives more productive . . . Ok, I got these on sale for ten bucks.  I’ve seen these before and thought they looked like a neat idea.  They are a neat idea.  And they work as well as electric shredders.   Or, they work as poorly as electric shredders.   Follow the illustrative journey . . .


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1. Shredder Scissors — neat idea and they were on sale!
2. These look nasty and effective.
3. How about that — they work just like an electric shredder — clogs up and useless.
4. Putting them where they belong — in the trash.

A Cool Tool for a Cool Job – Epson P-7000x

While it is called a “multimedia photo viewer”, think of the Epson P-7000 as a miniature quality control system for in-the-field photography.  If you’ve ever taken shots in a hard-to-reach location and tried to asses the quality of those shots in the field by squinting at your camera’s LCD screen, you can certainly appreciate the concept of the P-7000.

In fact Richard Wiese, during his trip to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, used the P-7000 to off-load photos of the climb and tune the results without having to lug around a laptop.  Since it can store about a gazillion photos, you can use this as a light-weight method to store and show proofs from different shoots.

The specs:

  • 4-inch LCD
  • 2.5” 160GB hard drive
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • Approx. 1.0 lb (with battery)
    5.9”W (150 mm) x 1.3”D (33.1 mm) x 3.5”H (88.7 mm)
  • $799 (ouch!)