The TV in my bedroom has what has to be the worst remote ever created. It seems to be underpowered, and there’s an opaque cover over the wimpy IR sender that means it sometimes takes what seems like a dozen tries to get the TV to simply turn on or off. I need to get a universal remote for that TV, and the Sideclick seems like what I actually need. I have an Apple TV connected to that set, but there’s no cable box or anything else connected to it other than a coax cable for the cablevision service. The Sideclick remote, now an active Kickstarter project, is a “side car”, if you will, that holds the remote for your Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Amazon Fire TV Stick and adds rudimentary controls for your TV. If you need to access the TV’s setup or menus, you’ll need to use its own remote, but the Sideclick lets you turn the TV on and control a few other functions. The keys on the Sideclick are marked channel up/down, sound up/down, and source. Since you have to program the functions using the TV’s original remote, you can actually program them for your favorite functions, even assign the volume buttons to control a soundbar.
Funding for the Sideclick continues until Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 8:34 PM EDT; pledges already have exceeded 50% of the goal. A few early-bird pledges are still available; $25 gets you one Sideclick of your choice, with shipping expected in November 2015.
Whether you call it the IOT (Internet of Things), being plugged in, or something else, I really enjoy using connected devices. Some people will say, who needs a thermometer that saves your readings or a fitness tracker that tells you how many steps you’ve walked each day. I say why not! I don’t have the world’s best memory, so instead of writing down bits of data, I like it when the data is recorded for me automatically so I don’t have to remember to write it down myself. I’ve been using a Withings wireless scale for over five years. But now that I’m wearing a Fitbit Charge HR activity tracker on my wrist every day, I wondered how well Fitbit’s Aria Scale performs. Fitbit was kind enough to send one to me to try so let’s take a look.
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It’s spring! Time to set aside your games of Halo and enjoy the outdoors by taking a ride on your motorcycle. But you don’t have to leave Halo behind completely – now you can be Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 while you ride around town with this Spartan motorcycle helmet from NECAonline.com. There have been other Halo inspired helmets out there that are collectibles or function as Halloween costumes, but this is a DOT approved (FMVSS 49 CFR 571.218) modular motorcycle helmet. It has a glove friendly opening mechanism, ABS shell with matte UV protective coating, front air intakes to reduce shield fogging, rear exhaust vents to help you keep a cool head (when battling the Covenant of course), and a reflective shield with UV coating to protect your eyes. It is also eyeglasses friendly, has a double D nylon chin strap with snap secure, center pad to allow for heat dissipation, and dual layer EPS cheek pads for a secure fit (center pad and cheek pads are removable for washing). It comes in four sizes: Small (55-56cm), Medium (57-58 cm), Large (59-60 cm), and Extra Large (61-62 cm). It is available for pre-order from GameStop for $524.99 and will ship in August 2015. Unfortunately, it does not have a head-up display (HUD) or Cortana AI, but maybe these features will be available in the future 😉 .
I’ve been downsizing the weight and quantity of “stuff” I carry around. This includes my pockets. RC Fibers makes a series of lightweight wallet products made in the USA, so I thought I’d take a look.
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It’s nice to have a place in your car to set your drink, but it’s even nicer to have a place to keep your phone where you can see it while it’s navigating for you or while it’s charging. With the Cupholder Charging Station, you can convert one drink holder in the center console into a USB charging station for your phone and two other devices. The cylindrical charger fits into standard cup holders. There’s a compartment that can hold a smart phone in one half of the cylinder, and the top has a rim that can hold a phone (or even a tablet) upright so you can see the driving directions. It plugs into your car’s power outlet and has three 2.4A USB jacks and advanced circuit design to prevent over-charging. It’s even small enough that you can carry it in a bag so you can take it in rental cars while traveling.
The Cupholder Charging Station is $49.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.
The HT-TM02 TripMate Nano Wireless N Pocket Travel Router is tiny enough, at 2.2″ X 2″ X 0.7″ and 1 ounce, to fit in a pocket or bag. It’s a 802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz wireless router that lets you create a personal WiFi network for your mobile devices and laptop when you travel. You can also plug in a USB flash drive or disk, and all devices on your personal network will be able to access files stored on the USB storage device. With the free HooToo TripMate app, you’ll be able to control the Tripmate Nano and to “transfer media files, such as photos, videos, music, documents between iOS, Android, and Windows devices – or plug in any USB mass storage device (external hard drives, memory sticks, etc.) and access all of your content without using any wires.” In the US, you can purchase the HooToo HT-TM02 Tripmate Nano at Amazon ($18.99) or at Newegg ($29.99). Learn more at HooToo.
Seems like all the rage and talk recently has been about the new Apple watch and why not, it’s new and neat, but what if you are looking for that unique classic watch, the kind that only tells time? The Goodwood wooden watch is a Kickstarter project that may be just what you are looking for. The Goodwood watch has a 24 jewel automatic movement, stainless steel case, sapphire crystal and a wooden faced watch. While a wood watch is not uncommon, having one that has an automatic movement is. The Goodwood watch has the following specs from the Kickstarter page:
- Case Width – 40mm
- Case Depth – 12mm
- Movement – NH35A
- Strap Width – 20mm
- Clasp – Fold over safety clasp with push button
- Waterproof – 5ATM
- Weight – Max 94g
Available in ebony, maple and red sandalwood, this project has several pledge points with a pledge of £99 (approximately $145 US) getting you your choice of Goodwood watch. The project runs through May 13, 2015, and if successful is slated to ship the Goodwood watch in the September 2015 time frame.
Fitness gadgets are my exercise motivator. I love them. My only caveat is that they must be able to accurately track at the very least my heart rate and calories burned during a workout and not just my daily routine activities. The more data they collect the better. When the Gadgeteer was offered the Wahoo Fitness Tickr X, a chest strap heart rate and workout monitor, I was intrigued that it allowed the user to keep track of workout data without being connected to a device. How well does it work?
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This seems to be a product in search of a problem, but the PAVARA sink tidy is also in search of funding at Kickstarter. I’m just getting started on the process of updating my kitchen. You know me, I’m always interested in new gadgets, and a gadget for my upgraded kitchen seemed intriguing. This product is designed to hold your hand soap, dishwashing liquid, and dish sponge/cloth to keep them out of sight while keeping them at hand. It’s made of steel with either a glossy black or white finish to complement or match your kitchen decor. It has a push-button mechanism that turns the opening in the back to the front for you to reach the soaps; when you’re done, you replace the soaps and hand-turn the PAVARA’s opening to the back again. This seems to be a way of spreading germs to me, because you’ll have to use your dirty hands to press to open the tidy and touch the soap containers as you lift them out for use. I’d rather store my items under the sink until I’m ready to use them and save the minimum £50 (about $75 US) early-bird pledge for an upgrade to my new sink faucet, but to each his own. If the PAVARA sink tidy is what you’ve been needing for your kitchen, you can still pledge until Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 12:58 AM EDT.
Update: Sunita Gill, in addition to her comments below, sent a message to Julie regarding this write-up that she felt should be addressed. She said: “I have just read your post and there are a few inaccuracies which need to be addressed.
The opening of the PAVARA sink tidy is wide enough, so that you can access the hand soap without removing it from the unit.
The ‘germ issue’ you refer to when touching the button is the same as touching any hand wash to dispense the soap.
Also you have compared the PAVARA sink tidy to a sink faucet, of which it is not a tap.”
To address her first two concerns, I can see that I could reach my hand into the opening to pump out some soap, but I would have to use my germy hand to do so. With the bottle sitting by the sink, I could press with my wrist, which hasn’t been handling raw chicken, to pump out the soap. I cannot use my wrist to touch the button to turn the PAVARA’s opening to the front, and would have to use my germy finger to do so. Granted, I could make sure I open the PAVARA before I start working in the kitchen, but I still don’t think I could use my clean wrist to pump the soap as it sat in the tidy.
And I never compared the PAVARA to a faucet. I said I would rather use the cost of the tidy to add to my budget for purchasing my new faucet.
My husband, Butch, has helped me review a few methods of directly recording guitar music into music-recording software. Some methods required an interface between the guitar and the computer with the software, and he also reviewed the Squier by Fender Strat guitar with the USB interface built in. Both methods worked well, but having the USB interface built-in means less equipment you have to buy and maintain.
Luna Guitars is offering everyone who purchases one of their acoustic/electric guitars (between April 1 – July 31, 2015) from a participating dealer a free USB upgrade module. The module is “compatible with any Apple or Windows laptop, Smartphone (supporting USB) and, of course, the iPhone and iPad. This upgrade gives you plug and play capability into your favorite recording software with no external power needed.” The module has a USB Type I output and is powered by a 9V battery. It has both the 1/4″ standard guitar-style plug and the USB plug, so you can hook the guitar up to your amp or to a device running the recording software. It comes with a USB Type I-to-Type II cable. You’ll simply replace the standard output assembly with the USB output by removing a couple of screws, unplugging the old output module, plugging in the new module, and replacing the screws.
To receive the free USB module, purchase an acoustic/electric guitar from a participating retailer, then submit a rebate form. Go to Luna’s website to learn more about the limited free USB upgrade and see a list of participating retailers, then check out all the guitars offered by Luna. If you already own a Luna acoustic/electric and want to replace its existing output jack, you can order a USB output jack from Luna for $49.
Almost five years ago I reviewed a wrapped canvas print from CanvasPop. That review inspired several others resulting in a lot of original framed images on my walls. Recently the people at CanvasPop contacted me to ask if I might like to do a new review. At first I didn’t see the point but then they informed me that they are now offering professionally matted photo prints. Here’s what they had to say about their new offering. [click to continue…]
If you just picked up a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S6 and would like to protect and extend its battery life, meet the Power Jacket from Brando. The Power Jacket protects the back of the phone, while also adding an extra 3200 mAh of battery life. It snaps on the back of the phone and has cut outs for all the ports, volume buttons and camera. The Power Jacket also features a row of LEDs that show battery capacity and a built in kickstand that enables you to position the phone on a flat surface at the optimal angle for viewing the display. This backup battery case is available in black or white for $36 from Brando.
Over Christmas, I finally jumped into the MacBook scene and picked up a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display. The first thing I thought when I bought it was, “I need to find some sort of case for this expensive laptop!” For the first few months, I carried the laptop in two hands always, and needed a case badly to stop worrying. Thankfully, CalypsoCase came out with a limited edition sleeve for the MacBook Pro and I jumped at the opportunity to review it. I knew how good their products were from a previous case review, so I was very eager to try this one out!
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Like many other charging stands created for the Apple Watch, the BLOC is a sleek, elegant charging station for your Apple Watch. It will look and work perfectly on your bedside table for those nightly charging sessions. Unlike most other charging stands, the BLOC is also a portable power bank for your Watch, just in case you need an extra shot of power to make it through a busy day. The BLOC has a 2000Ah battery inside that can recharge the Watch up to four times before needing a charge itself. It incorporates the Watch’s own magnetic charging cable inside, and it serves as a wireless charging base when its battery is charged. It’s thin (10mm) and light enough that you can throw it in your bag to take it with you while you’re at the office or travelling. The BLOC Power Bank for Apple Watch will be available in stainless steel, space gray, aluminum, yellow or rose gold tones, marble, or wood to match or complement your Apple Watch. It is $60 – $100, depending on material, and can be pre-ordered from Boostcase now for delivery in early June.
Summer’s nearly here, and it’s almost time to start planning picnics. If you don’t like sitting on the ground with the dirt and insects, you probably prefer going to places with picnic tables available, but with the Multi Function Rolling Cooler with Table and 2 Chairs, you can go anywhere and still enjoy using a picnic table. The cooler has wide wheels and a pull-up resin handle for easy pulling. You can fit twelve 12-oz cans plus ice inside, so there’s plenty of room for a couple of drinks and some picnic food. The sides of the cooler fold down for transport, then they open out to form a picnic table. Sturdy iron tubing forms the stands for the table leaves. Folded down, the cooler measures 18″ long x 13″ wide x 15.5″ tall; it’s 41″ wide when opened up to form the table. There are also two 9.5″ long x 9″ wide x 10″ tall stools, so you don’t have to sit on the ground.
The Multi Function Rolling Cooler with Table and 2 Chairs is $86.99 at Amazon.
Two years ago Elizabeth posted a short news article about a new Google application called Keep. I read the post and then promptly forgot about it until a few weeks ago I saw my friend Bill Ray adding things to a list on his Samsung Galaxy S5 one day and I asked him about it. He said the app was called Keep. So I promptly installed it on my LG G3 so that I could check it out. I’ve been using it for several weeks now and really like it. Here’s why. [click to continue…]
“If the rain comes comes, they run and hide their heads.”
When I think of thinksound’s new Rain2 earphones, I always think of the iconic Beatles’ song, “Rain”. I don’t know why, except that the Rain2 earphones serve as a counterpoint to the song—in my head, at least. It means that while the song, “Rain,” is somewhat depressing, the Rain2 earphones most certainly are not. If anything, the Rain2 has a sunny disposition, making you not want to hide your head at all.
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After reading Julie’s posts comparing Android and Apple, do you find yourself firmly in the pro-Android camp? Or maybe you’re just in the pro-cute robot camp? These official Google-approved bot figures from the Big Box Edition collectors series will make a cute addition to your office or home desk to show your Android or robot pride. Each bot stands 3″ tall, and each comes boxed as shown in the above image (top). In this special collection, you’ll receive three randomly-selected bots from the following choices: Green, Business Man, Taxi Bot, Yeti, Pinkey, Bear Tag, or Ruby Red. Each Android Bot Collectibles Bundle is currently on sale for $19.99 from Geeky Gadget Deals.
Did you visit The Gadgeteer every day this week to get your daily dose of gadget related news, articles and reviews? If you answered no, then here’s a quick way to catch up. Click through to see the full list of news, articles and reviews from this past week. [click to continue…]
Today we have 20 reviews that have been updated for your viewing pleasure. Click through to see the full list of updated reviews and then scroll to the bottom of each of the listed reviews to read the author’s latest update. [click to continue…]